By Lars Dalseide | April 4 2012 16:45

There are ups and downs on Top Shot. A favorite competitors fall, an unimpressive firearm is used or a challenge just isn’t that challenging. During last night’s episode on History Channel, only one of those unfortunately events came true.

Iain Harrison oversees practice on Top Shot - photo courtesy of History
Iain Harrison, the original Top Shot, returned as an expert on History

Using the Webley Mark IV revolver (as seen in The Godfather Part II, Lawrence of Arabia and Legends of the Fall), competitors were asked to shoot thirty jars of team colored paint stacked in rows. Doesn’t sound that challenging — until the platform holding the jars of paint started to move.

As this was a British gun, they decided to bring in a British expert — Top Shot season one winner Iain Harrison. Iain explained how to operate the Webley, oversaw practice and provided predictions as to how the shooters would probably perform.

As Red Team outnumbered Blue, the Blue Boys were allowed to sit out the Red of their choice. And their choice was Venezuelan Olympic pistol shooter Gabby Franco.

For those of us watching at home (and rooting for Gabby), this was a relief as Franco had trouble with the double action of the Webley during practice. It also marked another milestone for the NRA Certified Instructor as she became the first woman to be benched during a Top Shot challenge. Way to go Gabby!

Moving platforms holding jars on paint - photo courtesy of HistoryDuring the challenge, competitors shot jars of paint on moving platforms - photo courtesy of History

Though the challenge started even, Red Team eventually began to pull away. Blue’s big guns (namely William Bethards and Augie Malekovich) had trouble finding the jars. Red, on the other hand, started the smashing and just kept rolling along. Putting their well oiled teamwork to work, they called out shots, shouted for reloads and kept up the encouragement. The Blue Boys, on the other hand, fizzled their way to oblivion.

Team Red's paint jars explode - photo courtesy of History
Red Team's shots kept hitting paint jars - photo courtesy of History

Thanks to a strong finish by Chris Cheng and Chee Kwan, Red Team sent the Blue Boys back to the nominating round.

What happened next didn’t make much sense. Whenever elimination rears its ugly head, the Top Shotters usually call on performance to justify their nominations. This time, however, Blue sent their top two performers in the moving paint jar challenge … Gregory Littlejohn and Terry Vaughan … to the gallows. There to keep them company was Iain and the Lee-Enfield 303 bolt action rifle.

The two would take part in the famed “Mad Minute”. A challenge created as a training device by the British just before World War I, Vaughan and Littlejohn had to hit a 24” target from 200 yards away as many times as possible in a minute. Whoever scores the most hits wins. Unless, of course, there is a tie. And there was.

Terry Vaughan exits with a laugh on Top Shot - photo courtesy of History
Terry Vaughan exits Top Shot with a laugh - photo courtesy of History

In the case of a tie you go to the shot count. Littlejohn – 11, Vaughan – 14. For Greg, this was his third successful sojourn into the land of elimination. The former Brit Commando, on the other hand, was booted back to Charlotte.

It was tough to see Terry go. Not only was he has he become the face of Blue Team, frequently tapped to discuss their performance by History, but he has also been extremely open and helpful with my wrap-ups and reviews. So instead of playing in the California fields that make up the Top Shot set, he’s back with the wife and kids in North Carolina wondering what could have been. We’re going to miss you mate.

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