Steel match results

Saturday I went to Whidbey Island for the steel match at Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun Club. I had specially practiced for this match last Thursday and had high hopes of doing well.

Here are the results:

Name Division Time
Steve M. RF-O 44.92
Steve M. RF-RI-O 45.6
Brian L. RF-RI-O 46.35
Jeff K. RF-RI-O  52.72
Alex V. RF-RI-O 56.15
Jeff D. RF-O 63.2
Joe H. RF-I 67.22
MAC RF-O 69.61
Jim D. RF-O 71.43
Brian L. RF-I 77.43
Susan K. RF-O 81.4
Joe H. CF-I 82.13
Bruce B. CF-I 82.43
Bruce B. CF-I 83.73
Mitch H. RF-I 96.04
Brian L. CF-I 98.47
MAC              CF-RV-I 98.71
Jeff K. CF-I 99.08
Rev B. RF-O 100.7
Jeff D. CF-I 101.08
John H. CF-I 115
Jeff S. CF-I 141.44
Bekah H. RF-I 351.29

I won in both rimfire iron sighted (RF-I) and centerfire iron sighted (CF-I). In a similar match last month I had times of 69.39 seconds and 82.6 seconds compared to this months 67.22 and 82.13 seconds. Those differences are essentially in the noise unless the stages were more difficult this month but comparison of other shooters between the months doesn’t show a clear pattern so I’m going with I didn’t shoot measurably better this month. I had a lot of misses so I think I probably was doing the transitions quickly enough to make up for the misses. If I can combine the speed up in transitions with accuracy then I might see some improvement.

Here are pictures of the stages. You can play a game of “Where’s the tennis ball?” in each of the pictures to discover the starting aiming point for people shooting rimfire guns.






I used my video glasses to record most of the stages. Again I forgot to turn on the glasses for one of the stages.

I was very pleased with one string (starting at 0.00:24). I shot five targets in 1.94 seconds. The first shot took about 0.77 seconds so the remaining four had an average split time of less than 0.30 seconds.

It was hazy from all the smoke but I had a nice ferry ride on my way home:


600 rounds well spent

I reserved the training bay at the local indoor range last night and put about 600 rounds of .22 down range:


I had noticed something when I watched Master and Grandmaster class shooters. When they transition between targets they move the gun much faster than I do. Why don’t I do that?

I set up the simulated steel challenge stage with paper targets with the largest possible angle I could get in the range and still keep the bullets in the berm from 30 feet away:


The stop “plate” is the center target so I could test shooting left to right and right to left. And a secondary test was an order of shooting question I had wondered about for years (1, 2, 4, 5, 3 versus 1, 2, 5, 4, 3).

First I shot as I normally do and found the order of shooting didn’t make any difference. And although it was more comfortable for me to shoot left to right it didn’t make a measurable difference in my time. It was always between about 4.6 and 4.9 seconds.

I tried swinging the gun faster between targets. Maximum acceleration then stopping on target long enough to fire an aimed shot then maximum acceleration to the next target. I found it took me quite a bit longer to get the gun settled on the target compared to the way I usually do it. The end result was that I ended up with essentially the same times.

But I kept trying. At about 300 rounds my time just dropped by a full second. It wasn’t gradual. It was just the same as usual on one string of fire and the next was a full second faster. It continued to be in the 3.6 second range and when I sometimes messed up with a target acquisition and it took something like 4.5 seconds it seemed like forever. 4.5 seconds a few minutes earlier would have been a good run.

I pushed a little harder and even had a few runs that were in the 2.8 to 2.9 range. That’s almost two seconds off my previous times. That a reduction of about 40 percent! I backed off some so that I was consistent and was steady at about 3.6 seconds per string. I continued shooting until I ran out of time trying to condition my brain and muscles to make this a comfortable habit.

My gun got so hot I couldn’t hold onto the barrel and I found out when I cleaned it tonight the front sight had come loose. The heat had probably degraded Loctite on the threads.

The gun also got quite dirty on the outside as well as the inside:


I’ll find out at the steel match tomorrow if the training stuck. If it did and I can shoot as fast and accurately tomorrow as I could last night I will be very pleased.

Why you should never shoot a gun

It totally ruins them

Hat tip; Uncle

That’s what I envision whenever people speak of shooting their guns. Why would you even think of shooting a perfectly good gun on purpose?

I fire mine a lot, I’ve shot a few deer and a lot of cans and bottles and other things, but I’ve never shot a gun.

It may annoy some people, but I find the fact that words mean things to be both convenient and comforting. If I seem over-zealous at times, that is the reason why– I LIKE words to mean things, and I like them to mean the same things in the future as they did in the past. The trend of course is something else.

Interflon Fin Super

I received a free can of Interflon Fin Super for review a while back and have been using it on my guns and in a few around the house applications. Here is a portion of the email I received about it:

Hi Joe,

I am writing to you because I represent a  lubricant called Fin Super.  Fin Super is a multi-purpose spray.  It is not very well known in the states, but has been used for a number of years by military and police brigades for firearm lubrication in Europe.

Do you accept product to conduct reviews on your blog?  If so, I would be happy to send you a sample to try.  The feedback I get is always overwhelmingly positive.

I have included some info about Fin Super.  In the attachments you will find:

-a review written by a friend who has been using Fin Super for the past three years
-A picture of what the can looks like
-An article translated from an Italian Firearms magazine (the translations isn’t great but the information is very useful)

A copy of the article is included in text form lower in the email.

Lastly, here are some useful links:

Company site:

Product Page:

Technical data sheet:

Safety data sheet:

Here are the two supplied reviews of the product and a picture of the container:

You can purchase Interflon Fin Super from Amazon.

I have been wanting a dry lubricant for my guns for some time. I frequently am in a very dirty environment and the oil on guns attracts even more dirt. Notice the dirt build up in the rear of the slide below:

Another problem with liquid lubricants, particularly with my .22s, it seemed that they contributed to the build up of powder residue in the receivers. Dry lubricants should reduce that problem.

And finally I have shot in matches where it was very cold, sub-zero, and because I had been using appropriate lubricants I had higher scores than Master class shooters because their guns turned into single shots instead of semi-auto because the slide would not go into battery without manual assistance. Dry lubricants don’t have this problem.

I had two main concerns I wanted to test:

  1. I had used a Teflon spray lubricant before that dried within seconds but the lubricant seemed to rub off very easily. I didn’t trust it to actually reduce wear over extended shooting sessions. Would this lubricant persist after extensive use?
  2. Would it make cleaning the inside of the barrel easier like the current lubricant (the original Friction Defense, not Friction Defense Xtreme) I was using?

I was initially annoyed when I applied the lubricant as directed and even after 24 hours the interior surfaces of the gun were still wet. I agree with one of the supplied reviews on this topic (emphasis added):

One essential – and actually, in terms of the way it appears, almost unique – characteristic of Fin Super is that it is a semi-dry detergent-lubricant-protective product (the manufacturer considers it to be “dry”, but we think our definition is more accurate). After it has been applied to metal after giving the bottle a short but necessary shake, it evaporates slowly leaving a highly adhesive film offering the great advantage that it does not grease or stain the hands and clothes, nor does it attract dust or dirt.

I had closed the action of the gun and put it in my holster with a loaded magazine and a round in the chamber. Of course evaporation is going to be unlikely in that environment. I tested it again by leaving the gun unassembled and having an incandescent light bulb shine on it from a few inches away overnight. The surfaces were no longer wet but had a film that wasn’t really wet and adhered well.

After shooting hundreds of rounds through the gun the barrel cleaned up easily. Perhaps easier than it would have with Friction Defense. The film was still detectable with a rub of your finger over the surfaces and hence the lubricant had passed my two tests. But the slow drying brought up another question.

What if you were to apply the lubricant and take it into a cold environment before it had dried? The same reviewer I quoted above had this to say (emphasis added):

Let’s take a look at the stated chemical and physical properties: this is a semi-synthetic PTFE (Teflon) oil with a medium density (0.85 grams per millilitre at 20°C), flash point at 80° C and self-ignition at 370° C, a muddy yellow-nut brown colour common to many products to which Teflon has been added, almost insoluble in water, usable between -43° C and +170° C (although it should be pointed out that after application and vaporation of solvents the product remains effective at between -200 and +300° C).

Okay. -43 C (-45.4F) is probably below the temperature I will be using it. But what does “usable” mean? Will the gun still cycle at low temperatures? I applied the lubricant to all the usual surfaces of the gun and without wiping the excess off put the gun in the freezer (6.2F) for several hours. When I pulled it out it was almost instantly covered in frost. I should have taken a picture because it was a pretty funny looking gun with the frost growing on all the metal surfaces. But despite the cold and frost the slide and hammer moved as freely as they do at normal temperatures.

Interflon Fin Super has passed all my tests and I’m now using it on all my guns (when I get around to cleaning them). The price does seem to be a bit high ($28.00 + $7.49 shipping from Amazon). But at the current rate of consumption I’m sure the can will supply enough lubrication such that each gun cleaning will only amount to a few pennies. I can live with that for the benefits of having a semi-dry lubricant.

USPSA match results

I participated in a USPSA match at Marysville (Washington) today. For some reason I was extremely nervous for the first stage. My stomach was tied in knots and my shooting suffered. The second stage I shot (Killer B’s) I felt better but I still shot extremely poor. I had three misses and hit a no shoot target. It was a tough stage and two people zeroed it. But I shouldn’t have had problem with it. After that I settled down and did okay. But only in one stage (Dirty Mike) was I rather pleased with my results. But that wasn’t the stage that I did the best in compared to everyone else. I did the best in the classifier where I came in 3rd out of 17 in Limited and 7th out of 43 overall. Seven people zeroed that stage.

In Limited I came in 7th out of 17:

Match Results – Limited
Place Name Member # Class Division PF Lady Mil Law For Match Pts Match %
1 Hoang, Vinh TY55787 M LTD MAJOR N N N N 577.3837 100.000 %
2 Parkison, Ian TY91657 B LTD MAJOR N N N N 560.3346 97.047 %
3 Leander, Mike A28558 M LTD MAJOR N N N N 532.9299 92.301 %
4 Tsang, Keith A71578 B LTD MAJOR N N N N 469.3082 81.282 %
5 Purcell, Greg FY23884 G LTD MAJOR N N N N 448.1394 77.616 %
6 Huggins, Rick A88883 C LTD MINOR N N N N 417.1654 72.251 %
7 Huffman, Joe TY29386 B LTD MAJOR N N N N 395.2001 68.447 %
8 Sherman, Tod TY37515 C LTD MAJOR N N N N 379.3488 65.701 %
9 Huang, Jemy TY71576 B LTD MAJOR N N N N 364.1748 63.073 %
10 Roessel, Gary A2757 B LTD MINOR N N N N 340.5804 58.987 %
11 Domingo, Emilio A86951 D LTD MAJOR N N N N 317.6713 55.019 %
12 Beaman, Earl A91163 U LTD MAJOR N N N N 315.8587 54.705 %
13 Russ, Kimberly TY59608 C LTD MINOR Y N N N 310.1970 53.725 %
14 Adam, Brandi A73942 C LTD MINOR Y N N N 303.3375 52.537 %
15 Steward, Jim A91246 U LTD MINOR N N N N 292.0199 50.576 %
16 Crumpley, David A89435 U LTD MINOR N N N N 193.1871 33.459 %
17 Bregante, Carlos TY4508 C LTD MINOR N N N N 158.8101 27.505 %

I tested out video glasses I got from Amazon and have shooter point of view for all but one of the stages:

The configuration program for the glasses didn’t work so I couldn’t set the date and time on the glasses and I couldn’t turn off the time stamp. So all the video has the wrong time.

I forgot to turn the camera on for the stage that I messed up on the most. That is the stage I would have most liked to have the video for!

Update: The match winner has his own blog post and video.

Steel match results

I attended a steel match in Renton today. I was feeling kind of weird. I hadn’t gotten much sleep then I was really rushed trying to clean two guns and then get to the match on time. I left nearly 30 minutes later than I planned and I think there was far more adrenalin in my system that I can tolerate without side effects. I was shaking most of the morning, my stomach was upset, and I was feeling strange in the head.

My shooting felt pretty good anyway and I was pretty sure I was doing well compared to everyone in my squad. I was shooting in both rimfire iron sighted pistol and centerfire iron sighted pistol.

The stages looked like this:

Smoke and Hope

Closed Quarters


Double Tap

With Double Tap there was another USPSA target to the far left my camera couldn’t capture from the shooting box. The two USPSA targets were to be shot twice then the center target was the stop plate.

For those unfamiliar with scoring steel matches of this type you shoot the stage five times. Your score is the sum of your four best times. Hence you can determine the average time for a shooter to fire the five shoots on a given stage by dividing their stage time by four. If, for example, someone (like me when I shot rimfire) has a score of 10.14 for Closed Quarters it means I got five hits, on the average, in 2.535 seconds. Considering that it probably took about a second to get the first hit going from the orange marker on the ground to the first plate the other four hits took about 0.384 seconds each. I’m constantly amazed this is even possible let along that I can do this.

My standing in the match was somewhat surprising to me:

NW05 Steel Challenge Aug 2015
Final Name SCSA Class Division Time Stage 1 Smoke & Hope Stage 2 Closed Quarters Stage 3 Round About Stage 4 Double Tap
1 White, Alex   U RFRO 38.53 9.95 9.18 10.48 8.92
2 Miner, Bradley Jr   U RFRI 40.14 8.92 8.86 10.20 12.16
3 Paczosa, Connor   U RFRI 41.96 10.59 10.20 12.53 8.64
4 Kanter, Jeffrey   U RFRO 44.35 12.57 8.18 12.68 10.92
5 Boyd, Michael   U OPEN 45.72 12.35 9.18 12.02 12.17
6 Sawicki, Myron   U RFRO 51.30 14.46 10.40 14.63 11.81
7 Huffman, Joseph   U RFPI 52.05 13.12 10.14 16.43 12.36
8 Larson, Addison   U RFPI 52.45 13.78 9.57 17.63 11.47
9 White, Alex   U RFPO 54.14 20.41 8.92 14.37 10.44
10 Boyd, Michael   U RFPO 54.70 14.99 11.39 15.94 12.38
11 Larson, Addison   U RFRO 55.98 12.72 13.46 19.69 10.11
12 Komatsu, Jeff   U RFPO 56.52 13.88 15.52 14.53 12.59
13 Sawicki, Myron   U RFPO 59.40 15.94 13.46 16.38 13.62
14 McCurry, Jason   U RFPO 59.58 14.84 12.97 19.11 12.66
15 Pounders, Thomas   U RFPO 60.44 16.63 12.56 18.65 12.60
16 Meboe, Greg   U RFRO 60.56 14.94 10.55 18.45 16.62
17 Potter, Rob   U LTD 61.07 14.47 13.26 17.26 16.08
18 Sheppard, Bob   U LTD 62.19 14.65 13.72 18.95 14.87
19 Sawicki, Myron   U RFPI 62.36 19.93 11.70 19.10 11.63
20 Mortell, Jeffery   U RFPI 63.27 17.50 12.74 18.89 14.14
21 Dec, Theresa   U RFPI 63.34 15.33 15.26 19.53 13.22
22 Sheppard, Bob   U OPEN 63.75 15.37 13.89 19.29 15.20
23 Huffman, Joseph   U ISP 64.57 15.44 13.81 19.43 15.89
24 Morris, David   U RFPI 65.49 14.41 15.44 20.14 15.50
25 Miner, Bradley Jr   U PROD 65.68 12.65 18.78 19.14 15.11
26 Bakken, Lance   U RFRI 68.93 19.84 14.75 18.76 15.58
27 Kanter, Jeffrey   U CFI 69.29 16.84 16.40 20.75 15.30
28 Paczosa, Dan   U PROD 69.33 15.38 15.84 23.38 14.73
29 Tomczyk, Lukasz   U CFL 70.35 16.58 14.78 22.87 16.12
30 Tomczyk, Lukasz   U OPEN 70.68 15.15 17.41 22.31 15.81
31 McCurry, Jason   U PROD 71.55 16.57 15.53 22.41 17.04
32 White, Eric   U CFL 72.97 16.96 18.20 23.00 14.81
33 Breitkreutz, Gale   U CFO 73.20 20.54 15.46 19.70 17.50
34 Meboe, Joey   U RFPI 76.94 16.08 13.62 32.82 14.42
35 Potter, Rebecca   U LTD 79.48 19.62 19.00 22.77 18.09
36 Komatsu, Jeff   U CFI 79.56 15.52 21.81 23.91 18.32
37 Skedd, Jim   U CFL 80.67 19.20 20.50 22.06 18.91
38 Crow, Don AA5736 U PROD 81.44 18.30 22.60 21.65 18.89
39 Jensen, John   U PROD 81.50 18.65 20.95 24.20 17.70
40 Meisner, Mike   U CFO 83.08 21.00 19.59 25.68 16.81
41 Susan, Kleiner   U RFPO 85.26 20.05 18.47 25.14 21.60
42 Ridenour, Tim   U ISR 85.91 21.58 18.02 23.88 22.43
43 Mortell, Jeffrey   U PROD 89.48 18.80 19.58 33.95 17.15
44 Blackston, Rick   U PROD 91.23 23.44 22.30 27.19 18.30
45 Meboe, Oscar   U RFPO 91.97 21.91 16.17 34.37 19.52
46 Bakken, Lance   U PROD 93.09 29.76 27.83 19.49 16.01
47 Garden, Euan   U LTD 93.59 21.11 23.30 24.91 24.27
48 Miner, Bradley Sr   U LTD 95.62 18.57 29.57 23.38 24.10
49 Meboe, Isabelle   U RFPO 95.70 22.72 18.51 27.88 26.59
50 Dec, Theresa   U PROD 96.60 18.12 28.40 29.98 20.10
51 Paczosa, Connor   U PROD 98.63 23.51 22.50 28.03 24.59
52 Bakken, Emily   U RFPO 99.64 22.87 21.17 32.19 23.41
53 Garcia, Quinlan   U RFRI 99.68 24.47 16.89 34.75 23.57
54 Pounders, Thomas   U PROD 103.14 38.05 19.50 27.32 18.27
55 Waak, Jim   U RFPO 104.13 21.84 27.81 33.03 21.45
56 ALvarez, Ezzy   U RFPI 104.28 33.02 21.11 32.73 17.42
57 Jarus, Roon   U PROD 104.72 21.02 22.66 37.65 23.39
58 Wood, Sabrina   U RFPI 114.91 21.64 20.24 52.87 20.16
59 Pukalo, Chris   U ISP 115.82 27.79 31.98 29.30 26.75
60 Hurley, Tessina   U ISP 126.96 25.60 32.40 31.64 37.32
61 Crow, Gail   U PROD 157.63 32.73 35.05 54.43 35.42
62 Bakken, Emily   U PROD 160.11 38.79 45.57 44.84 30.91
63 Ma, Kenneth   U RFPI 20.72 17.17
64 Smith, Tim   U LTD 20.01 12.74

I’ve been wanting to get my classification stages completed so I could get a better sense of where I stand compared to shooters nationwide. But I keep getting repeats of stages I have already shot. This match was no exception. We had Smoke and Hope and Roundabout as the only two classification stages. At least I improved my centerfire times from my previous 18.76 seconds to 15.44 seconds on Smoke and Hope. But my time on Roundabout went from 18.67 seconds to 19.43 seconds.

With my rimfire pistol I came in 7th overall which is ahead of all the other pistol shooters, including open class pistol shooters. With my centerfire pistol I came in 23rd overall and 3rd among centerfire shooters.

I’m okay with that.

New shooter report

Several months ago Joycie expressed an interest in learning to shoot a gun. She had a couple scary incidents. One where she thought someone was in her house and another incident where a suspicious person was in her backyard.

Of course I immediately offered to take her to the range but for various reasons it didn’t happen right away. Finally Barb made the reservation for the training bay at the local indoor range and Joycie and her husband Michael put that time slot on their schedule. Here is the story from our time on the range last night:

They did the paperwork with the range, got the range safety briefing. We then walked through the normal range with stalls about half full of people shooting. Joycie jumped every shot fired but made it through to the training bay without chickening out. There we took off our hearing protection set up a table about 15 feet from the target line.

I’ve only one other student who was more nervous.

I started them out with the Ruger 10/22 with a suppressor so we could talk without hearing protection:


It was really too close for the scoped rifle, the target was just a little bit blurry, and the hits were an inch or so low from the point of aim. But these were new shooters and I wanted to make sure they could hit the paper without difficulty. They both did great with it.

Next I put the suppressor on the Ruger 22/45 and showed them how to shoot it:


Michael had no problems with it but it took Joycie a while to get the hang of getting both sights lined up on the target.

Next they tried the .22 LR revolver:


With no suppressor and such a light gun even the recoil from the .22 was intimidating to Joycie. She was able to settle down enough to get good hits by sitting at the table.

We were running out of time and I gave her the option of a 9mm or .40 S&W pistol or an AR-15. Joycie asked if the AR-15 was an Uzi and if it would shoot out all the bullets one after the other. I smiled and told her no. It was an AR-15 and it shot one bullet for each pull of the trigger just like the other guns she had been shooting. She chose the AR-15.

Michael emptied a 30 round magazine with excellent hits in probably two or three minutes. We were very short on time and Joycie fired maybe five rounds with decent hits before we had to pack up and leave before they locked the doors on us.

As is usual, there was the new shooter smile and Joycie wants to try that again:


Joycie also wants to see what competition is like and may show up to watch a pistol match sometime soon.

Three-gun match results

As I said on Sunday I shot in three-gun match as well as the pistol match. I then said:

I haven’t seen the results from that yet but I expect I came in the top three or so. Maybe 2nd.

I was partially wrong:

Place Shooter Division Points Time Hit Factor
1 Joe H. Open (but iron sights) 261 106.93 2.4408
2 Adam M. Limited 214 94.18 2.2722
3 Steve P. Tactical 156 81.21 1.9210
4 Velle K. Limited 251 133.12 1.8855
5 Don W. Tactical 198 116.56 1.6987
6 Roger W. Limited Major 238 147.19 1.6170
7 Jesse W. Tactical 152 123.47 1.2311
8 Terri B. Open 242 281.8 0.7878

I had based my estimate on my time. I knew my hits (points) were good but I didn’t know they were that much better than everyone else.

I was a little annoyed that even though I had iron sights on everything I was put in open division simply because my shotgun had detachable magazines. Other people with scopes on their rifles were not in “Open”. I got the last laugh on that though. Adam had his rifle scope fail. It literally broke with internal components displaced and visible through the ocular lens. He was left with attempting to look under the scope along the barrel as best he could, seeing where his hits were, adjusting, and shooting again. He shot fast but had poor hits.


USPSA match results

I shot a match at the Lewiston Pistol Club today for the first time in years. In my squad I shot far better than anyone else but that didn’t hold true when extended to the other two squads. I did place first in the Senior category and I came in 4th out of 22 overall:

LPC Aug 2015 USPSA
Match Results – Combined
Place Name Member # Class Division PF Lady Mil Law For Match Pts Match %
1 Mcintosh, Adam A42720 M LTD MAJOR N N N N 434.6087 100.000 %
2 Ervin, Dylan A87751 A LTD MAJOR N N N N 410.6277 94.482 %
3 Meredith, Scott A87873 B LTD MAJOR N N N N 398.5651 91.707 %
4 Huffman, Joe TY29386 B LTD MAJOR N N N N 360.0485 82.844 %
5 Stone, Will A89845 D LTD MAJOR N N N N 358.8812 82.576 %
6 Piper, Steve A88114 B LTD MAJOR N N N N 345.5529 79.509 %
7 Stratton, Sean A83500 B LTD MAJOR N N N N 342.5806 78.825 %
8 Wood, Don TY25263 B SS MAJOR N N N N 307.4082 70.732 %
9 Wisniewsk, John   U LTD MINOR N N N N 287.5903 66.172 %
10 Watson, Roger 1(L10) A75534 C L10 MAJOR N N N N 286.1616 65.844 %
11 Moore, Bill TY67422 C LTD MAJOR N N N N 267.5720 61.566 %
12 Humann, Jodi L3876 D PROD MINOR Y N N N 255.6300 58.818 %
13 Watson, Jesse   U LTD MINOR N N N N 248.9564 57.283 %
14 Kolde, Velle 2(LTD) A29239 U LTD MAJOR N N N N 241.0669 55.468 %
15 Wisniewsk Jr, John   U LTD MINOR N N N N 225.5390 51.895 %
16 Watson, Roger 2(REV) A75534 B REV MAJOR N N N N 212.4302 48.878 %
17 Simmons, John FY75133 C LTD MINOR N N N N 198.5667 45.689 %
18 Cogburn, Gene   U OPEN MINOR N N N N 189.1096 43.513 %
19 Mangels, Kim A91015 U LTD MINOR Y N N N 157.5848 36.259 %
20 Binkley, Teri     OPEN MAJOR N N N N 114.5484 26.357 %
21 Stratton, Savanha   U LTD MINOR Y N N N 36.1257 8.312 %
22 Piper, Renee   U LTD MINOR N N N N 27.1287 6.242 %

I probably didn’t get high enough Hit Factor on the Classifier stage to push me back up into the solid B class but since I started shooting with this club back in the mid ‘90s I considered it a win for me if I came in ahead of Don Wood. I accomplished that goal today so I’m pleased.

There was also a three-gun match after the USPSA pistol match. I shot it in as well. I haven’t seen the results from that yet but I expect I came in the top three or so. Maybe 2nd. Some of the other really good shooters had equipment problems. I had one failure to feed with my shotgun but other than that everything ran really well.

It was really nice to visit with people I hadn’t seen in years and catch up on things with everyone.

I should have taken pictures. I don’t know why I didn’t. Maybe because it was hot. I know that part of the time I was not feeling well. Drinking another half liter of water seemed to fix that problem so after that I drank a liter or so at each stage of the match. Did I say it was really hot?

Another form of shooting brace

For handguns. Apparently it’s “not an NFA item” because it doesn’t actually attach to the handgun. SO if you duct tape it…

It seems like an OK idea on the surface. Some will of course say that if you “learn to shoot” you won’t need it, that you should be able to get the gun’s inherent accuracy, or near to it, in practice without that kind of support. That’s a nice theory I suppose.

My problem with it would be that the sights are now that much closer and I already have a hard time focusing on the front one as it is unless I’m wearing special corrective lenses or looking through a small aperture. So now I’d need a Glock with a peep sight, which would suck when used at arms length. That or a reflex sight. Or one of those pasty apertures you can stick on your glasses.

Run and shoot? Or just shoot?

USPSA matches frequently have stages which can be shot many different ways. It’s a thinking game almost as much as a shooting game. What is the best way to shoot this stage? And the best way depends on the shooter. Can they easily make long distance shots? Can they run and stop quickly? Can they shoot better over or under obstacles?

One of my biases has always been to run to a set of targets and shoot them from close up rather than shoot from a distance. I consume time running but I can shoot a lot faster and get better hits when I am close to the targets. But there is a tradeoff. If there is only one target then almost always it is going to be better to take your time and make one or two carefully aimed shots rather than run 50 (or more!) feet to hit a full sized USPSA target. So how do you know when you should run and when you should just shoot?

I’ve always just sort of guessed and sometimes had dramatically great results. So much so that I have had better scores than Master class shooters and the shooters who followed me would shoot it “my way” rather than the way others had been shooting it before me.

But how can one know which is the better way, without shooting the stage both ways, rather than relying on intuition? I decided to do some tests. I reserved a bay at the local indoor gun range and placed a bunch of USPSA targets at the end of the range. I then moved back various distances and tried shooting the targets various ways.

In each test I shot carefully enough to get all A-zone hits.

At 15 yards I found I could run to about one yard away from the targets and then get a single shot on the first target in about 3.5 seconds. The second shot on a target required about 0.20 seconds. As I moved parallel to the target line the transition to each new target required 0.40 seconds. From 20 yards the run time was about 4.4 seconds with, of course, the same splits on the targets as I moved parallel to the target line.

From a low ready position at 15 yards it took me about 1.3 seconds for the first shot with splits of about 0.55 seconds regardless of whether it was the same or a different target. From 20 yards it was about the same acquisition time for the first target but with splits of about 0.95 seconds.

I also tried shooting at the same time I moved toward the targets. This took much longer than either of the other methods.

From this information I made a spreadsheet that allowed me to explore the decision as to run and shoot or just shoot. The results surprised me. I expected that at greater distances it would be require more targets to make it more worthwhile to just stand and shoot rather than just shoot. But that wasn’t the case.

At 15 yards I should run and shoot if there are five or more targets. Otherwise I should just stand and shoot. At 20 yards I should run and shoot if there are only three or more targets.

It turns out the time to run goes up linearly with the distance but the additional split time (compared to shooting from one yard away) goes up at a faster rate. I was going to extrapolate from these two data points to different ranges but with the split time varying in a non-linear fashion I need more data to be able to do a proper extrapolation.

Steel match results

On Monday evening I received an email saying the normal match was canceled. No reason given. On Tuesday morning I got another email saying “Change of plans…The Steel Match is back on for this Saturday the 25th.”

It was a cool and cloudy day and sort of dreary but I have never been on a ferry ride that I didn’t like:


Chatting with people before the match I found out the reason for the cancellation was because the weather forecast was for rain. The reason for having the match anyway was because a couple people sent email saying they wanted to have the match anyway. It was sprinkling a little bit before the match. During the match only a few drops came down but we didn’t get wet.

We suspected the questionable weather was the reason for there being only eight people who showed up. With only eight people we just ran one squad and had more time to socialize during the match than usual.

The stages weren’t quite as interesting as they have been sometimes but there was a good variety. As is usual for this match they use a yellow stop plate:


In most of the pictures if you look closely enough (click on the picture for a higher resolution photo), you can see the tennis ball used for the aiming point for starting if you aren’t using a holster. No one uses a holster for rimfire guns and combined with the lower recoil the rimfire people turn in some really great times.

That last stage is very similar to the stage we called “Drag Race” at the March 28th match:


The stage yesterday was a little slower than back in March because of the position of the stop plate but I still did well on it. Some people were impressed with one string in particular which, IIRC, using my STI in .40 S&W, I completed in 2.93 seconds with 1.59 seconds used for the draw and first shot. I know it was below three seconds because Jeff said that was the time he wanted to beat. He came very close. He had one string of, IIRC, 3.08 seconds. And one of 3.15 which included a miss, and a makeup shot, on the stop plate. If he had not missed it would have been 2.75 seconds. Also of note is that all the other centerfire shooters were using 9mm which has a lower recoil but I do fine with the .40.

To me, even though I can repeatedly do it, it’s almost unbelievable to be able to draw and shoot five targets of that size, at that distance, in about three seconds. After consuming 1.5 seconds on the draw and first shot the split times between the other shots average a third of second.

Both my guns ran perfectly and although I had a few misses things went well.

The match results were as follows:

RF Rifle Optic Sights
Jeff Kanter 57.87
CF Pistol Iron Sights
Joe Huffman 82.6
Bruce Barchenger 84.6
Jeff Kanter 91.66
John Hamilton 96.88
Dennis Bohling 153.15
RF Pistol Iron Sights
Joe Huffman 69.39
Allen Vautier 84.14
RF Pistol Optic Sights
Jim Dunlap 77.47
Susan Kleiner 94.8

It’s a game

I participated in a USPSA match on Sunday. It was the largest local match I have ever participated in. Originally they told us 97 people were attending but the results only show 92 so maybe some people left without shooting. That would be entirely understandable. It was a hot day for the Seattle area. It was 97 F when I left. The sweat was dripping off of me most of the time and I consumed two liters of water without once using the bathroom. Including my travel and registration time I spent 10 hours participating. It’s a good thing it was fun.

Marysville Rifle Club has stages that are more complex and challenging than those I have found at any other club. Don’t fool yourself into even thinking for even a millisecond these are anything like real life scenarios. They are problems to be solved using gun skills and your ability to move. It’s a game and this match demonstrated it better than any other match I have attended.

Here is an example:




Where, in real life, might you find something that looks like this?

Other stages were difficult because there were targets which were hard to find even when you weren’t on the clock. I, as well as many others, overlooked one target because of this and got a lot of penalties for it.

One stage required us to run about 60 feet then shoot a bunch of targets. I ran, shot targets, started to move to the next set of targets and reached for one of my four spare magazines on my belt. Three of them were gone. My stopping at the first set of targets caused the magazines to fall out of their holsters. This was a 30 round stage and I had just dropped one of my two remaining magazines that still had ammo in it. I had planned to do another reload when I moved between target arrays again. The magazine that remained was my one special magazine. It has a special follower that allows it to hold 19 rounds of .40 S&W. Along with the “super powers” the follower has a flaw. It doesn’t lock back the slide when the gun is empty. For this reason I don’t normally use it but it gave me 20 rounds in the gun and I decided to continue on without going back to look for the missing magazines or pick up the one I just dropped from the gun. I finished the stage with one round to spare.

An unusual thing did happened on a couple stages which can be blamed on the polymer coated lead bullets. They produce a lot of smoke. When shooting targets in deep shadows while the gun is in the bright sunlight the targets would sometimes nearly disappear in the smoke after a couple shots. The smoke reflected the sunlight creating a bright cloud between me and the targets.

As interesting as the previous stages were they weren’t the “best” one. Check this one out:


See the Texas Star on the right? Here is someone shooting one the conventional way:

In our case we had two Texas Stars. One on each side of the barricade. We also started the stage over 100 feet away and had to shoot 11 other targets on the way to the barricade.

It turns out that barricade has a special name. It’s called a Rhodesian Wall. The 1996 January/February issue of Front Sight, the USPSA magazine, had this to say about Rhodesian Walls:

With a Rhodesian Wall, which is not commonly used any more, the shooting position is a raised box behind a wall with a stout rope hanging down the middle. The problem is that the wall is so wide that you can’t shoot around it except by holding onto the rope with one hand, leaning around the edge and shooting one-handed while keeping the feet on the box.

Here is one of the participants in Sunday’s match practicing on the wall:


Yes. You had to shoot small moving targets one handed, around both sides of a barricade, while dangling from a rope, after running over 100 feet.

I have never seen such a difficult stage before. Many people in our squad ran out of ammo before hitting all the plates on the Texas Stars. One guy left three plates on one star and hadn’t even shot at the other one. With misses like that you end up getting a zero on the stage. There were stage times approaching 200 seconds. And I saw one guy get disqualified for breaking the 180 on this stage.

Fortunately last Thursday I went to the range and practiced my one handed shooting. I did well on this stage completing it in 42.12 seconds (an average of 1.316 seconds per shot) with no misses. I had good hits on the paper and got 154 points. The Grandmaster shooters in Limited came in with times of 32.80, 36.83, and 39.48 seconds with points in the range of 150 to 152.  This put me at 7th out of 33 in Limited Division and 13th out of 92 overall.

That was my high point of the match. I also did decent on the classifier for a change. I might actually get my classification back up into the B range with that stage.

The worst stage was where I overlooked the target and had a miss on another target racking up 40 points in penalties.

I had misses on other stages as well. It was very common with even Master and Grandmaster shooters having misses.

Overall I was pleased with the results. My gun ran perfectly. But the fiber optic front sight insert did disappear sometime along the way, I think it might have been on the Rhodesian Wall stage. It is very fragile and I had to shoot through a port there (as well as several other stages) and it is easy to bump it on the edges of the port. But the irons were still fine and I didn’t really miss it.

Overall, across all divisions, I came in at 40th out of 92. In Limited I came in at 13th out of 33. In B class, I came in 2nd.

Here the blog post of Loke Tan who was at the match and came in 3rd overall. He also made a video of him shooting each of the stages:

Ammo matters

I tested out some different .40 S&W ammo the other day. Although I usually use my reloads I like to know which factory ammo can also be used. I seldom have reliability problems with centerfire ammo but accuracy is frequently a problem.

I was very pleased to discover that Federal RTP40180 (RTP => Range Target Practice) did well in my STI DVC Limited. The two groups below are offhand at 10 yards and 25 yards:


The groups are small enough I believe about half of the group size is due to user error. Compare this ammo to other ammo I have tested in the same gun here.

What I find odd is that I can’t find the ammo on Federal’s website although several websites have the ammo for sale at a good price.

Steel Challenge match results

Ry and I went to a steel challenge match yesterday. I shot both a .22 and my STI. The .22 ran perfectly. But with my STI I had one round with an oversized spot (0.434”, versus the specified 0.4241”) just above the extractor groove which locked up the gun hard. I had to grip the slide tightly and bang away on the grip with the palm of my hand to get the round extracted.

I had about 100 rounds of the polymer coated lead bullet cartridges left. About half of them would not fit in the case gauge. Last week I purchased the Lee Precision 40SW10-mm Carbide Factory Crimp Die and ran all the rounds through that die and tested about 20 or 30 cartridges. They all fit or were just a little tight. I tested the tight ones in my barrel and found they dropped in just fine. I didn’t bother to run all of them through the case gauge and paid the price for it. I think it may have come from an old batch of reloads from before I started putting all my brass through the Redding G-RX Carbide Push Thru Base Sizing Die. I had assembled thousands of rounds with that brand of bullet before I got the die. Some of the older rounds could have gotten mixed up with some of the newer ones. It didn’t matter as long as I was using my old gun, but it matters a lot with the new one.

Anyway… I finished off all of the existing rounds that might have the problem and should be fine for the future as long as I used both the specialized dies for the new gun with the tight chamber.

Here are the results:

Rimfire Pistol

Stage # SCSA ID Stage Name
1 ?? Go Fast
2 ?? In & Out
3 ?? Focus
4 ?? Speed Trap
5 ?? Saving Ammo
Place Name Comp SCSA Division Aggregate Total Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 DQ Additional
1 Adam T 3 RFPI 49.74 49.74 7.95 11.28 11.81 12.19 6.51
2 Christian S 36 RFPI 51.41 51.41 7.30 10.66 10.56 9.86 13.03 Junior
3 Alexander W 31 3362 RFPI 53.20 53.20 8.24 12.70 12.72 11.46 8.08 Junior
4 Mark P 45 A75542 RFPO 53.30 53.30 9.41 13.41 11.50 9.61 9.37
5 Jerry F 58 RFPI 53.98 53.98 9.94 14.90 11.51 11.37 6.26
6 Zane C 2 RFPI 66.01 66.01 10.22 17.15 15.75 12.97 9.92 Junior
7 Joe H 14 TY29386 ISP 67.01 67.01 11.10 16.28 16.95 13.53 9.15 Senior
8 Myron S 12 RFPI 67.36 67.36 10.98 17.53 14.73 16.09 8.03
9 Connor P 33 A87260 RFPI 68.21 68.21 10.00 16.82 17.30 14.76 9.33 Junior
10 Jim C 10 RFPI 69.54 69.54 10.36 14.82 17.33 19.67 7.36
11 Bradley M 35 RFPI 70.25 70.25 7.68 11.20 12.67 10.63 28.07 Junior
12 Myron S 4 RFPO 73.51 73.51 14.25 16.46 14.39 15.17 13.24
13 Tristin D 1 RFPI 77.13 77.13 9.42 18.81 19.83 16.92 12.15 Junior
14 Hugh T 5 RFPO 81.70 81.70 18.45 18.59 16.81 16.99 10.86 Senior
15 Jen M 38 RFPO 82.50 82.50 11.15 23.77 20.39 16.53 10.66 Lady
16 Addison L 29 RFPI 84.86 84.86 12.04 21.80 15.96 17.70 17.36 Junior
17 Michael S 30 RFPI 85.86 85.86 11.03 20.98 18.13 18.45 17.27
18 Sara W 49 RFPI 118.59 118.59 13.80 29.43 32.12 23.47 19.77 Lady, Junior
19 Adrian C 59 RFPI 123.71 123.71 14.09 28.32 22.98 19.56 38.76 Junior
20 David M 55 RFPI 131.45 131.45 16.04 28.32 34.43 19.21 33.45 Junior
21 Montana F 53 RFPO 136.30 136.30 20.73 27.49 23.94 29.93 34.21 Lady, Junior
22 Sabrina W 54 RFPI 163.27 163.27 16.54 36.11 43.30 29.54 37.78 Lady, Junior
23 Chris B 40 RFPI 201.24 201.24 25.61 50.41 46.09 32.19 46.94
24 Ezzy A 50 5478 RFPI 220.02 220.02 18.45 68.17 41.63 51.51 40.26 Lady, Junior
25 Natalie F 51 5416 RFPI 267.15 267.15 38.52 69.24 54.48 54.34 50.57 Lady, Junior
26 Chet J 61 RFPI 534.27 534.27 120.00 120.00 120.00 80.60 93.67

Main Match

Stage # SCSA ID Stage Name
1 ?? Go Fast
2 ?? In & Out
3 ?? Focus
4 ?? Speed Trap
5 ?? Saving Ammo
Place Name Comp SCSA Division Aggregate Total Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 DQ Additional
1 Greg V 46 PROD 77.51 77.51 11.65 19.32 18.92 15.28 12.34
2 Bob S 47 ISP 84.97 84.97 13.43 19.05 21.34 18.18 12.97 Senior
3 Cel A 48 TY54938 PROD 91.81 91.81 14.85 20.28 23.04 16.77 16.87
4 Alex P 8 ISP 92.12 92.12 12.97 21.39 22.14 19.40 16.22 Military
5 Connor P 32 A87260 PROD 96.58 96.58 10.99 21.35 16.88 16.30 31.06 Junior
6 Dan P 22 A87261 PROD 96.86 96.86 13.13 22.90 23.40 19.01 18.42
7 Bradley M 34 PROD 104.51 104.51 17.20 17.15 18.66 15.81 35.69 Junior
8 Joe H 15 TY29386 ISP 109.83 109.83 14.48 21.89 25.06 20.59 27.81 Senior
9 Heather S 39 TY86040 PROD 111.81 111.81 16.33 23.92 23.64 18.98 28.94 Lady
10 Jeffrey K 42 A84426 PROD 116.89 116.89 14.93 27.46 25.84 23.77 24.89 Senior
11 Tim R 7 ISR 128.76 128.76 18.94 29.50 25.23 32.29 22.80
12 Eric W 23 3362 PROD 133.94 133.94 15.94 25.89 27.48 24.82 39.81
13 Bob L 24 ISP 140.66 140.66 17.18 28.39 30.18 28.78 36.13
14 John W 9 A66667 ISP 151.42 151.42 15.45 29.00 30.06 29.49 47.42 Senior
15 Mark P 44 A75542 ISP 158.89 158.89 13.31 96.63 19.30 16.93 12.72
16 Brad M 25 ISP 159.75 159.75 16.77 32.39 28.16 25.77 56.66
17 Tod R 27 ISP 168.42 168.42 15.18 46.86 34.97 30.33 41.08
18 Susan E 19 PROD 169.82 169.82 21.57 28.27 42.37 29.45 48.16 Lady
19 Ry J 20 TY76202 PROD 182.86 182.86 23.74 42.26 37.14 34.35 45.37
20 James W 17 PROD 186.00 186.00 17.84 45.95 36.87 33.38 51.96 Senior
21 Ryan R 26 PROD 188.69 188.69 23.44 41.63 37.54 34.83 51.25
22 Taylor C 28 ISP 220.87 220.87 22.46 45.73 63.07 29.10 60.51 Lady
23 Jen M 37 ISP 303.69 303.69 48.28 67.54 60.24 54.46 73.17 Lady
24 Chris B 41 ISP 403.49 403.49 56.08 87.44 99.55 91.04 69.38

I’m pretty pleased with the results. I was top Senior in Rimfire and came in second Senior in the Main Match. If I had practiced a few times in the two weeks prior I might have done a little better but for the most part things were going pretty well for me. Ry took a few videos of me on stage 1 (see also here, here, here, and here).

Here is a video of four of Ry’s runs on a different, far more difficult, stage:

The most disappointing part of the match was that, as she vowed last time, Taylor didn’t hang out with me this time.

Steel match results

As I mentioned yesterday I shot in another steel match on Saturday.

It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride:


Here are the match results:

Name Class Time
Steve RF-RI-O 43.96
Brian RF-RI-O 50.12
Brian RF-O 51.19
Steve RF-O 51.67
Jeff RF-RI-O 53.47
Joe Huffman RF-I 71.38
Joe Huffman CF-I 77.18
Steve CF-O 78.66
Bruce CF-I 88.87
Tanner RF-O 92.39
Brian CF-I 105.85
Jeff CF-I 106.59
MAC CF-I 107.50
MAC CF-RV-I 111.46
Tanner CF-I 112.99
John CF-I 119.07
Mitch CF-I 128.48
Susan RF-O 128.76
Rebekah RF-I 236.19

The codes are:

  • RF-RI-O: Rimfire, rifle, open
  • RF-O: Rimfire, open
  • RF-I: Rimfire, iron sights
  • CF-I: Centerfire, iron sights
  • CF-O: Centerfire, open
  • CF-RV-I: Centerfire revolver, iron sights

Even with the malfunctions I had I won in my classes. I felt like I was shooting very well. I wasn’t thinking, I just moved the gun past the targets and it went off when the sights were on the targets. Misses were rare. It feels really good to have things working like that again.

There were five stages. The times are the sum of all the best four of five strings fired on each stage. So with five stages and four strings per stage you can figure out that I averaged 3.86 seconds per string with my centerfire pistol. That is 3.86 seconds for a draw and five shots on five different targets.

With the rimfire pistol it was an average 3.57 seconds per string. With the rimfire pistol I did not have to draw. The start position for the pistol was pointing at the tennis ball you see in each of the pictures below:

This was a very fast stage. I think I had a couple runs that were under two seconds.

Two thousandths of an inch

As I reported last weekend I put all my polymer coated lead bullets through a max case gauge and still had problems with my new STI. I had saved one of those cartridges to diagnose the problem.

The cartridge still failed to chamber when stripped off the magazine by the slide when I tried it again at home. The bullet in that cartridge was seated too deep by about 0.040”. None of the others were too deep so I suspect it happened during the chambering of the cartridge. I pulled the bullet and reseated it at the proper depth and it chambered just fine. Hmmm… maybe the crimp just isn’t tight enough, the bullet gets driven deeper into the case, then the cartridge fails to nose down into the chamber as it comes off the magazine.

I shot in another steel match yesterday to get more samples.* On the first stage the first few strings went fine then a round failed to chamber the entire depth. I couldn’t pull the slide back. The gun was essentially locked up. I dropped the magazine, held tight to the slide then pounded the grip forward with the web and palm of my hand. The extractor pulled the round out and it was ejected. I put in a fresh magazine and completed the string in 17.xx seconds. I switched to my Montana Gold JHP handloads for the rest of the match and had no more problems.

I brought home the problem round and put in the case gauge. It fit just fine. I put it in a magazine and tried to to chamber it. It failed to chamber all the way. I tried dropping it directly into the chamber and dropping the slide. It chambered but again I couldn’t extract it without slamming my hand into the grip.

But the round fits just fine in the case gauge!

I measured the round. At the largest point it is 0.425”. The specification for .40 S&W is 0.423. So, it is oversized by 0.002”. But CASE GAUGE!

Hmmm… Maybe I have another case gauge around here… I did. I had lost one for a while and purchased another. I pulled out the other case gauge and the cartridge failed, big time.

These pictures are of the same cartridge in two different case gauges:


In the picture on the left I applied a couple ounces of pressure to get it to seat all the way. In the second picture I put the maximum amount of pressure I could comfortably apply with my thumb to get it in that far.

So why is just the ammo with the polymer coated lead bullets giving me problems?

I measured a few bullets. Depending upon which axis I measure the bullets they have a diameter of 0.400” to 0.403”. The specification is 0.401”. The Montana Gold JHPs I measured have a diameter of 0.399.

Here is the cartridge:


You can’t really see it but you can feel a bulge where the base of the bullet is in the cartridge.

Five conclusions:

  1. With a slightly over spec bullet and probably max thickness brass** I end up with an oversized cartridge.
  2. The Midway case gauge, on the left, is slightly oversized.
  3. My gun has a minimum sized chamber.
  4. Two thousands of an inch can make a huge difference in the reliability of a gun.
  5. I must use the L.E. Wilson case gauge (on the right above) for this gun.

I might be able to use the Midway gauge for some other gun(s).

Scary thought… Can you imagine needing your gun in a life or death situation and losing the fight because of two thousands of an inch?

* I can’t use this ammo at indoor ranges and I don’t have easy access to any outdoor ranges except when I shoot at matches.

** Not all cartridges with polymer coated lead bullets fail the tighter case gauge. Only some of them fail.