After the stormed-tossed last day of metallic sights, shooters at the 2017 NRA National Smallbore Championships arrived to find the range hot, humid—and very still.
With scopes replacing metallic sights and the wind barely fluttering the flags, it was soon pretty evident that this would be a day that would be decided by Xs. Mark Del Cotto set the pace and the tone for the day, with a perfect score of 400-40X. Right on his heels were Kerry Spurgin and Mike McPhail, who slid into second and third respectively, scoring 400-39X.
U.S. Air Force shooter Dan Pempel posted a 400-38X to win the Dewar. A pair of 400-37X scores pitted Jimmie Fordham and McPhail for second and third. Fordham received the nod for the silver.
Individual competition for the day ended with Kevin Nguyen of the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) blasting out a 400-38X at 100 yards. Ron Wigger and teammates McPhail and George Norton all shot 400-37Xs and had to have the final places settled by the Rule. Wigger was awarded second, McPhail third and Norton was on the outside looking in.
There were no less than 13 perfect scores fired on day three. McPhail prevailed, missing the X ring only seven times for an astounding score of 1200-113X—just a few Xs short of the National Record. Hank Gray, hanging on to his overall aggregate lead, posted 110X with his perfect score for second on the day. Eric Uptagrafft was just an X behind Gray shooting a 1200-109X.
After individual competition ended the Dewar Trophy and Randle Cup International Postal Matches were shot. Kevin Nevius, assisted by wind coach Shawn Carpenter, cleaned the 50 meter international target with 15 Xs and had a 196-10X at 100 yards—recording the highest score for the U.S. Dewar team, and earned the Edward Crossman Plaque in the process. Ginger McLemore was presented the “Fast Freddy” Scielzo plaque by Jim Miller of the U.S. Dewar Shooters Club, for being the most senior shooter on the team.
Day four of the tournament will feature the last day of any sights and team matches.