Category Archives: Dan Wesson

NRA 1992 Long Range Pistol Championships

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Radical new scope mounts debut at national champs!

For an old silhouette shooter, attending one of the national championship matches it is a bit like going to a family reunion: you get to visit with folks you’ve known for years, meet some new family additions and catch up on recent developments.

The extra ingredient at a match is that you see the finest long range handgunners in the world.

Held at the Los Angeles Silhouette Club this summer and directed by long­time participants Ron and Lee Cottriel. the match featured all six of the NRA events which include: unlimited and con­ventional standing, full-scale and half-scale unlimited, conventional single shot, and revolver.

Competitors were greeted with heavy rain early in the week and finished in typ­ical summer California sunshine (spelled h-o-t!) But the temperatures were mild compared to the hot performances turned in by many of the shooters.

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Ron and Lee not only know how to run a smooth match, they know how to shoot one. Lee swept all the women’s cat­egories and took the overall runner-up titles in both unlimited events setting a new woman’s national record in half-scale with a 78/80.

Ron was in the top three of every event except conventional standing, and won unlimited full-scale, grand aggre­gate, and freestyle aggregate.

And he didn’t just win unlimited full-scale: he beat 23 other perfect scores by winning the shoot-off!

John Glennon shot the only perfect score in revolver with a mixture of great showmanship and concentration. John had a one shot alibi on the last ram bank. With everyone on the line watch­ing and knowing this last shot was for the gold, John had 24 seconds to think and deliver.

When the bullet kicked up a dust cloud high above the ram 200 meters down range, the crowd groaned collec­tively, not knowing the bullet had split on the edge of the ram’s back. But as the ram slowly toppled backwards, the groans turned to cheers and applause. It is rumored that John declined to demon­strate his split bullet trick a second time!

Marvin Tannahill set a national record in unlimited standing by leaving one turkey out of 80 targets. Marv said a fly landed on his nose, “and he flinched as the gun went off.” I’m not sure whether it was Marv or the fly that flinched, but if I had come up one target short of the first perfect score ever fired in standing. I’d still be out hunting for that fly!

Manufacturers’ Row

While Manufacturers’ Row was quite a bit smaller than the SHOT Show, many of the game’s dedicated supporters were in attendance. For wheelgun fans. Free­dom Arms’ Randy Smith was there with an assortment of what many folks believe is the world’s finest revolver. Included was the new Model 353 in .357 Magnum that Randy feels will be dominating the winner’s circle in next year’s matches.

Wesson Firearms had their newest addition on hand called the Compensated Barrel Assembly or “CBA” for short. Clever idea: cut ports in the barrel shroud and let it extend 1.5 inches beyond the barrel.

If you already have a Wesson, just buy a new barrel assembly with the built-in port system and slap it on your revolver frame. Should be great on their 445.

Jim Rock of RPM was on hand with a couple of new items for his XL single-shot pistol. His new latch lever greatly eases opening the gun without adding serious bulk or weight. Beneficial to both the multi-round silhouette shooter or the one-shot hunter utilizing max loads that might occasionally stick, this little goody can be retrofitted on existing guns.

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And since the latest approach to unlimited standing has gone beyond the “taco hold” to using elevated optical sights, Jim had his newest “scope riser” on hand. It’s an aluminum parallelogram that raises the optical sight about four inches above the gun and moves it slight­ly toward the muzzle.

According to Jim, the milder calibers suitable for unlimited standing (e.g. 270 MAX) no longer require a muzzle break. because the gun rotates under the chin and the scope stops short of the face.

Available from RPM drilled and tapped for different single-shot pistols, the riser is selling like hot cakes for $40 because it saves the cost of a muzzle break which is around $100+.

Since Jim regularly competes with his XLs and swept all but one event in the seniors class, I’m not arguing with him.

Ron Cottricl had his variation of the riser, called a ladder, on a Wichita bolt gun. Have I mentioned that Ron did pret­ty well at this match?

The Old And The New

Representing perhaps the oldest and newest players in silhouette shooting were, respectively, some examples of the XP artistry available from Remington’s Custom Shop, and the BF Pistol from E.A. Brown Mfg.

What can I say about Remington’s XP? A great shooting gun that just gets better and better.

Although I haven’t personally worked with the relatively new BF single-shot, a situation I hope to remedy, the little falling block pistol has reportedly worked out most, if not all, the initial manufactur­ing bugs and has evolved into a beautiful firearm.

International Flavor

The international flavor came from Down Under with teams competing from Australia and New Zealand. Australia’s Tim Anderson, David Dewsbury and Mike Pomerenke excelled in all events to capture 3rd, 6th, and 10th places respec­tively in the Grand Aggregate.

I didn’t catch up with the Aussie con­tingent, but I did get to chat with Carl Rofe of the New Zealand National Pistol Council about laws and possible handgun hunting opportunities there. Interesting.

If I’m reading my notes right, there were no restrictions in New Zealand until the 1930s when “registration” came into being. At that time handgun ownership became restricted.

Since then, gun owners have been working diplomatically through police to obtain more allowable handgun events. In case you didn’t know, New Zealand has no constitutional guarantee of gun owner­ship like our second amendment.

The final evening offered a sumptuous BBQ, and as usual, I made a big pig of myself, but since I seemed to be among my peers, it apparently went unnoticed. There was an over abundance of meat, (even after I finished) so these incredible slabs of beef were sold at a pittance to anyone who could carry them off. For a few frenzied moments, the traffic from the BBQ to the camper area looked like a parade of troglodytes returning from a successful mammoth hunt. When you fire 500 rounds of high power ammo in a week, some of the trophies should be edible!

Published:  American Handgunner – January/February 1993

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IHMSA 15TH Anniversary Match

The southern Arizona scenery was spectacular coming out of the Baboquivari Mountains toward Tucson.  In addition to the giant Saguaros, mesquite trees, and various cactus plants I couldn’t identify, there was an abundance of lush ground cover from the late summer rains that enhanced the high desert’s beauty.  I thought that this would be a great place to introduce handgun silhouette shooting to the world.

 Like most of my great ideas, this one was a little late.  I was on my way to participate in the 15th Anniversary of handgun silhouette shooting at the Tucson Rifle Club where the first match was held in 1975.  I missed that first match but managed to catch the next one, called the First Western Regional, which was held in southern California during the summer of 1976. Continue reading