Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mr. Completely: Red Dot Sights - How They Work

Mr. Completely: Red Dot Sights - How They Work

Mr. Completely has an excellent short article about the kind of sights typically used on Open Division pistols in IPSC.

I would attempt to add explanatory comments, but that would be gilding the lily.

This is a candidate for the shortest Geek-Length article in the history of Western Civilization.

I'm learning ...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pete and Re-Pete

When I talked about the Memorial Day Dundee Match, I neglected to mention a couple of IPSC shooters in our squad that we had never met before.

Mitch M. and Ramiro R. usually compete at the COSSA Practical Shooters' Range, 21 miles east of Bend, Oregon. (This was the site of USPSA National Matches in 2003 and 2004, where SWMBO and I both competed and worked as Range Officers.) I'm not sure what COSSA stands for. "CO" is obviously "Central Oregon", and "A" is "Association (I think), but I have no idea what the "SS" stands for.

It doesn't matter, and by this time next week I'm pretty sure someone will have clarified the issue for me.

It's enough that Mitch and Ramiro left Bend at 5am to get to the match in Dundee by 9am. I assume it's because they love to shoot and have precious little opportunity to shoot IPSC matches every weekend, being as they are sited in the middle of a state the approximate size of Iraq.

We weren't acquainted with Mitch and Ramiro, so we asked if they were 'new shooters'. They laughed, and said that no, they had shot a couple of matches. (We later learned that they were B-class shooters ... clearly no tyros here.)

We enjoyed the company of Mitch and Ramiro, but as the match progressed we realized that Ramiro was experiencing some problems with his pistol. Worse, we watched as he experienced some Range Equipment Failures which necessitated reshooting the stages. That never works out well for the shooter, and by the time we started the 4th stage I was Range Officer when Ramiro came up to the line.

Hi, I'm Jerry and I'll be your Range Officer for this state, and also for your Reshoot.

Ramiro groaned, accused me of jinxing him, but managed to shoot the stage clean (and beat me on the stage with his STI Race Gun!)

By the time we got to the last stage, I had told them that I was renaming them from Mitch and Ramiro to "Pete and Re-Pete". More groans.

I'm going to be in the Bend area this weekend, and I told them so. As it happens, COSSA iss putting on an "IPSC Steel" match this Saturday. This is an IPSC match in which no cardboard targets are used. This is the High-Plains version of an IPSC Winter Match. No problems with soggy cardboard or tape not sticking. No need to cover targets with plastic bags. They use only steel targets, which simplifies 'bad weather' matches.

"Pete and Re-Pete" were enthusiastic about encouraging me to attend the Bend June Match. The even offered to invite me to squad with them. So I'll be shooting in Bend this weekend, and I hope to have some interesting photos here.

By the way, you may ask:

Why in the WORLD do they need to hold a "Bad Weather" match in June?

In response, I remind you that the 2003 Area 1 match was held in Bend, the first full weekend in May. It snowed. Why did it snow? Because it was too cold for rain.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Evil Star 1.1

Memorial Day Weekend was a busy time here in Geekistan.

Saturday, we shot a Club Match at Dundee, where we were treated to Evil Bill's New and Improved Evil Star (Version 1.1 -- more on this later).

Sunday, we went to a BBQ at the home of Randomly Hittin' Witten and his charming wife, Donna. Many of The usual Suspects were there, including AJ and KJ who have been so busy riding their new Harley that they just haven't had time to get to the range for matches. AJ, however, did show up for the Saturday match and I regret that I was unable to include his Evil Star run in the attached video. Perhaps I can feature him in his own video later on, which would be worthwhile if only because he did a fine job on the stage regardless of his lack of recent practice.

Monday SWMBO and I went to my mother's house in Springfield and worked in her garden. Her sprinkler system is on the fritz, but my brother-in-law John fixed that before we got there. We spent a couple of hours doing basic gardening (weeding, and trimming & spraying her Rose Garden) until we ran out of steam.

On to the Evil Star.

Last month, Evil Bill introduced his Evil Star at the Dundee Club Match. There were a few problems with the design, mostly because:
  1. The plates, when hit solidly, would sometimes fall back far enough to strike the backing IPSC targets. This didn't often slow the rotation of the array, but it did some physical damage to the cardboard targets.
  2. There was a lot of 'splatter' on the backing targets due to fragmentation of bullets which hit the plate-supporting arms. These supports were 1/2" (or smaller) rods, and any rounds which hit them tended to tear up the cardboard.
Evil Bill built a longer pivot rod to support the backing targets another foot further from the plates. And he also built a facing plate for the plate-supporting arms, so bullets which might have hit the rods and fragmented tended to bounce off the trapezoidal flat surface, instead.

We did experience one problem. The springs which hold the plates in place on the support arms are flimsy, weak material. Over time, they tend to wear out. We were the last squad to shoot this stage, and we found that the weakest springs tended to fall off the support arms. We were able to find and re-install the springs, but this reveals a design flaw in the original Texas Star.

Personally, I recommend Bobby Wright's "Five Point Surprise" as a viable alternative to this target design. The springs are much more robust, and many of the parts can replaced by a trip to you friendly local Ace Hardware Man.

Still the Evil Star proved to be a challenging and interesting target. Here's how it looked when real people were shooting real bullets:

(This video is also available directly from YouTube, here.)