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November Phoenix Rod & Gun Club 3-Gun Match

November 24, 2009

Here are four stages from Gary Mowery’s excellent monthly 3 gun match which was a good warmup for the upcoming Ft. Benning match.

Stage 1 is a rifle stage with 2 lollipops at 100, 3 R and R flashers at 200 and 1 R and R flasher at 300.  You engaged them freestyle from Box A and B.  If you shot prone, part of you or your gun had to be in the Box and given the difficulty of the targets prone was the way to go.  On my first run, the awesome power of a 75 grain Hornady at 2700 fps knocked the 100 yard target down.  My second attempt was a stage win but very sloppy.  The lighting conditions were horrible and no one (shooter and spotter alike) could see the 300 yard target.  I just had to guess where it was, holding off the base, and keep firing until the RO called a hit. That’s just the way it is sometimes.  Light and weather conditions change so you need to practice during less than ideal conditions as I guarantee that someday your squad will get the short end of the stick and you will have to shoot when you don’t really want to.  So embrace the suck at the local matches to get used to it.

Stage 2 was sort of a shotgun and pistol standards.  Note how many targets that can be engaged before the flipper clay targets are up in the air.  It is a true time killer to shoot the activator popper and wait until the clay fly ups to shoot it, without trying to engage some other targets.   The pistol part of the stage went great until the last target.  I lost focus and started  thinking about how great the rest of the stage had went before I was even finished shooting.  Dumb!  Wait to congratulate yourself when it’s over!

Stage 3 was a short range pistol and rifle stage.  The pistol was straight forward and went well.  This stage required hot reholstering, something that I hate for matches to have due to safety concerns.  But if it must done, do it CAREFULLY. Don’t point the muzzle at yourself, LOOK the pistol into the holster, have the safety activated if you have one, and KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER.  The rifle part of the stage was a little bit of an Easter egg hunt with tight target presentations very close to the edge of some metal prop frames.   Again, be careful.  Just because you have a good sight picture does not mean that your muzzle is not pointed at a prop.  This sort of situational awareness is important to develop and takes some practice.  Your brain needs to be evaluating the sight picture, monitoring foot work, controlling the trigger finger, and maintaining muzzle awareness all at the same time.  Also note that I try to minimize swinging the rifle around between the ports.

Stage 4 was the disaster of match.  The stage basically requires the tactical shotgun shooter to engage 8 stationary clay targets (with one possibility for a double), load 7-8, engage 8 more clay targets, load 8, engage 8 clay and finish with 2 slugs.  The stage starts out ok and I get the double.  The loading goes slowly as do the next 8 targets.  Then I have the JAM.  For some reason the bolt on the SLP I was shooting locked back and would not go forward into battery.  I still don’t know why.  But eventually I clear it (stay in the fight!) and finish up.  Shooting directly into the sun, I miss the first clay and did not even know it.  The one thing that I do right at the end of the stage is load the slugs.  Note how I “save” a clay before loading my slugs.  Since there is a shot shell in the chamber, there is no reason to load the slugs and then have to shoot the shot shell out to chamber a slug.  Save a clay target to engage.  Of course, the slug shooting goes very poorly (better improve on that for Benning!).  My SLP front sight broke and Derrick Martin gave me a temporary replacement which we popped in there.  It is not quite zeroed for windage.  No excuse though, the timer and scoreboard do not care about any excuses.

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