On the weekend of May 2 and 3, the SSAA NSW Lever Action State Championship was decided over two matches: an Open match where any lever-action rifle may compete on the Saturday, and on the Sunday a Classic Calibre match where the rifle must be a conventional lever-action design firing a pre-1939-released cartridge.
This was a significant event for the Box Ridge Range, as the ink is hardly dry on the new licence for the SSAA Coonabarabran Branch to conduct certain matches. In fact, a draw was taken for the honour of the first official SSAA shot to be fired on the range. After a few words of welcome from Branch President Trevor Rice, the honour of the first shot went to Jim Ellis of the Northern Rivers Branch.
As there are no ‘sighters’ permitted during the course of fire, Friday was allocated as a practice day. Saturday’s 50-shot Open competition provided plenty of challenges in the blustery conditions, while Sunday’s 35-shot Classic Calibre event began in very calm conditions and then developed into windier conditions later. The targets range from a round pistol target to animal shapes, with the vital organ ‘ring’ decimal system scores marked.
A total of 20 competitors attended the championships, with interstate competitors travelling from Albany in Western Australia and Townsville and Bowen in Queensland. New South Wales shooters came from the Southern Highlands, Taree Wingham, Coffs Harbour, Merriwa, Coonabarabran and Northern Rivers Branches.
New local shooter Warwick Thompson shoot in his inaugural match, while his ‘student’ and fellow new local junior Jarrod Moody won gold in the C-grade championship and the junior championship, demonstrating not only real skill, but also real enjoyment in the challenge of shooting in various positions and times.
Among the ladies, former national ladies champion Julie Chesworth of Northern Rivers was dominant from Robyn Barrington of Coonabarabran and Jo Guinea of Townsville. Jim Buckley from Picton claimed the outright gold, beating the national champion Steve Hurley of Albany into second place. Don Chesworth of Northern Rivers took the bronze.
Jim Buckley became the inaugural winner of three perpetual trophies for the Open and Classic Calibre matches and the 2-Gun Champion. The trophies were donated by Don & Julie Chesworth with assistance from SSAA NSW and were made from Far North Coast NSW cedar, teak and camphor laurel timbers. A key feature is the laser engraving of the logo and text, which includes the history of previous winners since 1995.
Many positive comments were received for a pleasant weekend of healthy competition. Thanks to Trevor Rice, Al Worrel, Annie Beard, Donna Burton, Robyn Barrington, many shooters and their partners for their efforts in making the weekend such a success. Thank you also to Coona Waste and Disposals for assistance, and to the Davies family of Box Ridge for the licence agreement to use the range. Recognition and appreciation is also given to Jim Buckley, Prohunt & Queensland Gun Exchange, Total Solutions Engineering, RDT Products, Rebel Gunworks, Tamworth Firearms, Austin Bourke Bastille and Extreme Outdoors for the donation of prizes for the competition.