This year’s SSAA National Fly Championships were held at Victoria’s Eagle Park range near Little River. Competitors came from as far as Mackay in Queensland and Perth in Western Australia with a strong contingent from New South Wales as well as Victoria and the ACT. For the first time this was to be a three-day event with the 200-yard Rimfire on Friday, April 28 followed by the 500m Centrefire Heavy Gun on Saturday and concluding with the Light Centrefire on Sunday.
The Fly Shoot is unique among SSAA events as targets are scored for both the traditional tally for the five shots fired and also for group size. A ‘possible’ score is 60 points consisting of five hits on or in the 10-ring for 50 points plus 10 bonus points if the group measures less than 1". The group bonus is on a sliding scale from 10 points down to 1 point for a group less than 10".
The Friday morning brought a little light rain but this cleared before the match began and a fair day by Eagle Park standards followed. There was enough wind to make for modest aggregate scores, although several shooters were able to crack the 200-point barrier. The target crew had to contend with a very muddy approach to the target line due to heavy rain in the preceding weeks and were fortunately in a four-wheel drive vehicle as anything less would likely have been bogged. The match was won in fine style by Jaegen Peet with his well-proven Anschutz thanks to a fantastic ‘E’ target.
Saturday dawned clear but breezy. The Heavy Centrefire event was underway right on 9am and brought few surprises as competitors struggled with the conditions. Non-scoring shots were commonplace with the large-calibre 25kg rigs no exception. In the end, Dave Groves prevailed with his .284 heavy gun but was well short of the range record for this class which has stood at 251 points for many years.
Light Centrefire (under 17lb) on Sunday was blessed with a mild day with only a light breeze for the entire match. A goodly number of shooters were able to score well over the ‘magic’ 200 points, with Michael Bell emerging as the winner shooting his trusty 6mm BRX to a record-breaking 262.06 points, smashing the previous mark of 246. Probably the highlight of the weekend was the first-ever 60-point target (five 10s and a .977" group) shot by Grant Groves using a rifle borrowed from Michael Bell chambered in 6mm Pro-Cal. The rifle builder (Luke Easter) is the man behind the Pro-Cal name and developed this cartridge as an improved version of the Grendel case.
Awards were also given for the Rimfire/Centrefire 2-Gun and 3-Gun plus the Centrefire 2-Gun.
The whole weekend ran faultlessly thanks the hard-working members of the Melbourne Benchrest Club and was greatly enhanced by the generous support of Curly Flat Winery, for the magnums of wine presented to the winners, Outdoor Sporting Agencies and Pro-Cal Trading.
|Smallest Group||Scott Seddon||2.18"|
|Best Target||Stuart Pethybridge||52.01|
500m Centrefire Heavy Gun
|Smallest Group||Barry Tucker||1.64"|
|Best Target||Barry Tucker||57.01|
|Smallest Group||Grant Groves||.977"|
|Best Target||Grant Groves||60|
2-Gun Rimfire and Nominated Centrefire
2-Gun Centrefire Heavy Gun and Light Gun
3-Gun Rimfire and Centrefire Heavy Gun and Light Gun