The 2021 Carolina Classic FT GP – Eric Brewer Reports

The 2021 Carolina Classic FT GP took place May 14 – 16 at the Twin Cities Rifle and Pistol Club, in Pleasant Hill. It was organized and run by the Tar Heel Airgun Club (THAC).

HAM Tester Eric Brewer couldn’t wait to get to this Field Target shoot! Here’s his personal report from the event…

1,000 Miles Roundtrip for a FT Competition? No Problem!

I was lucky enough this year to have the opportunity to go down to the Carolina Classic FT GP. Rick Vaeth and I drove down together from upstate New York. The 540 miles of blacktop turned into 10 ¾ hours of driving but we made it to Pleasant Hill, NC just before 7:00 PM.

At the time, we were surprised to see people at gas stations that were in long lines waiting to get gas. At the time one of the main gas lines to the US was hacked and wasn’t supplying gas to the South East portion of the country. People actually ran out of gas waiting in line and had to push their car to the pump.

I was very glad that Rick’s car was a diesel. We never had a problem getting it!

2021 Carolina Classic FT GP Day One, Pistol Competition

On Friday we got up and out to the range right after breakfast. We needed to get our zero and be all set for the shoot.

For me I had to zero both my rifle and pistol as I was in both shoots. As the pistol shoot was later that afternoon, the Zero Range was set so that about 20 to 25 shooters could sit down and get their zero.

The only thing that was missing was 40, 45 and 50 Yard targets to zero on for rifle shooters. When I asked about them I was told that if I would like they could call a cold line and go put whatever I wanted out there! It was nice that they were willing to do that for me. so that I didn’t have to shoot across the lanes to get other zeros that I needed.

From back to front – Carey Hymel, Paul Porch, Mike Dugas, Rick Vaeth, Brian Van Lieu, Greg Shirlhall (with new beard), Tom Wade and Paul Manktelow.

I shoot the Crosman 1720T and typically don’t ever have to change my scope settings so I was surprised that I had to not only change my windage but also my elevation.

This made me quite nervous as I didn’t know if I had just changed a good setting and shouldn’t have moved it or if the new setting was good!

Often when you change a setting on the zero range you find that the move was not really to the better zero setting. Then you have to compensate on the course for your old setting where it used to be. At least that is occasionally what I have found with my springer, but that in itself is a springer shooter’s dilemma.

The Pistol Match was going to start at 1:00 with the shooters meeting and then down to the lanes for me.

Can’t see the targets? I had trouble seeing them as well. In several lanes I had to follow the string to find out where they are.

I got set up with Ron Birnbaum as my shooting partner. We had sat together before at a previous match so it was good to shoot with him again.

Below. Paul Porch shooting.

So I started on lane four and I thought I was doing pretty well for the first four lanes missing only one. The next two lanes I missed two more, the next two I got them all and then came the dreaded standing lane! I only hit one target 🙁

I thought missing six targets would surely drop me out of placing. In my opinion, there were definitely better shooters competing than me so I was out…

Some days you get rid of all the bad shots at the sight-in range and some days you don’t. So I ended up with a 34 and apparently I tied with Paul Porch for the Hunter Pistol Division!

We were supposed to have a shoot off on Saturday but I suggested having the shoot off that afternoon instead of having to bring the pistol back the next day. Paul said if I wanted to do it now we will do it now and get it over with…

So I filled up the gun and took a couple zeroing shots to make sure I was on. Paul showed up and he was picked to shoot first so I had to do follow his shot with a knock down. Pressure was on!

I hate shoot offs because everyone is staring at you and you are already tense from the shoot off and then you have to concentrate on making the shot…

Above. The shoot-off. Eric is left, Paul right.

It went on like this at 15, 26, 32 and finally 36 Yards until Paul missed and I was able to follow-up with a knockdown, winning First Place and Paul getting Second.

Then there was a shoot off for Third between Brian Van Liew and Joe Garland. Brian won Third and Joe got Fourth.

We packed it in for the day and word was that several of us would meet at Logan’s Roadhouse for dinner. Ten of us gathered that night and caught up with things happening with each other.

Field Target is the game we all shoot against one another but as a group we are all friends that have a good time over a bite to eat. This sport is unlike most out there.

We all compete against one another and have our nemesis that we strive to beat. But before shooting we are helping one another with fixing guns and after shooting we are all smiling and laughing with one another. Like I said, unlike most sports out there!

On any day someone at the bottom of the pack can have all the targets fall in his favor and win their division. Doesn’t matter who you are, it can happen for you.

2021 Carolina Classic FT GP Day Two – Rifle Competition

Saturday morning was getting up and eating and then a beeline to the zeroing range. Get your rifle zeroed and then shoot over the chronograph to be sure you are under the FPS necessary for your division.

At 8:15 we had the shooters meeting. Then it was on to the White Course for the day’s shoot.

The first day’s shoot was in an open field that was a laneway for the gas company so it had all trees lining an open lane about 50 Yards wide and was farther than you could see long…

The wind would not only blow down the length of the open laneway but it would come over the trees and down into the laneway making a pellet in flight do some really weird things.

The course was very well set up! You had to be aware of all the things happening with the wind before you pull the trigger. A few targets were in the open laneway, but most were just inside the tree line on the other side.

I was paired with Gerald Long and Ted Andro. I had shot with Ted before but I never had met Gerald. He is a really nice guy that put on a clinic for Ted and I. He shot a 51 out of 56 for the day. He just went to the line, sat down and knocked down all 4 targets over and over again.

It was nice to see him work. I am glad he is in WFTF and not Hunter division!

By the end of the match I was scratching my head as to what was happening with my shots and from talking with other shooters, that was the feeling most of us had. The wind really bit many of us!

You would take a shot thinking that you were holding enough for the right to left wind by shooting off the right side of the target so the wind would push the pellet to the left into the kill zone. But the pellet would hit the far left of the target being pushed much more than you thought.

The follow up shot you would hold even more to the right of the target and the wind wouldn’t affect the pellet at all and the pellet would go right where you aimed. To the right of the target. Very frustrating!

So I ended up with a disappointing 35 for the day but everyone had the same problems I did and the 35 was the highest Hunter Springer score. With that being over I was glad to go back to the building and eat lunch that was provided with the match.

2021 Carolina Classic FT GP Final Day And Results

The second day of shooting on Sunday was started again with the zeroing range to confirm our zero and our drops at each range, followed by the shooters meeting at 8:15.

Then it was off to the lanes in the woods for the second day of shooting. This time I was teamed up with Paul Manktelow and Joshua Winslow who were both Hunter Springer shooters. The Blue Course was just as tough as the White Course! Yes, that target is in a kneeling position and it is about 20 feet up at only 10 yards.

2021 Carolina Classic FT GP

Above. Paul Manktelow shooting a kneeling tree shot.

Below. In the front right of the picture is Paul Manktelow, Nathan Thomas, Leo Gonzales and Hector Medina shooting.

Then came time for the awards. Pistol was given out first and the guys at the club did something awesome!

Because there may be the misconception that there could be an unfair advantage for the guys at the club seeing the layout of each course as it was built. The THAC team decided if they had held a place of first, second or third they stepped aside and let the people behind them move up in position. I think that this was a really nice move 🙂

I know from being a Match Director that after setting-up an entire course, there in no way that I can remember where the targets are for distance.

So Paul was in second place after the shoot off but stepped aside and that moved Brian Van Liew to Second and Joe Garland to Third.

2021 Carolina Classic FT GP – The Winners

Hunter Pistol: First place- Eric Brewer (Congratulations Eric! – Editor).

Limited Pistol: First place- Nathan Thomas. I think this guy must have a storage locker for all the wins he has.

Open PCP: First  place- Brian Van Liew.

Hunter Piston: First place- Paul Manketlow.

Hunter PCP: First place – “Dead Eye” Phil Helper.

WFTF Piston: First place- Virgilio Gonzales.

WFTF PCP: 1st place- Gerald Long.

Even though it was a long drive to get there, 2021 Carolina Classic FT GP was great!

The people running everything had it all down pat. Many thanks go to THAGC and the members there. I – for one – really appreciate the clubs that go above and beyond to set up Grand Prix matches!

2021 Carolina Classic FT GP