It was another beautiful, and exciting trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana, for the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup. After driving through the larger portion of three states, and a delicious stop at our favorite LA Po’ Boy Shop (shout out to Poor Boy Lloyd’s!!!), we found ourselves back in the warm hospitality of the Southwest Louisiana Rifle and Pistol Club.
We were thrilled to see some of our old friends, meet some interesting new folks, and see just how much the competition had grown over the last 12 months. George Mowbray, and Gary Yantis, plus a big group of some of the best volunteers money could never buy, had made even more range improvements, including making The Crawfish Cup 100% wheelchair accessible! From the new rail mover, to the concrete walkways, the range looked perfect.
Our field of competitors had grown, but the elite competitors were unphased. Caspian Shooter Bruce Piatt, Midsouth Shooter Kevin Angstadt, and Black Nitride Shooter Tony Holmes all brought their A-game. A new face in the top competitors bracket was Mark Itzstein. Mark’s funny, energetic, and has the skills to back up the slight ribbing he’d dish out to his fellow shooters on the line.
Some other folks we were excited to see again we’re Jeremy Newell, who amazed us with his skill level last year, and his extensive resume of shooting disciplines in which he competes. The Yackley’s are one of the coolest families you’ll find on the range. They compete with everything they have, which is a ton of talent, and a family bond which lifts each member of it’s circle to do better, try harder, and to always be gracious. Becky set a new ladies record on the mover this year! Tim took the high honors in his category, and Sean tore up the competition as well!
Also, the Army Marksmanship Unit took home top honors in several events, to include Metallic, as well as Production. Newcomer SPC Heinauer took third in the Metallic Sight overall, and First in Falling Plates Metallic. Their group is always one to follow. Their energy is matched only by their skill!
If you don’t know who Vera Koo is, you’re missing out. Graceful, grounded, and generous, Vera had nothing but kind words, and praise for The Crawfish Cup. She also has a ton of skill and dedication! Vera took home Grand High Lady at the cup, and donated several hundred dollars of her own money to be given as door prizes.
The heat and humidity were also in attendance, as well as delicious food, and strong competition. With enough shooters to fill two days, we found ourselves extremely busy with shooting of our own. We’ll have a video of the shoot coming out soon, as well as more write-ups on sponsors, who make the entire shoot possible.
In the end, it all came down to X-rings, and the mover. Pulling off his third win in a row, Bruce Piatt took home the esteemed Crawfish Cup, with Kevin Angstadt coming in second, and Mark Itzstein coming in third. A great group of winners, in a field of exemplary shooters. Everyone tried, had a ton of fun, and made the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Supply Crawfish Cup a huge success. We’re ready for 2018 already. Are you?
We’re excited to be heading back to Lake Charles, Louisiana for the 2017 Midsouth Shooters Crawfish Cup! Familiarize yourselves with this illustrious Action Pistol Championship with our previous articles by Clicking here, and here.
Last year, we saw Bruce Piatt take the cup in a dramatic finish to what was one of the most exciting Crawfish Cup competitions yet. Team Black Nitride took all three top spots with Tony Holmes, and Doug Koenig taking second and third, respectively. Midsouth Shooter, Kevin Angstadt took home the fourth place prize.
We also saw greats like Vera Koo, and Team Yackley compete hard, and take home honors of their own. Tim Yackley won the Junior Division, and Vera achieved Grand High Lady!
Every year, The Crawfish Cup becomes more than an NRA Action Pistol event. It’s a place where greats come to hone their skills before the Flagler and Bianchi Cup Championships, and it’s a place where amateurs and professionals can compete side-by-side. The undercurrent of the shoot is always one of friendly competition, and conversation. It’s a warm environment for every shooter involved, and it’s not just the oppressing humidity of a Louisiana late spring.
Can you take a focus on accuracy too far, or never far enough? Here are some thoughts on why better accuracy (really) matters…
Anyone who has ever read one of my books knows the extent of tickiness that can be involved in handloading. Competitive shooters also tend to get pretty wrapped up and sometimes entrenched hopelessly in technical rifle details. All these things we do are done in the hope of better accuracy: smaller shot groups.
Why bother with tickiness? Well, the answer (always) depends on the level of tickiness afoot and on the level of reward we get from it. No other answer makes any sense.
Accuracy always matters. If you do something different or new in the handloading process and see better shot groups, that no doubt was worth it. Ultimately, it was worth it. It might have been upgrading tools, experimenting with components, one or more case prep steps you hadn’t tried before. It’s still always a payback over the expense, time, and effort. But. It’s another level, attaining another level. It’s stepped up. I’ve compared all this to other endeavors where attaining that new level forever eclipses the old. But then there’s also the time and the effort. When I load ammunition, I consider its purpose. I do not turn case necks for ammo that’s going through my old SP1 on a Sunday afternoon of tin can hunting with my sons. For that, I’m interested in volume and function: the best way to load a lot of .223 Rem. with bulk-packed bullets and ball gunpowder, and with the fewest number of steps. We need a lot of ammo because we have eradicated entire species of discarded objects.
But, let’s for the rest of this assume that the sole purpose is the smallest group sizes we can get, day in and day out. That’s easier to talk about and make sense of, because, no doubt, there are factors that influence it, and I do know what they are.
I’ve always judged accuracy by group size. No shock. Most people do it thataway. I’m also way on more concerned with the worst group my combination shows me than I am the best group. Not everyone views that the same. When it gets down to it, though, I want to know what the worst shot I can anticipate might be because that information is very valuable in adjusting for the next shot. Now I’m talking about shooting for score in a tournament.
I picture a circle that outlines the group size I warrant for my rifle/ammo combination. For my own purpose of clarity, I call it “the accuracy cone.” This circle gets bigger the farther I’m shooting. Shots outside that circle need correction, shots inside that probably don’t. Yes, no, I don’t always launch a perfect shot. So honesty matters, objective evaluation of the shot break.
Mathematically-oriented people may tell you (and I understand this) that testing with 3-round groups provides accurate feedback of a round’s performance. It has to do with probabilities and such. However! I believe too much in luck, or as Buddy Dave calls it, “The Bullet Fairy.” Math-folk will further tell you that the more rounds fired the bigger the shot groupings will become. I’ve seen many instances where that wasn’t true, where the first two or three rounds defined the outer edge of what ultimately became a 10-shot group. I can’t argue with math, but I can argue with myself to the point that I want to see more rounds, and more groups, before I cook up a big batch of a component combination and call it good, or call it “match ammo.”
If you are a competitive shooter, better accuracy helps you get all the points you hold for. We can’t, any of us, ask for more than that. If you are a varmint hunter, it means a close miss may become a hit. The smaller the target the more it matters, or the smaller the goal area on a target is. Aim small, miss small. So let’s miss smaller… Examples can continue, and they might involve a trophy elk in New Mexico, or something even more important to stop in its tracks. It’s doesn’t really matter if the target is 10 feet away, or 10 yards, or 1000 yards, a more accurate firearm is a more effective tool. You can’t miss! Or you sure don’t want to.
The value of accuracy is undeniable, but the value of time and effort and expense does indeed have a limit. No, I don’t do “everything” possible to my ammo to make it perfect. I have found a few things that really help, things that are reasonably (by my standards) good paybacks. Another tip: Get a good barrel! Honestly: that gets the most from whatever you do, or don’t do, to help the cause.
This article is adapted from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information on that and other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com
We asked Team Springfield™ shooters to assemble some of their go-to tips to benefit the fans out there looking for some pro advice. The first topic we threw out to them was the art of the grip. Let’s dive in.
#1: ROB LEATHAM: WRIST ACTION
The most common email question I get is asking how to correct the low, left shot on the target (from a right-handed shooter). One of the ways to address this problem is:
LOCK YOUR WRISTS, AS IF THEY ARE A VISE ON THE GUN
When instructing, I primarily observe the arm/wrist/hand areas when a student is shooting. I often see prominent movement in the strong-side wrist and hand (and sometimes into the arm) before or as a shot is fired. Even the smallest of movement before or when the shot is fired will cause the gun to move out of alignment, typically in the low, left direction.
I don’t care if you “jerk” the trigger. You can jerk all you want if you are able to hold the gun completely still. IMO, “Do not jerk the trigger” should be replaced with “Do not move your wrists.”
#2: KYLE SCHMIDT: UNSUPPORTIVE SUPPORT HAND
When Rob asked me to explain my No. 1 issue regarding grip, my mind immediately turned to earlier in the day. Less than an hour prior to the text from Rob, I was working with a few struggling shooters. Each one of them suffered from a very common gripping issue that I regularly see:
NOT USING THE SUPPORT HAND PROPERLY
Without proper support (i.e., position and strength) from the support hand, you are essentially shooting one-handed. One of the first indicators of improper support-hand usage is that the primary and support hands separate (partially or completely) when the gun is fired. Many shooters try to correct this problem by continually readjusting their support hands between shots; however, that correction is time-consuming and typically short-lived. The lack of use of the support hand has a significant negative effect on the shooter’s ability to both hold the gun steady when aiming difficult shots and the ability to quickly return the gun onto the target after firing.
#3: KIPPI LEATHAM: GET YOUR SHOOTING GRIP FROM THE GET-GO
I work with a lot of newer shooters, and the No. 1 gripping problem I see is:
PICKING UP THE GUN A DIFFERENT WAY EVERY TIME
One time they grab the gun with their strong hand and the webbing between the thumb and trigger finger is positioned one to two inches below the tang. They immediately have to re-position the webbing higher under the tang/beavertail before they can rack the slide and shoot.
The next time they pick up the pistol with their support hand to seat a magazine with their strong hand, they only to have to switch the gun and grip back to the strong hand before chambering a round to shoot. Or they draw the gun from the holster with all four fingers under the trigger guard, requiring an adjustment of the grip to re-position the trigger finger so it can press the trigger and move the other three fingers under the trigger guard.
My advice is to get the proper shooting grip immediately (if possible), whether picking the gun up off of a bench, drawing from a holster, taking it off of a display rack, etc. Every time I handle one of my pistols, whether I’m loading a mag, unloading the gun, drawing from a holster, just admiring it, etc., I use my strong-hand shooting grip —
Trigger finger rests on the frame (below the slide), visibly above/outside of the trigger guard.
Three remaining fingers are closed and touching under the trigger guard.
Thumb webbing is centered on the back strap of the gun and positioned under the tang as high as possible.
Thumb on the left side of the gun is touching the side of the frame.
If you can do this every time you handle your pistol, you will repeatedly reinforce your proper shooting grip, and, soon, muscle memory should take over.
#4: JASON BURTON: LOSE THE LOOSE GRIP
GRIP THE PISTOL TIGHTLY = HAVE MORE TIME
Whether it is competition such as USPSA, shooting bullseye at Camp Perry, or defensive-oriented pistol craft, time and its effects on the end result are a factor present in most shooting. Time as it relates to competitive shooting can often be categorized in two ways: Expend the least amount of time (or do things as fast as the shooter is capable) or make the most of the fixed amount of time allotted. However, time as it relates to personal defense is neither fixed nor limitlessly expendable, but rather a consideration often used and quantifiable for making decisions. So when it comes to actually shooting the pistol from a personal defense aspect, how can we have more time with which to make decisions and/or react to the evolving situation?
ONE VERY SIMPLE WAY IS TO MAKE THE PISTOL MOVE LESS
Many times in classes (as well as competitive circles) I have seen shooters who wait to move from one target or part of a shooting array to another until they have completely recovered the gun onto their existing problems. While more prevalent in defensive pistol craft, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it is essentially an assessment of one’s previous actions and the results they had.
However, the sooner you can get to the point of assessing your previous action, the sooner you can move on to the next problem. Herein, the application of proper shooting technique will contribute to the speed at which you can assess problems. Simply put, the better you grip the gun the less it will move, and the less it moves the sooner it will return to the target, which allows you more time to evaluate if what you did worked. My friend Clint Smith has a saying, “You have the rest of your life to solve the problem. How long your life lasts depends on how well you do it.” So grip the gun like your life depends on it, because it just might.
#5: STEVE HORSMAN: THUMBS DOWN
When I taught concealed carry permit classes, we would spend the first day in the classroom discussing safety, state self-defense law, basic shooting technique, and — did I mention safety? On day two at the range, after discussing safety again, I would ask the students to shoot a group at 5 yards and 10 yards, and my primary objective was to observe how the student gripped the pistol. While I would occasionally have students shooting revolvers, most were using a semi-automatic pistol, such as the 1911 or the striker-fired XD® line. So this is the grip I’ll focus on.
What I immediately noticed was that most shooters would place their primary thumbs over the top of their support-hand thumbs, with the thumbs almost pointing down. If you can visualize a good revolver grip, this is what many shooters were doing while shooting their semi-autos.
THUMBS DOWN TO THUMBS DOWN
However, most firearms instructors and accomplished competition shooters grip the pistol with a high thumb grip. Visualize my primary-hand thumb resting on my support-hand thumb, with both thumbs somewhat pointing toward the muzzle of the gun. Thumbs should look like they are in direct line of the slide/barrel.
With this tip, and the others that my Springfield teammates have suggested, head out to the range, give these techniques a try and see if you don’t just notice some improvement…
A recent incident in which a Waffle House waitress was fired after defending herself against an attempted robbery shows that even when people exercise their legal right to self-defense, they can still be terminated by their employers.
According to WSBTV in Georgia, “Deputies said robbers gave a note to a waitress that threatened to shoot everyone unless she gave them money.” Heather Stanley, another waitress at the Newnan, Georgia eatery, went out to her car, retrieved her handgun, and “fired one shot into the air” as the would-be robbers ran to their cars.
Stanley was fired by Waffle House after the incident.
Stanley told WSBTV, “I didn’t know if they had guns. I didn’t know if they were going to their vehicle to get another one and could come back and try to get to the safe, so my instinct was to go to my car and get the gun.” Stanley added, “For trying to protect their Waffle House and trying to protect their money and to get their money back, they let me go.”
In Texas, employers can fire employees for similar policy violations. Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor of Walker & Byington discusses the limited options fired employees in the Lone Star State have if they violate an employer’s firearms policy:
What happens if you do get fired for violating a firearms policy? Well, unfortunately, Texas is an “employment at will” state so your employer can fire you for virtually any reason, or no reason at all at any time.
So if you’re fired for violating a firearms policy, you don’t really have recourse. Firearms owners in Texas are not a protected class of persons, so you can’t come back then and sue your employer and say you were discriminated against for being a firearms owner. We reserve this protected-class status for things like race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and things of this nature.
There’s one more quirk in Texas firearms law that pertains to employers and employees, and this is having your firearm in your vehicle at work. We have a bill here in Texas that says that the general rule is employers must allow you to do this.
However, that bill doesn’t have a punishment for employers who violate this law, so at the end of the day, if you have your firearm in the car, your employer tells you that you cannot do this, and then they fire you for having your firearm in the car, unfortunately, even though, they are in violation of the statute, you have again no legal recourse because Texas is employment at will.
If you own or have been thinking about owning an NFA item like a short-barreled rifle (SBR) or silencer, no doubt you know that processing times have been going up. The reason is ATF Rule 41F, which became active in July of 2016. The increase of required paperwork under the new rules combined with the front-loading of many submissions by those attempting to make it before the deadline have led to a larger workload for the NFA Branch. It hasn’t helped the silencer industry either.
But on April 3, 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) made some major changes that amounted to a complete reorganization of the National Firearms Act (NFA) Branch.
In an attempt to better provide oversight, cut down wait times, and increase efficiency, two distinct new branches have been formed: The Industry Processing Branch (NFA IPB) and the Government Support Branch (NFA GSB).
The NFA IPB is responsible for industry forms processing and working towards refining current operations.
The duties of the NFA GSB include processing SOT applications, government transfers, exemptions, and expediting LEO/Gov requests.
Furthermore, a new NFA Division Staff Program Office has been formed to manage publications, FOIA requests, respond to data calls, and oversee the vetting of statistical data.
These new changes just might mean greatly reduced wait times — keep your fingers crossed!
If you’re in need of an out-of-the-box long-range tack driver, and don’t want to pay thousands, this Savage proved a great choice in this test. Read more…
by Patrick E. Kelley
The Savage Arms BA10 “Stealth” is anything but stealthy! This rifle shows up “in your face” ready to put bullets in little groups up close, or where the real test is — way out there!
CUTTING TO THE CHASE…
Lets start at about “half way” to way out there. This AICS (Accuracy International Chassis System) compatible box magazine-fed turn-bolt is accurate! While many may claim half-minute accuracy, this stick actually is that precise, and it can do it right out of the box. Take a look…
Now I would love to take credit for those groups, but knowing my longer-range skill set was less than what I expected the rifle could shoot, I enlisted the help of my shooting buddy Bill. As an F-Class competitor, he knows his way around long range shooting. It took a few shots to get him settled in behind this rather lightweight (9.2 pounds) long range bullet placement tool, but settle in he did. Yes, I included ALL 5 groups! We got to take the good with the bad, but I would ask you to really look at those groups…this rifle wants to shoot 1/2 MOA or better! Thanks Bill!
With the Savage carrying a MSRP of $1207 I thought it would be a good idea to marry this rifle up with a comparable scope. I chose one that, like the Stealth itself, has value well beyond its modest price: the Burris XTRII 5×25. I tell people, “Don’t buy cheap scopes!” Buy good glass and then put them in the best mounts. You will break a scope someday, but a good mount will last though several scopes! The scope base is part of the Savage BA10 package and is made by the good guys at EGW, and the scope rings I supplied are 34mm units from Xtreme Hardcore Gear. “On right stays tight” — use a proper inch-pound torque wrench!
HITS This bolt gun’s “chassis system” is made by MTD and is a solid, well-made unit. I popped the barreled action out of the stock before the first rounds went downrange and looked it over. It is very nice and beautifully machined. I mentioned using an inch-pound torque wrench for scope mounting, well it is a good practice to use one when installing the barreled action back into the chassis. I did 60 inch-pounds.
I could not just watch my friend Bill shoot so after he completed his session with the Hornady factory ammunition at 450 yards I tried my hand at 300 yards with some Federal American Eagle 140 grain OTM (Open Top Match). Even with me behind the incredibly nice 22-ounce Savage AccuTrigger, sub-minute of angle groups were the norm. Norm…that is not normal! Sub-MOA groups from a factory-fresh rifle without any tuning or tweaking or even barrel break-in with off-the-shelf factory ammo! I think I am going to like this long-range game! Thanks Savage!
We covered most of this, but let me point out a nit-pick or two. You knew I would have at least one… The EGW scope rail appears to be a “flat” rail, not a 20 or 30 MOA rail that is common in long-range circles. If you have enough elevation adjustment within your optic you might be okay, but give me a 20 MOA base any day.
Then there’s the buttstock… I don’t like it. It is okay for an AR but this one lacks two elements that I want (need): first, the cheek rest sits too far back to get proper eye relief, and second, for use with a rear bag the bottom of the buttstock ought to be flat. Small nits to pick, and both are easily remedied through the aftermarket.
The BA10 Stealth has proven itself to be accurate and reliable with a trigger that has me wishing every rifle I own were so equipped! It does this “right out of the box” and it does it within the wallet of a “working man.” Ultimately, Savage Arms has assembled an excellent long-range tool that in capable hands shouldn’t have any problem running right along side guns with price tags several times the Stealth price. Stealthy?…not a chance. This one screams “I am a winner!”
Click here for MORE information on the Savage Stealth series
About the author: Patrick E. Kelley is a competition shooter, instructor, gunwriter, photographer, and videographer. After four years as a featured competitor on 3-Gun Nation he was hired as the Expert Analyst and commentator for the show. He started to compete actively in 3-Gun in 1999, placing Top Tyro in his first championship, the Soldier of Fortune 3 gun match. Patrick has earned numerous first-place finishes at major matches in 12 U.S. states and Canadian provinces. He has mastered several shooting disciplines, from NRA Bullseye and Metallic Silhouette to the world of Practical Shooting. Patrick is also a member of the NRA 2600 Club and was ranked in the USPSA’s top twenty early in his shooting career. Patrick’s articles on shooting and firearms, as well as his photography, can be found within the pages of Shooting Illustrated, Outdoor Life, and 3 Gun Nation Magazine. His YouTube channel includes instructional and exhibition shooting videos, including the series “Patrick’s Tac Tricks” produced in concert with the NRA. Check one out HERE
A letter announcing the rules, set to take effect in on July 1, claimed they were a response to “a lack of clarity around RI’s policy … when participating in activities involving guns, weapons, and other armaments, and when interacting with gun companies, including for sponsorship purposes.”
The new rules — codified in Chapter II, Article 2, Section 2.100 of Rotary Code of Policies — unfortunately feature their own ambiguities and contradictions.
But one thing is clear: Those who prize America’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, or who simply appreciate the many benefits of owning firearms, are no longer welcomed within the group’s ranks.
The new policy bans any Rotary entity — including clubs and districts — from selling, raffling, or transferring firearms. It also bans these entities from participating in activities where any sort of firearm raffle or other transfer occurs, whether or not Rotary is the owner of the items. Rotary entities are also prohibited from sponsoring or conducting gun shows or other exhibitions involving guns.
The new policy even bans Rotary entities from “accept[ing] sponsorship from any entity whose primary business is the sale or manufacturer of guns, weapons or other armaments.” The policy manual goes on to classify such items as “addictive or harmful products and activities.”
While the policy does not go so far as to completely ban Rotary events involving sport shooting or other handling of firearms, it does state: “In no instance shall any of the Rotary Marks be used in any visual that includes guns, weapons or other armaments.” Further, “The Rotary Marks may not be used in combination with the name or logo of any entity whose primary business is the sale or manufacture of guns, weapons or other armaments.”
Some have pointed out the hypocrisy of the “primary business” clause, which would allow high-volume manufacturers or retailers of firearms to associate with Rotary and participate in its functions, so long as the company made more money from other lines of business. Yet that same language serves to punish and exclude small “mom and pop” type firearms dealerships.
Also, sport shooting events or firearms education are good enough to occur under Rotary’s auspices but they may not be memorialized on film as such.
The FAQ claims the policy arose from inquiries by clubs that wanted to hold a gun show and use a Rotary trademark on a firearm.
It denies any political or ideology basis for the policy but then goes on to state it was “done strictly to limit Rotary financial and reputational risk,” as if association with lawful firearm-related businesses or activities was somehow a per se harm to the group’s reputation or standing. It also suggests that sponsorship by firearm companies is inconsistent with Rotary’s mission.
The decision itself, according to the document, was made by RI’s 19-member Board of Directors, four of whom are U.S. citizens, and all of whom were elected by RI’s membership. It acknowledges that RI’s constituent clubs were not involved in the decision, but claims that the board has the “basic responsibilit[y]” for RI’s “name and reputation.”
Among Rotarians who have taken exception to the new policy is Wisconsin State Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend), who announced last month he was taking a leave of absence from RI and considering quitting the organization in response. Gannon noted that in providing aid to other countries, RI does not dictate political terms to them. “Rotary International is now saying there are conditions on any money collected in the United States,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re being held to a different standard.”
Gannon’s comments were an apparent reference to the fact that some of RI’s international members do not appreciate the unique role that firearms play in America’s history, culture, and constitutional structure.
We certainly hope that RI will revisit this unnecessary and ill-conceived policy, which threatens to create a rift between members of an organization that claims to be devoted to the common good. It’s hard to imagine the 1.2 million members and 35,000+ affiliated clubs of which RI boasts have a monolithic approach to firearms.
Of course, RI is within its rights to enact the new policy.
And its many members in the U.S. and elsewhere where firearm ownership is common and respected are just as clearly within their rights to channel their philanthropy and civic engagement into other groups. Some who oppose the RI board’s anti-gun stance may even wish to consider supporting groups that actively promote responsible firearm ownership, America’s constitutional values, and the basic human right of self-defense.