Thursday, July 8, 2010

Canton McKinley Regional Pistol Match

Up front: This has exactly nothing to do with airguns.

In a previous life, I shot bullseye pistol on a league at the Canton McKinley Rifle and Pistol Club. It's the largest bullseye club in the US and has produced some very gifted shooters. (I'm not one of them.)

Wait a second, I can make an airgun connection to this post. Super nice guy and national champion, John Bickar, got his start here. It was humbling to shoot rimfire next to him on the line, though it did make me focus that much harder. Shooting alongside John was usually good for at least 3 or 4 extra point. It's hard on the ego to get crushed by a youngster.

He also shoots a 10-meter air pistol like you wouldn't believe.
Check out John's precision shooting blog here.

McKinley hosts the last 2700 pistol match before the National Matches at Camp Perry next week, so most of the top bullseye pistol shooters in the country use the McKinley match as their final "tune up" for Nationals.

Wife and I drove down today to visit with my aunt and uncle who were there as vendors selling knives. Today was for registration and some practice relays. We were there early enough that the firing line was still relatively quiet and relaxed. Many of the competitors were hiding inside the clubhouse as it was 95 degrees out in the sun. Tomorrow, there will be 92 shooters at a time on the firing line. It's truly something to see. Requirements for the match include using both a centerfire as well as a rimfire pistol. Centerfire shooters typically gravitate to customized .45 Autos. Relays consist of slow, timed and rapid fire targets.

The range is huge. There's a rifle range at one end and a "plinking" range on the other. The pistol range is completely shielded from the side ranges so various disciplines can occur at once. It is a bit disconcerting at first, though, to walk downrange to score and repair targets only to hear a .357 magnum blazing away on the plinking range. I thought they said, "CEASE FIRE"!

Most of the competitors at this level need a bunch of stuff. At least 2 guns, (most bring several extras) tons of magazines, ammo, targets, shooting glasses, cleaning gear, water, staple gun for posting targets, spotting scope, misc spare parts and tools...

All the military shooting teams will be present. They bring armorers equipped with entire machine shops on wheels. One of the guys was modifying a Pardini rapid fire pistol grip to make it more left hand friendly. If you're nearby, come out Friday, Saturday or Sunday and see the action. July 9--11th, 2010. Bring hearing protection and sunscreen.

Some video from previous years. And here.

New to Me Crosman 160

Bought an old Crosman 160 today. The model 331 rear aperture sight dates it to around 1970 or thereabouts. For some reason, I had a hard time pulling the trigger on the deal. Ugh, sorry for the bad pun. Not that I didn't want a CR 160, but because I already have a Sportsman QB77 that I set up with an aperture sight a few months ago. I've been tire kicking on it for almost a week and a half. Nick finally pushed me over the edge and of course, he was right. The price was OK, not great, but OK, and I can always flip it and recoup my outlay. At least it's a .22 cal this time around.

Since it's a CO2 gun, 40 years old, had a hang tag that read "AS IS", etc... I fully expected it to leak gas in at a minimum of four different places. Anticipating the leaks, I installed one new CO2 cartridge and one empty rather than waste two to confirm what just had to be true. Incredibly, it holds. I've had quite a good run over the last year buying used gas guns that all worked--at least initially. I still expect to have to replace all the seals in the near future, but if it ain't broke--ah, I'll probably still mess with it. A quick ten shots offhand at 30' on a badly out of adjustment trigger showed the gun to even be sighted in. Where's the fun in that?

The grain is pretty nice on this one. I'd rate the overall condition at about 85%+ (it's probably better but I'd rather be conservative). There's just a couple pressure marks here and there, and some very faint freckling at the front of the breech.

The hairline crack at the toe and the previous owner's attempted epoxy repair job should be straightforward to fix and blend.

The rifle came in several variations over the years it was produced. The aperture sighted version with the diecast trigger assembly is one of the more sought after.

After production ceased, the design was resurrected in the Sportsman QB series guns which eventually became the QB78 and QB79 we know today.

Many of the parts are even cross-compatible though the new guns use metric fasteners rather than the SAE of the American made Crosmans. So don't be afraid of buying a non-working example.

Unsure at this point as to how much--if any work--I'll have to do to this gun. The trigger and the small crack in the stock are the only immediately pressing concerns. There's a great repair manual on the QB guns put out by Steve Archer that applies almost 100% to the Crosman rifle, too.