Monday, May 31, 2010

Amsterdam 2010 Pictures

Here's the final batch of pictures from our trip to Holland, visiting Winterswijk for the European Steel Challenge Championships, and then spending one full day in Amsterdam sight-seeing before our flight home.

KeeWee looking for cards and such.

The Tram that runs all around Amsterdam. Didn't ride it though, as we chose to walk as we were just sight-seeing, rather than trying to go to any place in particular.

Even with the garbage strike, and with garbage bags piled high in places, Amsterdam is relatively clean, at least as cities go. This is a typical side street.

This stone and marble building has been turned into a shopping mall, of sorts. Each floor has several shops and businesses.

Canals everywhere.

One of the busier main streets.

Out for a sunny cruise. Talk about "Stylin' !"

A courtyard and fountain we discovered.

A very nicely maintained houseboat in one of the canals.

Kind of odd architecture, but it looked like a pretty up-scale place, none the less.

Cobblestones, canals, bicycles, beautiful old churches and buildings everywhere.

KeeWee thought this was an interesting place.

Some of the horse-drawn carriages in Dam Square that you can rent to drive you around town sight-seeing. Very expensive, though.

Some sort of airport fire training facility at the Schiphol Amsterdam airport. We taxied past it on our way out to the runway to head home.

The Schiphol Control Tower and main terminal from our A-330 as we were taxiing out to the departure runway.

Still taxiing out. Schiphol is an airport that covers a lot of ground.

After taxiing for a while, we taxied  over an overpass over a freeway.

The overpass continued over a canal parallel to the freeway.

After all the taxiing, we finally reached the departure runway and headed home. Ten and a half hours later we landed in Seattle. It had been a long six days with some major highlights and lowlights, but it was a great trip in spite of  everything.

I hope we can manage to go back next year. After all, somebody needs to represent the US of A over there! Why not us, indeed?

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Wasp Sounds

A guy's walking down the street and he passes a record shop. In the window is a vintage vinyl LP record titled "Wasp Sounds". Now, this guy just happens to be the world's expert on wasps. Anything there is to know about wasps, he knows about it. Anytime anyone in the whole world has a question about wasps, he's the guy they call. Excitedly, he hurries in to the record store to buy the record and add it to his vast wasp library. He hastens home to listen to his new record.

The next day he's back in the record store with the record in his hand. "I demand my money back!" he yells. "I listened to the record and didn't hear a single wasp sound!"

The record store clerk looks at the record and replies "Well, no wonder you didn't hear any wasp sounds. You listened to the Bee side!"

(You don't have to admit it, but I KNOW you laughed........)
Thanks to Cris in Holland for the story!

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chris Gettin' It Done In Winterswijk

Here's a good video of Chris Rutgers tearing 'em up on Smoke & Hope at the European Steel Challenge Championships held a few weeks ago in Winterswijk, Holland. Each shooter gets five runs on the plates, and the worst one is thrown out, with the remaining four counting towards your score for the day. If you can get four good runs with your first four, you can let it all hang out on the fifth run, as you have nothing to lose. Chris really lets fly on his fifth run. Enjoy!

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Another Molly Update

Molly has a blog post up at The Molly Minute on the Bianchi Cup. Go check it out, if only for the picture.

Molly At The Bianchi Cup Report

I got an email from Molly Smith's Dad with the latest updates on how Molly's doing at her first Bianchi cup competition. Molly, as those of you at last year's Gun Blogger rendezvous already know, is not only an excellent competition shooter with a Smith & Wesson sponsorship, she's also a Gun Blogger, writing The Molly Minute blog, and not to mention that she's thirteen!

KeeWee, Molly, and Bea, three generations of shooters, at last year's Gun Blogger rendezvous.
Picture lifted from Snowflakes In Hell blog.

Here's the latest update from the Bianchi Cup:
Molly finished her final stage yesterday, the Plates, which she really enjoys shooting. Molly said she was pretty worn out, so did not do as well as she had hoped, but she completed the competition! Today she was involved in a Pro-Am shoot-off and she won! Since (Molly's Mom's) voice is almost gone I do not know what the stage was or who she shot against, however the crowd was very excited for Molly. So a week of shooting with no equipment issues (thanks Mike C., Tom H., Jim O)..... there are "whispers" that Molly may have won something, but from Molly's standpoint, she has already WON a hundred times over!

I can not tell you how generous and kind the representatives from NRA and Binachi Cup have been to both Molly's Mom and Molly. Understanding how stressful a new place, people, and an event could be for newcomers, the NRA has made the week a very joyful and fun experience for Molly, she really felt welcomed. Also, the competitors were very kind and helpful. NRA is one of those few organizations that is multifaceted (teaching, legislation, competitions, etc.) and is still able to deliver a spectacular level of professionalism and success for each particular event.

Knowing how shy Molly's Mom is (and sick), she has been able to have Annette (from the Smith & Wesson Team) take over as Molly's Shooting mom, handling interviews and the such. Jerry Miculek (S&W) has volunteered to schlep Molly back to the host hotel after they are done at the range, no beer stops I hope:)

(Having Jerry Miculek driving you back and forth to the hotel? WOW!!  ...Mr. C.) 

Tonight is the banquet, so Molly is very excited about dressing up. Sunday they fly back, Monday Molly gets ready for the next weekend IRC event in Morro Bay........

Good for her! We all wish her well at the International Revolver championships next weekend.

European Steel Challenge Championships Slide Show

It took me a while to figure out the bulk resizing of the pictures, then to figure out the bulk uploading to Picasa, and finally how to create the slide show itself and get it into a post, but I think I finally got it all together. I've got a second slide show planned of pictures taken sightseeing in Amsterdam on the way home, but I'll do that one later. Anyhow, here's the slide show from the European Steel Challenge championships just completed in Winterswijk, Holland. As you can see there was lots of time spent eating, drinking, socializing, and just generally enjoying ourselves with an amazing bunch of people from all over Europe.

We had such a good time it was kind of like an International Gun Blogger rendezvous! I hope we can return next year.......

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Holland and ESC10 Posts at KeeWee's Corner

I still haven't put up anything on the trip to Holland and the European Steel Challenge Championships, but KeeWee has been doing a really good job of it instead. I'm working on a couple of slide shows from the trip, but I haven't got them ready to go yet, but they should be posted soon.. 

Here's the links to all of her posts:

She's really getting good at blogging, and I'm sure you'll enjoy "Tagging along" on our trip to Holland and the European Steel Challenge Championships. Check it out!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Health Update - bleh v2.0

KeeWee checked in with the Doctor today, and the diagnosis is bronchitis. It hasn't changed much in a week, and the Doc says if it doesn't clear up in a few more days then to start in with some prescription drugs to clear it out. I don't feel too bad, just absolutely exhausted. I've been trying to get a lot of rest and drink lots of (non-alcoholic) liquids, but it doesn't seem to be helping much. Other than that, not a lot of symptoms for a Doc to go by, so I'll just keep on keeping on, and it should go away by itself. We've got the Washington State Steel challenge Championships coming up on Saturday, June 5th., so we sure don't want to be dragging by then. I should be out at the range practicing, but I just don't have the energy for it right now.

Monday, May 24, 2010


KeeWee and I are both nursing colds apparently caught on our trip to Holland. Don't feel like blogging, or anything else much, at least for now. The best cold med's I've found make me sleepy, and when you feel crummy, that's not such a bad thing........

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

European Steel Challenge Rimfire Results

 Here's the results for the European Steel Challenge Championships. I didn't shoot the times I was hoping for, but some days that's how it goes.

Rimfire Pistol Results and Times

Name Score Place
Oliver Damm 57.06 1
Jan Borg ter 58.42 2
Lucien Rooijendijk 58.78 3
Marijan Loch 59.32 4
Harry Ter Borg 61.76 5
Sascha Back  64.55 6
Heribert Bettermann 65.67 7
Marco Pedrana 66.84 8
Karin Rooijendijk 68.53 9
Hans Wigger 68.91 10
Robin van der Horst 72.56 11
Mike Gallion 72.57 12
André Hartelman 73.43 13
Herman Buunk 75.99 14
Ton Janssen 76.63 15
Peter Schouwink 77.08 16
Thomas Exner 79.24 17
Cris Rutgers 79.87 18
Sasja Barentsen 84.72 19
Paolo Brocanelli 84.94 20
Rob Jansen 86.68 21
André Bosgraaf 89.41 22
Jolanda Wigger 93.9 23
Johan Rensen 95.16 24
Martin Bos 105.25 25
Luca Muglialdo 106.31 26
Frits Bruggeman 111.17 27
Dirk Stienstra 118.96 28
Ralph Köhler 123.83 29
Jennifer (KeeWee) Kelly 125.69 30
Bastin van Wijk 129.49 31
Marnix Arnold 138.72 32
Dirk Meisterhans 142.44 33
Peter Pols 193.84 34
Bettina Schmitt 221.41 35

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Home - At Last

We are now home, ! We have finally arrived home, and what a trip it was! Although  it was a bit of a mess at times with the security guys at Schiphol not knowing their own laws and making them up at the time instead. Even though I had documentation direct from the Dutch Customs office showing them what the laws were, they wouldn't believe me until they telephoned several other offices,and wasting a lot of time, in the process. Eventually they figured out that what I was telling them was true. We barely made the plane, but we did manage. I think Jennifer and I both caught colds again this year, and she is still a bit sore from falling off a bicycle. All considered, though, it was still a grand time we had!

More later, time to recover for now.................

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting Home, Maybe?

That large terrestrial zit in Iceland has farted again and yesterday's flight from Amsterdam to Seattle was canceled, leaving most likely several hundred passengers stuck in Amsterdam and hoping to get on to Tuesday's flight, which is the flight we are scheduled to return on to Seattle. I have no idea just how Delta/KLM/Northworst will handle this. If they claim it is an act of God that they cannot fly the trip they may be able to avoid any compensation with our extra (and significant) expenses of staying longer and catching a later flight. However, the volcano is not really keeping them from making the flight, it is only keeping them from flying on the shortest route, so they would have higher fuel cost and flight times. To make it even more interesting, the Delta/KLM/Northworst online flight check in system is not working, and you cannot check in by telephone, only on line or at the airport. When I was out of town did our Govmt. take over the airlines and put the Post Office in charge? It kinda looks like it.However it plays out, the 36 to 48 hours are probably going to be really interesting.

For the time being there are still a large number of un-roped goats and clusters seeking intimate companionship.......

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European Steel Challenge - Y E S ! ! !

The 2010 European Steel Challenge Championships are now history, and what a match it was! For three days it was one large extended family sharing our love and appreciation for shooting and shooting sports. Everyone was just amazingly great, fun, funny, and we were all sad when it was all over and it was time to head home. Hans  and Jolanda Wigger, the match director and Directoress (?) did a fantastic job running one of the best organized matches I have ever attended. KeeWee and I met, or "re-met" so many nice folks it was almost impossible to keep track of everyone's names, and being as at the moment my brain is only slightly engaged, I'm sure I will accidentally leave out a number of names. First we want to thank Hans and Jolanda for being the driving force that without their efforts, the match would not have happened. Bas Limmen, computer guy, shooter, who met us at the airport and drove us to Winterswijk, (and who in a previous life may have been Juan Manuel Fangio), who headed up all of the scoring for the match, was fantastic and we really are thankful for all of his help. Chris Rutgers, once again was a delight, being either totally crazy in a nice way, or totally nice in a crazy way, I'm not sure which. I'll try to mention everyone later, but for now here's a few pictures and some highlights. BTW, most of the pictures were by KeeWee.

Hans Wigger with the "Man of Steel" Shirt we brought over for him. It was a surprise, and we gave it to him at the Awards ceremony.

Saul Kirsch, the Open Class and Overall winner of ESC10.

The Rimfire Team Winners.From left to right, Karin, Marcel,Jan, Herman, Harry and son, Hans, some derelict from the US that wandered onto the platform, and Peter. The last three on the right are "Team Dragonball"
(names from memory, there are probably mistreakes....)

Team "Dragonball's" 3rd. Place Medal for the Rimfire Team competition.

Even though I shot like a sleep-walking zombie at times, Hans' time of approximately 68 seconds, my time of a bit over 72 seconds, and Peter's time of around 77 seconds was good enough for "Team Dragonball" to take third place in the Rimfire team competition. Hans and Peter are Seniors, and I are all Seniors!

That's about all I've got time to blog for now, but more later.......


Sunday, May 16, 2010

European Steel Match Report

I'm sitting here in the back corner of the match scoring office in Winterswijk and it's 9:30am on Sunday morning. KeeWee and I shot our matches yesterday, and today is our last day here in Winterswijk. This afternoon after the Awards Ceremony we wll be riding back to Amsterdam, spending tonight, tomorrow, and tomorrow night there. On Tuesday  morning we take the train from Amsterdam out to the airport for our flight home.

Yesterday I shot in the match in the morning, and KeeWee shot her match right after lunch. Unfortunately I was still badly jet-lagged and shot, at least at times, like I was sleep walking! I did, however, manage to shoot quite a bit better than last year here, and I ended up with a total time for the six stages of just over 72 seconds. At the moment that puts me on the score board in fourth place, but that won't last long as there are a good number of fast rimfire shooters shooting today. Even so, it looks kind of good to be up near the top, even if it doesn't last out the day. UPDATE: I have now slipped to 7th. (Yes, James "Slipping!)

I did manage to have one good run on the stage called "Smoke & Hope". Smoke & Hope is the fastest of all of the Steel Challenge stages, consisting of four 18x24 plates and a 12" stop plate. For the European Steel Challenge to be shot indoors, most of the stages have been narrowed a bit to fit them into the indoor pistol bays, so that also makes the stages even faster. On this year's ESC10 Smoke & Hope I managed to hit all five plates in 1.46 seconds, which is, at least at the moment, a new European Steel Challenge Championship stage record! That ALMOST, but not quite, makes up for the rest of the stages where I pretty much sucked....... I can see that I really need to allow an extra few days to get my internal clock reset to local time!

Smoke & Hope in Winterswijk at the European Steel Challenge Championships
Video by Bas Limmen

KeeWee's match went well too, although it almost didn't start as planned as her magazines somehow failed to get into the suitcase and are still back at home. Fortunately the magazines used in my High Standard will sometimes also work in hers, so we did a little pre-match testing and found three that worked OK, so that's what we used, and I reloaded them while she was shooting. All of the range officers were tremendous help in this. I don't remember exactly what her score was last year, but she improved by ten or fifteen seconds, I think.I've got somevideo of KeeWee shooting too, and I will get some more posted soon.

Enough blogging for now, I'm going to see how the match is going......

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Friday, May 14, 2010

European Steel Challenge - Day 1

We managed to arrive here in Winterswijk, Holland with any major calamities enroute. Tired, but intact. I've got Blog Station Winterswijk set up in the back corner of the office at the shooting range where the match is being held. We will be pretty busy with the match, but I should be able to blog a bit too.

More details and info later, but for now we're going downstairs to watch the first day of the match.

Update: We went downstairs to the range and watched a number of  the shooters shoot this morning. There are anumber of good shooters here, and I can see that Karin Luyendijk is doing well and is certainly a favorite in the Centerfire Ladies category. KeeWee and I are still jet lagged from the trip and time zone changes, but we are recovering a bit. After watching some of the competition, we headed back to the hotel for a nap. I think we were alseep before our heads hit the pillows!

We need to have it all together by tomorrow morning, as that's when we shoot. I will shoot in the morning starting at 8:45, and KeeWee starts at 1:15, so I will be finished before she starts, so I can follow her around and be pit crew, so to speak. It's a bit dark in the ranges, so non-flash pictures don't come out too well. We are going back downstairs to the range when I finish this post update, so I will play around a bit with the camera settings and see if I can get better pictures.

More later............

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Broken Gun Report

As I mentioned in the last post, I had some major ejection problems at last Saturday's Fun Steel Match at KRRC. On Sunday I tore the gun fully apart and checked everything over for a cause of the problem. Although the gun was a bit dirty from having just shot twelve stages without maintenance, that shouldn't have caused the problem. The action spring was getting a bit worn, but it wasn't broken or damaged, as I had initially suspected. I changed it out for a nearly new one that I knew was reliable. I put it all back together and took it out to the range to see if I could figure out what was going on. I loaded up several magazines and started shooting. The first three magazines ran perfectly. The fourth magazine failed to eject. I cleared it, and it failed again. I cleared it again, and it failed again. I set that magazine aside and tried three more different magazines, and they all ran perfectly. I put the questionable magazine back in, and it went right back to not ejecting. It was extracting without problem, but wouldn't toss the empty overboard, so to speak. The ejector looked perfect, and it was ejecting without problem with seven other magazines, so it's got to be something about the magazine, but just what I'm not too sure, as the magazine had been working OK previously. The bad mag is clean (more or less), moves smoothly, and it hasn't been dropped and bent.  Very strange! I don't have time to figure it out for now, so I took it apart to make sure it doesn't get mixed in with the good magazines, and I'll play with it some other time. At least the good news is the race gun is working perfectly.

All I have left before leaving tomorrow morning for the airport is to clean and check over all of the magazines for KeeWee's and my race guns, and then fully clean and check the guns themselves. I'll fire each one for a magazine or so, just as final check before packing them for the trip.

By the time this post is posted, KeeWee and I should be on the shuttle bus for the hour and a half ride to SeaTac airport. They say they now have free WiFi at SeaTac, so I may give my netbook a try while we're waiting for the flight, if I have time.

Stay tuned!

"Fetch your pistol, KeeWee, the game is afoot!"


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

KRRC Fun Steel - May 2010 Report

Last Saturday KeeWee and I headed over to the Kitsap Rifle & Revolver Club's range for another one of John's challenging Fun Steel matches. John usually uses a stage or so from the Steel Challenge rule book, plus a few of his own design, and this was no exception. John had one stage with two 18 x 24's one in each back corner, and three plates in the middle in a vertical line. The three middle plates were so close they were touching, and the middle one of the three was the stop plate. If you accidentally hit the stop plate while trying for the plate immediately above or below it the run is over and you collect penalties for the missed plates. Lots of folks were shooting over the top one, or under the lower one, trying to stay away from the stop plate! Since the three plates were right above each other it was also really easy to miss one of the plates and not be able to get stopped before you shot the stop plate too, again with penalties!

I entered twice so I could get in twice as much shooting, for a total of twelve stages. KeeWee took the more normal approach and only entered once. The weather was really pleasant, and we han a fun day of it. Liberty News (blog) and I have been trying to meet up for several years, but it's always worked out that if I was at the KRRC range, he wasn't, and vice-versa. Saturday we finally managed to both be there on the same day, although he wasn't shooting the match, just getting in some target shooting. Here's the Liberty News post on the day.

KeeWee is really getting dialed in with the new barrel I built for her, and this was the first match where she's actually averaged sub-four second shot strings, and there were some difficult stages in the matches. Here shot string average was 3.77 seconds, with several runs in the high two's. For someone who never practices, that's pretty decent, and if she keeps improving it's going to be interesting next Saturday at the European Steel Challenge Championships (volcanos permitting, of course!)

On the last stage my race gun failed to fully eject the empty casing, leaving it sideways, captured between the slide and barrel. I cleared it, and it did the same on the next shot. I cleared it again, and it did it again. Crap! Just what I need is to break the race gun just before we leave for Holland. I finished the stage with my backup gun.

After the match John, James, KeeWee and I headed to a local pizza place for food, refreshments, and socializing. From there it was a couple of hours and two ferry boat rides to get home. We did stop at a Dairy Queen for ice cream on the way, though. Have you tried their caramel fudge brownie blizzard? Not bad at all!

Finally we were back home again, tired and a bit road weary, but Bun was glad to see us as she'd been alone all day, and she really doesn't like being alone like that. After a bit of bunny petting we were off to bed, pretty well worn out from a really fun day......../


Sunday, May 09, 2010

James Austin's Moon Clip Server

If you are a revolver shooter who uses moon clips and shoots in competition where reloads must be done quickly and efficiently, here's just what you need. In the past you could either use a belt mounted moon clip holder with each moon clip on a different post and in a different position, or you could have several moon clips on a single post so you had a long post to slide the lower loaded moon clips to the top before you could lift it off the post.

James Austin, a master revolver shooter in his own right and a talented inventor and fabricator on the side, has come up with a simple, elegant, and ingenious solution. On his moon clip server, you stack the loaded moon clips horizontally across the brass guide piece. The spring loaded follower keeps them all pushed to one side so there will always be a loaded moon clip in the same place on your belt whether it's the first or the sixth one used. You will be able to always reach to exactly the same place to get the next moon clip.

James Austin's Moon Clip Server
(Click to embiggify)

James is building these one at a time, at least for now, and the patent process is well underway. The unit is all steel and brass with no fragile plastic parts, so it should last for years under even steady competition usage. The finish is a durable powder coat, rather than paint. By removing one cotter pin you can convert the server from right to left hand use. James sells these for $149.95 plus shipping, so if you want to have your moon clips always in the same place for your competition reloads,  or if you just have some questions about the Moon Clip Server, you can email James directly at catmandozer (at) comcast (dot) net. Tell him Mr. Completely sent you!


Friday, May 07, 2010

Last Minute Preparations Before Holland

It's just about here, and KeeWee and I can hardly wait to get to Holland for the European Steel Challenge Championships. Last year was our first trip to the European championships and we didn't quite know what to expect. This year we are looking forward to seeing again all the friends we made last year. We aren't looking forward to the bus ride, the airport waits, boneheaded ticket agents, neanderthals in the seat behind us, or the long and uncomfortable flights. The air fares have now more than tripled over last year, and if they are this high next year, even with all of your generous help, there is no way we can afford to attend in 2011.

I've worked hard over the Winter trying to fine tune my technique to squeeze a little bit faster times, and when you increase speed, accuracy usually suffers. I've been working hard, though, trying to bring the accuracy back to where it needs to be at the speeds I am trying to shoot. My fastest runs this year are faster than I could have done last year, but I haven't got the consistency I need. I don't think it's quite there yet, but it's getting close. I've also been working on the High Standard Race guns, and they are running better than ever. The new compensators I've been building seem to make a significant difference.

Tomorrow KeeWee and I are heading over to Kitsap Rifle & Revolver Club for a final tune-up steel match prior to leaving on Wednesday for Holland.

The plans in Holland have changed a bit, and a shooter we met last year will meet us at the Airport in Amsterdam on Thursday morning and we will ride with him directly to Winterswijk where the match will be held. Winterswijk is about an hour and a half's drive from Amsterdam. We will spend Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights in Winterswijk. KeeWee and I will shoot the match on Saturday. Sunday afternoon we will return to Amsterdam and spend Sunday and Monday nights in Amsterdam prior to our early return flight on Tuesday morning. This way we will get one entire day for sight-seeing in Amsterdam.

While we are gone friends will be stopping by the house regularly to make sure that Bun, our pet bunny, is getting enough food, water, and petting!

Whew! It makes me ready for a nap just thinking about it all............


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thanks For The Financial Help for ESC10

I would like to publicly express my gratitude for the financial help a few of you have provided to help me to attend the European Steel Challenge Championships in Holland next week. Some of you have wished to remain anonymous, so I won't mention your names, although I hope it works out that you may be able to attend the Gun Blogger Rendezvous so I can thank you in person. I want to give a HUGE thanks to David of the Random Nuclear Strikes blog for his help.

A couple of bloggers had suggested maybe getting a specially made jersey and putting contributors names and blog names of the contributors on the jersey. It would cost close to $100 to do the jersey, and I just plain ran out of time to try and do something like that. If there are any of you who would like to help to offset some of the costs of my trip to Holland for the European Championships, you can contact me at 
blog (at) whidbey (dot)com 
and I will send you the mailing address and so forth. Any and all help is greatly appreciated, but I also realize in the grand scheme of things there a ton of things far more important to contribute your money to other than helping to send an old gunblogger to Europe to shoot!

Regardless, I am going to do my best to represent my country not only as a competitive shooter, but more importantly, as a sportsman and ambassador for the shooting sports here in the United States.

Warning - CUTE Overload

Over the years it looks like a few 4-H projects have escaped into the wild and inter-bred with the local cottontail population. I was looking out the kitchen window the other day and saw this little guy soaking up a little sunshine.

Baby blonde bunny.

It's kinda hard to estimate the bunny's size from the picture, but the picture was taken with maximum telephoto, and the baby was so small that it would easily fit in the palm of your hand. There's nothing much cuter than a baby bunny.......

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Man of Steel 2010 Report

Here's a short report on the Man of Steel Championships held last Sunday just South of Portland in Sherwood, Oregon. If you've already read KeeWee's report on the match you've got most of the details already, though.

We took our mini-RV to the match so we could spend the night at the range and be somewhat rested for match day. The weather this year was better than last year, without the heavy rains, wind storm, and falling trees we had to deal with last time.

The Man of Steel match is basically a Steel Challenge match, with a few different stages thrown in. Since the home club is also a USPSA/IPSC club, they have one stage with not only movement from one shooter's box to another, but it also involves a reload while moving. This is not a big deal for shooters that do it all the time and who are using centerfire guns, but for the rimfire shooters it can be a nightmare. The stage in question is called "4 T 5" which means "Four shots, a moving reload, then five more shots". Rimfire magazines are really fussy anyway, and dropping one in the dirt is just asking for trouble. Most rimfire pistols do not have the easiest magazine releases, either. In spite of all of this, KeeWee and I managed to muddle through it without major calamity.

The "Fun Squad!"

We were fortunate to get to squad with a number of folks we have shot with in previous years, and we had an outstanding bunch. If there were awards for the squad that had the most fun, we would have won it by a mile! If all goes well, Roger, (on the far right), and Kevin (behind KeeWee) are going to try to come to Ephrata the first Sunday in June for the Washington State championships. Watch out, Ephrata!

As with most matches, I try to have a game plan at the start as to how I want the match to go. My number one goal was to try to have a conservative first stage and try to not dig myself a big hole score-wise by trying to do too much too early. I tend to try to do too much early in the match and end up having to take extra shots that run up the time. I also planned to try to concentrate on smoothness over pure speed. Oh yeah, also I planned to try to watch the little red dot and not pull the trigger until there was a white steel plate behind it! That's a lot harder than it sounds, though....

I only had one stage really try to get away from me all day, and that one consisted of double-taps on three small plates, a stage derived from the "El Presidente", but called "Steel Presidente". On the first run I had trouble getting the second shots on to the plates, so I slowed down a little bit and placed the second shots of the double-taps more carefully. It cost me perhaps a second or a second and a half total for the stage, but it could have been much worse if I would have forced it and had to take several extra shots to make up for misses. The rest of the day went fairly smoothly, with several average stages and several that were in the range of personal best times.

KeeWee is really starting to get tuned in to the new barrel I built for her High Standard, and shot some personal best times too.

The 1st. Place plaque and the absolutely beautiful first place knife from Columbia River Knife & Tool.

Half way through the match we broke for lunch, then back out on the range for the final stages. There were a total of eight stages for the match. Even with the lunch break it seemed like the match flew right by, and soon it was all over. While the scores were being totaled, there was a fun shoot stage of five plates against the clock with only one run being counted. KeeWee was tired out already, and decided to skip it completely. I should have too, as I sucked big time.............

As the fun stage was finishing the results were posted. I had finished in first for rimfire, and third overall. Keewee was fifth in rimfire and the faastest lady overall. I got a nice plaque and an absolutely beautiful Kommer special edition custom skinning knife named "Bez Tine". I am no expert on custom knives, but there is no doubt that Columbia River Knife and Tool build some beautiful knives with workmanship that has to be seen to be believed. The picture doesn't do it justice! Keewee, for her strong finish in rimfire,came home with a beautiful Kershaw folding knife.

After the awards, we hit the road for home, and we were home just as it was getting dark. We were both exhausted, but it had been a fun weekend full of old friends, lots of joking and kidding around, and a whole bunch of really fun shooting. Nick and Ryan Leonard had put on another fantastic Man of Steel Championships. Next year, We'll be back....................


Monday, May 03, 2010

Back From Man of Steel

We managed to drive all the way to Sherwood, Oregon without any mechanical malfunctions, and other than some heavy rain along the way,it was a tiring but uneventful drive. We parked the RV at the Tri-counties range for the night, and we got a chance to walk around and visit with some of our friends from previous years' matches. KeeWee and I tried shooting a bit for practice, but we were both so tired it didn't help much. It was obvious we both needed a good night's sleep. We conked out for the night, and in the morning the match got underway bright and early. Everything went fairly well, and a good night's sleep made a world of difference in our shooting. Nick and Ryan Leonard did a fantastic job of putting the match together and running it, and Alex Clark did a great job running the scoring end of things. Very Well Done, Guys!!

After the match was over we drove straight home, and got back last night just before dark. Today I'm totally exhausted, and I think a nap sometime today would be just the ticket.

KeeWee has a good post up already from the match, including a video.

I think it's nap time.

More later............


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