Mixed Bag

Steve Reiter (2008)

Here are some scattered notes and comments from today.

I didn’t shoot very well in today’s 2700. All my scores were down at the low-end of where I’ve been shooting. The bad news is this was an Authorized match and the scores count so I’ll be in Outdoor Sharpshooter land for a while. The good news is that’s where I *should* be competing, that’s where I *need* to be working, and doing the things I did today (shooting, not quitting, re-focusing on basics) is what will *eventually* let me learn what I need to know to advance. Patience!

Clarence, to my immediately left, had a squib but caught it immediately. Other than the round stuck in the barrel, there was no damage to his 1911. (I think he was shooting the gun later in the match but I didn’t confirm that.) He shot well in spite of that incident (and whipped me by 100 points — way to go, Clarence!).

Steve Reiter, Senior US Champion many times over, was scoring my 45 targets. I let that get to me on the first two Slow Fire targets and butchered them both, scoring only in the low 70s with not one hole in the black on the second of the two. Ugh!

But then I re-focused all my attention back into my shot plan by meticulously following each step and, I’m pleased to say, resurrected myself on the first SF of the NMC with all shots in the black. TF and RF thereafter weren’t great but they were tolerable, mostly in the mid-90s.

I fired some carefully reloaded Aguilla brass in Slow Fire after making them specially for today and making doubly certain to fully seat all the primers. Even so, I had nine high primers in the 60 rounds in Slow Fire over CF and 45. For TF and RF, I switched to reloads in Starline using the same batch of primers but had no problems — no high primers. So, something is decidedly wrong with Aguilla brass.

But I still have mixed feelings about discarding it.

On the down side, the high primers cannot all be detected by vision or touch. I’ve had several shooters try and we all failed to spot several high primers. So the bottom line is if I shoot the Aguilla brass, some “thunks” will happen.

But on the plus side, if I restrict its use to Slow Fire only, shooting it is a great “ball and dummy” drill; and brother does it show me I have a problem when I think there’s a live round in the chamber.


Dry firing alone just isn’t solving my “jerk” problem so, for the time being at least, I think I will continue reloading and shooting the Aguilla “Surprise” ammo, but only in Slow Fire of course. And quite frankly if the high primers continue long enough for me to learn the lesson of how *not* to jerk, that would be fabulous.

So, looking forward, we shoot a “Camp Perry Warm-up” next Sunday starting at 7:30AM.

I’ll be the jerk with the high primers in Slow Fire … but not for too much longer if this works.

See you on the line.

3 thoughts on “Mixed Bag

  1. my pistol league just finished its season last night, and to cap it off, I shot my S&W 686 loaded up with 125gr .357 Magnum loads during the for-fun Centerfire relay. This was partly just to make a lot of noise, and it was partly to see how I would cope with having a tad more recoil over .38SPL or even my powderpuff .45ACP loads, and it was partly to get practice for Distinguished Revolver matches.

    During the slow-fire, I would load the cylinder with 5 live rounds and then put one spent piece of brass in the 6th chamber, and then spin the cylinder and close it without looking at it. The idea, for this version of the Ball'n'Dummy drill, is that when you click on the empty brass, you shouldn't flinch, and the sights should not move.

    Turns out I don't have much of a flinch, I just don't have much practice with iron sights =) Timed- and Rapid-fire were interesting, though–not a whole lot of time to re-cock and get the sights back to where I was holding for Kentucky Windage, and with the hot .357 loads (125gr JHP over 20gr of H110–yeah, it's a flamethrower), that cylinder was burning hot by the end of it!

  2. A 357 fired in a short barrel at night is an awesome sight!
    Oh yeah!
    But it was also shooting a 357 (badly) that made me decide to take up Bullseye and learn how to shoot straight.
    Still workin' on "the jerk" who gets a little smaller each month.

  3. Another way I've found that helps to get rid of "the jerk" is to break my firing pins by dryfiring too much.

    Admittedly, it's a little expensive, but you definitely get to know your guns a lot better this way (both in operating it, and in fixing it =).

    Okay, I've only broken a couple firing pins, since I do use snap-caps. But the idea is there:

    Dryfire. A lot.

    Heck, my first few snaps on the line during slowfire are dryfires until I get the dot to sit still. Then I'll load up and do it for real. It helps me assess my flinch, if I have one that day, and to get my mind focused on what I need to do to hit the 10-ring.

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