Monday, July 30, 2007

Shoot weather

If we had listened to the weather reports for the two shoots we attended this past weekend, we would have never left the house and missed out on two nice shoots.

Last Thursday we were looking at rain, showers, thunder, and all the rest.

Except for a heavy downpour early Saturday morning, it turned out to be one of the more pleasant weekends.

I think the weather forecast lowered the numbers at Saturdays shoot.

Hopefully, we will be as lucky for the remaining shoots on the schedule.

The only one I would have any concern about is the Northeast Kingdom Gun Club in Vermont. They are scheduled to hold the state sporting clays championships on August 19th. The course is built into the side of a mountain and when it rains the trail turns to mud. A very steep climb and a heart pounder during normal weather conditions.


I've told several I would be attending, but if 100% rain is predicted, and it is a three hour drive, I would pass.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday @ Josée

Three of us took a run up to Quebec to attend a sporting clays fun shoot at Club Josée.

A small club with one combination skeet/trap field, modified for sporting clays.

Basically, four parcours with parcour 1 to the left, parcour 2 being the skeet/trap field, and parcour 3 & 4 to the right. All separated with fences.

Works well and shows that even a club with limited land, but a large imagination can build a nice course.

Upon arriving at the club I opened the rear of the van and saw an empty space where my wife's shotgun is normally stored : (

Boy, was I in trouble...

Last night I cleaned her shotgun after we returned from downstate New York and failed to put the gun back into the vehicle.

My shotgun is adjustable. I raised the comb, shortened the stock and we shared.

A bit of problem with trigger pull for my wife until halfway through the event, but we managed. She was a good sport about it, but I don't think we will have that problem again : )

A sunny day, highs in the low 80's.

50 targets and 9 stations.

A mix of easy targets and others that just left you shaking your head. All hittable, but for those who thought they were going to go 50x50 at a small club shoot, found it was not going to happen.

I did not ask, but it seems the club has added a few more auto traps in the last year and have almost eliminated all hand traps.

A new target storage shed has been built, close enough to the field so they can launch targets from the upper floor.


A very friendly crowd and of course that great small club atmosphere.

Lunch with soda was $4.

The club may serve the best french fries in Quebec. In any case, all receive a large serving.

My wife won a lucky draw.

The club was planning on having free corn on the cob after the shoot, but it was time to go home.

We stopped on the way home and had ice cream. It must be the fat content in the ice cream in Quebec, as the regular New York stores don't even come close in taste.

A Canadian holiday of sorts this weekend. The traffic was backed up and it took 45 minutes to clear the border.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sunset Farm Benefit Shoot

Sunset Farm Sporting Clays - Rocky Mountain Elks Benefit Shoot

Sporting Clays - Delanson, NY

We departed from home at 5:40am. An early start, as flights were departing between 9 - 9:30.

When we hit the Albany area we ran into a fierce rain storm, thunder and lightening included.

The rains had stopped by the time we pulled into the clubs parking lot.

Registration was straight foreword and we squadded ourselves (six man squads).

Free bottled water was available at the staging area.

The non-grassy areas were mud, but as the day went on the mud dried and it was much easier to get around. Some of the targets had gotten wet and messed up the start of the shoot, but for the most part not a problem, with targets being replaced as needed.

The few machine problems I did see were addressed in short order.

At first a number of hand traps, but as we moved deeper into the shoot we started to see more and more auto traps. I think the only target presentation I did not see was a straight up springing teal.

We had a good time and all shot windows were more then adequate except for a short window down hill following pair rabbit. I'm going from memory here but I'm pretty sure it was a following pair.

Don't get me wrong, the rabbit was fun, but some don't like any type of shot window where a target is not shoot-able for at least 3 seconds.

Lunch was part of the shoot fee and if you left hungry it was your fault.

Two side events and a large raffle.

Thanks to the Beretta rep who went to his vehicle and retrieved a shotgun that we wanted to handle, but did not have on display.

Friday, July 27, 2007

New neighbors?

You know, the ones that buy a home near an airport and complain about the noise, or locate next to a farm and want the farmer to stop fertilizing with manure because it smells.

Those same people are buying property next to your club and say after a year or two, when we first moved here the noise was not that bad, but now...

If you added shooting hours, substantially increased memberships, expanded disciplines, or added disciplines without working hand and hand with local approving authority, your asking for problems and given such people an issue.

The scenario is usually the same and in this order.

(1) The noise complaint. (2) Lead is leaching into the ground water. (3) The club put in new buildings without receiving building permits. (4) The club expanded operations without local approval, such as putting in a 5-stand or an outdoor pistol range.

I actually read about a club a few years back that was put through the ringer because they added to an existing trap field a trap machine that could also be set to throw doubles. Sounds stupid to you and me, but that is what you can expect if a group goes after your club and they are trying to show your operating outside of what you initially received approval for. No stone will go unturned!

I know of a sporting clays range that removed trees that buffered the property from a neighbors house. A neighbor that had no problems with the club now had issues. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

What is in your letter of organization, what is the zoning in your area, what does your approved operating permit actually say, are you really grandfathered?

Your club is a business, even if a volunteer run club. You have to follow the same rules as the local golf course or car dealership.

Some suggestions;

Post your property line to indicate its a shooting club,

trees to buffer sound,

water and lead do not mix,

shot fall stays on the property,

lead recovery plan,

apply for building permits,

receive local approval when adding a new shoot discipline, such as sporting clays or 5-stand.

Notify the governing body in your area of changes in hours of operation.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A shooting weekend

I received my Canadian Firearms License. It was sent out via airmail one week after I was told my license had been approved for renewal. A Friday mailing and received on Monday.

No cost to renew and its good for five years. I did have to send in a new passport type photo and a letter from the local sheriff saying I was a U.S. citizen in good standing.

We took advantage of the renewal and re-visited the La Roue du Roy to take in 100 sporting clays targets.

The tower had been lowered a bit from are last visit, but still formidable. As I suspected, staying a foot or so under the target resulted in solid hits. Of course we found another station or two that presented problems and they will have to be addressed on are next visit : )

This Saturday we're running down to Sunset Farms to attend a sporting clays shoot, a first time visit.

My GPS says it's a 2.5 hour drive and they only have one flight time, so it will be drive, drive, drive and jump out of the car, register and shoot. It should be a good time but will make for a long day!

Sunday, we change gears and head back into Canada and attend a shoot at Club Josee.

A 50 target sporting clays course set up around a combination skeet/trap field.

Think FITASC with three parcours, but targets set with skeet choke in mind.

They hold two such shoots each year.

One of the better small club shoots we attend.

A social gathering and a shoot that is always on my calendar.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Remington 1100

The last few years my wife had on and off problems with the second shell feeding or the first shell ejecting.

The gun would cycle with certain brands of shells, but hated Winchester products, both reloads and factory.

An older gun, purchased used in the early 70's, but nice wood. Used more or less as a backup gun and for trap.

I replaced springs and cleaned the hole in the barrel. Soaked the gun in break free. Even changed parts with another Remington 1100, no luck...

I was told to clean the trigger???

Would you know it, Winchester hulls are no longer a problem...

We saw not a hiccup using a 32 bushing (17.8) and Clays powder in both Winchester and Remington hulls. I think I even had some federal hulls loaded.

We did try factory Estates at 1190fps but had problems. I suspect a little lighter then advertised.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I missed out on a shoot

I was looking at the NSCA web site yesterday, as I needed a point of contact for a sporting clays shoot we plan on attending next weekend.

I came across a club that as of last month had none listed, but now had a few shoot dates posted.

One shoot was scheduled for today!

I attended a shoot at the club last year and I'm disappointed I did not receive a flyer or an email. I asked some of the shooters that attended the same shoot last year and they were also unaware.

Last years shoot was not exactly an overwhelming success. You would think some effort would have been made to contact those who attended and hope they would make a return visit.

I know four who would have made the trip, but I guess they didn't need are participation.

I wish them the best, but not the way to run a business...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sporting clays practice

We spent the afternoon shooting sporting clays at the La Roue du Roy this past Wednesday.

A 100 target course (16 stations), broken down into two sections of fifty targets each. The second half set at a higher level of difficulty and making for a nice change of pace.

We checked in at the desk and received a target counter key loaded with 240 targets for the two of us.

Each station has a box you place the key in. Each push of the button subtracts from the total on the key until the key reads zero and at that point the target release is no longer operational. No trap boys and keeping track of number of targets shot is not required.

Except for two machines that threw a few broken targets, the Lincoln traps worked flawlessly.

My wife and I could have shot a box of shells each at the crossing tower target and still not had any idea on what the lead was suppose to be. I suspect I was shooting over it as its starting out at a height of I think 90 feet. I guess we'll have to go back and try to figure it out : )

The club also has an eight machine parcour setup for FITASC. We did not shoot it, but the owner took us out to check it out and he released a target from each machine. You can leave your IC chokes at home if your going to just shoot FITASC at the club.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Supreme Court and firearms

Washington D.C. gun law bars residents from keeping handguns in their homes and prohibits the carrying of a gun without a license. Registered firearms such as rifles and shotguns must be kept unloaded and disassembled or fitted with trigger locks.

A federal appeals court panel overturned the ban in March, concluding that the city's broad gun law was unconstitutional.

D.C. has decided to appeal and take the case to the Supreme Court.

I'd have thought this would have received a little more play on the various talk boards, but shooters do not seem interested.

The bottom line is that the Supreme Court has not directly ruled on the Second Amendment in nearly 70 years and chose not to take up a 2003 case that challenged California's ban on assault weapons.

The best outcome for firearm owners is the Supreme Court takes the case and rules all have the right to own a firearm, with it being up to each state to give a reason why someone should not possess; such as being a convicted felon or has medical issues in regard to brain function.

I think not...

If the Supreme Court takes the case and gives a favorable ruling, it most likely will not issue a broad ruling, but give a narrow ruling and not settle the main issue of the right to bear arms.

In any case, whatever it rules, all states will be subject to the ruling.

Sporting clays referees

Sporting Clays Referees.

I shot at clubs this year where squads went out on the honor system. One club even handed each squad a clay target counter release with number of targets programmed, to include show targets and a small number for no birds.

I think the future of sporting clays, except for larger (money) shoots.

If we wish to see a local club hold more then one or two shoots each year, this an idea that needs to be supported.

In many regions, finding reliable trap help is one of major efforts when putting together a shoot. Often the deciding factor on how many shoots to hold each year.

Many clubs have stopped holding registered skeet shoots because of the lack of referees and/or volunteers.

I fear as clubs experience volunteer burnout or finding paid help in general, the same is in store for sporting clays.

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Credit Cards.

Some shooters are upset not all clubs will accept a credit card.

Just bring your checkbook!

The club pays a fee of anywhere between 1% - 3% to the credit card company and must charge all shooters accordingly to cover the bottom line.

If you decide to not to attend a shoot over this, so be it...

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World FITASC.

From what I read targets were set to protect the trees on the property used.

Not the best target presentations were thrown for a shoot of this magnitude, as trees had to be considered by the target setters.

Yes, the best still shoot and break them no matter what the settings, but an informal target standard is recognized and this was not the case.

Also, the Czech Republic authorized a film crew that at times interfered with shooters while on station. Protest fell on deaf ears.

Where was the govern body when this was going on?


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One more time.

Water on the course at two or three stations.

We don't all drive around in carts!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Firearm license follow-up

After playing phone tag and waiting on a call back, I find my renewal application for a Canadian Firearm License has been approved and is stitting in an office or a computer in Quebec.

I will have it in two weeks.

My license is set to expire next week : (

It may affect a shoot that we were planning on attending at Club Josee at the end of the month. It's going to be that close.

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My bid for sporting clays at the home club has been tabled.

To be revisited at a future date.

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I heard from John Woolley from Amelia Shotgun Sports located north of Jacksonville, Florida. A recently opened club that is still adding shoot disciplines, but does have sporting clays up and running.

I asked for a 911 address back in May. The club was finally able to come up with one. Not as simple as it sounds when dealing with new property. They have plans for a web site but the are open to the public Wednesday - Sunday and by appointment on Monday and Tuesday.

We plan on dropping in this winter and I of course will have my camera a take a number of photos for posting.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Canadian Firearms License set to expire

My Canadian Firearms License expires on the 19th.

I sent in a renewal but have not heard anything.

Could my last months blasting of the $25 fee for visitor to Canada with firearms that is only good for two months, instead of one full year, be cause for my paperwork to be lost? Will be on the phone in the AM after morning mail!

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A bit of a slowdown in regard to my shoot attendance, but towards the end of July the pace will pick up. Five sporting clays shoots in four weeks.

Two shoots just before the state shoot. I usually get blown away at the big shoots, so maybe getting in two shoots prior to the New York State Shoot may result in a decent score.

We did run over to Vermont to shoot registered skeet, but the weather was not all that great and instead of shooting we took out a squad before we went home. Five years ago I would have stuck it out; but if its not fun, its not fun!

Sunday marked the closure of the home club. We had an issue with water and lead, with water winning the argument.

The club has an option to pick up 140 acres of land which is pretty much a done deal unless the lawyers mess it up.

As the club will have the land, my wife and I presented the club a one time offer.

Install a sporting clays course and we will run it two times a week, plus run a few fun shoots and member appreciation days until the initial cost of the machines is recovered.

Several others have said they would lend a hand.

A volunteer club so no payments involved. Just trying to give something back and with sporting it would give the club a nice steady income each year.

Not a fancy course at first, 14 machines with seven A & B stations to give 100 targets. With plans at a future date to expand to 16 true stations.

I will see if the club will accept the offer on Wednesday, and if not, so be it and I'll just go back to visiting various clubs next year, instead of cutting back and working at the club each week.

Maybe they are doing me a favor if they turn down the offer : )

In regard to machines for a sporting course. I contacted ProMatic and had instant response on my request for information. Almost information overload and I'm not complaining. On the other hand, I had asked Lincoln Trap for information and had almost given up on them, but received a reply today.

I talked to Rochester Brooks and received a rundown on the clubs history with various machines they have used and problems seen. They gave Lincoln Trap a nice plug and they don't even use them. I also contacted someone who has set more then a few targets in Florida throughout the years and received his recommendations. Can't say I haven't done my homework.

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My friend Pierre Dubois is in Europe shooting at the World FITASC Championships and found an internet hookup and will be feeding me photos for posting.

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The price of shells and reloading supplies is getting a lot of play on some of the talk boards. The guys stuck with buying at Gander Mt. or stores of that sort are really taken a beaten.

I made some major purchases in early spring so I have not yet experienced the latest prices, but I was planning on picking up a few supplies in three or four weeks and should see first hand the higher prices.