Being the first Sunday of the month yesterday was our club black powder match. Along with incredible, if not very windy weather it was also April Fools Day so the match director decided to provide up with 'novelty' targets that necessitated either 19 year old eyes or the vision of an eagle to actually see them at a distance greater than laying on the shooting bench in front of you.
I was a bit concerned that my back wasn't healed enough to support the weight of a rifle and deal with the resulting recoil. I hate being right, it wasn't the most pleasant experience but I still managed to win one of five targets and whip the son-in-law like he was a rented mule. (If he ever beats me he's gonna walk the 56 miles home... all uphill.)
We had planned on hitting one of the pistol berms after the match but Little Stevie and his band of flatland sissies occupied all of them shooting at refrigerator size cardboard targets at 15 yards. (It'd be a lot quieter just spitting chewing tobacco at 'em... ya still couldn't miss.
Not wanting to waste such a beautiful day we, (I) decided that we'd set up our one foot square swinging steel target at a hundred yards and sharpen up the long winter dulled eyes. Had it been a democracy I would have been out voted but since we had taken my truck... well, you get the idea.
While my son-in-law took the steel and sledge hammer down range a couple black powder shooters and a few modern shooters gathered to see what was up. My SIL got all the way back to the line before we all realized that the white painted steel was almost invisible. Luckily there was a can of black spray paint in the black powder trailer so off he went again down range and outlined the edges of the steel in black. Showed up pretty good.
Pulled a Smith model 17 with a 8 3/8 in barrel out of the range bag and started to load it up with some cheap Thunderbolt .22's. It was then that the doubting Thomas' started to chime in and voiced their doubts about me being able to hit the target. An offer to wage copious amounts of folding currency silenced them in short order and they simply stood back, smug in their assurance that bullets would impact half way downrange.
One particularly helpful non-black powder pilgrim offered to set up his spotting scope and spot for me. I questioned the need for a scope when all he'd need to do was listen for the ping of metal for confirmation.
5 out of 6 pings apparently led him to believe that it was like hitting the sky with a helium balloon and he asked if he could try it. Being the helpful and compassionate individual that I am I loaded the cylinder and handed him the gun. Suffice it to say that the safest thing to be was the piece of steel. Actually it was like watching lightening... nothing ever struck in the same place twice. Long range shooting, (a hundred yards is not considered long range handgun shooting by any means), is dependent on three things, sight picture, trigger control and wind doping. Do those three things correctly and you'll be putting money in your pocket.
The SIL had never really shot a pistol past 50 yards before so it took a few minutes to teach him the basics but he caught on pretty quickly and was hitting about 30% or so. Not too bad for the first time... except some of his misses were bad misses... feet, not inches. (Ya gotta watch the sights.)
My little shootin' buddy, Deak, wimped out and shot off a sand bagged bench rest. It must be hell to get old, (he turned 75 last week). We got bored with the Smith and pulled out a 4 inch Browning Buckmark with a Tactical Solutions fluted barrel. Little harder to get a clear sight picture with old eyes but it laid 'em right in there.
Went through a hundred rounds or so then pulled out the 5 inch STI, Trojan 9mm. Had a couple hundred 120 grain LTC ahead of 5 grains of Unique. (For those of you who have never heard of Unique, it's the only pistol powder that ever needed to be invented.)
I have mentioned it several times on this forum but it bears repeating, the STI, Trojans are the finest, most accurate out of the box semis that I have ever owned. They just flat shoot without doing a thing to 'em.
With an average chronographed speed of 1184 fps out of the 5 inch barrel the 9's are very flat shooting and didn't even require holding any front sight. Holding off just a tad for the wind was no hill for a climber. The CLANG was unmistakable but just in case any of the onlookers happened to be as deaf as I am the swinging steel left no doubt about hits.
If your range affords the opportunity for hundred yard or longer handgun shooting, do it. Lets face it, if you can hit a small target at one or two hundred yards you sure as hell can hit those giant cardboard targets at 15 or 20 yards.
(Shooting clay birds at a hundred is fun too but we didn't have any.)