The Crosman All American FT Championship is always a match I look forward to on the FT calendar. It’s close to home, it’s usually very well attended and it continues to get better each year. Sean McDaniel, Eric Brewer and the entire Crosman staff do a fantastic job of “herding the cats” as they say. I know it’s a maddening endeavor to undertake and it doesn’t do anything good for your blood pressure or life expectancy. So a big “THANK YOU” to the whole crew at Rochester Brooks and Crosman that make this match happen.
My trip started on Thursday as Kristen Coss, Jeff Paddock, Bill Rabbitt and I headed to New York. This was Kristen’s first Grand Prix match as a shooter, and like many of our first times going to an FT match, something was bound to go wrong! The day before we left, Kristen’s scope took a dive and we had to replace it. Thankfully, Bill had a Hawke 10-50 that he wasn’t using, so we threw it onto Kristen’s Air Arms MPR-FT and got a click chart roughed out. I must say, that little gun is a very accurate shooter. Before we left, I took 5 shots at 55 yards with it that went into a sub dime sized cluster….color me impressed! Kristen and I were shooting WFTF PCP while Jeff continued this recent trend of shooting Piston (WFTF of course). The surprise was Bill shooting Hunter PCP. Of course, Bill is the reigning national champ and very capable, but he’s been practicing with his WFTF rig a ton and the sudden decision to shoot hunter was a little startling. He got his trusty Marauder dialed in and ready to go and was feeling confident. Me on the other hand….I didn’t know what I was going to shoot. Earlier this year, I bought a second Steyr and got a Kahles 10-50 FT scope for it. I am still working on the set up, but the gun shoots phenomenally well and I am really liking the scope. So I was going back and forth between that and my trusty LG100 (AKA Skeletor) and my March 10-60 combo.
We arrived at the range on Friday and set up for the Pyramyd Gunslynger. Like last year, we shot it FT style and it went pretty well. Nathan Thomas beat out Eric Brewer for the Piston win. And in natural fashion, Bill took top honors on the PCP side. He beat out Brian Van Liew for the 1st place spot. One of the fun matchups to watch was Levi and Doug Rogers, the father and son duo put on a good match for everyone to watch, but father prevailed to take 3rd place. Congrats Doug.
Once the Gunslynger was cleaned up, I headed to the sight in range to shoot my rifles. It was pretty windy and I think I took about 15 shots with the LG110 and Kahles combo before handing it off to someone else who wanted to try the scope. I pulled out the LG100 and March and took about three shots and my mind was made up. If this was the Wizard of Oz, the LG100 would be Kansas and my name would be Dorothy LOL. “There’s no place like home.” That gun just felt right and I knew immediately it was the way to go. We hung around a bit longer talking to folks and catching up with old friends and then called it a day and headed out.
On Saturday morning, things were dead calm. I mean zero wind, none. It was probably the best sight in conditions I’ve ever seen. The gun was dead on, so I took my usual 3-5 shots and packed it up. Sean gave the shooters meeting and we headed out to the course. I was in the woods and was squadded with Joe Snyder. I met Joe last year at this match and he is a great guy. He’s young (just 18) but really has a great passion for airguns. So much so, that he purchased his own airgun company that recently was for sale. We talked about the airgun business, new guns, and a ton more. We arrived at our first lane, and I settled in. I was up first, and apparently during the shooters meeting it was said that targets would be shot from left to right, not near to far as I am used to. I must have missed that part because I started ranging the close target which was on the right. I took my first shot and watched it fall, then Joe told me I shot the target out of order…at which point, I just got angry with myself as that is counted as a miss. I shook my head in disgust with myself and then focused in on the proper target. I ranged it in and noticed that it had a reducer on it a few yards past the legal limit of 45 yards. The AAFTA rules state that any target over 45 yards must be a 1.5” killzone or larger, and this target was most certainly smaller. I shot the target anyway and watched it fall, but told Joe to mark the card with a “P” for protest as the target was illegal. From there, we went on as normal. There was no wind in the woods to speak of, but a lot of good elevated targets and some really nice target placements. Sean and the crew have a great setup on their woods course and a lot of options that make for a very interesting layout. I really enjoyed it. As we neared the end of the course, I realized that I hadn’t dropped any other shots. We came to the last lane and I took down the last remaining shots and took a walk down the line. I stopped a few lanes down and chatted with Greg Sauve and Keith Knobs. Greg was clean (meaning he hadn’t missed a shot all day) which was super impressive and Keith had dropped just two shots. We headed back for lunch before the pistol match, at which point I found out the target that was illegal had been awarded to everyone that missed, which meant my score for the day was a 60/60 and tied with Greg. I don’t consider it a legitimate clean score because I shot the target out of turn, but I feel confident that if I had shot it in the proper order, I would have hit it. I found Jeff and Bill and learned that Jeff turned in a piston high score of 56/60 for the day which put him in a tie with Matt Brackett. Bill was on the field course and shot a 52, which put him a shot or two off of the leader and well within striking distance.
After lunch, the pistol match started and the Padawkinator pistol was ready to go. It was a 60 shot match, which is crazy long for a pistol match, but if nothing else, we were getting our money’s worth! Sean had three offhand lanes which basically guarantees that no one is going to clean the course. Bill and I were heckling each other the entire time from a few lanes down. This was Bill’s first match shooting Limited (formerly Open) Pistol and he has been practicing quite a bit. And yes, I did wear a cowboy hat with a solar powered fan built in for the first 5-6 lanes. If you missed Hard Air Magazine’s write up, check it out to see the photo. It wouldn’t be right if there wasn’t some drama involved, and of course, Bill and I ended up scoring 56/60. A Sunday shoot off for the title was only fitting. More on that later.
Sunday morning rolled around and I was squadded with Greg and Keith. Both great guys that I enjoy hanging out with. I must admit, I was a bit nervous and not as steady as normal, but that’s okay. I got off to a slow start missing a few shots early due to some tricky wind. Once I got a decent read on the wind, the targets began dropping consistently. Greg made it clear from the outset that he came to win, as he didn’t miss anything until about halfway through the course on the offhand lane. He would only drop one more shot on the day to turn in an awesome 58/60. Keith and I finished a few shots behind, coming in tied with 55’s. I finished with a total of 115/120 for the weekend, while Greg finished on 118. Not to be outdone, Will Piatt cleaned the field course on Sunday after shooting a nearly perfect 59/60 on day one. He finished with a 119 which was astonishing! Excellent shooting to both Greg and Will. After the match was over, I found out that Jeff stayed strong and posted a 51/60 to secure the WFTF piston title and Bill came back to post a 59/60 in the woods to take the Hunter PCP crown. Did I mention it was his birthday as well? While I didn’t get the title in WFTF PCP, I’m okay with second knowing that I shot well. And to see my clubmates perform well enough to take home titles in their respective classes was a proud moment.
We had a quick lunch and then Bill and I headed over to the range to do our shoot off. After his comeback on the rifle side, I didn’t feel so bad about beating him out for the pistol title. Or at least that’s what I told him while we walked over. Birthday or not, I was determined to win the shoot off. The first target we shot from the seated position, it was about 25-30 yards and a full size killzone. Bill shot first and dropped it. I shot after and dropped it as well. Then we shot a standing target that was about the same distance. I watched Bill take the shot as a small crowd gathered behind us (there were more shoot offs to come), I watched him pull the trigger and listened as the familiar “tink” noise told me he had failed to drop the target. I stepped up, got a feel for my wobble and pulled the trigger, watching the target fall through the scope. After all of the heckling I did, I was glad I pulled it out as it would’ve been really embarrassing to have lost LOL. In all seriousness though, Bill shot a great pistol match and I’m glad he had such a good result for his first time out. I was happy just to walk away with 1st place in something. Little did I know at the time, I had actually won the “All-Around” title which is the rifle and pistol scores combined, so that was pretty cool as well.
All in all, it was a great weekend and I am happy with my performance. It will be a hard one to top in the future, but I look forward to the challenge of trying. Congrats to all of the winners and thanks again to Crosman and the folks at Rochester Brooks Gun Club for the excellent hospitality. If you haven’t made it to the Crosman match yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with some of the best shooters around and meet some of the best folks in the industry as well. I am looking forward to returning in 2018. It will be a bit before I have a match report to write again, probably for the World Championships in Wales in September. The Pyramyd Air Cup is coming up next month and we are getting very close to max capacity on the FT side of the event. I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones too in August!
Until next time, shoot safe and see you on the lanes.