All I Want For Christmas…

Since I have little to say today, I’m stealing a topic from Ahab.

What I really want for Christmas is for Grandma to make a full recovery from her recent operation.  That’d be okay.

I’d also like a place to shoot, no more than say, 15 minutes from the house, with a couple of decent pistol bays and a field rifle range that runs out to 400 yards.  A sponsorship from Atlanta Arms and Ammo would be nice, too.  Perhaps a magic elf that I could chain to the reloading bench?

On a more realistic note, I could really use a 6″ 9×19 lightweight top end for the #2 STI.  And some more magazines.

The Weekend in Review

I spent most of yesterday afternoon sizing, depriming, and trimming about 1100 pieces of once-fired Federal .223 brass.

I spent most of this afternoon converting about 1100 pieces of freshly processed Federal .223 brass into .223 ammunition.

Thrilling, huh?  Seriously, though, this takes care of about two months worth of .223 practice ammo.  It’s nice to have it out of the way.  Now I just have to get started on the 10,000 .40 bullets and the 8 pounds of Ramshot Competition stacked up in the basement.  Those bullets have been eyeballing me.

Related product placement – I love my Dillon 1050 more every time I use it.  If you shoot in bulk, you should really think about buying one.  It saves a whole lot of time, which can then be spent, you know, shooting.

Final Tactical Rifle Match of the Season

I’ve been hinting at a writeup of the season’s final tactical rifle match, but have simply been too slammed at work to get anything put together.  That changes now.  Until this match, these had been run by Eddie Rhodes, a name some of you may know, and a guy who’s one helluva rifle shooter.  However, he has a full plate, and has stepped down from the match director position.  Another local shooter, match director, and all around excellent guy is going to be taking over the match, and yours truly has been tapped to be his right-hand man.  So, next spring should bring some interesting reports.

So, on to the review.  The match is basically designed to test a shooter’s marksmanship abilities under field conditions and at rifle distances. The stage counts are generally small, with four stages total being a big match.  In this case, there were only three stages; a “short course” with targets out to 300 yards or so, a longer range course with targets out to 425 yards, and a “Standards” course of fire that doesn’t change from match to match, and is intended to serve as a benchmark of a shooter’s ability with a rifle.  The standards course involves firing several five-shot strings at 10-inch plates set at 200 yards from various traditional shooting positions: offhand, sitting and prone.

Layout for one of the field courses.

Layout for one of the field courses. The steel flash targets are down-range.

The field courses involve shooting from a variety of positions and off of oddly-shaped barriers and through ports.  This being Eddie’s last match, the bar was set pretty high, with a number of the steel targets having a no-shoot steel plate near them.  (Yours truly managed to drill one right off the stand.)  Punishment for hitting a no-shoot was a time penalty and having to run down range to reset the target.

Some of the targets.

Some of the targets, including a no-shoot.

Much of the match involves moving from position to position, and instinctively knowing where to hold out to 425 yards.  To this end, I find that the ACOG TA-011 is a fantastic choice as the graduated stadia lines really do help in engaging the targets.  Wind, also, can become somewhat of an issue, and the best competitors are able to observe and compensate for it.

Some positions involve shooting through obstacles

Some positions involve shooting through obstacles.

Many of the positions involve shooting from odd positions, or through various obstacles such as the above plastic pipes, or through ports or to one side or the other of a barrier as seen below.

Another position to shoot from.

Another position to shoot from.

As far as gear goes, most shooters opt to run an AR15 with some sort of scope with examples from Trijicon, Burris, and Schmidt & Bender being brought to the line. Iron sights, and/or guns in .308 are also used by some shooters, but bring with them their own special challenges along with their divisions. Standard 30-round magazines are predominately carried by most, with some shooters opting to bring an extra 20 round magazine for shooting through low ports, or 42/52 round magazines, like the ones made by Tripp Research for monopodding and shooting through higher ports.

As for my shooting, well, I did alright, but most of these matches are a huge learning experience for me, as I’ve been primarily a pistol shooter. I came in 7th out of 13 total shooters, which isn’t too bad, but leaves obvious room for improvement. Overall, I’m looking forward to the new matches in the spring, and can’t wait to start pulling rifle triggers again.

The 2009 TWotM Match Schedule

Okay, so JBO and I were chatting the other night, and the subject of major matches came up.  We decided to hash out all the major matches that one or both of us will be attending in 2009.

This is a work in progress, and will be updated as our plans coalesce.

CJR’s match/class schedule:

  • TacPro Tactical Carbine course, Mingus, TX, March 13-15
  • USSA Competition Handgun 110 or Competition Multigun 120, Tulsa, OK, date TBD
  • Blue Ridge Multigun, Park City, KY, April 24-26
  • MGM Ironman, Parma, ID, June 11-13
  • Rocky Mountain 3-Gun, Raton, NM, August 6-8
  • Ft. Benning AMU 3-Gun, Ft. Benning, GA, December 4-6 (tentative)

There will probably be a few other local matches (Area 8 Sectionals, Area 8 Multigun, Summer Blast, Steel Challenge Regionals) that will be added as dates get posted.

Hopefully JBO will add his own match schedule in the near future.  Hint, hint.

Mumbai.

By now, it appears that most of the dust has settled in Mumbai.

It has been asked, in a few places, why these kind of coordinated mass shootings aren’t more common.  My own personal theory is that they aren’t more common because they don’t have the payout-to-reward ratio of a car bomb (or similar.)

We don’t appear to have a solid count on the number of bad guys, but the lowest estimate I’ve seen in the news was fifteen.  Reports from eyewitnesses indicate that the bad guys were fairly well trained; communicating and covering each other in pairs, and that sort of thing.  Not exactly DevGrp material, but that kind of training of 15+ shooters takes time and money.

Now, according to local media reports, all of the bad guys were captured or killed.  That’s 15 or more trained shooters, thrown away, for a body count that could have been had with one car bomb (ref. 1993 Mumbai Stock Exchange bombing, 2007 commuter rail bombings, etc.)  Objectively, that’s a pretty bitter success.

The thinking behind this kind of attack is really a matter only for speculation (likely the captured terrorists will have something to say about this – the police in India have a bad reputation for abuse at the best of times.)  Perhaps the organization had a surplus of shooters but not of material.  This seems unlikely, unless recent U.S. and European interdiction activities have been a lot more successful than they usually are.  Myself, I think that asian terrorists have the same basic problem as American school shooters – they want to be famous more than effective.  Multiple spree shootings are good for grabbing headlines, if not for killing infidels.

One further note – Y’all are packing your guns, right?  The Mumbai attacks were an operational failure, but that’s likely no comfort to the people caught up in them…

Update – Bruce Schneier has some comments on the attack. Worth reading. Link via Reason Magazine’s Hit and Run blog.