Poor shooting conditions no problem
SHOOTERS were a little gun shy on Saturday because the hot, glary conditions combined with a mirage and lightly-illuminated targets, made it tough for riflemen in the Double 600-metre match.
In the first 600-metre match Neil Attwood opened the fullbore Target Rifle (308 calibre, non-telescopic, manuallysupported) competition with a string of 4-point “inners” just outside the centre circle, but then found three 5-point bulls-eyes before again slipping outside the centre to close with a respectable score of 42 points (out of 50, this 10-shot match) with no centre-bulls.
Veteran Ron Schild followed, shooting very competitively with a new barrel in place and opened strongly with two 5-point centre-bulls and two 5-point bulls-eyes (the centrebulls being used to separate ties on a count-back) before losing his way towards the end with a wayward 2-point “outer” and a string of three 3-point “birds” to finish.
A disappointing score of 39 with 2 centres reflected both the difficulty of finding the centre with the glare of the background sky behind the targets and the variability of the strong mirage swapping from left-to-right and right-to-left across the targets without warning.
Young visitor Liam Stanborough from the NSW Central Coast (with his father Carl manning the targets) was next down, and opened in impressive fashion with a 4-point “inner” followed by a 5-point centre-bull on his sighting shots, but then the difficulty of the conditions and the weight of the rifle in a borrowed shooting jacket and sling took its toll.
And he shot an up-and-down round, which included another bulls-eye to finish with a very respectable, given the circumstances, 29/1.
Mal McKellar was last down and was in the centre of the target from the outset, opening with a string of six straight centre-bulls, but then he too suffered from the glare, dropping in three 4-pointers towards the finish, to close with a match-winning but, for him, disappointing 47 points with 6 centres.
In the second 600 metre match, Attwood again opened for full-bore, and pulled a string of intermingled 3 and 4-pointers before settling to close with two 5-point bulls-eyes in his last three shots, and a score of 43 points (out of 55, this 11-shot match) but still no centre-bulls.
Stanborough followed, again struggling with the conditions and the borrowed set-up, but shot creditably under the circumstances to post a 15/0.
McKellar was next down, but an early wayward 3-point “bird” was a major set-back and though he found the centre on five occasions thereafter a string of four 4-pointers at the end saw him collapse under the conditions with just 48 points with 2 centres, leaving the door wide open for Schild.
Ron Schild saw the opportunity and his experience came to the fore, opening with two 5-point bulls-eyes; the three 4-pointers that followed, however, saw the opportunity start to slip away; he regained his composure, pulled his hat brim down low over his face to ward off the terrible glare from the smoky sky, and dropped just one point in his final six pulls to take a commanding match-win with 51 points and 1 centre.
In summary, under challenging conditions, the full-bore Target Rifle Double 600-metre match was taken by Mal McKellar with 95 points (out of 105) and 8 centre-bulls over Ron Schild 2nd on 90/3, and Neil Attwood 3rd with 85/0.
The Club meets every Saturday at 1pm at the Mossman and District Rifle Club Range mid-way between Port and Mossman; visitors are always welcome. Please note, however, the Range will be closed this Saturday as shooters will be attending the Annual Prize Shoots at Ravenshoe (on Saturday) and Herberton (on Sunday).
The club will be back in action at Mossman on October 15.