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.
2018 NRA Smallbore F-Class Champion Jim Murphy (l.) and second place winner David Pessall receive their awards from NRA Championship Coordinator Victoria Croft. The eagle awards were donated by NRA Board Member H.J. “Walt” Walter, and the winners get to keep them.
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.