Sunday, November 12, 2017

Winter Shooting

IDPA shooting can get to be somewhat more of a challenge than usual in the winter at some of the ranges. The Clear Creek County Sportsmans Club is located in Clear Creek Canyon and nestled right up against the steep slope of the south side of the gulch. The individual berms are perpendicular to the canyon so as to use the mountain side as a back stop. Nice back stop. I rather doubt that most pistols could put a round over the top of it.

The bad news is that this time of year, the sun only barely clears the ridge line and if there's been any snow recently, it only melts back as far as the shadow of the mountain. Last weekend this meant that most start positions were right at the beginning of a sheet of packed snow about 1" deep. Also the sun doesn't actually become visible until about 9:30. Officially the temp was about 35 deg but standing on the frozen ground in the shade made it seem colder. One of my fellow shooters, bless his heart, gave me a couple of hand warming packets which kept my fingers from falling off as long as I kept them in my pockets.

Unfortunately we had a shortage of safety officers so I would up being scorekeeper for most of the match which meant handling the clipboard and noting the scores. By stage 2 the sun had poked over the mountain and things got a bit more reasonable. The next problem was that since most of the shooting was being done in the unmelted portion of the berms, keeping your footing was a big consideration. No one fell so I suppose the speeds were a bit slower than usual. The other thing was the brass picking. All the brass was landing in the packed snow where it promptly sank nearly out of sight and was frozen tightly into place. This resulted in a much lower than normal percentage of recovered brass for everyone. If I got 50% of mine back. I'll be amazed. My partner told me he didn't get any back at all.

I had brought my carbine for the side match, but the much reduced speed made it look like it would be rather late getting going, and the sun had already "set" on the berm to be used by 12:30. I figured I was cold and tired enough for one day so I flaked out.

Got the results. I finished just above halfway down which is doing well for me so I'm happy. Cold? Sure. Considering that it's at 7900 ft altitude and it's early November, I guess you can't be too surprised. A few miles further up the road and the ski resorts are open.


Merle said...

maybe you could schedule a biathlon?


Billll said...

It wouldn't be too bad a place for one. The access road for the freeway runs right in front of the range, and is frequently used for bike events. Not so gre4at for a loop course though, just up or down hill for a mile or two, then turn back to the range.