Georgia SCSA Championships and the Magnum Research "SwitchBolt" Rifle
The Georgia Section of USPSA/SCSA conducted the 2019 Georgia SCSA Championships, hosted by the StrongPoint Shooting Complex in Waverly Hall this weekend. The intense weather that moved through on all three days was probably THE highlight of the match, as strong gale-force winds and heavy rains added to the "atmosphere", shall we say.
Folks came from all over. I believe that the Cunninghams from Texas may have been the farthest, but I can't guarantee that.
All eight Steel Challenge stages were set up, allowing competitors to have a direct comparison between their performance at the recently-held World Championships and this match. As experienced shooters know, the only Steel Challenge stage that involves movement (and thereby is affected by rain, muck, and mud) is Outer Limits. Times for most were slightly "off" on that stage, but I saw many folks shoot personal best scores on the other stages.
A few of the performances were world-class, especially Chris Barrett's Rimfire Rifle Optics score. He shot a 60.78 second total, which was only 0.17 seconds off the time that won the World Championships last month (IN THE SUNSHINE).
Speaking of Steel Challenge Rimfire Rifles... I have been looking to get one for the past few months. Those guns are VERY specialized because of the high speed at which they must be run. They are generally very light, with the barrels replaced with aluminum-shrouded ones or carbon fiber. A competitive gun will be less than 5.5 pounds with the optic on it. Of course, a good trigger helps too, along with a stock that is a good ergonomic fit for you. Although some AR-15 derivatives are used, most of the really competitive folks (read: teenagers) use a Ruger 10/22 or a descendant thereof. Some of these rifles cost well over $1100 before adding the optic.
Being "economically sensible" (some call me "cheap"), I started looking at building my own. Adding up the cost of the parts alone came up to right at $900. I put this project on the back burner and really didn't think about it much more.
While at the U.S. Steel Nationals back in April, I got to hang out a bit with Magnum Research-sponsored shooter Chris Barrett and his dad Jeff. They showed me the Magnum Research "SwitchBolt" rifle, which was primarily designed for Steel Challenge Shooting. It has a carbon fiber tensioned barrel, a composite thumbhole stock, an integrated Picatinny Rail for mounting your optic, and uses easily obtained Ruger 10/22 magazines. (As a matter of fact, it comes with an OEM Ruger mag installed from the factory.) Its name comes from the fact that the bolt handle can be installed on either side of the receiver. From the factory, it is on the left side, allowing right-handed shooters to run the bolt with their left hand, instead of removing the trigger hand from the stock to operate it on the right side. Don't worry, Southpaws. It can be reversed for your use.
I remembered this conversation last week and started researching availability and price. I was very impressed with both, so much so that I bought one. It arrived in a few days. I opened the box to find it packaged in a Doskocil rifle case. Fit and finish looked good. It is exceptionally light, weighing in at only 4.6 pounds with a C-More Railway sight installed.
Now it wouldn't be a fair review if I didn't find SOMETHING to whine about, right? The only thing that I can criticize this gun for if the magazine release. It uses the standard designed-by-Bill-Ruger-in-1963 magazine release that requires way too much effort to use. As soon as I tried it the first time, I went to Brownells and ordered an extended version. It came in last night and all is now happy with my world.
I took it out to the range to shoot it. After zeroing and accuracy testing, I can assure you that if I miss, it was me! The gun is very accurate, owing to the Bentz-type chamber that is used in the barrel. This chamber is minimum dimensioned with a short throat to better align the bullets to the rifling. The instruction manual repeatedly states that "bulk" or "promo" rimfire ammo may not work in the barrel. I considered this a challenge, so I get every bit of promo ammo that I could find and ran it. In my rifle, it worked well. I fired over 300 rounds before the first stoppage. I ran a Bore Snake twice down the barrel to clean it and continued on with no more problems.
I haven't had the chance to shoot it in a match yet, but we did play with it during down times at the Georgia SCSA match this weekend. It swings incredibly fast from target to target and stops on the proverbial dime. Everyone that shot it was impressed, especially when they found out the price...
Magnum Research lists an MSRP for this rifle at $653.00. You can get one through us at Camp Creek Gunworks for only $609.95. Do it within the next two weeks and I'll throw in the C-More Railway sight (or another dot sight of your choice) FOR COST.
Folks have already started giving me a little grief, because I am an old-school Steel Challenge guy. I like to see racy pistols with compensators and optics being drawn out of racy holsters and being shot fast. I didn't get on board with rimfire at first because they weren't used in competition when I started in the 80s. People have said "I ain't believing that you're gonna compete with a rimfire!". My reply: "Nope, I can't compete with an 11-year old girl. She'll kick my butt! I am just shooting to have fun!!".
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We are offering complete basic guns built on our Camp Creek Gunworks-branded Lower Receivers, in addition to the full-house competition guns that we've always offered. We're calling these mil-spec guns the "Basic Defense" series. They feature a 16-inch barrel with A2 flash hider, a flat-top upper receiver, free-float handguard, collapsible stock, mil-spec trigger, mil-spec pistol grip, and the Magpul MOE trigger guard. Add a soft case and 30-round MagPul magazine. Of course, like all CCGW products, they're backed by our "We'll make it right" warranty. The price is only $749 plus tax.
Our latest thing has been PDWs (Personal Defense Weapons). These are built off of our CR-15 lowers and feature short barrels (length depends on caliber and your desired features). A pistol-stabilizing brace is added for greater accuracy potential. 5.56mm and .300 Blackout guns get the Noveske KX-5 suppressor. 9mm's don't need it. An upgrade to a folding stock model is available for $300 more. Prices start at $1500 for a basic model and go up to $3750 for the top-of-the-line model with EOTech HoloSight, TLR-2G light/laser combo, backup sights, premium SB Tactical brace, upgraded trigger, and custom fit case.
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CCGW PCC's suitable for USPSA or 3-Gun competition are available. Got one ready-to-go now for $950!
Glock 22C: These are Blue Label Glocks (3 mags & night sights). Brand new in the box for $499 plus tax.
Used Glock 23C. LNIB with night sights and three mags. $425
Until next time, See you on the Range!!