An Interview with F-Open World Champion 2023: Bernard Engelbrecht

Tell us a little about your introduction to F Class and the start of your Bisley shooting career?

 I was introduced to the Bisley F-Open class beginning 2018 and took part in my first SA-Open championships in 2018. Huber & Francois du Plessis from Upington ask me to join the shooting discipline and introduced me to the Sport. Since then, Francois (my mentor) and I started to practice on a regular basis (every week if possible) on his farm (120km from my hometown) where we managed to build a 900m Range for all our testing and practice shots. We also often attend shooting events held by SABU, provincial and National shooting events.

What is your equipment recipe used to dominate the F Class World Championship?

 My equipment I used was based on BARNARD P Action, 7mmRSAUM – 1:8,5 twist Blake Barrel, ADG Brass, 184gr BERGER Bullets and RELOADER23 Powder, Federal Gold Match M210 Primers, NIGHTFORCE COMPETITION Scope with an SEB NEO Rest.

If you can share one little detail, something you did different or an element that you implemented to give you the edge, what will that be?

I went into World Championships with a focused mindset of “ONE SHOT AT TIME” and “FOLLOW THE CONDITIONS AND DO NOT LOOSE IT”.

During the contest I also did not amend or change any of my recipes and setting which I knew works, keep to the basics, and believe in my preparations.

Share with us your mental game off and on the shooting mound and how you keep yourself focused.

I think it all starts with my Religion and Faith in God, believe in myself, determination, then also lots of practicing. Gary Player said once, “the more I practice, the luckier I get” and I think this is exactly what it is.

I knew that I have done a lot of hard work and spent hours on the shooting range practicing and testing my equipment. My preparation was done properly and well in advanced to the World Championships. This assisted me at not having any extra pressure on myself except the Championships itself which was ahead.

I knew that the only thing standing between me and being successful was to have Faith, stay calm and stay focused on every Match.

What advice can you give fellow shooters or individuals thinking of joining Bisley shooting?

If you have a passion for shooting, this is a discipline that will get you hooked on all aspects of thereof. The planning and structure that goes into this discipline will enhance all the other aspect of shooting you may have dealt with prior to venturing down this path.

There is an incredible reach from a networking aspect with a diverse group of unique individuals you meet and engage with from all around the world.

What are your plans in the next few years, leading up to the FCWC 2026 in England?

Firstly, spend time with Family and Friends to reset myself as this is my foundation and reflect on what I have achieved. Being the F-Open World Champion is a prestigious accolade which need to come to grips with and enjoy.

Getting to the top is one part of the journey, the more difficult part is staying there.

My nature is to prepare well in advance, I always make jokes in saying, I LOVE THE SMELL OF BURNING GUN POWDER, in essence I am saying that I will start within the next few months practicing and preparing for local events again to get myself ready for 2026.