All-Around Champion At National Matches?

by
posted on August 16, 2018
walsh-all-around.jpg
Who is the best? These days, we can determine the best shooters at big, multi-discipline matches like the NRA World Shooting Championship. But, eighty-some years ago, the National Matches left no doubt about the best shooter's identity. From 1935 to 1939, an All-Around Championship was held to determine the best smallbore, high power rifle and pistol marksman.

The DuPont Trophy, a bronze statue of a medieval archer poised with his long bow at full draw, was bestowed on the winner of the All-Around Championship. This aggregate match comprised a centerfire pistol National Match Course; preliminary smallbore Dewar Match Course; and four high power matches that included slow fire; standing and prone, and rapid fire; sitting and prone, at ranges form 200 to 1000 yards for an aggregate of 1100 points. In 1935 and 1936, a service pistol aggregate was also fired, along with a 200-yard smallbore rifle prone slow fire match and a 50-yard and 100-yard, 40-shot smallbore prone match instead of the preliminary Dewar for an aggregate of 1900 points.

Winners of the All-Around Championship
  • 1939: 1st Lt. Walter R. Walsh (pictured at top), U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (1058/1100)
  • 1938: Petty Officer 1st Class Melvon O. Wilson, U.S. Coast Guard (1054/2200)
  • 1937: 2nd Lt. William Hancock, Infantry, U.S. Army (1051/1100)
  • 1936: Capt. Sidney R. Hinds, Infantry, U.S. Army (1797/1900)
  • 1935: Deputy Henry J. Adams, Jr., San Diego County, California, Sheriff's Department (1848/1900)

Competitors firing in the All-Around Championship not only had to hustle between ranges, but also needed the mental ability to adapt from one shooting discipline to another. After the demise of the All-Around Championship at Camp Perry, the DuPont Trophy was awarded to the NRA Service Rifle Champion, beginning in 1951.

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