Bisley - here we come.

by Shiraz7/13/2009
The US F-Class Open Rifle team takes off for London on July 15th to participate in the 3rd World F-Class Championship. This event is held every four years. The first one (held in Canada) was won by USA, the second one (held in South Africa) was won by South Africa.

Our team members are flying from various airports around the USA and one even from a Canadian airport (double Customs clearance), but we all land within a couple of hours of each other at London's Heathrow airport. The coaches are ready for the challenge and the team members are all ready to swoop up the gold!

We arrive at Heathrow on the morning of July 16th and will be taking mini vans to Bisley Camp, which is approximately an hour away. Our ammo was graciously shipped by air by Berger Bullets and is awaiting us at the armory in Bisley. We expect to collect the ammo on the afternoon of the 16th, get barrels screwed on and guns assembled that same day in preparation the next day's events. There is a practice session at 900 yards on July 17th as well as three matches, the Century 500 and 600 yards and the Admiral Hutton 900 yards. There are a number of different matches just about every single day until Saturday the 25th of July.

On Sunday, July 26 we will be holding an all day practice at 800, 900 and 1000 yards

Then, the World Championships start on Monday July 27, 2009. 

The whole US F class Open team will be shooting the proven 6.5-284 caliber. Several of the other teams are shooting the ballistically superior 7mm calibers, but we expect to outwit them with our calculated wind calls. The English have a "home court" advantage and are utilizing their best wind readers who know the nuances of their ranges inside out. Nothing like a good challenge to bring out the best in us!

There are at least 6 nations competing in the F-Class Open category that we know of right now:

Great Britain
South Africa

Monday and Tuesday, July 27 and 28, are the individual matches to crown the individual World Champion. Wednesday and Thursday, July 29 and 30, are the Team World Championship matches. This is the one we all have trained so hard for, the one that matters the most. The one we hope to win!

Is there anticipation at this point? Well, when you get up in the middle of the night from a dream (nightmare) where you find yourself at the wrong airport to fly out to Bisley, where you feel that you forgot to pack your underwear, and the most interesting one.....where you have been escorted by security into a room and one of security agents is putting on a latex glove.................Bisley here we come!!


by Shiraz7/15/2009
July 15, 2009. This is the day that we all fly to Bisley for the Imperial matches followed by the World Championships.

I live about 20 miles south of the Canadian border and it was easier and cheaper for me to fly from Vancouver to London/Heathrow, than from Seattle. The only issue would be that I would have to clear Canadian Customs for the firearm. Not to worry - downloaded all the forms off their web site and left myself several extra hours in case there was an issue. Declared the weapon upon pulling up to the border, was sent in and took lees than 30 minutes to get the gun registered and the $25 fee paid.

Checking in at the Vancouver airport was equally smooth even though I had 6 large, hard cases to check in. It was a relief to be left with my two carry on items. Plane was off on time.

Thursday/arrival in England

by Shiraz7/17/2009
Arrival was uneventful and my plane landed within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival time. Going through immigration was a breeze with the longest time (about 3 minutes) that it took the immigration officer to look up the code for a sports shooter.

Bags came out very quickly on the carousel, except for my gun that was brought out by the Air Canada agent and personally delivered to the red zone for Customs inspection. It was comforting to know that the checks were in place at Air Canada and at the receiving end for my rifle. John Brewer had a harrowing experience. His gun never showed up and after a thorough and panicky search for an hour and a half by the airline and airport personnel, his gun was located sitting on the tarmac inside one of those trolleys. Someone must have got an xxx chewing over that!

I arrived at Terminal 3 and was to link up with Larry Taite who had landed an hour earlier at Terminal 5.  He had arrived from a direct flight from Los Angeles and the airline lost one of his bags. To make things even more interesting our mini van driver was late in picking us up because he was delayed by the first group of our shooters and was on his way back from Bisley. We ultimately got to Bisley at about 12:45 pm, not too bad all things considered. As of Thursday night Larry's missing luggage had not been delivered.

After a quick team meeting at 1:30 pm, Dean Morris, coach Mead and I were driven to the Mini Bus rental place in Ripley by Mid Tompkins.  The rental place is about 20 minutes away under normal circumstances.  Took us about an hour to get there through the narrow, windy roads of Bisley, Woking and Guildford. Gave me a good chance to visualize what it would be like driving through these roads. We arrived at the mini bus rental place which resembled more of a chop shop than an auto rental outfit. I declined to remove my driver's license from my wallet and Bob Mead and Dean Morris became the designated drivers by default. I was later given the high five and a fist bump by a couple of team mates for how slickly I got out of driving the bus :)

What should have taken an hour for the whole trip to and from the bus rental place turned into about a three hour round trip ride. We returned to find that the golf cart company had not yet delivered the carts. So, we drove the bus to the "armory" (really a 20' shipping container with a lock) and picked up our ammo cartons, broke out the cans inside and gave them to the shooters.

The WIFI internet system at the NRA office here in Bisley was out of order on Thursday, so no internet was available.

Next, we distributed our golf carts and are sharing them two per shooter. This allows us to carry our rests and gear as close to our yard lines as possible. "Thank you" Mik Maksimovich for making the arrangements that allows us convenient access to the line with our carts. We then needed to pick up our cleaning rods, solvent, programs and shooting mats that were shipped to a friend of Brian Otey's, Joe Domanski. He lives about twenty minutes from Bisley. We needed to make a small grocery run as well as eat, so Dean Morris, Bryan Otey, the two Bocks, Eric Bair and myself took off in the mini-bus to run the errands and eat. We ended up eating at the Hunter's Lodge where the food and prices were reasonable. We were famished and any food would have been welcome. My last meal had been 14 hours prior on the plane where I had been served a tiny plate of fruit (my specially ordered "vegetarian" meal). 

Got back to the Pavilion Hotel at about 10:30 at night and crashed for the night. It had been a long day.

Shooting begins

by Shiraz7/18/2009
Yesterday was Friday, July 17 and the first day of shooting.

The English are very well organized and everyone has been issued squadding card books that tell you the match name, distance, range time etc. There is a small letter next on each card and only when you arrive at the range for your match do you find out which target you would be shooting at. The numbers are scrambled and so the people marking the targets have no idea who is shooting on what target number. We also have been scrambled all over the different matches at different times so I could be shooting at 11:00 am while other team members could be at 2:45 pm etc.. These matches are "3 to a mound" so there could be 200 shooters on the line at any given moment. This is a huge meet and there are about 1350 shooters from all over the world shooting the different matches. Over 200 are F-Class shooters.

3 shooters per target is a new experience for me as well as some others on the team. Right shooter shoots, left scores, middle shoots, right scores, left shoots and middle scores etc.

My first match was 600 yards and Mike downey was on the right, me on the left and a young English lady in the middle. Took a little getting used to because she was soft spoken and I had to ask her  couple of times if she got my score. It took me almost 6 shots to get in the groove and I almost fired out of turn a couple of times. That would have been the death spell for that match as it counts as a miss! Got the hang of it and ended up shooting 48 with 3V. "V" is an X and scoring goes V, 5,4,3,2,1. Maximum possible is 50 points and 10 Vs. however, over here, and only during the Imperial matches, they give an extra point for a V. Mike shot 47 with 7Vs! So, he ended up with 54 points, me with 51. There were some good scores by our shooters: Jim Murphy, Jeff Cochran, Jeff Traylor had 56 each  (highest possible is 50 + 10). Larry Bartholome and Dean at 52 each.

Then we shot the 500 yard match. All hell broke loose at 500 yards. It was pouring down rain and howling wind. My left eye was getting peltered with rain rain getting between my  left shooting glass lens and my hat. Of course, I had a full rain suit on and a small protective plastic piece over my action to keep the rounds dry. Bad things happen if you chamber wet rounds! Bob Bock had just come off the 900 yard line and he got so soaked that he did not shoot the 500 yard match.

I was reading the angle of the rain drops and shot 7 Vs in a row. Then the rain subsided and I could not see the drops. No mirage, no rain and no flags, because they give you false readings when they are wet. "Oh, oh" I remember thinking. Looking at the flags I thought the wind had reduced in speed. There was a good English shooter to my right and he must have thought the same thing. It was his turn to shoot and he must have favoured to the right like I was going to do. Bang, a 4 off to the right. I quickly favoured to the left and shot a V. I ended up with a perfect score of 50 with 10Vs. Of all the F Class shooters from all countries, Jim Murphy and I were the only ones that shot that score.

Off to 900 yards. Rain picked up again (wind never let up all day) and once again Jim Murphy and I had the highest scores at 900. 50 with 5Vs. I ended up Creedmoring Jim Murphy at 900. Scores will be posted at the bottom of this blog.

Our gear was soaked, we were soaked and tired - reminded me of my salmon fishing trips up on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Got back to the room and I was blow drying the shooting mat, my gun case, range bag. Even had to take the gun apart and dry out the action and the bedding. Coach Mead had loaned his hair dryer from his room to Bob Bock and never saw it again. At 10:30 at night he was looking for Bob bock and the dryer. Lesson learned - NEVER LOAN A HAIR DRYER TO A BALD MAN! 

Top 10 scores:

CENTURY 500 and 600 Yards (they added the total of these two matches up).

1. JM Kort, Netherlands, 116.
2. Jim Murphy, USA, 116
3. D. Brough CNRC, 113
4. DN Kent, Old Epsomium RC, 112
5. SP Barrett, Pennine Shooting Sports, 111
6. C Shorthouse, British Snipers, 111
7. S. Balolia, USA, 111
8. H. Mitera, Germany, 110
9. L. Bartholome, USA, 110
10. L. Tomlinson, Scotland, 109


1. D.Brough, CNRC, 56
2. S. Balolia, USA, 55
3. Jm Murphy, USA 55
4. DN Kent, Old Epsomian, 54
5. A. Brough, CNRC, 54
6. DN Been, Netherlands, 54
7. L. Tomlinson, 54
8. N. Tompkins, USA, 53
9. FH Van der Merve, South Africa, 53
10. J. Traylor, USA, 53

That's it for now.

2nd day of shooting

by Shiraz7/20/2009
Saturday, 2nd day of Shooting.

The NRA internet was down most of the day yesterday so this report is a day late.

There were 3 matches on Saturday. The Donegall 300 yards, Lovell 1000 yards and the Daily Telegraph 500 yds.

The 300 yard match was interesting with 2 to 3 minutes of wind and changing angles. Mike Downey and Jeff Cochran really hammered them and ended up with 50 points and 8 Vs each. Several of our shooters dropped points to angle changes and pick ups. I ended up with 50 points and 7Vs. I was feeling good until Downey and Cochran came off the line.

Next was the 1000 yard match and by then the wind had picked up substantially. I was able to hang in there and dropped one point ending up with 49 points and 3 Vs. Top three people had same score and I was Creedmored into second place. For those that do not know what "creedmored" means, when two or more shooters have the same score, they start from the last shot fired and work their way backwords. My last shot for record was a 5 and the other guy's last shot for record was a V. Jeff Traylor did very well as well coming in 7th for the 1000 yard match. Of the top 10 shooters only two were from the US. Of the top 20, there were 7, so that was a very good showing.

I had a two hour break between the 1000 yard match and the 500, which was set to begin at 6:00pm. In the US we hardly ever shoot past 6:00pm, but here they schedule matches all the way till 7:00pm. By the time you are done, most of your teammates, who are shooting at different times, are dispersed and you cannot coordinate going out to eat or meetings and so forth. Anyway, there are vendor tents across the NRA building and I wondered around looking at some interesting things that they have. Most of their stuff is very expensive. I could not bring "Carb out" with me because of airline regulations and had to buy it here. 10 pounds, which is about $16.50. It costs about $6.50 in the US. Bumped into Dean Morris on the way back from the vendor tents and he had an interesting relay. He was the center shooter and the guys on either side of him did not speak English. To make things worse, neither one spoke the other's language. Then add to that mix Dean Morris, a good `ol boy from Oklahoma. He might as well be from Mars!! You can just imagine the jovial conversation they had trying to figure out who shoots and who scores. 

Off to 500 yards. There were dark clouds looming and I quickly put on my raingear. As soon as we were called to the line, downpour! And yes, it was windy so you have rain going sideways (great for reading the velocity). Bisley is very windy range. In the 3 days we have been here the wind has not let up. This was a 15 shot match and I managed to squeak out the full 75 points with 11 Vs. Cochran had the same score as I did, but I creedmored him and ended up in 4th place. Competition is extremely tough as you have absolutely the best shooters in the world here. I came off the line in nasty conditions with a perfect 75 and 11 Vs and get 4th place. What's up with that?

At 9:00 pm there was a blazer and tie reception put on by the NRA. It was drinks only. Met a few Kenyan shooters. They actually have two teams here shooting in the Imperial matches. One is the Army Team and the second one is the Police Team. Nice guys and very friendly. They were surprised at seeing a Kenyan born American shooter. Handed some pins out to them and they were very grateful.

Got back to the room and did the whole hair drying routine again with all the gear as well as the gun.

Top 10 scores:

Donegall 300 yds.

M Downey, USA, 58
David Kent, GB, 58
J. Cochran, USA, 58
J Traylor, USA 57
S. Balolia, USA, 57
IC Mowbray, GB, 57
D. Parr, GB, 56
MP Plug, Netherlands, 56
D Brough, GB, 56
J. Campbell, GB, 55

Daily Telegraph 500 yards.

D, Brough, GB, 87
A Brough, GB, 87
M Been, Netherlands, 86
S. Balolia, USA, 86
J. Cochran, USA, 86
D. Kent, GB, 84
W. Schozle, Germany, 84
J. Campbell, GB, 84
H. Mikera, Germany, 84
D. Stewart, Marquis, 84

Lovell 1000 yards.

W. Scholze, Germany, 52
S. Balolia, USA, 52
P. Hobson, GB, 52
JA McAllister, GB, 51
A. Brough, GB, 51
D. Brough, GB, 50
J. Traylor, USA, 50
CS Taljaard, S. Africa, 50
LP Fenlon, GB, 49
J. Brewer, USA, 49

I'll try to do Sunday's results later on today as well.


by Shiraz7/21/2009
Sunday - 3rd day of shooting.

The internet at the NRA office is horrible. It works at random and can disconnect in the middle of a session. To top things off, the blog was not picking up my messages, so you probably saw a two day delay. I also notice that the blog drops in some question marks and does weird things in the middle of my words sometimes. Just bear with us and maybe our IT guys will fix that issue. I will try to catch up today, but might have to reduce the commentary a bit. Hunt and peck typist.

The wind was howling today, anywhere from 10 to 18 MPH with let ups and many angle changes. There were three matches today. The Daily Mail 500 yards, the Duke of Cambridge 900 yards and the Alexandra 600 yards.

Personally, I had some issues. I was not concentrating and had a generally bad day. Called my wife up and told her today was a "crash and burn" day! At the 600 yards I was watching the wrong flags (no rain to help this Pacific NW boy today). Then I come back to the room and as I am turning the knob to change the elevation on my scope from 600 to 900 yards, I lose my concentration and don't turn enough. That cost me two misses for my first two sighters. Had a good recovery, but in this group, good recovery moves you into the middle of the pack. However, my teammates did not let us down. Mid Tompkins got creedmored into 2nd place. David Bailey shot excellent at 600 yards and came in 4th place. In the 500 yard match we cleaned up getting 6 out of the top 10 spots with Jim Murphy coming through in 1st place. At the 900 yard line we only had one person in the top 10. Capt. Bock.

Bev Bartholome had chest pains and Doc Bock diagnosed it as a muscle spasm and knocked her out with some "stuff" from his voodoo bag. Luckily she was up and about the next day even going into London with the girls.

There was a reception at the Canada House and we were invited. A formal event and we were dressed in our blazers, ties etc. When I was doing the dress code for the team, several teammates called me names, including "dress code Nazi". Bet they were thanking me now, as everyone was dressed primp and proper. The reception was very nicely done and we thank the Canadians for inviting us. Good food, drinks and good company.

Top 10 scores.

Daily Mail 500 yards.

J. Murphy, USA, 85
D. Kent, GB, 85
D. Gosnell, USA, 84
J. Traylor, USA, 84
J. Campbell, GB, 84
RT Bock, USA, 84
RC Mead, USA, 83
D. Brough, GB, 83
L. Taite, USA, 82
JA McAllister, GB, 81

Alexandra 600 yards.

M. De Kort, Netherlands, 58
M. Tompkins, USA, 58
D. Bailey, USA, 57
H. Mitera, Germany, 56
DA Stewart, Marquis, 56
J. Murphy, USA, 55
MJ Moran, Ulster RA, 55
D. Brough, GB, 55
E. Bair, USA, 55
H. Kruger, Germany.

Duke Of Cambridge 900 Yards

D. Kent, GB, 53
JH Els, S. Africa, 51
W. Scholze, Germany, 50
L. Tomlinson, Scotland, 49
RT. Bock, USA, 49
DJ Groom, GB, 48
D. Brough, GB, 48
JA Kruger, SA, 48
M Maksimovik, GB, 47
EJ Hobbs, GB, 47

Maybe I'll get time and I will do Monday's as well today.

Monday shooting

by Shiraz7/21/2009
Monday, July 20.

Lot of bad things happening . looks like a dark cloud is following Mike Downey and me around. Mike is an amazing shooter (came in second at the Nationals last year) and a solid performer.

Well, Mike starts out like a champ at 300 yards and smokes it! Shoots a 50 with 10V, so is forced to take 5 extra shots to break a tie in case there is one. He shoots another 5 Vs. Off top a great start. Nancy Tompkins shoots a 50 and 9Vs, Coach Mead 50 and 8Vs, Jim Murphy 50 and 8 Vs, I shoot a 50 with 7 Vs and only Mike Downey and Nancy are in the top 10! If you shoot your really good score at home matches, here people will spit at that score. You gotta to have a super performance to be up there at these meets. Now don't get me wrong, we (USA) are very, very good and always manage to have several shooters in the top ranks. I think Jim Murphy will have a few golds, Mike Downey a few, I have a few silvers, Mid has one or two. Traylor and others. However, there simply is no room for errors.

So, then Mikey goes to the 1000 yard line and gets garbage pit service on target 31. I pull up in my golf cart to shoot my 1000 yard match after him and I see that almost every second shot, they are calling for a mark. I look at the little chalk board and jeez, I'm on 31 next up. Oh well, we will deal with it. Sighter 2 for me was a 5. Wind was 8 to 10 with angle changes, but I felt good about reading it. I converted that sighter and off I was running - well, running may not be the right word for 3 to a mound, but I think you know what I mean. I was hammering 5s, a couple of Vs and a couple of 4s. We called for a mark several times and then I took a shot. The previous shot was a 5 and the conditions were identical so I was expecting a V on this shot. Target doesn't go down. We call for a mark and the pullers (they call them markers in England, but I will call these two particular people in the pitts, pullers) gave me a miss. A MISS? Bloody hell. They put a spotter on the top of the frame. So I challenged it. They pulled the target down, and by now they certainly had covered up my real shot hole with a paster, and it comes up with a spotter on the bottom of the frame. I challenged it again and the range officer says "what do you want me to do, go down and check it myself?" So I took a miss for that shot as I was holding up the other two shooters. Next shot, with no changes to my elevation knob, a waterline 4 then a V and a 5. I still ended up with a 43 and 2Vs without the 5 points that I lost. I will elaborate a little more about this subject after I get back.

Jeff Traylor did very well at that 1000 yard match shooting a 48 with 4Vs. I think he will get a silver medal for that. Larry Taite took 5th place.. Bailey 13th and Brewer 14th. Then Mike Downey (Mikey) shoots the 500 yards and does really well. Gives his score card to another shooter who supposedly turns it in to the range officer, only he later finds out that the card is missing. So guess what, he loses all those points from that match and he is finished for the grand aggregate. Really a crying shame because he is one of the top shooters. Wait, the dark cloud continued through the night. Someone tried to steal his golf cart in the middle of the night. They had rolled it in the middle of the road, opened up the dash, cut the wires and tried to start it. Luckily for Mike they could not start it or else two thousand British pounds!

Top 10 scores:

Times 300 Yards.

M. Downey, USA 60
J. Campbell, GB, 59
PA King, GB, 59
N. Tompkins, 58
CS Taljaard, S. Africa
M Been, Netherlands, 59
MP Plug, Netherlands, 58
LP Fenlon, GB, 58
JM De Koort, Netherlands, 58
W. Schulze, Germany, 58

Wimbledon 600 yards

Mid Tompkins, USA, 59
D. Kent, GB, 58
Bob Mead, USA, 58
Jim Murphy, USA,58
L. Taite, USA, 58
L Tomlinson, GB, 57
J. Wright, GB, 57
MP Plug, Netherlands,57
W. Scholze, Germany, 57
PT Drummy, GB, 56

Corporation 1000 yards

D. Parr, GB, 56
J. Traylor, USA, 52
A. Brough, GB, 52
W. Scholze, Germany, 52
L Taite, USA, 51
J. Campbell, GB, 51
CS Taljaard, S. Africa, 50
M Been, Netherlands, 50
PW Drummy, GB, 50
H. Mitera, Germany, 49

That's all for this report.

Tuesday shooting

by Shiraz7/21/2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today there was only one 300 yard match which is a precursor to the finals ie.. the top shooters of this match will shoot in the St George's finals.

For me it was an early morning shoot at 8:00 am. The wind was dead. The weather was cool and overcast. Reminded me of the Plantation 300 yard range in Bellingham, WA where I shoot a lot of matches. First time since I got here the wind was less than 2 MPH. Less than ½ MOA change on my gun. It was a 15 shot match and I shot a perfect 75 with 15 Vs. As Coach Mead later said, even a blind Hog could have done that! Well it was good for first place with just one other person. Anyway that guarantees me a spot in the finals. Lot of US shooters in the St George's finals.

The afternoon we practiced as a team at 900 yards and 1000 yards. I believe Jim Murphy did really well on his vertical hold, but then no surprise. If you want to win against him, he better have an off day and you be on top of your game. Had a meeting with the coaches and captain about tactics etc and went to the NRA building for my Internet experience. Its getting to be a daily challenge (hey - that sounds like match, sure feels like it). Just managed to squeak off the Sunday match results 2 minutes before they closed. Actually got there 30 mins before closing, but 20 minutes were spent trying to make their archaic system work. Doc Bock has figured out a way to make his Internet work. He stands with it just outside the door of the pavilion and gets enough bars to talk to his wife on that two way video thing. I even managed to say hi to her as I was walking by.

St George's Stage One 300 Yards,

1. S. Balolia, USA, 90

DA Stewart, Marquis, 90

H. Kruger, Germany, 89
JM De Koort, Netherlands, 89
M. Downey. USA, 89
D. Morris, USA, 89
D. Kent, GB, 89
W. Schulze, Germany, 88
PW Medhurst, GB, 88
M. Been, Netherlands, 88

There are four matches tomorrow and a whole bunch of planning and general team business work to take care of.

Wednesday Shooting

by Shiraz7/24/2009
Wednesday shooting.

Yes, I know - I am behind, but it has been pretty hectic here and no time even though I can smoke along at 100 words per minute typing speed. Not.

There were 4 matches today, three of which were Queens 1 matches at 300, 500 and 600 yards. The way it works is that you shoot these matches and the top 25 people or the top 25% or so (disclaimer as I am not sure) move to the finals which are to be held on Friday. Then on Friday these hot shots duel it out at 900 yards and 1000 yards.

There was also a Conan Doyle 900 yard match which I promptly renamed Conan The Barbarian due to my dismal performance. Several of our US shooters fell prey to the Barbarian, but several did very well at the Queens qualifier matches. Out of the top 25 or 35 shooters in the Queens, 6 were USA shooters, a healthy percentage.

Queens I 300, 500, 600 Yards top 10

 - D Brough, GB, 119
 - DJ Groom, GB, 119
 - J. Murphy, USA,119
 - JM De Kort, Netherlands, 119
 - D. Kent, GB, 119
 - W. Scholze, Germany, 119
 - PW Medhurst, GB, 117
 - LP Fenlon, GB, 117
 - S. Balolia, USA, 116
 - H. Kruger, Gernany, 116

Conan was a tough one. I would use the B word, but the world is reading this. I cannot bestow enough compliments on Conan. While some of us were shooting the 300. 500 yards matches, some were shooting Conan. The morning Conan relays were mild with the wind and the afternoon ones were where we got slayed. Not complaining as them are the breaks. Sometimes you get a good relay (like the one where I shot the 15V at 300) and sometimes you get bitten. Misery is spread equally at Bisley. When I shot, wind was between 10 and 15 mph with sudden and acute angle changes. I had 4.5 minutes left on the gun and was holding left 3 to 4 and right 2. I ended up with 43 and 3Vs. Earlier Bob Bock had shot a 48 with 3 Vs and his feet didn't touch the ground as he left the line!  Bob Bock was the only USA shooter to make the top 10 in Conan.

Conan Doyle 900 yards Top 10

 - NG Kelly, GB, 53
 - DW Wulff, Germany, 53
 - J. Campbell, GB, 53
 - L Tomlinson, Scotland, 52
 - P. Wilson, GB, 52
 - JM De Kort, Netherlands, 52
 - RT Bock, USA, 51
 - FC Van Kiekerk, S. Africa, 51
 - D. Brough, GB, 51
 - WC Cuthbert, Ulster, 50

David Bailey had some equipment issues. First his trigger broke. That was replaced from our extra parts that we brought along. Then he stripped the threads on his rest. David is a strong dude and needs to have a torque limiting gizmo attached to his arm. The rest was fixed by a gunsmith who lives very near the range and David is back in business. Dean Morris is having some issues with his scope. Click down, nothing. Click, click, click , still nothing. Then suddenly, boom, and his shot drops out the bottom. In this game, having confidence in your gear goes a long ways towards your mental aptitude when on the line.

4 matches and a team meeting made for a long day. Went out to the Surrey Club here on campus for dinner with Larry and Bev Bartholome, Jim and Connie Murphy and bumped into Des Parr, Captain of the English Team, Peter Wilson, Vice Captain of the English Team, John Campbell and Paul. They joined us and we had a very pleasant evening together. Got back to the room at about 10:00pm and cleaned my gun, sorted the ammo for the next days shooting and went to sleep about 11:00 pm. Up at 5:00 am the next morning.

Thursday Shooting

by Shiraz7/24/2009

Today was a slow shooting day with only one match to shoot. The Prince of Wales 600 yard match. We were once again dispersed at different shooting times for the Prince Of Wales relays. 

There was also a 7:00 am team meeting at the Pavilion to go over team training that morning and to announce the 7 man team for the International Team match that would be held Friday morning. This is an important event and very prestigious. Captain Bock made it easy for naming the shooters. He took the top four shooters by their rank in the running total aggregates till Wednesday night. You are allowed 4 shooters, one captain and two coaches for a total of seven medals if you win. The following were the top 4 shooters from the US Team as of Wednesday night:

Jim Murphy,
Jeff Traylor,
Larry Taite 
Shiraz Balolia

Jeff Cochran was next on the list and he was appointed Captain for this match. Bob Mead and Mid Tompkins were the two coaches. That made 7 members on the team.

I had a 9:50 Prince Of Wales match so I could not attend the practice session, but they wanted to get the timing and all that down, so the practice went well. I did not drop a single point at my Prince of Wales match and shot 10 Vs as well, and ended up in 12th place. Sheesh! Came back to the room, cleaned the gun and ran over to the Zero range to blow off 5 rounds. I shoot moly coated bullets and it takes at least 5 rounds to settle the barrel after cleaning. With two sighters and 10 or 15 rounds for record you got no time to mess around. Bang, bang and you are going for record.

The afternoon was free for all of us. A bunch of guys went with no-hubcap-Dean to see Windsor castle. Dean has blown all the hub caps on the Van by jumping the curb so many times that I hold my neck with my hands when I sit with him. I chose to go to see my wife in London where she is vacationing with a friend from India. Mid Tompkins dropped me off at Brookwood train station and I bumped into a South African shooter whom I had met in Raton. He quickly showed me the lowest fare and the type of pass I should get to be able to use the railway trains, the subway trains and buses in greater London area. It is a pretty simple system and after taking one rail and two underground tubes, I ended up at Hyde Park station. A short walk took me to my wife's hotel. Spent the evening with her, had dinner in London and retraced my steps back to Bisley, getting back at about 9:30 pm. The next day was a big day with several finals and the International Team match. First team match I will ever be shooting for my country so the pressure to perform will be very high.

Prince of Wales top 10

W. Scholze, Germany, 90
D. Brough, GB, 88
RC Mead, USA, 87
A Kritzner, S. Africa, 87
LP Fenlon, GB, 87
MP Plug, Netherlands, 87
E. Bair, USA, 87
D. Kent, GB, 87
H. Mitera, Germany, 87
RA Wood, GB, 86

Friday is a big day. Watch for my next blog as there is lots to tell.

Friday - Big day

by Shiraz7/25/2009
Friday, July 24, 2009

Before I go into todays news, I would like to make a small correction. In my last blog posting I mentioned that Friday would be the first time I would be shooting on behalf of USA. That was incorrect as I was on the newly formed team that won the gold medal against the European Team in Lodi, Wisconsin, in October, 2008. The level of competition here in Bisley is very different as the best F-Class shooters in the World have gathered here for the World championship that starts next week.

Okay, Friday. Huge day today with back to back matches. Here was the sequence:

8:00 am Int. Team match, 900 yards
9:05 am, Int. Team match, 1000 yards
10:15 am, St Georges Final, 900 yards
11:15 am, Queens 2 Final, 900 yards
12:15 am, Queens 2 Final, 1000 yards.

We got to Stickledown range at 7:30 am and got ready for the big Team match. Jeff Cochran made the comment that the shooters were the only ones concerned the previous night, Thursday night, while the other team members were out having drinks at a few clubs on campus and had no worries for the next day. Traylor was fast asleep by 9:30 pm, Taiter was in some form of zen and I had returned from London and got to bed at 10:30 pm. Of course, Jim Murphy was his usual self - cool as a cucumber.

We were set on target 23 and 24 at 900 yards. I was on the left on target 23, Coach Mead sitting on the ground next to me with his scope and Taiter on his right. Then on target 24 Traylor, Coach Mid Tompkins and Murphy on his right. Mid was in a chair with his scope handy. Cochran was pacing back and forth behind us making sure that no one fired out of turn or did anything stupid. His job was also to clear our guns after we were done shooting. 

An initial wind correction was made for the conditions on my gun and Traylors gun. The firing began with myself and Traylor firing almost at the same time. My first shot was wide. Coach Mead made a second correction on my gun and Mid on Traylors gun and we were off gunning. With several minutes left on the windage on the gun, Bob Mead was asking me to hold anywhere from center to left 4, and also over to the right side when the wind let up. I did not lose any to verticals and ended up with 73 and 7 Vs. I really was not paying attention to my score or how many shots fired. My job was to release the shot perfectly and aim exactly where coach Mead told me to aim. Taiter was up next and he gunned down 74 with 8 Vs. Very nice!

Doc Bock was our score checker and the English had sent over a scorer to score our team. There was another scorer on Mids target and Nancy was the checker there. Then we moved to the 1000 yard line and were up on the second shelf of Stickledown. There are three shelves on Stickledown and the farther up you are the more windage you require on the gun. The wind effect is magnified and unexplained stuff happens. We were not happy with our shooting, but again had no idea what was happening to the other teams. They announced the winners right after the 1000 yard match. And.............................WE WON! Whoooohoooo.

The team results:

Gold - USA F- Class Open Rifle Team with 569.37
Silver - GB, 557.34
Bronze - S. Africa, 550.25

4. Ireland, 555.25
5. Scotland, 537.26
6. Netherlands, 533.22

Germany, 516.27
USA F-T/R, 512.19
Wales, 514.16
Ireland A/S, 505.18
Canada F-T/R, 487.09

Individual points for US shooters. Remember, this does not mean much because a shooter could be asked to sacrifice a shot for the benefit of the rest of shooters. I was asked to take such a shot and it landed in the 5 ring. That would be our 10 ring in USA. That way the coaches know what the wind is doing or if what they are reading is correct.

Traylor 143.09
Murphy 141.07
Shiraz, 142.10
Taite, 143.11

Then it was the St Georges 900 yard finals. There were 26 shooters that had qualified to shoot in the final of which 9 were US Team members. In no particular order:

Capt Bock, 
Nancy Tompkins,
Jeff Cochran

Conditions were not bad, about 7 to 12 mph winds with angle changes that needed to be watched. Only 3 shooters get medals. Our members did wel taking second and third place. The winners:

Gold - Adam Brough, GB, 81
Silver - Jim Murphy, USA, 79
Bronze - Shiraz (thank you very much) USA, 78

4. Jeff Cochran, USA 77
5. Mike Downey, USA, 77
6. MP Plug, Netherlands, 77
7. Jeff Traylor, USA, 77
8. JO Wright, GB, 76
9. D. Kent, GB, 76
10. H. Kruger, Germany, 75

Off to Queens finals at 900 yards and then on to 1000 yards. The wind had picked up much at 1000 yards, but not quite as bad as Conan the Barbarian. There were 21 total shooters who qualified to shoot in the Queens 2 finals, and 6 were from USA. Not a bad percentage. The US shooters that qualified, in no particular order;

Bob Mead
David Gosnell
Larry Taite

Again, top 3 get the medals and the rest are treated like yesterdays garbage. Does not stink, but still garbage!

Gold - David Kent, GB, 155
Silver - JM De Kort, Netherlands, 152
Bronze - Coach Mead, USA, 151.

Other Queens 2 placings:

4. Jim Murphy, USA, 151
5. Shiraz, USA, 150
6. D. Brough, GB, 150
7. Wolfgang Scolze, Germany, 147
8. Taiter, USA, 146
9. M. Been, Netherlands, 144
10. F. De Castro, France, 143.

Today is Saturday and most of the guys have gone London as it is our day off from shooting. I have other stories to tell, but want to get this long report off. Until the next time... 


by Shiraz7/26/2009
Saturday , July 25 2009

The Imperial matches are over and the place is starting to clear out fast. There were 1350 shooters here in Bisley.

In the F Class grand aggregate positions, three shooters from the USA placed in the top ten.

Imperial Grand Aggregate top 10:

Gold - David Kent, GB, 781

Silver - Wolfgang Scholze, Germany, 776

Bronze - Daniel Brough, GB, 771

M Been, Netherlands, 765
J. Murphy, USA, 763
A Brough, GB, 761
J. Campbell, GB, 759
Coach Mead, USA, 758
JM De Kort, Netherlands, 754
S. Balolia, USA, 754

Saturday at 6:00pm there was a huge awards ceremony with trophies and silverware fit for a king. The English sure know how to make winners feel special. Let me digress a bit here. There are certain matches in the USA where they hand out cash for awards. I completely dislike that method of awards. The problem is that the guys that make those decisions are generally the old fellas that have drawer full of medals that they have won over the years and would rather have cash. My issue is that you need to encourage newer shooters with something that they can display or strive for. Doesn't have to be exotic. Rant over. 

We went over to the large tent that had at least a million dollars worth of trophies and after about an hour they announced the winning Imperial F-Class team. Our USA Team. The seven of us got gold medals and a large trophy that will stay in Bisley. Got lots of pictures. I am going to post pictures after I get back, either on this blog site or create another link. 

After the awards ceremony Mid, Eric Bair and I went to the Indian restaurant in Brookwood. Mid likes only one thing in this restaurant, the only thing he has ever ordered and is unwilling to venture beyond a Chicken Tandoori. I ordered for Eric and I and we had an incredible meal.


by Shiraz7/27/2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009

Today was a practice day for the team, but nevertheless a busy day.

We got together at the 800 yard and plotted everyones shots. Then moved on to the 900 yard line and plotted again. The coaches missed a few changes in the wind and the shooters on both sides went into the 3 ring. Not good. Team shooting is great - you get to blame the coach for screwing up on the wind calls, but dare not say anything. I know Mid will not read this as he is computer challenged. Nancy - shhhhhhhhh!

My gun was sticking in the front bag because I do not have any silicone spray with me. Airline regulations prohibit checking that in. Anyway, I was going along just fine at 900 yards and threw one vertically into the 4 ring at 12 oclock. Thats the 9 ring at home. Coach Mead asked me if I was aiming at the Eagles in the sky!

Then, almost everyone had to move from the trailers and some from the Pavilion to St Georges lodge. I traded with Rick Jensen and he went to St Georges while I stayed here at the Pavilion in the same room. I have all my stuff spread out and did not want to move. At 3 pm everyone gathered at the 1000 yard line for the practice. Things went relatively well and I did not shoot any eagles down. Capt Bock just smoked 1000 yards, but some of our good shooters had some problems. We will see how it all shakes out after we look at the plots.

Came back to the room, cleaned the gun, showered and off I went to the flag raising ceremony. Brian Otey was picked from a draw of all US shooters to raise the US Flag and the flag raising went very smoothly except that it was raining and we were all out in the open getting wet. All the country flags were raised at the same time without any National Anthems. Bob Bock and I went from there to the Referees meeting where all the head honchos from all countries met. Collin Cheshire , the official ICFRA rep made some decisions and laid down the law very nicely. Great person and patient.

Then off to GB Meet and Greet. Good finger food and drinks. Met many of the shooters from the different countries. Most colorful and friendly were the Spaniards. I gave them some pins and had a great picture taken with the Spanish Team. Came back to the room at 9:30 pm, sorted ammo for the big day Monday when the World Championship individual shooting starts. If there is silence on the blog, that is because I am tied up. So bear with me.

The first two days are the individual World Championships and the second two days are the Team World Championships. It is supposed to rain all 4 days.

Almost done in Bisley

by Shiraz7/29/2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009.

A quick and dirty report as I am very busy and the NRA internet is on again, off again. It would seem like there is a person on a bicycle dynamo powering their internet service. The moment that person stops peddling, the internet goes down.

The individual World F Class Championship is over. We essentially got overpowered by the 7mm guns. Bisley is not a range that you can win using 6.5mm guns, which is what the whole US Team is using. Of the top 10 positions, all but one were Brits with 7mm guns. The odd one was a Scott also with a 7mm gun. Our top shooter was Jeff Traylor who came in 14th place. Jeff has shot very well and consistently throughout all the Imperials as well as the World Championships. Traylor got a bunch of medals including a gold for individual distances, Bob Bock got a bronze for 900 yards, Brian Otey got a gold for one of the distances, Mid got a couple and I got a bronze for 800 yards. I will give a full report after I get back.

The first day of the team match did not go well for us. The Brits are leading by 19 points, we are in second place and South Africa in third. I had some gun issues yesterday and dropped a few points - no not the 19 points we are behind! I will be probably be using Jeff Cochrans gun today so that should get even more interesting. Coaches are doing a good job. Our Rutland Team is kicking butt and is leading by 30 points. Looks like our FT/R team is doing well, but I do not have full details.

Tonight is our last night here and we leave tomorrow morning for the USA.

Final Results.

by Shiraz7/31/2009
Friday July 31, 2009.

The World F-Class championship matches ended yesterday and I just got home after a very long day of travelling.

Left Bisley at 6:00 am in the morning and shared a ride with Brian Otey and Larry Taite. I had 5 large cases and bags coming back. Gave a bunch of brass away to the Netherland team guys as I was overweight on almost every bag. Gave a bunch of things to the Irish fellas and still had to sit on every bag to be able to close them.  Had to pay Air Canada two hundred pounds for excess bags - ouch!  Arrived in Vancouver and took over an hour to get through Canadian customs with the rifle. Then drove to the border, had another hour wait in the line up, plus another 45 mins for US Customs to check my gun and ammo case etc. Glad to be home. After a hot shower and mama's home cooked Halibut curry, thought I would update the blog with some information.

The British team won the World F-Class Open Championship. USA took second and South Africa third. The Brits beat us by 59 points and they were very surprised that we came that close to them. I believe that there were two main factors that worked very well for them. First and foremost was that they had full knowledge of their range and have been practicing on that range fairly regularly as a team for quite some time. Why not? If all the team members lived only a few hours away from the range, it would be foolish not to. Secondly, their 7mm guns were a good wind bucking caliber that when combined with good coaches having coached at that range for many years gave them the results they were after. Someone made the comment to me that the Americans were improving by the day. Unfortunately, we ran out of days and it was game over. Our coaches did an outstanding job under very trying conditions. We beat the previous champs, South Africa, by 40 points.

Our Rutland team that was coached by Nancy Tompkins won the  gold medal.

Final F-Open Results

Gold, GB 3436.230V

Silver, USA 3377.234V

Bronze, S. Africa 3337.188V

Final Rutland Cup results

Gold, USA  1660.107V

Silver, GB 1647.104V

Yankees, 1645.84V

I ended up not having to use Cochrans gun on the last day as we figured out that the elevation on my scope is defective and the coach wanted me to hold off plus he was tapping the scope knob after each change. Managed to get through the second day without dropping any points to elevation at 800 and 900 yards.  However, we all got butchered at 1000 yards. When the wind picks up at Stickledown range it pushes your bullet down. The opposite is true when the wind lets up. Took us several days to figure that out. Again the 7mms are effected less with this anomaly. Tired and can hardly keep my eyes open. Am shocked at the speed difference with my fiber optic internet here at home and the Bisley watch the paint dry internet service.  Another note. I am purposely avoiding using quotes, dashes and apostrophes in my messages as the blog prints question marks instead. Bear with me.

Doc Bock arrested!

by Shiraz8/1/2009
Makes a great headline, doesn't it?

Well, Doc Bock, our team physician whom I affectionately call Witch Daktari, decided to put all his fired brass into his carry-on case. The X Ray during security clearance spotted it and a supervisor was called. He determined that it was a threat, grabbed Doc's passport and called the Heathrow Police which dispatched three officers. The security line was shut down for 30 minutes and Doc was temporarily detained. One of the security officers asked if these empty cases could be dangerous. One of the cops of sane mind said that they could be if he threw them at someone. The cases were removed from the carry on and transferred to check in baggage and our Doc escaped a bread and water diet.

Other news. While I mentioned that the Individual F-Class Championship was won by a British team member, I failed to mention his name. The winner was Gary Costello. Gary is a great guy and very humble about the whole thing, unlike at least one member of the British Team who made a lowly comment on Long Range Forum. Gary also helped the US Team with clearing our ammo shipment through British Customs and moving it to Bisley. Thank you Gary. Most of the Brits were very friendly and Mik was a wonderful host. I shot in the Imperial matches alongside Adam Brough, an 18 year old that is a natural born shooter. This kid slept in a tent, cleaned his gun only once during the whole event and was nonchalant when he showed up in the morning to shoot the first match. Yet, when he started shooting, he beat many a veteran shooter quite handily. His older brother, Daniel Brough is an equally talented shooter. Alan the photographer was wonderful and has taken some spectacular photographs of all the shooting during the two weeks. Good job, Alan. Most people around the Bisley camp were very friendly and the ladies at the Surrey Club were just great with the meals.

As far as our USA Shooters go, I would have to say that the most consistent shooter was Jeff Traylor. He plain shot flat and had very little vertical, if any, throughout the entire two weeks we were there. Many others shot very well and we won many medals at various distances. We had three scope failures that we contended with. Larry Bartholome had scope failure in the first week, but he came prepared with a back-up scope. Dean Morris also had a failure before the team matches started. I had trouble with my scope during the last couple of days. It is what it is and we do not make excuses, just report facts. Larry made a comeback and had to shoot off against Gary Costello for the 800 yard aggregate during the Individual World Championship match. Very exciting to watch. Almost the entire British team and our team gathered at the 800 yard line to watch the shoot off. One sighter and 5 shots for record. After that if they were still tied, it would be sudden death. Gary takes a sighter shot, a 4. Larry takes a sighter, a 4. Gary shoots a V, Larry shoots a V. Gary shoots a 5, Larry shoots a 5. Gary shoots a 4, Larry shoots a 4. Gary shoots a V, Larry shoots a 5. It was fun to watch two very good shooters duel it out like that. The wind was rough and they both read it well. Gary won the shoot off by one V.

During the entire 15 days or so that we were in Bisley it rained at least 10 of those days, sometimes light rain, sometimes a good downpour. We had such a downpour during the 900 yard stage of the last day of the World Championship. John Brewer and I were the last two shooters and we were both in the middle of our strings. Huge downpour. I had my full rain suit on and had the action covered up, except that I had the muzzle open. Forgot that I had a plastic cover for the muzzle in my range bag. After about a 10 minute beating the rain stopped and John Brewer took a shot. His barrel had got water in it and he shot a miss. Coach Mead told me to tip my stock up to let the water out from my barrel. I held it in that position for at least two minutes and then took a shot as called by the coach. Did not have any issues with my shot. The Brits also shot a miss, but it was one of their sighters so they did not lose any points.

I will keep the blog going as I get more reports from teammates and as I remember more things.


by Shiraz8/2/2009
I would like to start off by saying that my use of the term Frenchie is not meant to disrespect anyone from any country. It just flows well in this little episode.

During one of the relays of the Imperial matches Coach Mead laid down his gun on his rest and rear bag during prep time. This old guy with a walking stick limps to the firing line and gets ready to lay down next to the coach. He drops his stick which misses the scope on coach Meads gun by about half an inch! The guy gets all his stuff ready, but does not speak a word of English. He is French. Apparently, he had messed up other shooters at different yard lines and was not liked by anyone. Range officer knew Frenchie quite well and came up to the coach and asked if he wanted to move as the old guy was surely going to mess him up. Poor Frenchie was being treated like a soiled diaper everywhere he went.

Bob looks at Frenchie and then at the RO and tells him that he will work with the old guy. So, Coach Mead on the left, Frenchie in the middle and a Dutch guy on the right. Dutch guy could speak English, but had already had a run in with Frenchie so his fuse was about to blow before the match even began! Dutch guy takes the first shot, target comes up with the score, coach scores and then both guys look at Frenchie to see if he going to take a shot. Frenchie is still busy setting up his gear. Dutch guy is already foaming at the mouth and starting to make gurgling sounds. Coach taps Frenchie on the shoulder, points to the target and motions by showing the folded trigger finger that it is time for Frenchie to shoot. Merci, merci and Frenchie takes a shot, promptly missing the target. Coach takes a shot and it comes up a V. Frenchie throws up his arms in the air and says Hourra - French for Hooray. Frenchie is now rooting for the coach! That was how every single shot went through the whole relay and the coach did not drop a single point ending up with 5 Vs from a possible 7. Frenchie probably had the best relay of his trip to Bisley thanks to the patience of Coach Mead.

Then, as Frechie is getting up, his wooden leg falls off missing Coach Meads gun by a couple of inches. 


Blog Stats

by Shiraz8/4/2009
Interesting information about our blog.

In July, we had over 7,000 visitors to our blog from over 50 different countries following the F-Class World Championship matches! Majority from USA with UK, Australia, Canada, and Germany behind. Next were Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil and Ireland in that order.

Medal Count

by Shiraz8/6/2009
Click on the link below for a listing of all the medals won by the US F-Class Open Rifle Team in Bisley.

62 medals - and except for the coaches not a single shooter on the team had ever shot in Bisley before. Not a bad performance!