The fourth annual F-Class Mid Range Nationals were conducted in September at the NRA Whittington Center directly after the 2018 U.S. Fullbore Nationals. Two types of rifles are used for F-Class competition; F-Open (F/O) which allows a total rifle weight of 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds) with any caliber up to .350; and F/TR which is restricted to .223 Rem. and .308 Win. In addition, the F/TR rifles cannot use a front rest like F/O rifle, but are restricted to a bipod. The weight of the bipod is included in the maximum weight of 8.25 kilograms (18.18 pounds).
The format for the first day of the championship was two sighters and 20 shots for record at 300, 500 and 600 yards for a daily possible score of 600-60X. Take note of this possible score for later comparison.
In F/O at 300 yards, 28 out of 97 competitors shot 200. James Bauer had the highest score of 200-18X. In F/TR out of the 64 shooters, seven shot cleans with the highest going to Randy Littleton’s 15X.
At 500 yards, F/O saw 24 shooters clean the yard line. Team Berger’s Jim Murphy won the gold with 17X. The other side of the house had four cleans, with Wade Fillingame’s 14X at the top of the heap.
The final match of the day was at 600 yards. Only eight F/O trigger pullers managed to clean the target. Team Berger’s Andy Amber and Mid Tomkins and the Spindle Shooters Jeff Cochran earned 14X. In F/TR, the highest score was Randy Littleton’s 199-8X, with Berger Bullets own Michelle Gallagher scoring 199-6X for second place.
The daily aggregate saw three F/O competitors clean the course with scores of 600 out of 600. First place went to Tod Hendricks with 43X, second was John Myers with 39X and close behind was Jeff Hopkins with 38X. F/TR saw Michelle Gallagher’s 598-25X come out on top. Randy Littleton and Todd Sanders were one point behind with 37X and 27X, respectively.
Day two was shot at 600 yards so you would think the scores would be lower, yes? Not so! Thirty-eight F/O shooters cleaned the first match. John Myers, Emil Kovan and Randy Snook all scored 18X. Not to be outdone, F/TR saw three cleans—Randy Littleton first with 13X, and Carl Matthews second with 10X, and Jose Moore in third with 9X.
The second string of the 600 yard day saw the wind become more of a factor with only nine cleans. John Myers’ 17X topped the list, with Emil Kovan a single X behind. The F/TR crowd kept up their hard work with seven cleans. Scott Harris with/200-14X came out on top, with Randy Littleton and James Grissom right behind, each scoring 12X.
The third and final shoot of the day saw the wind become a bit more hairy and cleans were reduced, with F/O having only five shooters cleaning the 10-ring. F/TR had only one clean score—a 13X that belonged to Wade Fillingame.
At the end of the day, only one F/O competitor was clean and that was John Myers with a 600-49X. The high F/TR score belonged to Tracy Hogg with 597-28X. So, after two days of shooting John Myers was the only F/O competitor still clean with a total of 1200-88X. Of the other two who had clean scores on day one, Tod Hendricks was down two points and Jeff Hopkins was one behind him. In F/TR, Wade Fillingame was down seven, Todd Sanders down 10 and Alan Barnhart was down 12.
Day three was going to be a humdinger. Remember they went back to shooting 300, 500 and 600 yards, so things are a little mixed up. Let’s first take a look at the F/TR during the last day of individual shooting. The winds were down for the 300-yard stage, and 12 F/TR shooters cleaned the target. Josh Moore and Steve Ernst scored 16X. One of the 12 was everyone’s favorite smiling face—Nancy Tompkins with 12X. The next string at 500 yards produced only two cleans. One was Tracy Hogg with 12X and the other with 11X by Josh Moore. For the final shoot at 600 yards, three 199 scores were fired. The first was Wade Fillingame with 13X, Nancy (everyone knows who you mean when you say Nancy) second with 11X and Randy Littleton third with 8X.
With the 600-yard portion over so was the F/TR Championships. The bronze medal goes to Alan Barnhart’s 1780-92X. The silver belongs to Tod Sanders’ 1782-89X. The F/TR champion and gold medal winner was Randy Littleton—who shot an outstanding 1790-104X.
Now on to the F-Open day three results, 300 yards produced 41 clean scores; 500 yards had 24 and 600 yards had four each. Three shooters shot clean for the day—John Myers with 660-45X, Norman Harrold’s 600-43X and Edward Harrach’s 600-40X. When all the scores were added, most of the top 10 shooters were within five points of each other, ranging from 1791-118X to 1796-119X. It was a close race with Jeff Hopkins taking the bronze with 1796-110X, and Tod Hendricks winning silver with 1796-119X.
Now do you remember my telling you earlier to take note of a daily possible score of 600-60X? Well the gold medal winner, John Myers cleaned all three days with 600s and finished the championships with an unbelievable score of 1800-133X! To top it off, this is John’s fourth F-Class Mid Range championship win, which is every one the NRA has held thus far. One odd thing about John’s equipment—he was shooting a .300 WSM and Berger 215-grain Hybrids.
With the individual championships over, the fourth day was devoted to team matches. I love team matches. All I have to do is lay there and point my gun where the coach tells me and pull the trigger. If we win, it’s because of the shooters, and if we lose it’s because of the coach. Team day saw 18 F-Open and 11 F/TR shooters enter. If we compare the individual entry numbers to the number of teams, with an average of five people per team—we can see the vast majority of shooters participated on a team.
Shooting consisted of four team members shooting two sighters and 20 shots each at 600 yards for record. There is a block time of 47 minutes for two competitors to fire, and there’s a pit change for the second pair of competitors to complete the match with another 47 minute block time. The aggregate consists of teams firing the course twice for a possible total of 1600-160X.
In Match 13, two F/O teams shot cleans and two dropped a point. Team Brux-Lapua-Borden took first place with a score of 800-60X. The Long Shots were second, just 2X short. Team McMillian was third with 799-58X. Over in F/TR, Pierce Engineering’s 795-42X took first place. The X-Men were in second with a 794-42X, and DA Bulls’ 794-40X was good for third place.
After a short break in the firing Match 14 started. Again in F/O, Brux-Lapua-Borden’s 798-52X put them in the top spot. Team McMillian moved up to second with 796-53X, and the Spindle Shooters (who were seventh in the first match) were third after dropping 5 points. In F/TR there was a complete turnover in leaders. The Indiana F-Class team took first with 790-37X. Second place went to the RoadRunners with 790-35X, and third place to the Irregulars with 787-41X.
With both matches finished medals and trophies were presented on the 1000-yard line. Team Brux-Lapua-Borden took the gold with 1598-112X, Team McMillian’s 1595-53X was good for silver and The Long Shots won the bronze with 1593-106X.
The F/TR team from Pierce Engineering took the gold with a total score of 1582-78X. The silver went to Indiana F-Class’ 1582-77X. The bronze went to the X-Men with 1580-62X. It should be noted that Team X-IT Strategy was fourth. This team consisted of all women—Team Captain, Jennifer Bondurant, Coach Jenni Hausler, Laura Perry, Mogan Abbott, Jessica Anderson and Leatha Tampke. Well done ladies!
To see all the scores go to www.baldeaglesrc.org/page-1225475/6673828
Photos by Denys Beauchemin