Winter Offhand closed out 2021 with one of the most disruptive weather days we had seen in a long time – a gust of wind on a blustery day broke target uprights, knocked down support rails and sent targets and backers cartwheeling all over the range. Saying things were left in disarray would have been an understatement!
But, 2022 was a fresh start. Weather had been uncertain – cold was guaranteed but the wind forecast was a guess. We were expecting as brutally cold day, but for a change, we won in the game of weather roulette. Depending on whose thermometer you believed, it was somewhere between 17 and 23 degrees when we went to the line but, unheard of in northeast Indiana in January, there was no wind. Although it was frosty, it was actually a fairly pleasant day, especially on the low end of the firing line where the sun peeked around the building.
We had ten shooters brave the day and there were some pretty good scores shot. Mike King was high for the day with a 381-4X effort. Mark Walters and Mark Richard tied for second place for the day at 375-5X. High Junior was Marshall Rohrbach with a solid 367-5X for the day.
The season standings look a lot like the standings for
Mike King 770-17X
Mark Richard 753-11X
Mark Walters 746- 9X
Marshall Rohrbach 722-
The next Winter Offhand will be the second Saturday in February, February 12th.
FWRR Junior Colton Eads has been twice nominated
for acceptance to the United States Naval Academy Class of 2026 by Indiana
District 3 Congressman Jim Banks and Indiana Senator Mike Braun.
Admission to a Service Academy is a two-tiered
process. First, the applicant must directly apply to an academy and meet the
minimum medical, physical, and academic qualifications. Then, the applicant must be nominated by a
Congressman or Senator. Colton has
received nominations from both Congressman Banks and Indiana Senator Braun. In June he attended a virtual visit to the
Academy (normally an actual visit, but changed to virtual by COVID) and in October
he was invited to and attended an in-person candidate visit to Annapolis,
Colton is a member
of the Fort Wayne Rifle and Revolver Junior Rifle Team. He attended the FWRR 2021 High Power Clinic
and began shooting with the group in the spring of 2021. By the end of the summer he had achieved the
NRA Classification of Master. He has
contacted the coach of the USNA Service Rifle and Pistol Team to investigate
the possibility of continuing his High Power activities at the Academy. Colton’s two goals are to be commissioned as a Marine Corps Officer
and to study Naval Architecture, possibly in the areas of hull design or
But, should the appointment to Annapolis not come to be, Colton has a Plan B – an application to Texas A&M and pursuit of a commission through the Texas A&M ROTC Corps of Cadets. Then, there is also Plan C – Virginia Tech and their ROTC Corps of Cadets.
We wish Colton well as he pursues his options.
Oh, by the way – check out the logo on
Saturday, November 13 broke as a raw, windy day but it didn’t keep a sizeable crew from showing up to start work on the new shelters for the firing points in the pistol bay. The old firing point covers were well past their service lifetime and the Club had agreed with the shooters in the pistol disciplines that it was time for an upgrade. A proposal was made to the Directors, it was accepted and plans went into action to get the project underway by the start of winter.
At 7:30 Saturday morning a dumpster was waiting at the gate and by noon the old firing point covers were loaded up and the dumpster hauled away. A trailer loaded with material had been spotted in the pistol bays and the crew made short work of getting it to the places it needed to be.
All five of the pistol bays will have an aluminum framed, metal roofed shelter built as a cover to protect shooters and match officials from the weather. They are going to be an attractive addition to the pistol facility.
There is an old saying; “It’s all fun and games until someone gets an eye put out”. Well, a similar saying about High Power shooting could be; “It’s all fun and games until it’s time to do brass preparation”.
Over the 2021 High Power season, our Junior shooters went through about 800 rounds of ammunition each. Now that the season is complete – it is payback time. To get ready for the 2022 season, we are trying to have about 2500 rounds of ammunition ready for the Juniors – and that means we have to get 2500 cases ready to load.
We sent cases out for cleaning, depriming, sizing and trimming, but we need to deburr and chamfer the cases to make loading easier and to be sure that cases feed reliably. SO, it is case prep time. There is an assembly line process here; Marshall and Colton clean up the inside of the case neck and Kileen and I finish up the outside of the case. It took us a bit of time to get things running smoothly, but we went through most of a 600 round bag of mixed brass in the first session.
The inside turners finished up all 600 cases in the bag and the outside turners had about a hundred left at the end of the session. Good work guys! We have planned several case prep sessions and once we get the cases finished, the Juniors get to learn the next step – squeezing a priming tool!
We need to work up our load for next year – we will be using a different powder than we used this summer (2021 was WC 842, 2022 will be WC844) and then we start loading the cases.
The season runs from November through March, six sessions. We will shoot on the second Saturday morning at 9:00 or whenever we get a full relay of 10 shooters. Registration will open about 8:30.
Course of fire will be 40 Offhand shots for record,
fired at 100-yards on the SR target. We
will use paper targets. The first string
of fire will be 22 shots, with the high 20 taken as shots for record. The second string of 20-shots will not have
any sighters (you already had 22). You
will need a spotting scope – if you don’t have one, there will probably be one
available to borrow,
will be the best four scores shot during the season. Most people will miss one session for
whatever reason and we generally have one session cancelled because of weather.
I will divide shooters into two divisions for
scoring purposes. Division 1 will be the
High Masters, Masters and Expert shooters, kind of like Alabama, Georgia and
Ohio State. Division 2 (like Ferris
State, Valdosta State and West Georgia) will be Sharpshooters, Marksmen and any
Unclassified shooters who may shoot with us.
Juniors may shoot in the award pool if they pay
match fees, or they can shoot for fun and shoot for free. Juniors must declare their intentions at the
first match, so no late entries.
The award pool will be 50% of the total match
fees paid. Each Division splits up half
of the award pool. Division winner takes
half the Division pot, second place gets one-third and third place takes
one-sixth. (Same award formula as normal High Power matches.)
We have a new meeting place for our Club meetings. Our first meeting there was Monday, October 4th, and for the first time in a long time, we had a good crowd, not just a quorum; it was a very well attended meeting.
Our future meetings will be held at VFW Post 857, located at 2202 West Main Street in Fort Wayne – just follow Main Street through Ft. Wayne and you run into the site. There is a lot of easily accessible parking and the meeting room is also easily accessible – no steep dark stairs to climb.
Meeting Times will be 7:00 p.m. The VFW Post has a kitchen to provide supper before the meeting and beverages are available on site as well.
Our next meeting will be the FIRST MONDAY IN DECEMBER, December 6th. See you there!
I had a nice note from Tim Momper, a long time High Power shooter and member.
” I was going through some photos and found this one that was taken on 7/18/10. I had arrived early on that beautiful summer morning, setting targets, getting ready to shoot. I started hearing a “whooshing” noise coming from the far SW corner of the range. It grew louder with time, then I saw it. The balloon was slowly losing altitude. At the point where it is in the picture I was communicating with the pilot. As he passed by he indicated that all was well, and his chase vehicle was just north of our position. He moved past me, slowly getting closer to the earth. I heard no emergency vehicle sirens, and assumed all was well. I thought this would make a nice story and picture in the news letter. “
It’s 6:45. I open one eye and I can hear rain rattling off the side of the house. Oh well, we’ve had a really great summer of good weather, but it looks like our luck has run out.
But, I can’t just roll over and go back to sleep – I need to go out to the range and either wait out the rain or cancel the match. While the coffee is brewing I checked the weather radar. There is a green blotch of rain with a well-defined western edge moving across Ft. Wayne, but at the rate it is moving – it just might clear away by about 9:00.
So, I take my coffee and head out. Along I-469 it is just
pouring. At Harlan Donuts, it is a
steady downpour. I get to the range,
open up the house, start the heat and wait and see if anyone is going to show
up. The rain sounds like someone is
pouring gravel on the metal roof of the clubhouse – I am more convinced that
this is going to be a rainout.
After I eat my fritter and drink my coffee, I start sweeping
up the dead wasps, stink bugs, spider webs and dead grass. Then, Doc Habel
shows up. My comment to him; “Well, at
least I’m not the only crazy person today.”
It starts to rain harder.
Then, about 8:15 Joe Bakies and Jack Baker from Lima Sabers walk in and just a few minutes later Mark Walters shows up also. The rain slacks off a bit and we just sit around and swap stories about whatever comes to mind. Then, about 8:45 it just pours again and just as suddenly quits. We looked out the windows and there was a streak of light and a patch of blue sky off to the northwest. By 9:00, our start time – the rain had quit, the clouds were breaking up and we decided; ”Let’s go do this.”
We had four people, two relays, so we set up the match as a
FWRR vs. Lima Sabers head-to-head Club Match.
A coin flip decided that FWRR would shoot first and we decided to shoot
all the way back with just one pit change.
By the time the FWRR shooters went to the line, the rain was gone and
the sky was blue with fluffy cotton ball clouds floating by.
After a very doubtful beginning, we ended up with a
fantastic day to shoot. It was cool enough that nobody got too hot and there
was just a slight wind that fishtailed from about 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock to
make the 200-yard rim fire stage a challenge. The fluffy white clouds were the
biggest challenge as you could go from a target in bright sunlight to deep
shadow in a matter of just a few seconds.
Mark Walters was very consistent over the day with 193-6X in
the .22 rim fire stage and 193-5X at 300 yards for a 386-11X aggregate. Joe Bakies made a good run at Mark’s score,
but his 196-7X 300-yard score just did not quite make up for his 189-4X score
at 200-yards. His 385-11X fell one point
shy of Marl’s 386-11X.
Doc Habel caught a couple of wind changes and a 7 and a pair of 8’s held him to a 181-1X in the .22 stage followed by a 188-2X at 300 yards. Jack Baker, a Grand Senior, shot a very respectable 184-2X at 200-yards and a 169-2X at 300 yards.
But, The Leonard Johnson Match is the Toughest 2-Man Team Match
in the country, so in the end it was the team scores that counted. The Fort Wayne Rifle and Revolver Club Team
had a 755-14X and the Lima Sabers had a 738-15X, giving FWRR the bragging rights
for the 2021 Leonard Johnson Memorial Match.
Joe Bakies is considering holding a 200-yard .22 rim fire/300-yard center fire match at
Lima in the spring, so we could well end up with an inter-club competition here
with a suitable traveling trophy at stake.
And – it turned out to be a great day and a good time was had by all…..