Wednesday, July 12, 2017

BC 3Gun Redneck Championship in Lone Butte, BC 2017 Day 1

Hi All,

I just got back from 100 Mile House Sunday night, and let me tell you, what a weekend.  First off, my thoughts are with those who have lost their homes to the wildfires all over BC.  We met people who’d lost their homes, and were in danger of losing their homes and the experience was surreal.

I didn’t have access to televised news, but as I understand it, there has been a state of emergency declared for BC due to the wildfires?  I’ve heard that Firefighters, LEOs and other first responders have been tasked from all over BC to help out.  Not sure if Reg Force or Reserve units of the CF are prepping, but I’m waiting for that phone call or e-mail.

Anyway, I’ll try to keep this about the BC 3Gun Redneck Championship in Lone Butte, BC, but it’s hard not to think about it because the thread of fire was all around us.  For those who are wondering what the heck is the Redneck Championship is, have a peak into this thread from last year:

This was my second time attending this annual event and I am still very much a beginner because I don’t usually participate in matches.  My typical night at the range involves shooting at a static target less than 7 meters away from me, or laying prone somewhere out in the sticks shooting at something off in the distance (also static).  I’m not even 100% familiar with the rules, and relied on more experienced shooters holding my hand through the entire event.  The organizers and other shooters who invited me to tag along made the event an incredible amount of fun.  I want to give a special shout out to Hermes from Reliable Gun, Team White Rice and the rest of the squad for letting me shoot with them.

On Friday morning (7Jul17) I caught a ride with my buddy Hermes.  Our plan was to drive to 100 mile house early and visit one of his buddies for a little gopher hunting.  We heard the night before that there was a wildfire about 15km west of 100 Mile House and the wind was blowing the fire further west so the match was still on and we didn’t need to worry.  We got a nice early start, but our first hiccup of the trip happened when we approached the town of Ashcroft.  From several kilometres away, we could see a tower of smoke, but it definitely looked too close to be the one at 100 Mile House.

As we got closer, we realized that we were right on top of it, and cars pulled off to the side of the road.  Folks told us they were waiting out, to see if they could contain it or maybe it would burn itself out.  It did not.  We opened the doors and the hot wind hit us like a wall.  Hermes’ car read about 37c outside temperature and it felt about right.  It was hot.  The plume of gray and white smoke towered above us and we could see the water bombers making drops on the blaze.  We could actually see the flames on hilltops and distant fields where the fire hopped the highway and was straddling both sides.  The road disappeared into a wall of smoke.  We got news from the traffic controllers that the road would be shut down for the night and we may as well go back.

Undeterred, we rolled back the way we came, connected with Hwy 12 and headed north until we Hwy 99 and started east again.  We probably should have gassed up in Lillooet but decided to wait out until Cache Creek, however at the intersection of Hwy 99 and Hwy 97, the RCMP and the entrance to Cache Creek closed off, and for good reason because Cache Creek was not visible due to the smoke from Ashcroft.  The car was running on empty but we managed to find a gas station halfway up to 100 Mile House.

We drove past Lone Butte but as we approached 100 Mile House, we could see a tower of smoke even bigger than the one we saw at Ashcroft.  We pulled into town and there was a thin screen of smoke everywhere, we could clearly see where it was coming from.  Apparently 105 Mile House and 108 Mile Ranch were already evacuated, and 100 Mile House was on standby.  We checked into the Super 8 and got settled in, looking at the sky.  Everyone was on edge, but the organizers of the event assured us the match was still on, and it was business as usual.  The hotel employees weren’t as optimistic as some of them resided in 105 and 108.  With their homes evacuated, the employees took refuge in the spare rooms of their place of work.

As no evacuation notice had been given to us, we decided to settle the nerves with alcohol….a lot of alcohol, and Hotpot.  It didn’t seem like we were in any immediate danger, but I didn’t realize how close we were to some real problems.  By morning, the sky was no longer visible and it looked foggy outside our motel room, except it smelled of burning trees.  The fire had grown from 1,600 hectares to almost 4,000 overnight.  Hwy 97 was closed immediately behind us and we weren’t sure if we would be able to return to the lower mainland.  Of course we didn’t exactly have our priorities straight, so off to the match we went.  There was no evacuation order issued for 100 Mile House so we figured why not?

The air in Lone Butte wasn’t so bad, though we could see a bit of smoke, and the smell was definitely there.  Aside from the smoky air, anxiety of being cut off and surrounded by fire, the pounding headache from drinking the night before, not sleeping well (because I was too cheap to get my own room and sleep on a bed, I slept on the floor of Hermes’ and Erik’s room), plus burning guts and ring of fire from Hermes’ Hotpot of Death, I’d say it was a great start to the day.

The last time I shot any sort of a match involving accuracy and times being checked was last year’s Redneck 3gun.  Everyone else performed awesome except me.  I was a bit nervous and if I recall correctly, I didn’t even bother to line up my sights.  I just pointed and shot at targets as they appeared to me.  At least I had fresh batteries in my Eotech and didn’t have to go to iron sights this year, ha ha!  I also had a bit more kit this year than I did last year thanks to my buddy Ray.  He lent me two double AR mag holsters for my belt, as well as a shot shell caddy that really came in handy.  The only thing I found problematic was my belt rig was a bit too tight for my fat gut hanging over.  Though I am about 6lbs lighter than I was last year this time, I think I really need to get down to my Borden weight (I was 178lbs or 81kg).  Ideally, I think I would like to get down to about 75kg or 165lbs, and I think my movement won’t be as restricted.

Anyway, fat issues aside, I think I was better prepared than I was last year.  Overall, I feel like I did perform better than last year.  For 2016, I placed 72, with an overall time of 1,407.57 and for 2017, I placed 59, with an overall time of 1,133.34.  Ok, so not a huge improvement, but it was still a learning opportunity nonetheless and a metric $hit ton of fun, haha!

This year, I used my Colt Canada IUR with basically the same set up as last year, except I swapped out the Magpul angled fore grip with a Tango Down stubby.  I didn’t change anything on my Sig 226 TacOps, and I forgot to swap the breacher choke out on my 870 Tactical before I left (yes, still rocking the pump).  I may try using my Versa Max Tactical next year as my 870 jammed a lot on the Challenger First Class target loads.  Hermes took the barrel off and filed off a few burrs but it still jammed.  The 870 ran fine on Federal target load, as well as S&B slugs, but it still did not like the challenger shells.

I want to improve my performance with shotgun, but I had a chance to borrow Ray’s VMT tuned by Tactical Ordinance and it was like butter to use.  I was able to get shots off faster, and reloading wasn’t all that hard.  Still, I’d like to get better with my 870, and Darryl tried to coach me a bit, telling me that as I squeeze the trigger, I should be racking the pump back to eject the empty shell, then as I point towards my next target, I should be racking the pump forward and loading the chamber.  I tried to do this when I remembered and it was faster, but often times I would forget in the moment, or the pump would jam from the Challenger ammo.  Between now and next year, I have to either improve on my 870, or start getting used to using a semi.

I didn’t have a single jam with my rifle or pistol this year.  Last year, I was running Federal black box in my AR, but this year I switched to PMC ammo and didn’t bother to check ahead of time to see if there was any shift in point of aim/point of impact.  There actually wasn’t any noticeable change for targets 250m.  I was also using different ammo on my Sig.  Last year, Hermes gave me a huge bag of his reloads.  This year, we got a smoking deal on Canada Ammo reloads which actually group pretty well at a target standing still.  I tried it at this match and when I did take my time to aim at the target, it would pretty much go where I wanted.  That being said though, I still have a long way to go to acquiring my target faster and letting off that round.  That pretty much goes the same for all three gun platforms.

I didn’t access to a gun cart this year so I decided throw my ammo in my Midway USA range bag, holster my pistol and mags, and drag around my shotgun and rifle in the Pelican case.  It was pretty stupid because I had my shotgun and rifle in a soft case, inside the Pelican, when I could have just carried the soft case by hand.  The Pelican is great, but the wheels are useless on gravel and dirt.  I also did not prepare properly for hydration and relied heavily on others for having coolers filled with bottles of water.  Next year, I will have to pitch in for water, those coolers were a Godsend.  Keeping a change of clothes in the car (which wasn’t parked too far away) was also a good idea as it got pretty damn hot by around 10am.  Also, thankfully I had the common sense to bring sunscreen, which probably helped me from getting sunscreen.

Anyway, here’s a photo dump from the match.  I took over 2,500 photos so it took me forever to sort out all the crap ones.  Pat and Chad took the time to make a few videos of me doing my thing.  I had my Contour Roam strapped to my head, but forgot to turn it on half the time.  I find that it really helps to have yourself filmed for these things.  I can go back and watch where I made mistakes (and there were a lot, I assure you) and work on areas I need to improve on (which is pretty much everything).  If I remember anything else interesting about the match, I’ll update this post with more info.  But be gentle, this is all from the point of view of a beginner who knows pretty much nothing about shooting competitions.

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