Competitors from around Australia converged on the SSAA Para Range in South Australia for the 2016 National Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle Championships on May 12. It was great to see all the participants, especially the number of Ladies and Juniors. Shooters from all states and territories were in attendance with the exception of the NT. Wednesday was the official practice day but conditions were less than favourable.
Thursday morning saw the official welcome and the start of the Rifle Calibre match 1. Although conditions were still not perfect, the shoot rolled on and at the end of the day, the lead was being shared between Dave McCarthy, Ashlea McCarthy and Graeme Whatman on 36 out of a possible 40.
Friday morning brought better conditions and there was hope scores would improve. At the end of the second 40-shot Rifle Calibre match, Dave McCarthy had hit the lead, using his original Marlin 1895 in .38-56 on a score of 71 out of 80, just edging out his wife Ashlea with a 69/80 using a Marlin Cowboy .38-55 and three points in front of Whatman on 68 using a Winchester 66 Centennial in .30-30. An amazing part of the shoot was Ashlea tallying 20/20 turkeys over the two days to set a new National record, which is not an easy feat. After the presentations, SSAA Para hosted a barbecue for competitors and their families, with a great evening had by all.
Saturday produced almost perfect conditions for the Pistol Calibre matches. The first 40 shots were hotly contested, with Russell Teale leading the way with a score of 35/40, a couple of targets ahead of Ashlea McCarthy with 33/40 then Dave McCarthy and Whatman with 32/40. After the first match finished, it was straight into the second with some great contests unfolding. Dave McCarthy was able to shoot a score of 37/40 to lift himself into first place with 69/80 for the day. Dave was shooting an original Marlin 1889 in .44-40. Ashlea McCarthy finished second with a score of 67/80 using a Marlin 1894 Cowboy in .357 and Teale notched third with a score of 66/80 using a Marlin 1894 CL in .25-20.
Sunday provided great conditions for the Smallbore matches. The intensity stepped up a notch with Ashlea McCarthy, Whatman and Teale all managing to shoot a very impressive score of 37/40 for the first match. In the afternoon, it was Ashlea McCarthy who stood tall, shooting a new National record of 39/40 for the match win with an aggregate score of 76/80. Ashlea was using a Marlin 39A. Teale and Whatman also shot a respectable 37/40 so a shoot-off was required to split them. After the shoot-off was concluded, Teale emerged victorious, giving him second spot place using a Marlin 39A in the Aggregate and Whatman third using a Winchester Cheyenne 9422.
Over the four days of competition, the battle for Top Junior was well and truly alive with all those involved shooting some remarkable scores. By the end, Jordan Robinson was the Top Over-15 Junior and Rebecca Dean was the Under-15 Junior victor.
The 3-Gun Aggregate was calculated and the results posted out of a possible 240. The organisers and competitors would like to thank the sponsors of the prize table, including main sponsors SSAA South Australia and Adelaide Gun Shop.