Written by: Jeff Paddock
I thought it might be fun to head down to Alabama to shoot in the Southern Open since I heard very good things about the wonderful courses in Heflin. While I was there (probably suffering from heat stroke or chigger infection) I decided to shoot the Pyramyd Air Gunslynger Silhouette Competition after the FT match on Saturday. Even though my body and mind were dealing with the effects of the sweltering heat. This match is a bracket style competition, shooting 1/10th scale silhouettes in field target position against another competitor. The targets are: Rams at 55 yards, Turkeys at 40 yards, Pigs at 25 yards, and Chickens at 10 yards.
Due to the heat during the FT match beforehand, many competitors opted to head out early and hide away in their air conditioned hotels. This left just nine PCP competitors and three Springer shooters. Each class had a $100 Pyramyd Gift Card on the line as the grand prize. My first match was against Larry Cleveland, a PCP Hunter shooter, and things seemed to go well for me and my WFTF PCP rig. I hit almost all of my targets on the first shot and that allowed me to advance on to a match with Andy Burns, another PCP Hunter shooter. I took my normal approach and used a steady pace trying not to go too fast and make careless mistakes. I started with the farthest shots, rams at 55 yards, and worked my way forward to the close chickens at 10 yards. This time I noticed that I missed a few first shots at the 55 yard rams either due to wind or fatigue but I was able to go on to take another win.
One of the other pairings I was able to watch while I was waiting for my next match was between Rob Seiden and Gabriel Sallusti. Gabe and Rob were shooting piston rifles with Gabe shooting hunter with a HW77, while Rob shot seated using an R7. Yes an R7 shooting targets at 55 yards in the wind. This was one of the most entertaining events to watch the whole weekend, right up there with the shoot off for second place in WFTF PCP field target between Harold Rushton and Tyler Patner. Rob and Gabe put on a great show. Imagine two already heat fatigued shooters feverishly cocking piston guns in 97 degree temperatures and dropping targets. It was grueling to watch because piston guns can be tricky and second, third, and fourth shots were often required which only added to the drama and the sweat pouring out of these two game competitors. It was back and forth the entire time with one shooter taking a commanding lead only to hit a rough patch which gave the other shooter time to catch up. In the end Rob and his R7 came out on top by taking down the last ram at 55 yards. This was fun to watch.
For my last match I was shooting in the finals against Charles Garvey, another PCP Hunter shooter. Charles is a top shooter and he went on to win first place in the PCP Hunter field target match. I knew this was going to be an uphill battle for me since I was only shooting 12 foot pounds and Charles was shooting 20 foot pounds. Immediately I knew I was in trouble as my first shots at the 55 yard rams were missing. I struggled for a bit and finally dropped them all but I knew it was too late. I continued on to the turkeys and my shots were finding their mark quickly but it wasn’t enough. By the time I got to the 10 yard chickens Charles was just about finished and he went on to win the match. I found out later that Charles didn't miss a single shot in any of his matches. He wasn't necessarily the fastest shooter, but he proved that precision can beat pace.
The Gunslynger is a very entertaining event not only to shoot but to watch as well. There’s something about being paired up with another individual and trying to shoot quickly and accurately at the same time that gets the competitive juices flowing, even if you think you aren’t going to be into it that much. It’s an event that I urge everyone to try if its available at their next match.
In the end, Charles Garvey took first place while I took second and Andy Burns took third in the PCP class. In the piston Class, Rob Seiden took first, Gabriel Sallusti finished second, and Loren Hanson finished in third place.