Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some Thoughts on the Midway USA $100,000 Bianchi Contingency Money

You probably already know this, but Larry Potterffield has ponied up $100K as contingency prize money for Bianchi Production division. Obviously, this will provide a major jumpstart for the NRA Action Pistol program, as well as drive some of the big players into Production. What I hear is that the details of how the money is going to be allocated/awarded is not yet finalized...there are a lot of ideas on the table at this point.

The top 5 Production shooters this year were:
1) Kyle Schmidt, 1856-121x
2) Enoch Smith, 1835-123x
3) Dave Sevigny, 1833-119x
4) Phil Strader, 1819-102x 
5) Vance Schmid, 1812-100x
Any of these guys could break 1900, especially with the allowed modification of match barrels. I talked to Dave Sevigny at the Cup this year, and he was ambivalent about leaving his box-stock Glock — the gun he built his sterling reputation on — behind for one with a match barrel and different sights. Still, he's too much of a great competitor not to realize that a fitted match barrel will be de rigueur for the top competitors starting next year.

Here are the original specs for Bianchi Production:
• 3.2.1 Production Firearm — The intent of this rule is to encourage the use of production firearms as manufactured and promote NRA Action Pistol Shooting at the “Grass Roots” level. Accordingly, in order to keep this class from becoming an “Equipment Match” , Single Action only pistol are prohibited.
A Production Firearm is a semi-automatic handgun or revolver which is or has been a catalog item readily available to the general public equipped with factory notch & post sights. All standard safety features of firearms must operate properly. The firearm shall have no visible internal of external modifications except as follows:
(a) Grips may be replaced or modified to fit the competitor’s hand or to facilitate loading. Checkering, stippling, grip tape and grip sleeves are permitted.
(b) Barrel length may not exceed 5.35 inches for semi-automatic pistols and may not exceed 6 inches for revolvers.
(c) Wide “target” style hammers and triggers, if included on the firearm as originally manufactured, are permitted.
(d) Only open sights may be used. The front sight must be a non-adjustable post sight. The rear sight may be adjustable if the firearm was originally manufactured with an adjustable sight. Sights may be replaced but they must use the original dovetail cuts and must retain the original configuration of the firearm. Fiber optic sights are permitted.
(e) Barrels may be replaced with original factory barrels with the same configuration of the original barrel.
(f) All production firearms must fire the first shot of every stage double action.
(g) Trigger weight may not be less than 3.5 lbs. In any mode.
(h) External finishes, either protective of decorative, or other non-functional embellishments. (i.e. Such as engraving, inlays or inscriptions) are permitted.
(I) Holsters must be designed for carry and suitable for everyday use. Competition, race type and open front holsters are prohibited.
The following firearm modifications are prohibited:
(a) Single action only firearms
(b) Custom-shop firearms.
(c) Changes in the original factory sight configuration of the firearm are prohibited. Front adjustable sights are prohibited.
(d) Peep, ghost, optical, electronic, Bo-Mar and Aristocrat type sights.
(e) Thumb rests, orthopedic grips, grip or magazine extensions. No part of the grip may encircle the hand.
(f) Compensators, ported or weighted barrels.
(g) Race type holsters.
So that gives you a pretty good idea of what the top Production shooters will be using next year as this goes forward. Of course Dave (and Women's Production champion Randi Rogers) are in the Glock camp; SG regular Phil Strader and B.J. Norris, one of the greatest shots ever, Doug Koenig, and new S&W team member Jessie Abbate will be running the S&W M&P platform. With that kind of money on the line I'd be surprised not to see Jerry Miculek running a Production revolver. If you remember, there were a few years revolvers dominated Bianchi, and a great master like Miculek is always a threat.

I'd be surprised if Max Michel, probably the hottest pro shooter this year, didn't sign on with one of Sig's trick 226s. Should be interesting to see how it shakes out!


ericire12 said...

Now there is a REAL Top Shot competition!

*Sorry, Caleb.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's better than Top Shot, except for the overwhelming lack of TV coverage and a much, much smaller audience.

At some point the question becomes, if you pay $100K and nobody really covers it, do you get your money's worth?

Anonymous said...

Jeeze, what a cynical bunch. Why not be grateful that Potterfield is contributing money (HIS money that he can do with as he pleases) to try and encourage more participation in the shooting sports? I think it's great.

Moosejaw said...

I have never followed the shooting sports much...well I did shoot SASS for 10 years(old age, bad feet and a bad back ended that), which was strictly for fun, because I never came close to winning a match and I use to shoot DCM (now CMP) large bore get my garand(I came in 2nd twice)....

I watch these guys shooting on cable channels but loose interest rapidly

Shooting sports to me are big and small game hunting game...breaking some clay birds with a trius trap with friends...trying to make one ragged hole with one of my rifles, or knocking down steel plates with my handguns.

Anyway Midwayusa is a great organization and I always donate through them to the NRA (and as often as I can when I get those begging letters from ILA and PVF)...Larry P use to email me back himself back in the day, when I had a product question or problem....

....anyway...why not call it the MIDWAYUSA cup....John Bianchi no longer owns the company anymore anyway...I think his ex wife does...(don't get me started about that!)

Anonymous said...

First off, a big "Thanks!" to Larry Potterfield for his support of the shooting sports and sponsorship of our favorite TV shows.
Second, even though it's hard to satisfy everyone all of the time, another "Thanks!" to Larry for supporting many different segments of the shooting sports family!
Third, I would like to see a "Youth" class for this competition. We need to get our kids fired up. That way, some kid could put a big dent in a college tuition bill, just by participating in a sport that they love.
I know, I know, this is expanding the original objective, but I don't think that the $100k contest as it's outlined, will draw any really new shooters into the competition. It will only draw new spectators, which still isn't all bad.
Life Member

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael;
Re permitted barrels; I don't see a Match barrel being allowed. "Original" to me is from the factory - and used in a production gun.

Or are we already "lawyering" the new rules?

"(e) Barrels may be replaced with original factory barrels with the same configuration of the original barrel."

Anonymous said...

I don't get the fascination with Bianchi cup, I mean are there even 500 people in all of North America who ever even shoot one of these things? I don't know of a single club level match within 500 miles of where I live...aside from a group of elite shooters, how many people ever participate in one of these things...I understand why it has no public following...

Bianchi Accumold said...

congrats Larry on winning such big amount. how you will spend this...