SkirmNotes: Frozen Toes! The 2012 Snowball Skirmish!

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The sun is rising, it’s 7:30 in the morning, I’ve got my musket and red gun-box in the trunk, and the thermometer says it’s 25 degrees outside…
What am I nuts?
No, but this is my very first Snowball Skirmish!
Sunday, January 15, 2012 started as a brisk calm clear morning, I arrived at the range near 8am, and I figured I’d get picked up quickly, and I was tagged by one of the men from CVG before I put my gear down in front of the tower, score!
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"Lord, please warm us up!"
Opening ceremonies were brief, I think everyone was ready to get shooting, it was too cold to stand around…
I started off okay in the cold-weather-gear department, I was wearing a scarf, skull cap, thermal underwear, ski gloves, and lots of layers, but it soon became obvious that my wife was right about my socks. I decided to wear a normal pair of shoes and cotton socks, I really should have gone with wool socks like she suggested…
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"When I nod my head, you hit it!"
One suggestion for anyone who goes to one of these Snowball Skirmishes for the first time in the future: bring a rubber mallet to get your bayonet in the ground…
The targets for the morning events were a surprise, starting with orange spoons at 25 yards…
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"Where's the Ice Cream?"
I thought the spoons looked easy, I decided to hang them backwards after some discussion with my new teammates, and the sun made them look big and bright, and right off the bat I hit my two assigned targets without missing. I felt pretty good about that until I missed the next five shots at the remaining spoons….
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"It's twice as cold as it looks..."
The clay backer, with only 24 clays, was a great event for me, I went 7 for 9, and I did fairly well on the 4″ Wood Blocks, something like 3 for 6, including one really tough one that turned sideways when I hit the target above. I had a tougher time on the hanging clays, 2 for 8.
It was so cold… I couldn’t wear my gloves to clean my gun, grease my rounds, and I had to leave the glove off my trigger hand when I was shooting. I stiff breeze during the match ensured that there was no way to keep my hand warm. The crisco I used to lube my bullets got on my fingers, and well, I guess it works as well as a thermal conductor in the cold as it does in a frying pan, my fingers became somewhat numb after each relay. It was tough to handle my caps.
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"Shouldn't that bird have gone South for the winter?"
Next came the stake event. Or maybe they called it a Flamingo event… The host team had a good laugh distributing a pink flamingo on an 8″ or so stake, it was setup to hang vertically without lower wires. This was a tough event for 6 guys.
Also, a new event for me, we shot 6″ diamonds of drywall in rapid-fire at 50 yards, there were no 100 yard events in this match. Despite the cold weather I had a lot of fun!
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"Mickey gave the Clays hell! That's not an M-1 is it?"
I saw a lot of different cold weather gear this weekend, a few guys had fun with the “non-standard uniforms” of the day. I was happy to not see any “Polar Bear” shooters, but thought it would be funny if there were! I’ll leave that image to your imagination!

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After the Musket Team match I saw some guys getting ready for the Breechloader Team match, brave and tough souls! When I was ready to leave at about 12:30 I checked the thermometer in my car again: 28 degrees. It warmed up 3 whole degrees since morning! We might need to rename this event the Popsicle Soldier Skirmish next year!
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The Musket Team Results
Thanks to the Chartiers Valley Guard for picking me up, I had a great time playing “Shoot the Frozen Clay Bird” with all of you, and thanks to the host team, the 13th Confederate Infantry, for making my winter a little warmer (or colder… depending!), and for making the off-season a little shorter!
Related posts:
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  3. 40th Veterans Skirmish

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