It had been six years since the National Championships were last held in Victoria and here we were again on a new range on the same Eagle Park complex. SSAA Victoria had decided some time back that the main range would be kept for public shooting activities, so another range was built beside the main one to hold major competitions.
The firing line was excellent, but the howling wind during competition played havoc with the target rails. Thank you to Mick, his band of helpers and range manager Paul for their hard work in keeping the targets under control. Shooting conditions were difficult mainly due to the weather and the lack of mounds behind the targets, but it was the same for everyone and we just got on with the job. Standing scores were affected depending on when you shot your match and the ram targets played hard to get and refused to fall, but it’s part of the territory in shooting Silhouette outdoors.
There were 33 entrants this year; 10 representing Victoria, seven South Australia, six Queensland, three each from Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia, and one from the ACT. The range looked good, especially with the You Yangs in the background, and with the firing line spread over about 40m, there was plenty of exercise in the outdoors for all concerned.
Small Bore and Field Pistol
Day one began sunny and warm, but just as shooting started, so did the wind. The turkeys and rams were clamped, followed by the Field Pistol pigs. Barry W shot the first 40 of the Nationals in Unlimited Any Sight, and the wind abated not long after shooting finished for the day.
On day two, Cheyne F and Joseph B both shot 39 for Unlimited in the sunny but blustery conditions, while Diarmid S managed a double grade break in Field Pistol Production Any Sight, scoring 30. A friendly echidna that had been fossicking for food on the range beyond 300m on the first day wandered a little too close and had to be shifted during the late afternoon.
Day three arrived overcast, dark and dull, which made sighting very difficult with the green background behind the targets. Then it was like someone flicked the switch and a very cold, biting wind started blowing down the range. It didn’t last long though and Dave R posted a 40 in Unlimited Any Sight, and Judy H and Rob A 39s for Unlimited. The conditions remained relatively calm and Cheyne and Lance P posted 40s for Unlimited Any Sight.
The shoot-offs for Small Bore and Field Pistol started at 2.30pm, with Field Pistol Production up first. The three contenders for National Champion, Mick A, Gary J and Greg D, came to the line and Mick came away the winner after the first round. James M and John L came to the line for a shoot-off for Field Pistol Production A grade and the wind quickly came howling through and anything that wasn’t tethered took off along the firing line. The rest of the targets fell over, so they were reset and clamped, then shooting started again. Greg and Judy followed in Field Pistol Production Any Sight and Greg came away the victor.
Revolver was up next between Barry W and Cheyne and after three rounds, Cheyne came out on top. Production followed, with Cheyne, Barry and Diarmid. At the end of the second round, Cheyne was declared the National Champion. Barry and Diarmid had another go, with Diarmid coming in second and Barry third. In the Unlimited shoot-off between Cheyne, Rob, Joseph B and Judy, Cheyne cleared the rail of all five targets and sorted that quickly, with mum Judy in second and Rob third. Unlimited Any Sight was last with Dave R, Lance, Barry and Cheyne competing. Dave cleared the rail on the first attempt and the rest had four, so off we went again. Cheyne got them all in the second run and Barry hit four. It was all over by 4.15pm, only because the wind abated to a reasonable level, and then it was all hands on deck to change the range from Small Bore to Big Bore for practice the next day.
The Small Bore and Field Pistol presentation dinner followed on site at Bruno’s Café. Barry was awarded the 4 Match Small Bore Aggregate with 136, Judy the Ladies 4 Match Small Bore Aggregate with 128 and Lachlan M the Junior 4 Match Small Bore Aggregate with 51. In Field Pistol, the 2 Match Aggregates went to Open Greg 59, Ladies Judy 56, and Junior Lachlan 13.
|National Champion Trophies|
|Unlimited Any Sight||Dave R||WA||40|
|Field Pistol Production||Mick A||Vic||28|
|Field Pistol Production Any Sight||Greg D||NSW||31|
Day four had a beautiful morning, blue sky, sun and no wind, but by 9am, it was all overcast with light wind. As the ‘load’ command sounded, the switch was flicked and the wind howled down the range. Three of the first four shooters rang rams, as the wind from behind was holding them up. Turkeys and rams were subsequently clamped, but the early shooters lost their rung rams. The first 40 of the day went to Cheyne in Production, followed by Barry in the same match. Late that afternoon, Cheyne shot his second 40 of the day in Unlimited Any Sight.
Day five was a great day with blue sky and no wind. A strong breeze arrived about midday, but it was definitely shorts and t’shirt weather in the sun, while undercover on the firing line was still very cool. The 40s of the day went to Peter M and Cheyne in Unlimited, and Mick hit 40 targets in Revolver, but the last ram didn’t fall. Lots of rams were rung during the day and then, in the afternoon as the breeze swung around to blowing up the range, the rams seemed to get ‘softer’ and would fall when hit.
Day six was overcast with a moderate breeze. The 40s really rolled off the line from Peter, Stuart K, Barry, Joseph and James in Unlimited Any Sight, and Judy and Mick in Unlimited. The shoot-offs started around 3.30pm and then the wind picked up. Several rounds of shoot-offs were necessary in some categories to sort places and top guns and it was all completed by 4.45pm.
A presentation dinner was held at the Little River Hotel at 7pm, where we enjoyed excellent meals and handed out trophies to the winners. The 4 Open Match Aggregate was won by Barry with 142 and the Ladies 4 Match Aggregate by Judy with 132. The 10 Match Aggregate (4x Small Bore, 2x Field Pistol and 4x Big Bore) was won by Barry on 331, followed by Michael A and Judy both on 316.
|National Champion Trophies|
|Unlimited Standing||Diarmid S||Qld||28|
|Unlimited Standing||Diarmid S||Qld||28|
|Unlimited Any Sight||Cheyne F||ACT||40|
|Unlimited Half Scale||Peter M||Vic||37|
|Unlimited Any Sight Half Scale||Barry W||SA||38|
On behalf of all competitors, I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the Victorian members who put in so many hours to ensure the range was ready to go and to the range and line officers who helped competition run smoothly. Thank you also to Johanna and Brian for scoring the 15 matches over the six days of competition. Each afternoon, the day’s scores were posted for us to deliberate over and after the shoot-offs were completed, they spent a few hours collating all the matches and working out the teams. I’m sure all competitors can’t wait to start planning their competition ‘holiday’ for next year’s National Championships.
|Open 100m Aggregate||Barry W||SA||136|
|Womens 100m Aggregate||Judy H||Qld||128|
|Junior 100m Aggregate||Lachlan M||Vic||51|
|Open Field Pistol Aggregate||Greg D||NSW||59|
|Women’s Field Pistol Aggregate||Judy H||Qld||56|
|Junior Field Pistol Aggregate||Lachlan M||Vic||13|
|100m Production||Cheyne F||ACT||38|
|100m Revolver||Cheyne F||ACT||37|
|100m Standing||Mick A||Vic||29|
|100m Unlimited||Cheyne F||ACT||39|
|100m Unlimited Any Sight||David R||WA||40|
|100m Field Pistol Production||Mick A||Vic||28|
|100m Field Pistol Any Sight||Greg D||NSW||31|
|Open 20m Aggregate||Barry W||SA||142|
|Womens 200m Aggregate||Judy H||Qld||132|
|200m Production||Cheyne F||ACT||40|
|200m Revolver||Mick A||Vic||39|
|200m Standing||Brian M||NSW||29|
|200m Unlimited||Peter M||Vic||40|
|200m Unlimited Half Scale||Peter M||Vic||37|
|200m Unlimited Standing||Diarmid S||Qld||28|
|200m Unlimited Any Sight||Cheyne F||ACT||40|
|200m Unlimited Any Sight Half Scale||Barry W||SA||38|
|10 Match Aggregate||Barry W||SA||331|