Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Best Match I Never Attended

At the beginning of this month, The Hobo Brasser made the generous offer to load 1,000 rounds of ammunition so I would be able to shoot while the XL650 was being 'rehabbed' by Dillon. While I have been named A Fool by my detractors, I proved them all wrong by quickly accepting.

When I got home, I grabbed a big bunch of Montana Gold 115gr hollow-point bullets, an unopened four-pound keg of Vitha Vourhi N350 powder, all of the Small Rifle primers I could find, and three 100-round bags of new, unprimed Winchester .38 Super brass. The next weekend, I wheeled up to Canby and delivered them to Chez Hobo. I also told him the powder-weight to load them, and included a handful of rounds I had loaded and one of my STI magazines, so he could confirm and check the correct over-all length of the loaded cartridge.

I also ordered another 1,000 Winchester brass, and when they arrived from Dillon I grabbed two bags out of the box and took the other 8 bags up to HB, also. Yes, that adds up to 1,100 cases. I had given him a total of 1,200 primers, as well ... primers disappear magically during the reloading process, and sometimes you get a bad load, so I wanted to make sure he had all the components to actually build 1,000 shootable rounds.

And if he happened to just keep loading until he had filled all the cases? Well, if he was such a good friend to make a generous offer, I'm friend enough to milk it. Who knows? Someday I may be in a position to do him a favor. It would be unkind of me to make him feel guilty if he accepted. This way ... he owes me one.

Last week HB emailed to say he had finished loading the ammunition, and when did I want to pick them up? I suggested that I get them from him at the monthly Dundee match (which was this weekend), and since we usually squad together that seemed a reasonable solution.

[Actually, we usually manage to squad with an amiable group of folks and we all have a good time. HB and I enjoy a camaraderie of exchanging verbal quips and cheap-shots, kind of like Don Ameche and Frances Langford as The Bickersons. Neither of us can shoot all that well, but we enjoy the social occasion at least as much as we do the competition.]

I was really looking forward to the Saturday match. Friday evening I spend a couple of hours an hour at least 15 minutes getting all of my gear together, along with a box of books and a bottle of 14 year old Jamesons' as a thank-you gift to HB. I laid out a Springfield Armory t-shirt to wear to the match, climbed in bed and waited for sleep to overcome me.

And waited.

Couldn't sleep. Finally I got up and too a sleeping draught, and crawled back in bed to wait for sleep, or morning ... whichever came first.

And waited.

At 6am I was still waiting for sleep, and wondering if I shouldn't just get up and get started.

The next thing I knew, it was 9:30am. The sun was shining, and I had managed to sleep through two alarms. This is not good. The match starts promptly at 9am, and the range was 80 miles away over country roads. What to do, what to do?

So I took the coward's way out, and went back to sleep for another hour.

Two cups of coffee later I felt alert enough to shower, dress, load the car and headed for the range. By then it was noon, but I figured they wouldn't get off the range until 2pm. I had just time to drive to the range, meet HB and get the reloads, and then we could go to our traditional lunch of Linguica Pizza at the Abby's Pizza Parlor in Newburg. I could do this.

[Incidently, Linquica Pizza is the super-secret power lunch of IPSC shooters the world over. As far as I know, you can only get it at the Abby's Pizza Parlor in Newburg. How IPSC shooters all over the rest of the world get their power lunch, I'll never know. I guess that's the secret.]

On the drive up I called HB on his cell phone. I knew he wouldn't hear the phone ring, but he might see the missed call, and know to call me when he saw it. And he did, and called me back. But I had changed my ring-tone last week and I couldn't hear it over my new ZZ Tops CD which I was playing as I drove. About half-way to the range I checked my phone, discovered I had a message from HB. He found the missed call, and .... save the reading time here and just assume a short series of voice mail exchanged.

When I got to the range at a quarter of two, the competitor cars were already leaving. I saw a ridiculous day-glow orange Subaru Forrester stop in the middle of the flow, and HB leaned out the door and waved to me. We pulled off the road, and agreed to meet at Abby's and exchange cartons of 'stuff'' there.

Turns out the Subaru was a loaner. His pickup had broken down ... for the second time this summer ... and he was driving around in this "Oregon's Answer to the Pimp-mobile". Not hard to tell why the shop used it as a loaner car. Who would steal it?

I bought the pizza, HB bought the beer. As the beertender was pouring a small pitcher of wheat-bear, HB was telling me about his match. He decided to shoot Single-Stack this time, and there was a stage where you start with your pistol on the top of a barrel. Apparently, when he picked up the single-stack (last time I looked, it was a well-used Charles Daly ... a brand which is now totally defunct), and the front sight fell off. After he finished the stage "I only got one miss!", he got the squad to search for the sight in the gravel. Fortunately, they found it. So he put a piece of tape in the dovetail, pounded the front sight back in, sighted it in (that's a first) and finished the match.

I had to interrupt him.

"How did you know the front sight fell off? Did someone tell you?" I asked him.

"Huh? What do you mean?"

"Well", I answered, "it's not as if you ever actually LOOK at the damn thing."

Yes, I DID wait until he had paid for the beer.

While we were waiting for the pizza to burn, he started telling me about the match. "Great match", he said. "Interesting stages. I had a lot of fun. Weather was perfect. I didn't do all that well, but gee I sure had fun."

"Stop, stop" I said. " I don't want to hear about a great match. I don't want to hear you had fun. I missed it. I don't want to have missed a great match, I want to hear that it was a crummy match, the stages were cheezy, everybody had a lot of trouble ... don't make me think I missed anything by oversleeping!"

"Oh, gee, I'm sorry", he said. "Okay, you don't want to hear about having missed the best match you never went to. I won't tell you about it."

And then he smiled.

The bastard. I never liked him, anyway.


This is my revenge.

"You realize, of course, that I finally have something to write in the Blog about tonite?"

"Oh", he said. "This is BlogMeat, right"

Damn straight.

That's when he told me that he 'might have' had a couple of problems with the ammo. A couple of primers showed up in the primer-discard tray. They were crushed, he said. He didn't know when that happened, but I "might want to check the ammunition" before I shoot it, he said.

Eleven Hundred Rounds.

If you shoot IPSC in Oregon, you may someday see a snowy-haired, decrepit Senior Citizen hunched over picking up brass with all the fervor of a hobo picking up return-for-deposit beer bottles. If you do, my best advice to you is: don't muck with him.

That's all I'm saying.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cruiser cam catches 100 mph crash

Cruiser cam catches 100 mph crash

I thought this was pretty freaking amazing, speaking as a student of human foibles, that a single 18-year old driver could find himself in such an incredibly violent situation ... and live through it. (Last I heard, he was still in critical condition.)

The video in the article is the original, and the article also has links to follow-up information.

But the video below has a higher quality to it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Local Hero: Iaian Harrison

Another Oregonian TV winner: Sherwood's Iain Harrison and 'Top Shot' |

On the finale of the first season of the History channel series, "Top Shot," which aired Aug. 15, Harrison nailed a daunting final challenge, which involved throwing knives, shooting an arrow and target shooting. As the champ, the British-born Harrison wins $100,000 -- and the title of "Top Shot."

I've seen Iian shoot pistol, and he is very good. But I had no idea that he was also skilled in knife-throwing and archery.

And I've never known how to spell his name.

He's another Oregon shooter, living in Sherwood (very conveniently located about a mile from the Tri-County Gun Club). He and his wife are seen together at local matches ... much more often than I am.

He may be at the Dundee match this weekend. If you see him, be sure to congratulate him on his win.

And ... don't ask him for a loan. Just content yourself with admiring the expensive pistols which they