Interview with the 66th North Carolina, Part II

by Mike Kendra on August 3, 2010

On the firing line, 121st National, Photo provided by Pat Corrigan.

We continue our interview with Pat Corrigan of the 66th North Carolina, 121st National Revolver Team Champs:

SkirmishNotes: The 17th Virginia Infantry finished just 1.1 seconds behind your team in second place, does your team perform well under pressure like this?

Pat: We have won some and lost some. Most of the team has learned that it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, so we don’t try to pay too much attention to what we have done and focus on the next event. We have come back in the last events of too many skirmishes to win to count us out. We have a fun group and all get along extremely well, but we are also very competitive when we walk across that safety line. We know how to win and we know how to loose. We congratulate the winners if we are beaten. We have lost the Carbine Nationals by 1.2 seconds. We have won and lost matches by tenths of a second. Some of us have been doing this a long time, other team members have not. We had a new team member last year who won a team medal with the 66th at every Skirmish we entered, including a 7th Place Carbine A Team finish last year at the Nationals. He had never fired a musket or carbine before.

SkirmishNotes: Your team finished the tile event in just 21.7 seconds, bettering every other team on the line, do you consider this to be your best event?

Pat: I don’t think we have a special event. We take them as they come. We try to keep our focus. In past Nationals, we have cleaned the board and then left a hanging pigeon. (go figure)

In any event, we feel confident that someone will get “hot”. This is what happened in the tile event. We had left two pigeons on the board, which usually means you have a tough road ahead. I told my teammate, Larry Barker, we had to make up some time and if I was hitting I probably would snap shoot a few. I was fortunate to hit 5 of the tiles to give us a good time. Larry came back and got hot on the hanging pigeons and got four. We usually tease the hot guy by saying he went “Josey Wales” on that event.

SkirmishNotes: What does your team do to practice in the off season and summer season?

Pat: We are from the Tidewater Region and our winters are usually mild enough (not this last one) where we can get out and practice and tune up. We live in Kinston, NC which is 365 miles from Ft. Shenandoah. Some of us have the laser target system that can be used indoors. Most of our practice is on breakable targets. We cut targets out of sheet rock so we can hit them multiple times without having to rehang. One of our members has collected multiple cylinders and loads them all at home, then takes them to his range and caps them. I think he has about 10 cylinders, so he gets a good practice in.

We have been affected by all the things that go on in life (health issues, work, etc.) and we had one A team member who fired his revolver for the second time this year at the Nationals. He got more than his share of targets. In the TW Region we usually have 5 or 6 skirmishes before the Spring Nationals, so we get plenty of tune up time. Our Spring Regional is the same format as the Nationals, so we usually try to pick the A and B teams then. At the TW Spring Regional in May, our A team was 1st and our B team was second overall. We are fortunate to be able to interchange some of our members. We did switch one member from B to A after the Regional. The team commander picks the teams and we use hit times as a guideline.

We have confidence in all our members that if for some reason they do not feel up to snuff or are having equipment problems they will remove themselves from the A team. I have done it several times myself. Last year I was having focusing problems and put myself on the B team. ( I was accused of sandbagging so we could win the B Team gold — which we did).

The TW Region has some of the toughest team and individual competitors in the N-SSA. We have had multiple winners of the Revolver Championship, Musket and Carbine Championships. We have two of the four DSSA Life Time Masters in the individuals in our Region and that makes for some very good competition.

SkirmishNotes: Does your team have a secret formula for breaking team targets in the Revolver Match? Please share any nuggets of information or knowledge that you can.

Pat: Most of us grew up plinking or being around guns. I think we all shot breakables before we knew what paper targets were (or could afford them). I shot about ten years in the N-SSA before I even tried a revolver. We have carried the speed and accuracy of our other guns to the Revolver. It is hard to do but if you are hitting (keep on going or even speed up) If you are missing, you have to slow down and make sure you are doing everything right. The N-SSA has had a lot of great Revolver shooters who can shoot great scores on paper in 30 minutes. It is just way different when that horn goes off and its just us and the targets. We have slowed down as a Team (Something about age and eyesight) but we always have the confidence that if we miss, a teammate will pick up the slack. Layle Barker was our top gun two years ago and he is 77 years young.

One note about your equipment. Keep the guns clean. Swab or brush between events and clean the revolver after the match. I saw a revolver this spring where the competitor couldn’t get his caps to stay on. I tried to help. When I looked at it the crud around his nipples, the crud was almost flush with the top of the nipple. He told me no one ever told him to clean that out and he hadn’t ever taken the nipples out.

Some of us have had our guns accuarized and some not. The truth is in the revolver’s capabilities. Make sure you try each cylinder and fire groups with that cylinder. Sometimes just opening up the forcing cone can make a world of difference on your accuracy. There are usually enough gun smiths at the Nationals that can work on trigger pulls, sights, etc. to help get you on target.

Thanks again for the opportunity to let us share some of our success with you. I have always been surprised that we have never been approached by anyone in the N-SSA Skirmish Line about our successes but I know their space is limited.

SkirmishNotes: Thank you Pat, and to your team for sharing these thoughts and memories, good luck at future skirmishes, and at the fall Nationals, we will be cheering for you!

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