Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the SSAA Springsure branch hosted this year’s Hunter Class rimfire and centrefire national championships at the Springsure range in outback Queensland. The club had struck some eye-catching belt buckles to mark the milestone and these were presented to the overall winners in each of the four rifle classes contested by shooters from several states.
Light rimfire was first away at 50m with only five shooters scoring the possible 250 points. Michael and Gaye Truscott led the field, the former just ahead on central ‘X’ rings (or dots). Tricky wind conditions meant the 100yd distance proved frustrating for many but Kerry Moore held it together with a 248.5 to take the win. In the grand score the event was won convincingly by Michael Truscott on 497.14 ahead of Glenn Seaman (493.10) and Phil Jones (492.13).
Heavy (Custom) rimfire was up next in similar conditions to the previous day and at the shorter yardage Paul Sullivan was one of only five shooters to post a 250, his 14 dots not too shabby either. The longer yardage again proved a struggle with nobody shooting a maximum, Seaman top scoring on 248.6. Consistency paid off for Chris Parry in the grand score as he took the title on 498.13, pipping Seaman (497.22) and Sullivan (497.19). The rimfire two-gun went to Seaman on 990.32 from Michael Truscott (990.25) and Gaye Truscott (985.31).
Sunday was set down for Heavy Centrefire Hunter, essentially heavy benchrest rifles, many chambered in 6mm PPC and a few for the 30BR, the latter making bigger holes in the target which can be an advantage. The 100yd competition saw nine shooters register a 250 as it all came down to dots, Sullivan recording a remarkable 23 to hold off Gavin Marshall (18) and Annie Elliott (17).
The mirage at 200yds was something to behold, confusing many competitors, Elliott shooting a 30BR and emerging victorious with 248.9 ahead of Kevin Birse (248.4) and Brendan Atkinson (248.2). The overall score had a trio of shooters tied on 498 points, honours going to Elliott with 26 dots from Kerry Moore (16) and Atkinson (12) with plenty of “if onlys” being bandied about.
The final day brought Centrefire Light Hunter or light benchrest rifle, shooters a bit more comfortable with the range by that stage although the mirage again proved testing at the longer yardage. Eight shooters managed a 250-pointer but again it was Sullivan who turned on the style with 21 dots to hold off Ean Parsons (18) and Greg Schneider (14).
Again the longer distance proved challenging, no-one posting a 250 with Elliott’s 249.4 good enough to win from Atkinson (247.4) and Michael Truscott (247.3), the latter taking gold overall with 497.17 from Sullivan (247.26) and Atkinson (496.18).
The centrefire two-gun title went to Elliott on 994.38 ahead of Atkinson (994.30) with bronze going to Sullivan on 993.57. Winner of the four-gun award for all events was Michael Truscott with a combined score of 1983.63 ahead of Sullivan (1979.82) and Gaye Truscott (1972.65).