The Crosman All-American Field Target Championships is always a must shoot match for me. This year was no different, especially considering the venue change from the Crosman factory in Bloomfield, NY to the Rochester Brooks Gun Club in Henrietta, NY. Upon arriving at the club, Jeff Paddock (my traveling companion for this trip) and I checked in at the clubhouse. The club was gorgeous and very expansive. Upon checking in, we received Crosman swag bags which came in new red and black Crosman rifle cases. The bags included pellets and knives among other goodies.
We headed over to the sight in range to take some shots and check out the course. Intermittent rains were coming in so we took some quick shots to confirm our set ups, shot the Quigley Bucket Challenge (I didn’t hit it) and headed back to the hotel.
Saturday morning came quickly. I arrived at the sight in range and took some shots. I found my gun was shooting a little low, it seemed very consistent in terms of how low it was, so I decided to just shoot holding over instead of making a click adjustment to my scope. As we started the match, there didn’t seem to be too much wind so that would make my life a little easier shooting WFTF (12 FPE). One of my squad mates was former World Champion Paul Cray, so the pressure was on. As we made our way around the course, there was a very clear difference between this years match and Crosman matches of the past. This year was the first time reduced kill zones had been used at the match. In previous years, everything was 1.5″ and out at greater distances. There was a great variety of kill zone sizes, predominantly .5″, 1″ and 1.5″. It was a nice change of pace, and was a real test for the shooter to know their adjustments exactly.
When day one was done and over with, I came in with a score of 54/60. I was pretty happy with that score as it was better than I had done last season, so it was an improvement. Paul shot a 51 and had a bit of an uncharacteristic run of bad luck on some of the longer targets. Team mates Greg Sauve and Harold Rushton delivered scores of 55 and 59 respectively. As Harold and I were walking back, we passed by my traveling companion Jeff had a small crowd behind him. He was on his last lane, and had only dropped one shot. As he cleaned his last lane, it became clear that Sunday was going to be a battle between Jeff and Harold. Dropping just one shot on this course was no joke and both deserved to be at the top of the pack.
As day two rolled around, there was a nervous tension in the summer air. Sunday’s at Field Target matches are really where you either shine, or fall short. I was shooting with Jeff and Harold, so I had the pleasure of watching the drama unfold. My gun was still shooting a bit low, but seemed to be coming back to it’s original zero. While I was hoping for the best, I knew I was out of contention as 5 shots in an FT match is like being 5 laps down with 10 laps to go in a race. Not impossible, but requires a large number of people to make monumental mistakes! In other words, I needed a miracle. As we started, the wind was noticeably stronger than Saturday, and when you’re shooting in a relatively open field, that wind creates havoc. I dropped a few shots early as my gun returned to zero and I got caught still holding over. Jeff and Harold were hanging tough. It was Jeff that broke first, missing a long shot about 4 lanes in. As the match progressed, I knew it was going to come down to the wire. As Jeff settled into the last lane, they were tied. Jeff cleaned the lane, then I sat down and took my turn. Some light wind required a 1/2″ hold off to the left side of the kill zone on the far target. I knocked it down twice and Harold took a seat for his last lane. He put the close target down twice, and just as he started ranging the far target, the wind decided to come out in force. All day, Harold had magically knocked the targets down in similar winds, but this was different. The pressure was on, he had to make these two shots to force a shoot off with Jeff. The wind would not relent, Harold waited, checking the timer to make sure he still had enough time to get off a second shot. He broke the trigger and the target stood tall, he had missed. He promptly reloaded and knocked it down, finishing one point behind Jeff with a 55/60.
The 2015 CAAFTC was a great match. The new location has a lot of potential for growth and with the support of Crosman, it should flourish into an even more impressive match. I personally shot a better score than I had all of last season, so I am glad to see marked improvement. Team Pyramyd Air put a beat down on Team Crosman with just 3 shooters present. And Team USA came out victorious overall on the team side. Harold, Greg, Hector Medina and I combined for a top team score of 404/480. Needless to say, it was another great year and I am already looking forward to 2016.
Until next time, shoot safe and see you on the lanes!