At the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association Range at Tokoroa Shooters Centre on Thursday, November 18, 2010, 13 shooters line up for International Rimfire Benchrest (IRB) competition. There are three targets of 25 scoring rings on each, with 250 points possible per target and a total possible score for the complete shoot of 750. At 8am, there is a slight mist and light winds. It’s practice time until 11am.
The two-man teams are: Mitchell Tallar and Murray Hicks (Australia), Bill Jupp and Robin Cox (Australia), Peter Armstrong and John Patzwald (Australia), Ian Owen and Tony Titheridge (New Zealand), Michael Peacock and Malcolm Perry (New Zealand), Judy Peacock and Peter Haxell (New Zealand) and Sue Garvin as an individual entry.
On the first target was Mitchell Tallar with 249.14 and Sue Garvin and Peter Armstrong both on 248.18. On the second target, Sue Garvin shot a 250.13, while Mitchell Tallar shot 248.15 and Peter Armstrong shot 247.15. On the third target, there were two 250s shot; the first from John Patzwald with 250.19 and then Robin Cox with 250.18. Sue Garvin shot 249.17. The final scores were Sue Gavin with 747.48/750, Peter Armstrong with 744.49 and Robin Cox with 743.40.
And the teams being: Peter Armstrong and John Patzwald with 1483.96/1500, Mitchell Tallar and Murray Hicks with 1484.72 - this was very close! Bill Jupp and Robin Cox with 1482.87. This has Australia on 1, 2 and 3. With the top two shooters from New Zealand not being in a team (as this is the first time Sue has shot Benchrest), Sue Gavin on 747.48 and Peter Haxell on 739.35 would have had a 1486.83 points if they were a team. They then would have beaten the top Australian Team by almost a full three points!
The 13 shooters competed in Centrefire Light Varmint and Heavy Varmint Benchrest on November 20 and 21 respectively. The Light Varmint comprised 10 targets, five at 100 yards and five at 200 yards, as did the Heavy Varmint. Practice started at 8am with an overcast sky and temperature of 20C.
The two-man teams are: Paul Sullivan and Phil Jones (Australia), Craig Whittleton and David Kerr (Australia), Ralph Garlic and Peter Flemming (Australia), Ian Owen and Peter Haxell (New Zealand), Tony Titheridge and Mick Peacock (New Zealand), Sue Garvin and Judy Peacock (New Zealand), plus Allen West shooting as an individual.
Peter Haxell started the Light Varmint at 100 yards with a .170 followed by a .192 - a good start that had him in front. Ralph Garlic shot well over five targets with .213, .139, .167, .200 and .228 - his aggregate was .1894. Ian Owen came second with .2160, while David Kerr came third with .2488.
Tony Titheridge had the lead in the 200-yard Light Varmint for the first four targets, then he shot a 1.483 on his last, which put him down to 3rd place with .3643, which wasn’t far behind the others. Ian Owen won with .3367, while Craig Whittleton came second on .3637. There was only .060 between first and eighth place!
The Grand Light Varmint results were: Ian Owen with .2759, Ralph Garlic with .2863 and Tony Titheridge with .3070. Again, there was only .060 from first and eighth place.
On the first target of the 100-yard Heavy Varmint, Judy Peacock shot a .163 - this was a very good start, but she didn’t keep it up and ended up finishing fifth. The second target Ian Owen shot was a .105 - the best group of the day. On the third target, Paul Sullivan came first with .178 and this is where he stayed until the end with a .2342. Craig Whittleton came in second with .2392 and David Kerr came third with .2676.
In the 200-yard Heavy Varmint, Paul Sullivan was top for the first target, then he slipped to third on the second target, with Craig on top. David Kerr came home on the third target, then Peter Haxell and Craig Whittleton. On the forth target, Peter Haxell went back to 4th place. For the final target, we had David Kerr with .3355, Paul Sullivan with .3408 and Craig Whittleton with .3455.
The Grand Heavy Varmint results were: Paul Sullivan with .2875, Craig Whittleton with .2824 and David Kerr with .3184.
The same three competitors won the 2-Gun Aggregate, namely: Paul Sullivan with .3073, Craig Whittleton with .3093 and David Kerr with .3184. Tony Peacock and Ian Owen were only.0095 and .0156 points behind respectively.
Overall, this year’s PRSC was a very good and well run shoot. Thank you to the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, Dianne and all the workers.
3-P Scoped Rifle by Rod Frisby
I have made several trips to New Zealand as a member of a SSAA Australian Shooting Team to compete in 3-Position Scoped Rifle competitions. The flight across the Tasman of about four hours is pleasant and passes quickly - not like the trip to Camp Perry in the US, which can take up to 20 hours, before arriving at Cleveland Airport!
During our time in New Zealand for the 2010 Pacific Regional Shooting Championships (PRSC), the team stayed in accommodation at Geyserland in Rotorua. The hot mudpools and the geysers were just behind the motel, so it’s just a walk out to the balcony to enjoy the smell of rotting seaweed, or is that H2SO4 I smell? The accommodation was comfortable and we had to drive each day through some very scenic country from Rotorua to Tokoroa to get to the range.
As always, the New Zealand Team members and officials were friendly and willing to help to make the Aussie visitors welcome and in a frame of mind to shoot well. For this PRSC, it was decided to have teams of two and Australia sent three teams of two. I was happy to be partnered with Trevor Gulvin from Western Australia. Trevor has improved in his competitive shooting significantly in the past couple of years. I am sure this is in part due to what he is learning from his son Chris, who is now in the elite squad for ISSF Smallbore and trying out for the London Olympics.
The 3-P Scoped Rifle competitions were held at the Tokoroa Shooting Complex, which is just outside of Tokoroa on the New Zealand North Island. Driving from the main road into the complex is through a series of round topped hills, just like a scene from Lord of the Rings. We were always on the lookout for Hobbits, but unfortunately, did not encounter any!
Having been to the range before, I was most impressed with improvements made. New target frames, new wind flags and the range grass cut - it really did look great with the mountains, pine trees and a small river that runs past the complex to set off a picture postcard scene. This is the only range I know where there are fly-tying feathers on the hoof. Wild pheasants reside at the bottom of the range in this picture too.
The equipment used by most NRA 3-P competitors is now closely based on what is allowed for the ISSF form of Smallbore shooting - Anschutz, Walther and Feinwerkbeau smallbore rifles being the most popular. Most use the special shooting jacket, pants, boots and special buttplates, particularly as the New Zealand Team have now adopted what are basically ISSF 300m rifles for the Centrefire event.
Thanks to the team members for their company. Everyone was a great ambassador for our sport and our country. Thanks to the New Zealand and Australian organisers, volunteers and officials. Until one actually gets involved, people simply do not realise the amount of organisation and effort required to run a successful competition, like the PRSC. I look forward to the next PRSC in 2012, which will again be held in New Zealand.
Notes from the youngest competitor by Mitchell Tallar
My trip to New Zealand for the Pacific Regional Shooting Championships was one of my shooting highlights of 2010, with the organisation from the SSAA and major help from Alison Slodki in the Adelaide office, who was a great help with all the silly questions we sent to her.
The trip to New Zealand was hassle-free all the way over and back. The New Zealanders were very friendly and very helpful everywhere we went for the 16 days we were in New Zealand. It was a great experience for me being the youngest competitor in the Rimfire Benchrest match and all the other competitors made me welcome. I made new shooting friends during and after the shoot.
The SSAA’s three two-man teams in the Rimfire Benchrest shot very well and the close scores at the end showed this. It was a great honour for me to represent Australia in another country and we had good weather during the shoot, with the same normal tricky winds. It was a well organised match and a picturesque range. It was a pleasure to shoot over there with the Australian and New Zealand Teams.