Your friendly editor hied himself off to Reno with a grand total of two firearms: A .223/5.56 rifle, and a .357 five shot snubbie revolver. Your friendly editor was, therefore, woefully undertooled to participate in his first Steel Challenge contest.
.357 revolvers are not famed for accuracy much beyond, oh, eleven inches. Maybe twelve.
It’s a fairly simple contest. Five steel plates affixed to 2/4 stands are arranged in front of the shooter at varying distances. The obect is to shoot and hit each plate, with the middle, or “stop” plate last. You receive a minus three points for each target missed. You are allowed an unlimited number of shots, but you are done after thirty seconds. Highest total score wins.
A moment’s thought will make it clear that speedy and accurate handgun shooting are required to b e successful at this game. A snub-nosed .357 excels at precisely none of these.
Here is a pic of one of my competitors:
See that tiny person on the left? Her name is Molly Smith. She just happens to be the World Champion in her class of Steel Challenge shooting.
Not only do my own shooting skills not belong on the same range with her, they likely don’t belong on the same planet.
I took a shot at it anyway. Because shooting double action with that stubby snubby barrel guaranteed that I most likely wouldn’t hit anything at all, I shot the thing as if it were pure single action. My accuracy was better that way – although with a limit of five rounds, any miss was a miss. I had nothing to make up the miss with.
A couple of times I hit all five plates, out of a total of 4 20-round “strings.” It went downhill from there, sometimes way downhill. The continuous thumb-cocking also gouged a bloody hole in the side of my thumb.
Ah, the fun!
Actually, I enjoyed the hell out of it. Well, except for my humiliating performance, although I was cheered by one shooter who observed, “I think they ought to give you extra points just for having the balls to shoot with that thing.”
As General Corncob once said, “I shall return.” And next year I’ll be coming with a Ruger Mark III semi-auto .22 target pistol loaded for bear.
Anybody got one they want to sell me?