Kiwis Compete in Australian National ChampionshipBy Bruce Millard
- 11th Nov, 2019 Nov 11, 2019, 12:00 AM
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The new Fullbore season kicked off in late September whenever the weather, rain and damp ground did not delay the events. Meantime, during the off season two New Zealand Teams headed overseas.
The F class Team travelled to Brisbane in June to shoot against an Australian F Class team in the Australian National Championship. The team was M Chui, M Cook, I Hughes, S Moffat, P Neilson and G Piper with M Dodson as Manager. They encountered trying conditions during the competition and although Australia won the teams match the New Zealand Team gained valuable experience in preparation for the F Class World Championships in South Africa in 2021.
The second team travelled to Bisley in England to celebrate the 150th event. Shooting was held in late July in the middle of a heatwave with 38 degrees + temperatures some days, pouring rain the next and cool and windy the following day, a typical English summer!
A South Island and a North Island team shot in the Junior (smaller size teams) Overseas Match and the North Island selection finished 2nd. In the America’s Match which was for eight-man teams over four ranges, New Zealand finished 8th. In the Kalapore Match, again for eight-man teams but over three ranges, NZ finished 6th. While these results were not as good as desired they probably reflected the fact that NZ has not fielded a team at Bisley since 2003. There were a number of lessons learned about how this competition should to be approached in the future.
Shooting at Bisley is held with three people shooting per target, so you fire your shot, then the next shooter fires and you score for them, then the 3rd person fires while you get ready for your next shot, all with a 45 second time limit. This is totally different to New Zealand where we string shoot, ie; the shooters fire all their shots in a row, then score for the next shooter and check scores for the one after, then you move to the next range distance.
This results is spending all day on the range. At Bisley there are two separate ranges, Century for the short ranges back to 600 yards and Stickledown back to 1200 yards, so you walk from one range and distance at specified times, usually two hours between ranges, so there’s plenty of time to walk and get set up. This is different and challenging so it’s a great experience.
Travelling with a rifle is always interesting, even with the correct permits you still face a lot of questions and the packing/unpacking of gear to check serial numbers. It certainly fills in your waiting time between flights. However, it was all worth it for the experience of shooting at Bisley – the history behind the organisation and the well organised competition were fantastic. I hope to get the chance to return one day.
JOIN A CLUB
When the local shooting season gets underway our clubs will be operating nationwide facilitating shooting in Target Rifle, Hunter Class and F Class. Clubs have gear available but you can bring your own along and try it out. Joining a club has many benefits, you are talking with like-minded people, gaining knowledge about firearms and advice about how to get the best performance from your rifle.
You will learn about ammunition, ie; info about factory loads or help with hand-loading, wind conditions, and distance training – it’s plus fun and you get to enjoy the companionship of being in a club. Most clubs operate with electronic targets these days so you get to enjoy fast, accurate shooting without having to manually mark targets.
The New Zealand Champs run from the 10th to 18th January 2020. A New Zealand Ladies Team will be shooting against the Australian Ladies during the week. Jim Bailey, last year’s Ballinger Belt winner, has the chance to become the first shooter in 140 years to win the Belt twice in a row, he does have a good record with 1st, 2nd then 1st again last year over the last 3 years.
Contact your local club through the NRA Secretary:
04 528 4843
FOOTNOTE: There are two styles of target shooting: Target Rifle with iron sights and supporting the rifle with a sling, F Class where a rest and telescopic sights are used, and more recently a Hunter class has been introduced where standard hunting rifles with a support are used. Target Rifles can be chambered in .308 or .223. F Class is open but mainly 6BR, 6.5BR or 7mm. Any calibre up to 8mm can be chosen.