In response to the growing popularity of F-Class competition, the NRA conducted the inaugural Smallbore Rifle F-Class National Championship. The tournament ran during the any sight and metric phases of the 2018 NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships, featuring a daily course of fire which mirrored the sling shooters, 40 shots at 50 yards on the A-50 target, a Metric Dewar, followed by 40 shots at 100 yards on the A-33 target. Although the international targets were shot throughout, the first two days were titled “conventional” and the last two “metric.”
David Pessall won the opening 50-Meter Match in the conventional phase with a 397-27X. Daniel Pagliari and Jim Murphy both shot 398s in the Dewar Match but Pagliari had 28Xs, six better for the win. Murphy took the 100-Yard Match, shooting a 394-19X, giving him the daily aggregate win with a score of 1188-68X.
Day two saw Pessall shoot the best of four 400s with an X count of 38. Solomon Brett won the Dewar with a score of 395-21X. Dave Cloft, a reformed sling shooter, had the top score at 100 yards posting a 396-20X. However, it was Murphy who won the day on the back of his 1186-78X. After two days Murphy, 2374-146X, was in the lead over Pessall, 2360-159X, and Jeff Huehn, 2358-146X.
Pessall won his third 50-Meter Match in as many days, outscoring three other 400s with a 37X clean on the first day of metric competition. On a roll, he shot a 398-33X for the Dewar Match win. His string was snapped when Murphy put up a 398-22X at 100 yards for the win. Pessall would not be denied and he took home the third day honors with an 1199-99X.
William Treder emerged from the pack to clean the final 50-Meter Match with a 400-32X, the only clean score. Another reformed sling shooter, Steve Kern, won the Dewar Match with a 399-11X. Just as he had won the first match of the tournament, Pessall won the final 40 shots, a 400-31 at 100 yards. Pessall also won the second two-day aggregate with a 2390-198X; followed by Kern, 2381-174X, and Murphy, 2381-168X.
When all the scores were totaled, Jim Murphy’s 2374-146X singled him out as the first NRA Smallbore Rifle National F-Class Champion. David Pessall won silver with a 2360-146X, and the bronze medalist was Jess Huehn who shot a 2358-137X.
Plato wrote that, “The beginning is the most important part of the work,” and so it was with the first NRA Smallbore F-Class Rifle National Championship. A solid foundation for Smallbore F-Class was laid and a bright future lies ahead.