Wednesday, February 28, 2007

NSSA Committee Meeting

I cherry picked the just posted NSSA Executive Committee Meeting minutes.

Short of reading the complete minutes posted to the NSSA web site, you can draw your own conclusions

The minutes are short on numbers in regard to targets shot and actually number of paying members.

When they talk about members, they don't state if the increase was from paying members, or the free one year memberships the NSSA uses too push the sport. In anycase, targets shot was down.

Also, the NSSA seems to be going after ad revenue generated by the NSCA magazine.

As stated previously, the NSSA is going forward with the combined NSSA/NSCA memberships, but does not address the issue that NSSA members may not be allowed to shoot in the so called "Hunters" class offered at many NSCA shoots by shoot management, as they will be members of the NSCA and will have to pay daily target fees and receive classification. For those not aware, NSCA members do not have the option of not shooting NSCA, if NSCA is offered at a shoot. Charity, fun shoot or otherwise!

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NSSA Executive Committee Meeting - Jan 26, 2007

- Secretary/Treasurer – Jim Gast pointed out the non-increase in target revenue, and asked what we need to do to encourage participation.

- We currently retain all advertising revenue for the Skeet Shooting Review; we have an outside contractor for securing our advertising, and the revenue has been decreasing. The advertising contract is separate from the Sporting Clays Magazine contract. We will investigate if the advertising can be brought back in-house and the potential for renegotiating the SC Magazine contract. To be discussed further at the Summer meeting.

- Instructional DVD for Running Shoots – Discussion was held about creating a tutorial to demonstrate the shoot administration process from registration through shoot-offs and posting of winners. The step-by-step procedures are in the Gun Club Manual. A Power Point presentation might be an alternative means.

- Rules Book Publication – Motion by Al Magyar, 2nd by Bob DeFrancesco, as a cost-saving initiative, to publish a complete book every three years, with printed addendums for the years in between. The complete Rules Book will be published on the internet and in the Records Annual each year. Motion passed all in favor.

- Motion by Bob DeFrancesco, 2nd by Bill Murrell, to adopt the joint NSSA/NSCA membership program starting with the 2008 shooting year. At the same time, the NSSA annual membership dues will increase to $40 per year which will address our cost issues of servicing our members since our dues have not been increased in 11 years. We will also introduce all the same membership types to both NSSA and NSCA members at the same price. Motion passed all in favor.

- In 2006, our total number of members was up, however, the number of registered shoots and active shooters were down slightly from the previous year. Last year, only 421 of 734 NSSA member clubs held registered shoots.

- The number of Complementary Limited Memberships (CLMs) issued over the last four years, for which no targets were shot, was 882, but we have expended money to process these members. Motion by Bill Batty, 2nd by Jim Gast, effective immediately, in order to be valid, CLMs must be issued in conjunction with a registered shoot. CLM enrollments must be submitted with registered shoot reports. Motion passed all in favor.

- NATIONAL SPORTING CLAYS ASSOCIATION – NSCA membership continues to grow, however, like NSSA, the volume of targets was down slightly last year, a reflection of the economic environment.

Giuliani the Conservative

Off topic from what I normally post, but a good read for those who are serious about American politics and the 2008 elections.

Some will not be happy with Rudy Giuliani's gun philosophy, but I think with an elected 2008 House of Representatives controlled by the Republican party, gun owners have little to fear.

Of course, some gun owners will push for a presidential candidate that has no hope of winning, but has strong pro-gun credentials and in turn, assure Democrats will call the shots in 2008.

But, they will have taught Republicans a lesson...

Giuliani the Conservative - Wall Steer Journal - BY STEVEN MALANGA

Not since Teddy Roosevelt took on Tammany Hall a century ago has a New York politician closely linked to urban reform looked like presidential timber. But today Rudy Giuliani sits at or near the top of virtually every poll of potential 2008 presidential candidates. Already, Mr. Giuliani's popularity has set off a "stop Rudy" movement among cultural conservatives, who object to his three marriages and his support for abortion rights, gay unions and curbs on gun ownership. Some social conservatives even dismiss his achievement in reviving New York before 9/11. An August story on the Web site Right Wing News, for instance, claims that Mr. Giuliani governed Gotham from "left of center." Similarly, conservatives have been feeding the press a misleading collection of quotations by and about Mr. Giuliani, on tax policy and school choice issues, assembled to make him look like a liberal.

But in a GOP presidential field in which cultural and religious conservatives may find something to object to in every candidate who could really get nominated (and, more important, elected). Mr. Giuliani may be the most conservative candidate on a wide range of issues. Far from being a liberal, he ran New York with a conservative's priorities. Government exists above all to keep people safe in their homes and in the streets, he said, not to redistribute income, run a welfare state, or perform social engineering. The private economy, not government, creates opportunity, he argued; government should just deliver basic services well and then get out of the private sector's way. He denied that cities and their citizens were victims of vast forces outside their control, and he urged New Yorkers to take personal responsibility for their lives.

"Over the last century, millions of people from all over the world have come to New York City," Mr. Giuliani once observed. "They didn't come here to be taken care of and to be dependent on city government. They came here for the freedom to take care of themselves." It was that spirit of opportunity and can-do-ism that Mr. Giuliani tried to reinstill in New York and that he himself exemplified not only in the hours and weeks after 9/11 but in his heroic and successful effort to bring a dying city back to life.

Click the below link to read the complete article:

And he's electable too

Monday, February 26, 2007

Odds & Ends (Feb 26)

Trap machines.

I talked to a person who works on both PAT traps and Super Star traps. I asked what machine gave him the least amount of problems maintenance wise?

He stated PAT trap!

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Bunker trap.

Saskatoon Gun Club and the Strathcona Shooting Range, both located in Canada are being forced to close by local city government. This will be the last year for both clubs.

The cities wanted the land and too bad for the club's.

It’s unfortunate, as both clubs have Olympic bunker trap. A sever blow to the discipline.

Both clubs have plans to relocate, but cost will be the deciding factor.

We can only hope for the best.

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World Cup.

Club L’Acadie, located just outside of Montreal, Canada has two operational Olympic bunker traps. I’m told they will shortly have four in operation.

The city of Montreal hosted a past Olympics and the club has a number of unused bunkers.

May a World Cup bid be in the works?

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NSCA.

Speaking of L’Acadie. It seems they are starting to get very involved in NSCA shooting.

Last year they had a limited NSCA 5-Stand schedule.

This year they are offering not only NSCA 5-Stand, but also sporting clays and FITASC.

They have a great 5-stand. The dedicated are forced to back off on target difficulty from time to time, but anyone should have an enjoyable experience. You can expect a minimum of 12 machines. On Wednesday, during the summer, they were setting up a parcour in an open area to practice the long shots.

For FITASC and sporting, if your expecting trees, afraid not. Unless they moved the fields, the shooting is pretty much over open, barren land.

All modern machines, no hand traps.

NSCA is not often offered at clubs in Canada.

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Nobel Sporting.

I had a chance to purchase a few cases of Nobel Sporting shotgun shells.

1200fps, 1oz., 8 ½ shot.

I’ve not shot them before, but more than a few shooters have recommended them.

We’re attending a charity sporting clays shoot on Saturday and I think a good opportunity to give them a workout.

A little dicey on 8 ½ shot, but I think any target that only needs IC choke will not pose a problem.

A number of trap shooters use 8 ½ shot at the 16 yard line, so I think I’m on the right track. If not, I will have several boxes of number 8’s handy.

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Keep your head down.

At the Jacksonville NSSA shoot on Sunday the wind really picked up.

One of those gusting winds, not steady.

I watched one women shooter who received more than her share of bouncing and diving targets.

The targets were not doing her any favors and she chased more than a few.

She shot 25x25.

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Stolen guns.

A person attending a shoot in Vegas used valet parking at the Santa Fe.

When he asked for his vehicle, the truck and the four guns in the truck were gone.

Not the first time this will happen, nor the last, but a number of shooters get ripped off each year under similar circumstances.

If stopping for a meal, make sure you park where you can observe the vehicle, or if staying overnight, leave the guns in the motel room.

By the way, do you have insurance on your firearms?

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Shoot attendance.

With raising cost, and at many clubs, increased shoot fees, it will be interesting to see how attendance fairs in 2007.

I would think major shoots will not see a fall off, but the smaller shoots where four or five squads from outside the region makes the difference between having a great shoot or just a good shoot, may have difficulty.

On the other hand, those who tend to travel may stay and shoot in the region.

Stay tuned!

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Shooting vest.

I'm in the market for a vest.

I contacted a company that makes vest and asked if the vest comes with D rings, and if the could place a FITASC line on the international pad, as they offered such pads.

I recieved a response saying they did not know what D rings were, nor knew what a FITASC line was.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday @ Waccasassa

A visit to Waccasassa Plantation to shoot sporting clays.

No humidity, 77 degrees. Maybe a slight breeze.

Fourteen stations, but one was down because of machines loaned to Rhino, as Rhino had a major shoot last week and had not yet returned them. I'm told all machines would be returned Monday.

Carts were available and ammunition was reasonable priced.

The club uses the Claymate target counter system. I'm a 100% believer in it's use!

We used our push cart (Rugged Gear) and had no problem getting around.

I had not mentioned it to the staff, but water was not available on the course. One container at the halfway point should be the minimum standard for all clubs.

I had been thinking of attending the clubs registered shoot I saw listed on the NSCA web for next Sunday, but it has been cancelled. It seems the club manager recently quit without notice, leaving the club holding the bag.

I'm from the old school, where you give two weeks notice, and if a major function is upcoming you take care of business before you depart. You would think a manager would give more than a two weeks notice, let alone none. But, that's the old school and I'm sure I don't have all the facts.

I had heard talk (read my previous posting), and can't say I'm surprised. All seems well at present and the club is back on track.

Anyway, we had an enjoyable time.

We had problems nailing down the rabbit target at the last club we visited, but today we nailed it.

Travelling to the club we saw pickers in a strawberry field. On the way home stopped at the farms roadside stand. Strawberries were $2 a quart.

An unmarked police car followed me for a few miles (I just knew he was a cop) and when I did not step on it, he passed. Several miles up the road he had someone pulled over.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Attitude at the club

Negative attitude can be defined as; indifference, apathy, coldness, or lack of concern.

In the past week at two clubs where we were shooting practice, two shooters whom I've never meant before, told of management problems at two other clubs. One shooter told me outright I should not visit the club he was talking about.

Makes you wonder what they tell there friends, let alone a stranger.

For both shooters, attitude of club management was the common denominator. The had other issues, but attitude was the main theme.

We had experienced this attitude problem at a club last year and never made a return visit.

Who’s running your club?

The shooter is the customer (spends money) and expects working machines, clean facilities, someone who will take care of problems on the range, and for the person running the club to treat them in a decent manner.

That's not asking for much...

Sometimes it’s not always club managements and/or poorly maintained facilities that leave’s a shooter with a bad taste.

At one club this year, a visiting skeet shooter from out of state, after shooting practice with a squad of local shooters, was approached by another shooter and told the squad he had shot with would rather he not shoot with them any longer. He was told he was slowing down the squad, as he only loaded one shell at a time.

We shot with this shooter a few times and he related the story to us.

He was a pleasure to shoot with. I think he missed three targets total the two times he shot with us. I have not seen him for a few weeks and think he never felt welcomed and was uncomfortable being at the club and decided to curtail his shooting.

From my own experience; two times we visited an unnamed club and were made to feel unwelcome by the locals. Both times we walked up to a skeet field and asked the two that were using the field, if we could shoot. Both times the shooters said yes, took there guns when finished and walked over to another field. You can guess how that makes you feel when you don't know anyone...

Two different sets of shooters, but the same attitude. I guess you have to be a member of the click to shoot with the locals.

To top this off, I ran into someone today who talked of problems he had at this same club. I was just asking if he had shot at the club, as he lived within an hour of the club and he came right out and starting telling me of his experiences. Not his favorite club.

We no longer shoot skeet at the club. I do have to say the club has disciplines other than skeet, and those shooters have been a pleasure to shoot with.

Visitors not returning to your club or you have a high turnover in memberships?

What's the attitude at your club?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Reload or factory?

A quick check of reloading components on the internet finds the price of primers on the rise.

The average price for lead is $25.

Depending on whom you deal with you may find prices more or less, depending on inventory and demand.

If you’re shopping at a Gander Mt., you will find lead prices considerable above $25.

The best buys are usually found at your local club, provided they allow you to piggy back on club orders.

It does pay to shop around. You may even consider changing out components in order to keep your cost within reason.

1oz loads.

Winchester Primers - $140.00
Hodgdon Clays (8lbs) - $110.00
Claybuster Wads - $83.00
Lead - $25.00

$3.52 per box

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Nobel Sport Primers - $95.00
700X (8lbs) - $97.00
Down Range Wads - $66.00
Lead - $25.00

$3.08 per box

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Hazardous shipping fee ($20), nor taxes included.

I rarely if ever pay the Hazardous fee, as I try to purchase at clubs that place orders for members and/or use Graf & Sons and make a bulk purchase.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Dumbing down 5-stand

For those not aware, the standards for NSCA 5-Stand has been lowered.

A club can pretty much do what they want in regard to NSCA 5-Stand shoots.

A minimum number of machines is not required. The rule to have a rabbit and tower trap has been eliminated. A vertical trap is not required.

2007 NSCA Rule Book

EQUIPMENT
1. Six (6) or eight (8) automatic traps are recommended.
2. Machines should include a rabbit trap and a vertical trap
(minimum 60 percent).
3. Five shooting stands not less than seven (7) feet tall and not
more than 54 inches across the front opening.
4. One tower not less than twelve (12) feet in height is recommended.

LAYOUT
2. Trap placement and target flight paths may be arranged to
include the following:
a. Left to right crossing and/or quartering away target.
b. Right to left crossing and/or quartering away target.
c. Vertical target (Springing Teal).
d. Rabbit target.
e. Tower target going away.
f. Incoming target.

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My home club has no tower, no rabbit machine, no springing teal machines, but we our now allowed to host 5-Stand registered shoots, where in the past we did not meet standards.

On the other hand.

A club 45 minutes north of my home club host NSCA 5-stand shoots. They usually have 12-18 machines in operation, to include springing teal, rabbit, and tower shots.

In 2006, I shot the New York State shoot and the two 5-Stands were set more like super FITASC parcours. Modified choke could have been easily used for some targets. The spread of machines was more like a COMPAK layout. One machine was throwing an incomer from 100 yards. I walked it off as being at 120 yards. A super tough course that was set harder then most FITASC layouts. Matter of fact, I thought the 5-Stand was set harder than the two hundred target Sporting Clays course.

A shooter shooting 5-stand at my home club and other clubs like it did not have a chance of being competitive. They have even less chance now, as minimum standards have been abandoned and any club can hold a NSCA 5-Stand shoot.

Where is the minimum standards that we had in the past? We don't need clubs running less then minimum operations and throwing club shooters to the lions.

What was wrong with requiring a rabbit and tower?

Why not require a springing teal machine in order to host an NSCA 5-stand shoot?

Yes, in the NSCA way of thinking, they are allowing more clubs the chance to offer NSCA 5-Stand shoots without making equipment investments, but I strongly think they were more interested in the increased revenue from NSCA daily target fees.

Have we taken a step backward, instead of a step forward?

Do the lower standards benefit the shooter?

In any case, if your a small club shooter who shoots NSCA 5-Stand on a bunch of old Winchester machines and the course was set just so the club can say it has 5-Stand, be prepared when your travel for some very tough targets that you will most likely not have a chance to practice on at your home club.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday @ Bradford

We almost didn’t go today as the weather was not looking great, but it was sunny, windy and 54 degrees when we reached the club. A cool day by Florida standards, but fine for us.

A day for fun!

We shot sporting clays once or twice at the Bradford Sportsmen's Farm last year and were recognized by the person operating the club when we arrived. We chatted and the owner came over to greet us.

The club is in the process of installing a second fourteen (14) station course.

The 5-stand will also be seeing an upgrade.

Two or three parcours (FITASC) may be put in to allow for regional or state events. I don’t know if the parcours would be a permanent addition or just an area designated and mapped out for future use, with machines brought in as needed. Some clubs keep one parcour up and only place the others in operation for shoots, while others tear them all down after a shoot. In any case, it's only in the talking stage.

Temporarily, the club has seven stations (50 targets) in operation on the old sporting clays course and seven stations (50 targets) in operation on the new course. The club in the past had one fourteen station course. As soon as the new machines are installed, the club will have two fully operational fourteen station courses.

Until the additions have been completed, you shoot both courses, with stations 1-7 on the new course and 8-14 on the old.

It takes six minutes to walk too station #1 from the club house. An easy walk, but if your carrying your gear it might take a bit longer. On the new course we saw a number of additional stations had been built, just waiting on machines.

My wife and I designated station #9, true pair, right to left Battue, as the “beer" station.

Shooters from our home club know well of this designation. My wife won the "beer" station…


We didn't have any machine problems and I can't remember a target that came out broken.

One item of interest was the designation of AM and PM stands at a few stations. This addresses vision problems when the sun might be a problem during practice rounds. Station #9 was one such station.

A must visit club.

We have plans on making a return visit to attend a charity shoot.

The club is ten minutes from major fast food chains and a super Wal-Mart.

Gas was $2.21.

We saw police running radar in a 45 mph zone.

Friday, February 16, 2007

NSSA/NSCA joint membership

Before we get started, I wish to draw attention to the "re-use of content" posted to the NSSA/NSCA web site in the News and Events section.

Please be advised that archives are not kept of these stories
Re-use of content found here without permission is in violation of US Copyright laws.


If I quote the information posted and than use the information to make observations, does this mean the NSSA/NSCA will invoke US Copyright laws?

I think not, but they have the option.

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Quote. "One of the most exciting is the agreement we reached on implementing the Joint Membership Proposal for the 2008 shooting year. You will be hearing more about this as we proceed thru the year, but the essence of it is that all of our members will be able to shoot registered targets on both the skeet side and the sporting clays side with a single association membership and one membership fee." End quote.

A big win for the NSSA. This does nothing for most NSCA shooters.

As reported by the NSSA/NSCA, it cost $46.24 to provide member benefits. An obvious shortfall and the reason they wish for combined memberships.

One reason for the shortfall is dues have not been raised for a number of years.

But, have all avenues been explored to cut cost of membership?

Does this shortfall derive from the NSSA magazine, as SKEET REVIEW is lite on ads compared to the NSCA magazine? I receive both and the difference is striking.

What is actually cost per member (per discipline) to provide a magazine, to include mailing cost?

Would the NSSA be better served with six issues a year or a newsletter format using newspaper type paper to reduce cost? The ATA does not provide a magazine!

Could the membership fee shortfall derive from headquarters having to input by hand, scores received from clubs still submitting shoots on paper. If so, NSSA/NSCA should mandate the input of all scores/results to headquarters be sent too headquarters using approved computer software.

If a club wants to run a shoot on paper & pencil during the shoot fine, but when sending the information to headquarters, it must be over the Internet or on computer disk using the approved format.

Redo the membership application so information can be scanned into a computer or have the clubs submit the application via the Internet, or by computer disk using the approved format.

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QUESTION. Will a NSSA shooter be forced to shoot registered at NSCA shoots, if memberships are combined?

A number now attend a few sporting clays shoots a year just for fun, shooting in the so called Hunters Class. Is this an end run to increase income via shoot fees or an unintended consequence?

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Quote. "we reviewed the data from the 2006 shoot year and are happy to report that membership numbers are up year-to-year for both NSSA and NSCA." End quote.

How many of the increased memberships were derived from the free ones given to new NSSA shooters? A great program, but is the NSSA seeing valid numbers?

Of the free memberships given, how many renewed for 2007?

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Quote."the future of the National Shooting Complex... so, here's the latest status: after several months of work on negotiations with the proposed buyer of our Roft Road property, we have been unable to conclude, and at this time the negotiation has been terminated." End quote.

Bottom line, no $45,000,000.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Glasses at the range

I've seen shooters not wearing glasses (eye protection) while shooting. Usually in practice, in all shotgun disciplines.

At a few clubs wearing of eye protection is not enforced. I've seen club management watch the shooter and not say a word.

This past Sunday I took a pellet in the arm.

I was shooting station #7 high. As soon as I pulled the trigger I heard something ricochet off the pad and immediately felt a hit on the bottom of my left forearm.

It drew blood...

On Wednesday, my wife was shooting high #8. One small piece of the shattered target hit her, just next to her right lens. No damage, but she knew she had been hit.

If your bringing family or friends along to a Sporting Clays course, even if they are not shooting, it's well advised they wear eye protection. Many would be surprised how far a pellet will travel when it ricochets off a target.

I've seen shooters in skeet standing behind station #4 get hit with a pellet and it drew blood. An incomer or a skeet type crossing target in sporting will bring the same result.

When it happens, it will almost be instantaneous, on the pull of the trigger.

In trap, when the shotgun of the shooter next to you blows up, or his release trigger causes him to shoot into the ground, you may find it was prudent to be wearing glasses.

As for shotguns blowing up, it happens more often then we would think, as several such incidents are reported on the trap talk board each year. A barrel obstruction or a weakened barrel, who knows, but it does happen. Sometimes it's with factory shells and other times with reloads.

I've seen a few shooters with sem-autos take gas blow back in the eyes. Matter of fact, at one of my first registered shoots away from my home club many years ago, I saw this happen too a youngster who was shooting a Remington 1100. He could not resume shooting for a several minutes. They ended up rinsing his eyes out with water.

Next time you see someone not wearing glasses...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Odds & Ends (Feb 14)

The MEC primer feed (new style) for my 28 gauge reloader has not been dropping the primer properly.

Recently it has gone from acceptable to unbearable. I played around with it, but nothing helped. This was a purchased upgrade from when they first came out.

I finally took the primer feed off my 20 gauge reloader and installed it on the 28 gauge. I just eyeballed the installation and pulled the handle. Perfect primer drop...

I'm going to send the primer feed back to MEC and see if I can have it replaced. If not, I will purchase a new one, as I'm very satisfied with there operation.

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Anti-Gun News.

Leading up to the November elections, it took a bit of work for me to find anti-gun articles posted too any national news orgainization web site.

No longer...

Lets see, Democrats thought they might win in November, and anti-gun articles in the news cease to be found. Democrats win in November, and anti-gun articles resume.

Who side do you think the press is on?

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Maine NSSA.

The Maine NSSA skeet championships will be held at Arnold Trail in Sidney from July 27 thru 29.

It was not showing up on the NSSA web site.

I contacted Dennis Klipp and he was nice enough to pass along the information.

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Olympic Bunker Quebec.

L'Acaide has released it's 2007 schedule and has a number of bunker shoots planned.

L'Acadie has two operational bunkers.

The Montreal Skeet Club also has an Olympic bunker, but as this time has no bunker shoots planned.

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Vermont NSSA.

Vermont has it dates posted and a number of one and two day shoots are scheduled.

One club does a 200 target .410 shoot each year and it's very popular.

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Targets Only.

I had not mentioned it, but when signing up at the registered skeet shoot at Palatka this past weekend, the option to shoot "Targets Only" was listed on the registration form that all were required to fill out as part of the registration process.

A nice touch...

This should be the standard at all clubs, not the exception!

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What you don't want to hear at a skeet shoot when your the first squad out, after asking to see a high & low.

"They were perfect the other day"

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Reloading.

The price of lead is all over the place. The cost of primers is on the increase.

Still, for most, the cost to reload is cheaper then buying factory.

Some say it's not worth there time...

In any case, a number of sites have reloading cost calculators available.

You punch in the cost of reloading supplies and see what it cost to reload a box of shells. Takes out the guess work.

The Lost Target web site has a calculator posted in the Links section.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Do NSCA shooters love hurricanes?

The number of registered skeet targets thrown in 2005 decreased.

The target decline was attributed to hurricanes.

NSSA Executive Committee Meeting - June 23, 2006

(The latest minutes posted)

I. MEMBERSHIP, TARGET AND CLUB STATISTICS – The number of members continues to decline from its high in 2003; it was just over 2% for 2005 from 2004, and is down about 4% year-to-date compared to last year. The number of targets thrown for 2005 was down about 8% from the previous year, which can be attributed to hurricanes and a decrease in the number of registered shoots.

At the same meeting, it was stated that the NSCA saw an increase in membership and targets thrown.

P. NATIONAL SPORTING CLAYS ASSOCIATION – Membership and targets are up from the same time last year; as of May 15th membership was 19,295.

Does this mean that sporting clays shooters prefer to shoot in hurricanes, as the sport grew during the period of increased hurricane activity, while skeet declined during the same period?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday @ Palatka

Weather was a little warmer then Saturday, but the locals were bundled up like it was 20 degrees.

The targets were pretty steady today. As yesterday, the referees were right on the money.

I talked to one shooter and I asked him why his squad always looked like it was having machine problems when starting out, as time and time again I saw the squad standing around waiting for something to happen.

He said they were not having machine problems. The lead shooter was not too picky on targets, but did insist the high house target fly over the low house target, both going through an imaginary hoop before starting the first round. They would eye ball them and if they didn't, he requested they be adjusted. That works for me...

The local airport is close to the club and on weekends the parachute club is out in force.

I finished up on station #7 and saw a drop of ten parachutist. By the time I setup at station #8 high, the parachutist were just too the right of the house, off in the distance. I called for the bird and among the parachutes a speck of orange was observed. I fired, target dead!

I guess I should have waited a bit as they were a distraction, but it seemed pretty neat at the time.

The most parachutist I saw in the air at any one time was thirteen.

The parachutist coming down was really no big deal, but from time to time several would start to spiral down quickly when they got close to the ground. Your eye picked up on it, especially when shooting doubles.

Small planes were pretty much in the air all day, with the planes seeming much bigger when you were on the fields closest to the runway. It seemed in the PM they were always taking off when we were on the middle stations, right in front of you : (

It did not seem to bother the women shooters on the squad, as Heide shot a 96 in the 20 gauge and Pam Larrowe, a Virgina shooter, shot a 95 in the .410.

I should correct that statement, as it did cause a few dropped targets, but the ladies did shoot well in spite of the distractions!

I watched one squad where the last shooter on a .410 squad was having serious ammunition problems. All members on the squad offered him ammunition and he declined. I gather a new shooter and he did not wish to impose. On the last round the referee went to his vehicle and returned with a box of shells and insisted the shooter use them.

How many times have we seen this? A shooter having gun or ammunition problems and fellow shooters handing over ammunition or lending a gun to complete the round, with no thought of payment. Just a thanks will do!

The lead shooter on that squad was from Tallahassee. He was really blasting the targets. Dropped two in the final round for a 98.

I was standing by station #6 on one round. I saw a pickup truck backing up just off the field, coming towards us. The lid was up on the box he had in the back of the truck and he did not see the bench behind his vehicle. I was going to yell, but a quick glance saw shooters on both fields with mounted guns, ready to call for a bird. I waved but he did not see me. I ended up running up to his vehicle and he saw me in his side mirror. Luckily, the bench was just pushed along and no harm was done to either the bench or the vehicle.

The people working the desk did a nice job and scores were posted as fast as they received the score sheets.

We departed at 7pm after taking part in the shoot offs.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday @ Palatka

NSSA Skeet.

Registration was straightforward, as they had pre-printed registration sheets (questionnaire) for each shooter to fill out. Those who pre-registered had a mailing label attached and you were asked to confirm your address.

You wrote down your averages and class, and checked off what you wanted to play.

Made it easy for the person working the desk, as you had everything up to date before you went up to make payment.

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A mild day, starting off in the mid 50's and ending up in the 60's.

A bit of a wind popped up during the afternoon.

The birds started to dance a bit. Not a steady wind, just enough to make the flight of the target unpredictable at times. Give me a steady wind any time.

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I'm adding a new item to my shoot checklist.

Not to squad at 8:30 with a winter sun.

The sun popped out of the clouds at several inopportune times and cost the squad more than a few targets.

You can't hit them if you can't see them.

Well, that's not exactly true as I did hit a low 8 with just a glimpse as it was coming out the window. Pure luck.

Station #1 was the toughest I've ever seen (or did not see).

We had one shooter miss a high house #1 on doubles because of the sun, and when going after the low house bird, hit it late.

However, the referee called it lost, as he decided the shooter had shot it out of bounds, as it flew well past the high house building before being hit. It was a great shot under the circumstances, but...

The shooter shot a 23 on that round...

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At the start a few machines needed adjustment. The high house target on my field needed to be moved to the left about five feet. The field next to ours also needed adjustment. No wind at this point.

The norm for referees is they pull 50, but a few pulled 75 before switching.

All the referees we had were right on the money, and I'm not aware of any slow pulls.

One of those clubs where the road is right next to the fields, so you know every time someone starts up a diesel or has a motorized cart.

One gentlemen was nice enough to approach me after I shot station #2 and asked who the last shooter was, as he was going to move his vehicle. Now that's being considerate.

Lunch was available and steak dinner was the Saturday evening meal.

If you did not care to eat at the club, you could pick up something just five minutes down the road.

We counted 101 entries for the 12 gauge.

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I had a terrible time of it for most of the day. Hopefully, Sunday will see better scores.

We shot with a couple from Virginia and a local Florida shooter. If the couple from Virginia are not "A" shooters, they are on there way.

The Florida shooter shot his first registered 25. It was in the 28 gauge.

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I picked up my order from the club today and lead was at $24 per bag for Lawrence instead of the $23.50 quoted. I expected an increase from what I had seen posted on a few talk boards. I knew it was not going to be less...

Winchester primers were out of stock : (

The club orders through Gamaliel Shooting Supply.

I heard rumors that targets will see a 7% increase, but that could be regional. It was talked about by several.

2007 may tough for both clubs and shooters, if prices keep going up.

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The new membership cards being issued by the NSSA/NSCA are not going over big with clubs that do not use a computer. As previously stated, they cannot be used with an imprinter.

I heard talk at the shoot today and many are not happy, especially those who run shoots at small clubs.

We all understand the need to modernize, but to not consult with the clubs prior to changing something that has been part of registration for what seems forever, is just something that cannot be explained away.

The previous week I shot at a club that did not even have an enclosed building, let alone a computer. All registration was done the old fashioned way.

Again, it's not that headquarters went in that direction.

It's not having the common courtesy too inform the clubs that it was even under consideration.

Is headquarters that out of touch with those who don't host the major shoots?

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Taken down the NSSA/NSCA talk board did not go over well. More than a few shooters said they never posted, but checked it frequently.

I know you have to have a stiff backbone to run a talk board, or even a blog such as this, but they are a national organization and you would think they would have had a better handle on it then they did.

They never did use it to discuss proposed changes or keep members informed.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The last few days

We shot skeet practice on Wednesday at Palatka. The shooters were starting to arrive for the 4-gun shoot being held at the club this weekend.

We shot with a shooter from New Hampshire and one from Pennsylvania. A gentleman from Michigan walked by an offered to push buttons. Later on we were joined by one of the locals. All and all a nice day.

We spent several hours reloading over the past few days getting ready for the shoot.

I ran up to Jacksonville today. The club is hosting the Florida ATA chain shoot. I shot the singles event.

Police were out in force on 9A. Not that uncommon South of the bridge. I saw three cars pulled over just south of 202.

It started out on the cool side, but by noon, it was time for jackets and sweaters too come off. No wind to speak of.

Targets seemed to be right on the money. I don't remember any no targets. I did not see anyone have any problems with voice activation.

I watched one shooter on his first round miss the first shot out. He ended up shooting a 99.

Registration was a breeze. Three computers set up to process shooters.

$22 per hundred.

We shot 25 targets and moved to the next field.

A very sociable crowd.

On the squad ahead of me a Perazzi broke. Of course the shooter had to take a good bit of ribbing from all that did not own a Perazzi.

A little under the weather today and did not even want to turn on the computer when I come home, but it’s now past 10pm and all seems well.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

NSSA Skeet, the future?

In my travels I see plenty of skeet shooters. Unfortunately, most don’t shoot registered skeet.

Its time national headquarters sits down and has a serious discussion in regard to NSSA skeet, especially the emphasis on 4-gun shooting.

This discussion needs to take place with those who don’t shoot 4-guns or even shoot registered.

A first year free NSSA membership helped, but...

What is the perception of non-registered skeet shooters in regard to registered skeet?

Why won’t they shoot registered, other than the thinking they can’t win and would just be throwing their money away?

Where are the junior shooters in numbers that matter?

Except for an occasional youth who shoots with dad, they are not seen at most shoots. A few years back, Vermont had no junior shooters who shot registered. This may still be the case.

I for one sense a serious disconnect between the hard core 4-gun shooters and other skeet shooters.

Attitude and perception is everything!

The long time 4-gun shooter seems not too concerned on length of shoots, cost of tube sets, four re-loaders, price of ammunition, shoot fees, motel rates, gasoline, and so forth.

Sure, not all, but I see it and I'm sure others see it also.

We have an inner group that run shoots, or have a say on how they are run, and they don’t want change.

When you talk shoot fees they get upset. God forbid if you talk about doing away with mandatory purses. Trust me, I have brought this up on several occasions.

A number of clubs still have free dinners on Saturday evening. Unfortunately at many clubs they are not free and the cost is included in shoot fees.

If you bring up attending one day shoots to a 4-gun shooter, it’s a non-starter.

I know several 4-gun shooters who do not attend one day shoots, even if within an hour drive from the home club.

Many times, this is the difference between a club having a successful shoot, or not!

Do you hear what I’m saying?

Forget about drawing shooters from far and wide, the reason often given for holding 4-gun shoots. We can’t get regional 4-gun shooters in many areas to support local one day shoots. A club says why make the effort? That's a shame as that's the vehicle to draw new shooters.

Anytime a discussion is brought forth on how to improve registered skeet, the subject seems to always revert back to 4-gun shooting and how to increase numbers.

4-gun shoot participation is not the solution. 4-gun shooting does more too hurt modern skeet than any other factor. It goes back to the perception you have to be a 4-gun shooter. A catch 22!

The 4-gauge 50-50-50-50 one day shoot is a non-starter for the shooter looking at becoming a registered shooter and really does nothing for the serious 4-gun shooter. It's a missed opportunity. The club should use the day shooting two 100 target events with the hope of attracting new shooters and market the shoot so they get a decent turnout from regional shooters.

In many instances shooters don't want the expense or wish to put in the time associated with 4-gun shooting. In most cases they only wish to shoot one or two guns and not travel outside the region.

Yes, any shooter can choose to shoot only one gun, but that’s not the perception.

Talk to a NSSA shooter for any length of time and the emphasis is on 4-gun shooting.

My wife and I have enjoyed attending two-hundred target .410 shoots or 12 & 20 gauge shoots.

One shoot my wife and I attended where we had loads of fun was a club in North Carolina. A one field club (Alamance) and the shoot was just 100 targets. Everyone understood they may be called on to take out a squad. The shoot fee included a lunch (cook your own). We shot 100 targets and were done for the day. This club does this once a month. Each month a different gauge. You can’t get more basic then that.

For many years, NSSA skeet only had ATA trap to contend with. Many did not care for trap and thus shot registered skeet. When we first started shooting, one day skeet shoots were in abundance, no longer the case in many areas.

Sporting clays slowly spread throughout the states and 100 target shoots can be found each weekend. Some registered and many just for fun. One gun and only four boxes of shells. You shoot at your own pace and as in golf, you can let the faster squads shoot ahead of you. Minimum expense compared to 4-gun skeet. Yes, you will pay more per target at many clubs, but you’re only contending with 100 targets. In and out in one day, and at many clubs, before lunch.

ATA shooters can choose to shoot singles at a very reasonable price and not even think they need to be shooting handicap. Where the perception in skeet is you must shoot 4-guns.

I’ve laid it out and have surely oversimplified, but at some point a serious discussion and thus changes need to be made in regard to NSSA skeet and how it's presented (marketed).

Is the emphasis from headquarters going to be on 4-gun shoots or one day shoots?

At the present, I don't see any serious marketing by headquarters towards one day shoots except for talking about the one day 4-gun concept, so any tilt in that direction would be a major change.

In any case, the change will have to take place at the club level with a carrot from headquarters.

Maybe reduced daily fees for clubs that hold one day shoots that have class winners?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Checking the price of ammunition

We stopped at Dicks Sporting Goods and Sports Authority.

No deals on ammunition to be found. Dicks was selling AA & STS for $5.99 per box.

Last year at this time it was around $5.29 per box, with the sale price being under $5 per box, purchasing by the case. No sale this year. The local Wal-Mart was cheaper, but not by much.

I saw Top Gun target shells. They have seen an increase in price.

The price for the 100 shell packs is all over the place. Some stores may be using low prices to draw customers. I saw a $2 price difference in two stores. I see many using them, but the 12 gauge shells have a bit of a kick.

I visited Bass Pro Shops in Orlando a few weeks back and also did not see any deals.

Now, no one was selling the cheaper brands and in my neck of the woods I can usually get a good deal on Estates. Under $40 per case.

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I shot trap at Jacksonville Sunday, getting in a few rounds prior to the chain shoot being held at the club this week.

No wind to speak of and the targets looked pretty good. The ones I hit, broke...

Not much activity, but two gentlemen were going down the line and working on machines.

The skeet side of the house had a good crowd and the 5-stand was up and running. I think I saw someone shooting the wobble trap, but I did not check it out.

I’m not shooting trap on the weekend, as NSSA skeet is scheduled, but I will be attending the chain shoot either Thursday or Friday and at least shoot a singles event. I’d like to also shoot handicap, but I won’t decide until I’m at the club, as its going to be a long weekend and my legs can only take so much.

Hopefully, all vendors will be in place prior to the weekend and I can see what they have to offer.

The weather forecast for the weekend is looking good, with afternoon highs being in the 60’s and if we get a bit more sun, it may be in the 70’s. Its almost certain the NSSA shoot we will be attending will see the 70's.

Last year the weekend was not so hot. It was cold, windy, and one of the days saw rain in the AM.

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Giuliani is running for president.

Not withstanding his gun control position, he has my vote!

I'm being a realist and if Republicans retake the House, as they should with him as the candidate, Giuliani will not be presented any gun controls laws by Congress.

So in the real world, it's a non issue.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

We shot skeet today

We attended the NSSA shoot at the Flagler club today.

Just cool enough where a long sleeve shirt was needed.

It rained heavily a few days prior to the shoot and standing water was evident, but the fields drained well and boots were not needed. Florida had been hit hard with tornadoes and they had touched down not that many miles away.


Registration was straight forward.

The new NSSA memberships cards issued to new members by the NSSA are useless, as they cannot be used on a card imprinter for shoot registration.

I guess the big boys (and girls) at NSSA headquarters assume that all clubs register shooters via computer. I gather they don't get around much! I had commented on this in the past and had contacted NSSA. Now, I'm seeing first hand the problem the new card is causing. But, what do I know?

Everyone was friendly. If you did not know anyone when you arrived it was your fault if you did not know anyone when you left.

The refs were right on the money and one shooter from the Palatka club took a turn pushing buttons.

Speaking of Palatka, it was nice to see shooters from Palatka supporting Flagler. I may have missed it, but I did not see any Jacksonville shooters in attendance. The Jacksonville club is 1 hour and 25 minute from the Flagler club.

A nice job on field #3. This is the clubs new field and just completed. The walkways looked great and the painting and trim work was first class.

The Flagler club in the last month installed a new set of Champion machines on field #2. We did get more than a few broken targets from the low house. I shot a 95 on the field, so obviously not a big problem, but it was noticeable.

I think almost all clubs have gone through this. They get a new set of machines and then they have to play around with them for a few months. It should not be this way for what they cost. The club has had to TWEAK both machines.

We hooked up with Ray from the Orlando area and shot both guns with him. An excellent shot.

My wife more than held her own and I fell apart in the second hundred. If I was shooting at a barn, I still would have missed it...

We had a good time and would attend future shoots. I posted a few photos on the Lost Target web site.

I ran over and visited the Trap section and confirmed they were having an ATA shoot on the 17th. Practice 9-10 and registered shooting starting at 10am. I have still not received an answer from the email I sent asking to confirm the shoot, as it was not listed on the clubs website.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Odds & Ends (Feb 1)

The elections are well past and the call for more gun laws by liberals is increasing.

Why no call by the same people for increased jail sentences for criminals who use a gun to commit a crime?

Except for a few states, the liberals in congress will not make a major move against guns until after the 2008 elections.

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I see hunters in many parts of the country lined up against preserves or canned hunts.

In most cases they are wrong and only given anti-hunters ammunition in there quest to limit or end hunting.

The old days are gone.

Many properties are now posted. The old farm that use to be hunted is now a shopping center. Timber companies are selling off there land holdings and in many cases hunting is not allowed by the new owners. Animal rights people are pressuring federal and state governments to limit or outlaw hunting on public lands. No hunting allowed around many towns.

End preserve or canned hunts and you will end up shooting yourself in the foot.

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The NSSA/NSCA talk board has been taken down.

It never really took off and a small number were using it as a vehicle to promote an anti-NSSA headquarters agenda.

Just a few weeks ago I was curious on who these people were and looked up two of the posters shoot records. One had no registered targets recorded and the other in the last three years had shot two-hundred targets. Maybe at some point in the past they were deeply involved in registered shooting, but not for the past few years. Do they have the right to voice an opinion, they sure do, but at what point do they start to do more harm then good.

I posted occasionally to the board, but they were more worried about how to increase numbers of those attending 4-gun shoots and bashing the NSSA management. I’ve had my own issues with the NSSA and don’t think the number of NSSA shooters will be fixed by promoting 4-gun shoots, as I think we need to get back to one day shoots, getting back to the basics. But I don’t keep posting and reposting on the subject.

If I was to run the NSSA/NCSA board I would configure it to have a headquarters section and then for each zone to have a section, with a volunteer or two from each zone to answer questions and promoting shoots in there zone. All would have authority to monitor postings and delete as required.

But that just me and what do I know?

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Except for the Gator club in Northeast Florida, no club in the region offers a Snow Bird membership rate.

With the influx of shooters from the north each winter and many deciding where they are staying for the winter based on membership rates and shoot fees, you would think a Snow Bird rate would be offered by all, as an incentive to draw those shooters to the local club.

A few clubs don't need one, but...

I know of more than one shooter visiting the area for the winter who drive an extra 30 – 40 minutes to shoot at another club, instead of the closest, because of non-member shoot fees and annual membership rates.

They find it hard to justify paying a full membership, for a club they may only use once a week, for two or three months.

I know for myself that one club I visit would get more money from me if they offered a Snow Bird rate, but its cheaper to pay the non-member rate, shooting four rounds a week, than becoming a member. We were thinking of becoming members, but once I did the math...

In the long run they would get more money out of me if I was allowed the member rate via a Snow Bird membership, but instead I just limit my shooting and visit other clubs. I just do the math!

A club would most likely come out ahead offering a Snow Bird rate, but what do I know?

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I made a few updates to my Northeast Florida Clay Target Shooting website posting. I actually had an opportunity to use the page just the other day when I was trying to explain to a shooter where the Bradford club was located.

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A Canadian was asking about purchasing a shotgun barrel in the states and taken it back to Canada.

The permanent export of a barrel from the United States requires an export permit. The same goes for an American that may purchase a spare barrel, say visiting England. They would require an import permit to import the barrel into the United States.

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I was asked about PAL (Canadian Firearms License) renewal. I was not sure, but I assume the email was from an American. A license is good for five years.

Several months prior to the license expiring you will receive a renewal application in the mail from the Canadian Firearms Center. Fill out the application and include a passport size photo. No cost to renew.

If your initial license was from Quebec, Americans will also need to provide a letter from local law enforcement stating they are citizens in good standing (no wants or warrants). For me the letter was provided by the local sheriff’s office.

As a side note. I cross the border dozens of times each year with firearms and monitor both US and Canadian laws to see what impact it has on American and Canadian shooters who cross the border to hunt or go target shooting. Changes are updated to the Lost Target web site.

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I was checking out the ATA web site and came across an ATA shoot to be held at Flagler this month. A Saturday shoot. The shoot was not posted to the clubs web site : (

Unless something comes up, I will take a ride over.