Sunday, July 25, 2010

What the heck?

Your Correspondent came to shooting consciousness watching movies with green-clad US soldiers holding Garands and most especially, M1911A1 Colts.
There wasn't much question but that on the birthday of majority, a trip to the gunshop for a Colt 1911 was going to be the business of the day, and not the alcoholic rite of passage one might have expected.
All these decades later, that very same Colt, now battered-looking, missing blue, a crack in the metal here and there, still does nightstand and other critical duty nearly every single night.
It still emits Speer Gold Dots with monotonous regularity and alacrity but is rarely called into range duty anymore in deference to the teeny crack in the slide near the scallop that developed a few years back. It was welded and then subjected to some 3000+ rounds of full power service ammunition to see if the crack would reappear. Unfortunately, it finally did and until Kim the Master Welder gets his chance at it, restricted service is the order.
Perhaps the crack started long ago as the youthful owner simply filled and emptied the gun innumerable times, bullets cast from roofer's lead and plumber's alloy scrounged off jobsites being reshaped and launched with immoderate amounts of Unique smokeless. What that owner did not know, though, was that that recoil spring in there was supposed to have been changed every few thousand rounds.
That didn't happen; instead, perhaps 30,000 rounds, perhaps far more, were discharged before the coil in question was replaced with fresh metal.
There are a number of other pony-marked 1911s in the safe these days, of course, all of them no doubt better looking and even more capable in one way or another. None will ever gain the level of attachment of the beat-up kid's gun that preceded them.
So, given all that prologue, Your Correspondent finds himself taken aback again and again while minding his own business at match after match and being accosted with the statement, "You're a revolver guy..."
Well, there is the passing fact that the only "B" classification on any of my membership cards is in USPSA Revolver Division, a haughty and mysterious anomaly that came at the handle end of, of all things, a 1926 Enfield-built Webley Mk VI .45. No, no one else can explain it either.
And there is also the incontrovertible fact that nearly every time my motorcycle turns a tire onto a range's driveway that's featuring an IDPA match, it's pretty likely there's a .357 caliber service revolver in the range bag with a pile of Safariland speedloaders.
Yes, it is also true that Your Correspondent's reputation for range eccentricity was augmented a bit by the occasion of shooting a two-inch Colt Detective Special in a full-blown USPSA match at the oft-mentioned Bend of the River club in Niles, Michigan. A couple of videos of this dubious event still bring giggles on YouTube for persons asking on shooting forums about the viability of Comp III speedloaders, with which the DS is almost competitive in a perverse sort of way.
It might also be included that as noted elsewhere in this blog, yours truly has taken on the establishment of an International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts (ICORE) program at Home Club II.
But this is still a 1911 brain and 1911 hands and a .45 caliber outlook on the world.
Yeah, well, the ICORE Central States Regional match, the Wheelgunner's Revenge passed this past weekend, and as usual, Your Correspondent was there, screwing together wall panels, stapling targets, running around with a timer yelling at innocent passersby, and taking a long time to call out to the scorekeeper the awful word "Mike!"
A nicer, smoother match would be hard to find. Just shy of 100 competitors enjoyed the eight-stage match this year, down but a few from last year. With an early hammer-down time of 8:00am, the last shot was fired at about 1pm or so, followed by the superb barbeque pork lunch that's become as much a feature of this event as the six-shot neutrality of the stages.
Heat was also in evidence. One gasping staffer staggered into the clubhouse for lunch after working a looong-range stage of his own device and the wag next to me offered, "Hey, Mike, there's a little dry spot on your shirt, there."
An unassuming gent from Memphis, Tennessee named Sam provided YC with a number of laughs prior to launching a lightning-quick run so smooth I almost asked for a replay just to enjoy it an extra time. Shooting Limited Division, Sam also captured first overall, leaving even the dot-shooters in his dust.
Another sidebar event for this staffer was the presence of oft-mentioned rangebuddy SS, taking up our 686 for the second time (ever) and forging into the fray with a beltfull of Comp IIIs and the usual fierce competitive spirit making up for the paucity of experience. While I was chained to my stage as a CRO, I understood later that the first few stages weren't as fun as they could have been, but some sort of epiphany came and the remainder went well enough.
Witness during the awards time, SS joined us staffers at our none-too-fragrant table and was discussing the long steel stage referenced already. There were twelve poppers ranging up the sandbox bay from 20 to a measured 42 yards.
SS was discussing strategy with Big Dan and allowed as how she'd strategized her reloads and then shot the second, steel array shot-for-shot, and then...
The sound of jaws hitting the Formica went on for a while as the listeners chewed on the thought that a second-time-ever sixgunner had, under match duress, slain all twelve of the metal devils with but twelve shots from a revolver that remains so far from her all-out competition 1911s as to be other-worldly.
So was cleaning the steel in the middle array. I wasn't able to find out how many did that, but my understanding was that it was perhaps four or five, out of a hundred.
Sadly, yours truly failed to become one with the Brit top-break for most of the stages and slunk home a chastened mid-field, something like 44th overall.
Since I'm a 1911 guy, of course, there's some cover available, but how do you explain a guy who's not really a revolver guy being asked to match-direct this hallowed event next year?