After participating in Ironman 3 years ago I was glad I had done it but swore I would never do it again. How quickly we forget pain because I came back again this year. Charles insisted I go again because he wanted to shoot it once and with me. I agreed not knowing at the time that my division of heavy metal was a different week than his division of Tac Ops. So again, I was left to go by myself. It may sound as though I do not like this match. That is not true, I do. I love seeing the people I know and any shooting is a great time right? But it is very grueling, very expensive and your equipment and body takes a beating. The days start at the range at 6am and I do not get back to my hotel until 8:30pm. Then I still have to clean all 3 guns of the Parma evil dust, shower and eat and try to sleep. 3 days of this. I should not complain too much. There is a trooper class that has to carry all their gear and ammo from beginning to end of the match at all times. Crazy!
I still sound unappreciative don’t I? Well, this year I had a boo boo. On day two in the second stage I had an ND and was DQ’d from the match. Horrible, humiliating, embarrassing, stupid….. If it were not for my awesome squad mates I would still be bummed. Once they had left me alone to stew awhile they then patted me on the back and gave me their own stories of “Not if but when and when again”. There are two types of shooters. The ones who have not yet and the ones who will again. We use this term in High Power as well for cross firing. What happened was we had a stage that was to be shot all weak side. You started with the rifle and had to shoot from underneath a car. I finished my rounds and was sliding back out and my left finger was still on the trigger and “Bam”. My muscle memory of the indexed finger is not quite ingrained on my support side obviously. I put a nice hole in one of my squadmate’s mats. Oops. I should have autographed it with “30CalGal was here”. I stayed the rest of the day with the squad to help with set-ups and anything else. But I did go home the next day a day early. That is a bummer since I had investment of time and money to be there. I have to admit that I was not too upset that I didn’t have to shoot the wooden spool stage that came later that day. Ask anyone and they will say that was one of the worst stages of the match.
There were three bays each with targets for each gun. You had to shoot from under the spool. Your shoulders could not be in front of the spool so that left you in an awkward position. If you were a bigger person you could not crawl under it from behind you had to go in front and slide backwards under it. If you were really big than forget that all together. You had to stay behind it and try to shoot from underneath which was nearly impossible. My other least favorite stage was the 90 second stage. You had two strings of 90 seconds to shoot sets of targets from behind a layered wall. One string strong side and one from weak side. The pistol targets were 50 feet out to the closest rack. It was kind of a stupid stage really. Everyone timed out of course. I found out that one guy on my husband’s squad only engaged two targets and stopped. Everyone else shot as many as they could and timed out. That guy won the stage. ?? I guess you need to understand how the match is scored and game it better like he did. But that to me is lame.
The tower slide stage and zip line stage were still there. I did not bruise my tail bone this time coming down the slide. I may have looked like a grandma coming down so slowly but I did not care. Last time I came down way too fast and skid across the ground on my bottom. Ow. The zip line was an optional stage this time. It can cause quite a back up. For some reason this year they had different harnesses and a couple of guys were strangled and passed out while going down the zip line. Yikes right? They brought in new harnesses and all was better for the rest of the week. I loved seeing the Miller Hi-Life Team. These guys have been wearing beer shirts for years and this year made professional jerseys with the beer logo. No they are not officially sponsored by Miller but they have a great time being their own team. They were on the squad following ours and they would play a boom box of theme songs when each shooter would start their stage. Awesome. There were a couple of adorable stray range black lab puppies that were roaming the gun club all week. You have no idea how tempted I was but thankfully someone adopted them by the end of the match and I am sure will have more room than a condo to run around.
My guns and my ammo all worked perfectly. I had my new Devil Dog Arms 308 AR and it was the first time I ran it. Flawless! I will get a chance to use it in the NW Multi Gun match in Bend, OR. next month. My ammo was made by Tactical Ammunition of out St, Helens, OR. as well. I will do a follow up article on my gear. Will I do Ironman again? Yea, most likely. How quickly we forget pain right?