The calendar might say it is still winter, but I know spring is finally here. Today, March 13th, the ATA trap shooting season gets underway. I’ll be at the Missoula club with my new combo gun and I am really anxious to get the competition started. I’ve competed in the ATA trap shooting games for a long time, but in recent years, arthritis slowed me to a crawl. Well, after a couple of reconstructive surgeries, I feel like I’m 55 again. More importantly, I’m ready to compete again in the shootingsports that I dearly love.
Montana is blessed with a lot of great shooting ranges and opportunities abound for any shooter with a rifle, shotgun, or handgun to compete on a level playing field in the discipline of their choice. I’m a trap shooter, and as I stated earlier Montana’s ATA season begins today. There are shoots nearly every weekend at clubs all over the state. From Plains in the west, to Medicine Lake in the east, one can find competitions. I’m happy to report that the Broadwater Rod & Gun Club will host a two day ATA sanctioned shoot on May 14-15, the only one in the state on that weekend. I tell you more about that in a later column. If you have a shotgun, you too can play, come join in the fun. Here’s a link to the Montana State Trap Association where you will find this year’s schedule, also skeet and sporting clays:
I also enjoy action pistol shooting; in my case I compete in USPSA competitions. Like the shotgun sports, there are USPSA shoots across Montana beginning this spring and going into October. You might already have all the equipment needed to compete. A center fire revolver or semi-auto pistol is all you need, along with a legal holster, extra magazines, ammunition, and a desire to learn and have fun. There are several classifications and you will compete with others that have similar skill levels. Check out the rules and links to local Montana clubs and shoots at:
I don’t compete in rifle competitions; there is only so much time for practice and tourneys with my shotguns and handguns, but there are a lot of fun ways to enjoy your rifle and you don’t need a spendy gun to compete. Your hunting rifle or plinking rimfire will get you started. The Broadwater Rod & Gun Club has a new long range competition that takes place once a month and soon will have targets set at a MILE! For more information and the club schedule, go to http://www.brgcmt.com/
Other rifle competitions include both black powder and cowboy silhouette. An internet search will lead you to the organizations and clubs that offer these disciplines. And don’t forget one of the fastest growing shooting sports, Cowboy Action Shooting. Not only do you get to shoot the revolvers, shotguns, and rifles of the Old West, but you also get to dress the part. Imagine yourself as Wyatt Earp or Doc Holiday, or even, God forbid, Colonel Smoothbore. Here’s a link to CAS: http://www.sassnet.com/
This is just a sample of the fun one can have with firearms here in Montana. All have classes for various skill levels, ages, and sexes. Get off the couch, turn off the TV, phone, and computer; clean you guns and enjoy the friendship of the people of our shooting sports.
Be safe and good shooting.