Well fall is definitely here in the Pacific Northwest which brings with it rain, wind, and mud. Lots of mud in the PR pit at Tri-County. The place was just a muddy mucky mess from the previous night’s rain but luckily the rain held off during the match. The good thing about bad weather matches is there is generally a lot of steel and little to no paper to tape which makes the day move a little faster. Today we had 4 stages and 57 competitors ready to wallow in the mud to try and out shoot one another. I squaded up with my usual buddies which makes for a great day regardless of how the match goes and we all started on stage 1. I was also really excited about today’s match since I was armed with my new Meopta ZD and was looking to make up for last month’s disaster with my old optic and a poorly maintained rifle that was short stroking. It didn’t take long before I knew the new optic was the right choice, and I had a strong run out of the gates on the first stage.

STAGE ONE – FROM THE LEDGE

It was pretty simple, hit three banks of four steel plates while shooting under a barricade. The targets were probably 150 yards out to 200 yards which fell pretty fast while shooting prone off of a railroad tie.

STAGE TWO – FOUR TIMES TWO

This stage had two shooting positions, the first had you hit a couple of plates then hit a couple of steel targets that were the size of a standard USPSA target but the center had a 4 inch section that if you hit it you would earn 2 points per target. After you hit those you had to move to the second location and you had to repeat hitting the same four targets. Pretty easy at under 200 yards but very satisfying since last month these things gave me hell. They fell fast but I added about 12 seconds to my time with a dead trigger. We later discovered that some debris had gotten into the trigger sear and wouldn’t let it reset. While on the clock I racked the charging handle a couple of times before flicking the safety back and forth out of desperation which dislodged the debris and got the gun back online. The new scope had no issues hitting the center of the 2 point section with first round hits. What a difference!

STAGE THREE – UNDER OVER L&R

Again we had 4 steel target relatively close which were to be engaged from four separate positions from behind cover. The end shooting positions were easy enough, but the top position had a small gap that forced you to turn your rifle counter clockwise 90 degrees, and finally go prone under a barrel…in the mud. Wow what a mess. It was easily the messiest stage of the day. I did discover that the Meopta’s little rubber rear ocular lens cover got in the way in this position and I wound up yanking it off before the last stage. This was a very dynamic stage that really pushed you to go fast which is always a great time.

STAGE FOUR – KNOW YOUR CLAY LIMIT

I simply hate “know your limit” stages because…well…I don’t know my limits. I get greedy and bomb the stage which was precisely what I did here. The stage setup had a single steel plate off to the left and a bank of clay pigeons of different sizes in front of you. Oh, to make matters worse it was a Virginia count stage and you could only take a single shot before alternating back and forth between the steel and the clays targets. Being greedy I immediately went for the smallest targets which were about 1.5 inches wide. I did manage to hit 4 of them but in hind sight would have scored higher hitting more of the larger targets. I bombed this stage so badly that I was 29th for the stage and it almost dropped me out of the top ten overall for the match. Whoops.

So at the end of the day I was really happy with the match overall, even with stage 4’s poor performance since the rifle and new optic seem to be a winning combination over the previous setup. My new Meopta ZD and the Cat Tail ran flawlessly and was the conduit to a fun filled day in the mud.

November Practical Rifle Match
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