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  #1  
Old 04-09-2006, 11:56 AM
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"extreme use"/"combat conditions"

I shot a 3-gun match yesterday, most of it in temps in the 40s, with driving rain for most of the afternoon. I was using a Colt M1991A1 for the pistol portions, which consisted of only 50 rounds. Since it was really a multi-gun match, with two guns used on some stages, there were situations where one or more guns would sit in the rain while the other one was loaded, and even while half the Course of Fire was being shot. The match lasted about nine hours, with all the gear being hauled from stage to stage in the trunk of car, when it wasn't sitting out in the weather. So a shooter wouldn't have to carry a hot gun after completing its use on a CoF, there would be drop "boxes", consisting of carpet-lined 50gal drums, 5gal buckets, etc. depending on which gun was to be dropped. It was sort of weird, dropping my slide-locked .45 in a bucket with a half-inch of water in the bottom, or dumping my Garand in a soggy drum, but I was thinking about the conditions for which these combat weapons were intended, and just figured the guns weren't getting any wetter than I was.
The last stage was pistol then shotgun. On the start signal, I engaged the first target, and had a stovepipe. I cleared it with fingers that felt like they were two inches in diameter and with all the flexibility of a lead pipe, and pressed on. About every other subsequent round resulted in a failure to eject, with the open mouth of the case jammed on the barrel hood. I had to pick out each case, and my score was about half what it would have been if the gun had run. I'm still not sure what the caused the malfs; it could have been my weak grip, congealed lube, or something I haven't considered (some sort of hydraulic buffering, from water on the barrel?). I've shot the gun in the rain many times in Washington and Oregon, the dust of Reno, heat and humidity of Barry, IL in July, but it's never failed to function like that. Gives me a greater appreciation of what a true combat weapon has to go through, and why you can't tell, sitting in your living room, if a gun will really work, even if it's always worked before.
FWIW, my Garand and Mossberg 590 both functioned flawlessly.
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Old 04-09-2006, 01:29 PM
6285108 6285108 is offline
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Sounds like a day I had with a gun I used to own:

A malf due to extended shooting and a malf due to the gun being dragged through the mud or soaked with water are two different animals. I took my MC Operator to an outdoor shoot (7 hours worth) in the pouring rain and muck/freezing rain/wind chill 22 degrees...after tossing it in puddles and dragging it through muck it shot and shot & shot some more. One day in very very never happen on duty conditions and NOT ONE malf in over 750 rounds with no cleaning except slinging the mud off before shooting to make sure there were no barrel obstructions. A USGI mix match has also been through the same testing and did just as well had only one FTRB at about 650 rounds.
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:06 AM
mitrod3 mitrod3 is offline
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don't own one, have not shot one....but i saw and handled one the "old time" work horses over the weekend.

http://www.i16.photobucket.com/album...3/CLACK003.jpg

Kimber 1911 Clackamas that has had two barrel's shot out to date and just keeps running and running and running through all kinds of conditions and situations as well as class after class taught by it's owner.

the ghostring sight (very well used indeed) was used a number of times to demo how clear a catastophic failure with the slide locking shut (demo) as well as how to handle reloading and racking (on pants, table, BG's face if close enough, darn near anything at hand) with one arm having been taken out of the fight.

my own little Springer 1911 9mm went through a two day class in conditions of bitter cold and wind. these conditions were not as bad as described above, but they were the worst ones i have ever tried to fire a gun in. just keeping a steady hand was one heck of a challenge both days. we only went through 500 rounds during the class but it kept going when glocks, xd's and others were locking up right and left. it outshot everything the 1st day and tied the 2nd day with a Colt Python and another all steel .45 (not sure what make). that gun of mine really did me right those days and just ran and ran well, but i sure froze my can off.

be safe, shoot well.

Last edited by mitrod3; 04-11-2006 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:56 AM
Irishlad Irishlad is offline
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That's odd that water would cause the problem...but!

Are you using grease or oil? Gun work fine now all "dried up"?
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Old 04-11-2006, 01:03 PM
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I'm going to shoot the gun again, on Saturday, using the remainder of the ammo I was using last weekend. If the gun does work, as it always has, I'll really start to wonder what the problem was. Really, it could have been as simple as my frigid hands not holding the gun securely enough. It took me about two minutes to load nine shells in my shotgun, and when trying to tape targets, I literally could not grasp the tape with enough force to tear it. It could have been total operator error. I'll report back.

4/15 - Shot an 80-round IDPA match today, also in the rain, and the gun ran perfectly. My experience last weekend must have involved some serious limp-wristing, but I hope I don't have to shoot in those conditions again, to find out.
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Last edited by RickB; 04-15-2006 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 04-24-2006, 01:12 PM
quantico quantico is offline
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1911's that are built similar to the military specs tend to run and run and run. They shoot to looser standards than our modern wilson combat / les baer / ed brown pistols. The modern guns can be made to be pretty reliable, but when you start getting sand or mud into the action or shooting all day the military spec pistols have the edge. Remember that in true combat conditions guns did not fire any where near the amount of ammo that we fire at the range these days shooting IDPA or other sports. Even the lowly guys in the wwI I trenches tried to clean and lube their weapons when they could. There lives depended on those guns, so it did not take a lot of prodding.

The wild eyed glock lovers that proclaim that they have not cleaned their glock in five years would not have been great advise during serious war battles... Knowing how to correctly clean and care for a pistol, and how to clear a malfunction quickly if one occurs is still a wise path.
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:25 AM
mac266 mac266 is offline
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I love hearing IPSC / IDPA / Bianchi Cup / other "race gun" or modern gun style shooters go off about shooting in bad weather. Don't get me wrong, I've done my time in all of those games, and I still enjoy them, but my first love is Cowboy Action. Around these parts (Colorado) I used to shoot Cowboy Action twice a month, IPSC once a month, and IDPA once a month (those were GOOD times, but my work schedule doesn't allow it anymore). Anyway, the cowpolks don't cancel matches for anything. I remember the December shoot last year, I had to put the ol' truck in 4WD to get through the blizzard with about 18" of snow on the highway It took me 2 1/2 hours for a normally one hour drive. It was a fun shoot, too, though we only had about 20 of the most hard core shooters.

Then I thought back on more than one IPSC match that was canceled due to a little bit of rain I'm not talking about torrential downpours, either, just a litlle misting.

Different "personalities" for the different styles of shooting, I guess.
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:36 AM
WIG19 WIG19 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quantico
The wild eyed glock lovers that proclaim that they have not cleaned their glock in five years would not have been great advise during serious war battles... Knowing how to correctly clean and care for a pistol, and how to clear a malfunction quickly if one occurs is still a wise path.
I'm not wild-eyed but am also an avid Glocker. The above is sound advice, period. Actual environments encountered when deployed, particularly to places with that talcum-powder sand that literally gets into everything, mandate regular maintenance whether you've fired it or not. Much of that 'never cleaned it' bravado is just that. I've no such illusions and keep all my guns as clean as they need to be, so that they go bang (more than once) when I need them to.

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Old 04-26-2006, 07:33 AM
invssgt invssgt is offline
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I doubt you had a problem related to oil/temperature; even 30W motor oil won't stiffen or congeal at 40 degrees. I also doubt that the presence of water had much to do with it. I am one of those folks that gets out and shoots in sleet, driving rain, heavy snowstorms etc. I think seeing how you & your gun perform under adverse conditions, is a good idea for anyone who carries a defensive handgun.

I have owned, shot and worked on a few 1991A1's. Really about the only ones that required tweaking for reliability were the officer-sized guns. '91A1's are typically an excellent balance of "loose enough to work, tight enough to shoot well."

Methinks you have another problem that cropped up at that particular time- unless your picked up some nasty gumbo while it was in one of the buckets. I'd clean it, shoot it some more and see what happens. While you have it apart check the ejector, and make sure it intact and rock-solid in the frame. Then check your extractor tension, and correct it if needed.

I like to think of the 1911 as a powder-powered version of the old 5hp Briggs & Stratton. Once you get the few critical things (spark/timing/fuel/air) right, the damn things just can't help but run!
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:45 AM
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I added an update to my original post, and will add another one: Since my experience at the wet/cold/all-day match in which my gun was jamming at a 50% rate, I've shot an 80-round IDPA match in the rain, and a 200-round IPSC match in perfect conditions, and the gun ran great at both. I'll chalk it up to operator error; the weather got to me, not to the gun.
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:03 PM
quantico quantico is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIG19
Much of that 'never cleaned it' bravado is just that. I've no such illusions and keep all my guns as clean as they need to be, so that they go bang (more than once) when I need them to.

I keep my pistols in perfect condition and use them a lot. My custom pistols and my Ed Brown get lots of holster use and get used in competition shoots where they get a lot of use and little care for days on end at times. My guns don't live in velvet pillows in my safe. I do however clean them and make sure that they are well lubed and cleaned and ready for the next use.

I see on many glock forums folks talking about washing glocks in dish washers ( which is a great way to get lead poisioning into your cookware). I also see the glock stories of getting them to shoot under water. I have taken apart more than one glock that has bad rust inside the channel liner from such foolishness. Cleaning and maintaining a firearm is part of the respect for the quality and responsibility of ones choice of defense pistol. I own several glocks and would trust them if needed for serious use. I choose 1911's based on my level of performance shooting them and my 25 + years of experience running 1911's. I don't need to look at the gun or figure out how to use them, they just do what I want.

I remember a co worker that spent some time in vietnam doing some work for our country. He talked about marines using their last pair of clean shorts to clean their m16 and sidearms, the story did not sink in many years ago when I first heard it. Now the story rings true for me and I understand what it means. Guys that depend on that gun working to stay alive take good care of their equipment. Those that don't maintain their weapons don't get it.
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Old 04-26-2006, 03:24 PM
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I was watching the Tales of the Gun episode on the M-16, and during the part of the show when they were discussing reliability problems brought on by a change in propellant powder and lack of cleaning - in fact, a total lack of cleaning kits - the narrator commented, "Soldiers in combat have more important things to worry about than keeping their weapons clean . . .", and I remember thinking, "Oh, really? Like what?" I would think that would be right near the top of the list for someone in combat?
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:59 PM
shootist87122 shootist87122 is offline
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RickB,

What type of lube were you using in the muckity-muck and did you have a chance to re-lube at all during the match? Just wondering if all the wet ended up flushing out the lube (possibly) causing it to get a little out of time or something.

I'm sure you had other things on your mind (like getting warm & dry), but it would have been interesting to see if a quick hose down with a spray lube would have gotten it up and running again....

Thanks for an interesting post.
Joe
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Old 05-15-2006, 02:27 PM
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I (used to . . .) use a very light coating of Wilson Ultimalube grease as "assembly lube" after cleaning, then would oil as usual with WU oil, before firing. I've taken to this practice as I often will have a gun in the safe for a week or for months, and I like that the grease will stay put, and the gun can be shot, if absolutely necessary, without further lubing.
Since the match about which I originally posted, I've shot three or four more IDPA and IPSC matches, and the gun has alternately run perfectly, and stovepiped like crazy. I shot a 200-round IPSC match and an 80-round IDPA match, and the gun ran perfectly. A couple of weeks later, I had about 20 stovepipes in a 200-round match. One guy said my 16# recoil spring was too heavy, another said I needed more lube, another said I needed an extractor adjustment. I didn't think so. The extractor tension is right where it was, when I last set it. I've always used lube sparingly. I've been shooting the gun with "major" loads and a 16# spring for four years. What I had done, is started using a max load of a very fast-burning powder, in the interest of saving a few pennies on ammo. I still can't explain exactly what I think is going on in the gun, but I changed to a slower-burning powder for yesterday's match, and the gun ran great.
I think there is something about the pressure curve of the faster powder, that is not compatible with the gun's "timing". It was just a hunch, but I played it because another guy posted on the forum, having similar problems, after changing powders. Everyone assumed the extractor had gone soft, because, well, it's an extraction problem, right? But, my extractor tension was spot-on, so it was something else. I had had occasional problems when I'd shot 4.2 grains of the fast powder, but when I upped it to 4.3 - the max recommended load - that's when I started seeing 10% stovepipes.
It's possible that the rainy/wet conditions contributed to an ammo problem, enough to make me suspect the ammo, but I'm also going to lube more generously. I re-lubed yeasterday, mid-match, and really can see no reason not to.
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Old 05-21-2006, 07:28 PM
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My experiment

This is an interesting thread. I have always been interested in the ins and outs of making weapons run in harsh conditions. Iraq has been a catalyst for some excellent products for hot/dry environments. I don't know if this the right place, but I tried a test about a year ago. I took my 92FS and my Colt 1991A1 Officers, locked the slides back and packed fine-gravel/mud into the ejection prts and gave them an external rubdown w/ the gunk. I punched and inspected both barrels for obstructions. The slides would not go into battery, so I flicked and pecked until they would close. I put several magazines through both pistols, w/ nary a hitch. I should have worn safety goggles though as I got blasted with grit for the first mag-full. It was very reassuring to know they would work that gunked up.
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Old 05-26-2006, 03:53 PM
Chieftain Chieftain is offline
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Rickb did well. Kept at it until he discovered the reason his weapon was failing.

He has probably discovered the problem with his weapon.

Most of the posters here got it right too. Clean the weapon.

Never been to Iraq. Not quite 40 years ago spent a couple years in a non-desert environment in SouthEAST Asia. We often had to use our weapons once or twice a DAY.

We had absolutely no problem with fine sand getting in our weapons. WE did have to clean our weapons on occasion. About once or twice a day, if we DIDN'T USE THEM more often if we did. One way to tell a Marine grunt in Vietnam was if he had a toothbrush in his Utility jacket pocket where the REMF's kept their pens. It wasn't to brush his teeth, although I do know a few who used their's for both teeth and rifle.

I then became a personal trainer at one of the hot training places in California in the early 70's.

MCRD San Diego.

In fact I was asked to leave for suggesting to one of our customers that he clean his weapon a little better. It was a 'thing' of mine. I guess I suggested with a bit to much passion.

Anyway, enough BS.

If you don't clean it, sooner or later it will fail. If you believe in O'leary's corollary on Murphy's Law, which I do.

(O'Leary insists that ole' Murphy is an optimist.)

That weapon will fail you when you need it most.

Clean it when you use it. Clean it regularly when not in use either.

Saw many good men die because of dirty weapons. Unfortunately, in the present war we have had good troops die and get captured because that dirty POS Matty Mattel wouldn't fire for them either. I guess ole' Santayana knew a thing or two about the Matty Mattel.

Over the years I have heard more BS and rationalizations for leaving a weapon dirty or not cleaning it for _________________(fill in the blank). I guess if your guns are toys and not fighting weapons thats ok. Not in my case.

No professional will go in harms way with a dirty weapon, NONE! The reason was clearly explained by DARWIN.

Sorry, this is a personal passion of mine, dirty weapons. Some folks it's cancer, some it's AIDs, etc.... mine is dirty weapons.

Go figure

Fred

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Old 05-26-2006, 07:09 PM
Striker 5 Striker 5 is offline
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hot/dry/dusty

In OIF1, I eschewed lube for my pistol and just brushed it out w/ an AP brush. We did use lube on the crew served weapons, but not applicable here. On the second go round, I set up a crew-served/small arms range about every other week, for my outfit and any other "tenant units" that wanted to train. I started w/ minimal CLP on rifle and pistol. The we started getting Militec. That stuff was the bee's knees. Clean your weapon, apply the Militec, then shoot it until it gets to "operating" temps. Then the carbon just wipes off like soot. I would clean/reapply the Militec about once a month. I rotated my pistol and rifle mags about once a month. Larry Vickers' new website has a great article on lube.

Chief, you are right. It always warms my heart a little when I see Marines sitting and taking a break - they all break out the brush. 03's anyway.
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Old 05-26-2006, 07:49 PM
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Exrtreme weather conditions is why I like FP-10 more than other CLPs. I have yet to see one of my guns fail and I hunt in temps below zero. I've seen a number of my buddies' guns freeze up in cold weather.
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Old 05-27-2006, 07:51 PM
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I agree this is a REALLY interesting thread to hear from a REAL gun guy, shooting in real environements, and carefully documenting the details.

Thanks, RickB, for sharing your experiences and findings.

It helps me become more aware of what to watch.

I always wondered if I have been contributing to any adverse consequences if I used Tetra grease. I never considered cold weather and how my hand muscles may or may not cramp up. Fast powders and spring poundage never entered my mind for effects in different firing conditions.

I guess it makes me aprpeciate the pump shotgun even more, and also convinced me to carry a second BUG in case I do not have time to figure out my jam.
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Old 05-28-2006, 09:28 AM
Desert Dweller Desert Dweller is offline
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Being new to the whole automatic pistol thing, I will say that my SA 1911A1 would get frequent FTEs. I have a long history with single action sixguns, when you fire you let them "roll" in your hand and don't fight the recoil. Well with this nifty shooter, I wasn't maintaining a firm enough grip, I was "limp" wristing it, not real bad as it would only happen on the last round. I have since changed the way I grip and shoot, and have had no more FTE. I don't contend with cold here, just blistering heat(already been over the 100 degree mark), sand, dust, and plain old blowing dirt, I do remember what it is like to shoot in cold temps, spent several years in the Interior of Alaska. Must say I really do like this shooter, and will eventually pick up one that is blued instead of stainless, as I am a more traditional kind of guy.
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Old 07-08-2006, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quantico
The wild eyed glock lovers that proclaim that they have not cleaned their glock in five years would not have been great advise during serious war battles... Knowing how to correctly clean and care for a pistol, and how to clear a malfunction quickly if one occurs is still a wise path.
One consideration to take in is shooting powder charges that vary as the ambient pressure and temperature drops or rises. One of the reasons I stopped using Win 231 for 45acp. It performed well but was unpredictable in cold weather or up in altitude and the chrono readings varied respectively. Consistency is what I've strived for and chrono performance is crucial. 3gun is a good test of equipment, personel and training. I know I'll get grief for this but given the civilian crucible of IPSC/IDPA rain/mud in the Pac.NW and the cold snow of the rockies it has been my glocks that have shined through when my 1911's gummed, jammed, rusted & my HK's rusted. So FOR ME ALONE, I'll take my glock over any other platform when I need it. I still use my HKs and 1911s for 3 gun however. But I'll clean my 1911's every 500-600 rounds and go about 1000-1200 for my glocks. Please, I'm not trying to piss anyone off here just sharing MY particular experience. A good test of equipment would be to run 400-600 rounds of practice over 2-4 days and then shoot your pistol in a 400-600 round match without cleaning anything except the barrel and the mags. If your like me you'll clean the 1911 innards before the match. With that G...., I'll just clean the barrel and mags. Someday soon I'll regain trust in my 1911s, I hope...
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Old 07-09-2006, 05:59 PM
Doc Blase Doc Blase is offline
 
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So, Rick, was it the ammo?

Now that the thread has ben ressurected so to speak, did it turn out to be an ammunition problem? It'd be great to see a conclusion if there is one.
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Old 07-09-2006, 09:28 PM
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After changing my standard load from 4.2 of Clays to 5.5 of Ramshot Zip, I had no failure of any kind, for perhaps five hundred rounds. I shot the USPSA Area 1 Championship without a hitch, but when I shot another match on Saturday, I had a stovepipe on the first stage. I didn't like it, but didn't know what to think, until I had four more on the second stage. I did a field expedient extractor adjustment, but the gun didn't run right the rest of the day, so I now have another problem. It appears this gun has eaten two extractors in fewer than 10,000 rounds. The breechblock is a bit short, if aftermarket extractors are an indicator, which causes the extractor hook to climb the case bevel, and it must be over-flexing the hook, and causing premature failure. I bought a new EGW extractor a few months ago, and will fit it up before Saturday, when I'll be shooting another match and expecting the gun to work.
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:21 AM
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[QUOTE=racine] A good test of equipment would be to run 400-600 rounds of practice over 2-4 days and then shoot your pistol in a 400-600 round match without cleaning anything except the barrel and the mags. QUOTE]

I have never seen a 400-600 round pistol match. How long does it take to shoot one of those?
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:06 PM
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[QUOTE=BillD
I have never seen a 400-600 round pistol match. How long does it take to shoot one of those?[/QUOTE]

Dundee, Oregon's infamous "Crazy Croc" is billed as a 400+ round USPSA style match shot over 2 days. The last time I shot it I was on call on Sunday so I was allowed to shoot all stages on Saturday. You start at 9am and finish around 4pm. Most shooters will be practicing up to the day of the match. Allowing for reshoots for range/stage props failures I've gone through 530 rounds for the match. Shooting that many in one day does not even allow you to clean the barrel or mags though you should. Imagine if you can 6 bays with 40-70 round stages running shooters non-stop all day. It's a blast to shoot, especially if you shoot limited 10.
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