Eley Speed Steel - April 2019 - SPRC

The first of three speed steel competitions being sponsored by Eley and held at Stourport Pistol Rifle Club was an absolute scorcher.

 Hosting any event on the Easter Bank holiday weekend is always a brave decision especially when it’s going to be outside in an old quarry. Hedging my bets and leaving the house at 6.30am in shorts proved to be the best decision I made all day. The dew was clearing off the range as we arrived, and the range was ready to go.

 This was my first speed steels event in the traditional US style and whilst I shoot practical it’s a completely different ball game.

 So, some quick context for those who have not shot Speed Steels before. In principal it looks easy. 8 Stages. Each stage has 5 steel plates. 4 Normal plates and 1 stop plate. From the designated firing point, you must engage all 5 targets as quickly as possible. The stop plate must be last in the “string” and no more than 10 shots per string. Each stage is shot in 5 “Strings” with your slowest time being discarded. Then all your times are added together to give you an overall course time.

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 The beauty about Speed steels is you really don’t need specific equipment to shoot it. In fact, the most popular equipment across the pond is the faithful Ruger 10/22. As you will see from the video above currently the most popular in the UK is the Smith and Wesson MP 15/22 where a lot of the competitors also shoot on the practical circuit. My AR was in the shop for some fine tuning so the Wednesday before I whipped off the Scope from my Ruger which is set up for Gallery Rifle and popped on my Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 scope. The Lightweight carbon barrel combined with Boyds stock make a very good combo for Speed Steel. In retrospect I think I could improve my time by running a Dot. The Viper PST was being used on 1 x Magnification, but certain plate set ups were hard to manage with very quick transitions.

 Onto timing. 5 plates in different layouts and distances. After watching a few runs across the stages, it was clear that to be in contention of the top spots you needed to be hitting all 5 in around 2 seconds consistently over 4/5 runs. The fastest shots were hitting some set ups in under 2 seconds. Being able to discard one run gives you a false sense of security. You think it’s a fall back, a chance to check out the stage and then run it full speed. It didn’t take long to realise this wasn’t the case. One missed plate or out of place shot meant your run would go from sub 2.5 seconds to 3 or over. It was interesting to watch all the different styles of shooting. The way different people attacked each stage all hunting for that fraction of a second off their times.  For me personally I found it hard to not double tap the plates after shooting a lot of practical comps, this did quickly pass though. For the next comp I aim to use my AR or stick with my Ruger but wither way I want to run a red dot for speed and easier acquisition.

 For a first event the Eley speed steels was a success. There are a few areas which no doubt will be reviewed and improved for the next comp. Everyone I spoke with had a blast. If you are just starting out in shooting this would be a fantastic event to attend and compete it. Words of advice for the next one especially if the weather is the same. Take plenty of water, take food, and a chair…. definitely a chair.

Results: For those interested. In Minirifle i finished 9th out of 40. My time was 95.05 seconds. The winner was 83.1 Seconds. 11.95 Seconds faster than me. Which is 0.37 seconds per string quicker over the day! quite impressive.

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Tom Ellaway