Our 2nd Saturday monthly club revolver matches are strictly for fun and for personal satisfaction. Our monthly matches feature at least 4 and typically 5 individual stages of diverse shooting. The number of targets per stage can vary from a couple to a dozen or more. Targets consist of paper and/or steel (falling or ringing) and may sometimes include other target items. Targets are usually stationary but occasionally moving. Distance to targets range from a few feet to 50 yards with the majority ranging from 10 feet to 25 yards. Stages are timed and revolvers are usually drawn from the holster. Depending on the stage shooters may remain stationary or be required to move to another shooting area or engage targets while moving. Shooting is generally done "free style" (using both hands) but some stages require using strong hand (writing hand) only and others weak hand only. Often props are used to direct lanes of fire or routes of movement. Reloading during a stage is often necessary. Scoring is a composite of time and accuracy and optimizing the interplay of these two factors is the name of the game. Some photos of a typical match are shown here.
What kind of gun and other stuff do I need?
At a Revolver Match, the minimum equipment is a revolver of .32 magnum caliber or larger (.38 Special is most common), a holster which holds the firearm securely and covers the trigger guard, and a belt strong enough to carry the revolver and ammunition in a safe manner. All participants and spectators must wear eye and ear protection when shooting is in progress. Other useful stuff is a minimum of five speed loaders and pouches to carry them, a cylinder brush and a box or bag for carrying your gear. If you would like to shoot but don't quite have all the gear, we can arrange to lend equipment for the match. Generally, 150 rounds are sufficient to complete all courses of fire.
What is "Power Factor?"
Since the amount of recoil influences shooting speed, ICORE evens things up in championship matches by requiring ammunition that makes a minimum "power factor" of 120,000. Power factor (momentum, actually, for the physics experts) is calculated by multiplying the bullet weight in grains times the velocity in feet per second. A typical .38 caliber bullet ranges from 125 grains to 158 grains (7000 grains = 1 pound). Most .38 caliber factory ammunition produces between 750 to 800 feet per second, resulting in a power factor that should be sufficient to meet the minimum. If you want to know for certain, we can "chrono" your ammunition (see below) to see where you stand. If you're not sure what the power factor of your ammunition is, don't worry about it for our informal club matches. If you want to learn about reloading your own ammunition, most of our members will be able to help you get started. We do ask that you not shoot magnum loads larger than .32 caliber as they can damage the steel targets.
At our club matches, we are decidedly informal, and your ammunition will not be tested. At a major match such as a Regional or at the International Revolver Championship, samples of your ammunition will be taken from your belt and you will be required to fire the sample ammunition in your revolver across a chronograph. The chronograph measures the muzzle velocity. One cartridge will be disassembled and the bullet will be weighed. The calculated power factor from the measured velocity and measured weight must meet the minimum, or a time penalty will be added to the overall match score. At the IRC, the failure to meet the power factor adds 360 seconds to your overall score! Factory ammunition will also be tested by ICORE to determine that it meets the minimum requirement in the competitor's revolver.
How are ICORE stages and targets scored?
Time is recorded by an electronic timer that counts starting at the initial "beep" that signals the shooter to start. The timer uses the muzzle blast noise to count the interval between shots and record the last shot time. When the shooter has concluded, this "raw" time will be noted on the score sheet. The targets are scored and "hit" times are added to the raw time as follows (reference the target below):
"X" and "A" hits add zero seconds, "B" hits add 1 second, "C" hits add 2 seconds and "Mikes" (misses) add 5 seconds per occurrence. If the stage has steel targets, then each missed steel will also add 5 seconds. Failing to comply with the requirements of the stage, such as shooting with the wrong hand or from the wrong location, are called "Procedurals" and add 5 seconds per occurrence.
Some stages use a fixed "par" time in which the first beep will be followed after a preset interval by a second beep which signals the shooter to stop. Shots fired after the ending beep incur a 10 second penalty per shot! Usually, the shooter may use as many rounds as needed to hit the targets, but there are also "shots limited" stages which restrict the number of rounds. In that case, firing additional rounds is a procedural penalty. Targets may also be partially obstructed by "hard cover" which is signified by black paint. Hits on the hard cover area are considered to be a miss. "No Shoots" are sometimes placed on the course of fire to increase the difficulty. No Shoots are typically white and incur a procedural penalty per hit if they are inadvertently shot.
For variety, the course designer may also allow "X" hits to subtract time from the "raw" time. In that case, the diligence to shoot very accurately and hit the exact center of the target is rewarded appropriately.
Total stage score is the "raw" time plus any added times for B and C hits and Misses, plus any procedurals and No Shoots. It's just like golf - lower is better. Open and Limited are scored separately. The minimum total time for all the stages earns first place in the Open or Limited division, and the remaining Open or Limited shooters have their score calculated as a percentage of the best score. To see how that works, look at this month's Revolver scores.