Friday, October 12, 2012

Fredericksburg USPSA Wounded Warrior Match

After mostly recovering from the trek to shoot the North Carolina Sectional on Friday, I was up early Sunday to take in the monthly Fredericksburg Practical Shooters USPSA match. In a stark contrast from the warm temps of North Carolina a couple of days prior, Sunday morning dawned cool and wet. At the scheduled match start time a steady rain was falling. A vote was taken among the shooters and it was decided if the rain didn't stop by 10:00AM, the match would be postponed until Monday, the Columbus Day holiday, since many folks had the day off. By the appointed time it was still raining, and we were all checking the radar on our phones. It looked like there might be a break coming, so the decision to postpone was delayed. Fortunately by 10:30 the rain stopped and the match proceeded. I was very happy with that decision since I was working on Monday. I was looking forward to shooting this match as it would probably be the last USPSA match for me this year.

Match Directors Alan and Vince had pulled out all the stops for this final match. They apparently went way into the back of the Conex containers and found all sorts of moving targets. Unfortunately, complex targets setups can lead to complex problems. Some squads were delayed on several stages by prop malfunctions. That, and the delayed started made for a long day, but everyone seemed to take it in stride and enjoy the opportunity to shoot the variety of moving targets. I suspect, and hope, we'll see these props again next year now that there have been some lessons learned.

On Stage 1, "Down The Beaten Path," there was a stomp plate that activated a drop turner, and at the same time on the opposite side of the course, a clam shell with a target that was quickly covered by a no-shoot except for the head area. There was no way I was going beat both targets, so a head shot was required on the second target. Stage 2, "Annie Get Your Gun" incorporated no-shoot targets placed in front of, and behind, the poppers, exposing only the "head" area of the steel.

Stage 3, "Hide 'n Seek" had  several movers, along with some longer static shots. A popper activated  swinging no-shoot target arrays in front of two static paper targets. I ended losing some time waiting on the targets to be exposed. Stage 6, "Shake It Up," had perhaps the most unusual prop set up. Hitting a popper on one side of the bay exposed a popper on the other side, which in turn activated a triple-target swinger which was shot through a small port in a wall. The original plan had a door over the port that was also activated by the swinger. That malfunctioned, so "in a sign of sportsmanship" we were asked to not shoot the triple-swinger until it had been activated.

There were a total of 8 stages in the match; 7 field courses and 1 classifier. (Flicker photo album here.) I was mostly happy with my performance. As usual I finished about in the middle of the pack, with stage finishes ranging from 8th to 24th on the 7 field courses, and claiming 85.60% of the match points before penalties, and 79.01% after accounting for some no-shoots and misses.

The Match Directors wanted to create a memorable match to close out the season. Despite a few issues, I think they were successful. It was an exciting and challenging match and I'm glad we managed to get it in despite the threatening weather.

This match was also the annual fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. Shooters paid an additional $5.00 entry fee, as well as any optional donations. The extra entry fee was matched by the Fredericksburg Rod & Gun club. In total, $796 was raised for this worthy cause.

Stage 8: Mirror Mirror

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