Sunday, August 13, 2006

The General, Redux

Maybe you don't remember Mike Jones.

I do.

I first wrote about him the week of his death. The post was intended to tell the story of one of the exceptional people I have met during my IPSC career, but it ended up being a personal eulogy of a man whom I had come to love and respect.

This, even though I had never seen him outside of the environs of a shooting range, with the exception of one time when I met him in a mall parking lot to deliver some ammunition which I had reloaded for him. (He insisted on paying me $100 for 1,000 rounds of .45 acp ammunition, using his brass, even though this exceeded my expenses. He refused to be petty and, while he accepted that I was reloading for him as a personal favor I think he felt uncomfortable not giving me SOMETHING in recognition of my time and labor.)

I considered him not only a respected senior citizen of our community, but something of a mentor. More, I appreciated his contribution in being the driving force which brought IPSC competition to Oregon.

Late that Summer, the Practical Rifle group at Tri-County Gun Club (his home range) initiated a First Annual Mike Jones Memorial Rifle Match, in his honor.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThis weekend was the scheduled Second Annual Mike Jones Memorial Rifle Match, also in his honor. (It has been renamed from the "Classic Battle Rifle" match.)

I don't know much about the match ... I received the announcement, but I see that I have failed to forward it from my office email to my home email address. I don't compete in Practical Rifle (also known as "Tactical Rifle", at least at TCGC), so I can't give you details. However, if memory serves me correctly, it was intended to encourage use of 'older' military rifles. The organizers (notably Mike's friend Randy Schleining) even changed the usual practice of forbidding the use of 'ferrous ammunition', made possible by restricting the target selection to cardboard targets rather than the typical mix of cardboard and steel targets.

I'm not SURE whethere Garands were allowed, but I suspect they were. If so, this would have been an excellent opportunity for me to try my Garand in a 'match situation'. That, or my 1903 Springfield, or my .30-40 Krag, either of which (bolt action) rifles would certainly have been acceptable and perhaps even competitive.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usI used the excuse that "I'm too old to shoot Tactical Rifle", but I admit that I'm a bit shamed by The General's invariable willingness, even into his 70's, to go to the match every month and compete, with a variety of rifles including his modified Garand, with the younger men.

When I say "Modified Garand", I refer to a conversation which I had with The General a year or two before he DEROS'd to a better place. Apparently, somebody will modify an M1 Garand to accept a magazine from an M14. I know that Beretta offers that variation (which they call a "Type E" Garand), but a quick perusal of the Internet doesn't reward my search argument of "Garand With Magazine" except to refer me to websites using that term to describe an M-14. (A short discussion of the M1, modified M1 and the M-14 is available here.)

Which, of course, is not accurate. The M1 Garand used the venerable long .30-06 cartridge. The M-14 uses the newer short-case 7.62 Nato (.308) cartridge. I've been tempted a number of times to get an M-14, but just couldn't force myself to pay that kind of money on a 'lesser cartridge'.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usNeither could The General. I know more about the Internet, but he knows more about Guns. Not being able to ask him for the name of the modification at the next match is just one more way in which I still miss Mike Jones.

(Photos courtesy Randy Schleining)

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