Okay, now THIS is why people watch Top Shot! It was nice to see the producers mix it up last night by introducing a long-range rifle challenge. With only 11 competitors left, this was a good event to test their marksmanship skills. Let me set this up; Marines complete their marksmanship training at the 500-yard line, with iron sights, and no bipod. That’s a hell of a long shot, and small errors easily throw the round off target. I’ve never shot at a target a mile away, but I know that even with a scope and bipod, the slightest deviation will cause a miss of several feet. Make no mistake; this was a high-level marksmanship challenge. Long-range shooting is half art and all science.
They did have an advantage in that they were firing a state-of-the-art weapon, the Barrett MRAD bolt-action, chambered in .338 Lapua, outfitted with an Occulus scope and bipod mounted. Still, 1,760 yards is a looonng way downrange. Due to the editing, it was difficult to see how they were doing individually during practice, but once they got down to the challenge, the field started to spread.
The first shooter up was Jamie. One shot, Ka-Boom! That’s all I can say, great shot, he crushed it, and won the competition by making that shot in 30 seconds. The next closest shooter was Kelly, who took three shots, and finished at 35 seconds. Notice that Kelly once again came in second, maintaining his first and second-place streak. Although Brian won this event in TS2, he betrayed his pistol shooter background, giving a raspberry to the fundamentals of long-range shooting like trajectory, windage, and elevation, and it landed him in the bottom four, along with Joe, Pete, and Alex.
Joe had the worst performance with the Barrett, taking 12 shots, but he punched it on the proving ground with the 1860 Henry rifle at 60 yards, sending Brian, Pete and Alex to elimination.
The elimination challenge was classic, from the ultra-modern MRAD, to the world’s first weapon system, the Atl-atl. This is a spear-type weapon that uses a lever to extend the throwing arm, increasing power, and developed to hunt woolly mammoths. I hear people bitch about primitive weapons being used on Top Shot, but I’m a serious fan. Any weapon, anytime, anywhere. That is the premise of the show. In this challenge, the competitors had nine throws at targets set at 30, 45 and 60 feet. It was ugly, with numerous misses, but Pete pulled ahead early and stayed there, leaving Brian and Alex to battle it out. After a tie, and additional throws, Brian saved his butt and sent Alex packing! And then there were 10.
At this point, I feel like I’ve seen enough to make a prediction for the final four. The first two are easy; Jamie and Kelly have both been performing very well throughout this competition, especially Kelly, winning either first or second-place routinely. They’ve even gone head-to-head, Kelly beating Jamie in the dice challenge, and Jamie defeating Kelly in his specialty of long-range shooting. The next two are tougher, but I’m going to go with Chris, who has been a consistent workhorse so far, and my last pick for the final four is…Peter. With the Top Shot twists, anything could happen, but those are my picks, and I’m sticking to em’. We’ll see next week.