My Adventures and Accident at Middletown, Part 1

by Mike Kendra on July 12, 2010

Ah… what a weekend!

On July 10th and 11th, I enjoyed my first Middletown (New York) skirmish in quite a long time. This event was held at the Shawangunk Shooting Club has always been one of my favorites. This weekends event was hosted by the 73rd and 67th NY of the New England Region.

The Sunday Opening Ceremony at Middletown, NY

Smoothbore Individuals

On Saturday morning I was greeted with an annoying rain, so I sat out the morning at the pavilion and enjoyed a hot dog. At around noon the rain let up and I hauled out my smoothbore. As soon as I arrived on the line I heard a comment of “there go the smoothbore scores”. Apparently the morning hadn’t been fruitful for the other smoothbore shooters.

My first shot in the 25 yard practice target was a 10 at 11 o’clock, so I felt pretty good. Then I managed to shoot two nines and a ten in the score target. It went downhill from there with a “foof” of a shot, a lot of blackpowder smoke, and throwing the round just outside the last score ring. I dunno why the thing did that… In anger, I fired my last shot and got a 10X, that just annoyed my even more.

I had pre-purchased a re-entry target, and quickly got myself back into form on the next relay, scoring a 47-0X, with every shot in the black. I also discovered that I have a smoothbore shooting fan, who complimented me on my shooting, and thanks again if you are reading this.

Two targets shot, and I returned home for lack of ammo…

On Sunday Morning, I confirmed what I had hoped, I was awarded a Gold medal for my efforts.

Sunday Musket Team Match

It was a beautiful mostly sunny summer day, not too hot for breaking clays.

Thinking ahead, I asked around on Saturday for a team looking for a Musket Shooter, and I found one, the 4th Virginia Infantry. This proved to be smart, one of my teammates could not find an open spot before shooting began among the five teams assembled.

Opening ceremonies were nice, A trio of young-people sang the National Anthem for us, there were a lot of cheers afterward, the awards from individuals were announced last.

Since I had not shot a musket individual I was starting the morning “cold”. I had no idea how far off I was going to be. My hold at the Fort is usually 6 o’clock touching the clay to hit the X ring, that would not be the case this weekend. First I noticed my shots were to the left, I adjusted, then they were high, that was annoying. I’m not sure what it is about the Middletown range, but my sight picture is tough to predict at this place.

Photo, taken by a staff member just moments before the cook-off during the last event.

We had a nice selection of targets, clays on a backer, rapid fire paper plates, hanging clays, hanging 4″ blocks, rapid fire 12″ drywall tiles at 100 yards. My shooting was sub-par, but I went 3 for 4 on the hanging clays, and I started off great on the 100 yard drywall until….

My Very First Cook-Off

During the Rapid Fire Drywall event I was banging along. I fired four quick shots and I was pretty sure each one hit the target. Without thinking too hard, and with a lot of haste, I poured the next powder charge into my Navy Arms Zouave. Poof, smoke went everywhere and my hand felt like I had a terrible sunburn in one small spot. It took a few seconds in my head to register that I had a cook-off.

Check Back Tomorrow for Part II of this story – After the Cook-Off!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil Spaugy July 12, 2010 at 9:12 am

…but Mike…did you hit your next shot after the cook off?

Mike Kendra July 12, 2010 at 9:29 am

It was the last event, a 2 minute rapid fire, and I fired four shots before the cook-off, I never took another shot. Wish I had though…. Read about it tomorrow!

Chris Hubbard July 12, 2010 at 11:29 am

Phil is right though, the true test is whether or not you can hit the next shot. I guess you’ll have to wait until your next one to prove yourself! :P

Sherry Myers July 13, 2010 at 9:24 am

How your teammates react is interesting, too. There have been times when my guys on the line were so shaken the cookoff victim had to take their targets in the event.

Mike, on a personal note, when I was having cookoff problems, I was using a dot of white lithium grease in the base to keep the fouling soft. As soon as I stopped lubing the base, the cookoffs stopped. I’m not sure if there was a link between the two or not, but it worked for me.

Chris Hubbard July 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Sherry, that is interesting, because when I had a few cook offs two shoots in a row I was also lubing the base, although not with white lithium. Since I switched to lubing only the outside I have not had that experience.

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