Frozen Toes! The 2012 Snowball Skirmish!

by Mike Kendra on January 16, 2012

The sun is rising, it’s 7:30 in the morning, I’ve got my musket and red gun-box in the trunk, and the thermometer says it’s 25 degrees outside…

What am I nuts?

No, but this is my very first Snowball Skirmish!

Sunday, January 15, 2012 started as a brisk calm clear morning, I arrived at the range near 8am, and I figured I’d get picked up quickly, and I was tagged by one of the men from CVG before I put my gear down in front of the tower, score!

"Lord, please warm us up!"

Opening ceremonies were brief, I think everyone was ready to get shooting, it was too cold to stand around…

I started off okay in the cold-weather-gear department, I was wearing a scarf, skull cap, thermal underwear, ski gloves, and lots of layers, but it soon became obvious that my wife was right about my socks. I decided to wear a normal pair of shoes and cotton socks, I really should have gone with wool socks like she suggested…

"When I nod my head, you hit it!"

One suggestion for anyone who goes to one of these Snowball Skirmishes for the first time in the future: bring a rubber mallet to get your bayonet in the ground…

The targets for the morning events were a surprise, starting with orange spoons at 25 yards…

"Where's the Ice Cream?"

I thought the spoons looked easy, I decided to hang them backwards after some discussion with my new teammates, and the sun made them look big and bright, and right off the bat I hit my two assigned targets without missing. I felt pretty good about that until I missed the next five shots at the remaining spoons….

"It's twice as cold as it looks..."

The clay backer, with only 24 clays, was a great event for me, I went 7 for 9, and I did fairly well on the 4″ Wood Blocks, something like 3 for 6, including one really tough one that turned sideways when I hit the target above. I had a tougher time on the hanging clays, 2 for 8.

It was so cold… I couldn’t wear my gloves to clean my gun, grease my rounds, and I had to leave the glove off my trigger hand when I was shooting. A stiff breeze during the match ensured that there was no way to keep my hand warm. The crisco I used to lube my bullets got on my fingers, and well, I guess it works as well as a thermal conductor in the cold as it does in a frying pan, my fingers became somewhat numb after each relay. It was tough to handle my caps.

"Shouldn't that bird have gone South for the winter?"

Next came the stake event. Or maybe they called it a Flamingo event… The host team had a good laugh distributing a pink flamingo on an 8″ or so stake, it was setup to hang vertically without lower wires. This was a tough event for 6 guys.

Also, a new event for me, we shot 6″ diamonds of drywall in rapid-fire at 50 yards, there were no 100 yard events in this match. Despite the cold weather I had a lot of fun!

"Mickey gave the Clays hell! That's not an M-1 is it?"

I saw a lot of different cold weather gear this weekend, a few guys had fun with the “non-standard uniforms” of the day. I was happy to not see any “Polar Bear” shooters, but thought it would be funny if there were! I’ll leave that image to your imagination!

After the Musket Team match I saw some guys getting ready for the Breechloader Team match, brave and tough souls! When I was ready to leave at about 12:30 I checked the thermometer in my car again: 28 degrees. It warmed up 3 whole degrees since morning! We might need to rename this event the Popsicle Soldier Skirmish next year!

The Musket Team Results

Thanks to the Chartiers Valley Guard for picking me up, I had a great time playing “Shoot the Frozen Clay Bird” with all of you, and thanks to the host team, the 13th Confederate Infantry, for making my winter a little warmer (or colder… depending!), and for making the off-season a little shorter!

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