Pin Match

As per usual…click all pix to make bigger

I know I promised you a post on the Right Reverend Wright’s sermon on Sunday but I didn’t get to it today and I wanted to post about the Bowling Pin Match that was held at the Airfield Shooting Club on Saturday.

This was my very first pin match. I’ve shot in bullseye competitions before, but this is the first time I’ve ever had to engage multiple targets and where speed counts. Because this is the very first time I’d ever shot in this type of competition…I was EXTREMELY pleased with my performance.

First, the way that Airfield shooting club conducts the matches is, from a range of 25 feet, everyone shoots four tables or “strings” per class. There is a time limit of 15 seconds per string. Your timer stops when the last pin leaves the table or hits 15 seconds, whichever comes first. Your score is the amount of time, plus ten seconds for each pin left on the table. Therefore, as long as you clear the table, your score is the time it took. If you don’t clear the table in 15 seconds, your score is the 15 seconds on the timer, plus ten seconds for each pin left on the table. The four string times are added together to get the total “relay” time.

There are 5 classes: Major (generally .40 and above), Minor (9mm and below center fire), Sub (rimfire), Revolver, and Carbine (pistol caliber carbines). If a competitor shoots all five classes, they are entered into the “5 gun aggregate”, the winner of which is considered the match champion.

The match champion wins the wonderful prize of…well…OK…You got me. There are no prizes. But the match champion gets bragging rights at least until next month.

I was shy two classes from being able to enter the 5 gun aggregate. My CZ-82 “minor” class pistol is still a work in progress and I don’t have a revolver. I really don’t think my black powder revolver would be that effective. I suppose if I never miss…figure the odds.

But in the classes I did enter, I did much better than I thought I would.

Match Results Here

My worst showing was in the Carbine class where I placed eighth out of ten. The problem wasn’t my shooting, it was my ammo. Lesson learned…do not use full metal jacket with an M1 Carbine in a pin match. I was getting solid hits on the pins and knocking them over and around…they just weren’t moving enough to get them off the table in one, or two, or sometimes three or four shots. The slugs were passing cleanly through the pins and not imparting enough energy to do more than knock them over or roll them around a little bit.

Not conducive to getting them off the table. Next time, soft nose ammo it is.

In the major class, shooting my every day carry piece…Ruger P-97 in .45acp…and shooting 230 grain FMJ, I did much better, placing sixth out of twelve. On the last string I had one stubborn one that I couldn’t get off the table, but the rest of them I was very happy with. The next to last string was a bit strange. I started on the left and hit the first pin to the left of center. It fell right and hit the next pin over, which fell into the next, which fell into the next…I had to wait patiently until all the moving targets stopped moving, and then I was facing one pin off the table and four lying down. I got a strike! The problem is that they are much harder to hit when laying down than standing up…but I recovered and still did pretty well on that string.

In the last class, Sub, I really surprised myself. Shooting my brand-new, only been to the range twice, S&W model 22A with iron sights, I came in third place out of twelve and shot one string in less than six seconds. During this class, I realized something that I need to work on. If I was going to miss a pin, it was probably going to be the first one. I had the most trouble getting the sights aligned on the first pin after bringing the pistol into firing position. After getting the first shot off, I was having no trouble recovering and hitting the remaining pins, but I missed that first shot/first pin three out of four times. I need to work on getting the pistol up and sights aligned quickly and consistently.

I realize that using a dot sight would help with that…but part of the reason I’m doing this is to improve my “daily” shooting skills. I don’t think I’ll ever be carrying a concealed carry piece with a red dot sight on it, so I’d rather stay with what I’ll be using real world…namely iron sights.

Overall, I was very pleased with my performance. I’ve got plenty of room for improvement, but didn’t embarrass myself and shot respectable times.

They also did a shotgun class, but there was only one entry. He won that class. Came in last too.

I was pretty impressed with the facilities there too. It’s a bit spartan by some range standards, but very well set up, organized and functional.

I didn’t get any pictures of the shotgun area, but it was well set up as well.

This is the covered shooting positions for the 50 meter range.

And the positions for the 100 meter range.

After the match, the outgoing President was kind enough to give me the range tour, safety brief, orientation, and written test and I became a full fledged member of the Airfield shooting club then and there. I may be working the gun show this weekend as my first official duty as a club member. I’ve already volunteered to work the VCDL table Saturday afternoon, so whether I’ll be able to work the Airfield Club table will depend on when they need people. If you’re at the Virginia Beach gun show next weekend stop by both the VCDL table and the Airfield Shooting Club table and see if I’m around to say “hey” to.

And finally, video of one string of Airfield Shooting Club Pin Match goodness from my crappy digital camera:

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