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SD Steel Classic AAR

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SD Steel Classic AAR
« on: June 07, 2016, 06:11:37 PM »

Jeff M

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So, this is a little overdue.  My apologies, it's been a rough several weeks around here.  Without further adieu, I bring you my AAR:

Hopped in the truck Friday morning, drove all day.  Got to the match at around 4:30.  Sight in went until 6.

Registered for the match, got the match book, and went to sight in.  It was chilly, and VERY windy.  Laid down, verified my dope quick, and got back in the truck.  Did I mention it was cold out?

After sight in, we met up for the shooters' briefing.  Then we went and got some dinner, and checked into the hotel.

Saturday morning, bright and shiny, meet up for final AM stuff, pledge, national anthem, and got our squads together.  Drove out to the parking area near the range, geared up, and hiked in.  The layout was great.  The hike in wasn't too bad, which I was grateful for.

We began on stage 10, the US Optics North Troop.  5 targets:  503, 610, 702, 795, and 896.  The wind wasn't too bad yet this early, but was definitely there.  2 points & move on for a first round impact, 1 point for a second round impact and move.  10 rounds max.  I managed to squeak out 6 points here, which I was a little dissatisfied with, but many other guys in our squad did worse.

Stage 11 was the Nightforce Optics South Troop.  Same format as the previous stage, but targets were at 545, 726, 886, 1185, and 1261.  This stage, the wind was up a little more than the previous, and I managed 8 points - first round impacts on targets 1, 2, 3 and 5 - I couldn't hit 4 to save my life.  I was pleased.  At the end of the day, one of the ROs from the stage came over to me and congratulated me for the high score on this stage for the day.  By that point, I already knew my score for the day, so it was of little consolation, but I thanked him for the kind words anyway.  More on that to follow.....

Stage 12 was the JC Steel Targets Spinners.  This stage was supposed to be two spinners.  However, the near spinner broke first thing that morning, so the stage was changed to a small plate that must be hit twice to move on, and then the remainder of your rounds were fired at a spinner.  The first round had to hit the TOP plate on the spinner, then you could fire the remaining rounds in any fashion you chose.  3 points were awarded for successfully spinning the spinner, and bonus points were given for any unused rounds in the magazine - 1 point per round.  Max round count was 10.  I bombed this one, drawing only 2 points for the initial plate impacts.  I was disappointed, since I had just spun one of these things without trouble at the Wall match not 2 weeks earlier.

Stage 13 was the HS Precision Standing, Kneeling, Sitting, Prone.  NO support could be used on the rifle forward of the magazine well, with the exception of a sling.  For the three offhand positions, there were three different plates that got smaller as you went.  Max of 2 shots per plate, if you hit first round, move on.  The prone position - there was an Atlas B&T card challenge, and some dots on a board.  It was confusing, and unfortunately I don't recall exactly how it was supposed to work out - but that portion ended up getting thrown out anyway - leaving a possible 6 points for the 3 unsupported positions.  Here, I scored 4.  I was very pleased with that since offhand is not my strong suit.

Back to stage 1 - the Long Rifles Inc. Troop.  The wind was up GOOD by this point, and the targets spanned quite a wide arc through the wind.  Clearly I need more practice at things such as this, because I got my first 0 of the day.  Targets were 540, 638, 752, 994, and 1149.  Course of fire was the same as the previous troops.

Stage 2 - the X Steel Targets Rock.  Damn that rock.  2 targets, 491 and 598.  Engage targets near, far, near, far from the left side of the rock, then move to the right side of the rock and repeat.  My second 0 of the day was acquired here.

Stage 3 was the Brotherhood Arms TYL.  333 yards, 5 plates progressively smaller in size.  This was a TYL, not a KYL - if you missed, your points were safe, but to improve you had to shoot through all the targets again.  Max of 10 rounds.  I cleaned this one; first clean of the day.  I was happy.

Sack lunches were provided on the range somewhere during these few stages.  They were EXCELLENT - big, thick sandwiches with plenty of meat, packets of mayo and mustard, cookies, chips, carrots, and bottle water.  To be honest, I really preferred this lunch over many other lunches that I've had at some matches.  Whenever there's an "official" lunch break, and we are provided a hot lunch, it seems like SUCH a great idea at the time, but I really have trouble getting back into the game, mentally.  This "working lunch" removed that distraction, and I was very thankful for that.

Stage 4  was the XLR Infustries skills #4.  No adjustment of the scope was permitted.  4 targets - 300, 400, 500, 600.  Unlimited round count, targets engaged near to far, must hit to move on.  Once you clear them all, you need to get up from the rifle, run back to the starting position, grab another mag, and repeat the exercise weak side.  Time limit for this stage was 1:30 (all other stages were 2:00).  I managed a 3 here.  Not very impressive, but far better than another 0.

Stage 5 was the Precision Reloading Prairie Dogs.  Many people, myself included, had a lot of trouble with this stage.  5 dogs at 214, 356, 456, 580, and 684.  2 points for a first round impact, 1 point for any impact that wasn't first - must hit to move on, 10 rounds max.  I missed the first one, then hit him, then moved on, missed, missed, missed, hit, then missed the rest.  2 points.  Again, better than a zero, but I was pretty disappointed with myself.

Stage 6 was the Vortex Optics Fenced In.  Target at 426, shoot 2 rounds from 4 different positions on a cattle fence.  1 point per impact.  I got another 0.

J Allen Rooftop was Stage 7.  I really wanted to do well here since I'm sponsored by them, but alas - the wind had other ideas for me.  Begin by sending 2 rounds, weak side, from a bench.  Then, run over to the roof, send two rounds standing on the left of the roof with your rifle on the roof, then 2 rounds with you and the rifle completely on the roof, then 2 rounds with the rifle on the roof and you standing on the right side.  Target was at 640 yards.  I managed only a single hit here.

Our last stage of the day was Stage 8 (stage 9 got scrubbed) - the Mean Woman Taxidermy Truck Hunt.  Start sitting in the drivers side of a pickup truck, rifle on your lap, mag in, bolt back.  4 targets to be shot through the driver's side window:  210, 368, 369, and 639.  Course of fire the same as the rest - 2 points and move for a first round impact, 1 point for a second round impact, move regardless.  I managed 4 points here.

This put my day 1 total at a measly 40 points.  The leader had like 79 or something.  I was a bit deflated.  I think I was in like 48th place or something.

Had a great dinner, then went back to the hotel and got drunk.

Got up the next morning, and set a goal for myself that I'd shoot every stage better than I had the day prior (all stages were repeated, with the exception of the skills stage and a change to the TYL which I'll get to - BUT all time limits were reduced to 1:30 now!).

We started on the skills stage.  I promptly got my first 0 of the day.  Got that out of the way early!  Disappointing, since now I was already 3 points down on the previous day's performance.  This skills stage was the barricade everyone is familiar with, target at 400 yards.  I know, there's no excuse.  I need to build one of these barricades and practice it.

Next up were prairie dogs again.  This time, I managed 3 points - a first round and a second round. Still couldn't hit that third target to save my life.  Ugh.

Then was the Vortex cattle fence - Here I got 2 points.  Now I was at least tied with my previous day's performance through the stages we had shot thus far.

Next, the J Allen rooftop.  2 points.  Gained one more.

Then the Mean Woman truck - Here I got first round impacts on the first 3 targets, and didn't get the last one.  6 points.  Picked up 2!

Now, the US Optics North Troop.  4 points.  Dropped two.  The wind was switchy and light, from our 4:00 to our 8:00.  I wasn't thrilled.  As I stood there reflecting on the fact that I had just dropped two points day over day, I was faced with the longest stage on the course, where I had scored a lofty 8 the day prior.  I was not amused.

As luck would have it, I was last in rotation on the Nightforce South Troop.  I watched the rest of the squad shoot the stage.  Wind calls varied wildly, from dead on, to left edge, to half a mil right.  Some guys had to hold both left and right in the same string to get their hits!  Not many guys in my squad did well, and the ROs said not many guys did well at all, all day.  The rest of my squad all packed up and walked down the spinner some 150-ish yards when I laid down to shoot.  My mind was racing, there was no way I was going to be able to improve on my 8 from the previous day.  However, long ball is usually my thing, so I just settled in, dialed my dope for the first target and started sending them.  Bang.  "IMPACT!"  Dial.  Bang.  "IMPACT!"  Dial.  Bang.  "IMPACT!"  "Ok," I said to myself, "This is where we were yesterday.  Just hit this one now."  Bang.  At 1185 yards, only sending them 2706fps, that flight time felt like an eternity.  Finally, I saw the flasher light up.  "IMPACT!"  Dial some more.  "30 seconds remaining."  I was already on target.  Bang.  Closed my eyes.  Waited for what felt like an hour.  "IMPACT!", came the call.  I could barely stand up, I was so happy I'd cleaned it.  I pick up my brass, crawl to my feet, and one of the ROs walks over and hands me his business card.  It was Orkan, from Primal Rights.  He said that he was going to give me a free Competition Primer Seater for being the only guy all weekend to clean that stage.  I was beside myself.  SWEET!!!!  I shook everyone's hands, wrote down my 10, and floated on a cloud down to the spinner.

At the spinner, I didn't screw it up this time.  Sent my 2 on the small plate uneventfully, then spun the spinner with 2 rounds remaining.  Wrote down my 7 and moved on.  I had picked up 7 points over the previous day in the past 2 stages!

Standing kneeling sitting, I only managed 3 - dropped 1.

Hike all the way back to the beginning - it shouldn't be too terribly difficult to improve on these next two stages - I had taken zeroes on both the day before.  Sure enough, on the LRI Troop I got 1, and on the rock I got 2.

We ended the day on the KYL.  This was shot as a TRUE KYL now.  5 targets, 5 shots.  Any miss at all and you zeroed the stage.  I loaded 5 rounds in my magazine.  I knew, beyond all doubt, that I had to go for it.  I was so far back in the pack that a 0 wouldn't hurt me any more than I already was, so it was all or nothing.  Laid down, took a couple deep breaths, and connected 5 times as fast as I could.  Took my 10 points, packed up, and walked back to the truck.

I ended up finishing 37th.  For my efforts, I snagged a $500 off a Surgeon action from the prize table.

Orkan found me and awarded me the Competition Primer Seater he promised.  Be sure to look for a review of that coming up here.  As I mentioned, things have been crazy around here, so I haven't even gotten it bolted to the bench yet!  I can't wait to try it out through, I do need to load some rounds for the Iowa match on the 18th.

Overall impressions of the match?  The course of fire was great.  The layout of the stages, and the distance between the stages - both great.  The weather was cooperative, the ROs were excellent, and Mike and Cody did a fantastic job.  I've been to maybe a dozen different venues for matches - some first-time matches, some in their 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th year.  This match ranks right up there as one of the smoothest, most well-run matches I've ever attended, and I can't wait to go again next year!

For those of you wondering what happened with the winner of the free slot, KW - he had some rifle troubles on day one, but drove all the way home to get a different rifle to shoot day 2.  He ended up winning a rifle!!  I have a pic of him around here somewhere, I'll see if I can find it and get it posted.

Mike, Cody, sponsors, and all the other crew who made this match possible - thank you, from the bottom of my heart.  April and I really enjoyed ourselves, and are looking forward to next time!

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