Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our Guy James Does Good!

I just saw this press release come through, and thought I should get it posted.  James is a fellow GunUp team member, and an amazing revolver shooter.

Austin 3-Peats With Area 1 Revolver Win
SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. - For the third year in a row James Austin of Fox Island, Wash. has claimed the Revolver division title at the USPSA Area 1 Regional Handgun Championship, Presented by Springfield Armory.

Austin, who won seven of 12 stages, led the field after winning the first two stages but fell to second behind Brian Noel of Mercer Island, Wash. Austin reclaimed the lead from Noel on the fifth stage and held it through the remainder of the match. Austin finished with a final score of 1160.8658 points.

"With seven stage wins, and his third consecutive Revolver division title, James is proving hard to beat when it comes to the Area 1 wheelgun match," said Chuck Anderson, the USPSA Area 1 director.

Noel, who won two stages, finished in second place with 1101.3063 points. Third place went to Sam Keen of Gallatin, Tenn. who also won two of the 12 stages in the match and finished with a final score of 1074.7420.

Rounding out the top five were Dan Short of Elk Grove, Calif. in fourth with won one stage and a score of 953.9938, and Alan Kies of Tacoma, Wash. in fifth place with 822.9192.

Kies' fifth place finish put him atop the senior competitors to take the Senior Revolver title. Ron McGraw of Cottage Grove, Ore. finished as the top Super Senior in the match with a final score of 639.9367 points.

The 2011 USPSA Area 1 Regional Handgun Championship, Presented by Springfield Armory, was held June 22-26 at Albany Rifle and Pistol Club in Shedd, Ore. and drew 318 top pistol shooters from around the country, as well as Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, the states that make up the Area 1 region.

To learn more about practical shooting, or join the 20,000 members of the U.S. Practical Shooting Association in the most dynamic and fast-paced shooting sport around, visit, follow @USPSA_Shooting on Twitter, like USPSA on Facebook or read the Practical Shooting blog.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

GunUp to Host Rendezvous Dinner

More great news! At this year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous, coming up in mid-September in Reno, will be hosting our dinner on Friday night. We plan on going to the truly spectacular Buffet Dinner at the El Dorado hotel, part of the complex where the Gun Blogger Rendezvous is held. GunUp

CEO Dan Hall is planning on being there in person, and there's a good chance Caleb Giddings, who now works for GunUp, will also be there. No decision has been made yet as to if any of the GunUp Pro Staff and shooting team will be there. If you would like to meet Kelly Bachand (from the first year of Top Shot), Molly Smith, or James Austin in person, drop Dan an email at and let him know.

While you're at it, you might mention how much we appreciate the support for the Gun Blogger Rendezvous from GunUp!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This Month's e-Postal Match

With all the running around I've been doing lately, I completely forgot to update the link at the top that takes you to this month's e-Postal match. This month's match "Get Schooled" is hosted by Phil at Random Nuclear Strikes

Phil was one of the first hosts when I took over the e-Postal matches from Og, the Neanderpundit. Og wasn't getting very much participation, so he decided to let it go. Phil and I thought they were so much fun that we decided to keep the ball rolling and run them ourselves. Phil is the one who actually coined the phrase "e-Postal".

Participation has been lighter this year compared to previous years, so if you are a blogger we'd sure appreciate your help in spreading the word and getting participation back up where it ought to be. If you are a blog reader and shooter, and you haven't entered for a while, (or never?) why not print out the targets and head out to the range!

Clicking absolutely anywhere on this entire line (Ain't technology wonderful?) will take you to Phil's post where you can get the rules and targets.

See you at the range!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Tanfoglio Gold Custom 9mm. Race Gun

Tanfoglio Gold Custom 9mm.
 Shooting Steel Challenge in the Open Division was something I've always wanted to do, but the cost of a competitive race gun combined with the cost of all the ammunition you need to shoot to be competitive had kept me in the Rimfire Open class. Now, thanks to Hans Wigger of Dutch Firearms Trading, I will be able to give the Open Division a go! Hans made me an offer I couldn't refuse on a used Tanfoglio Gold Custom 9mm. pistol that had been shot a lot and needed some new parts, but was still in very good condition. Getting it here from Holland was a challenge, but not at all where you would expect it to be challenging and difficult. The ATF folks were friendly and helpful for applying for the import permit. Once I got the import permit, an export permit was fairly straight-forward in Holland.

Once I had all of that paperwork taken care of, I figured it would be straight-forward to actually get it shipped to my local FFL to have it transferred to me. Boy, was I ever wrong! None of the major shippers such as UPS, FEDEX, DHL and some others would ship a pistol. I checked with the airlines that flew from Amsterdam to Seattle, such as Delta and a few others, including a freight only airline, and no luck. I finally had to hire a freight forwarder to coordinate the shipment, and that brought on a whole lot of folks with their hands out for a piece of the action, fee-wise.

After many months of frustration, I got notice that the package had finally arrived in Seattle, and I had to take the papers to Customs to get it cleared into the country. The Customs folks looked over the paperwork, and stamped it OK. It didn't take ten minutes, and it would have been even quicker if there hadn't been someone in line ahead of me.

From Customs I drove to the Continental Airlines air freight office and handed them the paperwork. They charged me another $35 handling fee, and then handed me the package. Finally it was here!

After getting home, I eagerly unpacked it and started to get it set up for left-handed use. I installed the standard ambidextrous safety, but with my small hands I couldn't reach the safety lever on the right side. I made a prototype safety lever for the right side of the gun that I could reach, and mounted it instead of the Tanfoglio part. That's the new one in the picture. By making it sit farther rearward and also lower, I could now reach it.

I just got back from the range after putting forty or fifty rounds of assorted/leftover 9mm. through it, and it's obvious that when they fixed it up for me they must have figured I was going to be running some heavy loads, as the only ammo that would regularly cycle the gun were some old bowling pin loads! I will put in a bit lighter spring, and then it should work just fine.

When I finally get this Gold Custom dialed in and the right load worked up, this is clearly going to be one sweet shooter!

I can hardly wait........

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A little fishin', and stuff

KeeWee and I were planning to fire up our mini land yacht and head over to Banks lake in Eastern Washington on Friday morning. At the last minute the one client she had scheduled for Thursday canceled, so we decided to load up and head over a day early. Getting there a day early makes the trip a lot more relaxing, and you get in a lot more sitting around, eating, sleeping, and of course, fishing! We pull a 12' aluminum boat along on a trailer behind us, and you can barely tell it's there when you are driving. Backing it up is a challenge, though, to launch it, as you can't really see it behind you, and when it gets sideways enough that you CAN see it, it's time to start over.

This was the Fishin' Club annual Banks Lake outing ,and we always have a great time. On Saturday afternoon we even had some pan fried walleye, caught the day before. Boy, is walleye ever delicious!

KeeWee has a post up, along with some pictures over at KeeWee's Corner, so for more on our trip, have a look!

The weather even cooperated all weekend ,with no wind and no rain. I can deal with the rain, but when the wind comes up, you don't want to be on Banks Lake regardless of how big your boat might be.

It made for a nice R&R weekend, but it was over WAY too soon...


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Saul Kirsch Wins European Steel Challenge

The competition was stiff with shooters from all over Europe competing for the European Steel Challenge Championship title. This year's overall winner was Saul Kirsch. Saul also won the title two years ago, with Jorge Ballesteros winning all the marbles last year.

I've got some pictures, results,  and lots of stories from the match, but this weekend KeeWee and I are taking a quick vacation to Banks Lake in Eastern Washington for a little sunshine, fishing, and relaxation.

In the mean time, try to stay out of trouble, and we'll be back Sunday night.......


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Report From Winterswijk

It seems like I've been going continuously for the last few days, or asleep, one or the other! The traveling to get here in Winterswijk was long and tiring, including a couple of hours on the shuttle bus to get to the airport, hanging around the airport for four hours, explaining to the airport ticket counter lady what her airline's firearms policies were since she didn't know them, ten hours on a Boeing 767 (way more comfortable than the Airbus) meeting friends at the Amsterdam airport, another couple of hours drive, and we were finally in Winterswijk. WHEW! As we had planned, I met up with Robin Taylor at the Amsterdam airport, and we traveled together, and are now sharing a hotel room to keep costs down. Robin puts together the Front Sight MAgazine, and is also a very good competitive pistol shooter.

The first night we had dinner with all of the range officers and families that are running the match. It was really great to again see all the wonderful folks that I have met here in Winterswijk the last two years.

Friday morning we had an outstanding breakfast at the hotel, then walked to the range, only a few minutes away. Since I hadthings fall into place at the alst minute so I could also shoot the Centerfire Open class, I had to get the paperwork sorted out for my start time and such. I had originally been scheduled to shoot Rimfire Open ay 8:45am on Saturday, but it worked out best to schedule Centerfire Open in that time slot and move rimfire to that afternoon at 3pm.I hung around te range visiting with everyone for a while, then walked back to the hotel to get my gun and equipment for shooting rimfire.

 Although I struggled a bit on the first two stages, I managed to keep a handle on it and not let it get out of control and ruin my score for the day. As I moved through the stages I continued to get stronger and stronger, and the last few stages went extremely well. I tried to stick to the game plan, which was to shoot a little bit conservatively and be sure of my scores, rather than to go for broke and have the match possibly come apart completely.

After finishing shooting, I took a break in the lounge above the indoor range and waited for the days provisional results. When the day's scores were posted I was happy to see that I was in third place, significantly faster than last year. Granted, there are a whole lot of really fast shooters who have not yet shot the match, so I will most certainly move well down the list. Even so, since one of my rimfire team mates also shot well, he was right behind me in 4th., also much better score than last year. Hans, the best shooter in our team, would shoot on Saturday afternoon. Our team is called "Fast & Furious fifties" since we are all also in the Senior Division.

For me to shoot the Centerfire Open class, I needed to borrow a pistol, and Hans had offered me the loan of his, once he had finished using it on Friday afternoon. Just before leaving the range for dinner, Hans loaned me the gun to give me a chance to adjust  My CR Speed holster to fit it. The pistol was a beautiful Tanfoglio 9mm. Gold Custom Team model, and it had be fully tuned and set up by Willie Van Mulekom, a Tanfoglio wizard who does all of the warranty work for Tanfoglio. Even with adjustment to the holster, the gun was almost impossible to get it fully into the holster. We fiddled with it as best we could, and I decided that after dinner I would have to do some modifications to thepart of the holster to get it to work properly. I also discovered that the safety on the right side of the gun was almost unreachable as my left thumb was too short! I decided that I would have to reach for the safety with both thumbs and hope one or the other would be able to hit the safety. This was going to be interesting!

We all had dinner at the Chinese Buffet Restaurant across the street from the hotel, and enjoyed a pleasant evening of conversation. After dinner Robin and I headed back to the hotel so I could tinker more with the holster.I scraped and carved on the holster to the way I hoped would do the job, and then we turned in for the night.

After another hearty breakfast at the hotel, we walked out to the range. Robin was also shooting with the same start time, but starting on a different stage. My plan was to shoot the match as smoothly and safely as possible, and not to worry about times at all.With an un-familiar gun, holster, and class, that was the only plan I even considered! Considering all of that, the match went fairly well, although I lost a lot of time on a couple of stages. It turns out that the gun was sighted in to shoot high at the farther plates, and to hit them you have to aim very low. I shot over the top of a number of plates until I figured that out. It also turned out that the magazine release was under recoil, trying to be at the same place as my trigger finger. The end result was that some times after a couple of shots the magazine would fall out! On my own Tanfoglio I will make sure the magazine release is short and that it has a fairly heavy spring, so that won't happen again. Even with those problems, when the day's scores were posted, I wasn't dead last, only next to last! In fact, if you take out the time lost shooting over the top of the far plates and the time lost putting the magazines back in, I was not far from the middle of the pack, and as far as I'm concerned, it was a very successful match, and I learned a lot about the gun and how it needs to be when I am setting up my own. In spite of all of the problems, I also had a whole lot of fun shooting it, and I can hardly wait ujnti lthe next time!

That's the end of my report for now, but I'll try to get more posted later.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Winterswijk, Here I come!

In a little over four hours I will board the shuttle bus for the hour and a half bus ride to the Seattle-Tacoma airport. At six thirty my flight is scheduled to take off for the ten hour flight to Amsterdam, arriving at 1:30pm Amsterdam time. Robin Taylor, the editor of Front Sight Magazine will arrive at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam  thirty minutes before I arrive, and we plan to meet there, then ride with Hanneke Vermeulen out to Winterswijk, where the European Steel Challenge match is held. It's about an hour and a half by road to get there. Hanneke is the co-editor and publisher of a magazine in Europe covering IPSC and Steel Challenge shooting, unfortunately I can't remember the proper name of their magazine. (Note to self: Write down the name of Hanneke's magazine so you can remember it!)

To help keep costs down, Robin and I will be sharing a room in Winterswijk. The hotel is barely a block from the range, so we don't need to rent a car while we're there. Unfortunately KeeWee will not be making the trip this year as she is planning to travel to New Zealand this Fall to visit family instead, and we just don't have to money to pay for both trips. In fact, if it were not for my sponsor GunUp.Com, I wouldn't be able to go, either!

Robin will be shooting Centerfire Iron Sight class, and I will be shooting the Rimfire Optic and Centerfire Optic classes. Monday morning after the match I will be heading back to the airport to fly home, while Robin will be staying one more week and shooting an IPSC match in Germany before flying home.

This will be an interesting match for me, particularly my venture into Centerfire Optic Class. This will be my first major match in Centerfire Optic class (also called Centerfire Open). I haven't competed in any of the centerfire classes for years due to the cost of the ammo it takes to become competitive, and also the cost of a competitive gun for the Open class. Since by far the most important factor in shooting is trigger control, with all of the rimfire shooting I do, trigger control should be OK. The main things I will need to concentrate on are things like drawing the gun from the holster, remembering to take the safety off, and remembering to watch the red dot when I'm trying to remember other things at the same time. With practice the draw becomes almost automatic as it becomes a "Muscle Memory" action, but for now, I haven't had enough time to practice it to that level so I will have to think about it each time. Since it was only last week that I even learned that I would be shooting in Open, I haven't had much time to practice for it. Since it's all just for fun anyway, I'm not expecting any spectacular scores, but if I can manage to shoot the match smoothly and not make any big mental mistakes I should not be last, at least!

I am really looking forward to seeing all of the great folks I've met in Winterswijk the last two years, including, but not limited to Hans, Jolanda, Jeroen, (hope I spelled that right) Chris, Peter, Jeffrey, Jan, Harry, Melissa, Sascha, Karin, Lucien, Andre, all of the great German guys, and a lot more that I'm forgetting!

I'm not looking forward to the traveling part, and I wish I could afford to go over a few days earlier and get over the jet-lag a bit, but beyond that, I can hardly wait to get there. In the Steel Shooting world, the European Steel Challenge Championships is by far the best and most fun match of all!

I'll try to post updates from Winterswijk, when I can.......


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