The SWMG was a two day, 10 stage match run over Saturday and Sunday. Every stage required all 3 guns and most of them involved either obstacles or very tricky shots. Usually both. We did stuff I hadn't yet done like flying clays and shotgun slugs. A lot of the targets were pistol/shotgun optional but some were gun specific. Like the clay no shoots but I'll get to that in a moment. All the rifle targets were gun specific but then who wants to take a 320 yard pistol shot? Besides Jerry Miculek of course. Have I mentioned that I'm not Jerry Miculek?
I finished about where I figured, mid pack. I finished 22nd overall and 13th in Scoped Tactical. Since this was going to be an involved, tough and challenging match I decided to use it as much for training and finding my weaknesses as anything else. Finish is important but I'm keeping my eyes on the prize, the Hard As Hell match next December. This was a great chance to try out my gear and tactics under match conditions and to see if the Glock was the pistol answer. It isn't. Probably.
Anyway. We started off Day 1 with the shoot house and something...different. See that door I'm pointing my shotgun at? It has a strip of 1x2 across the jamb so we had to do a breach. It wasn't a tough barrier so a load of #7 1/2 at 1300 fps did a satisfying job. Then it was enter the house and clear it with shotgun and rifle then run back out the front door to the next bay and clear the pistol targets. We had to move forward and backward in the shoot house so muzzle discipline and a plan was paramount.
Obstacles and challenges we had in spades. Here we shot 125 yard steel from platform 1...
Sling the rifle and cross the static line...
And shoot more steel from platform 2. It was a blast. From there we ran across the road and shot some pistol including the spinner. I've had issues with the spinner but I think I've found a solution. A 40 caliber pistol shooting 180 grain bullets. I spun it easier than I ever did before with a 9. Food for thought?
Running the Stoeger. It worked flawlessly all day and my reloading practice is paying big dividends. I dropped exactly one shotgun shell in two days, 10 stages and a couple hundred shells.
A nod to my sponsors. Just kidding, I have no sponsors unless somebody out there wants to jump in on the ground floor and sponsor an old, fat, bald beginner 3 Gunner? No? Just thought I'd ask. This is me running the Glock. Here's the thing on that pistol. It ran perfectly (though I'm pretty sure the rear sight needs adjusting I just never had the chanced to check it) and did most of what I wanted. If I focus on it it may be the gun for me. But. It just doesn't do it for me. I just don't really like it. I have to concentrate on running it as opposed to the Sig which seemed to be such a part of my hand. I'm not saying I won't choose it but I'm also not saying I will. Sigh. The search continues.
There was plenty of running...
And gunning. Some of the shooting positions were awkward. This stage required shotgun through ports. It was an easy stage to blow holes through walls and DQ if you weren't paying attention.
Of course some were just ridiculous. Since I don't really bend I was forced to shoot through the port one handed.
Did I mention awkward? "Are you ready? Stand by."
"Beep!" What the...? Old fat guys should not be subjected to such indignities.
More ports. This time it was pistol at some 50 yard steel before entering the rest of the stage through the Tyrannosaur's mouth. It's a fun range.
Finishing up the stage with some hilly shotgun. Targets were challenging and shooting positions required a little forethought.
By the time that we got here the wind was blowing with gusts up to 50 mph. Even 75 yard shots (on 10 inch steel plates) was...difficult.
Ah. A job well done! Well, done at least.
Day Two started with the long range stage. Targets at 260, 280 and 320 yards followed by 14 shotgun (including our first clay flyers) and then some pistol out to 50 yards. I rocked this stage. I also did a lot of shotgun reloads here.
This is a good shot of a dump barrel. We started with the rifle, to shoot the long steel, with the shotgun staged in that trash can. Then dump the rifle in the same can, pick up the shotgun and get to shootin'. If you look really closely you can see a second can in the background to dump the shotgun in. Just to the left of that and a little behind is a black plate that guards the clay thrower with the activator popper next to it. Hit the popper and it throws the clay. Way up on top on that small knoll you can see one of the long pistol targets. From the shotgun dump barrel it was transition to the pistol. This is 3 Gun.
This was nearly the end of my match. In this shot I'm shooting paper targets on the ground but there's also some 125 yard steel at a higher elevation. After running the paper I started in on the steel. The wind was bothering me and I was missing. So. I stepped slightly to my right and back to get a better angle. As I did so I stepped off the small platform with my right foot. One minute I'm all fat and happy with my feet firmly planted. The next I'm stepping off into thin air which is notoriously poor at supporting fat men. I managed to catch my balance but I crashed heavily to the platform and did damage to my lower extremities. Nothing severe just bumps, bruises and general ouchies. I managed not to break the 180 and an immediate DQ and finished the stage. My time sucked but I was Ok and still in the match. Lesson learned. Don't stand below me when I'm shooting from a high platform. The RO below me nearly had a stroke when he thought he was going to have to try and catch me. Heh.
This was an interesting stage. Ok. First check out that white target to the right. It has 2 clays embedded. There were 5 more just like it on the left past that other white target you can see there. White is no shoots and if you put holes in them they cost you, to the tune of 5 seconds per. These were shot with the rifle at 17 and 7 yards. The 17 yard targets also had no shoots between the shooter and the targets resulting in a clear case of double jeopardy. You must know your mechanical offset (or holdoff). That is the height difference between your bore and your optic (or iron sights) for various ranges. I went clean here (and a few other stages where the same targets were used) because I know my holdoffs. Dialing up elevation changes for 300+ yard shots and then back to precision 7 yard shots on hostage targets is slow. Better to know your stadia line holdoffs and shoot it on the run. I also used this stage as an exercise in shotgun reloading. It had 2 flying birds and 12 shotgun/pistol optional steel. I decided to run them all with the shotgun for more match pressure shotgun reloading. My gear worked perfectly and my reloads were sure and pretty darn fast. I'm in front of the RO grabbing my shotgun out of the dump rack.
Of course this was the next stage. Up the slope, rope firmly in hand...
Across the top with Old Glory proudly displayed...
And down the far side. Note the slung rifle. We did a lot of that.
And on to yet another %$#@ing platform! Rifle out to 200 yards.
This was another first for me in a 3 Gun and proof a good 3 Gunner needs a wide variety of skills. After the rifle (and before another set of 50 yard pistol) we shot flying clays. On the top of the rail, near the left edge, was two activators. Push with the left hand and shoot the clays flying out from under the platform. 4 total and I went clean. Hurray!! From there it was the long pistol, then jump down (or climb painfully down as the case may be) and run the rest of the stage. This was the last stage of the day and match.
One of the things I liked best about this match was it was specifically set up to challenge your shooting skills and gear and make you do certain things that you don't normally do. Like the hostage targets, flying clays, 50 yard pistol and switches from long range to point blank with the rifle. It also made you think and make a solid plan with so many optional targets. All in all it was a fantastic match and I learned a ton. I have a much better training plan going forward.
This week Lu and I will finally finish that shower and then I'll be back out at the range with my training partner putting in the time and effort to try and improve. In June I also have a rifle class (with an as yet unnamed blogger coming out to shoot it with me. Hooray!) and I'm hoping to improve my long range and especially intermediate range offhand shooting. 125 yards standing offhand on 10 inch steel in wind under match pressure is...challenging.
Bring it on. The harder the better. All this is with one thing in mind. December 2014.