Monday, January 19, 2009

Military rifle match yesterday.. in the snow

Yesterdays match was themed for the Battle of the Bulge, although it seems the Russians became involved this time around. As befitted a military match in the snow, there were several Soviet 91/30's and a M44.

Myself, I shot a Mauser in 8x57mm, and managed to score a 362/500. That is decent for me, especially with that rifle and 60 year old surplus ammunition. It wasn't my usual match prepped Mauser (the grand old Turk), but a battle ready Mauser with awful sights and a crummy trigger. I took it along as a more fitting rifle for the theme. I dropped a few rounds from scoring, but other than that I was pleased.

There were enough shooters that a third relay had to be tacked on. I shot in the first, and spent the second spotting for a young first-time shooter. By the third relay it was cold enough the fun was dwindling, and I took my leave for home. The burn barrel helped, but the cold still penetrates. I had to remove my coat to shoot well, and never really got warm again after that.

In the short video of the M44 firing (slow motion), notice the ground effect it has, lifting snow for several feet around the muzzle. That was 'my' shooter, that I was spotting for. There was no trouble distinguishing his shots from the others on the line :-)

This is a seated rapid fire stage. The shooter starts from standing, with five rounds loaded. On command, the timer starts for a 60 second run. The shooter drops into position (In my case, more like flops into position), fires five, reloads, and fires another five. Bolt action shooters have an extra 10 seconds, but rarely need them. The shooter in the foreground, with the Garand, placed his ten rounds into a group I could cover with the palm of my hand and have a lot of meat left over. Dead center on the bull. He scored a 95/100 on that stage. Very, very impressive.

A Garand with its Enbloc clip in midair after ejection

M1 Carbine, poised for battle in the snow

The Mosin M44, a stranger to the Battle of the Bulge

Fired cases, cooling fast

Target duty

The final image shows the range conditions that crept in during our first relay. We started in the clear, and by the final prone stage we were brushing snow flakes from the sights every few rounds. I enjoyed it immensely! The snow provided an atmosphere to the themed shoot, and a welcome one.


Brigid said...

Great post. Looks like a lot of fun!

Earl said...

Great to live in a country where that kind of shooting is considered safe and normal, no matter what the MSM would have one believe. Getting older cold does have that cooling effect, seems to take longer to warm back up. Thanks for sharing.