By Dan Varner
As we were setting up the course for the fall 98 match we were a bit apprehensive. Would it become the “Revenge of Lefty’s Revenge?” (see SAR Vol 1, No 6 )
Starting the match was an offhand weak/ strong hand array with one very tight shot per side. Of course, there was a little other trickery in there as well, but was it too much? Nope, in fact it turned into one of the most fun matches we have ever had the pleasure of hosting. Absolutely perfect weather all weekend blessed a large turn out of subgunners. A record gate attendance for the shoot that weekend as well, and not a raindrop or bad attitude in sight.
The match was a four-string weak/ strong hand all steel field course. The paper no-shoots were there simply to separate the strings. The shooter would start about twenty feet back from the first shooting position, “lead dispenser” loaded and ready to bark. On signal, move forward to an upright plywood barricade. Two arrays were addressed from the standing position at the barricade. Downrange, way downrange in fact, were two color-coded steel arrays. The rules required the shooter to engage the black steel from the left side and the blue from the right. As always the shooter could start from either side then move to the other side. With the closest targets 126 feet away (those were the pepper poppers), it was a challenging array. Certainly not impossible though as all the clean runs will attest to, but genuinely tough. After this, a spirited move about twenty five feet to the right leading to the first of two kneeling positions. The shooter was required to ground at least one knee, (more if they desired up to a total of two), beside a twenty-gallon drum. The first stop was the weak hand array. Shooting around the left side of the drum at eight rectangular plates placed high and low about forty feet out. A single no-shoot plate was in there just to keep it interesting. Then a move twenty or so feet to the right and there are seven more naughty steels to slay, only from the right side this time.
Finally the easy part, prone. It should be easy you get to lie down? Right? Some of the shooters did make it look easy, a lot easier than it actually was. Three poppers per side, not too many targets, only some miscreant person put a no-shoot between each one. The right side usually went a lot quicker than the left throughout the course and this string was no exception. Although usually getting on the target was the main challenge, reloading from prone did present its own challenges.
The quickest time through all this perversion belonged to Mr. M.G. Sawyer toting one of those evil, nasty, cigar smoking, UZI’s and turning in a 76.76 second clean run. Thirty-three targets, four stops and a belly whomp, thirty yards covered, that’s smoking, that’s how the fast guy’s did it! Not much more than a couple of seconds behind this show, with another clean run was Capt. Monty. After working his tail off all morning helping score shooters and re-setting steel targets, Malcome Davis was coaxed into trying the course and posted a clean run just under four seconds down from the quick time for the day for third place. Joe Carrere took time out from R.O. ‘ing and giving shooting lessons to beginning shooters to slap some optics on his controversial Port Said and lock down the fourth slot, doing it clean to boot. Rick Hill had a good raw time but one of the targets hid from him adding ten seconds and putting him fifth. Tom Carpenter shot it clean and cautious for sixth. A little aggravation on the left-hand prone string slowed Kevin Dellingers clean run down to seventh place. Larry Banks missed one for a trip to eighth place. Rick Kuehl tagged one of those expensive no shoots dropping him to ninth. (He said it insulted him and he shot it as a matter of honor. I believe that, but we’re still gonna penalize you for it.) Joseph White rounded out the Open class top ten with a clean run sporting one of them newfangled T.A.S.K. MAC M-11/9’s.
Classic class this fall was not exactly sedate either, Joe Carrere pried the optics back off his Port Said and locked down first over M.G. Sawyers slower clean run. (“Acceptable casualties” Joe insisted). Ron Davison stoked up the big mag and blew through the course, but a hand full of accosted no-shoots and a couple of misses brought him back to third. Capt. Monty’s classic run left one target up and one no shoot down. Brad Wyrick made a clean run with what some people believe to be an uncompeditive gun, the MP-40. He explained later. “A lot is in how you hold them”. Dale Summers borrowed Capt. Monty’s Port Said to make a cautious and nearly clean run. After shooting Dale spent the rest of the afternoon helping set steel and performing other unglamorous task that make our matches actually run, garnering the match “Nice Guy of the Day Award.” as well. Seventh place went home with Steve Murray . Another of those folks with low raw scores that were attacked by penalties. Then came all those Thompsons. Stalle Johannesen led the attack with his 1928, a cautious run electing to leave the tight left hand shot in lieu of spending too much time to execute it, accepting the penalty instead. Mike Miljan blitzed through and acquired about a minutes worth of penalties for his effort. Cain Grocox and his exceptionally clean Thompson M-1 closed out the classic top ten leaving only two up and two down. That’s how close it all was there. Some real good shootin off old guns and iron sights.
The title The Best of the Best also applied to the lady’s division, some serious competition here. Class winner Carol Lytle earned her win the hard way starting with a false start due to a misplaced target. Then on to another abbreviated run caused by a malfunctioning gun. The third time was the charm for her with a cautious but clean run for the win. Sibling rivalry dominated the next five places with Lynn Obert caught in the middle again. Lori shooting as an “individual team”, congratulations to her and her sweetest there! Any way she put down a good run with their MP-5A2 then hands it off to sis. Lisa made a cautious run but gets bitten badly by the tight steel on the first string . OK, no problem, there is time to re-enter with another gun, so a short time later it’s Sparky with the family MP-5A3. Another tangle with that dammable left hand steel, but it’s not over yet. Lori takes the A3 to a cleaner although a bit more cautious run to end up with second and fourth place. Lynn Obert probably sensing all this was coming, shot early in the day. Knowing where the water was over her head she chose to leave the obscenely hard targets and make an expedient run through. I am happy to report that there weren’t any “no-shoots” harmed in her run. R.O. Suzanne Bennett, after spending all weekend working hard helping layout, build, and then work the match made her run late in the day. Unfortunately she got too much into the Zen of squeezing singles out of her M16/9. A nearly clean run losing only one of the flat black left hand targets into the shadows of the late day, but leaving her with more time on the clock than she realized, or wanted, but still in for some of the tin.
Where do Bill Clinton and his fellow travelers find “no sporting use” in all of this? It was all for sport and certainly all for fun. We had fun setting it up, passing on actual skills like field surveying the shot angles and possible spatter cones, to an interesting diatribe from Marilyn Bennett on about how to get the last little bit of paint from a spray can. As well as some darn good practical shooting.
What fun is in store for the Spring 99 match? Well enough of all this doofy left hand stuff. Let’s take our buzz guns and go bar hopping. I know a quaint little place down by a stream. Gotta friend for you to meet, I’ll warn you though it gets a little rowdy there. See y’all at the creek.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V2N7 (April 1999)|