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September 7th, 2016

Shiraz “Three-Peats” in Canada — Wins 3rd Straight F-Open Title

Shiraz Balolia .300 WSM F-Open Connaught Ranges Ottawa Ontario Canada

Grizzly Industrial and President Shiraz Balolia pulled off a stunning feat of marksmanship recently, winning his third straight F-Open title at the Canadian F-Class National Championships. It wasn’t easy — conditions were tough, as was the competition — there were top shooters from around the world, including many past U.S. Champions. Shiraz had a slim, one-point lead after Day 2, but Balolia ended up tied on total points (and V-Count) with Emil Kovan at the end of the third and final day. But when the cards were compared, a string of Vs on Day 3 secured Shiraz the win via tie-breaker. Thus Shiraz achieved the memorable “three-peat”, winning Canada’s 2016 F-Open National Championship to complement his 2015 and 2014 victories.

Three-Peat at Connaught — 2016 F-Open Canadian Championship

by Shiraz Balolia
Shiraz Balolia .300 WSM F-Open Connaught Ranges Ottawa Ontario CanadaThis trip to Ottawa for the Canadian National Championship was a specially important one. The U.S. Team tryout process and practice was to take place for two days prior to the National Championship as the next F-Class World Championship is going to be held in Ottawa in August of 2017.

Connaught Range is a fantastic range that is very well run. Pullers are provided as part of your entry fee and matches are run at different times of the day, even into the evening. The flags are heavier than the ones we use in USA and are notorious for lying to the shooter. Matches are shot in pair firing mode which means one shooter takes a shot and the other scores. You cannot simply rattle off a shot as soon as the target comes up.

Crazy Hot Conditions at the Connaught Range
The first day the winds were mild, but tricky and the temperature was 102° F. I had never shot in such weather and ended up in the 6th place for the day. The second day had several matches at 900 meters and the wind picked up, with a 105° F recorded temperature, causing havoc with everyone. In one of my matches at 900 meters I took my two sighters and my first shot for record was a 3 (equivalent to an 8 in USA). To top it off I shot another 3 a few shots later. Liar, Liar, flags on fire! Anyway, I dropped 7 points in that match only to find out some very good shooters had dropped over 10! I moved to top position for the two-day Aggregate.

The third and final day was one string of 20 shots with shooters squadded by their two-day Aggregate ranking. So I was paired with Emil Kovan, while the third position shooter was paired with the fourth-ranking shooter et cetera. We all shot in identical conditions.

Après Moi, le Déluge — Not Your Gentle Drizzle
Then came a vicious rainstorm. We waited out the storm for two hours before we shot. The rain was really, really nasty and coming down really hard. We were all huddled under the U.S. Open Team’s tent.

Shiraz and Emil Battle to the End…
Finally, after the long delay, we got back to the firing line. And it went down to the wire. Emil shot a 100 with 3 Vs and I shot a 99 with 12 Vs. When the dust settled, we ended up with the same score and total V-Count (611-61V). The tie would be resolved by a “count-back” procedure. I had a stack of Vs at the end of my string and that won the match. What a fight!

Shiraz Balolia .300 WSM F-Open Connaught Ranges Ottawa Ontario Canada

Shiraz told us that this third championship was the toughest: “A while back, I had rotator cuff surgery on my shooting arm and had not shot a match in 9 months. I barely was able to test loads for three weeks before I shipped my ammo and did not know what to expect.” He says that winning “did not even sink in for a few days and looking back, I think this will be something I will cherish forever.”

Shiraz’s win came against very tough competition. Shiraz notes: “The whole U.S. Team, the whole Canadian Team, many South Africans, Germans, British, Ukrainians and others were present. We had several past US National Champions present as well and it was a great honor to shoot with all of them.”

Shiraz F-Class
Note: This is a photo from 2013, there may be slight changes in the rifle.

The rifle features a BAT Machine ‘M’ action, with a 31″, 1:10″-twist Bartlein barrel. The scope is a March 10-60x52mm, which sits on a +20 MOA angled rail. The primary stockwork, including fitting of the adjustable cheek-piece and buttplate, was done by Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks. Shiraz customized the stock with finger grooves, fore-end channel, and a bottom rear slide. Shiraz did the final stock finishing as well.

Gun Components

BAT Machine Action
Master Class Stock, modified by Shiraz
Bartlein Barrel, 1:10″ Twist, 31 inches long
Fitted Barrel Harmonic Tuner
March 10-60x Scope with fine crosshair and 3/32″ dot

Caliber & Load

.300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM)
215gr Berger Hybrid bullets, 2870 FPS
Norma .300 WSM Cases
H4831SC Powder
Tula (Russian) Primers

NOTE: Shiraz was not running anywhere near max: “I chose a light load for Ottawa due to the range limits as my other accurate node is 100 FPS faster and almost at the range limit.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 3 Comments »
August 10th, 2013

SSG Brandon Green Wins National High Power Championship

Brandon Green and Carl Bernosky Finish with Identical 2384-126X Scores, But Green Wins Based on 600-yard X-Count Tie-Breaker.

Story based on Reports by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog

In one of the closest finishes in NRA High Power Championship history, SSG Brandon Green of the USAMU captured the 2013 National Title, besting defending champion Carl Bernosky by tie-breaker.

“It Doesn’t Get Any Tighter…” Says SSG Green
For years, the NRA High Power national title had always been just out of reach for SSG Brandon Green. But finally, in 2013, after four tense days of shooting, Brandon Green is a National Champion. “It feels extremely good,” Green said after receiving his National title at last night’s awards ceremony. “It was a very tight match the whole way through. The weather conditions were so difficult but everybody still shot well.”

Brandon would have had enough to worry about with just the weather, but throw in a neck-and-neck race with defending champion Carl Bernosky and things get nerve-racking. Green observed: “It doesn’t get any tighter than it was today. It was too tight. Too close. I got some gray hair over it,” Green laughed.

ssg brandon green 2013 National High Power Champion camp perryThe fourth and final day of the championships began with Green and Bernosky each at 1789 points, but Green had six more tie-breaking Xs — 98 to 92. With three matches left to shoot, the two men were presented with an opportunity to break away from one another and add an additional 600 points to their scores. As the sun sat low in the early morning sky, competitors assembled at the 200-yard line for the first match, the Crescent Cup, whose 20 shots are taken slowly from the standing position. As fate would have it, both men stumbled during the match. Bernosky and Green each dropped four points and were now tied at 1985. Green managed to push his overall X-count lead to seven, posting eight to Bernosky’s seven.

The Cavalry Cup Match came next. Here, competitors would squeeze off 20 rapid-fire shots from 300 yards while in the prone position. Green and Bernosky both bounced back from their earlier tumbles and scored perfect 200s… once again remaining tied, this time at 2185. However, here in the Cavalry Cup, Bernosky was able to close the already-small gap between himself and Green. Scoring 14 Xs to Green’s 8 Xs, the two shooters would enter the final match with Bernosky down a single X.

“After watching [Bernosky] come off the 300-yard line with a 14X, I thought I was done,” Green said. “And then, of course, I shot a nine on my very first shot for record and knew I was done at that point.”

But Green didn’t buckle. He knew it would all come down to the Crowell Trophy, a slow-fire match shot in the prone position at 600 yards. Green would go on to finish the 20-shot match with all tens, posting a 199-12X. As it turns out, Bernosky had also dropped a point, scoring a 199, and had only shot 13 Xs – bringing the two to a dead tie. Their fate almost undeniably linked at this point, both shooters dropped a single point and scored 199s, cementing their tie-by-points at 2384 each. The winner would need to be determined by the X-Count. But Green, entering the match with a one-X lead over Bernosky, ended up with 12 Xs while Bernosky totalled 13 Xs. So the two men ended the final match tied with the exact same scores and same X-counts. Amazing.

ssg brandon green 2013 National High Power Champion camp perryAfter the final shot at the final yardage in the final match, both Green and Bernosky were tied with identical scores of 2384-126X. What now?

In order to break the tie, the two scores would be compared by how well each man shot from the 600-yard line. If the tie persisted, the comparison would move to scores from the 300-yard line. From there the 200-yard rapid fire scores would be compared, followed by the 200-yard slow-fire scores. If the men were still equally matched, the tie-breaker would eventually count the point values of the individual hits — starting back at 600 yards — until a winner was determined.

Accounting for all shots taken at 600 yards, both men had scored 597 points, however Green had 35 Xs and Bernosky had 34 Xs. That sealed it — SSG Brandon Green won the 2013 National High Power Champsionship by having one more X at 600 yards than Carl. This was the slimmest margin of victory seen in a long time, but Green is officially the 2013 NRA National High Power Rifle Champion — his first NRA High Power title after years of finishing so close. SSG Green was crowned the 2013 champion at Friday night’s award ceremony (photo above right).

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