Georgia USPSA Championships, the Alabama SCSA Championships, and some mods on the Magnum Research "SwitchBolt" Rifle
The Georgia Section of USPSA/SCSA conducted the 2019 Georgia USPSA Championships, hosted by the StrongPoint Shooting Complex in Waverly Hall last month. The intense weather that we had at the earlier Steel Challenge did not repeat itself for this match. The first two days were hot, but the humidity was uncharacteristically low (27%), so it felt pretty good. A little humidity did come in on Sunday, but that is to be expected.
The match featured ten Field Courses. There wasn't a Classifier, Speed Shoot, or Medium Course to be found. Manny Bragg and Gorka Ibanez from Extreme GM in Florida designed everything and put those courses on the ground. They were challenging from a "strategy" standpoint, as well as "footwork" and just plain-ol' marksmanship.
Everyone I talked to enjoyed the match and found it to be challenging, but still still fun.
As usual, I was the CRO on the Chronograph stage. The big lesson this year was "Find out what your powder does when it gets hot.". Does it increase in power, like conventional wisdom would suggest, or did you get some of that "reverse temp-sensitive" stuff that gets weaker with heat? I number of folks either went Minor or sub-Minor and most all of them were shooting one particular powder: Shooter's World CleanShot.
Now I am not going to poo-poo that powder. It does what it is supposed to do reliably: It oxidizes organic compounds at a rapid rate, making gases that are capable of propelling a bullet down a barrel at high velocity. The problem comes in when we don't know how this process if affected by external conditions (heat being the big one).
Most powders get a little stronger with heat, since the chemical reactions usually take place at a quicker pace when those ingredients are hotter. This is not always true and we'd be smart if we found this out before match day.
My testing method will discover any temperature sensitivity of my ammunition. Once I have decided on what combination of primer, powder, and projectile I want to use, I load 30 of them. Ten go in a cooler. Not down in the ice, but I'd like for them to be somewhere around 50 degrees when they go into the gun. I load the mag and fire them across the chrono at a rapid pace. I don't want the gun to heat up the last couple of rounds before they're fired. The next ten are at room temperature. Same thing - quick loading and quick firing. The final 10 either spend a while lying in the sun heating up (inconsistent, at best) or in a ZipLoc baggie dropped down into my undies (a nice consistent mid-90s environment there...). We should have three 10-shot velocity averages. We can compare them to see what our powder is doing in those varied conditions. I should see the first group at, let's say, a 129 Power Factor. The "room temp" stuff may run 131 PF and the heated ones may creep up to 133/134.
If I see the opposite (velocities going down despite being warmed up), bells and whistles should start going off. In the Southeast US, we shoot in really hot conditions A LOT. If I was dedicated to that powder (somebody gave me a 55 gallon drum of it, perhaps), I would formulate a load where it would make the Power Factor floor on its worst day (100 degrees or so) and know that I'd be shooting a little heavy of a load in the early spring and late fall. Or, if I was loading small lots, I'd have a batch of ammo that would make Power Factor in the heat and another recipe that I could shoot at FIPT.
There are no guarantees what kind of weather conditions will be present at your next major match, but it is your responsibility to ensure that your ammo works in those conditions. Testing is the only way to confirm this....
Alabama SCSA Match: The folks over at Veterans 3-Gun in Talladega hosted the 2019 Alabama Steel Challenge. It was fun, the weather was great, and it was great to see old friends and meet new ones. This match is shot on the same ranges as the World Championships, so you can get a really good comparison on how you would've fared in that match.
Local boy Chris Barrett set the world on fire with is Rimfire Rifle Optics run: He shot the first sub-60 second run in SCSA history on the eight standard stages. Regrettably, it can't count as a World Record (because it wasn't shot at the World Championships), but we all got to see it!! Congrats Chris!!
GSSF Annual Shoot/"Gunny Challenge": The week after Alabama SCSA, I drove over to Talladega AGAIN for the 2019 GSSF Annual Shoot and "The Gunny Challenge". The "Challenge" is a man-on-man shootoff between 20 of the best Glock shooters in the country (The "MatchMeisters", who have won High Overall at a GSSF Regional or prior Annual Shoot.) I can proudly say that I've done that four times, including the inaugural Annual Shoot and once with a G-27. This year, I had my best finish in the Challenge, ending up in Fourth Place. Each year, I seem to place higher. Hopefully that trend will continue.
Mods to the SwitchBolt: My only complaint since getting that rifle has been the height of the Picatinny Rail on the receiver. It is so high that it forces me to bring my head up off of the rifle to see the C-more dot. A few folks got together with me and we worked out what we thought was going to be a solution. I came home, put the receiver in the milling machine, and milled off the entire rail. Drilling-and-tapping two holes enabled me to direct-mount the sight onto the receiver. It feels 3/4 of an inch shorter now and seems to work better. I was sweating that milling cut!!
Gun Cleaning Special: Get the full-house, world-renowned CCGW cleaning job on your match guns, carry pieces, and hunting guns. Most every gun will be only $25 each; complicated guns slightly higher. (Glocks, M&Ps, 1911s/2011s, and the like are simple. Benelli M-4s, piston-driven ARs, etc. are NOT.) Turn-around time is typically less than a week.
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.
We have a 6-inch 2011 in-stock in .40 S&W. It is built light, so it swings well from target to target. The extra sight radius makes mid- and long-range shots EASY. Only $2700
SIG P320 X-Five Legion BNIB. This is the "tungsten-infused" frame that weighs 8 ounces more than the standard X-Five. $899 plus tax.
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!!