The Castlemaine Rifle Club welcomed home the inaugural Australian Precision Service Rifle Team that competed at Bisley, England in the 150th Imperial Meeting of the National Rifle Association.
The team members who competed in the Imperial Civilian Service Rifle Competition from Castlemaine were John Bearsley, Chris Jolme and Drew Morgan with Peter Bruem from Cowra Rifle Club and Simon Ross from Canberra Rifle Club.
The N.R.A. did a great job, really looked after us, organising zero ranges, ammunition and guided tours of Bisley. They also set us up with two French men to form “The Frozzies Team” to compete in “The Methuen Cup” where we performed quite well being 4th at the halfway mark and eventually finishing 6th.
Most of our team took their Accuracy International rifles that we shoot in competition here. The Civilian Service Rifle competition is slightly different to ours and our big heavy .308 rifles with 26″ barrels were not ideal at some of the competitions that were all about speed. The GGG ammunition that was supplied did perform well in our AI’s which of course were manufactured in the UK.
John used a straight pull AR Platform in .223 with a 30 round magazine supplied by the NRA which after getting used to, he shot some good scores.
One of the first matches we did and quite different to Australia was at the Pirbright Army Base – 100m standing supported by a post with 2 rounds per 6 second exposures. Run forward to 75 m to shoot 2 exposures at 15 seconds, with 5 rounds from kneeling supported by a small barricade. Run forward to 50m, 2 rounds – 1 standing one kneeling – in 6 seconds repeated 5 times, finishing with a run forward to 25m firing 10 rounds in 3 x 7 second exposures. Good fun, but more practice required.
We also contested “The Falling Plates Team Match”. When the buzzer sounded we sprinted 100 yards to the 200 yard mound and had ten shots each to knock down 10 X 12″ steel plates as fast as possible. We were narrowly beaten by the team that ended up second. There was a historic section and it was great to see teams with .303 rifles with bayonets fixed competing.
Most of the shooting was on Century Range back to 600 yards. All serials had lots of firing positions, standing, sitting, kneeling with differing times of target exposure. We had mixed results but did record some good scores, firing around 400 shots overall. We held our own in the middle of the pack and learnt lots, bringing home some great new ideas for serials in Australia.
The hospitality was exceptional. It was good to catch up with Alain Marion and Jim Patton from the Canadian Team who hosted us at “Canada House” for a night with a very interesting tour of their historical building and memorabilia.
At the N.R.A Presentation Dinner, the Captain, Chris, accepted a plague on behalf of our team commemorating our visit, which is now proudly hanging in the Castlemaine Clubhouse. Each member was also presented with a Bisley cap.
Chris, Drew and Simon also received H.P.S. Medals (highest possible score). Something to treasure.
As the inaugural Australian Civilian Service Rifle Team we made some great friends and have plans for future matches and are even discussing hosting some British Teams in Australia.