Thursday, May 30, 2013

European Steel Challenge Report Pt. 1

I've got so much news and so much going on it's hard to tell exactly where to start. I guess I could start with an update about the trip to Holland and the European steel challenge championships a few weeks ago. I had planned to get as much sleep as possible before leaving for Holland, but unfortunately, that's not how it worked out. When I got on the shuttle bus for the 1 1/2 hour ride from would be island to the Seattle-Tacoma airport I was already pretty tired. The ride to the airport, several hours wait in the Seattle Airport, and a 10 hour flight to Amsterdam didn't help much either. Fortunately, the flight itself was mostly just boring. I am not real crazy about the Airbus airplane to start with, but at least it reached Amsterdam without anything breaking or falling off, at least, nothing that I could see.

Once I had cleared customs and picked up my suitcase at the airport in Amsterdam, I walked out to the lobby of the airport and bought a train ticket to Winterswijk, where the European steel challenge championships was going to be held. with train ticket in hand, I took the elevator down one floor to the train station platforms. The train from Amsterdam airport to Arnhem departs every 15 minutes, and seems to run exactly on time to the minute. After a fairly short but relatively bleary eyed train ride through the Dutch countryside, I reached the train station in Arnhem. The paperwork that I received when I bought my train ticket not only told me the number of the train that I needed to catch in Arnhem, it even told me which platform it would be on at the Arnhem train station. Again, the train was exactly on time. If I remember correctly, the entire train ride from the Amsterdam airport to Winterswijk took a bit over two hours. since I was lugging a large heavy suitcase with me, it was difficult on some of the trains to drag the suitcase to where the seats are. In those cases, I hauled the suitcase to an area just inside of the train doors, and sat on top of the suitcase. In some of the trains, there was also some small fold down chairs along the inner walls, which I also used.

When I reached Winterswijk, I figured I would hire a taxi to take me from the train station to the hotel. Across the street from the train station is a small business that also has taxis. Unfortunately, their door was locked, and they were closed for the day. Next door, however, there was a shell station and minimart, so I walked over there to see if I could find a ride. I was talking to the lady behind the food counter in the minimart, when a fellow that she knew came in to pay for his gasoline. She asked him if he knew the way to the hotel that I was trying to get to, and if so, would he be interested in making a few quick euros? He did know the way, and we settled on five euros being a fair price. The trip itself was only about 2 miles or less, but the traffic at that time of day in downtown Winterswijk could be congested, so we took a slightly longer but probably faster route around the center of town. In a matter of minutes, I was at the hotel, and got checked in.

Once I was checked in and my suitcase was safely in my hotel room, I collapsed on the bed for a very short rest, prior to walking over to the range to say hi to everyone. The range is in the basement of the clubhouse, which is perhaps a block and a half away from the hotel. I wish we had a clubhouse and range facility like the one in Winterswijk somewhere near to where I live here on Whidbey Island. They even have a 200 m indoor range.

After a short rest, I walked over to the range and clubhouse. Since it was Thursday, and the match did not start until Friday morning, the only folks there at the range were the ones involved in setting up the match, or providing refreshments to those who were setting up the match. That means, the bar was open! After greeting and saying hi to a number of the match officials range officers, and bartenders, I ordered myself a strong cup of Dutch coffee. Even though the coffee comes in a cup about three quarters of the size of a standard American cup, the coffee itself is incredibly smooth, and has caffeine content of what must be very close to a full pot of coffee! If that stuff won't wake you up you are probably dead and beyond restoration.

As it was getting on towards evening, it was agreed that everyone would meet at the Chinese restaurant across the street from the hotel at 6 PM for dinner. The Chinese restaurant has a buffet dinner that is really quite good. Since I was scheduled to shoot the next morning, I excused myself a bit early so I could head back to the hotel room and get some sleep.

Here's a few pictures from the train from Amsterdam to Winterswijk:

to be continued.........

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Skagit River Bridge Collapse

Mt. Vernon I-5 Skagit River Bridge.  Photo credit KING TV.

The spectacular collapse of the Mt. Vernon Skagit River Bridge late this afternoon happened about an hour and a half drive from us, but it is a bridge I have crossed many times. We were not in the area when it collapsed. The section that fell into the river is approximately 54 feet wide, and 160 feet long, carrying four lanes of traffic.

They are reporting no fatalities, and possibly no major injuries, although three people were helicoptered to the hospital. It is being reported that a large semi truck with a large oversize load hit the inside of the bridge structure, and the bridge collapsed almost instantly. There are no other large bridges in the area, and the bridge carries over 71,000 vehicles per day, so traffic is going to be a mess for some time.

Robb Allen Graphics Work Sample

Here's a sample of Robb Allen's graphics expertise. Robb also did the logo for the Gun Blogger Rendezvous. His blog is "Sharp as a Marble" . Robb also does web site design and other stuff, so if you need someone who does that sort of a thing with good quality and reasonable prices, Robb's the guy!

Choosing a .22 For Steel Shooting

I recently got an email asking for my opinion on several .22's for steel shooting at the higher levels of competition.  After I finished answering the question, I decided that there are others who might like to read the answers too, so here it is. Please note that I am only discussing specific models, and there are other good .22 out there too.

You question regarding .22's is a good one, and there is no simple answer. Not one the top shooters are shooting 22's that are not carefully tuned. ALL 22's are sensitive and the most important feature is that they go BANG every time you pull the trigger!

At the very highest levels of competition you see a lot of S&W Model 41's. Personally, I think the High Standard, although often overlooked, is the best available. High Standard is still in production, and parts are available. The entire gun is steel, like the Mod.41. All of the High Standards with the 1911 grip angle are essentially the same inside. Even the 51/2" barrel is very accurate. The trigger is excellent, right out of the box. My High Standards, except for the barrel and sight, are just about stock. I use the Volquartsen extractor, though. After VERY large numbers of rounds fired, the older High Standards can develop frame cracks, but it takes a huge amount of rounds fired to crack one.

I like the Buckmarks, and with very little hand work the trigger can be quite good. the 7075-T6 Al. frame keeps the weight down too. I haven't put a lot of rounds through my Buckmarks, so I don't know how long they will go without wear, but since they are relatively inexpensive, that isn't such an issue.

The Rugers are very popular at the club level, and if you throw enough money and effort at them they can be very good. Using the Volquatrsen trigger group and a Volquartsen or Tactical Solutions barrel and it's a completely different gun.

The Mitchell Arms is basically a High Standard built under license in the 90's and built out of stainless steel. I have never owned one, but I have heard that they had some feed problems, and that quality control varied quite a bit. One would be good, the next one not so good. I would like to get one and try it out. Perhaps some careful tuning and fitting may make it into a very good choice.

The S&W 22A is one I have worked with, and it's not a bad gun at all, but some of the design is a bit flimsy to me. They also are prone to feeding problems, although some redesigned magazines have mostly resolved that. I like the mag release on the 22a. Most rimfire magazine releases are not so convenient.

As to the 22/45 Lite, it's too new to know how well it will stand up. It is similar to the Tactical Solutions barrel and receiver on a Ruger. The TacSol does tend to get beat up a bit where the bolt hits the barrel, but it does seem to stand up fairly well and it sure is light!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

European Anti-Gun Petition - Act Now

The anti-gun forces in Europe are getting all wound up again trying to justify more gun restrictions beyond what they already have. Their premise is that by making firearms more restricted for law abiding citizens, that will slow down the criminals and terrorists. (Sound familiar?) They have a petition out to gather support for more restrictions. It only takes a couple of minutes  to fill it out, so go fill it out right away. 
The petition closes June 17th., so do it now before you forget. Bloggers, please post on this. Lets make it viral and swamp their contrived survey with common sense. The last thing Europe needs is even more restrictions on firearms.
Thanks to Ray Carter at the Second Amendment Foundation for sending this my way.
 Here's the original email from
Simone Ciucchi – FISAT President -Bologna, Italy:


Dear friends and gun rights activists,
Joining the call of British Shooting Sports Council we ask to IAPCAR and all gun rights association in its organization, to participate to the online survey organized by European Union Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom.
The menace to semiautomatic firearms in private hands is IMMINENT, as the online survey maliciously suggests a possible link between private possession of firearms and their us for criminal or terrorist purposes, being nothing else than another attempt to disarm honest citizens for the sake of added “firearms security”.
The questions are utterly misleading.
Question C.2 suggests that the list of prohibited firearms should be extended (it is understood that the Commission is referring to semiautomatic rifles and possibly also to semiautomatic shotguns and handguns).
Question C.4 pursues the mandatory use of locking devices in firearms (imagine the impact if this was made retrospective).
Question C.7 would provide a justification to introduce compulsory mental health tests and suppress the current derogation that allows people under the age of 18 to hunt and sport-shoot if they have parental permission or guidance.
We can expect for sure that the various anti-gun EU associations will take action to orchestrate a deliberate number of answers resulting in a public call for tighter gun control.
Deadline for participation is June 17th 2013.         
This can’t happen and we ask you to take part to the online survey in the following steps:
Please follow the following steps:
  1. Go to:
  2. Choose your language in the icon that is in the upper right part of the screen.
  3. Indicate your country, whether you are an individual or an organization and your name or the name of your organization.
  4. Answer the questions by clicking on option “1” for each one of them. You do not need to answer the optional questions that request additional comments (questions B.4, C.11, D.5 and E.6).
  5. After having answered the questions, as a security measure to avoid computer-generated replies, you will have to type in the numbers and/or letters that will be displayed in your screen and validate them.
  6. Your answers will have been submitted by then. You can view them and/or save them as a PDF.
All of the European associations, especially Swedish ones, can contact the proposer of this survey in the person of European Commissioner Ms. Cecilia Malmstrom which can be contacted at these sites, possibly to explain her that firearms of private honest citizens are not to be confused with the ones of criminals and terrorists:
Swedish citizens in particular can also contact her party, Folkpartiet liberalerna (Liberal People's Party), to let them know what you think, at the following site and email:
While EU citiziens can contact Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (A.L.D.E.):
Asking their respective national parties NOT to support Maelmstrom initiatives, you can find various parties members of ALDE at the following page:
We thank you for your help, immediate action is necessary for the protection of our common gun rights.
Best regards,
Simone Ciucchi – FISAT President
May 2013
Bologna, Italy

Thursday, May 16, 2013

2013 Gun Blogger Rendezvous Info

2013 Gun Blogger Rendezvous VIII Information Sheet:

Once a year Gun Bloggers, Gun Blog Readers, gun writers, shooters, gun association folks, and industry representatives from around the country gather in Reno at the Silver Legacy Hotel & Casino to visit, socialize, compare notes, discuss everything firearms related, and get in three range days covering everything from long range rifle, steel shooting, Cowboy Fast Draw, and more. At the Gun Blogger Rendezvous there is something going on from breakfast to well into the night! 2013 will be the Gun Blogger Rendezvous’ Seventh Anniversary. 

The Rendezvous also raises money for Project Valour-IT, a division of Soldiers Angels, through a raffle of firearms and shooting sports items donated by our sponsors. Project Valour-IT buys voice actuated laptop computers for injured servicemen, who, due to the nature of their injuries, are unable to operate a computer using a conventional mouse and keyboard. This allows them to communicate with their family and friends, directly from their hospital beds, and has been shown to significantly increase their rate of recovery.

We also give out a large number of door prizes and  promotional items to our attendees. Our sponsors, in return, get a lot of positive Internet exposure through the Gun Blogs and stories about the Rendezvous.

Some of our current and previous year  include Ruger,, Cabelas, MKSSupply/HiPoint, Crimson Trace, Comp-Tac, Springfield Armory, Dillon Precision, Brownells, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), The NRA, The Second Amendment Foundation, and more.

Last year we raised approximately $6,000 for Project Valour-IT, and this year, we hope to do even better. Every penny we can make from the Rendezvous goes to Project Valour-IT.  Even the event organizer (that’s me) pays to register for the Rendezvous!

Dates: September 5th., 6th., 7th., & 8th.
Location: Silver Legacy Resort/Casino in Reno
Gun Blogger Rendezvous Website:

Contact:      Mike Gallion
                     2704E Gabelein Rd.
                     Clinton, WA 98236

Shipping destination for raffle and door prizes, excluding firearms:
(For firearms we prefer to use certificates instead of the actual gun, and then transfer straight from the manufacturer to the winner, but we will be glad to do it however the manufacturer prefers.)
Please do not ship any packages to arrive at the Reno Cabela's store prior to August 23rd.  due to limited storage space availability at Cabela's.

                Cabela's / Reno
                8650 Boomtown rd.
                Verdi, NV 89439
                ATTN: Gun Blogger Rendezvous / Jamie

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

KC Eusebio Wins European Steel Championships

KC Eusebio, shooting for Team GLOCK, won the European Steel Championships held this last weekend in Winterswijk, Holland. ESC13, as it is called, is one of the largest, if not the largest steel match in the world, with over 200 entries and many countries represented.

KC won both the Open division and the Rimfire division, and had it not been for some gun problems, he may well have taken the Limited division too.

In other news, Mr. Completely missed two medals by one spot. Maybe next year........

Friday, May 03, 2013

Pollen Count

I heard that the pollen count is so high this Spring that the druggies are trying to change their meth back into Sudafed.......

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Busy, busy, busy......

It's been really busy around here lately, and combining that with not having much to say, the result is a pretty quiet blog. There are now so many great bloggers out there, just about anything I think of to blog about, someone else already had the same thoughts and wrote a great post about it! Rather than turning the blog into a blog aggregator, just linking to those other blog posts, and considering how little time I've got available, I will be posting far less often, at least for a while.

So, what's keeping me so busy? Trying to pay the bills is at the top of the list, of course, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. I am now match director for two six stage steel matches a month at my local club, and I'm also working hard trying to get the club to expand the facilities to what could be truly a world class facility.

I am keeping busy organizing and coordinating the Gun Blogger Rendezvous set for Reno in September. You have no idea just how much time something like the Rendezvous can take until you actually organize one yourself! If any of you want to help, I really need some help in publicizing the Rendezvous. We need to get a few more bloggers out there.!

I am shooting a steel match just about every weekend, and sometimes two. For example, on Friday KeeWee and I will take our mini-RV and drive across the state to Yakima for theYakima club's big match of the year. It will be an eight stage sanctioned Steel Challenge match. I will shoot my High Standard/Volquartsen/OKO rimfire racer in Rimfire Open, and my 9mm. Tanfoglio Gold Custom/OKO in the Open Division. KeeWee will also shoot a High Standard/OKO in Rimfire Open.

As soon as the match is over, and even before the results are posted, we leave Yakima for Ssherwood, Oregon, for the Man of Steel Championships, held the next day. Man of Steel will be a nine stage match. After that match, we drive home, getting back late Sunday night.

Wednesday morning I climb about the airport shuttle for an hour and a half ride to Seattle Tacoma Intl. Airport to catch a flight to Amsterdam. I get into Amsterdam at 8:30am local time, Once there I catch a train (actually three trains, I think) to get to Winterswijk, which is South East of Amsterdam close to the German border. Friday and Saturday I will be shooting in the European Steel Challenge championships. On Sunday I will be able to watch the other shooters, and get a chance to visit with everyone a bit. Sunday afternoon/evening  I will probably leave Winterswijk for Almere, a suburb of Amsterdam, if I can find a ride with someone. Otherwise, I will probably take the train on Monday morning to Almere. Once in Almere I will hang out with my friend Wim and also work on some business possibilities. Tuesday morning early I head back to the Amsterdam/Schiphol airport for the long flight back to Seattle. I get back Tuesday night.

On Sunday there is a club championship match in Puyallup, Washington that I hope to shoot. The next weekend I am putting on a steel match on Saturday, and another one on Sunday. There is a match just about every weekend through Fall!

With all of the matches, there is also a lot of time spent keeping the race guns running, ammo testing, reloading, and other mechanical  work. Magazines need to be cleaned, batteries changed, lenses cleaned, guns cleaned, and so forth.

One of the keys to any success, beyond equipment preparation, is practice. To be competitive you have to spend a lot of time on the range. The top shooters will go through sixty thousand rounds in a season! I don't shoot anywhere near that much, but I do go through a lot of ammo.

FIOCCHI, the ammunition manufacturer, has signed me as a sponsored  shooter. They only sponsor three rimfire competitors, so being one of the three is quite an honor. Unfortunately, they don't have any ammunition for me yet, as they are not only sold out but back-ordered well into the Summer. That will certainly help a bit financially once it becomes available. Part of the deal, though, is that I can't sell any of it, it's only for shooting by me. Once things loosen up, though, I plan to start stocking and selling FIOCCHI products.

The OKO Red Dot Sight business is growing very slowly as I just don't have the money to promote and advertize them. It's a shame, really, as they are truly outstanding, particularly in terms of accuracy and quick target acquisition.I am in the process of building a brand new website for the OKO sights and the Magnum Mount Sight mounts I make. That should help.

So, that kind of sums up where I've been, what I've been up to, and why there hasn't been much blogging going on.

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