After shooting with the gentlemen on Saturday, Rivrdog, Jerry the Geek and I retired to the Dogâ€™s marina and had a couple of cold ones and BSâ€™d some more. I caught some zzzâ€™s on the Loften Girl and got up the next morning and headed out to Sherwood, OR for the Practical Shotgun Match at the Tri County Gun Club.
I met up with Jerry at the range and we got stuff organized. Rivrdog was kind enough to secure an 1187 for my back up use incase Darth Vader decided not to work that morning. Which was good, because Vader told me to piss off and that he wanted to stay in the gun case for the duration of the day, which he did.
Not a good omen.
Jerry kept telling me that I wouldnâ€™t want to enter with both my 1187 and my 870, and he was quite right about that. After coming to my senses I decided that 225 round of shotgun ammo would be plenty and that shooting 450 rounds would just be straight up self-abuse.
He entered the match with my Cruiser-Stock 870 and I entered with the back-up 1187. We paid our entry fees and went back to the truck to load up while we waited to get our squad assignments for the day.
Basically, the match coordinators write down everyone who enters (in this case close to 50 people) and then divide them up into squads of 8-10 people. These squads then start at one of the 10 stages and make the rotation around the different stages as a squad. Each squad has at least two people who can pull duty as a range officer/safety officer and everyone else either pulls stage reset duty or scorekeeper.
That morning, to have said that it was a nice day for shooting would have been an understatement; it was sunny and clear with a nice breeze. After about noon though, the breeze went away and the broiler started. I donâ€™t know how hot it got, mostly because I donâ€™t carry a thermometer around with me, but it was, shall we say, plenty hot.
More on that in a minute.
Stop by RNS tomorrow when Iâ€™m going discuss equipment for this type of event. Iâ€™ll go through what I took and it plusses and minuses and other equipment I saw there that you might want to invest in.
Iâ€™ll also go through some of the techniques I used and some of the ones I saw and let you know what works.
And Now, to the stages! (all pics are ‘click for bigger’)
Here is Stage 1
You started out in the box next to the Range Officer and advanced to the red line going from one side to the other, knocking down the falling steel targets as they became visible to you while being timed. I believe that there were 16 targets in all, making it so that even the folks with magazine extensions would have to reload.
The first all slug stage. You started out in the box next to a barrel. When the buzzer went off, you had to turn over two of five wood blocks that were sitting on top of the barrel. The blocks were numbered 2 though 6 and the numbers you turned over were the targets you COULD NOT shoot along with the white-faced â€˜No Shootâ€™ targets.
While you can only see one full array of targets in the pic, there were actually three of them to engage; the one array on the left side, one array in the center and a third on the right. After engaging the first array, you walked along the line and engaged the second and then kept walking to the right to another box on the right to engage the right array. When you stepped into the box on the right the moving target started.
You had to put one slug round through each of the targets you were allowed to shoot, plus the mover and the targets were scored according to IPSC standards.
This stage was called â€œColorblindâ€?. You started out at the table, and when the buzzer went off, you had to throw the wood block off the table and whichever color landed face up on the block was the color of targets you had to engage first after you fired one slug round over the plastic barrels and into the cardboard target. There were three arrays of targets, one set of four knock down plates on both the left and right side, two blues and two reds in each, and then the Texas Star.
And that just so happens to be Jerry the Geek taking the Star down in the pic.
After a short review of the rules, I was given a procedural penalty for not knocking my primary engagement colored target completely off the Star before going after the secondary colored ones.
While this stage only had nine targets, the need to go high and then get low made it a bit difficult. There were three sets of three targets and you had to engage each set through a different port. You started out firing through the top port, just below the white half-target and continued until you were below kneeling level in the bottom port. Again, all slug rounds.
That again is Jerry going after the second set of targets through the middle port.
Iâ€™ve shot bowling pins before, but not with a 12 Gauge.
You started out with your gun on the table unloaded and your ammo supply on a separate table 10 ft behind you. When the buzzer goes off, you had to run back grab one shell, then go back to your gun and load and fire, hopefully knocking off a pin, and then repeat that maneuver until either the table is cleared or the 32 seconds you have to complete the task is up. You got 5 points for knocking a pin over and another 10 points if it is off the table for a total possible of 75 points.
I, unfortunately, cannot follow simple instructions and grabbed two shells at once after knocking down my second pin and had to go back and set the second shell back on the table, which took a hell of a lot of time.
This was the first of the â€˜Gravity Defyingâ€™ stages and once again, Jerry is the shooter. You started out in a box next to the boxes of clay targets on the right hand side of the pic and fired one slug round at the cardboard target. You then engaged three metal falling targets (not in the picture) on both the left and the right of you.
In each of the sets of three, one of the targets trip-wired a clay pigeon that flew towards the cardboard target. After those eight targets, you then advanced forward, taking out the falling target midway up the right hand edge of the pic which then set off a swinging target containing two clays and then finished off by taking down 5 more falling plates.
Remember when I spoke about the heat? Well, this is when I started really feeling it. It was also the last stage with available shade. A continuation of the bad omen.
I canâ€™t remember the actual name of this stage, but I do remember comparing it to Mario Brothers.
You started out in the box next to the table and engaged the falling targets to your left and your right, each of which set off a flying clay. You then advanced and engaged the targets to you left and right, which is where the Mario Brothers portion comes from. On your right, you have a falling steel target that sets off a four target pop-up array. This array doesnâ€™t have clay pigeons in it like the last stage though; this one has freaking charcoal briquettes!
After dusting the briquettes off, you then turned to your left and shot another three falling steel targets, each of which sets off a clay pigeon flipper that tosses the clays straight up in the air like the coins in Mario Brothers.
Those who were either fast or flashy shot all three falling steels and then the three flippers. The fast and the flashy were separated then and there. Mere mortals such as myself took them out one at a time.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the other set of four charcoal briquettes in the swinging target array just to the right of the flipping clays (being set off by the last falling steel that also set off the last flipper) and then the six knock down steel plates.
Can you say â€˜High Round Count Stageâ€™? I know I can. The stage called for 29 rounds, but I actually used 36 shells. I did manage to get four out of the five clays though.
Stages 8, 9 and 10 are still a blur.
I know I completed them and I know that on Stage 9 I was issued three procedural errors for not shooting from between the multiple stacked barrels after watching three guys complete the stage properly, but Iâ€™ll be damned if I could describe them properly.
Heat stroke had pretty much wiped me out and after going back to the truck and pouring ice water from the cooler on myself and then sitting in the shade for 15 minutes I was finally able to focus.
I took off after about a full hour of recovery to try and get to Rivrdogâ€™s place so that I could drop off the borrowed 1187 and get on the road for the three hours of driving it was going to take to get me home.
I was aiming to arrive home before 2200 so that I could see the wife before she went to work, but that was not to be.
After only getting 30 miles or so into Washington State, two things happened: I got stuck in the backup resulting from an earlier accident and ended up in a three lane parking lot, which wasnâ€™t a totally bad thing since I had to pull off to the shoulder within five minutes of finding the back up, I started losing visual cognizance, probably having something to do with my heat stroke.
Think of an overdone beer buzz hitting you like a pile of bricks in under a minute. I couldnâ€™t turn my head without losing my sense of balance and for the next fifteen minutes I suffered through the spins while sitting on the shoulder of the interstate.
Iâ€™m just glad I had to slow down for the traffic. I had been doing a legal 70mph just minutes earlier.
But I was back on the road soon enough and the traffic slowly dissipated and I was home by 2300.
All in all, I had a great time and will definitely be going back for the next one. The people there, especially Jerry the Geek, were great folks, the stages were excellent and even though my shoulder is purple from the 225 12 Gauge rounds impacting on it and the fact that itâ€™ll be another day or so before I can raise my arm above my head in a normal and pain-free manner, Iâ€™d go again this weekend if they was another one.
I would show you a picture of my shoulder, but with the shades of purple, green, blue and red that encompass my self inflicted punishment, I think even medical professionals would cringe.
If you live within a decent amount of driving time, you should watch either RNS or this website for the announcement of the dates.
When the match opened, the match coordinator said that this was the â€œFirst Annualâ€? all shotgun match, so I suspect that there will be more.
Thanks again to Jerry for writing about the shotgun match earlier this year and for joining me there yesterday and giving advice and giving introductions to the poeple there and thanks to the folks at TCGC for putting it on.
Iâ€™ll be back and next time Iâ€™ll finish in the upper 50%!