With the Woomera Match held at Bisley just completed, the Match rifle shooting community’s focus changed to the Queensland Match Rifle association held at Raglan, Central Queensland. For those who have never been, the Raglan range is just south of Rockhampton. The range is literally a stones thrown from the coastal road and the complex offers pistol, small-bore rifle and shotgun as well as a full-bore range from 100 to 1100 metres.
The 2019 Queensland championships were held over three days with the first being dedicated to practice on the Friday at 900, 1000, and 1100m. The Friday afternoon practice was a very pleasant affair allowing all competitors to check zeros and gain an insight into the wind. In the evening Ross Atherton (CQTSC) and his team put on a lovely BBQ meal.
We all awoke early on Saturday and found our way to the firing point for a leisurely start under the watchful eye of range Officer Rodney Prayle (Maryborough). 900m and 1000 metres were completed in the morning and we were treated to blue skies with a light fickle wind coming from the east moving enough to take one from the bull. By lunchtime Viv Hunt (Central Queensland Target Shooting Club) had made steady progress with a pair of 74’s ex 75 to lead the MR-Open whilst Anthony Wilson (Clermont) had made solid progress in Reserve Grade with a 73 and 71. In F-Class Open John Farmer (Townsville Marksmen Rifle Club) was leading with an 86 ex 90 and 81 over Terry Sheedy (TMRC).
Following lunch, 1100 metres beckoned with the shoot consisting of 3 sighting shots and 20 rounds to count. The wind by this time had decided to play ‘silly buggers’ and was threatening to take shots into the white. Tom Smith (Crows Nest Goombungee) made some ground on Viv in MR-Open Class with a 96 ex 100, whilst Anthony and Emily came in with a 90 and 84 respectively in Reserve Grade. In F-Open, things were relatively tight with John, Terry and Ross making 106 ex 120, 104, and 101 respectively.
So after Day 1 Viv led Tom 241.12 to 239.14 in MR-Open, Anthony led Rodney 234.14 to 221.09 in MR-Reserve and in F-Open John led Terry 273 to 266. Whilst some of these margins may have seemed comfortable when shooting at the longer ranges with strong changing winds anything can happen – a ‘few points’ can mean little at 1100 metres.
We awoke Sunday morning to the sound of rain but sadly not enough to have any effect on the drought nor justify a ‘nude-run’ – relief for all! Of note the range flags were lifeless as we gathered at 900m mound, in almost ‘perfect’ wind conditions. Tom and Graeme Mitcham (Bundaberg) made 75’s but were clearly outclassed by a stunning effort by Peter Hill (CQTSC) in MR-Reserve with a respectable 75.10 shooting from a gentlemanly ‘picnic-table’ position. In F-Open John made the perfect 90 ex 90 ahead of Ross on 86.
To 1000m and the weather remained relatively calm with Viv Hunt maintaining focus with a 74.10 ahead of tom on 74.07. This left Tom one point behind Viv going into the last range. In MR-Reserve Anthony and Emily once again shot fantastically making 73’s. At this stage it should highlighted that both were shooting target rifles shot with slings and lighter target rifle bullets compared with the ‘experts’ Hunt and Smith who were using rests, scopes, heavy bullets etc. In F class John continued his form going clean with his second 60 of the day. Could he go clean at 1100 metres and make it a perfect day? 1100 metres was shot early to allow those traveling long distances to get down the track early. Tom made 73.04 in MR-Open, Anthony 72.09 in MR-Reserve and Ross made 83 with John putting in an 80.
So for Day 2, Tom led Viv 222.19 to 220.28, Anthony led Rodney 219.14 to 215.11 and John led Ross 260 to 252. Whilst I have not researched this thoroughly I am pretty confident that 219.14 out of a possible 225.45 in match rifle shot by Anthony has to be one of the all-term high scores using a target rifle at this discipline – bear in mind 225ex225 has only been achieved relatively recently using a Match Rifle by Willy Schnaffner from South Australia. Kudos to Anthony.
So this left the weekend results. Viv Hunt took the weekend MR-Open with a very consistent shoot with 461.40 over Tom who made the same score but 7 v’s less. Anthony was not that far behind wining Reserve Grade with 453.29 with a comfortable margin over Rodney on 436.28 and in F-Open John Farmer made 533 to Ross’ 512. The most consistent shooter of the weekend – Peter Hearle (Uni Qld) who shot a pair of 196’s on both days – congratulations to Peter.