Monday, March 31, 2008

More pics from yesterday

Note the determined looks on everyone's faces. Shooting steel quickly takes a lot of concentration. The key is focus on the front sight, squeeze the trigger quickly, and keep moving. It doesn't hurt if you know how to count either.
Gary. Camera was downrange. Note the trail of smoke coming out of the barrel.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Practicing steel

Tino and Barb drove up to practice steel with us in preparation for the PSA shootout.
Paul S. in mid reload. Note the mag about 8 inches below the gun.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New poll

Please take a minute to take the poll to the right. This blog is getting an average of 100 hits per day and I am curious where they all come from. 100 is a pretty good number for a site that only holds interest for about 150-175 people.

Also, if there is a topic you would like to see covered here leave a comment to this post. I'm always looking for something to post about.

And thanks for taking the time to check this blog.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Joining the York Izaak Walton

People ask me all the time how to join the York Izaak Walton and what it costs. Joining is easy and the cost is a bargain when you consider all that our club has to offer. Our annual dues are $75. Besides the rifle, pistol and trap ranges we ahve a variety of programs for all ages including archery, fishing, and several different family events. To join go to the clubs website at (link in right column) then click on membership, then application. While on the membership page you can see a larger list of the things available to our members, but even that list is not everything.

Fill out the application and send the completed application and a check for $125 1st year dues + $50 initiation fee)to me and I'll fast track it. If you need my mailing address email me. Once I have your application I'll get the sponsor signatures you need and turn it in at the next board meeting (always the 1st Tuesday of the month) It will be approved. I've never seen an application refused. At the next open meeting, which is the third Tuesday at 7:00pm, you can pick up your card, or if unable to attend they'll mail it to you.

The York Ikes have over 1000 members, but we're always looking for more. Amazingly with that many members the ranges are never crowded.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

GM tip

GM Paul M. sends this simple tip: ALWAYS take a sight picture. He is absolutely correct. I see shooters make this mistake all the time. When you are given the "Make ready" command you should always cock your handgun, put your safety on, if applicable, and reholster. Then, draw and dryfire on a target, preferably the first target you will engage.

This accomplishes several important tasks. First it allows you to check to see if your dot is turned on if you're shooting Open, or that your sights are intact if you're shooting irons. (I've seen a bunch of iron sight failures in my time, especially since the advent of the fibre optic front sight) Second, it reminds you what the proper sight picture looks like and will help you find it faster. Third, it reminds you of the proper grip and draw technique. And perhaps most importantly it will help you decide if you're facing the right direction. If your stance is correct the gun will naturally come up on the target.

Always means every stage, both at matches and practice. Remember that you will shoot at matches like you do at practice. Practice like you mean it every time.

By the way, the command is now "make ready" not "load and make ready" as some stages do not require a loaded gun at the start.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Your most expensive friend

One of my buddies once told me I was the most expensive friend he ever had. That's because I was constantly finding ways to spend his money on the bargains I found. Here's one for all of you.

There is some possiblity that the upcoming presidential election may not turn out well for gun owners. Particularly semi-auto rifle enthusiasts. In light of that I decided I better buy a couple more AR-15 lowers. So I researched it a bit and yesterday acted. The best place I could find to buy them was They have a nice selection. They sell DPMS lowers from $105 up depending on configuration.

The process is actually quite simple.
1. I faxed them a copy of Artistic Edges FFL. (You wouldn't have to do that, now that it's already done)
2. I called them and told them what I needed (6 various lowers)
3. Told them to ship to Artistic Edges.
4. Paid with credit card.
5. Called Joe and told him that there were uppers on the way and asked him to call me when they arrive in a few days.
6. When they come in I go to Artistic Edges and pay him $35 per unit for doing the proper paperwork etc.
7. I put them in safe as a great investment, or maybe build a new toy or two.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

April USPSA match(es)

It's never too early to start thinking about our next match. April 13th we'll be hosting 2 of them. One will be a 5 stage pistol match with stages designed by Sean M. The other will be a 4 stage shotgun match designed by Dave A. You'll be able to shoot one or both of them. Pistol only shooters will shoot at 10:00am and be able to leave afterwards. Shotgun shooters will shoot one gun in the am and the other gun in the afternoon. Don't panic. It's not time to sign up yet. I just thought it might be nice to remind you to break out the shotgun and warm it up. Expect the sign up notice around April 8th.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Saturday's Funshoot

Despite the cold, and snow flakes, we had a fun time Saturday morning. 16 shooters and a couple of guests showed, for what turned out to be just over 100 rounds. There are no pics, seems my camera doesn't like the cold either. I have also finally learned that Bowling Pins don't hold up to gunfire well when they are frozen, it was rather sectacular near the end of the day... We will have them back in a few months.
There will be a Funshoot in April, on the 26th, setup at 8;30, noise at 10:00.
Thanks to all who helped setup and teardown, I couldn't do it without you.
Below are the winners by class, congrats guys!

Rimfire, scoped Auto
Bernie Fallert
Rimfire, iron, auto
Chet wise
Centerfire, iron, revolver
Gary Coggins (New Guy!)
Centerfire, scoped, Auto
Dave Williams
Centerfire, Iron, Auto
Greg Jordon

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cleaning brass

This is not a well kept secret. There is a car care product available everywhere called "Nu-finish." I get mine at Walmart. Add an ounce or so to your tumbler whenever you clean your brass and it comes out shiny and slick, just like new. It is an inexpensive and readily available alternative to the formulas the gun companies sell. It works great with either walnut or corn cob media. People often ask me which I prefer. I can't tell the difference. They both work well.

People also ask how long to tumble their brass. That is a subject left to much debate. I know people who tumble theirs as little as 10 minutes and as long as 8 hours. Generally I tumble mine for about 2 hours. Maybe that's too long, but it shines like new and it's not like I have to sit and watch it.

I've never really tumbled loaded rounds, but that's because I never felt the need to. It would make your rounds more cosmetically pleasing and it's possible that the cleaner shinier rounds would go through the mags and chamber better. From what I understand, and believe there is no danger or downside to tumbling loaded rounds. But like I said I've never done it and have no personal experience with it.

While I'm on the subject I should mention that the Ike's pheasant committee still has corn cob tumbling media for sale. $10 for a 10# bag. That's actually a pretty good price. I was in Gander Mountain Thursday and they were selling 6# for $16.99+tax. You can pick some up at any of our matches or set-ups.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Smith & Wesson M&P

20 years ago when the Glock was introduced it crushed S&W. They had one failed attempt to make a polymer frame gun with the Sigma, and another unsucessful try with the SW99 even though it was a fair gun. This time they got it right. I have been a glock guy for a while, but after the last match I shot Pat C.'s M&P. You've probably read all the hype about it. It was featured in every gun magazine around. It lives up to all of it. I picked mine up yesterday and Ben and I tried it today. It's a great gun. S&W improved on the wonder pistol. It has steel sights and a better trigger than the Glock and much better ergonomics. If you're looking for a production gun you can't do any better. At $485 with two mags, grip inserts and a nice case they're a bargain.

Here's something about it you may not know. Buy one before April 30th and a part of their "Spring Spectacular" S&W will give you a $50 rebate and two more hi-cap mags. They come in all kinds of calibers and configurations but hurry, they're not easy to find.

In PA I suggest "Artistic Edges" 717-741-1750. Tell Joe Howard sent you and he'll take good care of you.

In MD try "The Christian Soldier" at 410-661-2666. Tell Rob I sent you. He looks out for my guys too.

Aren't they both weird names for gun shops?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Combos changed

All of the combos were changed yesterday afternoon. You should have already been notified if you are one of the deserving. If you have not been emailed regarding new combos and feel that you should have been email me. If you were emailed the new combos be sure you know them next time you go to the club.

All Izaak Walton members have range privileges on the front 3 pits. However, the right to use pistol committee props, and the back pits, is reserved for those who have earned it. Full access requires 18 hours of service throughout the year or 6 set-up days. If you need details on this or any other aspect of Izaak Walton membership email me.

Fearless leader of fun shoots, Gary. He'll be running one tomorrow morning if the weather cooperates. Try it if you have time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

April rifle match - postponed

I found a flaw in the schedule that requires us to reschedule the April 26th rifle match. The 26th-27th weekend is the PSA Shootout and a lot of us go to that. Therefore I think we are better off to find another date for the rifle match. I haven't really found one that is suitable yet but I will let you know as soon as I do. If you have any suggestions email me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring tune-up

Kirk M. (in the blue jacket in this picture from the March set-up)has passed along this reminder: Spring is an excellent time to tune-up your pistol. Spend a little time and a few dollars and prevent your gun from failing in a match later.

Tear your gun down as far as possible and inspect for unusual wear and breakage. Repair and replace parts as necessary. Replace springs whether they need or not. Springs wear out with no visible sign or warning. One day they work the next they don't. You should replace at least your recoil spring, mainspring, sear spring, firing pin spring and all of your magazine springs. This is not a terribly expensive endeavor when you consider what the matches cost that you could be trashing this summer.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm back!

This is who I really am. I had a lot of fun with the guys in the rain and mud of Bristol. We drank a lot of adult beverages, picked on each other constantly, stayed up late, and went to 2 races. I thoroughly enjoyed myself the whole time. BUT, I missed two matches, and every once in a while over the weekend I had that little feeling that I would rather be somewhere else, even though we were having a great time. I love shooting! Everything about it. I miss it like hell when I'm not doing it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Match pics and a weekend off

Mary H. shooting stage 6. Mary has the heart of a champion and a winning smile. She also shoots more A's than most of us.
Ben waiting for the beep on Stage 5. This kid is a problem for a lot of shooters now, but he is going to be for the rest of us very soon. He beat me up pretty well in practice yesterday. A little more experience and he's going to rule practical shooting. All I have to do is keep the little girls from ruining him.

No posts from me for the next couple days. I'll be at Bristol for the NASCAR race and some quality time with the boys trying to kill my liver.

Even more pictures from March match

Crew walking back from scoring the standards on the rifle range. 35 yards was tough for a lot of people, including me. The targets were a little farther on most stages than we usually have them. Over the past year or two we have gotten a little too close at Ikes. We are going to vary target distance more.
Andy S. RO's Pat C. on pit 5. Andy S. is one of the best RO's I've ever seen. Pat is a really nice guy, and a pretty respectable shooter too. He let me try his M&P after the match and I was very impressed. That thing is as accurate as my Edge. it has much better ergonomics than other production guns and a decent trigger. I would buy one for Production division without question. $489 for the gun two mags and a holster is very reasonable. Then you get a $50 rebate and 2 more mags. What a deal! S&W has really improved on the 20 year old design from Gaston Glock. Bernie hard at work. Nice weather for a nap during the back up on the rifle range.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More March match pics

One of our great Open shooters Dan B. in action on stage 5.
Barb D. Nice lady, very good shooter, and invaluable to our sport. She and her husband Tino run a great monthly match at Fredericksburg, in addition to the VA - MD Section Championship.
Joe D. on stage 7. Joe has just moved up from Florida and he's going to fit in well here. He's a very respectable Glock Jockey.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More match pics

John Z. pasting targets. John is one of my guys from when we first took over the Ike program from our founders who were burnt out. His wife Dawn is the stats lady. They deserve a lot of thanks.
Is Jayson playing air guitar? Having some kind of spasm? No. I think he is doing an air reload. Air gunning and air reloading are actually really great things to do. When doing it use good from and build your muscle memory as well as mentally ingrain when and where you plan to do specific things.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Delta, Mike?

I can't believe it. I was having such a great match!

Match pictures

Todd S. loading mags. He told me I couldn't get an action shot of him because he is too fast. I guess he's right. Although Jim H. won Open so apparently he is faster than Todd.

I plan on posting quite a few match pictures this week. I reduce the size of them to make them easier to upload and download. If you see a picture of yourself you would like in a larger format (7.1 mega pixels)email me and I'll be happy to send it to you.

Post-match report

Usually in March we run a powder puff match. Four wide open target run and gun field courses and 4 really easy classifiers. Today we didn't do that. Not only did I pick a couple tough classifiers, but Sean R. designed some very difficult field courses. Add to that 27 degrees at kick off and this was one of the hardest matches I've ever shot. I can't tell you how many misses I saw today (not just mine either). The number of shooters who walked away from stages shaking their heads was also too great a number to count. That match gave me a lot to look forward to. As in a long list of things I need to work on. I'm sure I'm not the only one composing their practice agenda after today.
Here is Greg J. and Dan B. ROing Pat C. on "4 Bill Drill". 35 yard shooting in the first match of the year for many was very humbling.

Interim results are posted at our website. There are a few changes to be made I know about already. If you see something wrong email me.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

More set up pics

Ben destroying the evidence. He comes from a long line of pyromaniacs.
Paul N. rigging poppers and a swinger on stage 6 or maybe stage 8. He is one of the guys I trust the most to make things like this work every time. I never have to double check his work.
The artist formerly known as Sean R. describing his vision of stage 5. One of the first stages he created. He really did a nice job designing the field courses for this match.
Kirk M. and Greg J. putting up walls. I'd be surprised if both of these guys aren't masters within a year, and they're not afraid to get their hands dirty.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Target Acquisition

The 4th thing (of 5) that we all need to practice. It's been a while since I posted anything in this series. That's because this is a tough subject to attempt to put into words. Once again, I'll try. I would most interested in your thoughts on this subject. Comment here or email me if you like.

Target acquisition is the act of getting the gun quickly and accurately from one target to another. That doesn't sound that hard to do. It's not. But it's extremely tough to do very well. It is basically the very essence of practical shooting. Everything we do revolves around shooting one target, then the next, and the next, and so on.

Accuracy is a key element in target acquisition. Not just accuracy on target, but also accuracy of movement. When moving your gun from target to target you do not want a fluid movement. You want more of a robotic movement. I'll try to explain the steps of the thing and maybe it will be clearer what I mean.

1. Finish the shot you're shooting first. If you don't follow through enough before starting the movement you can pull the shot off of the target very easily. At best, you call the miss and have to go back, or you may have to live with a miss.

2. See the next target. You can only shoot or move as fast as you can see. As soon as the sights have lifted and while you're still calling the last shot your eyes should be looking for the next object.

3. Move the gun quickly in a straight line with no unnecessary up or down movement to between your eyes and the target. Don't overswing either. Efficiency is the key here.

4. Shoot using the points discussed in the "accuracy" post.

5. Repeat, as needed, beginning with step 1.

How are we going to practice this?

- Dryfiring for one thing. With an unloaded gun and several targets you can practice seeing the next target and moving the gun efficiently.

- Live fire is more fun. Set up simple arrays with 6 or less targets and practice the basics of this element over and over.

Plate racks are good for TA drills. You can really get moving quickly down across the plate rack.

Static steel is nice for TA drills because they speed up your reset.

Use different distances to targets, and between targets. Use different targets too. 6" pie plates are great. Smaller targets really make you focus in.

2 specific drills I like are:

"The Phil Drill" Set up 4 targets at 7 yards (although I do at distances anywhere from 3 yds to 20 yds also)about 1 foot apart. Start by shooting a Bill drill (6 A's) on one of the targets on either end. Now shoot 2 A's on each of the other three targets. Strive to be able to shoot 2 A's on each of the 3 targets as fast as you can shoot 6 A's on just one. Believe it or not it can be done. This drill really teaches you to move the gun quickly. When you get pretty good at targets one foot apart start seperating them more and/or moving back.

"My drill without a fancy name" I don't know what to call this one, but it teaches the difference in the time it takes to acquire and shoot accurately targets at different distances. Set up 4 targets. One each at 5, 10, 15, and 20 yards. Draw and shoot 2 A's on each target. Repeat this drill starting on different targets, shooting close to far, or far to close, and any other variation you can think of. What you should notice is that it takes longer to draw on, and also to acquire and shoot accurately at the farther distances than the closer ones. Knowing how fast you can or should shoot targets at different distances is terribly important. Practice this drill until you don't need to make that judgement consciously.

Remember every time you practice anything that only A's are acceptable.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stream restoration work

Izaak Walton is a conservation organization first and foremost. One of our chief goals is taking care of our streams. This includes radically changing them when necessary. The pictured restoration work is being done near the club presently, and it includes changing the course of the stream in places to add more curves, as well as adding structure that slows erosion, and changing the banks to ease flooding problems. It is very expensive work. York Izaak Walton #67 probably spends over a million and a half dollars a year on average doing it. Luckily most of that money comes from state and federal grants.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Set up pictures

Not every club is fortunate enough to have 16 people show up for a set up detail. That's what we had yesterday. Sometimes we exceed 20.Here's Dan B. checking target angles, while John Z. and I look on.
Jim F. supervises while Jason F. Mark C. and Tom L. slave away on one of the 4 field courses. They are 24, 27, 29 and 32 rounds. When you add in the 4 classifiers we're looking at a minimum round count of 169. Not bad for the first real match of the year.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Set-up complete

Set up went extremely well today. An excellent crew showed up and the weather was decent. We got the 4 field courses designed by Sean R. up and I really think they're interesting. We'll also be shooting all 4 of the new 08 series classifiers. So the match for next weekend is on. Sign-up for that match will begin Tuesday.

Here are a couple shooting pictures I was sent this week. Karen F. pictured below at her first match. Her tutors Paul M. and Dave R. pictured above did a really great job preparing her.