Long Range Precision is still a relatively fledgling discipline as far as the SSAA is concerned but the recent national championships proved just how much potential it has. SSAA Port Lincoln Rifle Club in South Australia hosted the event during the October 12-13 weekend, the majority of competitors being locals familiar with the conditions and range.
The biggest innovation was the use of ShotMarker target systems, the acoustic electronic system being a new way to accurately and easily record shots. As you might imagine this technology, which allows anyone with a smart phone or tablet to view shots almost instantly, dramatically sped up the competition since targets don’t need to be changed or patched.
The weather presented some challenges to shooters with the only constant being a strong wind. The opening day was warm and had competitors shooting from 500 and 600 yards, the electronic system functioning flawlessly and by day’s end both distances were taken out by Trenton Hardie.
For day two the warm weather disappeared and was replaced by clouds and rain for the 800 and 900-yard shoots and, despite the wet conditions, shooters’ spirits were certainly not dampened. Traditionally shooters don’t receive feedback in Long Range Precision but, with the new target technology, all were informed of their first two shots as they happened. This was warmly received by all and there was much discussion about implementing similar feedback in future events.
Local shooter Hardie again finished on top for both distances which clinched the overall title ahead of Mildura’s Greg Hamilton with another local, Damien Curtis, taking the bronze medal. In the Hunter class James Spooner took the title with ease while a close contest in the junior ranks saw Henry Cordell take gold ahead of Locky Forsyth and Albert Cordell.
SSAA (SA) President David Handyside declared the competition a success during the trophy presentation and thanked all volunteers for their efforts. He also announced SSAA (SA) had recently signed up its 5000th member, a female junior shooter, demonstrating the changing demographics of the sport.
The national title wasn’t the only thing Trenton Hardie collected over the weekend as, during a meeting on Saturday night, he was elected the new discipline chairman for Long Range Precision (pending board approval).
The future of Long Range Precision shooting is in good hands and we expect the discipline to keep growing. While a location for the 2020 national championships is yet to be decided, we look forward to bringing you the news and supporting the event and discipline as much as possible.
Organizers of the 2019 event send their thanks to sponsors Whyalla Target Sports, Navigators Motel, SSAA (SA), SSAA National, Tumby Bay Rifle Club, Paul Beale and James Spooner.