Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Swampy, muddy, messy combat shotgun match

A few weeks ago I ventured into Northern Ohio to shoot a pretty famous (locally speaking) combat shotgun match that I had heard about from a security guard at work who also taught defensive shotgun in his free time. The match is simply the "Francis Marion (Swamp fox) memorial" but I would add "Combat shotgun swamp match" the that title...but that may be too long seeing as the T shirts we got were already limited on space because of the art work they chose.

The match had 3 stages, a swamp stage, dry land and woods stage, which had a creek element in it as well. The swamp stage is what I want to talk about here since the woods and dry land were not difficult. I don't usually give match reports like this, in fact this is the first one I've ever done but this shotgun match is so unique it deserves honorable mention here.

Going into this match you have to know your shotgun well where the controls are and how to work the safety under stress.

Some rules I made up for myself on the fly in the swamp stage.
#1. Keep the gun out of the mud and generally clean
#2. Keep the hand loading the gun clean, your trigger finger hand can go in the mud that is fine. It only pulls the trigger
#3. When you stop to engage a target...reload on the spot before moving on.

Below is a video of a guy in our relay that shot the swamp stage.
Swamp run

The shotgun match required nearly 75 rounds of buckshot or shot (depending on if you could afford or reloaded buckshot) and 15 rounds of slugs in all 3 stages. I used the buckshot I spoke about earlier on in a post and had no issues at all I'm proud to say with my developed load. Except 1 miss on a 3"x3" square target at about 10 yards...might have been a hole in the pattern or been me not taking my time.

Either way, the match was physically challenging, Something I look for in a match where I want to learn more about how I act under physical stress and can manipulate my weapon. My gun was not flawless, the 870 I used had a jam or two that were easy to clear on the fly and a hung hull or two as well. But I still posted good times because I practiced practiced practiced clearing jams and failures, almost more than I did practicing loading the gun. In the end though I got hurt in the dry land stage with after shooting 6 rounds of factory slugs something caused a hung hull that I could not quickly get out, I missed with my 1st slug and since the clock stopped and that was the last shot needed for score I took the 5 second penalty for a miss instead of take 5 seconds OR more to try and clear the stubborn hull.

Saw a lot of close range misses with the shotguns as well, especially those with rifle and ghost ring type sights. Seems at 7 yards you shoot WAY low with them when holding center on a small steel plate. One shooter took 4 shots to knock down a very close steel plate right off the buzzer.

Hope you guys got out some this summer and shot some challenging matches. I hope to find more matches like these in the future, its hard though...shooting sports I've found are starting to cater to lazy and fat people....and yes sometimes old people that can't move so well. Those of you who have noticed we don't stand any more at Camp Perry for the Sitting and Prone rapid fire know of this change and why they did it....I think its BS and does not allow people to learn to establish GREAT NPA AUTOMATICALLY. Get out shoot some matches and learn your equipment!