CT: Bristol Warm-Up Results

2014 Bell City Metric Prone Bristol Warm Up and NRA Regional
by Digby Hand

Earlier this year the National Rifle Association adjusted the Metric Prone classification percentages giving a new look to the scoreboard at the traditional pre-National Championship tournament held at Southington, Connecticut’s Bell City Rifle Club on June 27-28, 2014.

Eight Masters, most recently promoted by administrative fiat to the highest class, and one very talented Expert hoping to become a master, began battling with metallic sights at 100 yards for the gold medallion and a National Championship voucher. In spite of the fact that he has not shot outdoors since Perry in 2013, Shawn McDonnell, a fixture in Connecticut smallbore shooting, went neck and neck with West Point Rifle Coach Ron Wigger out Xing him in the first match 384-15X to 384-12X. Hap Rocketto, of the Quaker Hill Rod and Gun Club, and Expert Brian Jylkka, of Hudson, New Hampshire, knocked heads for third with Rocketto’s 13X 381 outpacing Jylkka by one X. Nick Staurovsky topped the Sharpshooter class while Lili Davenport was top Marksman.

Targets remained at 100 yards for the first stage of the Dewar match which was won by Wigger by a wide margin, 392-22X to Bell City’s Jeff Doerschler and Jylkka’ 388-16X. Second went to Doerschler on the strength of his second card in the tie breaker. Bill Neff, who began his shooting career as a Connecticut junior, posted a 384-20X for third. At the end of the second match the leader board showed Wigger in first, 776, Jylkka in second with a 769, and Doerschler and Neff close behind with a 765 and 762 respectively. Elias Davenport lead the Sharpshooters in the match and aggregate while Lili Davenport took Marksman honors and control of the class.

The day ended with 40 shots at 50 meters and Jylkka put some distance between himself and the pack with a match winning 390-16X. Wigger followed him with a 387-18X and Neff closed on the leaders with a 386-19X. The top three at the end of metallic sights were Wigger, 1163-52, Jylkka, 1159-44X, and Neff, 1151-48X. Rocketto was top Master on the basis of his 1143-47X.

Staurovsky was the best Sharpshooter at 50 yards with a 378-9X but Elias Davenport’s aggregate of 1129-33X was good for class honors. Lili Davenport topped all Marksmen with a 376-7X which brought her daily total to 1123-28X and giving her the metallic sight class award.

The same cast of characters assembled on day two to compete for any sight and aggregate honors under a sunny sky and fairly tame winds. Wigger picked up where he left off by winning the opening 100 yard match with a 395-21X. Doerschler and Neff followed him with a 390-20X and a 389-18X. Montville High School Rifle Team coach Steve Rocketto took the Expert class with a 385-13X. Elias Davenport took Sharpshooter honors carding a 386-16X with sister Lili’s 384-10X placing her atop the Marksman.

After a dismal 100 yard match Hap Rocketto bounced back with a 394-25X to win the Dewar, besting Wigger by two points and three Xs and Neff by four and three. Jylkka, shooting irons, wrung out a 383-16 as top Expert. Elias and Lili Davenport maintained the lead among Sharpshooters and Marksmen with a 385-8X and a 384-16X.

The leader board had stabilized for both the daily and grand aggregate after the second match. Wigger held a comfortable lead of eight points over Neff and nine on Rocketto for the day and was a solid 20 points ahead of his nearest competitor moving in the final match of the day, 40 shots at 50 yards. Rocketto banged out a pair of 198s for his second match win of the day posting a 396-25X. Neff tied him on Xs but dropped three more points as Wigger staggered into third place with a 392-18X just a point ahead of Len Remaly, Greg Tomsen, and Doerschler.

In the end Rocketto’s dash to the finish and Neff and Wigger’s troubles at 50 yards did little to change things. Wigger won any sights with a 1179-61X while Rocketto snuck by Neff, 1175-60X to 1172-65X. Patti Clark, of the NRA Smallbore Committee, took the Expert class with a 389-18X but Jylkka won the day. Mike Acampora shot a 388-16X to put a fresh face in first place for the Sharpshooters as did Paul Cianciolo for the Marksmen but Elias and Lili Davenport had built up too much of a lead to be displaced from their perches.

The grand aggregate was won by Wigger, 2342-113X who received a gold medal and more gold in the form of a National Championship voucher. The silver was presented to Neff who shot an 2323-113X while Rocketto’s 2318-107X brought him the bronze medallion. Jylkka, 2307-92X, shooting irons all the way, took home a National Championship voucher as top Master/Expert. The Davenport’s car must have been alive with chatter as the Sharpshooter and Marksman/Woman champions headed home with Elias clutching a National Championship voucher in his hand. Tomsen bested the geriatric group.

Match Director Nicole Panko was ably assisted by range officers Mike Burzynski and Keith Jylkka, statistical staff of Christa Acampora and Alyssa McMahon as well as various anonymous parents who picked up targets.

2014-ct-warm-up (PDF, 39KB)

About Digby Hand

The six foot two inch tall Digby Hand was a well known rifleman of his time, made famous in the book The Old China Hands, by Charles Finney. As a corporal in E Company of the United States 15th Infantry Regiment in China stationed in the late 1920s Hand was renowned for his skill with the Springfield rifle. Hand, a native of Arkansas, joined the 15th because his grandfather, who rode with Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry, fought against the 15th at Battle of Shiloh and said that ‘There haint but one Yankee outfit in this whole world I’d let my grandson jine with, and that’s teh15th Infantry.’ His name and spirit of excellence in marksmanship is kept alive by the Corporal Digby Hand Schützenverein.
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