Yeah, I went to the submachine gun match on Saturday. It was about as cold as I figured it'd be. I wore full polypropylene underwear, a corduroy shirt and khaki pants. A polypro neck gaiter over my ball cap covered my neck and ears. My ancient wooly pully sweater and a Walls insulated vest went on top.
The matches are held in an old quarry and the high wall on the north side kept off the worst of the wind, so I didn't put on my heavy jacket. I wore tight deerskin gloves, thinking I could wear them while shooting. Bad mistake. I should have worn lined gloves and just pulled them off long enough to shoot. First stage, I fumbled reloads badly, my hands were so cold. Between stages, I took forever to refill magazines, even though Thompson mags are a lot easier to load than many other types.
My performance was less than outstanding. I was getting failures to fire a couple of times per magazine. This was particularly disgusting, because this particular 1928 TSMG has worked very well for years. I tried down loading my mags with 28 rounds instead of 30, and wished I had fresh Wolff recoil spring. I finally figured out the problem. Last time I shot the gun, I failed to do a complete tear down and cleaning. Hey, I've been shooting jacketed handloads rather than cast lead. I'd oiled the gun generously before I put it up a couple of months ago. Whoops. As it turned out, the powder residue from previous shooting and the extra oil, combined with the low temperatures, gummed things up badly. Unfortunately, I didn't work this out until the match was almost over. In retrospect, I'd guess I haven't done a detailed cleaning of that gun in the last 1200 rounds. I really can't blame the gun for my laziness.
Oh, well, I had fun, and I wasn't the only one with gun troubles. Two MP-5s, an Uzi, a 9mm M16, and an M1 Thompson had various ailments. Causes ranged from bad magazines, poor handloads, and messed-up red dot sights to some still-undiagnosed ills.
The match was interesting, with a total of four stages. Targets were a mix of steel plates and paper. All shooting had to be done on full automatic. The paper targets were IDPA-type silhouettes with a paper plate stapled to the center. As control is stressed, each paper plate required at least two but no more than five hits. Holes anywhere else on the silhouette did not count. Only pistol-caliber guns were allowed in the competition, because rifle cartridges are too destructive to the metal plates. After the matches, though, there is a free fire time, during which anything may be shot.
We usually see the same shooters, with an occasional new participant arriving by invitation. When a new guy shows up, he's expected to display his proof-of-registration for any National Firearms Act weapons he brings. With the prices of registered full automatic guns nowadays, none of the regular group is going to tolerate others bringing any contraband items to the match. These owners are all pretty dedicated sportsmen and hobbyists, with nary a thug in the lot.
The weather never got much over 40 degrees on Saturday.