The SSAA team representing Australia recently returned from the World Gallery Rifle Championships, which were held in Ireland in July. SSAA Gallery Rifle Queensland State Discipline Chairman Don Robinson said it was the first time an Australian team has competed at the World Championships. “We have only been shooting the discipline here for about four years so it was always going to be interesting to see how our team preformed,” said Don. “The host country Ireland has been shooting Gallery Rifle for about 20 years so they had a bit more experience than us.”
The five-person team which went to the event at Tullamore in County Offaly was comprised of South Australians Dave and Ashley McCarthy as well as Queenslanders Joanne Fenwick, Andrew Matis and Don Robinson. The team was selected at last year’s National Championships held at the SSAA Para Range in South Australia and was based on the highest scorers, although one shooter originally selected had to drop out of the event because of family commitments.
The team competed very well and they individually placed at six, 19, 26, 29 and 32 for the Centrefire Aggregate. Dave McCarthy’s sixth placing was particularly admirable since he was only four points behind the Overall Champion.
“It was an honour to represent Australia in the Gallery Rifle World Championship. The National Association of Sporting Rifle and Pistol Clubs and the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland made it a safe and enjoyable event,” said competitor Joanne. “We did not come home with the title, but we had the pleasure of shooting alongside some knowledgeable and friendly shooters from Ireland, South Africa, Germany and Britain. It was a wonderful experience to learn and compete with some great people. Some personal goals were achieved by all and in our minds we came back winners.”
The World Championships was held over a few days but the main highlight of the competition was the 1500 competition. For those unfamiliar with all the aspects of Gallery Rifle, the 1500 competition combines all the elements of accuracy, speed, distance and position together in a single event and is a good test of stamina and consistency. Competitors go through 150 rounds from distances between 10m and 50m and from four different positions.
Although Gallery Rifle is a relatively new discipline, Don says it has been growing quickly in popularity and is particularly well-liked by female shooters. “At a state and national level, the female participation rates for Gallery Rifle have been about 40 per cent,” said Don. Interestingly, the Australian team followed this female participation rate with two female and three male shooters.
For those curious about trying out Gallery Rifle for themselves, the Australian National Championships will be held in Tasmania in October.