More range therapy – June 9,2012

Went to the range today to get some more therapy in. Put 150 rounds down range. Wanted to try some more of the Blazer Blaster aluminum case ammo for use in IDPA. I bought two boxes of that from Dicks Sporting Goods and ran that through my M&P.

I started off at 10 yards with 25 rounds at the down zero zone. All 25 rounds were clean, although I did drop one that just barely broke the line for scoring. After that, I ran 25 rounds at the head down zero zone from 10 yards. Out of those 25 rounds, 22 were down zero, 2 were down one, and one was a miss to the left. Not too bad. I’m using the smaller scoring zone of the head to try to focus my head shots when I have to take them at 7 yards. I figure if I can get my head shots at 10 yards, getting them at 7 yards should be easy. Seemed to work out pretty well the last couple of times at IDPA matches with only one miss.

After that 50 rounds, I moved the target up to 7 yards and worked 25 rounds strong hand and weak hand. Strong hand was much better this week with all 25 rounds in the down zero scoring zone. I did use the slightly bent/flexed strong arm technique this week and it definitely worked. After that, I send 25 rounds weak hand and didn’t do quite as well as I hoped. Only placed 20 out of 25 in the down scoring zone with 3 close low and left, but pulled 2 real low and right almost down into the 3 zone. So still have a lot of work to do there. I can say that on those two that I pulled real low and right, I did try to pick the pace up and move a little faster. Probably a little to fast.

Well, that was my “IDPA” practice. After that, I broke out my PT-92 which I hadn’t shot in a while and put up a “Right-hand” shooting chart and sent 50 rounds at it at 10 yards. Put 40 out of 50 rounds into the orange and white center circle. The other 10 rounds were 2 high and a bit right and 7 low and left. Not terrible for not shooting this gun for probably over 6 months. I actually may try shooting this gun at the bowling pin match later this month.

Oh, if anyone has an “IDPA” range training that they can suggest, I’m all ears. The problem that I’m running into is that none of the ranges that are close to me will let me draw from a holster and shoot, so at best, I’m going from low ready. What I’ve written here today, I’ve done the last couple of weeks. As I get better with strong and weak hand, I may get a different target with multiple small targets and work shooting between the targets, but this is pretty much what I have until the weather cools back off and I can get back into the monthly matches.

Well, that’s it for me. Remember, shoot safe, shoot straight!


June 4th 1942 – The Battle of Midway

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. I know, so what does the Battle of Midway have to do with me. Well, nothing directly, but I did serve in the Navy aboard the USS Yorktown, CG-48 which was the 5th ship to bear that name. It was during the Battle of Midway that the USS Yorktown, CV5 was lost due to a combination of bombs and torpedoes.

When I served onboard the “Battle-cruiser” as we called her, I didn’t pay much attention to her previous namesakes. I knew they were there, but I didn’t really know much other than there were a couple of aircraft carriers and one was lost during World War II. We even had a space onboard the ship called “Yorktown Square” which had a park bench and probably 50 or so pictures of the earlier versions of the Yorktown. I looked at them and there was a passing interest, but nothing major. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I started to read about the “Yorktowns” and the Battle of Midway. Just the fact the Yorktown made it to the battle was pretty remarkable itself. She was pretty well damaged at the Battle of the Coral Sea and had expected to go to Bremerton, Washington for repairs after a brief stop in Pearl Harbor. Imagine the crews surprise when the ship was swarmed with yard workers who basically did a months work in roughly 72 hours and got her back out to sea. Without Yorktown to accompany Hornet and Enterprise, Midway may have turned out a lot different than it did.

As it was, Admiral Nimitz gave the yard workers 3 days to get Yorktown back at sea to meet up with Hornet and Enterprise to go against a huge Japanese battle fleet. By size comparison, it wasn’t even close. For the United States side we had:
3 carriers
~25 support ships
233 carrier-based aircraft
127 land-based aircraft
Total: 28 ships

For the Japanese side, they had the following:
4 carriers
2 battleships
~15 support ships
248 carrier-based aircraft
16 floatplanes

Did not participate in battle:
2 light carriers
5 battleships
~41 support ships
116 other ships (including auxiliary and transport vessels)
Total: 185 ships

It was a crazy battle and the United States got lucky by losing formations. Our torpedo bombers were separated from our dive bombers and fighters. They were completely obliterated by the Japanese fighters and only one or two actually got to launch torpedoes. But the Japanese fighters lost focus and followed the bombers and lost altitude. This allowed almost a perfect clear sky for our dive bombers which caught the Japanese aircraft carriers in the midst of re-fueling and re-arming their own bombers. Their fighters had no chance to get back up and provide cover and three carriers were hit and severely damaged in quick succession. 

The Japanese from the carrier Hiryu in turn hit Yorktown with 3 bomb hits which knocked out her boilers and left her dead in the water. However, with good damage control, she was back underway in a little over an hour. Thinking Yorktown sunk in the first raid, the Japanese went after her again assuming she was Enterprise and hit her with 2 torpedoes. Again Yorktown lost her boilers and steerage. Yorktown also took on a 26degree list. Eventually, abandon ship was called for the Yorktown due to the increasing list. However, planes from the Yorktown did assist with the location and destruction of the last Japanese carrier Hiryu by Enterprise planes.

Later, rescue and recovery teams went back aboard Yorktown to see if they could stabilize the ship. The destroyer Hammann was tied alongside to provide power and firefighting as necessary. The teams worked to alleviate the list by cutting away heavy sections of guns, weights, planes, and counter flooding. The teams made good progress and there seemed to be a good chance that the Yorktown might yet be saved even after taking such a heavy pummeling. Alas, the Japanese sub I-168 was able to elude a screen of destroyers and put two more torpedoes into the Yorktown. A third Torpedo hit the Hammann which broke her in two and killed 80 of her crew. The Yorktown finally slipped under the water shortly after 5am on June the 7th. 

Dead in the water


Rolled over

So many things could have changed the outcome of Midway. What would have happened if Yorktown hadn’t made it to Midway? What would have happened if our formations had stayed together instead of getting separated? What would have happened had the Japanese not have been in the middle of switching from land attack to sea attack when our bombers hit? What would have happened if the Japanese had attacked another carrier instead of Yorktown a second time? What would have happened if the Japanese forces had stayed in closer contact instead of being so spread out? It brings up a lot of different and interesting scenarios. For me, it led to Yorktown, CV10 which had it’s own illustrious career serving during World War 2, Korea, Viet Nam, the space programs, and then Yorktown, CG-48, the “Battle-Cruiser”. Had I not been on her, I might not have taken the time to learn about the earlier Yorktowns and what they brought to the history of the Navy.

Going back to the original USS Yorktown, she was a 16-gun sloop of war and mostly served to interdict slave trade during the 1840’s. She struck an un-charted reef off the northern coast of Maio Island of the Cape Verde Islands. She broke up incredibly fast, but the training of the crew ensured that no lives were lost. 
The 2nd USS Yorktown was PG-1 or patrol gunboat. She was a steam powered ship but was also rigged to use sails as well. Her biggest claim to fame was the first successful use of the telescopic gun-sight on Unalaska Island on September 22nd, 1892. 
Well, I guess that’s it for my history lesson today. Didn’t really know where I was going with this and can’t really remember if I have it all right, but it should be fairly close. At 44, almost 45, the brain ain’t quite what it used to be. 
That’s it for me. Remember, shoot safe, shoot straight!

Range Therapy – Sunday June 3rd, 2012

Ok, so no IDPA this weekend. Would have been a good weekend for it as it wasn’t too hot, just nothing close by that I could have done. Allergies and sinuses have been really playing havoc, so I figured maybe some gunpowder therapy would be helpful. So, I headed off to Elite Training Academy in Monroe. My plan was to shoot about 50 rounds freestyle, with another 50 rounds strong and weak hand. I worked my first 25 rounds at 7 yards freestyle on a standard IDPA target and kept everything in the 0 scoring zone, just a little left. After that, I did 25 rounds strong hand, and another 25 rounds weak hand. Of those 75 rounds, I had 7 rounds drop out of the 0 zone. A couple dropped significantly as I was trying to figure out my grip for strong and weak hand. I found that on strong hand, if I don’t fully extend my arm, my groups seem to be much better. I just kept it slightly bent. On weak hand, it was the opposite, I did better with a fully extended arm. Finished up with another 25 rounds at the head zone at 10 yards. Put 21 in the 0 scoring zone, with two low and left 1 scoring zone, one high off the target, and I had one round go off before I was fully sighted (I’m still struggling with the reset point on this gun after a year) which apparently completely missed the paper.

I didn’t get any pictures of the head shots. After I was done with the pistol work, I broke out my rifle and did some .22 work at 25 yards getting the rifle sighted in. Anyway, the very low and right shots were a couple of my first weak hand shots where I had my arm partially bent like my strong hand. After seeing those shots way off, I went back to fully extended and locked for weak hand and my shots were much better. It’s all a learning process.

Well, that’s it for me. Remember, shoot safe, shoot straight!