Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Please, God, Just Let Me Beat the Old Guy!

Oh, I forgot! Don't miss this week's Carnival of Cordite!

Now, where was I? Perhaps discovering that my one-year-old truck had a cracked windshield this morning was an omen. Maybe I should have gone to the range yesterday instead of playing Steel Panthers and watching football. Anyway, I had fun at the Pima 3-Gun Match located in the foothills of Mt. Lemmon in Catalina. Rob from Cactus League showed up with friends of his, glad I'd tipped him off to this match. It's a rare thing; These matches only fall on 5th Sundays not falling on a holiday or a monsoon or a when there are more than two Russians in orbit around the Earth at any one time.

My first stage was classic boneheadedness. It was a pistol stage which transitioned to shotgun...and after I shot all my pistol targets rather rapidly, I stopped and cleared my gun and waited for the range officer to declare the range clear. Well, he just stared at me till I raced over to the shotgun cursing like a Viking and finished the stage. I hope this entertains you all. I was resigned to finishing dead last until the rather elderly gent on my squad (who was only one of the four of us shooting Heavy Metal) finished with no ammo and a few shotgun poppers left standing. I playfully ribbed him about giving me some hope. He said it was only the second time he'd fired the gun and he wasn't expecting it to shoot so high.

The next stage was two stages in one; eight stationary clay pigeon targets arrayed behind a barricade. On one of them, you'd end up shooting your riotgun from your weak side. This was especially horrific for those of us using pump guns. I didn't do badly.

Our third stage was pistol-long range rifle, the one I feared, since I've been too lazy to sight the SOCOM in beyond the close-combat distances we've been using at Cactus Matches. It turns out that my guess of 12 clicks up was good enough to hit some of the big steel, but my standing barricade posture wasn't as good as the prone position everyone else was taking. I ended up skipping a few targets, on top of my already slow time. Jim, my fellow He-Man (that's what Pima calls the class) squadmate Jim brought out his FN FAL, which he says patterns about the size of a garbage can lid at 100 yards. We both had a bad stage score.

On our final stage, I decided not to fight the conventional wisdom of shooting prone. Does anybody else have trouble changing magazines of an M1A while the bolt is closed? I just couldn't get the mag to seat until I stripped the round out of the chamber.

Anyway, I've got to learn to slow down faster. The stage was two distant steel and five headshots from Box A, then same from Box B, then transition to riotgun to shoot eight "dog" poppers and clang one slug off a designated steel target.

I love the steel "dogs," especially when it's time to help tear down the stage.

Here's Jim (right) shooting his son's FAL. He had some major mojo going for him after knocking the big steel target down twice, requiring a stage reset and reshoot each time. I tilted the thing with my own manly .308 bullets, but fortunately didn't have to restart.

Rob (left) finished last in the Open category, because only his rifle was Open equipment. I think he'd score well in the Tactical Scope category if only he'd train himself to use only one optical sight. He seemed to have a good time and I don't think he's going to change his game for this match.

He does, however need to shoot slugs more often. After one or two misses, he finally stabilized on the bench and scored a hit. Did I mention I scored on my first slug? Love them rifle sights!

Our squad included the Top Lady Shooter and also the overall match winner, both Open shooters, natch. Who says you can't maintain your femininity while you're out shooting guns with the guys?

Our squad also mentored a new shooter to the sport. He was pretty down on himself the first stage after making some mental errors. I said, "Dude! Enjoy this! You've got an excuse! I've been doing this for years and look how bad I sucked!" I think that helped break the ice, and he got a bit more fluid in the later stages.

Our squad's hardware (click pic to enlarge) was a banquet for the eyes of hoplophiles young and old, but as the match starting winding down, the afternoon shooters came in, ogling at our gats, and bringing out their own drool material. How about an Ishapore SMLE in .308? Or a 1903 Springfield with an Enfield action (Eddyfield?)?

And in the next shooting bay, the Class III guys showed off some neat hardware and busted beau coup caps:
Full-auto MG-34.

Browning Automatic Rifle. I had to fight major crowds to get these pictures, people!

Water-cooled .30-caliber? Gosh, John Donovan would tsk-tsk me for being so unspecific, but I had to stretch my camera way around a flock of drooling gun nuts to get this much.

Oh...and next weekend? Here's a preview!


  • At 8:32 PM, Blogger Owen said…

    It's not an '03 with an Enfield action. It's an M1917, aka P17.

    And it was made at Eddystone Arsenal in Pennsylvania, not Eddiefield.

    In the early days of WWI,Eddystone (owned by Remington) and Savage were making the P14 in .303 for the Brits and Canadians. When the US entered the war, the factories were converted to the P17 in .30-06, because Springfield Armory (the real one, not the fakers in Illnois) couldn't pump the '03 out fast enough. The combined factories pumped out about 2 million rifles in 2 years and more P17s than '03s were issued in WWI.


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