Match #5

Last Thursday’s match was a fun one for several reasons.

A bit of friendly banter on the forum about the virtues of venerable handguns vs modern handguns brought a lot of 1911s to the match; at least 12 of 27 shooters were shooting 1911s, including me.

We managed to cram in six stages, though we were 30 minutes late leaving the range. The stages generally had less movement, which sadly wasn’t enough to keep me from getting one trigger call (More on that later) but I generally shot well because it was the kind of shooting I have done before IDPA, mostly stationary.

This match was a continuation of a series of “hose’m” matches, designed for lots of rapid shooting. The longest raw time for all 6 stages was 97 seconds and the average was 55 seconds. My ammo was a bit scrambled in mismatched boxes, so I’m not sure exactly how many rounds I shot, but it was just about 100, probably only a few less.

Because we ran late at the range, the score sheets were not all processed on site. Consequently, I did not know my total score until today when the official scores were posted to the forum.

My own raw time was 68.33 seconds, total time 91.33. Rather than being miles below most shooters, the bottom 25% or so shooters’ raw times were almost all within 5 seconds of one another, with me bringup my kinda usual second to last spot. But this time, 2nd to last is not as many seconds from the mean as in previous matches 🙂

I only had four procedurals, two on one stage and two on another. On stage 2, I was out of cover on the first cover and had the dreaded trigger call moving from one cover to the other. This one kinda surprised me because I misunderstood the call, thinking someone had called “cover!”. It was only when we were scoring that I understood that it was a trigger. I didn’t do that anymore, but then none of the other stages had a transition between target engagements. Friday night, I ran about 45 minutes of airsoft drills, a little bit doing cover, but mostly working on that trigger finger.

My other two were kinda funny. Stage 4 had one target on either side of a non-threat and had us starting seated with the pistol and magazine on a table. The COF was to put three in the body of two targets in tactical sequence then one (I think) in the head zone of each. I put two in the first target which got me a procedural for breaking tactical sequence. I completed the body shots, then for some brain scrambled reason, two in one head, one in the head of the non-threat, then two in the other head. I found myself chuckling out loud over that one. I turned a non-threat into a never-threat. Score-wise, that one hurt. My raw time was 7.01 but 3 down, one procedural and one no shoot put the stage time up to 16.51.

I had one plain miss on the first stage, though by now, I can’t tell you which target it was. Otherwise, I shot generally better than probably any match I’ve shot in to this point.

I did have one issue with the pistol. I forget which stage, either 1 or 3, there was an odd lockup of the slide at LAMR (load and make ready). I was using a cheapy magazine to put the first round into the chamber so that I could shorten the LAMR juggle sequence. Somehow either the magazine or I (maybe both) pushed the slide lock lever very slightly out of the frame. This made it catch about 1/4″ from going into battery. It was easy enough to clear. I left the crappy magazine in the range bag and I had zero issues with it the rest of the match.

I also got some really good grip coaching. Someone noticed that my pistol was bouncing a lot more than he would have expected with my hams. He coached me in what my subsequent internet research reveals to be the “thumbs forward grip”. The strong hand is in the normal natural position, but the weak hand is tilted down more than I’m used to, basically making a pointer of the top of the arm extended out to the end of a straightened thumb. I don’t think I did well trying to remember to do it for the rest of the match, but I drilled on it Friday night. The tricky bit is drilling it enough for it to be automatic then not forgetting it when I have to do it under the timer next week 🙂

Finally, one of my best feel good moments was when I was complemented on a nice even cadence on my final stage, which was two shots each into six targets from a kneeling position behind partial cover. It is probably not a coincidence that was also my only zero down stage.

Polymer coated bullets

I received my first order of bullets from Black Bullets International

There was a very minor packaging problem, wherein two corners one of the smaller boxes containing the bullets tore, spilling a hundred or so units into the larger shipping box.

Interestingly, the printed labeling indicates that a box is 675 units, yet they sell them by the 500 or 1000. The box that breached was the 675 unit box. The other has a hand-edited label that says 325 units.The world has not yet shifted on it’s axis, so I think we’ll be ok.

I am looking forward to loading these. I have brass for 40 S&W and 10mm, so I ordered 1000 in 40/10.

Great Range, Fun Stages, Atrocious Scores

Lone Star Gun Gallery & Gear is a *very* nice range. All shiny and new, well lit, well ventilated. The distances are substantially longer and most stages took advantage of that.

The stages were fun; lots of movement. Stage two had a swinger initiated by the shooter at the buzzer. It emulated flushing the toilet :). Stage five had three targets. The shooter had to engage in tactical priority on the advance, completing two in each target by the time you crossed a line, then cross back and place two more in each target on the retreat.

It was fun, but it was not my night to score. I had two primary failure modes. Most *often*, I missed long distance targets, but couldn’t tell with my split contact lens prescription. This makes it hard to even guess whether I need to make up shots.

The other failure was copious procedurals. Some of those long range misses were also hits on non-threat, which is a 5 second penalty. At least they don’t accumulate per target.

The prize for the silliest miss was on stage 4. I completely missed engaging a target. So one target assess 13 seconds of penalties: down 10 (5 seconds) for two misses, 3 seconds for failure to engage procedural and 5 seconds for failure to neutralize. The raw time on the stage was only 19.85 seconds.

In short, 4 out of 5 stages had penalties essentially equal to or exceeding the raw time.

It was fun shooting full power 10mm, but I presume it was at least a factor in some of my misses, especially the long distance ones. I couldn’t see well enough to tell if I missed and needed to do makeup shots and just controlling recoil is a thing with that much power. I distinctly remember at least one bad pull down, anticipating the boom. If I remember one, I’d bet there were others I didn’t catch. I have plenty of much more sane 10mm handloads and until I solve a lot of the other problems, it’s probably best not to stack the deck against myself with hot loads.

In happy news, I had no ammo issues. It did look a little like the pistol failed to go into battery once. The SO and I checked it out pretty carefully. Then and always, it operated correctly. Just the way the slide fits the frame.

Big Boom and DQ

Fourth IDPA match tonight…

My new Glock 20 barrel worked pretty well. Full power 10mm is fun to shoot. I also enjoyed hearing someone comment about their ears bleeding while I was shooting Stage two :).

I did have a feed jam on the third stage, but since my off hand thumb got bitten by the slide on the previous stage, it may have been a poor grip. Doesn’t seem terribly likely, but I suppose there is a chance. This drawing and moving while shooting thing is pretty new to me. It possible my brain is letting that fundamental slide while it struggles with all the new stuff. In any case, that’s one of several elements I need to run drills on.

One of the elements is keeping my finger out of the trigger guard when I’m moving. That happened twice tonight and the second earned me a DQ.

Stage three was the first time I would have gotten to shoot at a swinger target and in fact, I did get a shot or two off at it. For this stage, you begin with 4 shots to a target then step forward to retrieve an injured victim, played by a large gear bag loaded with a sack of concrete mix. This victim needs to be pulled into the cover area. Moving the bag triggers the swinger, which needs two hits taken while retreating and dragging the bag. I got two shots at the first target when I had a round jam. It took a couple of slide racks to clear it. I finished the rounds at the target. It then took two or three grabs to get the handle of the bag and I think it was at this point that my trigger finger probably relaxed and curled into the trigger guard while I was struggling with the bag. I tripped the swinger and started shooting, but somebody hollared stop and I froze.

There was some discussion amongst the SOs about whether calling stop was appropriate, but in either case, I was still disqualified and done shooting for the night. While I don’t have specific memory of either of them, that is really why there is so little tolerance for it. Keeping the finger clear of the trigger while not engaged with a target is very basic firearm safety. You are millimeters from a situation where the *BEST* thing that can happen is an unexpected discharge into the berm and the worst is manslaughter. It is not to be triffled with.

I geared down and put away my pistol, but I stayed to help with the rest of the match. I got a several pep talks and several tips suggesting drills to help train that trigger thing out, stuff like “dry shoot, finger out, move to the right, dry shoot, finger out, move to the left, rinse repeat”. I will probably do these drills with the airsoft pistol.

There is another match tomorrow night, at the Weatherford range, where I have not yet been. I plan to be there to complete a match with the boomer.

My incomplete score sheet still needs analysis….

Stage 1, T5, was actually the first target I shot. This was two 1’s and a miss. Im not sure how I did the miss. One procedural was for shooting two targets out of order. They should have been right to left from behind cover, but I took the left one first, perhaps because it was closer. The other procedural was my first trigger call. There were three fairly major movements and I’m not sure exactly where I violated it.

Stage two was cool. Three shots each in two targets from behind cover, then move to the other end of the barrier and place three shots in each of two more targets, then move into a center room and place two on each of two targets while moving. It was on my first target that I got my left thumb under the slide. I remember noticing it and correcting my grip. Finished the stage and only when I was reloading magazines did I notice a bit of blood. I suspect the miss on scored T6 was really that first target with the slide hit.

Except for the two misses, either of which could have been made up had I noticed them at the time, I shot reasonably well. Then, of course, the DQ…

… And then there were heroes three…

To round out my shooting options on the Glock 20C, I ordered a stock 10mm non-compensated barrel. It arrived today. That gives me compensated 10mm, non-compensated 10mm and non-compensated 40S&W, all from the same pistol.


I also received an extended magazine release. I found that I struggled a little with the mag release during reloads. Hopefully, this addresses that and maybe I’m done customizing the Glock for a while.

I also got my target paster tapes and a spiffy nylon case for carrying the IDPA targets. For my home range purposes, I need to make a couple or three bases to attach them to. I don’t suppose they really need to be a durable as the ones the club has, so 2×4 construction should be fine and pretty cheap, too.

There is a spot on the east side of my pond where there is a dam that makes a pretty decent backstop for casual plinking.

Since IDPA targets are typically configured to approximate the height of a person, I need to measure the height of the dam to see if there is enough safety margin for shooting at taller targets. Luckily, I have the technology.

At some point, I’d like to put a load of road bed out there to make a nice level (or near level, with drainage) spot for shooting and recovering fired brass, but winter and spring rains can be pretty floody back there…


IDPA Thursday Night

I shot generally better tonight. Still lots of room for improvement, but I didn’t choke anywhere, even with *two* squib reshoots…

I have counted it up as 60 shots in the match, though that does not account for makeup shots. I had three misses and seven down 1’s. I believe the key was consciously shooting slower.

The procedurals on Stage 1 were a stop in the open while engaged and a break cover, Stage 2, it  was breaking tactical sequence, and on Stage 4, it was another cover break.

The biggest problem was two different squibs on Stage 1. The first time through, I did fairly well, shooting methodically, then the squib was on either the last target or next to last. Time at that point was 24.4x seconds. It appears to have been a cartridge with no powder. The bullet was barely into the rifling. I loaded up tried again. ANOTHER SQUIB! Much earlier in the course of fire. This time, it cleared the barrel, better safe than exploded. So, having learned my lesson, I shot the rest of the match with factory ammo, which I was pleased to have brought with me. When I finally got to finish Stage 1, my raw time was 39.62.

Several good pieces of advice were received tonight. One I knew about, but was still doing wrong is positioning behind cover. In my first match, I got right up on the cover, which makes it tough to move around. Tonight, I tried to make sure I was an arms length behind the cover, particularly on Stage 4 with two Bianchi barriers, but I failed to account for leaning forward in stance, so I still had to step back and lift the muzzle to clear the barrier. Lift too high and it’s a safety issue. And I’m going to keep breaking from cover with my feet until I do it enough that my stance narrows. I just take a big step, set my weight and, oops, too wide….

In the submitted scores, I was last for ESP division, 3rd from last overall. I think a better indicator of my progress will be the spread to the next better score. In ESP, the next higher score was a full 30 seconds better, but interestingly enough, that shooters penalties were similar. His raw time was 30 seconds better.

If it fits, it shoots…

After the Christmas shipping angst in the news, I suppose I should be happy it made it at all…

These are chamber checkers from Evolution Gun Works. They are blocks of high grade aluminum with holes drilled and trimmed with actual chamber reamers. A loaded cartridge that drops in and fits flush should chamber.

The smaller block has one each 9MM, 38 Special, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. The larger one is for checking a whole box of 40 S&W.

The work I did yesterday would not really have gained much with these, except it might have been easier to check all 50 in a box instead of spot checking 10% of them. What this thing will prevent is another future mass recrimping 🙂

Interestingly enough, Evolution Gun Works’ website is down as I write this… The 50 block is available in several common sizes and runs $99 each. The smaller one was $20.

Tea and Crimpets

… except no tea…

You may recall that I had a quality control issue with a couple of batches of 40 S&W. They were not crimped properly, so they appeared to be oversize and would not go battery. I purposefully did not purchase the single shot version of the Glock, but now I had one 🙂

I set up the press with the seating/crimping die only and backed the bullet seat ram way out so that it was crimping only.

I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy dropping loaded rounds, nose to primer, down the feed tubes, so I removed them and just set each in place as shown.

After tweaking the crimp over a few rounds, I tested each of the first 150 by fitting them in the chamber of my Lone Wolf barrel. If it dropped in and poured out, I called it good. With those working flawlessly, I started testing five random cartridges from each finished box.

When I got to the batch of nickel plated cases, I found that they were much better crimped. The press had been reset between those batches, so I just set it better on that batch.  Most were either fine or maybe had the slightest drag in the chamber. I ran them through anyway, again testing five from each box after recrimping

It took about 5 minutes per box, start of one to the start of the next. All tolled, about 1700 +/- recrimped in about 4 hours. Just to be thorough, I spot checked about 5 boxes of 10MM, but they have all been working anyway, so there was probably no need. Now to see how the shoot in a match tomorrow evening.