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Posted: 8/4/2004 7:34:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/15/2004 3:56:42 AM EDT by hoss622]
Francis Marion Photo Album - Lots of new pics added

ALGC's 24th Annual Francis Marion Memorial Swamp Fox Assault has come and gone, and I have a few things to report. I know that this is not scientific data, merely anecdotal information, but it was interesting stuff to witness.

We've held this match at Ashland Lake Gun Club for the last 24 years. It usually consists of one stage in our swamp, one stage in a wooded creekbed, and one stage on dryland. Not only is it a serious test of combat shotgun shooting skills, its physically challenging and a serious test of a gun / equipment system's reliability.

This year's swamp stage accounted for more equipment malfunctions than I can remember in recent history. Generally, malfunctions were caused by two things: guns getting dirty directly (while crawling / falling in the mud), and guns being fed dirty ammunition. The latter causing more problems than anything else.

Autoloaders, as expected, faired worse than pumps. Feed a Benelli M1 Super 90 dirty ammo, and at best, it becomes a $1000 single shot, if you can manage to get the bolt to close. Similar problems were had with at least one Remington 1100. However, the creative shooter of one Remington gas gun took it and swished it around in the creek in between stages, and it was up and running again.

Pumps were not immune to these same problems, but shooters were better able to "manage" these problems, due to the fact that they were run by muscles. At least one Mossberg pump and a few Remington 870's required "vigorous" pumping to keep running.

One of the main lessons learned in this year's match, is to keep an extra stash of ammo, somewhere on your body, that is protected from getting dirty. A belt pouch with some type of closure is not fast for reloads, but it keeps your ammo clean.

Before readers send me a bunch of e-mails about how dangerous all of this is, we had highly trained Safety Officers whose number one job was to watch the shooter / gun, and make sure that everything that was happening was safe. For example, if the Safety Officer witnessed a potential barrel plugging, the action was immediately stopped until the situation was rectified.

So, how does any of this apply to your typical shooter who keeps his shotgun under the bed for home defense? This match is designed to put a huge amount of physical / mental stress on the shooter. If a shooter can manage to perform the various shooting tasks, while running through swamps, up flooded creek beds, dodging low hanging branches, etc., he probably has the the basic shotgun handling skills to handle most defensive situations. While its true that dust bunnies from under your bed probably won't cause many malfunctions, they can and do happen. If you can clear a jam and get your gun running again while knee deep in a swamp, with your heart beating a million times a minute, you can probably handle most malfunctions under stress.

For more information about this very fun match, check out our webpage:
Ashland Lake Gun Club's Francis Marion Memorial Swamp Fox Assault

Link Posted: 8/4/2004 8:33:10 PM EDT
Any pics?
Link Posted: 8/6/2004 6:39:39 PM EDT
Here is the photoalbum that our webmaster started. Hopefully, we'll have more pictures as people start sending them in. A lot of people were taking pics.

Francis Marion 2004 Photo Album

You'll see a few pictures of a guy in a gray shirt coming out of a creek, then coming through a big yellow pipe. The pipe was an obstacle we called the Tunnel of Mud. It had a half foot of mud in the bottom of it. We made that obstacle because the day before the match, our swamp was dry, and we didn't think the course would be challenging enough. It then rained all night, and also downpoured at the beginning of the match, as you can see in the pics. After crawling through that pipe, the shooter then had to engage some poppers from cover, then move into the swamp where there were more steel targets that had to be engaged on the move. By the time the shooter reached the last target, the sucking mud was about shin deep (or at least it was on fatasses like me, who tend to sink deep in the mud). Note the second pic from the right in the top row. The shooter has his shoes duct taped on. This keeps them from coming off in the mud. This is a sign of a seasoned Swamp Foxer.

The stage I was running was in the woods, in what HAD been a dry creekbed. By the time the match started, shooters had to start out shooting behind cover (kneeling) in about a foot and a half of rushing water.

The other pics were from the "Urban Studies" portion of the match. Some of our shooters wanted to run an all dry land course this year. Since I run "Urban" courses every other month during the regular season, I didn't want to, so they ran their own side match.
Link Posted: 8/8/2004 7:54:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/8/2004 7:58:08 AM EDT by MEH92]
I posted a review in the Training and Tactics section. It probably would have been better to post it here. Sorry

Francis Marion 2004 review

What a great match!
Link Posted: 8/9/2004 7:41:01 PM EDT
Thanks for the kind words. It makes all of the hard work worth it.
Link Posted: 8/15/2004 9:55:01 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 10:38:43 PM EDT
WOW ! Cool!

Not even ONE shotgun with an optic? Not even one EOTech?
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 10:39:44 PM EDT
WOW ! Cool!

Not even ONE shotgun with an optic? Not even one EOTech?

How about a windbreaker over a bandolier - just something to keep the mud off your ammo?
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 11:04:33 PM EDT
Who puts optics on shotguns?
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:24:06 AM EDT
Look into these threads to answer your question:

Cool=looking self defense shotgun

Tactical shotgun thread

I think you willl find more than one shotgun with optics. The EOTech seems particularly welll suited to shotgun use with its 65 MOA outer ring for quick sighting and shotshell use. The inner 1 MOA dot would work well for longer range slug use. It is also functional even when coated in mud as long as a small portion of the window remains somewhat clear.

I was wondering how these set ups would work when used in the match. Are they faster or more accurate> Do they hold up.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 7:42:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2004 7:47:28 PM EDT by hoss622]
There were a couple guys with optics on their guns (Aimpoints). Shotguns with stuff like that on them are placed in what we call Enhanced Shotgun - Auto or Enhanced Shotgun - Pump classes. Other features that put your guns into these classes are porting, compensators, mercury tubes, barrels over 21", speed-loaders or the use of low-recoil buckshot.

The Riot Gun - Pump and Riot Gun - Auto classes are for the guns that don't have these features.

Our requirement for optics is that they must be easily removed without tools, and there must be back up iron sights (a bead suffices). This was the kind of match that could easily render optics worthless. A good glob of mud on the eyepiece, and you might have a difficult time seeing through your sight.

FYI, the top 9 shooters had the following equipment:

1st - 870 - 18" barrel, ghost ring sights, side-saddle,
2nd - Benelli M1 Super 90 - stock riot gun, iron sights, side-saddle
3rd - Mossberg 590 - ghost ring sights, side-saddle
4th - Remington 1100 - iron sights, side-saddle
5th - 870 - 21" barrel, iron sights, side-saddle
6th - Benelli M1 Super 90 - stock riot gun, iron sights - this gun later completely jammed when a second shooter borrowed it
7th - Mossberg 590 - ghost ring sights, side-saddle
8th - Beretta 1201 - iron-sights
9th - Benelli Nova Tactical - ghost ring sights, side-saddle

10th place and beyond were substantially far behind these shooters.

Veteran shooters of this match know that simple works. Five of the nine best shooters fielded shotguns that cost less than $500 retail, even with all of the accessories. Looking at some of the pics on that thread, some of those guns had $500 worth of "bling-bling" alone, not including the base price of the gun.

In the opinion of this humble match director, optical sights may eventually break into the top ten shooters, but they will never dominate in a nasty swamp course. Too much potential for the water and mud to render them less than optimum.

Optics + Mud = Bad day in the swamp
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:58:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2004 8:59:49 PM EDT by Mike_Mills]

Do you have a course of fire sketched out or a course description write up? I'll never make it to your match but would like to try an all shotgun match at my home range. We do have a creek that runs through it and in the winter and spring it has running water. We recently had a fire which COMPLETELY cleared out the brush, so now is the time to shoot in the creek.

P.S. - my rail, optics and back up iron sights definitely fall into the category of bling-bling but it is fun to build them. It's like having a LEGO set for adults.
Link Posted: 8/26/2004 5:38:00 PM EDT
We usually end up hand writing the course description the night before the match, because trying to plan things out ahead of time never works because of rapidly changing weather conditions. Send me an e-mail off-line, and I'll send you what I have.



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