This year’s Centrefire Benchrest National Championships were held at the Dairyville range just outside of Coffs Harbour, arguably one of the most picturesque of all the SSAA ranges. The Unlimited Class kicked things off on Good Friday, numerous 100yd 10-shot groups of less than two-tenths of an inch recorded, the best of them a .169 by local shooter Ray Beavis, the aggregate won by Ean Parsons with .2364.
The longer yardage match was shot in almost still conditions, Brendan Atkinson posting the smallest group of .359, the aggregate won by John Babic with .2723 and the Ron Marsden Shield for overall winner going to Ean Parsons ahead of Milan Morrell and Les Fraser.
Lightweight rifles were next up in the Sporter Class where Paul Sullivan waited until the final target to send down a .096 Screamer which no-one bettered, aggregate victory going to John Babic with a .2320.
At 200yds Ray Beavis shot a .297 for smallest group with aggregate victory going to Steve Sori with an outstanding .2189 which, when ratified, will be a new national record. He also received the Alan Peake Memorial Shield. In the midst of all that, Sullivan snatched overall victory by a mere .0003 from Sori and Babic.
Easter Sunday brought the Light Benchrest competition, Max Coady kept busy measuring tiny groups with the best of them a .115 shot by Babic. Aggregate victory went to Kerrie Moore with a tidy .2040 to earn her first point in the Hall of Fame standings but the best was yet to come.
In the 200yds competition Morrell, from Adelaide, took aggregate victory with an outstanding .1653 for his first Hall of Fame point and another national record in the process, that man Babic taking the grand aggregate prize ahead of Morrell and WA’s Trevor Pearson.
Calm conditions held for the Heavy Benchrest showdown on Easter Monday, the tightest group a tidy .094 shot by Phil Jones. The aggregate win went to Keith Sewell with a superb .1760 ahead of Pearson and Ron Sinclair. A fiercely-contested 200yd competition had anything over .300 barely rate a mention, best group shot by Sinclair with a .210 who went on to win the yardage with .1999, the grand aggregate taken out by Sewell comfortably in front of Pearson and Sinclair.
Two-gun aggregate: Trevor Pearson .2196; Three-gun: Steve Sori .2339; Four-gun: Steve Sori .2483.