I love to see matches progress over the years. In its fourth year the NW Multi Gun outdid itself. Or, shall I say Doug Hartley and Scott Hawkins and Co outdid themselves? They did. Spreading the match out over 3 days with two time slots allowed for a smooth flow of over 200 competitors. Not once did we have to wait for a squad in front of us to finish. As usual Bend, OR gave us very hot and dusty conditions. Having to sit around and wait for any back ups is not pleasant in those conditions. There were nine well designed stages. To me this was a straight forward 3 Gun Match. No weird obstacles like wooden spools you had to squish under. (See Ironman) Every stage had a couple of mid range rifle targets out to about 250 yards to mix things up.
Having the match spread out with scheduled squad times was a genius idea. On days one and two there were 7:30am and 12:30 pm time slots. Day three had 7:30 and 10:30 slots to finish two final stages and then lunch and awards were afterwards. I was at first bummed my squad had two 7:30am start times. Now after the fact I think we had the best deal. We had an awesome squad by the way. Go Squad 9!! It was so hot that the early morning time was much cooler. Then on day two when we had the afternoon schedule we got lucky with cooler temps and overcast skies and even had a little refreshing sprinkle. It was perfect! I have only one complaint. Okay two. Day three we were finished at 10am and lunch and awards did not start until 1 and 2:00. That was a long time to sit around in the hot weather. There was no where to retreat to. The main tent was closed in and an oven. I understand they wanted to keep the dust down in there but it still got dusty anyway. And then we baked. Leave the walls open and let the breeze and dust come through. Dust never hurt anyone. Next, in the past the prize table was given away randomly. Which I think is great to allow the people at the bottom of the pack a chance to win something they can actually use to get ahead in the game. But apparently Scott and Doug sent out a survey and 80% said they wanted it given by order of performance. I was surprised by that actually. Oh well. There, my whining is done.
I was able to shoot my new Devil Dog Arms 308 in the Heavy Metal class. In fact there were two of us on my squad that shot Heavy. Another gal, Lorna, and I. Go Ladies! I was thrilled my rifle performed flawlessly. I on the one hand, not so much. Day one brought me misery. I just was not awake or something. I slammed a bunch of bird shot at slug targets wondering why I was not hitting the targets. Well I was. With a cloud of shot. Huge penalty of wrong ammo used on top of no hits. Sheesh. I had some other rookie mistakes. I learned quickly that the rifle does not like a full mag on a closed bolt. I timed out on a stage for that. I forgot twice that my pistol was holstered empty and I needed to insert the magazine to shoot. Stupid feeling pointing and pulling the trigger and hearing a very “loud” click. There is nothing louder than hearing nothing. I need to work on shooting with a slung rifle. The second time I performed better when I slung it at the front of me. It gave me a quick position to unsnap the sling and have room to load and charge a round and get in to position. It is overwhelming the tiny details and gaming this sport requires to cut precious seconds off of your time. I now am going to make a point to be at a match a day or two early to walk through stages or watch as the RO’s shoot them. I don’t know how so many of these competitors have time and money to do that. That is extra time away from work and extra days of hotels and expenses. But if I want to get ahead I need to do like the pros. My shotgun reloads are getting quicker. I keep watching the Youtube videos of the Noveske or AMU guys that can reload 8 rounds in 5 or 6 seconds with a round fired. I will be there. I am around 10 seconds shooting a round, loading 8 and shooting a round. Of course that is in practice and not on the range. I am still doing the traditional four rounds at a time. I have not yet tried the double stack loading. That is next when I get the pouches for it.
I was so happy with my rifle. I was 5 for 5 that I hit my long range targets on the first round. You could say I had it zeroed pretty well. Or perhaps the rifle and Black Hole Weaponry polygonal barrel were just so awesome. I had one major blooper on the last stage where one round got stuck. It took me forever to get it out finally slamming the rifle on the ground when the round popped out. The case was bulged at the neck. It caused me to time out missing several shotgun targets and a spinner at the end. I was able to use my new TTI base pad extensions getting 5 more rounds in my 308 mags. I could have used those at Ironman last month. I have been crossing an accessory from precision rifle to 3 Gun. I use a skid plate on the rifle to give cushioning if I have to rest the rifle on any hard surface. I thought why couldn’t I use it in 3 Gun too? You have to shoot off of hard surfaces all of the time. It worked! Now I need to figure out how to bring in the Wiebad bag. I could start a new gaming fad!
We had a couple of side trips in Bend. Driving there we stopped at the Stone Henge replica in the Washington side of the Columbia River near Goldendale, WA. I had been there but Charles had never heard of it. In Bend we finally got to tour the Nosler bullet manufacturing facility. That was really awesome. Some old school equipment in there churning out lots and lots of bullets. The structures of these machines were from the 40s and 50s. If ever in Bend make sure and do that tour. Pretty fascinating.
Congrats to the winners in each category. Open was Craig Outzen. Tac Ops was John Browning. Limited was Cody Leeper and Heavy Ops was Scott McGregor. Junior (This “kid” is 6’4″) Brian Nelson (who was in my squad) won high Junior in Tac Ops. He is amazing!
Thank you Scott and Doug and Scott’s wife Brenda for a great match. To all of the RO’s that put in so many days and hours. To all of my product sponsors – Devil Dog Arms, Black Hole Weaponry, Accu-Grip, Nosler, Leupold, Froglube, Lantac, Warne, ESS, CMC Triggers, Tactical Ammunition, Dueck, XS Sights, Animal Customs, High Speed Gear. To all of the NW Mutli Gun match sponsors that donated about 90K in product. (see sponsors below my photo gallery)