Ace of Spades handgun postal match

Jim, Sunk New Dawn, Galveston, TX suggested I participate in the Ace of Spades “easy, fun handgun Postal Match”. I’m not sure where the postal part comes in but I participated.

I made a video of the shooting. But it was indoors and my video glasses have dark lenses. I couldn’t see the X-ring without an orange dot on the target.

Here is my entry (click for a larger view):


And zooming in:


I used my Ruger 22/45 Target Model pistol which helped at the beginning. Near the end (I also fired 170 rounds in practice) the muscles around my shoulders got tired. They started getting numb and I was shaking. I think the flyers in the image above were probably from the last magazine.


I used Federal, American Eagle, 38 grain copper coated hollow point ammo.

Here is the video to show that I fired all 50 rounds at the required range in the required time (30 minutes max, I used less than four):

Smokeless powder basics

Widener’s has a web page and video Guide to Smokeless Powder (via email from Anne Taylor at Widener’s where I buy some of my reloading supplies). The basics are explained at a superficial but useful level:

Smokeless powder may be the most important component for any shooter who is reloading ammo and it’s probably the most complicated as well. With different characteristics and a ton of variables, gunpowder needs to be fully understood before you attempt to reload ammunition.

This guide will take you through the basics of reloading powder, show how all smokeless powder is not the same and demonstrate how the different characteristics of powder can make your reloads more effective depending upon your intended purpose.

I liked the video in particular (but check out the web page as well) because I have had people insist smokeless powder in open air will go up in a flash from a spark. My experience attempting to use it for recreational purposes in such a fashion was quite disappointing. This video is consistent with my experience. It’s tough to even ignite smokeless powder and, in open air, it burns slowly.

Me? Obsessive?

300 rounds of .40 S&W after I ran them through the case gauge:


I’m probably not quite as obsessive as you might think from the layout of the rounds on my desk.

I use a case gauge that holds 20 rounds:


This speeds up the gauge testing and allows me to count the rounds easily by organizing them into groups of 20 before I put them loose into an ammo can.

Action Shooting International match

I first noticed the existence of Action Shooting International matches several months ago. What is this? I was perplexed. How does this differ from USPSA and/or IDPA matches?

Last Saturday, October 8th, the stars aligned sufficiently that I was willing to go to a match at Renton Fish & Game Club and find out.

The stages are far more simple than most USPSA stages. And the scoring is time based like IDPA. And there are far fewer rules you have to keep in mind as you are shooting than IDPA. It’s intended for beginners, or as one guy quipped after the match, “It’s for shooters who have aged out of USPSA.”

Here is their elevator pitch from the home page:

Do you keep a handgun around for fun?

Here at Action Shooting International, LLC, we’re focused on giving you a chance to practice in a way that’s fun, and builds social connections with other gun owners.

We’ve put together a series of simple courses oriented on the practical use of handguns — along with a scoring system that promotes a relaxed, friendly attitude (like a bowling league). ASI shoots are competitions, but we’re more concerned about having fun and learning something along the way than fighting for every point.

From the rules we have their goals and principles.


  1. Maintain safety and safety awareness to the greatest extent possible.
  2. Provide a welcoming social experience where everyone can learn and have fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself at an ASI match, you’re not doing it right!
  3. Provide shooters with courses of fire that: – derive from practical themes – test accuracy at speed while developing dynamic gun handling skills
  4. Emphasize the local recreational shooter. A “win at all costs” mentality is not welcome.
  5. Emphasize gun handling, not athleticism.
  6. Provide thought-provoking shooting experiences, training opportunities, and demonstrations of interest to the ASI community – particularly at regional and national events.
  7. Provide shooting clubs with a turn-key program.


Participants at our matches shall:

  1. Explore the skills of “gun handling,” not tactics
  2. Treat caliber and magazine capacity as irrelevant
  3. Seek and use concealment
  4. Accept that as a practical matter, certain limits must be placed on equipment and conduct for reasons of safety, scoring, competitive equity, and the like.

It took me a few stages to get used to the importance of excellence in accuracy on a paper target where you can’t really see the scoring rings most of the time. I could see my shots were not as accurate as needed and at first I put as many as four shots on a targets instead of the required two. I had to slow down some and get my shots to count the first time.

I was able to use my STI DVC Limited gun without complaints by the match director. The stages were short enough or mandated a magazine change between the first and last shot that negated the benefits of 18 round magazines. And no stage required more than two 7-round magazines if you didn’t miss your target much.

Holsters are not required. You start from the low ready or with your gun on a table or on one stage inside a “briefcase”.

Here are the stages we shot:







I forgot to turn on my video glasses for one stage. Ignore my excessive shots as I try to get two good shots on each target on the first stage.

I did okay. The “main event” was four stages. I came in 8th out of 31 shooters. There were two “Bonus Stages” and I came in second out of 30 shooters in those. I was finally getting the balance of speed and accuracy required for this type of match.

USPSA Open Nationals

Here are the top 15 of the 177 participants in the USPSA Open Nationals from this last weekend:

Place Name USPSA Comp # Class PF Lady Mil Law Age Match Pts Match %
1 M T L3042 261 GM Major       1826.4678 100.000%
2 William D FY38810 71 GM Major       1805.9569 98.877%
3 Lesgar M TY45606 181 GM Major       1792.7980 98.157%
4 jj R L3137 213 GM Major       1790.1466 98.011%
5 Brad B TY44785 10 GM Major       1761.8592 96.463%
6 Shannon S L3936 317 GM Major       1749.1426 95.766%
7 Eddie G A49035 92 GM Major       1730.8187 94.763%
8 NILS J L3837 295 M Major       1728.4636 94.634%
9 Andrew H A68907 119 GM Major       1720.1235 94.178%
10 Cody B A81837 9 GM Major       1708.0140 93.515%
11 Robert P A74982 208 M Major       1651.0545 90.396%
12 Kincaid R TY78373 222 GM Major       Junior 1650.5828 90.370%
13 John V A79695 272 GM Major       1622.8528 88.852%
14 Brent L A73332 153 M Major       1620.2520 88.710%
15 Grant B A72358 29 M Major       1605.3293 87.893%

John V, at #13, is my son-in-law.

Rounds in the last month

Lifetime totals:

223.log: 2167 rounds.
3006.log: 543 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1351 rounds.
40SW.log: 53947 rounds.
45.log: 0 rounds.
9MM.log: 21695 rounds.
Total: 79703 rounds.

In September I reloaded 140 rounds of .223, 76 rounds of 30.06, and 1000 rounds of .40 S&W for a total of 1216 rounds. I caught up with my immediate ammo needs for .40 S&W. I decided to spend some time trying to develop loads I liked to use up my powder, primers, and bullets for rifles. Some of those primers and powders are over 15 years old.

I did the final chronograph testing at the Boomershoot site on Saturday. I’ll probably start cranking out 30.06 ammo this week and consume all the brass I have sometime this weekend. I’ll follow up with .223 the following weekend. I’ll probably have to switch back to .40 S&W for my practice needs before I consume all the .223 primers I have in stock.

Steel match results

I participated in the Whidbey Island match at Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club on Saturday. The ferry ride, as usual, was pleasant. I found Jeff at the same place on the ferry as last time and we talked as the ferry took us across the sound.WP_20160924_08_32_41_Pro

The weather was good, the stages were good, and my guns ran perfectly. But some of my shooting wasn’t as good as I hoped. Things just weren’t a smooth as they should have been. I had barely practiced in the previous couple of weeks. And that practice was only with the .22. In the Center Fire Iron sight division I came in second by 0.27 seconds.


The stage above was interesting. The start position for rimfire was with the gun pointed at the yellow stop plate. This is to make things just a little faster for what is already a very fast stage. Upon the start signal you fire two rounds at each of the white plates then one round at the stop plate. If you can get all five hits in 1.00 seconds or less they put your name on a plaque. Apparently it’s not horrendously difficult with open class rifles. The best I got was 1.81 seconds with an iron sighted pistol. I could do better if I worked on it for an hour, but I’m not sure I could do 1.00 or better.




The results:

Steve Mooney RF-RI-O 40.55
Jeff Kanter RF-RI-O 44.62
Jon Sletmoen RF-O 47.81
Jeff Kanter RF-O 48.17
Scott Bertino RF-RI-O 50.91
MAC RF-RI-O 51.39
JAY RF-RI-I 60.05
Joe Huffman RF-I 60.66
Mark Anderson RF-RI-O 61.80
Mark Anderson RF-O 65.48
Jim Dunlap RF-RI-O 68.31
Brian Lawson RF-RV-I 70.65
Steve Mooney CF-O 79.07
Jon Sletmoen CF-O 79.96
Bruce Barchenger CF-I 81.25
Joe Huffman CF-I 81.52
REV RF-O 82.16
Thomas Alldredge CF-O 91.83
Jim Dunlap RF-I 98.28
MAC CF-RV-I 102.18
Mark Anderson CF-I 102.29
Jeff Kanter CF-O 102.59
Jeff Sparks CF-I 106.08
LUC RF-I 107.91
Thomas Alldredge CF Strong 109.54
Justin Bonner CF-I 113.42
David Koch CF-I 113.64
Thomas Alldredge CF Weak 126.08
Mitchem CF-LR 127.86
LUC CF-LR 139.38

My average time per hit with RF-I was 0.6066 seconds and with CF-I was 0.8152 seconds. At the last match I shot here my average time per hit with RF-I was 0.6024 seconds. Last time with CF-I it was 0.8934 seconds with my old Ruger P89 and an IWB holster.

SVRC action shooting match results

Snoqualmie Valley Rifle Club (SVRC) puts on USPSA like matches once a month during the summer (they wimp out from about October through March). I usually don’t go because I go to the steel matches at Renton on the same weekend. I could do both because the SVRC match is on Saturday and the Renton match is on Sunday, but I would rather not use up both days shooting. Two weeks ago I had other plans (helping move Barb’s son Max to Bellingham for college) on Sunday. So, I decided to shoot at SVRC for the first time in at least 10 years, perhaps 15.

I would rather they would run USPSA matches and report classifier results but they don’t and some of the stages didn’t quite match USPSA requirements and they don’t shoot any classifiers. But they were fun stages and to my surprise two guys I had met 20+ years ago at the Microsoft Gun Club were shooting as well. I probably see Sean Flynn two or three times a year anyway and Steve Morrow perhaps once every three to five years. But they were both there. They both reported they had not shot at the SVRC matches in something like a year or more and so it was quite a coincidence we all showed upon for the same match. We got into the same squad and were able to chat some before and during the match. It was nice to hang out with them.

Here are the stages. Some were changed slightly after I took the pictures:

Cubbyhole 3

Happy Feet 2

Three Bills

Ballistic Boogie

The above stage was a little odd in that you had to shoot the steel and the two outermost targets from between the barrels in the foreground (start position was “hands on Xs”) free style and shoot the rest of the targets strong hand only from behind each of the barricades. Magazine changes using both hands were allowed.

Barricade Two Step

The results were as follows:

Match Results – Limited
Place Name Member # Class Division PF Lady Mil Law For Match Pts Match %
1 Huffman, Joe LTD MINOR N N N N 446.8530 100.000 %
2 Coyne, Sandy LTD MINOR N N N N 395.9104 88.600 %
3 Dougan, Brian LTD MINOR N N N N 375.5056 84.033 %
4 Santos, Rusty LTD MINOR N N N N 352.7078 78.932 %
5 Robertson, Sean LTD MINOR N N N N 345.5319 77.326 %
6 Slade, Garrett LTD MINOR N N N N 337.1270 75.445 %
7 Mendoza, Mike LTD MINOR N N N N 317.7079 71.099 %
8 Parkison, Steve D LTD MINOR N N N N 313.8690 70.240 %
9 Enevold, Steve LTD MINOR N N N N 304.3926 68.119 %
10 Spann, Joe A LTD MINOR N N N N 296.5986 66.375 %
11 Bregante, Carlos A LTD MINOR N N N N 284.8117 63.737 %
12 Flynn, Sean LTD MINOR N N N N 268.2165 60.023 %
13 Morrow, Steve LTD MINOR N N N N 235.2793 52.653 %
14 Slade, Cameron LTD MINOR N N N N 225.5933 50.485 %
15 Bleile, Jack A LTD MINOR N N N N 162.5149 36.369 %
16 Strick, Fritz LTD MINOR N N N N 147.5495 33.020 %
17 Gieber, John LTD MINOR N N N N 102.0006 22.826 %
18 Holm, Larry LTD MINOR N N N N 72.9800 16.332 %

Everyone shows as shooting minor power factor even though many of us were shooting major. This is just one of the USPSA rules they vary on. Had I remembered this before the match I would have brought the ammo I use for steel matches, improved my times some, and tried to be more accurate.

Overall (including Open and other divisions) I came in 8th out of 35 shooters.

I knew I was shooting well. Several people commented that I was doing well at the time. And there were a couple Open division shooters in our squad who I knew to be good shooters and my times were close to theirs. But, I didn’t really expect to win my division. I have never come in first in any USPSA type match in this state before. I did make some mistakes. I can’t count as fast as I can shoot and there were three targets which required six shots on. On two of them I fired seven shots. And I almost forgot the mandatory reload between two of the targets which cost me some time. Then there was a difficult disappearing target which I fired at twice and only got one D-zone hit. I should have just skipped the target entirely and gone for a better time.

Still, I’m very pleased with the results.

I took video of Sean and Steve and told them about it after the match was over. Sean offered me $10 to delete his video (I declined). Steve didn’t seem at all enthusiastic about me posted his on YouTube so I didn’t do anything with his video either. I had some sort of problem with the camera on the stage Barricade Two Step and didn’t get my shooting of that stage. The other stages turned out okay though:

Quote of the day—Jesse Winton

Consider, for instance, the fact that gun crime rates typically have not risen in regions when the number of concealed-carry permit holders increases. That point goes a long way to convincing millennials that the problem isn’t simply the number of guns, it’s who is holding them.

Moreover, it’s worth considering that during the two-decade period from 1992 to 2011, violent crime rates fell nearly in half in the United States while the murder rate fell dramatically as well. Why is that significant? Because it was a period when gun laws nationwide generally became less restrictive (notwithstanding the experience in several major urban centers).

For all the hysterical talk about gun violence in the United States, the truth is that our nation ranks relatively low in terms of gun murders per 100,000 people. It is impossible to reconcile that with the fact the United States leads the world in civilian firearms ownership.

Jesse Winton
September 20, 2016
‘Inured to violence’ involving guns
Why millennials are skeptical of the gun-control agenda

[We need to keep changing the culture. It’s our best hope.

Someone at work came up to me yesterday and said, “It’s time to blow off some steam around here. Can you arrange some range time for a group of us to go to the range together?”

Uh, YES!

I reserved the training bay at West Coast Amory for us. I’m pretty sure there will be people who have never shot before attending as well as people with their own guns and former military and law enforcement people as well.—Joe]

Those who need to know already know what the following means. If it’s not crystal clear to you then don’t worry about it. It’s not for you.


USPSA Grandmaster son-in-law!

Daughter Xenia sent me a text message today to announce that her husband, John, is now a USPSA grandmaster in Open division!

Congratulations John!


Shooter Information:  
Shooter Name: JOHN E V
Member Number: A79695
Joined USPSA: 1/08/13
Membership Expiry Date: 3/31/17
Membership Info Updated: 3/02/16
Data On Web Updated: 9/21/16
RO Certification Info:  
RO Certification Level: None
RO Certification Date:  
RO Certification Expiry:  
Lookup Performed: 9/21/16
Classifications (updated 9/21/2016):
Open Class: GM Pct: 95.38 High Pct: 95.38
Limited Class: M Pct: 86.56 High Pct: 86.56
Limited 10 Class: M Pct: 77.37 High Pct: 77.37
Production Class: M Pct: 77.07 High Pct: 77.07
Revolver Class: U Pct: 0.00 High Pct: 0.00
Single Stack Class: M Pct: 68.56 High Pct: 68.56
Carry Optics Class: M Pct: 72.83 High Pct: 72.83
PCC Class: U Pct: 0.00 High Pct: 0.00

This could be a problem

The IEDs in New York and New Jersey may have been made with Tannerite. Forbes has an article about it:

First, to be clear, the name Tannerite is appearing in news stories attributed to unnamed law enforcement sources. Tannerite residue was reportedly found on the two bombs discovered in New York over the weekend. Other bombs linked to the suspect, Ahmad Rahami, who is now in custody, may have used different explosives. These reports may be wrong in part or whole.

The company that makes Tannerite is skeptical. Steve Yerger, an investigator for the company, says he has not been able to confirm with the FBI or other law enforcement agencies that Tannerite was in fact found in the New York bombs. What’s more, he says he doesn’t know how it could have been used.

In the company’s tests, says Yerger, Tannerite can only be detonated by the impact of a high-velocity bullet. A burning fuse, an electrical current, a hammer blow; none of those will work, according to him. There have been no reports that a gunshot was used to trigger the bomb that exploded in New York on Saturday.

I don’t believe that Tannerite can only be detonated by bullets. I would bet that a blasting cap of the correct type would detonate it just fine. Of course blasting caps are not easy to come by. But, still, I think an improvised blasting cap could be constructed that would do it.

There are a lot of people using Tannerite for recreational shooting. Certain people, mostly those afraid that someone, somewhere is having fun, have been trying to ban or put severe restrictions on Tannerite. But, prior to this, to the best of my knowledge Tannerite hasn’t been intentionally used to harm people or the property of others. People have done a lot of stupid stuff with it, but mostly they have hurt themselves and made messes they couldn’t clean up. If it was used in a terrorist attack, it could be a big deal.

But, of course, Amazon and the black market can easily supply what the free market can’t.

Those who need to know already know what this means:



This is a breath of fresh air:

Instead of practicing running, jumping and stabbing in all directions, it might be a really good idea to work on perfecting the basics. It is only when you have truly perfected the basics that a person is ready to learn advanced skills. Nothing will end a criminal attack like a smooth draw and an accurate hit to the vital zone.

Nearly 40 years ago my first engineering mentor, Everett Nelson at Boeing, strongly advocated for the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Stupid.

This has served me well professionally in hardware, as well as software, design and development. I have found that one of the best indicators of a poor or novice engineer is the complexity of their designs. And if you knew enough of the history of Boomershoot targets you would recognize the evolution to better targets was in large part about making things more simple.

The self-defense, unarmed as well as armed, techniques taught at Insights also reflect this philosophy and is something I have always appreciated. Some other schools, as alluded to in the quoted article, show strong indications they are poor or novice designers of self-defense techniques.

Rounds in the last month

Lifetime totals:

223.log: 2027 rounds.
3006.log: 467 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1351 rounds.
40SW.log: 52947 rounds.
45.log: 0 rounds.
9MM.log: 21695 rounds.
Total: 78487 rounds.

I reloaded 1500 rounds of .40 S&W in August. All were Montana Gold JHPs for practice at indoor ranges. With my .40 S&W gun at the factory for repairs (I got it back yesterday!) and out of action for a month I should soon be fairly well stocked on .40 S&W. I’m probably going to reload some .223 this month. I have a lot of powder, cases, and bullets for them that I would like to get off my shelves. I may have to buy a few more small rifle primers.

If I reload just a few more rounds this month than last I will break 80,000 rounds for my lifetime total.

Steel match results

I participated in the Whidbey Island match at Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club on Saturday. The ferry ride, as usual, was pleasant. I wandered around a bit during the crossing and came upon these characters:


The two men in the foreground (Mike and Jeff) and the boy in the background ended up being in my squad at the match.

At first the weather was a bit chilly for the t-shirt I was wearing. It had been very hot the previous few days and I didn’t check the weather forecast. Within a half hour it warmed up to the point where it was quite nice and I didn’t suffer for lack of my preparation.

With my STI DVC back at the factory for repair I used my old Ruger P89 for Centerfire Iron sighted guns (CF-I) and my Ruger 22/45 for Rimfire Iron sighted guns (RF-I). The only holsters I had for the P89 were inside the waistband types and that made for a little slower draw than the competition holster with my STI. The double action first shot slowed things down some too. But, nearly 20 years ago, I had shot tens of thousands of rounds through my P89 and I had been practicing with in the last couple of weeks. The memory of how to shoot it fast seemed to come back and I did okay with it.

The stages were interesting. I forgot to take a picture of one of them with my cell phone and did a screen capture of the video from my video glasses



I have never seen a stage like the following one. The tiny plates in the center had to fall. You hit one of these for each string as the stop plate.



In this stage you shoot each of the two white plates twice, then shoot the stop plate.


Here are the results:

Shooter Division Time
Steve Mooney RF-RI-O 40.22
Jeff Kanter RF-RI-O 44.66
Jon Sletmoen RF-O 47.63
Steve Mooney RF-O 49.81
MAC RF-RI-O 50.85
Dan Lavaty RF-RI-O 52.18
Scott Bertino RF-RI-O 53.78
Joe Huffman RF-I 60.24
Jim Dunlap RF-O 76.59
Craig Justus RF-I 76.88
Oscar Meboe RF-RI-O 77.25
Steve Mooney CF-O 79.24
Thomas Alldredge CF-O 81.41
Jon Sletmoen CF-I 81.51
Joe Huffman CF-I 89.34
Jeff Kanter CF-O 92.06
Brian Lawson CF-I 93.12
Steve Murphy RF-I 100.25
Scott Bertino CF-I 101.45
Jeff Sparks CF-I 105.70
Mike Meisner RF-I 105.97
Marcus Meisner RF-RI-O 108.88
Jim Dyment CF-I 114.61
MAC CF-I 114.90
Steve Murphy RF-I 142.76
Steve Murphy CF-I 146.34
Dan Lavaty CF-I 151.30

My average time per hit with RF-I it was 0.6024 seconds and with CF-I was 0.8934 seconds. At the last match I shot here my average time per hit with RF-I was 0.7203 seconds. With CF-I it was 0.8514 seconds.

I think it is telling that compared to last time my RF shooting was much faster but with CF my shooting was slower. The gun and holster made the difference.

4000 meter rifle shot

While this is not particularly practical it may be that research into how to make such shots have application in extending the range in more ordinary situations:

They started at 100 m to establish zero

Then to 1000 m to confirm zero. Then to 3000 m. They ran into problems with ranging binoculars (Steiner & Vextronix) “stalling out.”

Consistent muzzle velocity is key. Their loads were within a small range, but a 1 m/sec change in muzzle velocity causes an 80 cm vertical shift in impact point — meaning 1 fps change alters that impact point almost 10″ in the same direction. So you see that firing at 4000 meters is really at the ragged edge of what’s possible with field-employable sniper-type equipment, in 2016. At 4000 m

Third, or possibly, fourth, shot was heard to connect by a forward observer.

Also, dropping a projectile in on a group of bad guys from such distances may cause them to slow or stop their current activities and attempt to deal with the perceived threat with low cost and little risk to the shooter. Sometimes slowing down enemy activities or distracting them, even by a small amount, can result in significant changes in outcomes.

Via email from kb.

Unusual malfunction

I have never seen a malfunction of this type in a handgun before. Two 9mm cartridges became wedged in the middle of a Ruger P89 magazine:

From the bottom looking up.

From the top looking down.

Carry a spare magazine with you because this is a time consuming malfunction to clear.

16th Century Revolver

An eight-shooter from over 400 years ago. But those who wrote the constitution could never have imagined a multi-shot firearm.

Am I seeing a barrel-mounted, spring operated indexing pawl which engages tiny notches in the front of cylinder between the priming pan covers? On the other hand, maybe that lever on the right side behind the cylinder is part of the index locking mechanism.

Now what we need is a gas-operated, automatic firing, flintlock chain gun artillery piece.

What media bias?

Via Paul Koning we have The Unknown Olympic Champion Kim Rhode has won medals in six games. Cue the non-coverage:

How do you manage to win a medal at six straight Olympics and remain more or less unknown? The answer: win by shooting a gun. American skeet-shooter Kim Rhode last week became the first athlete, male or female, to win a medal at six summer games and the first on five continents, but don’t look for her on a box of Wheaties.

Mrs. Rhode, who won a bronze medal in Rio, has received little media attention despite her historic feat. The 37-year-old also lacks a single major corporate sponsor, though her ammunition and training costs are offset with sponsorship and donations from such firearms companies as Beretta and Otis Technology.

Her agent told Bloomberg he had pitched the sharp-shooter to more than 20 companies, with no luck. Our guess is they don’t want to risk a backlash from the progressive antigun culture. It probably doesn’t help that Mrs. Rhode is an outspoken critic of gun-control laws and a Donald Trump supporter.

What media bias?