July 11th, 2011

Scots Top American F-TR All-Stars at Blair Atholl on 4th of July

USA v Scotland F-TR at Blair Atholl
Match Report by Laurie Holland
After their success in Ireland (Bulletin June 27th) a third of the American shooters, Tony Robertson in F Class and a complete F-TR team captained by Darrell Buell, travelled to Scotland to shoot over Perthshire’s famous Jubilee Range above Blair Atholl. As well as competing in six individual 900 and 1,000-yard matches in the Scottish Long-Range Meeting, the USA challenged Scotland to a 900-, 1,000-, and 1,100-yard yd F-TR team competition, to be held on the American Independence Day, July 4th.

Scotland USA Match Blair Atholl
Scotland Rifle match Laurie Holland

After practice on Friday, July 1st, US competitors did well in the six individual matches over the weekend taking four out of the top six places overall with Stan Pate and Michelle Gallagher leading the way. However, Scottish home team captain Paul Crosbie took all three 900-yard matches and one 1,000-yard yard match. Winners of the other two 1000-yard events were Michelle Gallagher, and Scotland’s Laurie Holland, shooting his .223 Rem (That’s right — Laurie beat all the .308s with a .223). The weekend’s overall F-TR winner was Paul Crosbie on 405.23v (ex 450.90v) narrowly leading Stan Pate and Michelle Gallagher. After tying on Saturday, Scottish Shooter Les Bacon slowly pulled ahead of Tony Robertson in F Class and took this section by five points on an aggregate of 420.25v.

Scotland USA Match Blair Atholl
Scottish team captain Paul Crosbie and coach Tim Kidner pause during a wind change.

Independence Day Challenge — Team Scotland Beats Team USA
The 4th of July started cooler and cloudy with a near calm disturbed by intermittent light fish-tailing breezes from behind. The 900-yard scores benefitted from this, the six strong teams averaging 70 or more points per shooter out of the possible 75. After the 900-yard stages, Team USA was ahead with 427-24V against Scotland’s 420-20V.

By the time the teams relocated to 1,000 yards, the overcast had gone, sunshine alternated with moving shadows from big white puffy clouds to produce heat-induced, variable winds and intermittent mirage. Scores tumbled and there were many gaps between shots as the wind coaches stayed their hand waiting for a previous condition to return or trying to read a new one. Different wind doping approaches were apparent with Scotland’s Tom Kidner and Hamish Hunter relying mostly on the wind flags and plots while Nancy and Michelle spent considerable amounts of time glued to a pair of massive spotting scopes trying to read the mirage.

Scotland USA Match Blair Atholl
Nancy calls 1K wind for daughter Michelle Gallagher. USA captain Darrel Buell is just behind them.

At 1000 yards, the Scots produced 357-8V against the visitors’ 346-8V, putting them into a four-point lead overall. Remarkably, however, the youngest American shooter, Sierra Scott nailed the best individual 1,000-yard score, a 65-2V. With everything hanging on the 1,100-yard stage, conditions were as for 1,000 yards only more so — warmer, still more variable winds and intermittent aiming difficulties from a boiling mirage downrange. The Scottish coaches’ experience really paid off now, their shooters scoring 295-2V, 23 points ahead of the visitors. Three out of the top four individual results (with scores of 50 or better) were by Scots, and top scorer Paul Crosbie posted a 59 shooting the big 210gr Bergers. Michelle Gallagher (shooting Berger 155.5s) nailed an excellent 57 to edge Scotland’s Peter Burbridge (55 points shooting 208gr Hornady A-Max). Laurie Holland posted an impressive. His .223 Rem ‘mouse gun’ was obviously still in the groove at 1,114 yards!

Scotland USA Match Blair Atholl

So, the home team kept its honor and Blair Atholl’s reputation intact. While disappointed, the visitors knew they had done really well given their inexperience with the quirks of this most difficult of venues. Everybody had a great time, some old friendships were renewed, new ones made. This was F-TR at its most enjoyable with four days shooting that no participant will ever forget. There was even an informal 1,233-yard competition on the Saturday afternoon won by US team captain Darrell Buell.

CLICK HERE for Full Match Results (PDF file) | CLICK HERE for Match PHOTO GALLERY (139 pix).

USA v Scotland F/TR 4th July Results
Team 900 Yards 1000 Yards 1000 yards Total
USA 427.24v 346.8v 277.2v 1,050.34v
Scotland 420.20v 357.8v 295.2v 1,072.30v

Scotland USA Match Blair Atholl