Ashland Lake Gun Club

Francis Marion 2004 Hints & Tips

As the course of fire for the Tactical Swamp Match begins to crystallize, we'd like to take this opportunity to give you all a few hints and tips to help you shoot this match well, so that you can better prepare yourself.  This year we have quite a few new shooters, and I want you to be as ready as possible for what you will face.  As of this afternoon, there were 39 confirmed shooters.  If we get a decent number of walk-ins, this will be the largest ever Francis Marion, with the most stages and highest round count ever in its 24 year history.
Attached is the "story" behind the three stages that make up the Tactical Swamp Match.  The three stages will loosely match the stage descriptions described in the story.  I say loosely, because we never know what the "course" is going to look like until the day of the match.  Sometimes Mother Nature gives us more or less water than we are expecting, and we have to modify our course on the fly.
Stage One - This stage is DESIGNED to make you wet and muddy.  Be prepared for this, because it will be unavoidable.  As currently designed, this course will require you to crawl through one of ALGC's infamous pipes, off the clock.  It is not required, but it is STRONGLY recommended that you have a sling which will allow you to sling your shotgun across your back while moving through the tube.  This stage will be all buckshot, requiring no more than 13 rounds.  You're encouraged to bring plenty of extra ammo though.  All reloads will be Ready Position Reloads, from cover.  Review the rules on the webpage if you don't know what this is.  Standard ammo carriers, such as side-saddles, bandoliers, etc., should work.  However, make sure that your ammo is accessible for a Ready Position Reload.  Also, it is HIGHLY recommended, that you have a place somewhere on your body where you can put ammo so that it doesn't get covered with mud.  If you feed your gun muddy ammo, you may jam your gun, especially with auto-loaders.  Here's an example of what your crafty match director will do:  Gun will be loaded to class capacity (6 + 1 rounds).  Side-saddle will be loaded with 6 rounds of buckshot.  Additional ammo will be on belt carrier.  ADDITIONAL ammo will be in a covered belt pouch which keeps the shells clean.  The belt pouch will be the last ditch ammo supply for reloads if I do something bad, like fall in the mud, drop my gun in the mud, etc., getting my primary source of ammo muddy.  Sometimes the swamp is filled with "sucking mud" which will take your foot wear off if it isn't secure.  If you're not wearing tight, high ankle boots (recommended for ankle support), you may want to duct tape your foot wear to your ankles.  I'm not kidding.  Loosely fitting rubber boots or other loose foot wear is NOT recommended.
Stage Two - In this stage you'll start off in an "ambush position", behind cover, where you will engage a few pepper poppers from cover, then leave cover and engage a few more pepper poppers while moving to another cover position.  From this second cover position, you will execute a transition reload to slugs, and engage 11 paper targets with slugs.  It is highly recommended that you know where your gun hits with slugs at 25 and 50 yards.    Paper targets that are accidentally hit with buckshot will be scored as misses.  Pepper poppers that are hit with slugs will earn you a DQ and a $25 fine.  It is highly recommended that you have separate storage locations for your buckshot and slug reloads, so that you don't accidentally do this.  Per our rules, transition reloads from buckshot to slugs don't have to be from the "Ready Position", but all other reloads must be.  For example, when get to the second cover position and have to transition from buckshot to slugs, you can do whatever you need to do to get your gun loaded with slugs, manipulating your gun in any way you want.  From this point on, if you need to reload with slugs (and you will have to), your reloads must be from the "Ready Position".  Minimum ammo requirements for this stage will be 5 buckshot loads, 11 slugs.  Its always recommended to bring much more along.  This stage will be in the woods, along the sometimes wet, sometimes dry, creek bed.  Mother Nature will determine whether this is wet and muddy or not.
Stage Three - In this stage, you will be required to knife a dummy (knife will be supplied) and drag a relatively heavy dummy.  You may want to have your sling available for this portion, depending on your ability to drag the dummy.  This stage will require a minimum of 12 rounds of buckshot, and ONE slug, to stop the clock.  It will be on dry land, up on the bowling pin range.
A few notes on spare ammunition carriers: 
Although they are not "illegal", we strongly DISCOURAGE the use of buttstock ammo cuffs.  The reason is that we often have stages which require you to shoot from the weak-side shoulder.  This is difficult / painful to do with a butt-cuff filled with ammo.  If you are seen to use a butt-cuff in some stages, but not in others (due to weak-side shooting), your match directors will be very unhappy with you, and may do something draconian, like give you a Failure To Do Right penalty.  In the real world, you don't know ahead of time when you will have to shoot around a weak side cover position.
Trap / Skeet style ammo pouches are specifically NOT allowed, per our rules.  Ammunition carriers that attach to your arms or wrists ARE allowed.  However, they are not recommended.  These types of carriers tend to get your ammo covered in mud.
A few more items:
Camping will be available to all comers, Friday and Saturday night.  If you aren't a member, but want to camp (and don't already have a club member to hang with), please let us know so that you can officially be our guest.
The gates will be open very early in the morning Friday, because we will be setting up.  If you aren't a member (or with a member), and you aren't helping in the set-up, you shouldn't show up any earlier than late afternoon for the Night Before dinner.  The ranges are off-limits to non-members, except during the match, unless they are accompanied by a regular member. 
*********  Non-members will have to pay an additional affiliate membership fee of $5 the day of the match, if they haven't already signed up as yearly affiliate members.  I apologize for leaving this off of the original match flyer, but it is our club rule.***********
On the day of the match, all access to the lake and the surrounding areas (except for the immediate pavilion area) will be restricted, for safety reasons.  The driveway to the Trap/Skeet range will be closed, and all foot approaches to the lake area will be posted.  If you were planning on fishing the day of the match, sorry.
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Ashland Lake Gun Club, 206 US Rt. 42, West Salem, OH 44287.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 39121, Solon, OH 44139
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