BJ Norris’ Blog

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True American Heros

I’m sure we all know at least one person we consider a true hero, one who gave themselves to a greater cause without a thought of doing any different, just because they felt they should do so.

I know the one person that I know personally that stands out. I won’t mention names without his permission, but this soldier was wounded while serving as a medic with the 173rd out of Italy and is now confined to a wheelchair. In our conversations, he has already stated that he would go back if possible. It is my honor to be able to work on his guns to help make them a little easier on him to handle. So, on this Veteran’s Day, think about a service member who has touched you and try and do something to make their life easier, as they have already helped to make ours better.

November 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Posts coming

Hey all,

I’m still traveling and am on the last leg of my marathon trip ending with the Steel Challenge Regional in Old Bridge, NJ this weekend. I’ve got some good video from the Midwest 3-Gun, as well as some thoughts and new insights into Bianchi Cup, all of which I plan on posting up next week when I get home.

June 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Aftermarket M&P Barrels

With the ruling that aftermarket barrels will be allowed at the 2010 Bianchi Cup, Kenny Dickerson over at Speed Shooter Specialties hooked me up with both a KKM and a Storm Lake barrel as well as a machine rest for testing, and asked for the results. I haven’t had a chance to get out and bolt it down and start serious testing, and am not sure if I’ll have time to do so before heading out to Bianchi Cup, but here are my impressions of the barrels so far.

KKM.  Nicely polished bearing surfaces with the hood of the barrel being bead blasted with clear, deep engraving. Dropped in to both an M&P9 Pro and 9L, fits tighter than the factory barrel, but not amazingly so. Shoots best with my 124 gr IPSC load, around 2.25″ at 35 yards when I braced on a barricade to shoot a group, also shot about a 2.5-3″ group at 50 yards from prone. Overall, a pretty nice barrel and will most likely be the one that I shoot at the match. One side note, the chamber is pretty tight and on the short side. My IPSC load is loaded to about 1.130″ OAL and it has a tendency to stick against the lands when I go to unload the gun. It also will require a chamber brush to be able to clean it on a regular basis, after about 500-750 rounds, there is build up along the front edge of the chamber and it’s not wanting to close 100% of the time.

Storm Lake. I have to confess that I haven’t shot this sample yet, but I shot one previously put in a Pro and ported it, so I’ll let you know which one I’m talking about. Both barrels were nice polished when they came out of the package, though the engraving on the barrel isn’t anywhere near as clear and deep as it is on the KKM barrel. The first barrel I got dropped in to my Pro and shot about 2.5″ at 25 yards, which isn’t too bad. The new barrel will require fitting, which I plan on finishing up today to do some final testing before settling in on which one to use for The Cup. I’m looking forward to doing some testing with the machine rest and several different kinds of ammo with every barrel I can get my hands on, and when I do, I’ll make sure to record all of the results and post them here.

May 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Single Stack Report.

Sorry it took so long to get this posted, been buried under stuff trying to get ready for my next trip in a couple weeks. Anyway, here’s the long and short of the match.

Russ, Bill, Kathy and everybody else involved again did a wonderful job with the match, no detail was too small for them not to work on. The only real critique I have is the lack of water jugs on every stage, while it wasn’t that hot, and most people tend to carry some water source with them, it’s not fun when you get to the top of the hill and realize that you’re almost out of water, and its a hike down to get more. The stats runners would provide bottled water to the squad which was nice, but I prefer a more fixed solution. But, the match had the two most important things about shooting matches, good stages, and even better RO’s. There wasn’t one stage that I would call “easy”, more like, less difficult. Personally, I love matches like that, where it takes a wide range of skills to be able to post top scores, instead of just running around like your hair is on fire and seeing who can pull the trigger faster, some of that is good, but I don’t like it when that’s all that the match consists of.

I’d like to highlight a couple stages and talk about them, for those that weren’t at the match, here’s a link to the 2010 Single Stack Match Book. Stage 6 and Stage 7 were BY FAR two of the toughest stages in terms of raw, basic skills that I’ve ever shot. With such tight A-zone shots, you almost had to shoot for C’s to make sure if you got a little rough of the trigger that you wouldn’t clip a no-shoot, which made it very tough on the minor PF shooters. A hits are the name of the game shooting minor, and being forced to aim away for it adds up to lots of points down very quickly. Overall though, I’d really like to see more of the basic skill testing come back into USPSA shooting.

Stage 10, I’m still not sure of the right way to shoot this one. On either side of the barricade, there was a single popper and drop turner, with the best 6 hits scoring on each drop turner. I ran the math, and choose to leave the left side turner and only shoot the right side to save time, as the left side used a forward falling popper and took over 1.5 seconds to activate. For shooting both sides to be worth the time spent, you would need extremely good hits on both turners, which was not easy. I agree with Matt Cheely who commented “Well, I don’t usually practice my Bill Drills on drop turners, so I’d rather only do it once.” Mike Seeklander, who shot both targets, took the stage win over Matt by only about 1.5 points. In my opinion, it worked out to a wash, and how well you performed on the stage and not so much how you shot it, and I still believe that only shooting one turner was the safer way to shoot it.

Stage 15 was just a really cool stage to shoot. It had speed, accuracy, target timing and shooting on the move all in one stage. It turned out quite a bit different from the drawing once it was set up, but you can see it on my YouTube video of the match.

I’m pretty happy with the way I shot the match, pretty solid with only a few mistakes, however the mistakes I did make were costly. I’m still extremely happy with my 38 Super DK1911 from the S&W Performance Center and I look forward to coming back to this match for years to come, and maybe one year, Rob will let somebody else win it! 🙂

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quick note before bed

Just wanted to post something short before heading to bed and a long drive home tomorrow.

First, thanks to all of the match staff, it was an awesome match again this year, and the effort put into the match really showed. Congrats to Rob on his 16th Single Stack Classic win, what an amazing streak, though I will confess to trying to end it this year :). Also, my Team Captain, Julie Golob shot an awesome match to come out at Ladies Single Stack Champion!

Overall, I had a pretty good match without many mistakes, but the ones I did have cost me big, especially on the last two stages. My SW1911 in 38 Super performed extremely well after I knocked the back edge of the disconnector off to keep it from hanging in the magwell, which caused it to drop to half-cock when I slammed a mag in. I still believe shooting minor pf is the way to go, and think you’ll see a few more people switch to it in the coming years.

That’s all for now, will post more with some video a few days after I get home.

May 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Single Stack, Day 1

Day 1 of the Fri/Sat shooters Single Stack Nationals is in the bag. We started about an hour early, and were able to shoot all of the stages that we were scheduled to shoot today, and were walking down the hill when the rain started. The weather is supposed to blow through tonight with good weather tomorrow.

Overall, I had a pretty good day, a few issues with my trigger job, but a quick adjustment got that fixed and I was back in action.  I had one miss on a head shot on Stage 5, but overall I don’t feel it will hurt me that bad. The two speed shoots, stages 6 & 7 were extremely tough stages, even more so for minor pf shooters. No-shoot covered targets at over 10 yards shooting strong hand and weak hand will make sure you’re aiming hard. I think those two stages probably cost me more than the miss, but with such a high risk factor associated with going for A-zone hits, it would been extremely likely to clip a no-shoot, which would have cost a lot more points.

According to the results posted on USPSA Todd J is winning by about 10 points over Rob and Phil is a few point back from Rob. Looks like Taran is shooting well, and it looks like I’m about 40 points back from Todd (I’m in the squad behind Rob, Phil and Todd, while Taran, Ted and Manny are in the squad behind me).

That’s it for right now, tomorrow will be interesting to see how things play out.

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Final Match Prep

Well, I’ve got my gun, mags and ammo tuned and ready to go for the Single Stack Nationals tomorrow. Spent today driving up from home, making a stop at Graf & Sons to pick up some ammo for the upcoming Midwest 3-Gun match before making it in to Hannibal, MO.

I spoke with Yamil Sued for a few minutes and he said that all of the Thursday/Friday shooters completed the entire match today, hedging against bad weather tomorrow. So, after looking at the forecast, I tend to agree, as it looks like things could get real nasty tomorrow afternoon, hopefully it will hold off until we finish the stages we are supposed to shoot.

I’m sorry to say that it looks like I won’t be able to give any updates from the range, as the my phone (which was just replaced…) has taken a turn for the worse, and after spending about an hour talking to AT&T, it looks like I’ll be needing another replacement phone. The wi-fi itself still functions, so if I can find any internet around the range, I’ll try and send a quick note to Facebook.

Off to bed for an early start, will keep ya’ll updated as much as possible.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

38 Super vs. 9MM for Single Stack

Lately, I’ve had several people ask me why I’m shooting 38 Super instead of the 9MM Pro Series, so I decided to go ahead and write a post solely about it.

The main reason I’m shooting my 38 Super instead of my 9MM Pro Series is because I have proven the magazines for my 38 Super are better suited for a USPSA type match than the 9MM magazines I have, without being tuned. Normally, I tune all my equipment over the winter in preparation for the coming year, but since I was at Ft. Benning this past winter, I did not get a chance to do so. Therefore, I did not have the opportunity to fine tune my 9MM to the setup that works for me.

While the 9MM magazines are very reliable, they are hard to seat with 10 rounds loaded using the magwell I prefer, whereas the 38 Super magazines can seat very easily with the same magwell. I believe the 9MM magazines can be tuned to work with the magwell I have, but like I said, I did not have the chance before the match to do so.

Also, my 9MM Pro Series did not have the adjustable sights that my 38 Super already had on it. If I had decided to use the 9MM, I would have had to work on the sight alignment as well as the magazines.

Overall I decided to go with a proven setup given the time table I have had to work with. It worked well for me last year, and I expect to get similar, if not better results this year.

I know Julie Golob has had very good results using her 9MM Pro Series and eventually, I hope to get mine set up properly for use in future matches.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eberlestock G4 Operator Ruck

After seeing Kelly Neal’s Gunslinger pack during the Texas Carbine Championship in Corpus Christi, I started looking into the Eberlestock line of packs/rucks. I finally picked the G4 Operator, as it seemed to offer almost everything I was looking for. Eberlestock had some bad luck in the beginning of this year by way of a fire in one of their warehouses. However, they were able to recover some of the inventory with very minimal-to no damage and released them for sale. One of these just happened to be the G4 I was looking for, and I was able to get a great deal ($299 instead of the regular $399), and while when I first got it, the pack smelled like it had been sitting next to a campfire all day, it has almost aired out completely now. So on the the features of the ruck.

The first impression is that this thing is put together right, all of the buckles, straps and MOLLE loops are heavy duty, so no worries about breaking something. One of the biggest things I was looking for was the pack to be on a frame. OSUT taught me that even though my ruck weighed twice or more what my assault pack did, I would rather have the ruck becuase the frame carried the weight so much better. The G4 has an internal frame, with lots padding (especially in the lower back area, which is awesome for me) and adjustable waist and chest straps.

Now, on to the (many) pockets. Most of the Eberlestock packs offer a built in compartment to store a long-gun in and the G4 is no exception. This one will hold an M-4 sized AR with the stock collapsed flush with the top of the pack, but if you have something longer, a detachable cover is included so you can keep your entire rifle “concealed”.  Since I rarely carry a rifle, I put two pistol rugs in here, so as not to take up room in the main internal bay. The lid has two large pockets that are useful for keeping stuff that is flat and pretty lightweight. I keep some hand warmers, gloves and a poncho in one, mag cleaning supplies in the other. Probably my favorite thing about the pack is that you can access the main compartments through a zipper front on the pack, instead of always having the top load access. This was one of my main problems with other backpacks as range bags, no matter how I packed them, what I needed was always on the bottom. The main compartment is broken down into a larger space high on the pack where you can fit your tools and spare parts and a smaller space at the bottom, which is great for ammo. It also has two pockets on the outside of the zipper lids for the main compartment. The larger one fits the case for my Rudy Project Genetyk shooting kit, my ear muffs fit perfectly in the smaller one. There are also 2 pockets on either side of the pack, perfect for a hydration bladder, camera tri-pod, small stool to sit on, almost anything. The bottom of the pack houses the included rain cover to keep the pack dry in wet weather.
There are also MOLLE loops all over this pack, so you can attach some extra pouches for whatever you need. I plan on adding a first-aid kit and some mag pouches that I can throw my mags in from stage-to-stage, during lunch, etc.
All in all, this is a great pack and I’ll make another report after I get back from PASA Park, since everybody who’s been there knows about the giant hill… I feel this this will carry a lot better than a standard range bag.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting Ready for Single Stack Nationals

We’re fast closing in on the USPSA Single Stack Nationals held in Barry, IL at PASA Park. I’m real excited to be going back, as it was one of the most fun matches I shot all last season. I will again be shooting my S&W 1911DK in 38 Super with 10 rounds. I spent some time getting the kinks worked out of my magazines, and everything is running great now. Since this is such a unique match, it takes some special prep to make sure your sharp on the right skill set, so that’s what I’ll try and talk mostly about right now.

Since I’m shooting minor, the top of my list is to make sure I’m shooting as many A’s as possible. While I love the way the gun shoots, and shoot better with it than a major PF gun, things can get away from you pretty quickly if you drop more than 2 or 3 Charlies per stage. So, to help with that aspect I train on mid-range targets with some no-shoots and hardcover thrown in, that way I have to slow down to focus on the sights and get good hits.

Next thing on the list is something for all single stack shooters, reloads. The best way to train for this is simply try and dry-fire for about 15 minutes a night. Make sure to watch your sight alignment and trigger control to make sure you don’t get lazy on your fundamental skills while you’re working on something else.

The next thing is that it’s almost assured that there will be a standards course, so it’s important to brush up on your strong hand and weak hand only. You will almost always learn something about your equipment when you shoot one-handed, be it sharp points on your frame that pinch you in strange ways, something about the way your ammo recoils, etc.  Today, I learned that while I shoot well with a long trigger free-style, it’s very difficult for me to shoot that same trigger length weak-handed, and I’ll be swapping out to a short trigger before I head out to Barry.

All on all, I really enjoy shooting the single stacks heads-up, and the best shooter coming out on top. After this though, it’s on to my marathon trip with 3 matches, 3 sports with 5 different guns coming up at the end of May/early June.

April 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments