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Marc Folco at reckons The History Channel’s Top Shot program is, in a word, rubbish. The Open Season columnist has declared open season on the program’s skill level, and drafted in his best bud in New Bedford to hand him ammo. “Sunday’s shooting match involved shooting 1903 Springfield rifles in 30-06 caliber,” Folco recalls. As the scribe then points out—as this Military Channel YouTube video documents—the 1903 is a highly accurate long-range rifle. So why can’t these top shots hit squat?

The event was simple with no difficulty. Heck, it was child’s play. There was no 1,000-yard target. Not even a 200-yard target. The shooter had to fire at a 50-yard target, then switch places with the spotter, who had to fire at a 100-yard target. And the shooting was from a rest, no less. After hitting the 100-yard target, they were supposed to switch to several other shooting stations with the same course of fire, after crawling under barbed wire and such . . .

I couldn’t believe that the shooters were missing the 50-yard target. It was big — and with a Springfield from a rest, it’s a gimme. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Even the 100-yard target was big and easy. At any local competition it’s nothing to watch shooters with old fashioned muzzleloading rifles pop 10’s and X’s at 100 yards shooting offhand, with no rest.

So we would think this was a piece of cake, but when the guy on the Red Team was up to shoot the first big 100-yard target, he couldn’t hit it. Even with his spotter helping, he couldn’t hit it. He fired one round after another and never hit the bull. The Blue Team had finished their course and this Red Team guy never even got out of the chute. It appeared that he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from the inside.

My son could have hit that target offhand with his .22 when he was 12 years old. And these were supposed to be America’s top shooters?

Just in case you think Folco’s a braggadocio, his pal and national rifle champ Marty Casey concurs.

“Those were easy targets — and they were big,” he said. “And from a rest, with a spotter, none of the competitive high-power rifles shooters I know would have missed once.”

Casey also agreed that the shooters spent more time sitting around, arguing and discussing their emotions and personality conflicts like a group of teenage college girls, than actually shooting. It was all too true. I almost expected a slap-fight with hair-pulling to break out.

“I was expecting to watch some expert marksmanship but the show is too much like those silly reality Survivor shows,” he said.

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  1. Sounds amusing. There's vids on youtube of people hitting pretty small targets from 200+ yards about 40% of the time using things like .44 magnum handguns, AK47s, iron sights, and while standing up. In the vids, I couldn't even see the target until the camera guy zooms in.

  2. My son is hooked on this show. Just wandered through the room occasionally has allowed me to catch several episodes. I’ve repeatedly told him I could win some of those contests in my sleep, but he refuses to believe me. I could’ve taken my battered Winchester 30-30 w/ iron sights and out-shot the guys with the 1903. I saw that episode and couldn’t believe it.

    It’s basically an MTV reality show with some firearm related rubbish mixed in with the drama. The sad part is that the contest using various war rifles over the past century actually could have been fun and interesting.

  3. Wow. Under 250 yards, I don't think I ever missed a pop-up with iron sights with an M16A2.

    Did the shooters know the range at which the scopes were zeroed?

  4. Edit: I just watched the episode in question about shooter/spotter missing 50 and 100 yard targets.

    The rifles were iron sighted and (from what I could determine) NOT zeroed by the individuals using them. So it is understandable that an adjustment would be necessary (by either a spotter or shooter noting the near misses).

  5. I watched the first one and that was enough for me. I agree with WW Paul – not enough shooting and too much whining/"reality TV drama". Meh.

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