SSAA Air Rifle Chairman Heather Dale from the Sunshine Coast thanked the Bowen Club for staging a sensational Championships on the weekend of April 5 and 6. Dale commented that “it was a very professional effort, shooters had a great time, it was well organised and the meals provided were fabulous and much appreciated.”
The club’s joint Air Rifle Discipline Captains Jim Farr and Brian Schwarz were both pleased with the attendance of shooters from clubs as far away as Brisbane, Ipswich, Hervey Bay, the Sunshine Coast and Townsville. Both also reported that the Air Rifle matches were fun to shoot, the grading system enabled those with entry-level rifles to achieve, and best of all, the ammunition was not expensive. The top achievers shot around 215 rounds over the two days and their ammunition cost about $8.
The first event was an 80-shot Silhouette match at tiny animal-shaped targets. The skill of our visitors was immediately apparent, with Chris Dale from the Sunshine Coast winning in Master Grade, 16-year-old junior from Brisbane Jarred Mc Carthy the AAA and Heather Dale the AA. Bowen shooters also won medals in this event, with Bloomsbury’s Jim Farr third in A Grade and second in the Veteran category, while Bowen’s Brian Schwarz was second in B Grade and Proserpine’s Steve Fuller third.
The second event was 10m Precision, where the home club’s only placegetter was Les Fowler who placed third in Veteran class.
The final competition was Air Rifle Field Target, where 30 knockdown resettable targets such as feral animals and pest birds are set up in the bush and up trees. Two 30-round matches are shot, the distances vary from eight to 50m, competitors do not get to see the layout until they step up to the shooting position and no distances are displayed. Bowen Club members fared better in this event within A Grade, Les Fowler placed first, while Fuller and Sugarloaf’s Ian Lade equal third.
The all-important 3-Gun Aggregate was won by Chris Dale, with junior Jarred McCarthy second and Heather Dale third.
When asked to comment on what he thought the highlights of the weekend were, Brian Schwarz stated that it was great to see the ladies compete against the men and succeed. Heather Dale won or was placed in every event she entered including the 3-Gun Aggregate. Kathy Browning from Ipswich had two wins and a second placing, and Hazel Bozic from Hervey Bay a second placing.
Seeing shooters use the old-style spring-loaded air rifles to win and place in all competitions was also noteworthy. But Brian also echoed the caution of top Air Rifle competitors to seek assistance from the best current competitors or discipline captains before purchasing any air rifle.