The Big Game Rifle National Championships were hosted by the Perth Big Game Rifle (BGR) Club at the Wanneroo Shooting Complex north of Perth on May 6 and 7. Numbers were somewhat down mainly due to the size of our country. It becomes a major exercise travelling with firearms from one side to the other.
Once again, this year saw a two-day event for our Nationals. There were two supplementary events, both inspired by southern African connections. Saturday saw the four Stalking Rifle events shot as per the BGR rule book. This was followed by the first supplementary, which was a Charging Lion. The set-up for this is a sledge pulled along the ground by a cable and an electric motor. The sledge has a full-sized photo of a large male lion as the target and starts at 25m. There are scoring rings on the target but these can only be seen at close range.
The course of fire was to take one shot at the heart while the target was stationary, then at the sound of the shot, the target rapidly comes at the shooter - head on. The second shot has to go into the brain. This may sound simple, yet it turned out to be anything but! The target set-up was made by Panterror in South Africa and the creators had donated 10 caps for the first 10 people to score a perfect heart shot followed by a perfect brain shot. At the end of the day, with most shooters having multiple attempts, there were only three caps given out - it was a lot harder than it looked.
Sunday saw the four Stopping Rifle events shot, which completed the course of fire for the BGR Nationals. The afternoon was occupied by the second supplementary event. This was an adaption of Practical Hunting Rifle, which is a discipline shot in WA and again inspired by South Africans. Full-size animal targets are used. These can be a mixture of African and Australian animals, but for this event, it was all African creatures such as warthogs, impalas and springbucks. The targets are placed at unknown ranges and have scoring areas that can only be seen close up. The closer targets are shot offhand and longer range targets engaged using shooting sticks - all simulating field conditions. It was a great way to finish the weekend’s shooting and if fellow SSAA branches are interested, the Western Australians would love to see this discipline be taken up by other states.
The results for the overall Champion were: Mark Hibbert (Qld) first, Bob Christopher (Vic) second and Graeme Wright (Qld) third. In the teams competition, it was Qld first, Vic second and WA third.
Sunday evening saw a pleasant presentation dinner held at the WA Lever Action Club. Thank you to the members of the Perth BGR Club for hosting this event, especially Mal Sears, John Pearson and his family members and Harvey Leys.