Dusting Off the Shooty

Like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, I found myself having to oil my reloading setup into working condition for the first time in a long time last night. I decided, after a while of shooting air gun silhouette and smallbore silhouette, to try out field pistol again at our monthly IHMSA match. The load was .44 Special, with 8.3 grains of Unique topped off with a 180gr hollow nose bullet. You just want enough to take the animal down, but not too little that you have to aim way over the rams at 100 yards for lack of muzzle velocity.

The only firearm I have that really works for IHMSA field pistol is my Smith & Wesson 629. Smaller caliber pistols are generally preferred for this category, such as ones that shoot .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum, or .22 Hornet. Not being one to spend a lot of money on special purpose guns, I stick with something general purpose. The end result is that I scored 13 out of 40. For air pistol or smallbore, I’d be embarrassed at that score, but for shooting modified isosceles starting at 25 yards and moving out to 100 yards with a factory .44 revolver, I’ll take hitting 13 out of 40. One guy I shoot with got 21 out of 40 with a 4 inch barreled Ruger Blackhawk in .44 Special. He is not a believer in long barrels, and he doesn’t need to be.

Metallic Silhouette is one of those games where your fundamentals have to be pretty much perfect to hit anything. Shooting production category is difficult because most handgun manufacturers that aren’t Thompson Center don’t imagine their customers wanting fine enough sight adjustment for shooting at 50 or 100 yards. On rams, one click can be the difference between missing off its nose, and shooting it in the ass on some pistols. I generally don’t like mucking with my elevation settings, so I tend to just eyeball elevation. With .44 Special, you’re pretty much straight from 25 to 50 yards, a little up on the turkeys at 75 yards, but you have to aim over the backs of the rams at 100 yards. Between 75 and 100 yards, the bullet starts to drop more substantially.

I was thinking a reshoot, because I thought I might be good for 15 or 16 a second time around, but I only loaded 50 .44 Specials. I’d have to do the reshoot with .44 magnum, which would throw my sight settings, and to be honest, my wrist wasn’t up to it. Maybe next time.