Friday, October 25, 2013

2013 USPSA Nationals

Overall

I went into the 2013 Production Nationals expecting to take first Master since I'm pretty close with the classification system and I've had some pretty consistent experience running larger matches this year. I feel like I met that expectation too: There were three other masters that placed higher than me, but I think their classifications were, well a bit off: JJ Racaza (enough said); Shane Coley of the AMU and 2012 Open National Champ; and Chris Tilley, 2013 IPSC Open US Champion, former Open National Champion, and from "Top Shot" fame. Overall, the match was stacked with folks from other divisions coming out to shoot production which made for a serious deep pool of talent! 


There were 18 fairly straight forward stages with few options to entertain. The biggest questions usually hinged on, "Should I shoot this target while moving or standing still?" Overall, there were few tight shots and only a touch of hard cover with the furthest target being about 15 yard. I knew early on that just staying consistent and shooting my sights would put me in a good spot - I could trust that the pace I had practiced to achieve would allow me to minimize mistakes and create a comfort zone where I wouldn't feel the need to "burn it down" or say, "F*!k it! Hold my drink..." I'm learning - especially after listening to Ben's pod cast - that this is huge in a long match like Nationals.

Coming back, I now see that there is a lot of work to be done: hanging with Alex Gutt and watching him closely for a few days has shown me where I really need to refine things (mostly transitions, speeding up my "default tempo", etc). This will sort itself out... 


Anyway, Eric Grauffel won the match and several stages - his methodical preparation and planning is amazing.
Ben Stoeger successfully defended his National title and finished 94.7% of Eric's score.
Dave Sevigny finished 93.48% of Eric and Rob Leatham finished 91.5% of Eric.
Alex Gutt finished 20th and 81.3% of Eric. 
I finished 22nd overall and 81.1% of Eric. 



Gear

I resprung my "match gun" about 2 weeks before nationals and the double action just felt like it was "stacking" too much. Since I was on limited time I decided to shoot the match with my backup gun. The single action is considerably heavier on the backup, but I just didn't want to be derailed on my first shots. I've learned that I need my DA to be smooth, so I can "set the pace" for the rest of a stage. I did encounter one instance of trigger freeze that cost me about a solid second. I've yet to take the match gun apart to know what is going on (maybe this weekend)

Overall, the gun ran just fine: no failures to report (Its a Beretta... )
I was shooting 124 gr Montana Gold over 4.1 gr Titegroup with CCI primers out of mixed cases. I had been practicing with Bullseye since Titegroup had been almost impossible to find during the shortage - on a whim, my wife convinced me to call Cabela's the Saturday before we left. She must be good luck because they had it! After a most nerve wracking race to Cabela's - with trailer in tow - I managed to beat the closing time clock and secure 2 lbs. of the stuff! I loaded up 4.0 gr and chrono'd to find out that I was only hitting 128 PF. Decided to bump to 4.1 gr and call it good. I chrono'd at 131 PF at Nationals. (Velocities were super consistent 1056, 1056, 1058)



Insights

We sprung for Candlewood Suites, about 10 minutes from the range, and had kitchenettes in our rooms. This helped control the costs: sure we had a $200.00 food bill at Walmart, but we had burgers, steak, Italian sausage, a case of near-beer (OK has 3.25%. WTF?), tacos and lived pretty well for the 5 days we were out there. 
Tulsa has some fubar weather: We totally lucked out and shot Afternoon-Morning-Afternoon. Mornings were "brisk", but we dodged the unpredictable rain & cold. 

The USSA Range in Tulsa is pretty much amazing: so many bays, I lost count. Good roads, ample parking, pro-shop and the most comfortable lounge I've ever seen at a range. If you get a chance to take classes here or something, do yourself a favor and do it!


I was sad that there were only two vendors at the match: Matt Mink and Bersa. (Bersa? Really? Ok...) Matt Mink is a good guy - if I shot a Cheesy, err, CZ, I'd buy it from him. 


Sponsors and Thank Yous:

Alex and Matt for making the ride fun (Matt's Bob Clift and Ron V impressions still have me cracking up!)
McHenry IPSC and Herb at the Alpha Range for providing a great home to train at!
Team WIILSHOOT and Four Leaf Training for coaching, guidance and HTFU when I needed it!
Last but not least, my wife, for putting up with all of my crap!