Currently, there are more than 150,000 SSAA members across Australia. The Australian Shooter has featured many member's stories, experiences and adventures over the years and we have compiled them here. Member profiles can be viewed by clicking on the names below or simply browsing down.
If you would like to nominate a member of your club for a profile, contact us and we will look into arranging it.
Alex Jevric was introduced to target shooting and hunting at a young age by his father and this interest has continued throughout his life. Today, the SSAA member hunts all game species, from rabbits to sambar, and also uses a trained gundog.
Alex is a Victorian committee member of the Working Gundog Association of Australia (WGAA) and the secretary for the Club L’Epagneul Breton dog club and it is obvious he is very enthusiastic about the recreation.
“Being a member of the WGAA has been a fantastic way of meeting and getting out with a bunch of great people who are all eager to assist in training your gundog for field trials, hunting or retrieving trials,” he said.
“The WGAA has helped me to train my Brittany to be an excellent working gundog. The monthly training days and field and retrieving trials have been of great assistance in my training regimen.”
“Training a gundog up to trial level means being out hunting or training every weekend during the season and then fine-tuning the dog to be competitive in a trial situation. Then it’s back to hunting duck, hare and deer with the dog at other times of the year.”
“There is nothing better than watching a gundog work a quail paddock and locking onto point or having your dog perform an unsighted retrieve on the other side of a river or swamp.”
When out hunting, Alex has two favourite firearms - a Browning .300WM pump-action rifle, which he says is perfect for hunting sambar, and a Browning over-and-under 20-gauge shotgun for quail hunting. He reloads ammunition for his centrefire rifle and has just started reloading for his 20-gauge shotgun. Alex uses Woodleigh projectiles for hunting sambar, but conceded it is easier to buy factory-loaded ammunition for his 12-gauge shotgun.
In addition to being a dedicated gundog handler and hunter, Alex is keen to make shooting a real family affair, with his daughters attending training days and camp-outs with him over the weekend competitions and while hunting.
Alf Bastian has been the SSAA’s National Treasurer since 1997. His position requires him to work closely with the other members of the Finance Committee and the Finance Officer in managing the Association’s finances.
His interest in shooting began as a young kid in South Australia. At the age of 14 he joined the Woodville High School Cadets and began shooting SMLE .303s. That same year he was selected to join a 10-day Medium Machine Gun course at the SA Warradale Barracks. The next year he was teaching kids his own age how to use a Vickers machine-gun. “My first ‘range day’ with the Vickers was a day I will never forget as long as I live,” said Alf. “No shooting I have done throughout the rest of my life has ever come close to that very hot, very noisy day”. He also did a lot of hunting as a youngster, mainly chasing rabbits with his brothers.
In the early 1990s, after deciding his body couldn’t cope with the rigours of Aussie Rules, Alf and a mate chose to put their .22s that sat rusting to good use. It wasn’t long before they both became members of the SSAA Para Range in South Australia.
The disciplines that interest him are Field Rifle and Field Shotgun, but he admits to doing both of them “pretty badly”. He’s more interested in doing a bit of ‘plinking’ than vying for medals. “The last time I was out, my brother and I took our old military rifles out for a ‘plink’ said Alf. I just like shooting and I look on it as a fun thing to do, much the same as fishing. It’s a lot safer than playing Aussie Rules”.
As with most members of the SSAA Board, Alf doesn’t find as much time to shoot as he would like. Outside of the Association he is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. He’s been in the industry for 40 years and is currently consulting in the area of computerised accounting systems. In addition, he is the Secretary and a Board Member of SSAA Insurance Brokers.
When he does find spare time, Alf likes to hunt goats in the Flinders Ranges. Through a friend, he has regular access to a few stations there. As a member of the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby Preservation Society he occasionally hunts the Bunkers property near Wilpena Pound.
Alf believes that the press is sympathetic to the anti-gun lobby, and that together they are encouraging an adverse view of the shooting sports. This view, he says, is given too much publicity by a generally biased press and a number of politicians who are happy to pander to the views of the day. Because of this, “keeping up the old ‘hunter-gatherer’ tradition is going to get more and more difficult but for a lucky few”. His advice to members is to keep up their membership, sign up a mate and introduce younger people to the sport.
Alf is married to Nancy; they have a son and daughter, both now in their 30s.
Thanks to a schoolteacher (a very clever one, we might add), Andrew Judd has been a member of the SSAA since 1979. “I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been a shooter,” he said. “I was shooting at a pistol club and was looking to try something else and my teacher suggested the local SSAA range.” Since then, Andrew has taken part in nearly every discipline the Association has to offer, successfully competing at the state level in Field Rifle and Benchrest before finally settling into Rifle Metallic Silhouette.
He has been the discipline’s National Chairman since 2004 and says, “While no job is without its hassles, basically, I have the best job in the world.” He is responsible for representing Metallic Silhouette shooters to the national body and making their views and wishes known. Most of the work is done in Tasmania, but the role does require some travel for sub-committee meetings and competitions.
In addition to his National Discipline Chairman duties, Andrew also serves as the Club President of the SSAA Pontville Branch, of which he has also been a member since 1979.
Outside of the SSAA, Andrew has worked in various roles, including serving as a soldier and working in the construction industry.
Now that he is retired, he spends about three days a fortnight in the bush. His Metallic Silhouette training has proven to be the perfect complement to his love of hunting. Living in Tasmania, he mainly targets wallabies (using a crop protection permit) and deer; however, when he lived on the mainland, he hunted just about everything available within Australia. Despite having been to many different hunting hot spots, Andrew doesn’t have a favourite, saying, “Each area is special.”
Reloading is his other hobby and rounds off his sports shooting pursuits nicely.
Andrew can look back on many years of shooting memories, but his fondest would be recently awarding friend Dann Southern membership into the National Rifle Metallic Silhouette Hall of Fame. “Dann really struggled up through the ranks and it was a real pleasure to see him get there,” said Andrew.
Having experimented with just about all forms of shooting, Andrew encourages fellow sporting shooters to do the same. “The trouble is that people get parochial in their chosen discipline. We need to remember that every discipline is as important as all the rest.”
To ensure the future of this sport, Andrew reminds shooters “that we are all one big club and we can’t just focus on our chosen discipline”.
Andrew has a real passion for the shooting sports and says he will continue in his role as discipline chair “as long as the shooters want me there”.
Ann Brummell of South Coast, NSW joined the SSAA in 1969 and was a casual rimfire range user until November 1970, when she shot a silver (.965) award and felt challenged to handload and shoot tight groups more seriously. In 1971, she went to Newcastle and won her first-ever shooting trophy - from that point on, the die was cast.
Throughout the years, Ann has won countless state and national titles. Her most memorable national title came in 1974 when she shot a .2701 to win the HV 100 yard aggregate, a score that stood for five years. In 1981, she won the national LV 100 and obtained the last point necessary to join the elite group of benchresters inducted into the Benchrest Hall of Fame.
She has competed in the USA on numerous occasions and, after securing coveted placings at prestigious events, has made a name for herself in the benchrest world. In 1981 she was invited to lecture and coach shooters from all over the world at the Benchrest School No. 2 held in Pennsylvania. As well as lecturing and coaching, Ann has contributed to the shooting sports, particularly benchrest, in a number of other ways. At one point she wrote for the ASJ on both club and national competitions and was a regular columnist for an American magazine for seven years.
She was a range officer at Silverdale for 16 years, the national benchrest secretary from 1976 to 1984, the benchrest vice president for two years and was the national benchrest chair for nine years. During her time as chair, she finalised and printed the Benchrest Rule Book No. 1, which was the first such rule book published by the SSAA.
When it comes to actually shooting, Ann admits that she is methodical, especially with reloading equipment and the cleaning of her barrels. She always uses a time clock at matches, which is her ‘security blanket’, and bare projectiles, which are all Aussie-made customs from 62 to 68 grainers in 6mm.
Despite all she has achieved, Ann still has a few ambitions, one of which is to win the Harry Madden trophy for HV 200 Agg.
She is very grateful to her husband, Tom, who attends to all the mechanical and tedious chores that contribute to her consistent shooting, and to Harry Luhr and Ron Marsden, who both served as mentors for a lengthy part of her shooting career.
Ann says she is “privileged to have had the opportunities to pack so much into her sporting life” and to share her love of firearms and accuracy with some wonderful people.
Cowboy Action Shooting or Western Action, as it is known in Australia, has seen phenomenal growth on a worldwide scale in recent years. What sets this shooting competition apart from many others is the attraction of women into the discipline. Today women constitute about 25 per cent of the total competitor field.
Anne Faith, known within Western Action circles as Alvira Sullivan Earp, is one of many women who have embraced the ‘interpretive living history’ concept of the discipline in its entirety. She’s proved that women can be just as successful as the men when it comes to executing the skills required to operate firearms commonly in use more than 100 years ago.
When asked what the key to success might be, this current Australian and SASS Regional Ladies champion said, “Western Action shooting allows all participants, whether male, female, young or mature, to compete at their own level with the aim to shoot personal best scores every time they step up to the firing line.”
The interaction between Western Action shooters always seems to be positive, in that they assist each other to progress through the ranks as their skills develop and this has certainly been true with Anne. Always willing to assist newer shooters in regard to safety and shooting etiquette has not impinged on her ability to succeed in competition.
She is truly representative of the many women shooters who not only excel in their chosen shooting discipline but who are also willing to encourage those drawn to the competitive shooting sports because of the exceedingly safe but friendly atmosphere that prevails at all shooting events.
When it comes to the shooting sports, there isn’t much benchrest shooter Annie Elliott, of the ACT, hasn’t done. Her shooting bio reads like a world-renowned surgeon’s CV - with page after page of awards and impressive accomplishments.
Annie began shooting when she was 18, starting out on foxes and rabbits. Just a few years later she turned her attention to shooting paper targets on the range. It was there she became a world-class benchrest shooter, winning various national and international medals and trophies. In 1981 she won her first national benchrest medal. Eleven years later she became the Australian record holder for the smallest group at the 500m Fly Shoot. In 1999 she won the Australian national two-gun trophy and that same year finished 11th at the benchrest world championships in Italy - ending her run there as the best placing Australian. In 2000, she built upon that success, winning the Australia Day benchrest two-gun trophy and being named the Australian Benchrest Shooter of the Year. In 2002, Annie became the second-highest qualifier, so far, for the world benchrest championships in Sweden in 2003.
Her shooter’s ‘resume’ culminates with an induction into the Benchrest Hall of Fame just this year, which was something she had been striving to achieve for a long time.
Annie’s love for the sport has taken her to many distant countries and competitions and through her Level 1 coaching certificate, she has been able to share her knowledge with young boys and girls entering the sport.
Annie is a multi-award-winning benchrest shooter who has given back to the sport more than she has received. She is proof that in shooting, it is hard work, tenacity and a passion for the sport that determines success rather than gender or age, as she has surpassed many of her younger, older and male peers.
For Barry Edgley, shooting was a natural part of growing up in Cannonvale Beach, Queensland. When he moved to Brisbane, the only way to continue this pastime was to join the SSAA Brisbane Branch. He’s been a member of the club since 1966.
“I was always interested in the technical aspects of rifles and accuracy development,” said Barry. That, combined with his study of mechanical engineering, provided a natural appeal to Benchrest shooting.
While education, work and family commitments meant shooting took a back seat for some time, it resumed its ‘front-seat’ status when he began actively competing in Benchrest shooting in 1996.
In the past few years all of his shooting has been related to competition - preparing for or attending competitions. He has achieved a level of consistency and results that include national championships and records and representative honours. This is no easy task since Benchrest shooters operate at a level of difficulty of 9.5 or better, which, according to Barry, “requires a lot of effort for marginal improvements and allows for very small margins of error”.
Barry has been on the National Benchrest Committee for five years and has served as Chairman for three terms. “There are a lot of administrative responsibilities, but I see the Chairman and the committee as having a more strategic role in providing leadership and developing, promoting and sustaining the discipline and making a contribution to the SSAA as a whole,” he says. The time demands of this position vary, but Barry averages 10 to 12 hours a week.
Benchrest shooting is not for everyone, but Barry says that even the most cynical shooters are impressed with the engineering and results produced by top-class Benchrest equipment. “What makes Benchrest so challenging is what makes it inherently exciting,” he says. “There is a certain fascination with extremely accurate rifles and the rewards for developing the skills and techniques that produce the results.”
Most Benchrest rifles are custom-made. His is built on a Farley action, Maddco barrel, in a stock of his own design and manufacture. His ammunition is also custom prepared using custom projectiles.
As is typical with many die-hard shooters, Barry’s hobbies are related to shooting and engineering. “I manufacture various custom Benchrest accessories and equipment, including precision reloading equipment, bench-rest stands, rifle stocks and wind indicators.”
For 40 years Barry worked in engineering and management for the government, retiring in 2005. However, retirement wasn’t for him. He is currently working part-time as a management consultant.
Barry has been married for 36 years and has two children: a 26-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter.
Barry Howarth is the current President of the SSAA (NSW) Condobolin Branch - formerly known as the Condobolin Sharpshooters. He has been shooting for about 50 years, being first introduced to it at 12 years of age by his father. However, it wasn’t until about eight years ago that he was introduced to Single Action (then known as Western Action) shooting at Mudgee by ‘Charlie Siringo’. Barry was immediately hooked.
Barry has been a SSAA member for nine years, but has been involved in the various aspects of shooting for many years. From 1970 to 1990, he was a professional kangaroo hunter. He ceased this, however, when the laws were changed and it became too expensive to continue. Barry has also hunted on many private properties for pigs, goats and foxes and he enjoyed rabbit hunting until the virus was released.
Barry has tried his hand at Clay Target shooting too, but says “too many [clays] get away!” Single Action shooting is definitely his favourite. Indeed, since being introduced to the sport, Barry has tried to attend as many matches as possible. In 2000, he attended the Western Action Championships in Mudgee and took first place in the Precision Pistol event. He attends the Bushrangers and Bolters match, has participated in Broken Hill and looks forward to one day finally attending the Millmerran match.
A Life Member of the Parkes Pistol Club, Barry has held the Rapid Fire Championship for six years. He was also the Champion of Pistol (Air) for 1986 and 1999, but says that it is not all about winning. “At this stage, I am happy with what I have achieved as far as my goals are concerned,” he said. “I only want to hit the target. I don’t care if it’s hit centre or just on the target, as long as it hits.”
Barry handloads ammo for his .44 Magnum, .310 and .22-250 and says he spends about six hours a week on shooting-related activities such as improving his aim, painting targets or sharing advice with shooters at the Condobolin range. His favourite firearms are his .22-250 and .44 Magnum.
When not shooting at the Condobolin range or preparing for shoots, Barry and his fiancée Carol - also a keen shooter who goes by the alias of ‘Curly Sue’ - enjoy taking their boat out to Lake Cargelligo with family and friends. Barry also enjoys horse riding and tennis.
When Barry Oliver is not teaching secondary school children, he can be found out in the field teaching his dogs the finer points of hunting.
Barry is a keen hunter and the current chairman of the national Working Gundog Association of Australia (WGAA). His interest in field dogs led him to assist in the development of the WGAA in the 1990s. “I saw that if the age-old activity of training, trialling and shooting over gundogs was going to continue, then gundog owners had to align themselves with a nationwide organisation that was not afraid to take on those who were trying to prevent such activities,” he recalls.
His role as chairman involves a fair bit of phone calling, emailing, travelling and meetings. He admits that the job can be onerous, but the steady growth of the association overshadows any challenges.
While he can appreciate all the different dog breeds, Barry is most fond of pointers. He currently has three pointers that he competes with many times a year. He has won many competitions since he began competing in field trials in 1973. In addition to competing, he also judges local and international field shooting competitions.
Barry has been involved in hunting and shooting for as long as he can remember. “As a young boy I was introduced to shooting by following my father and his dogs around quail paddocks near Ballarat in Victoria,” he says.
Because of his involvement with the WGAA and his many years of experience, people often come to him for training advice. He tells them that the most important thing about training a hunting dog is to learn how to do it properly. He suggests associating with like-minded people and learning as much as you can from them. He also encourages people to give their dog opportunities and consistency and to purchase a dog from proven working lines.
Barry does a lot of quail hunting as part of training his dogs, but he says, “…like most field triallers, I find that the actual hunting is secondary to working and training the dogs”.
Barry joined the SSAA in 1989 and is very grateful for the support the Association has given the WGAA. He says, “The SSAA has been instrumental in promoting the cause of working gundogs everywhere.”
Training is a large part of Barry’s life - he trains children and dogs, as well as himself. He enjoys keeping fit and competes in age-group triathlons when time permits.
His wife Kathy shares his interest in gundogs and is a committee member of the WGAA (Vic).
This month there will be a great opportunity for anyone interested in training a hunting dog. Barry and the WGAA are bringing Rick Smith, a well-known American gundog trainer, to Australia for a three-day foundation seminar. For more information about this or any WGAA activities, please contact Barry on email@example.com
Barry Warwick joined the SSAA in 1974 following a visit to the SSAA Silverdale range; his interest in shooting, however, goes back to age 11, when he had the use of a Daisy BB slug gun.
In later years, his favourite gun became a Sako 461 chambered in the wildcat .222/45 cartridge. Although the Sako would make a fine hunting rifle, Barry simply does not have the time to hunt game with it.
After 30 years in the security industry, Barry ‘retired’ to take on the Range Manager’s job at Silverdale. Little did he know 30 years ago that he would one day be running the range where he joined the SSAA.
While his main shooting interest lies with Benchrest, he has taken on Western Action shooting, which he describes as a lot of fun.
With a profound interest in accurate firearms, Barry does most of his own gunsmithing, and has also turned his hand to making match grade bullets. Limited numbers of these have found their way into the loading boxes of a number of high-profile competitors.
Barry has competed in Benchrest events for more years than he cares to remember. He has been a tough competitor at both State and National tournaments, and has represented Australia overseas as part of the Benchrest team. He was a member of the 2005 team that went to Ohio to compete in the World Championships, and his goal was to do well against the formidable USA team.
Barry does not have a formal coach, but considers that watching some of the top-ranked shooters in the country has helped him with his chosen sport.
To sum it up, Barry considers that he is a lucky man to be able to work in the sport that he loves.
Most people know Bill McCarthy as the caretaker and canteen manager at the Para Range complex in Adelaide, but they may not be aware that this quietly spoken Englishman is also a very accomplished shooter.
Bill was introduced to shooting by his father at age 11, some 48 years ago. He moved to Australia and joined the SSAA in 1989. When the caretaker’s position at Para Range became vacant, Bill saw the opportunity to make his hobby his job. He now claims that he spends 70 hours a week on shooting-related activities - 40 paid and 30 unpaid. Having carpentry skills has proven handy for constructing target frames and the like as required by the range.
Bill competes with rifle, pistol and shotgun, but still says that his favourite firearm is a Green River .58 patch ball muzzleloader. He reloads for all of his other firearms and along with sons David and Ian, he experiments with black powder loads and bullet styles.
Naturally, he competes in various events over several disciplines - if it’s programmed at Para, Bill will have a go at it.
His greatest achievements are an Oceania medal in the Muzzleloading events and winning National championship events in both Lever Action and Muzzleloading.
Bill has a keen interest in accurate rimfires and has competed on occasion in the Rimfire Benchrest and Hunter events.
There is little time left for hunting, but Bill does so by invitation on local properties. When time permits, he has other hobbies including fishing, archery and kayaking.
With all of the above to take care of, Bill’s ambition is to remain shooting with the SSAA for the rest of his life.
Bill Porter has been shooting for almost 60 years. The self-taught shooter began hunting at eight years of age, when his Uncle Hector would double-dink him on his pushbike - to go rabbit hunting with an air rifle.
At age nine, with money saved from a paper round, Bill purchased his first rifle - a 1906 Winchester single-shot .22.
At 13, Bill took up fullbore shooting, which led him to the Evandale Full Bore Club and the eventual running of the place.
At the age of 18, Bill took up pistol shooting but decided rifles were more his thing and focused his skills on benchrest, field rifle and 3P.
Bill became a member of SSAA Hobart in 1972 and then transferred to the Northern Branch (which later became SSAA Bracknell). Bill is, in fact, the only Bracknell member still shooting who attended the inaugural meeting of the SSAA Northern Branch on November 15, 1975.
Currently Bill shoots rimfire - .22 benchrest, field rifle and 3P.
His favourite rifle was, and is, a Sako. “You could get it off the shelf and once you’ve run the barrel in, it would always shoot a ½" group. The workmanship was unsurpassed.”
Due to health reasons Bill no longer hunts, but he used to hunt rabbits, roo and deer regularly. He enjoys reloading, often for his son-in-law.
Bill led an accomplished shooting career. He is the proud bearer of the Gold Cross Rifle, an army award for proficiency in the Bren Owen and .303 (he says there are not too many of them around). He was the Tasmanian Champion at the Centrefire Field Rifle Championship in 1991 and the Rimfire Field Rifle Championship in 1985.
Bill’s ambitions are to win the silver and gold medals at the Bracknell Range for BR30, to match his bronze medal. Winning a medal at the open Bracknell Range can be challenging, as it suffers the full-force of Mother Nature (especially the wind). Some of the experienced members suggest a silver at Bracknell is worth gold at some of the more sheltered ranges.
During the years, Bill’s hobbies have been many and varied, ranging from racing motorbikes to fencing and archery. His current passions are country music, playing the electric and acoustic guitar and studying colonial history and the bushranger era.
Bill is a legend at the Bracknell Branch. He looked after his invalid wife, raised a family, attended to all the daily chores - all while working night shift. Regularly surviving on a couple of hours’ sleep, Bill still found the time to attend all the working bees at the range, which saw the building of the clubhouse, toilet block, down-the-line trap house and the erection of the 40-foot shotgun tower.
Bill Porter, we have no doubt you will win your gold.
Recently elected to the position of National Junior Vice President, Bob Cooper is also the SSAA (Vic) President.
Bob has spent most of his working life in the banking and finance industry. After retiring from Westpac after an impressive 34 years with the company, he started his own finance and mortgage management companies, which he ran for about 10 years. Now semi-retired from finance, Bob focuses on the shooting sports - a passion he acquired when his dad taught him to shoot when he was 12.
That passion has fuelled a 24-year membership with the SSAA and has led him to active roles within the Association: he has been a SSAA (Vic) board member for eight years, a National board member for nearly two years and has served as President of SSAA (Vic) for two years.
Bob lives in Glen Waverley, Victoria, and has been there for eight years. He is married to Maree and has two children from a previous marriage: Julie, 37, a keen Western horse rider, and Matt, 33. Matt, who works in automotive design, occasionally accompanies his father on hunting trips.
For many years Bob was an active Combined Services Rifle shooter but due to back problems his involvement in the discipline is very limited. Rather than give up on shooting altogether, he switched his focus to Single Action shooting, which he has been enjoying almost exclusively for the past three years. His attraction to this discipline has seen him traipsing all over the world. He went to the End of Trail shoot in California, USA, in 2004 and is planning to attend the event again this year in New Mexico, USA.
By scouring many reloading manuals and tapping into the expertise of fellow Victorian Military Rifle Club members, Bob learned to reload his own ammunition and now spends time reloading for his favourite firearm - a Model 94 Winchester in .38-55. One day, he hopes to be reloading for a Quigley in .45-70. For Bob, reloading is an interesting hobby that provides him with many therapeutic benefits.
As SSAA (Vic) State President, Bob would like to see the Victorian membership grow from 24,000 to more than 30,000 in the next few years. He’d also like to see improved communication with members and improved relationships with government bodies and other shooting associations. Nationally, he hopes for improved relationships with the Federal Government via a lobbyist and a better working relationship between state SSAA associations to ensure a common approach to related matters.
“The future of SSAA and shooting is in the hands of the shooters themselves,” said Bob. “We need to be proud of our sport, speak openly about our involvement, without bragging, and encourage our friends to have a go.”
Eighty-year-old Bob Fisher is the most senior member of the Quorn Pistol and Shooting Club in South Australia. In 2001, he decided to join the club after being impressed with the club’s friendliness and safety awareness on previous visits.
Bob, whose shooting career spans almost 70 years, comes from a shooting family. His father, grandfather, uncles and great-uncles were all shooters and in his family, it was mandatory to receive your first ‘pop-gun’ at a young age. However, it was his first shot from a .22 rifle that took Bob into the “big league”, with his dad passing on a Winchester .22 repeater when he was 12. Bob’s interest in shooting has now been passed on to his son, son-in-law, stepson and two grandsons. Bob’s wife Jean also enjoys Benchrest shooting.
Being a member of a shooting club has always interested Bob. “I just love being able to sit around and talk guns and shooting with other shooters,” said the octogenarian, who has a passion for helping others with their shooting.
Nowadays, Bob doesn’t do much hunting, perhaps just a rabbit or two for the pet cat, but in the past, he has used his shooting skills to supplement the family income. As a boy, he shot rabbits for their skins, later graduating to shooting kangaroos for skins and then the meat trade. During the skin boom of the late 1970s, fox skins financed a new ute for Bob. He has also hunted deer and camels and culled dingoes for property owners.
Bob is primarily interested in Benchrest Centrefire these days, although he also enjoys his club’s Gong Shoot. He names the Portland Super Shoot as the best competition he’s ever participated in, as shooters from across the country and the world took part.
As a shooter, Bob isn’t fussy and maintains that his favourite firearm “is the most accurate one for the job at the time,” which currently is a Shillen DGA in 6mm PPC with a Leupold Competition 40x45 scope.
The keen reloader loads everything from .22 Hornet to .30-06 and likes to experiment with loads in the chase for supreme accuracy. Bob is also known for making new stocks; in his younger days as a shearer, he spent many nights chequering stocks in his quarters. Reading Australian and American shooting accuracy publications occupies much of Bob’s spare time. “With a library of books on accuracy, wildcats and reloading, I never get bored.”
The Quorn Pistol and Shooting Club recently held the Bob Fisher Birthday Shoot to celebrate Bob’s 80th birthday. More than 30 people came to shoot and help Bob celebrate. It is hoped this will become an annual event.
It’s the story behind the rifle that interests Western Australian shooter and Perth Muzzleloading Club member Bob Wise. He first became involved in shooting when he joined the army in about 1967 and during the next 17 years, gained experience shooting many different rifles.
“I had always had a yearning to be in the army, but I didn’t want to be in the infantry, so I joined the Armoured Corps Unit in Queensland,” said Bob. “During my time in that unit, I fired just about every firearm the unit had at the time, from a .38 Smith & Wesson to a 20-pounder tank gun and all in between.”
Later on in his career, after working in the Army Service Corps, Bob held the position of Armoury Sergeant for a training school where he used military-issue firearms, firearms captured in Vietnam, and AK-47s and SKS-7s during user trials.
“I like the history associated with firearms,” he said. “I first became interested during my time with the CMF, now Army Reserves, and from historical films.
“By using the firearms, you get a bit of an idea of how the soldiers of the day felt when using the firearm.”
The SSAA member’s sons have also been involved in shooting, undertaking firearms training during their time in the Naval Cadets. Bob’s eldest rose to the rank of Gunnery and they have both assisted with Westralian Great War Living History Association activities and events.
Bob’s interest in history goes beyond firearms though. He is a member of a military vehicle club where he works to restore these vehicles, and the Living History Association, and he also collects other military items of interest. His favourite firearms at the moment are Martini-Henrys and an SMLE .303 rifle. Recently, he had the chance to hold a cavalry carbine, which had been captured in Afghanistan, dating from 1876.
“Just imagine the history behind this firearm, considering it would have been captured from the British Army at some stage and has been used by an Afghan, until today, when it is now on display,” said Bob.
After being introduced to the shooting sports by her father, Neville, Bobbie-Marie Reeves joined the SSAA and the Perth Lever Action Rifle Club back in 1993 at the tender age of 13.
Since joining, Bobbie-Marie has shot extremely well, winning the state junior class in 1997. In 1999, she won both the rimfire and centrefire classes, as well as the top three-gun competition in the ladies class at the National Lever Action Championships.
The past four years have seen Bobbie-Marie win the ladies class at state level. At the 2003 State Championships, she broke a 12-year record, beating it again this year with a score of 492, while managing to finish eighth overall - the first woman to finish in the top ten in a WA state championship since 1982.
Every year since 1999, Bobbie-Marie has been the Perth Lever Action Rifle Club’s Ladies Club Champion, as well as being the club’s overall A-grade winner for 2001 and 2003. She is the first woman to be placed in the club’s double A-grade.
Bobbie-Marie also enjoys hunting with her father and has been known to bag a goat or two before anyone else has even managed to pick up a rifle.
Bobbie-Marie is a very proud sporting shooter. In 1996, after the Port Arthur tragedy, at the age of 16, she wrote a heart-felt letter to the Prime Minister asking why innocent people were being punished. Bobbie-Marie was asked to read the letter to the 10,000 shooters who gathered in the centre of Perth in 1996 to protest against John Howard’s new laws.
We would like to congratulate Bobbie-Marie Reeves on her achievements to date. The future of private firearms ownership in Australia rests in the hands of dedicated young shooters and if Bobbie-Marie’s commitment and enthusiasm are any measure, the future looks sound indeed.
Shooters who travel down to Portland to shoot on the SSAA ranges will most probably have met Bobby-Lee Nelson. She is a fully qualified Range Officer, and is usually seen running the firing line, and generally making sure that targets are correctly set and that the firing commands are correctly given.
Bobby-Lee grew up on a farm property, where firearms were a way of life. She commenced shooting at the age of 10 and has continued to this day. Eight years ago she joined the SSAA. She is Captain, Secretary and Treasurer of the Rimfire Benchrest section, which has a junior development component built into it.
Hunting was a favoured pastime when in NSW, but after moving to Portland, an occasional spotlighting excursion with partner, Roger Teal, still holds an interest.
Bobby-Lee unfortunately lost the trigger finger of her left hand in a fishing boat accident about three years ago, which has curtailed her shooting activities for a while. This had a spin-off in that she took on the role of Range Officer for the Club, formally Roger’s position. Her longer-term goal is to get back into shooting. Roger is her coach and mentor, but as his shooting has improved out of sight, he may not be ready for another role reversal.
Bobby-Lee’s hobbies include cartridge collecting and taxidermy, and an interest in knotology (the tying of knots for both practical and decorative use) providing interests away from the range. Bobby-Lee is also involved in working with Correctional Services, and the treatment of young offenders with community orders to serve out. She has had a crew of young offenders working at the range doing general maintenance, and some have worked on the target crew at larger shoots. This has worked well as the range benefits and the offenders reduce their hours to be served - it is a win-win situation for all.
Bobby-Lee is an important member of the Portland Club and, as well as her interest in shooting, she certainly appreciates the comradeship among shooters, and the interesting people who compete on the range.
Brendan joined the SSAA in 1973 when working in Whyalla, where he assisted with the initial building of the range bench line.
A keen hunter since he was 15, he developed an interest in group shooting following the visit to the club of a benchrest shooter from Adelaide. Shortly after this he ordered a Shilen DGA benchrest rifle, .222 Rem chambering. The first time he shot the rifle, at the Para Range in Adelaide, he lowered the existing state record for a 100-yard group in light varmint.
A successful international benchrest career was born. His many achievements include winning the State Benchrest Four-gun Championship in 1977 and continuing to win this trophy for the next eight years - he has now won this SA event 15 times.
In 1980/81, Brendan shot several world records for the 300-yard distance, which were recognised by the IBS in the USA. He was presented with a silver tray by the SSAA, as the first member to shoot a recognised world record.
In 1990, Brendan won the four-gun National Championship at Para Range, and in doing so, amassed enough points to enter the Australian Benchrest Hall of Fame. His shooter number is 13 and he is currently the highest point scorer in the Hall of Fame.
From 1995 until now, Brendan qualified to attend the World Benchrest Championships. He was part of the team in 1995, 1997 and 2001. At the 2001 event, Brendan won the World Benchrest Championship against a field that included the best shooters from the USA.
Since 1994, Brendan has used a Stolle Teddy actioned benchrest rifle, which has used up about 12 6mm PPC chambered barrels during the past nine years.
Brendan has served as benchrest captain on the Para Range council for about 15 years and is an active member of the Hunting and Conservation Branch.
Brendan’s other interests are fishing, photography and four-wheel-driving. He is on the committee of the Holden 4WD Club of South Australia and is qualified as an advisor in the Driver Training Unit for 4WDs.
Brendan served 33 years with the Commonwealth Bank, including seven years as a branch manager, and is now the Technical Advisor for the Australian Shooter magazine. He is committed to the ethics and ideals of the SSAA and intends to continue writing, reviewing and competing for as long as possible.
Brian Drabsch has been an active shooter and hunter for the past 60 years. Originally introduced to sport shooting at six years of age by his farmer father, by way of a BB gun and shanghai (slingshot), Brian has since progressed to more competitive forms of shooting and has been a stalwart of the SSAA Parkes club since 1978.
A Committee member since 1992 and the Secretary/Treasurer since 2000, Brian is also a range officer, shooting coach and ammunition licensee for the Parkes club. This sees Brian devoting some 15 to 20 hours a week of his time to the club.
Also a keen hunter and pest eradicator, Brian hunts in the western areas of NSW, mainly for pigs, foxes and other feral animals. He says he is especially satisfied that he can eradicate feral cats, as they do so much damage to the native bird and animal life. On one trip, Brian shot 34 ferals and on another trip with a mate, says he took 75 foxes in two nights.
Brian’s two sons also hunt and one of them has represented NSW several times in the teams events in Service Pistol at a national level. Brian himself participates in Field Shooting, Smallbore and Sporting Clays events. He has been the top Smallbore and Sporting Clays local club champion, with his biggest achievement being awarded the state’s Meritorious Service Award for Services to the Shooting Sports.
After 38 years of service in the police force, Brian is now retired. He was, however, the Firearms Liaison Officer and the Special Weapons Operations Officer for the Lachlan Area Police Command. This experience and knowledge means he knows what he is talking about. Indeed, he is often consulted by local media when a comment is required on firearms matters and laws.
This ties in well with Brian’s goal to promote all types of shooting sports to the general public. He believes that shooting is one of the safest sports one can participate in and he actively endorses this by word of mouth and the written media. He writes a weekly column about Smallbore, Centrefire Benchrest and Sporting Clays shooting for the Parkes and Forbes local newspapers and speaks on local radio.
Brian is certainly a busy and valuable member of our shooting fraternity.
Carol Anderson is the Secretary of the SSAA (NSW) Condobolin Branch Inc, formerly known as the Condobolin Sharpshooters. A SSAA member since 2001, she was first introduced to the sport of shooting at 54 years of age by her fiancé Barry Howarth, who taught her to shoot with a .22 rifle.
Eight years later, Carol says that while she enjoys all shooting disciplines, her favourite is Single Action. She has even gone as far as creating an alias for herself - on the Single Action range, she is known as ‘Curly Sue’.
Carol owns and shoots a .357 Magnum pistol, but also uses her fiancé’s .44 Magnum pistol, rifle and shotgun and with his assistance, loads down some of the ammunition for less felt recoil.
Before becoming actively involved in the Condobolin Branch, Carol spent about two to three hours a week on shooting-related activities. However, as Branch Secretary, she now attends all club shoots and assists every way she can, whether that is setting up the range, scoring competitions or making sure all shooters have enough to eat and drink. Carol is currently also a Level 1 Range Officer, but hopes to become a Level 1 Range Officer and Firearms Safety Training Officer in the near future.
When not at the range, Carol enjoys hunting rabbits, foxes and feral goats, mainly shooting on a friend’s property in Tullamore. Her non-shooting-related hobbies include tennis, swimming, line-dancing, cooking, gardening and taking her boat out to Lake Cargelligo with her friends.
Carol is happy with what she has achieved with her shooting, especially considering she was a late starter and had no previous experience with firearms, and she encourages everyone, young and not-so-young, to get out and have a go.
Most shooters enter the shooting sports after having been introduced by a friend or family member. Clive Parr took to the sport all on his own. “It was just something I wanted to get into,” said the SSAA board representative from Tasmania. That was 22 years ago.
He now enjoys all forms of pistol shooting, but most of his time at the range is spent shooting Metallic Silhouette, Service Pistol and IPSC. He has also just recently begun dabbling in Rimfire Rifle shooting.
In the early years, both he and his wife, Denise, were keen pistol competitors, racking up a number of State and National Titles. Shooting is “more of a social thing these days”, he says. That is mainly due to the fact that he is kept quite busy in his role as a National board member, with the Tasmanian SSAA membership in his portfolio. In addition to that, he is also an IT professional, running an online access centre in Triabunna. The three roles combined don’t leave time for much else. If Clive were to find a few extra hours in his week, he said he’d be down at the range squeezing off a few more rounds.
Clive, who moved from England to Tassie in 1973, has been a member of the SSAA since he began shooting. His passion for the sport has guided him into various leadership roles within the Association. He served on the SSAA Tasmania Inc board for 13 years and as Tasmanian Senior Vice President for 10 years. He was also an active member of the SSAA Oakdale Range for 15 years; 13 of these years were spent as a board member and 10 years as Branch President.
A recent move from Molesworth to Little Swanport has meant that Clive had to give up his involvement with the branch that formed the backbone of his interest in shooting. Since there is no SSAA branch around Little Swanport, he has been shooting at the local pistol club.
With limited time for his hobby, Clive is fortunate to be married to a fellow shooting enthusiast. The two have been together for the past 38 years and spend much of their time together at the shooting range. A few years ago they were both awarded an Australia Day Senior Sports Award.
Clive and Denise have three children and three grandchildren. They appreciate being able to share their love for the sport with their eldest grandchild. The 16-year-old is a regular shooter and an up-and-comer in the junior ranks.
When talking about the health of the shooting sports, Clive says, “Shooting is never going to be easier than it is right now.” He’s been around a while and is wise enough to fully enjoy the privilege. He and his wife are passionate about promoting safe and responsible shooting and security, as well as membership within the SSAA.
Colin Mellon’s first real exposure to firearms came at the tender age of seven when he received a Stevens .22 single shot rifle for his birthday. He regularly accompanied his father and other family members on food hunting excursions on the family properties near Bowen in North Queensland. He regards the discipline and techniques taught by his father as the “most solid base for firearms safety” and has passed these on to his own sons.
He first joined the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia at the Belmont Range, Queensland in 1972 after his discharge from the Royal Australian Navy. Soon thereafter he was posted to Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria and his membership lapsed until 1978 upon his transfer to Darwin in the Northern Territory.
In Darwin Colin resumed competitive pistol shooting with the Police Pistol Club and rifle shooting with the then Northern Territory branch of the SSAA.
In 1994, he was elected as Treasurer of the Northern Territory branch assuming responsibilities from Joe Librio. Following the firearms buy-back, as a consequence of the Port Arthur tragedy, and the move to the new $2.6 million Mickett Creek Shooting Complex, in 1996 he was elected as State (Northern Territory) President. Colin has remained in the position to the present day. He has been at the forefront of steering his committee through both buy-backs, the most recent following the Monash University incident.
Colin has been instrumental in the development of facilities and innovative ideas, with the condition of the club and welfare of the members his primary focus. He said, “None of this would have been possible without the undivided support and assistance of all of the role players in the Northern Territory; I’m only one bloke in a dedicated team of tireless and indefatigable workers. A leader can only be as competent as the support teams.”
As a national board member, he also holds the portfolio of National Hunting and Conservation Coordinator, a role he describes as “probably the most interesting and satisfying job a board member could have”. Being a keen operational Hunting and Conservation member himself, he regularly attends feral animal control operations throughout the Northern Territory.
Colin regards the SSAA as being the principal organisation representing firearms owners in Australia, and pro-actively encourages membership. He also attributes the sacrifices made by his tolerant wife to his achievements, in addition to the attitudes of his sons, both of whom are avid firearms owners and keen hunters with both rifle and bows.
Damion Faith, known also in the Australian shooting fraternity as Morgan Earp, has been the National Discipline Chairman for Single Action Shooting for the past 13 years and the SSAA Queensland State Treasurer for the past 10 years.
His initial contact with the SSAA was in the early 1960s when he and a friend used to shoot their .22 rifles recreationally at a SSAA range in Sydney. More than 40 years later, he can still be found at a range, but Single Action shooting is his passion now. He competes, as often as possible, at a high level in both domestic and international competitions. Anne, Damion’s wife of 26 years, shares his passion for the shooting sports. Under the alias Alvira Sullivan Earp, Anne too is a tough national and international competitor.
Finding the time to train for these competitions is difficult for Damion because of his other commitments to the sport. A member of the Ipswich City Pistol Club in Queensland, he is an internationally accredited SASS instructor, occasionally training new range officers. He also officiates as one of the three range masters at the World Championships in the USA each year and as match director for the Australian National and SASS Regional Championships. “I take all of these tasks seriously,” he says. “I hope that in discharging these roles to the best of my ability I can return something to the sport from which I have gained so much satisfaction and enjoyment.”
Among the many fond memories from hunting and competition activities, Damion considers those related to Single Action events as the most outstanding. “It is not simply the competition, but the camaraderie and friendships associated with that discipline that prevail,” he says.
Damion has an appreciation for all fine firearms, but his favourite is the Colt Single Action Army revolver chambered for the .45 Long Colt cartridge. “To many enthusiasts, this may seem a strange preference; however, the design and engineering skills associated with this particular firearm still intrigue me. The Colt SAA is, in my opinion, one of the most functional handguns ever manufactured.”
After years of operating his own financial consultancy business and pursuing other business interests, Damion is now retired. “Frankly,” he said, “with all of my retirement activities, I don’t know how I ever found time to work at all.”
While the SSAA and shooting activities command a significant portion of his time, Damion still pursues other interests, such as growing vegetables and working in his shed.
A proud SSAA member since the early 1960s, Damion said, “I have been very fortunate to be able to pursue my passion for firearms, hunting and competition shooting over many years and trust that this will be the case for years to come. It would be my hope that the youth of today are not denied the shooting experiences that have made my life so much richer.”
Queensland’s Daniele ‘Danny’ Dalla-Lana began shooting after moving to Australia from Italy in 1959 at the age of 19 and initially settled in North Queensland tobacco country. Shortly after his arrival, he purchased his first firearm - a 12-gauge Magnum pump-action shotgun. According to Danny, the ducks were plentiful at the time and the gun was perfect for the task.
After several years of working in the building, tobacco and sugar industries, Danny moved south to the Sunshine Coast.
“Like many others who came before me, I concluded that this was a great place to live, despite the lack of opportunity for hunting locally, as sugar cane did not attract ducks the way billabongs did,” Danny said.
However, after a few years in the area, Danny “met the right girl” and began raising a family, joined the local Army Reserve in Nambour and was soon introduced to target shooting.
“Time passed and when my son Jason was old enough to handle firearms, I wanted him to learn how to use them safely,” Danny said. “This led us both to joining the SSAA Sunshine Coast Branch in 1985, where I was able to show him all I knew about shooting and as is so often the case, the student then became the master and Jason started showing me how it was done!
“He soon made it to the top at club level and ultimately at state level, while dear old dad remained a pretty average shooter.”
Danny said that while he suffers from aches and pains these days, he still enjoys his shooting and the camaraderie he shares with fellow shooters, but that “a new skeleton and ligaments would be nice”.
After 26 years as a SSAA member and the proud recipient of a 25-year SSAA Membership commemorative pin, Danny said he “will always look forward to Wednesdays and a trip to the range to zero rifles for competition or assist newcomers and juniors”.
“I get a lot of pleasure working up the best loads for my .222, .243 and .308. Mind you, with the increased cost of components, I am grateful that my .22 rimfire likes relatively inexpensive bullets,” he said.
“Whether I attend as a shooter or a club range officer, and regardless of the weather, excepting the recent floods, Wednesday is always a good day.”
To some people, shooting is a once-a-month hobby. To others like Darius Krivanek, it is a way of life. He joined the SSAA as a teenager in 1977. Since then, shooting has been at the forefront of his life. In 2007, he assumed the role of National Discipline Chairman for Field Rifle, Scoped Air Rifle, NRA and SSAA 3-Positional. Of this new role he says, “It entails far more than I ever envisaged.” He is responsible for coordinating the discipline’s National Championships, registering official matches, maintaining national records, controlling the discipline’s budget, answering many questions and writing many emails. Unexpected duties have included scripting, filming, editing and producing a video, repairing computer hard drives and rewriting more than 10 years of records and data.
Throughout his shooting career, Darius has been a keen competitor, testing his skills in most of the Rifle disciplines. His current focus is on Rimfire Field Rifle and ISSF Air Rifle events, where he competes at both a state and national level.
In addition to competing, Darius also coaches ISSF-style Air Rifle on a weekly basis at the SSAA ACT Range, of which he has been a member since 1983. Darius is keen to share his enjoyment of the shooting sports with the younger generations. “Providing a coaching recourse that may foster a lifetime enjoyment of the shooting sports is my contribution to the longevity of shooting in this country,” he said.
In his time as a competitor and a coach, he says he has always taken as much time to develop the psychological traits of competitive shooting as the physical aspects of training. “One goes hand in hand with the other and each requires a different set of skills.”
His interest in shooting also takes the form of hunting ferals, mainly foxes, rabbits, hares, ducks, pigs and goats. When time permits, he also enjoys the challenges of stalking deer. “The ferals are usually in my ‘backyard’, but I also get the chance to visit neighbouring and other selected private properties,” he said.
While Darius ensures that he remains a well-rounded individual, shooting is his pastime of choice. “I do have other hobbies, but I don’t enjoy them as much as shooting. I do them because they enhance my abilities to be a better shooter either physically or mentally.”
When contemplating the future of the sport, he believes it is important to encourage fellow sporting shooters to be good examples to others, saying that is a good way to deter “those who wish to deprive us of our sport”.
Whether he is hunting and enjoying the outdoors, teaching people to fire a perfect shot or enjoying the company of others who share an interest in shooting, Darius plans to continue to do what he can so that shooting does not become merely a memory for people, but rather that it remains a savoured time for anyone who wants to participate.
David McCarthy started his shooting career with a lever-action back in 1990 at the age of nine. He joined the SSAA as a junior/family member in this year.
He was introduced to shooting by his father Bill McCarthy, himself an accomplished shooter and caretaker of the Para Range in Adelaide.
Growing up with firearms, David soon became skilled in their use, and was slowly making an impression on the top shooters in several disciplines. Being a versatile shooter, David took on Lever Action, Muzzleloading, Field Rifle, 3-Positional, Metallic Silhouette, Single Shot Rifle and Small Bore. He says his favourite firearm is an original 1856 3-band Enfield muzzleloader.
With all that on his plate, it is not surprising that he does not have time to hunt but he does spend between 20 and 30 hours a week on shooting-related activities.
David currently reloads for his .30-30, .32-40, .38-55, .222 and .308, and experiments with various loads for his blackpowder guns.
An accomplished machinist by trade, David has produced some excellent scope mounts and other small trinkets required by competition shooters. He has acquired some machinery with which to start producing his own bullet moulds, and to produce muzzleloading barrels.
It is in the area of SSAA competition shooting that David has excelled. He has won the Lever Action 3-Gun championship six times, including five in a row. He has won three muzzleloading titles, and holds current national records in muzzleloading and field rifle. To top it off he has represented Australia internationally in both Muzzleloading and Scoped Rifle disciplines. He still has the goal to win the 4-Gun in National Field Rifle/3-P as he placed second last year.
David has no specific coach but says many people have given good advice - Steve Nicholas (Para Range President and champion shooter) has had the greatest influence on his career.
Denise was introduced to pistol shooting by her husband Clive in 1986 as his spotter and scorer, which she did for three years before she got caught by the bug. Now she shoots Silhouette, Practical, Service, Standard and Free Pistol, and Field and 3-Positional Rifle. Her favourite firearm is her Ruger single six, which was her very first firearm and the one she has won most competitions with.
Denise has been a member of the SSAA since 1989. During these years she has risen through the ranks, having shot in many state titles and obtaining numerous trophies to show for it. She has represented Tasmania on many occasions at a National level, taking quite an array of trophies back with her to Tasmania.
Her greatest accomplishments have been with husband Clive, winning the Australia Day Adult Sports Award from the Derwent Valley Council.
During her 17 years of membership,Denise has held the office of Branch Treasurer for seven years and then went on to accept the position of state Secretary/Treasurer in 1996. In 2001, she dropped the position of Treasurer and has held the state Secretary/Membership Officer position ever since.
One of the greatest highlights of her nine years as a State Executive Officer was organising the 2000 SSAA National Conference in Hobart. The annual Public Relations site at the Tasmanian Agfest Show is another of her projects, which she has organised and run for three days each year since 1999 with Clive. As you can see, the SSAA has been a very important part of her life for these 17 years.
SSAA member and member of the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), an affiliation of the SSAA.
Des Lilley began shooting competitively in UIT handgun in 1970 as a member of the Murray Bridge Pistol Club. After a short break from the sport, he joined the IPSC in 1996 and competed with a Walther P88 9mm in the 1996 national titles at Southern Vales Practical Shooting League as a team member of the Grey Wolves, a local team of veterans.
At 63 years of age, Des has competed in seven national championships, the 2000 Pan American Championships and in various competitions throughout Australia.
Using his trusted Infinity 38 Super handgun, made by JPP Imports, this father of three and grandfather of seven has several major achievements in IPSC to his name, including:
• Current SA State Veteran title holder (past three years)
• SSAA Para Club Champion 2001
• SVPSL Club Veteran Champion 2001
• Victorian Veteran Champion 2002
• Placed 3rd Veteran NSW 2002
• Placed 2nd Super Veteran 2002 National Titles at SSAA Little River Range Victoria
Apart from handgun shooting, Des was also very competitive in IPSC rifle and shotgun events.
Having been involved in one sport or another his entire life, Des has always attempted to give back to the sports that have given him so much enjoyment. Although he has only been a member of IPSC for a short time, he has already served as the SA section co-ordinator for IPSC and is currently in his second term as regional director for IPSC Australia, Inc.
In September, Des travelled to South Africa to represent IPSC Australia at the World Assembly. At the same time he also competed in the 2002 IPSC World Handgun Championship.
Before taking up competitive shooting, Des played Australian Rules football and basketball, was a competition water skier, having at one time skied for four hours and 20 minutes continuously, and was a competitive squash player.
He is currently a member of the SSAA Para Range in South Australia, the Southern Vales Practical Shooting League in South Australia and IPSC Australia, Inc.
Having been a sporting shooter for most of his life, Don Ruwoldt would have many memories to look back on. But his favourites are made up of the times he spent duck hunting or target shooting with his father as a young boy. “I still have the shotgun that he gave to me,” says Don.
His introduction to the sport at that young age sparked a lifelong passion. Following in his father’s footsteps, Don has been the SSAA Lever Action National Discipline Chairman since 1993. “My father, Stan Ruwoldt, was the SSAA’s first National Lever Action Chairman,” he said.
For the past three years Don has also been employed as the Manager/Secretary of the SSAA Brisbane Branch. Before taking on this role, he was the President of the branch for more than 10 years.
Since joining the SSAA in 1987, Don has tried his hand at many different disciplines. Eventually, he chose to specialise in Lever Action. However, he also enjoys competing at the club level in Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle and Black Powder. When time permits, he brushes up on his Pistol, Rifle Metallic Silhouette and Field Rifle shooting skills.
Don’s Lever Action competition shooting has taken him to all states and territories within Australia and to a few international locations as well. “The comradeship with other like-minded persons is great,” says Don. “We all look forward to the competition, but catching up with each other is just as good. We are all like family to one another.”
While Don’s commitments keep him busy, he still finds time to go hunting at least once a year. His regular stomping ground is in the Barcaldine and Longreach area of Queensland where he hunts pigs, goats, foxes and feral cats.
In the next 12 months, Don is hoping to squeeze in a hunting trip or two and compete in the NSW and Queensland State Lever Action Championships and the National Lever Action Championships. In December 2008 and January 2009, he will travel to California and England to visit some of the friends he has made through the sport.
Aside from spending time with his grandchildren, shooting is his preferred pastime. “I enjoy all forms of shooting, but my lever-actions would be my favourites. I especially enjoy using my Browning BLR .222,” he says. “If I had more time in my day, I would probably spend it shooting at the range or out hunting.”
Just as Don’s father passed on the tradition of shooting to him, Don has shared his love of the sport with his wife and their three sons, all of whom are SSAA members.
Don Walton first joined the SSAA in Sydney in the early ’70s; at the time his main purpose was to get the monthly magazine. All his available spare time then was put into his new family, and his Army Reserve commitments. It wasn’t until he moved to Darwin in 1987 that he found the time to become involved in sport shooting again, and joined the SSAA Darwin branch in 2000.
“I’ve been a shooter since I was a kid,” he says. “I was born and raised in Newcastle, where Military Rifle was the go in the late ’50s. My dad and sister were both heavily involved; Dad won the NRA medal in ’57. As a result of this constant exposure, I developed an affinity for military firearms from an early age. I used to get a chance to fire at the military range between shoots and learnt the basics at Stockton Range.”
His earliest hunting recollection is on his grandfather’s farm at Cowra. When he was about seven or eight, and after much pestering, his dad took him on a fox hunt; however, as his father was lining up on a fox, young Don got the sniffles. “That was the last we saw of the fox - and the end of my shooting trips for a little while!” he says.
Don has been Secretary, Treasurer and President of the Darwin branch, and Secretary and now President of the SSAA NT. He was elected President of both branches in September last year but stepped down to the Vice President’s position in Darwin branch “because I wanted to do one job very well rather than two jobs half-well”.
Publicising shooting, liaising with, and assisting the more remote clubs throughout the NT (Nhulunbuy, Katherine and Alice Springs), and encouraging juniors are high priorities for Don. “We really need to get the juniors involved at all levels, to replace us grey-haired old fellows that are going to fade out in the next 10 to 15 years. We’ve got to have someone to pass the corporate knowledge on to, as well as the practical shooting skills. We run a popular junior shooting program with the high schools, and have an active Junior Benchrest program.”
His heavy involvement with the Association and his work with NT Police Force doesn’t leave much time for the sport Don loves. However, when he can find the time, he says, “I have quite a soft spot for the old .303 Military Rifle; it’s part of Australian history. Although some members of the club think they’re only one step away from a spear, I love shooting them!”
It’s no secret that the SSAA is keen to promote the shooting sports to junior shooters - after all, they are the future of our sport.
Evan Mickle is a very keen 16-year-old junior shooter, who is a regular attendee at the Springvale Range near Melbourne. Introduced to shooting by his father Graham, he joined the SSAA at the age of 12.
Not content to be just a casual shooter, Evan lists Field Rifle, 3-Positional, Trap and Skeet, Shotgun and air rifle Running Target as his disciplines. For shotgun shooting he and dad alternate between a Beretta and a Miroku.
His favourite rifle is his .22 CZ varmint with which he competes in rimfire events.
Mixing shooting with schoolwork takes a bit of juggling, but Evan manages to shoots .22 rimfire on Monday nights, air rifle running target on Tuesday nights and other events on the weekend. Not surprisingly, he hasn’t found time to go hunting yet.
Handloading is restricted to dad’s .222 Remington.
Evan has received coaching assistance from such SSAA notables as Bill O’Connor, John Payne and Alan Bingham.
All of Evan’s dedication has certainly paid off for him; indeed, he won the Victorian Junior Shooter of the Year in 2004, an award presented to him by none other than Michael Diamond. He was also presented with the Victorian State Representative Award by the then National President, Bill Shelton.
Evan was successful at the 2005 National Championships, placing 3rd outright in A-grade Field Rifle, and 3rd outright in C-grade 3-Positional.
Evan is a junior shooter on a mission, and his dream is to win a National Championship. Remember the name - we may see it on that elusive top trophy one day.
Geoff was introduced to shooting by his father at a very young age. Geoff’s father, John Hall, who passed away a few years ago, was a war veteran who fought at Milne Bay in New Guinea. John shot and hunted around Brisbane in the early 1930s. Geoff remembers his father telling him that hunting disciplines saved him many times during the war and many young men may have been saved if they had developed the skills themselves. John believed it was important that his family knew how to shoot proficiently.
Times have changed and gun ownership is different, but through Geoff’s father’s insistence, the entire Hall family, including the young members, are active sporting shooters. Geoff’s children are all SSAA members and were left a favourite firearm from their grandfather. When the entire family is at the Caboolture range, they take up a good percentage of the space. People often remark at the sight of the extended Hall family shooting together.
Geoff loves shooting with his son and daughter. Often Geoff and his son will shoot against each other using the same firearm - John’s old Strum Ruger 357 revolver.
One of Geoff’s best memories was the night he took out the club’s top gun in the centrefire competition - the SSAA coffee mug trophy has a special place in his cupboard. Recently, Geoff became club captain and he takes his duties seriously. On the top of his new captain duties was contacting Australian Shooter and asking for help in publicising the northern Brisbane club’s existence. Several valued members were lost after the buy-back.
Geoff proudly believes in his club. It’s a friendly, fun club and the family atmosphere is always welcoming. Geoff invites all interested shooters to visit Caboolture pistol section or call 0419 756 800 for further information.
George Hackney, a SSAA member since 1982, was last month honoured with Life Membership by the SSAA (NSW).
After joining the Silverdale Range it didn’t take long before he was fully involved in the club, taking on the duties of Range Officer. In the late 1980s, he was asked to assume the role of Honorary Range Manager, a position he held until 1993 when the Sydney Branch decided the range should be open every day, which called for a full-time manager. So he quit his job of 20 years to take on the role. George and his wife Jenny managed the Silverdale Range from 1994 to 2002, with their son Paul and his wife Tanya helping out from 1998.
In 1993, SSAA (NSW) established its Hunting and Conservation program. George was an active member from the outset, organising and managing many feral pest control programs as well as gaining access to state forests and several private properties for the H&C program and its members.
George retired as Manager of Silverdale Range in December 2002 so he could take on the honorary position of Manager of the SSAA’s latest acquisition, Tilterweira Station. Since this time, he and members of the H&C program have worked tirelessly to repair and improve the property, adding many thousands of dollars to its value and providing ongoing hunting opportunities for SSAA members.
Life Membership was conferred at the state’s AGM but George was unable to be present. True to form, he was at work hosting a group of SSAA members who were hunting on Tilterweira Station.
Speaking later about what Life Membership meant to him, George said, “I can honestly say it’s a great honour; the only regret I have is it never came before my wife passed away…We really enjoyed ourselves at Silverdale, and out here for a couple of years.” George and Jenny had a great partnership, with Jenny behind him all the way. She was also a terrific cook at Silverdale’s benchrest gatherings.
“It’s been my life for 20-odd years,” said George, and with a chuckle added, “and will be for the next 20 years I hope!”
Gil's first rifle was a Sportco Model 63A bolt-action. He joined the SSAA in May 1966. His role model for hunting and fi rearm safety was the late Les Tomkins (State life member) and he learnt the art of offhand shooting from the late W A (Bill) Hambly-Clark Snr.
Gil became South Australia’s treasurer from 1968-72, and spent 19 years at Para Range in various capacities, including vice president (four years) and president for four years. During this time he was also SA State Vice President for fi ve years and President for three. He was awarded State life membership on November 13, 1982.
Gil shot ISU pistol on a social basis, shotgun, when he could borrow one and a little Benchrest occasionally, but his forte was Field Rifle and Three- Positional Scoped Rifle. From 1975 until 1990 he was among the top ten. He won the fourgun grand aggregate (Rimfire and Centrefi re Field Rifle and 3P) in 1976, 78 and 79 - and he was the third inductee into the Field Rifle Hall of Fame.
While at Para he was also the Running Target captain for five years and represented SA in 1974. Gil was National Coaching Director for eight years and was a level 2 ACC coach until 2000.
In Running Target he ran Olympic selection trial in 1980, State titles in 1980, 97, 98 & 99, and National titles in 83, 93, 95, 96 and 97.
He received his ‘B’ UIT (ISSF) licence for Running Target in 1991, was Technical Director of R/T for Oceania in 91 and 95 and attended the World Cup in Barcelona in 1998. His licence was upgraded to ‘A’ in 1999.
Gil was made Chief of Range (R/T) for Oceania in 1999, the World Cup in 2000 and for the Olympic Games, Sydney 2000. He then went on to be on the Jury of Appeal for World Cup Sydney 2002, and R/T jury for World Cup, Sydney 2004. He also qualified in the Electronic Scoring Target System in January 2004.
He was the founder of the Hunting & Conservation Branch in SA, and was awarded life membership of the H&C Branch (SA) in September 2001. He still takes part in at least one major H&C cull each year.
Since its inception Gil has been president of the Yellow- Footed Rock Wallaby Preservation Assn (Inc), a spin-off from H&C (SA) responsible for the purchase of and management of the Bunkers Conservation Reserve, some 34,000 acres in the Flinders Ranges.
Pistol shooters at the SSAA Brisbane Branch in Belmont owe the privilege of target shooting in part to long-time member Glenn Small and 19 other sporting shooters, including Glenn’s old Irish mate Mike McCoy. Glenn and his band of friends were responsible for securing the rights to shoot pistols at the SSAA Belmont Range in the early 1970s. “There were other pistol clubs in the area, but none that were affiliated with the SSAA,” said Glenn. “It took 20 dedicated SSAA members to finally push it through.”
Once the police granted the approval, it took the eager group less than three months to build the range. Glenn recalled those days and the countless memories, including the day Mike McCoy painted the safety fence between the pistol and the rifle range a bright emerald green, with a great fondness and many laughs.
Glenn grew up in Queensland and was taught to shoot starlings with an air rifle by his Uncle Winston when he was “only knee high to a grasshopper”. A few years later, his Uncle Allan Harold introduced him to competitive shooting and the SSAA - a relationship that spans nearly 40 years.
Four years ago, Glenn moved his wife Kirsten and his two boys Connor, 13, and Lochlan, 11, to Stanthorpe so he could give them a better life. Glenn says that taking care of the property is “tough living”, but at the same time, life in the outback is fairly simple.
The one drawback is that the range is now 230km away, which means his weekend shoots take a bit more planning. When he lived closer to Brisbane, Glenn and Kirsten used to be regular competitive IPSC shooters. These days, however, hunting is their pastime of choice. The entire family enjoys camping and hunting goats, pigs, rabbits and fox around Stanthorpe. But their favourite hunting haunt is in Windorah in south-west Queensland. Hunting there is very special for Glenn. He says, “It is like you have gone to the hereafter.”
Next November, Glenn and his son Connor will head to Michigan in the United States for their first overseas hunting trip. Their search for white-tail deer will coincide with a reunion of his friends from the US Navy. For the past 30 years, Glenn and a few other men have been taking naval officers from various visiting US warships to shoot at the Belmont Range; the first were the officers from the USS Mount Vernon in 1979. Through this arrangement, he has developed some very special friendships.
Despite his many years of sport shooting, Glenn says the social interaction with his fellow shooters make up his fondest memories. In the old days, Glenn said it never mattered who won or lost. “It was the social aspect that we all enjoyed.”
When he isn’t hunting with his family, Glenn enjoys horse riding and studying geology and Australian history.
Graeme Wright’s interest in the shooting sports took hold when he was just a 10-year-old. “No-one in my family was interested in shooting. It was just something that appealed to me and I followed it up,” said Graeme, who joined the SSAA as a teen after reading one of the Association’s magazines off the newsstand. While he was in the Royal Australian Air Force his membership lapsed, but on his return years later he started a 30-year-plus run with the Association.
For the past four years Graeme has served as the Big Game Rifle National Discipline Chairman. In this role he coordinates the discipline on a national and state-by-state basis. He organises a national event each year and, as necessary, international events and teams. He also manages the production of the discipline rulebook.
In addition to serving in a leadership role, Graeme is also an accomplished Big Game Rifle competitor. He won the Australian National Title in 2003 and his shooting was vital in the collection of trophies won by the Australian team at the 2000 and 2002 Vintagers Cup in the USA.
Other hobbies include duck, deer and pig hunting, reloading, four-wheel driving and writing. In fact, Graeme has used his extensive knowledge of double rifles to write two editions of the book Shooting the British Double Rifle and he is working on his ‘hat trick’.
It seems his love of shooting takes a back seat only to his family and his job as a 747 captain for Cathay Pacific. His wife and two children have an interest in the shooting sports, but could be classed as the ‘benchwarmers’ of the family.
As a committed sporting shooter, Graeme encourages his peers to be a bit more politically active. “Ring your local members and be careful how you vote,” he says. He supports the SSAA and what the Association does for its members. “The SSAA combines many varied interests and disciplines and is doing well to balance these competing interests,” he says.
For more information on Big Game Rifle, click here.
Greg Moon, a SSAA member since 1987, is a Senior Sergeant at the Victoria Police Academy, where he manages an area that oversees quality assurance of Operational Safety and Tactics Training (including fire- arms training) for all operational members of the Force. He has been a shooter since the age of 16. Unlike most shooters, who are introduced to shooting by their father, uncle or similar, Greg introduced himself to the sport by reading shooting-related magazines. When he turned 18 he purchased his first centrefire rifle. A year later he joined a pistol club and has been involved in competition handgun, rifle and shotgun shooting with IPSC since then.
During the years he has competed at state and national levels and has represented Victoria on many occasions in the IPSC state teams. He has officiated at state, national and international events in Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, England (before their bans) and the Philippines. Most recently he attended the World Shoot in South Africa, where he was the range master in charge of the event. While in South Africa, he married Jayne, who was in charge of the scores office for that event.
Due to his activities within the administration area of IPSC and SSAA and running his own part-time gun dealing business, Greg spends between 40 to 50 hours a week on shooting-related activities. He holds a position on the State Executive of SSAA (Vic), is the President of the National Range Officers Institute (NROI) for IPSC Australia and conducts Range Officer Courses throughout Australia. He is also the Deputy Section Co-ordinator for IPSC (Vic) and is on the committee of his pistol club, the Practical Shooters of Australia based at the SSAA Range at Little River.
His favourite firearm is an SPS .40 cal standard division pistol, soon to be banned under the proposed legislation. He has hunted in the past but these days concentrates on target shooting.
He is also a keen handloader, currently loading for a variety of handguns cartridges including .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .45 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .38 Super, 9x23 and rifles in .308, .223, .375 H&H, .243, .303 and .30-06.
Due to his heavy workload he no longer has any great aspirations of competing at the top level; however, he still enjoys shooting and attending major competitions and achieves satisfaction through ensuring the matches run with as few problems as possible.
For 23 years Hazel Bozic has been a dedicated member of the SSAA. She began shooting in Mt Isa in 1980 at the age of 21, which was when she was introduced to the sport by her first husband’s shooting friends. Despite her husband’s decision to exit the sport, Hazel’s interest and involvement continued to grow.
After divorcing her first husband, she met her current partner through the sport and together they have shared a love of shooting for 14 years.
Because of Hazel’s extremely busy lifestyle, which includes full-time primary school teaching, partner Ron is the reloader and technical expert in the family who keeps her firearms ‘fed’, cleaned and in top condition. She competitively shoots: RF and CF Field Rifle/3P/4P, RF and CF Rifle Metallic Silhouette, Big Game Rifle, Lever Action, Military Service Rifle and Military Pistol, Target Pistol, Pistol Silhouette, RF and CF Benchrest Groups, Hunterclass Benchrest, BR30 and some Air Rifle and Air Pistol events. Her favourite firearm is a .222 Browning Lever Action.
She currently holds the following positions within the SSAA:
• Queensland State Secretary
• Secretary of SSAA Fraser Coast Branch
• Secretary of the Fraser Coast Shooting Complex Association
• Certificate Level 4 Trainer and Assessor - delivering SSAA Rifle Safety Courses in her ‘spare’ time
• National Junior Sporting Shooters Chairman - responsible for co-ordinating the annual National Junior Coaching Camp at Millmerran for budding junior shooters in Australia.
With so many titles to her name, Hazel often spends the majority of her evenings dealing with SSAA volunteer-related tasks; however, she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
She has been a national ladies lever action champion numerous times and was the national Open Rapid Fire B Champion at the National Military Service Rifle Championships in 1994, which she says is her most treasured win, as it was a hard fight against three other competitors - all of whom were male. Her awards, accomplishments and volunteer work within the sport are numerous and are testament to her commitment to its survival.
In the current era of political correctness, it is refreshing to see a public figure who proudly advocates the rights and interests of responsible sporting shooters. Ian Goodenough is a long-serving local government councillor at the City of Wanneroo in Western Australia and a Justice of the Peace. For more than 15 years, Ian has been actively involved in promoting responsible shooting in the local Wanneroo and Joondalup community.
An active SSAA member and avid shooter of shotguns, rifles and pistols, Ian has encouraged junior shooters and beginners to take up the sport, providing helpful advice and mentoring along the way.
A successful businessman, he has sponsored shooting competitions, volunteered for administrative duties at club level and encouraged the City of Wanneroo to support local shooting clubs. Recently, he assisted the SSAA Wanneroo Shooting Complex to obtain a reduction in council rates.
Ian is a great ambassador for the shooting sports. He is well known in his district for his shooting skill, firearms collection and administrative work. He lives close to Dr Leo Laden and is a good friend of the local muzzleloading guru.
A proud shooter, Ian erected a sign on the fence at the West Australian Gun Club in the Whiteman Park International Shooting Complex clearly showing his support for our sport.
Elected representatives, such as Ian Goodenough, who are prepared to stand up and be counted in protecting the interests of responsible sporting shooters should be recognised and applauded.
SSAA South Australian President Jeanine Baker has been an active member of the Association for 20 years and a National board member for three years. In addition to state presidential duties, Jeanine is a member of the South Australian Hunting and Conservation Group and has represented the SSAA at various international conventions, including the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities.
A passionate shooter herself, she is a champion of the shooting sports and their future health. One of the things she is encouraged by is the recent interest of SSAA members in presenting sport shooting to governments as a legitimate recreational activity. Ultimately, she’d like governments to perceive sport shooting as a fully mainstream, safe, secure and well-regulated sport.
Jeanine sees a role for the SSAA in active research and lobbying and promoting junior sport shooting. As with most sports, sustainability is a key concept. A critical component is an up-and-coming junior group.
Jeanine was born in England and spent her pre-teen years in Kenya, Penang and Singapore. She now resides in the beautiful Adelaide Hills with her husband Peter. She began shooting as a child while living in Kenya and as a teenager began to hunt rabbits. She developed an affinity for IPSC shooting shortly after meeting Peter but says she is now primarily a hunter, pursuing feral rabbits and goats with fellow Hunting and Conservation members.
Formerly an allround shooter, she now owns only longarms as she doesn’t have the time to keep up the number of shoots required to have a handgun. When hunting, she uses a 0.243 Shortie because she likes the short length combined with the long barrel. When looking to purchase a new firearm, she considers functionality, quality and trigger weight.
Jeanine loves the outdoors and says she is in constant awe of the wonder and uniqueness of the natural environment and our place in it. “How can you beat the camaraderie of sitting around a campfire with friends discussing the meaning of life?” she says.
Jeanine is a reasonably talented reloader but admits that her SSAA duties, along with being a research scientist working on population genetics and dynamics, take up most of her time. What time she has left she prefers to spend with her husband or on her hobbies - painting, listening to music and walking her dogs.
When asked if she had any advice for SSAA members regarding the future of the sport, Jeanine said, “Remember that you are an ambassador for your sport at all times and try to introduce youngsters to the responsible use of firearms.”
Her hunting tip is simple yet important: “Know and treat your environment with respect and understanding.”
SSAA Victoria’s Senior Vice President Jeff Kuyken has been involved in the shooting sports for more than 30 years. He was first introduced to the safe handling of firearms from about the age of 10, when he and his older brother would go out hunting feral rabbits.
These days, Jeff still hunts the feral species, and finds time to go duck and deer hunting. He also enjoys breaking a clay or two.
Jeff is a builder by trade, but he is clearly interested in and dedicated to the shooting sports and to the SSAA. He first became a SSAA member in the late 1970s and has since moved up in the Association.
Initially he saw an advertisement for creating a general hunting club. He answered the ad and helped develop the club, which became known as the SSAA Field Hunters Club. He later became the President and through this position, moved up the SSAA.
During his three years on the National board and 16 years on the SSAA Victorian board, Jeff has held various positions. In addition to his highly regarded position as Senior Vice President for SSAA (Vic), Jeff is also the Victorian board representative on the SSAA National board. In this role, he helps oversee the running of the Association nationally. Jeff has also announced that he will be running again for the state senior vice presidency. His nomination has the full support of incumbent Victorian President Bob Cooper, now also the SSAA National Junior Vice President. The elections will be held next month.
Jeff says he has enjoyed seeing the SSAA grow from small beginnings to a large, nationally and internationally recognised professional organisation that protects the rights of all shooters.
When asked what advice he would give SSAA members, he simply said, “Maintain your membership and encourage any shooting friends you may have to join up too, as it will only be large membership of organisations within the shooting sports that will make the legislative listen and take notice of what we have to say.”
At the SSAA Victoria 4th Annual Awards Night and Dinner Dance held in August last year, Jodie Bedford was nominated for a Volunteer Administrator of the Year Award and given a Certificate of Appreciation for her ongoing work with the Sporting Shooters’ Women’s Group (SSWG) and for her dedication to the Schools Program at the Eagle Park Range as an accredited coach.
Jodie’s involvement with the shooting sports turned into a passion after joining SSAA Springvale Range in 2003. As one of the few female members, she felt there was a lack of support and generally a ‘place’ for female shooters. That void was the impetus behind her development of SSWG. For two years she served as the group’s President, but since having her first child, Erin, in 2006, she relinquished that role and now serves as Secretary.
The SSWG has about 20 female members, 10 of whom attend on a regular basis. “We recently opened up membership to men because we had a lot of partners who wanted to come to the range with their wives or girlfriends,” said Jodie. The men are not voting members, but they are very active and supportive in the group. The SSWG meets twice a month: once for a training day and once for a friendly competition. “We also have many social events such as wine and cheese nights and Christmas parties,” she says.
Jodie shares her zeal for and knowledge of the sport with people of all ages in her roles as a Range Officer, Sports Facilitator and Level 1 shooting coach. As a coach, she trains students, physically challenged individuals and newcomers to the club on how to shoot air rifles and .22s on a weekly basis.
As a new mother, coach and club Secretary, there are only a few hours left in Jodie’s week that she can devote to her love of craft. While she is not a hunter, she says she sometimes tags along on a hunt so she can get just the right animal skin to use to make teddy bears, hats and other items, which she uses as gifts. She also enjoys making patchwork quilts.
Target shooting has become quite the family affair, with Jodie’s husband and in-laws becoming members of the SSWG. Even her 18-month-old daughter Erin is involved. “She has her own earmuffs and safety glasses that she wears around down at the range,” said Jodie. “There are a few of us who have young children, and we take turns looking after each other’s kids.” The SSWG is not only a shooting group for women; it is a family and a support group for people with similar interests.
Jodie doesn’t think twice about giving her time to the shooting sports. It is something she loves and something that gives back to her tenfold.
John and Bev Davis
SSAA members John and Bev Davis became interested in sport shooting 53 and 50 years ago respectively. John, who was born in France, was a keen hunter from a young age. He immigrated to Australia in 1949 and married Bev, who shares John’s enthusiasm for the shooting sports, in 1957. They joined the SSAA in 1966 and are founding members of the SSAA (Qld) Townsville club, helping to clear the range and develop the shooting facilities, along with the original 22 like-minded members.
“We only had a 100m range to start with and a mile of trees and stumps to clear,” said John, who was president of the club from 1979 to 1984.
“We built the 50m pistol range next on the other side of the creek. Then we built a bridge to it made out of logs that we cut down and dragged with my four-wheel drive, but a few years later, it washed away in a big flood, so we started again. Our members over the years have worked hard to establish our club.”
John and Bev are now the last of the founding members of the SSAA Townsville club and still attend every working bee. They both shoot competition Target Pistol and Standard Pistol. John is the Shoot Captain for Action Match Pistol, shooting and reloading for his 9mm and .38 Super. Bev, on the other hand, prefers her .22 Browning. John had great success in the 1970s, placing first in the North Queensland Championships.
John is a hunter and has done a great deal of hunting using many different rifles. His .308 Remington Model 60 is his favourite, but he enjoys the great .222 as well. “Fishing and camping are high on the list of the other things we both enjoy doing, but now I’ve turned 80, I may have to slow up a bit,” said John.
Bev is quick to admit that she enjoys the social aspects of the sport. “We have made some good friends and met some nice people through our shooting,” she said.
John and Bev said they have always and will continue to promote the safe, enjoyable sport of shooting and they hope to see it continue for many more years to come.
John in particular is one of the larger-than-life colorful characters that the sport seems to attract and he is always ready to lend a hand or offer advice to those who ask - advice that comes from more than 50 years of knowledge, teamed with a wealth of experience.
John Disher has been an avid rifle shooter for 15 years. John, wife Nancy and their two sons were enthusiasts with the Field Rifle Silhouette Group after being introduced to sport shooting by a family friend. After visiting the Little River range, John and Nancy developed an interest in rifle competitions: rimfire and centrefire. After about 12 years John became a representative of the newly formed Range Management Committee. Now, as president of Little River Sporting Clays, John’s main motivation is to help build the club into the best family-oriented sport shooting club it can be. Recently he helped facilitate the building of clubhouses for the main range and the shotgun club, which he hopes will appeal to families and acquire new members. The Range Management Committee’s next project is to develop a barbecue area that will appeal to families and offer further recreational activities.
John is passionate about his role as president of Little River Sporting Clays. John and Nancy spend their spare time working on site - there is always trap repairs or other work to be done. Modestly, John believes his greatest accomplishment has been the shotgun club, which was struggling to survive, and now regularly shooting up to 100 competitors on a sporting clays layout with monthly competitions. John’s greatest accomplishment may be in club development, but his biggest thrill was eight years ago in Canberra. John almost beat the record for centrefire silhouette rams shot in succession - he missed out by one target.
John says it is a pleasure to be president of Little River Sporting Clays and he looks forward to further development in the aesthetics of the club, and enlisting more members for the monthly competitions.
Eleven-year-old John was introduced to shooting by his father in the early 1960s.
He initially joined the Dapto Branch of the SSAA in the late 1960s and was heavily involved in muzzle loading - building and shooting his own rifles.
John drifted away from club shooting due to work and family commitments, but rejoined the SSAA Tumut Branch in 1987.
A recreational hunter since he was 15, John trained as a fitter and turner but left to work in the elements. He spent 23 years as a field officer, ranger and project manager for NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. A large part of his work involved pest animal control, often on a daily basis. He was involved in aerial shooting work for about ten years as both a shooter and instructor, working mostly on pigs and goats.
In the Northern Territory, he worked for the BTEC program, aerial shooting buffalo.
Mainly a deer hunter these days, with a fascination for sambar, John occasionally shoots rimfire silhouette and field rifle - but not on a competitive basis.
John has not shot competitively since about 1996, when he sustained a work-related back injury. When he quit competitive shooting, he was shooting AAA grade.
He doesn’t have a favourite firearm. John likes them all, but does have a soft spot for anything that’s a single-shot.
Other passions include collecting American single-shot breech-loading rifles (“I am a tragic collector”) and he is a dedicated cartridge collector. John serves as the national secretary on the Australian Cartridge Collectors Association.
As a gun writer and dealer, John spends three or more days a week on firearm-related activities. He handloads his own cartridges for hunting, review and writing work, though it isn’t a major part of his shooting interests.
John was recently appointed a director of Hunting and Conservation NSW Ltd - an initiative of the SSAA - to provide a secure hunting future for SSAA members through the purchase and management of properties. The provision of hunting opportunities will be a primary aim.
John has enjoyed the shooting sports all of his life and considers himself privileged to be able to write about them on a continuing basis. “There’s a great deal of satisfaction working at something you love.”
John is a well-established writer with Australian Shooter magazine.
SSAA Millmerran’s John Jones may have been largely a self-taught shooter, but he’s never afraid to ask questions if he thinks it’ll help him gain more know-how. John’s father Mick taught him to shoot in the bush when he was about 10 years old using a .22 rifle and when he was 13, he graduated to a .303. The pair used to hunt kangaroos and dingoes and other pests such as pigs, foxes and feral cats, as these animals threatened the viability of their property.
At the age of 18, John was introduced to Full Bore shooting by good friend and neighbour Arthur Commens, who was a member of the Mingimarny Rifle Club Range. This match-up fuelled John’s thirst for knowledge and club members George Millar and Cyril and Spencer Goodall added their experience to the mix. John has now gone on to share his experience with son-in-law Michael and grandson Sam.
John has been a proud member of SSAA Millmerran & District Branch in southern Queensland since 1982 and has served the branch at an executive level. Currently, he is the Junior Shoot Captain, where he mentors up to seven juniors on a monthly basis.
John is a regular Field Rifle, Metallic Silhouette and 2-Positional shooter in Rimfire and Centrefire. He also enjoys the Combined Services discipline and, of course, hunting as a part of his farm work. He is an accredited ‘dogger’ with the local Toowoomba Regional Council, where, last year, he shot and trapped 33 dingoes, which are a major pest in the area. His beloved Krico 600 in .222 Remington is his favourite firearm and he regularly handloads for 6BR, .303, 7mm-08 and .222 calibres.
Over the years, John has been a keen participant in many shooting competitions, both large and small, including national, state and zone level events for Field Rifle, Rifle Metallic Silhouette and Combined Services. In 2000, he helped with the running of the World Silhouette competition in Brisbane, but his goal in shooting remains to enjoy the sport as much as he can in the company of like-minded people.
A SSAA member since 1994, John Ward is as keen as they come, always encouraging people to give shooting a go. In September he introduced two of his work mates to shooting and both are considering becoming members of a shooting club. John was first introduced to shooting by his father 50 years ago and to this day he continues to have a strong passion for the sport, spending at least 12 hours on shooting-related activities a week. Part of that time is spent handloading calibres such as the .222 Improved, .22-250, .25-06, .45, .38, .38 Special, .357 Mag, .44 Mag, .30-30 and .45. He has been able to share his passion with his brother-in-law and his future son-in-law and has occasionally taken his two daughters out for a shot.
John enjoys a variety of shooting, including 3P, field rifle, .30BR, silhouette, fly shoot, IPSC handgun and shotgun. John shoots at Para Range in Adelaide most Sundays and has participated in club and state titles. At the recent 3P Field Rifle Nationals he won a silver medal.
John and his mates always look forward to packing up his Holden ute or Toyata 4x4 for a weekend hunting at one of his favourite hunting spots - Morgan, Anginpina Station or Wirrabera in South Australia. There he targets anything from foxes, rabbits and crows to goats, deer and donkey - most of which makes it to his freezer. His favourite hunting rifle is the .25-06 Ruger with a Shilling West Coast heavy barrel, matched chambered. Throughout the years he’s taken a lot of game with this rifle and has even shot crows out at 600 metres.
Judith Kent has been an active member of the SSAA for eight years, working as the Victorian State Secretary since 2002. Judith’s role has taken her around the country, organising annual functions for representatives from some of the big names such as Holland & Holland and London Gunmakers.
A shooter for 12 years, Judith was a later-starter, joining the sport at 45 years of age. Developing a passion for the shotgun disciplines, Judith recently became an ISSF referee in shotgun, an achievement she deems one of her greatest accomplishments. Her position as referee has taken her to New Zealand for the Oceania Games and more recently, Sydney for the World Cup.
A keen shooter herself, Judith, who was introduced to shooting by her partner, enjoys American skeet, field and game simulated sporting clays, and hunting. Judith admits she does not have time to shoot in competitions any more, as her dual role of State Secretary and ISSF Referee does not leave her much time to pursue her chosen sport.
When Judith finds a spare minute to shoot, you will often find her hunting rabbits and foxes at one of several private Victorian properties, with one of her favourite firearms, the Perazzi MX8 12-gauge or the Beretta S687 EELL 20-gauge by her side.
In 2000, Judith worked as a field of play volunteer in shotgun events at the Sydney Olympics, an experience she thoroughly enjoyed. Other achievements include organising two shooting schools in the mid 90s when Ken Davies visited Australia - one held at the Frankston Australia Gun Club and the other at the Melbourne Gun Club.
When not running around organising high-profile events or refereeing for ISSF, Judith likes to spend time in her garden.
When you think of the average SSAA member, a 13-year-old girl probably doesn’t come to mind - and that is because there aren’t many of them. Kadiejayne Tirkot, of Perth, Western Australia, is a rare breed in the shooting sports. Handed a rifle by her father when she was just nine years old, it wasn’t long before she was a dedicated rifle shooter. Candice, Kadiejayne’s nine-year-old sister, is already following in her footsteps.
Introducing people to the shooting sports can be a difficult task but in the past few years Kadiejayne has encouraged a number of her friends to share in her favourite pastime. While many of them have decided not to take part for one reason or another, two of her best friends plan to join their nearest club as soon as possible.
Kadiejayne specialises in 3P and field rifle rimfire but also shoots a bit of metallic silhouette. Her favourite rifle is her CZ BRNO 452 vermin heavy barrel. It is metallic blue with a black tattoo of a skull on the side.
Because she is still in school, shooting practice can only take place on the weekends. She trains most Saturdays from 12 until 5pm or 6pm. Occasionally, she will shoot on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings during the twilight shoots.
While her training is limited, her success stories are not. She has already won her club’s Junior New Year’s Shoot three year’s in a row and has more medals and trophies than she can count. She says her greatest shooting accomplishments are “coming second in the nationals (and beating all those adults)” and coming second in the Junior State Titles, where she was beaten by only a couple of points.
Most shooters do not have a designated coach and that is the case with Kadiejayne. “I have been taught by many people and I pick things up here and there, but I think I’m my own coach.” She is as eager as they come, admitting that if there is something new to learn she will be first in line.
At such a young age, Kadiejayne has the energy to pursue numerous interests, including dance, basketball and singing. Recently, she was asked to sing in the WA Youth Choir. She has set high goals for herself and says she is “always up for a good challenge”.
Kaye McIntyre joined the SSAA in 1991. Eight years later she was elected president of SSAA ACT and became the first female SSAA national board member.
She grew up around shooting and remembers vividly how strict her father was about the way firearms should be handled. Despite doing a bit of hunting during her adult years, it wasn’t until Kaye took her son, Chris, to an open day at the SSAA ACT range that she was introduced to target shooting. When Chris decided to become a shooter, Kaye’s involvement in the sport snowballed.
Because of her numerous SSAA commitments, Kaye does little shooting these days, but when she is able to take a break, she enjoys taking part in field rifle, 3-positional, benchrest and running target events. Kaye does take part in competitions but most of her time is spent as an official. She was a technical official (range officer) at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and was appointed as an Australian Jury member at the 1998 ISSF World Cup in Seoul and will serve in this capacity again at the 2003 ISSF World Cup in Zagreb, Croatia. In 2000, Kaye proudly accepted an Australian Sport Medal for her services to the shooting sports.
Kaye’s commitment to the sport has allowed her to introduce many people to its ranks. At one point she served as the co-ordinator of the SSAA ACT Junior Development Section and was fortunate to help a number of new juniors find enjoyment in the sport. In the past few years, Kaye says she has been approached by a number of young men and women who introduce themselves and say that she was responsible for teaching them to shoot.
Shooting runs deep in Kaye’s family. Her son, Chris, is a keen hunter and top-level target shooter. Her daughter, Michelle, had the makings of a good target shooter but a badly broken wrist put an end to that. Her son-in-law, Ron Bryant, is the president of SSAA WA, the national discipline chairman of field rifle and is a top-level target shooter. “Shooting is such a great sport and truly non-sexist and non age discriminating. In what other sport can males and females, young and not so young, compete against each other in the same competitions and enjoy it as much as I know all my family does?” says Kaye.
South Australia’s Kaz Herbst had his first experience with shooting a firearm at the age of 12 with a Daisy slug gun at a friend’s property in the United Kingdom. His inspiration and serious introduction to shooting and hunting came from his bachelor uncle who, being an RAF pilot, was allowed and encouraged to shoot and hunt in parts of the UK which were “depopulated” for the purpose of military training during WWII.
Kaz joined the SSAA in January 1986, “making my membership 24 years and my Australian Shooter collection taking up a lot of shelf space”. His regular shooting consists of pistol shooting and hunting, while shotgun (clay target) is now only an occasional social event.
Kaz names his “favourite” firearm as probably the one used most in hunting, a Steyr .243W. “This is mainly because of its versatility and light weight, which is becoming a factor at my age,” he said.
Kaz is a keen member of the SSAA South Australia Hunting & Conservation Branch. The function of the branch is animal management, which, as a consequence of success over the past 18 years, is becoming very much dependent on hunting practices and competence for maintaining effectiveness. Kaz said that being a committed member of this branch has meant that he hunts almost exclusively feral species, which have ranged from rabbits to camels.
Having been on the SSAA SA H&C Council for 17 years as a member, Vice President, President and currently Secretary, Kaz’s time commitment is usually more than 20 hours a week on administration alone. As a result, he regards range days and field activities as his “time off”.
As many “serious shooters” do, Kaz reloads all of his centrefire ammunition and chooses to hunt with all but one of them so far, which is the .17 Ackley Hornet.
At the age of 74, Kaz says his competitive shooting is very much in the past, so “club shooting” is really for keeping up basic competence, good company and just for fun.
“My current shooting goals are to develop and maintain safe and effective voluntary service by our branch members to government and other conservation-related organisations, and to promote community understanding and acceptance of private firearm ownership,” said Kaz.
Other interests include involvement in the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby Preservation Association (he is the Vice President) and its operation of the Bunkers Conservation Park in the Flinders Ranges, Nature Foundation SA and the Outback Consultative Committee.
“Also, I must admit to still maintaining an interest and enjoying Porsches,” he said. “There must still be a few drops of petrol in the veins!”
Kim Atkinson has been a SSAA member for the past 38 years. During that time, he has taken part in countless shooting competitions, held a myriad of titles and travelled the world representing Australia as a competitor and official.
For the past 12 years, Kim has served as the National Muzzleloading Discipline Chair - a role it seems he was born to fill. He is a member of the Adelaide Black Powder Club and is a member of the MLAIC International Commission and the current MLAIC president. The latter title will see Kim running the 23rd MLAIC World Muzzleloading Championships in Monarto, South Australia, in August of this year. While this is no small task, Kim says he is ready for the challenge. Having previously managed an extremely successful MLAIC World Muzzleloading Championship event in 2000, he knows what to expect and is well prepared.
In addition to muzzleloading shooting, Kim also has a fondness for shotgun field game shooting, fishing and V8 racing. Another of his favourite pastimes is watching his daughter Jessica follow in his footsteps. The youngest of three girls, Jessica recently competed, with her proud father cheering her on, in the MLAIC World Championships in Bordeaux, France, and in the USA National Championship Shoot in Friendship, Indiana, USA.
Looking back through his many years of competitive shooting, Kim has a few special memories. In 1979, he placed overall second in the Perth Muzzleloading Nationals and at the 1997 Pacific Zone MLAIC Championships he won individual gold in the Rifle Minie event and individual bronze in the Percussion Shotgun event. However, it wasn’t until this year that he finally claimed the one title that he had been chasing for many years - the SSAA Class Three Aggregate. “After holding the Class Three 100m National Record for 14 years, I have finally won the holy grail of Muzzleloading,” said Kim.
Outside of the shooting arena, Kim is the managing director of renewable energy industry pioneer Natural Technology Systems (NTS) in Adelaide - a company he has owned for 23 years.
If you are interested in muzzleloading or you have any questions about the discipline, click here.
Conservation hunter Kym McEwen is passionate about protecting Australia’s native wildlife. Having grown up in a small rural town in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, conservation hunting was a necessity, and managing feral animals was a part of everyday life.
Kym’s shooting career began in 1970 at the age of 13 when he was introduced to the sport by his father and uncle. His first firearm was a Sterling Model 14, which cost a whopping $13. After working Saturday mornings at the local service station, Kym saved enough money to add a Nikko 4x40 scope to the fun, which helped him win several medals in Running Boar and Rimfire Field Rifle shoots at the SSAA Para Range.
Now a member of the New South Wales Outdoor Sporting and Recreation Club, Kym says he enjoys all forms of shooting. “My favourite is using my Sharps Quigley .45-70 at long distance,” he said.
Kym holds an R-Licence with Game Council NSW and is the testing officer for this licence for the council. He also holds the positions of club secretary/treasurer, and club armourer, and is a Firearms Safety Testing Officer.
“Pigs are my favourite animal to hunt,” he said. Being a conservation hunter, I also hunt any vermin that are a danger to our native wildlife.”
In addition to hunting and rifle shooting, Kym also enjoys pistol shooting and has a swag of medals and trophies to show for his efforts. He has never had any formal coaching, but is grateful to the many shooters who have given him tips and advice over the years. He is also an avid Single Action shooter.
Kym has been a SSAA member for about 20 years and spends up to 18 hours a week shooting, hunting or reloading. He reloads for the .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .45-70, .223, .30-06, 9mm, 7.62x39, .30-30, .45 Long Colt and shotgun cartridges and competes in Pistol events most Wednesdays at the Newtec Pistol Club.
Besides his keen enthusiasm for shooting and hunting, Kym enjoys scuba diving, four-wheel driving and off-road biking.
Leo Laden started shooting as a 13 year old dispatching ants and flies with a Diana air rifle in north London. His next adventure with guns was in 1962 when he was stationed in Aden.
The exploits of the eccentric RAF medical officer who carried an 1851 Colt Navy percussion revolver during the Radfan campaign and on an expedition to Ethiopia are now part of history.
Leo began competitive shooting when he moved to Western Australia in 1966, which was when he restarted the Goldfield Leonara Pistol Club. A few years later, he moved to Sorrento, the seaside suburb at the far end of the coast road, and helped form the Perth Muzzleloading Club.
For the past 25 years, Leo has served as the president of this club. He has been the first to do many things in the wonderful world of SSAA muzzleloading, including:
• First in WA to license a flintlock (initially rejected as they were considered too dangerous);
• First in WA to license a cannon;
• First WA shooter to attend a national muzzleloading championship (1977 in Adelaide), where he won his first national gold medal;
• First SSAA shooter to compete at a world muzzleloading championship in Virginia, USA in 1980;
• First to shoot matchlocks in WA;
• And the list goes on…
He has also been the national muzzleloading chairman for a ten-year stretch and the WA state president for five years. These days he spends all of his energy shooting, buying, selling, trading and fixing muzzleloaders - both original and reproductions.
Having retired from medicine 12 years ago, Leo wrote a book about the funny aspects of his life as a Pox Doctor and has achieved his lifelong ambition of a happy family life and a gun museum with a billiard table in the centre. His other dream of winning a world championship medal came true in 2000, when he secured a bronze at the Monarto World Championships in an event for Japanese matchlock pistols.
Eleven-year-old Lisa Sedgley was introduced to the shooting sports by her father and started shooting rimfire benchrest and BR30 a little more than a year ago. Since that time, shooting has become a major part of her life. In addition to going to school, playing touch football, improving her archery skills and riding her motorbike, Lisa spends about six hours a week at the Cairns shooting range fine-tuning her marksmanship skills with her dad.
Her favourite firearm is her Brno Model 2, which she used to win the Zone 5 Junior Shoot in 2002. So far that is her greatest shooting achievement, but she hopes to make standing on the podium a routine. Like many of Australia’s junior shooters, she would love to find herself representing Australia in a future Olympic Games. And while benchrest is not an Olympic event, she is only 11 and has a number of years to determine how she will increase her chances of someday wearing the ‘green and gold’.
Lisa is currently in grade seven and is “having lots of fun learning about firearms and safety”.
As none of her school friends have chosen to join her in her after-school pursuit, she says she would like to see more girls participating in the sport.
Lisa’s passion for the sport rivals many of those who have been shooting for years.
Growing up in rural north-west Tasmania, Malcolm Gardam started shooting with a Lithgow .22 rimfire rifle and a Harrington & Richardson 28-gauge shotgun at about the age of 11. Over the ensuing 43 years he’s spent much of his recreational time hunting and fishing, although he’s done little hunting since the tragic events of 1996 and the rush by politicians of all persuasions to be seen to be doing something to “toughen up” existing gun laws.
In 1981 a friend introduced him to SSAA Sporting Clays and some rifle events. He was soon hooked on target shooting and joined the Bracknell Branch in northern Tasmania. He had better than average success as a target shooter without specialising in any particular discipline, although he concentrated mainly on shotgun events including simulated field, tower, skeet and low field. “What I didn’t realise at the time was that I had started a lifelong association with the foremost shooting organisation in this country,” he says.
During the 1980s and early 90s Malcolm was an individual lobbyist on Tasmanian hunting and firearm-related matters, including issues that surfaced as a result of the John Cain/Barry Unsworth ideologies.
He held the position of vice president of the Tasmanian Firearm Owners Association for two years, but following the events of 1996 elected to devote his energy into the SSAA - though he still remains the SSAA (Tas) delegate to that organisation.
Since his election as President of SSAA (Tas) in 1995 he has been active in the management of the SSAA. He’s spent seven years as Chairman of the Finance Sub-committee, as well as positions on the Publications, Membership and IT sub-committees. He also maintains a keen interest in SSAA Hunting and Conservation.
Since 2001 he’s been National Junior Vice President of the SSAA, and more recently a Director on the Board of SSAA Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd (an entirely separate company to the SSAA).
Life Membership, awarded this year, is “an honour, and something I will continue to cherish in the years to come”.
While individuals might want to join special interest groups, Malcolm believes all firearm owners could do their sport and themselves a favour by being members of the SSAA, which in his opinion is the only organisation with the capacity in terms of strength of numbers and resources to work at protecting our current ownership and usage of firearms. He says for hunters the benefits of public liability, personal accident insurance and a regular magazine must provide “the best value-for-money membership in Australia”.
In real life, Malcolm has worked for more than 35 years in the commercial sector of the building and construction industry; the last 20 years being in managerial positions. He is married to ‘the incredibly patient’ Pauline, without whom he could not devote such time to the Association. They have three daughters and six grandchildren. Before long Malcolm hopes to introduce the youngsters to the fishing and shooting he’s been lucky enough to enjoy over the years.
When Max Coady runs into his friends around town they often ask this ‘frequent flyer’ where he is off to next. His official duties with the SSAA and his participation in Benchrest competitions have him travelling quite regularly.
At just about any major Benchrest competition, you can be sure to find Max. He’s served as the National Benchrest Scorer and Keeper of Records since 1972 and the National Benchrest Medal Awards Officer since 1964. More than 12,000 people have received an award from him at events such as the National Benchrest Championships, the NSW Benchrest Championships, the Australia Day Championships, the Harry Madden Championships and various Oceania and World Benchrest Competitions. You could say he’s the ‘grandfather of Australian Benchrest shooting’.
When he is not away on official business, Max travels locally or interstate in search of competition opportunities. A few times a year he leaves his farm in Crookwell, NSW, to make his way to the SSAA Sydney Branch, which he is a member of, or the SSAA Canberra Branch for training and to reminisce with old friends.
Max has been a member of the SSAA for more than two-thirds of his life. His involvement began in 1951 when, as a 16-year-old, he made his first visit to the Baulkham Hills Rifle Range. Two years later, after becoming hooked on the sport, he became a member of the NSW Association. In 1953, he helped build a new range behind the original range at Baulkham Hills. Not long after that he assisted in building the Narrabeen and Silverdale ranges in the Sydney area. In 1962, he was at the meeting that formed SSAA National. Eight years later, he was awarded NSW State Life Membership.
In 1999, his dedication to SSAA National was recognised when he was awarded National Life Membership.
This year he will turn 70 and after nearly 55 years in the sport, he is as keen as ever to get out to the range. “I try to shoot as often as I can,” he said. “I mostly shoot Benchrest, but occasionally I do a bit of F-Class, which is a Full Bore event that I shoot off a bench.”
He has a few guns that he’s had for more than 40 years, such as his .257 Roberts that Sydney gunsmith Bill Marden custom made for him, but they are used mainly for fun. When the shooting gets serious, he relies on his new 6mm PPC Remington or his .30-06 Remington.
Benchrest shooting takes up most of Max’s time. However, he does enjoy the odd fishing trip and playing lawn bowls. He’s a member of the Crookwell Lawn Bowls Club and says if you can’t find him on the shooting range, you might want to try the bowling green.
Nick Catlan began his shooting career in 1946 at the age of 12 and was taught the basics by his father when the family lived in Sydney. While at secondary school he joined the school cadet unit, further gaining rifle experience on the 303, 22, Bren, Owens and Vickers. It was this experience that was the motivation for Nick to join the CMF taking part in various competitions with the Eastern Command Army rifle team. Nick was picked to compete at the University of the World Challenge at Perth in 1959 as a member of the Australian team.
It was around this time he decided to become a member of the SSAA and be part of a shooting association, paying a then joining fee of $4. In addition to competition shooting, Nick has been a keen hunter mainly traveling to Wanaring near Bourke in New South Wales and Thargarminda in Queensland. Hunting feral game, he used his favourite rifle the ZG 47 Brno with a Pecar 4-10 scope chambered in Winchester 270. Nick has actively participated in other disciplines such as silhouette, field rifle, 3P and field shotgun. His lifelong ambition however is to make the Australian benchrest team sometime in the future.
Nick’s preference of shooting is centrefire with rimfire being second of choice as he quite often says “it is very challenging”, although Nick has successfully won various yardages at the national level in rimfire. Shooting related activities consumes 10 to15 hours a week of his time, from hand loading his favourite Winchester 270 through to being on the phone rounding up shooters to attend shoots. The other time he spends on his other hobbies - fishing, squash and tennis.
On the 12th of February this year Nick was awarded an honorary branch life membership by the SSAA Warwick District Branch, ‘In recognition of significant outstanding services to the sport of shooting - in particular benchrest.’
Owen J Ismail
Those who know Owen J Ismail as the national 4-gun and 2-gun champion in both scoped 3-positional and field rifle matches, the national champion in centrefire field rifle and rimfire 3-positional, or as the recipient of the prestigious Jules Steiner Memorial Trophy would be surprised to hear him call himself, first and foremost, a hunter. In fact, Owen says he only took up target shooting in 1979 as a tool to learn to shoot better in the field.
“I was an avid hunter who couldn’t hit anything. I thought 20 rounds for a rabbit was wasting ammo, so I found a range and a club to learn to shoot.”
Owen, a dental technician with his own business in Perth, has given back to shooting as much as he has gained. He’s now the senior state delegate for field rifle and 3-positional and the Perth Field Rifle Club’s safety training officer, giving new shooters the benefit of his years of experience.
At the 2001 West Australian Shooting Association’s awards night, Owen edged out shooters from all other Western Australian shooting groups and associations to win the title of Sportstar of the Year.
As important as shooting is to Owen, it is just one of his interests. He is also a competent rock climber, scuba diver and hunter.
So, at his level, does he still enjoy competitive shooting?
“Absolutely!” he says. “There is something about shooting that provides a constant challenge, no matter your level.
“It’s not like buying a Porsche and parking it in your garage. You have to keep trying with your shooting. It’s not about beating people either, although I do love that challenge when it’s presented to me.
“There’s a camaraderie in shooting; when you go to the nationals, it’s like meeting your family after a long break.”
‘training’ paid off in the field? The famous Ismail grin is very wide, “In a way, except now I always try for headshots, which is much more difficult.”
This year’s SSAA & WGAA National Retrieving Championship Trial judges Ron Jackson and Paul Littlejohn both began shooting at a young age and as they grew up, they began to include their dogs with their shooting.
As a youngster, Ron would love early morning duck hunts and kangaroo and pig hunting weekends with his dad and younger brother. Paul began his shooting career helping to process trapped rabbits. Over the years, the pair has owned many breeds of dogs.
“I purchased a registered Springer spaniel some 24 years ago and this quickly resulted in me becoming interested in trials within Tasmania,” Paul said. “I have owned numerous breeds of dogs, namely, English Springer spaniels, Labradors and a German shorthaired pointer. I’m currently hunting over an English Springer and German wirehaired pointer and have a young Labrador in training.”
Ron, however, wasn’t introduced to using dogs when hunting until much later in life. He started his shooting career when his dad thought he was old enough to handle a gun, and bought his first gun, a Winchester 201 Supergrade, at the age of 20. It was after this that fellow shooter John Michelle introduced him to the idea of retrieving dogs and Ron bought his first Labrador retriever.
In the years that have followed, the duo has increased their involvement in the retrieving competition circuit, gaining respect as both competitors and judges.
“I have made up three Retrieving Trial Champions, as well as a Field Trial Champion, but enjoy nothing more than a hunt and retrieve with trained dogs,” Paul said.
Both Ron and Paul said they were looking forward to judging the SSAA & WGAA National Retrieving Championship Trial this year and seeing the great talent sure to attend.
A lifetime Sydneysider and SSAA member since 1999, Paul McNabb is enjoying his second year on the board, serving as the National Secretary.
He is married to Cathie, also a licensed shooter, and together they have two children: Holly, 26, and Michael, 14.
Paul developed an appreciation for pistol and rifle shooting while in the CMF between 1966 and 1972. Since then, his shooting experiences have led him to become a keen benchrest and clay target shooter. When he is pulling the trigger, he prefers benchrest; however, clay target shooting usually gets his eye when it comes to being a spectator. His favourite firearm is his new Beretta shotgun.
Paul is a purist and loads his own shells. While the cost saving is a bonus, the real advantage of loading is the quality time it affords him with his son. Michael is an up-and-coming star in the Olympic trench discipline, consistently placing in the top 10 among Australia’s junior shooters. Paul likes the fact that reloading gives Michael a greater understanding of how the sport works and that it provides him with an appreciation of the expense of the shooting sports.
In addition to his duties as National Secretary, Paul is also very active in other areas that benefit the shooting community. He is Junior Vice President of both the SSAA’s Sydney Branch and the NSW Board, and is in the front-line of the Shooters Party in NSW. In fact, Paul anticipates a significant role in the party’s 2007 election in NSW. “I am very excited about the possibilities the election will hold,” he said.
Paul’s ‘day job’ is running an advertising agency, which has NSW SSAA among its clients. You have probably seen some of his work. He wrote and directed the agency’s 2004 Michael Diamond shooting commercial.
Outside of his job and attending board meetings, shooting competitions or writing advertising slogans, Paul enjoys taking photographs, especially of the shooting sports. His fantasy photo is to capture the exact moment a clay target is hit. The timing for such a shot must be impeccable. With his son’s clay target shooting talents frequently on display, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to get the timing just right. He also enjoys admiring the work of daughter Holly, a special effects make-up artist who has worked on the sets of the Star Wars and Harry Potter films.
During his seven years with the SSAA, Paul has seen shooters ‘coming out’ like never before. He believes that is because shooters are generally more accepted by the public. Much of that has to do with the positive publicity of Australia’s medal-winning shooters and, unfortunately, the increasing government regulations, which make the sport seem safer in the public eye.
He encourages fellow SSAA members to tell their friends about the sport and to promote SSAA membership. He would also like to see more of our current members encouraging young people to give shooting a try, as a broader base of shooters solidifies the future of our sport.
Paul Sullivan grew up shooting on his parents’ property. His target shooting career began some years later after being introduced to the sport by ABJ Zahl, and he joined the SSAA in 1969 at the age of 21. Just one year later, Paul worked with a group of keen shooters to found the Springsure Branch in Central Queensland and he remains a dedicated member.
Over the years, Paul has held around 20 national records. He has also won numerous Masters, Regional, State and National Championships in both Hunter Class and Benchrest group shooting, including the Australian 4-Gun Championship five times and the Australian Benchrest Shooter of the Year seven times.
Paul won the first Australian Super Shoot held in Adelaide in 1975 and repeated the performance in Warwick, Qld, in 2002. As the current holder of two Benchrest records, he was inducted into the Australian Benchrest Hall of Fame at Silverdale in 1994.
His success has also led him to competing overseas, and he has participated in the USA National Championships and Super Shoots. In 1997, Paul competed in the USA National Championships and won the 200-yard Sporter Trophy - the only time a US Benchrest trophy has left the States. He has also finished twice in the top 10 in the USA 4-Gun Nationals.
Since 1991, Paul has been a member of the Australian team in the World Benchrest Championships seven times. During this time, he has won four medals, including an individual bronze medal in France and a World Championship team gold medal in South Africa last year.
Paul’s favourite calibre is a 6mm PPC and he currently uses a BAT DS action. His mentor of later years has been US shooter Tony Boyer, with whom Paul plans to compete in the US Super Shoot and Nationals again in 2011.
When he is not competing, Paul enjoys hunting pigs on a property near Bollon and spends most of his time fine-tuning his gear. As a Benchrest shooter, he handloads all of his ammunition, preferring to use precision equipment. Paul’s brother Ken and son Eugene are also shooters and have been successful in hunting and competition shooting.
Paul is the current Australian 4-Gun National Champion and remains one of Australia’s most talented Benchrest shooters. He is recognised as a tough but fair competitor. His friendly and easygoing personality has made him well-known in shooting circles. Paul, who aims to never come second, plans to continue competing in the future and hopes to claim more championship titles in Australia and overseas.
SSAA Sydney club member Peter Klioufis of Belfield, NSW is a keen and competitive target shooter. One of Peter’s greatest accomplishments is his selection into The Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame for outstanding contribution to sport.
Peter’s achievements include champion status in track and field, boxing and kickboxing as an able-bodied competitor and after suffering spinal injury he continued this degree of success in weight and powerlifting.
Peter has won both state and national weight and powerlifting competitions, including four world records. He was also a dual bronze medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics. Up until his diving accident, which left him as a quadriplegic, Peter was the NSW and Australian lightweight and heavyweight champion in boxing as well as kickboxing.
Because of Peter’s injury, his involvement in sport is somewhat limited but his passion has not diminished. He is currently a volunteer supervisor at the Canterbury Police and Community Youth Club in Campsie, NSW.
New SSAA member Ray Dennis has been a hunter for the past 25 years. Most of the hunting he’s done during that time has been for pigs, foxes, cats and other ferals from a motorbike. Currently he uses a Yamaha 250 to access his favourite hunting hot spots and a Howa .308 to fill his game bag.
To make the most of his hunting opportunities, Ray has made a few alternations to his motorbike and the way he rides it. He says the biggest problem in shooting from a bike is being able to get a rifle up to the target before it disappears into the thick stuff. To improve aim, he has also fitted a gun rest that he made to the front fork of his bike. This allows him to take precise aim and has increased his tally considerably.
Riding in the bush does not make for a smooth trip and that is why Ray has added a foam-filled sheepskin seat cover to his bike, which he says makes a full-day’s hunting much more comfy.
Most hunters carry a pack while hunting and Ray is no different. To make sure he is never without his necessities, he slightly modified the rear rack on his bike to accommodate an extra backpack.
’hunting experience under his belt, Ray has learned a number of tricks that have made hunting from a motorbike much more successful and enjoyable. If you look at the photograph, you’ll see another such tip is to tape your trousers to your boots with masking tape and apply a bit of waterproofing to keep burrs and water at bay.
One could say that Rob Austin discovered shooting by accident. He was a state-ranked tennis player at the age of 14 when a knee injury meant he had to have 12 months off from tennis to recover. Faced with an active 14-year-old mooching around the house, his mother Greta, in desperation, took him to the Anzac Rifle Range at Malabar, New South Wales. There, he discovered the attraction of Rifle Metallic Silhouette shooting and the readiness of the shooters to take him under their wing to give him pointers to the art of sports shooting.
Rob and Greta were both instantly hooked. With her own pink Silhouette rifle, Greta transported Rob to competitions around the state.
Having been a shooter since 1994 and a SSAA member since 1995, Rob has been shooting for exactly half of his life. He participates in all the Rifle Metallic Silhouette competitions. He has reached Master grade in Air Rifle, AAA grade in Rimfire and A grade in Centrefire. In the newer Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle competition, he has reached AA grade.
Four years ago, Rob, in collaboration with Tony Powell, began handloading and over time, he has developed loads for his 6.5BR and .7-08 Silhouette rifles.
In his time in the sport, Rob has never had a formal coach, but is extremely grateful for the input and support from other shooters such as Tony Powell, Con Smith, Dave True and Rifle Metallic Silhouette National Discipline Chairman Andrew ‘Juddy’ Judd.
Recently, Rob was appointed to the SSAA NSW board and he spends around 10 hours a week on shooting and its related activities. Coupled with the considerable demands on him in his positions as CEO of the Bronte RSL Club in Sydney’s east, Rob devotes his remaining time to his wife Louise and his doted-on 18-month-old son Robbie.
Rob’s ultimate ambition is to represent Australia at an international level and to put as much back into his beloved sport as he is able to in order for it to grow and receive the wider community acceptance it deserves.
Like so many other SSAA members, Rob Purcell has enjoyed a lifetime of shooting. Growing up in the Wangaratta area of Victoria, Rob was taught firearms safety and how to shoot by his uncle at the age of six.
Rabbits were in plague proportions in those days and Rob’s trusty Winchester single-shot accounted for many hundreds of them. Selling rabbits was about the only way to make extra pocket money and a pair of rabbits, head-shot and cleaned, would fetch threepence from the rabbit-o. The local trading store paid a shilling for a dozen dried skins.
Rob moved to Queensland and joined the SSAA in 1977. For 15 years he hunted red deer in the Brisbane and Mary valleys. He also hunted trophy-sized pigs wherever they could be found. His favourite rifle in those days was a wildcat .270-08 smithed by Ron Webb on a Ruger M77 with a Shilen barrel.
As well as shooting, Rob is a very keen fly-fisherman. Apart from his Australian haunts, he has fished in New Zealand in the famous rivers around Lake Taupo - a mecca for rainbow trout fishers.
Ten years ago Rob discovered the sport of Benchrest shooting - a discipline he describes as “totally absorbing”. He competes mainly in light and heavy varmint classes and has travelled extensively within Australia to both club and national events.
In 2005, Rob was offered a position on the Australian Benchrest Team to compete at the Oceania games in New Caledonia. At the end of the shoot he had shot the smallest 100-yard group of the tournament and was a member of the team that took the silver medal for the overall event - his proudest moment.
Rob’s goal is to continue to improve through competition and one day compete again for Australia.
Roger Poynder was born and raised in Melbourne. He learned how to shoot from his father, a gunnery officer in the Australian Navy, and his grandfather, a veteran of Gallipoli. “They both grew up shooting in the country and passed on that tradition and their skills to me,” said Roger. They were quite effective because last year Roger was named Volunteer Coach of the Year at the 2007 SSAA (Vic) 4th Annual Awards Night and Dinner Dance held at the Malvern Town Hall in August.
Roger has been a member of the SSAA for 23 years and a volunteer coach for four years. He completed a Level 1 coaching course after introducing his son to the sport. “When I took my son to a junior shooting session, I saw that there was a need for more coaches,” says Roger. He specialises in Target Rifle, Field Rifle, .22 Rifle and introductory shooting classes.
Roger spends his working week as an operations manager for a logistics company, but in the evenings he assumes his role as a volunteer coach. He coaches women from the Sporting Shooters Women’s Group and junior members of the Springvale Branch.
“Sometimes there are 60-plus junior shooters at the club looking for coaching,” he said. “There is a huge waiting list.” With those kinds of numbers on the eastern side of Melbourne, he is keen to organise a similar coaching program for juniors west of the city, where there is currently no shooting instruction available.
Roger is an avid .22 freehand shooter and takes part in local competitions on Monday nights, but he admits that he puts in more time helping others become better shooters than he does training himself.
If anything can take him away from the shooting range, it is his love of stage theatre. His interest is as an amateur performer more so than a spectator. During the past 25 years, he has performed in dozens of plays.
Roger is also very concerned about conservation; he helped start a conservation station in Victoria a few years ago. Given the time, he would like to get further involved in this area, as well as increase his involvement in the coaching arena.
Time is something Roger claims he never has enough of, but when it comes to helping others, time seems to be on his side.
Growing up on the Lower Eyre Peninsula of South Australia had its benefits, and at 14 years of age Ron Botton began his shooting career. It started with a few shots from a friend’s rifle, and progressed into many hours of hunting small game with the local farmers’ lads.
Ron bought his first rifle in 1968. In 1969 he moved to Whyalla and found there were rabbits and foxes to be shot. In those days, the places upon which to shoot were not hard to find!
In 1973 Ron joined the SSAA, when the SSAA Whyalla Club was being formed, and was later elected to the Branch committee. The SSAA Whyalla Range was built in early 1975. At this time, hunting activities had to be shared with range interests.
Ron had purchased a Sako L579 heavy barrelled .243 for hunting - a rifle he still uses today. The Sako saw a bit of range work, but an interest in benchrest soon saw a 6x47 light varmint added to the collection.
Ron is a handloader and currently loads for his 30/30, 30/06 and .243 rifles. He has competed in a number of SSAA disciplines, including Rimfire and Centrefire Benchrest, Rimfire and Centrefire Field Rifle and 3-Positional, Rimfire Metallic Silhouette, Lever Action and Black Powder, and Air Rifle.
He spends about four to six hours a week on shooting-related activities. His greatest accomplishment was back in 1983, when he set a new National record for 50 yard offhand black powder shooting, at the National Championships in Adelaide.
He was also a mentor to and significant in kindling an interest in benchrest competition for 2001 World Benchrest Champion Brendan Atkinson.
Ron Bryant has been a shooter since he was a lad growing up in rural Victoria. Some of his fondest memories revolve around trips to French Island with family and friends. It was there he was taught how to respect a firearm, and the art of hunting. He enjoyed many duck openings, and he tried a bit of sambar hunting in the Victorian Alps. He joined the SSAA in 1984.
When work took him to Tom Price in Western Australia’s north-west in 1988, a colleague soon lured him along to the local club for a field rifle shoot.
“Not long after joining the local club I received some coaching from Lee Bettridge, a SSAA Field Rifle Hall of Famer,” said Ron. “This helped me move quickly through the grades of Field Rifle and 3P.” And it paid dividends - he won the 1998 Nationals in Field Rifle.
Ron was elected President of the Tom Price SSAA club in his first year there, and this was the start of a long involvement in the Association’s administration.
Since 1993 he has been National Chairman of Field Rifle and 3-Positional, and a Level 2 coach. He’s been a member of the WA state executive since 1994 and currently he is serving his second stint as State President.
Ron is now a member of Perth Field Rifle Club. “I don’t turn up as often as I’d like to, due to the administration stuff and doing shift work on weekends,” he said, “but when I do, the fellas give me a hard time, asking me if I’m a new guy!”
It’s not widely known but Ron is the man behind SSAA Merchandise. He’s always researching for new and interesting products for the members and often responds to members’ requests. While sales have been good, he’s more proud of the fact that the SSAA logo is getting a greater presence around the country, which is what it’s all about, he says.
Time on the board has seen him become involved in some other projects, including new medals for the Nationals, the Australian team shirt for international competitors, and the SSAA team tracksuits that are still on the drawing board. The highly successful ‘Visions Photography Competition’ was also his inspiration.
Ron’s wife, Michelle, is very supportive of both his sporting endeavours and his involvement with the Association. They have two sons, Jackson, five, and Samuel, three. With Michelle’s mother Kaye McIntyre President of the ACT branch, there are no prizes for guessing what they talk about at family reunions!
“I’m proud to say that records have been broken with rifles I have tweaked.”
This year’s SSAA & WGAA National Retrieving Championship Trial judges Ron Jackson and Paul Littlejohn both began shooting at a young age and as they grew up, they began to include their dogs with their shooting.
As a youngster, Ron would love early morning duck hunts and kangaroo and pig hunting weekends with his dad and younger brother. Paul began his shooting career helping to process trapped rabbits. Over the years, the pair has owned many breeds of dogs.
“I purchased a registered Springer spaniel some 24 years ago and this quickly resulted in me becoming interested in trials within Tasmania,” Paul said. “I have owned numerous breeds of dogs, namely, English Springer spaniels, Labradors and a German shorthaired pointer. I’m currently hunting over an English Springer and German wirehaired pointer and have a young Labrador in training.”
Ron, however, wasn’t introduced to using dogs when hunting until much later in life. He started his shooting career when his dad thought he was old enough to handle a gun, and bought his first gun, a Winchester 201 Supergrade, at the age of 20. It was after this that fellow shooter John Michelle introduced him to the idea of retrieving dogs and Ron bought his first Labrador retriever.
In the years that have followed, the duo has increased their involvement in the retrieving competition circuit, gaining respect as both competitors and judges.
“I have made up three Retrieving Trial Champions, as well as a Field Trial Champion, but enjoy nothing more than a hunt and retrieve with trained dogs,” Paul said.
Both Ron and Paul said they were looking forward to judging the SSAA & WGAA National Retrieving Championship Trial this year and seeing the great talent sure to attend.
A member since 1968, Ross Allanson was one of the people responsible for the foundation of the Western Australian arm of the SSAA. Following a hunting trip to the state’s south-west which saw him shooting pigs through the sunroof of a friend’s Bentley, Ross, together with Barry Wilmont and Graham Pow, established a benchrest club which eventually became the leading branch of the Association in WA.
Ross went on to help found the Wanneroo Shooting Complex at Pinjar in the early 1970s - a move which paved the way for a host of SSAA clubs. More recently, he was the principal force behind the Association’s newest range facility at Jarrahdale on Perth’s southern outskirts. The new range took Ross and a dedicated few the better part of five years to bring to fruition and involved battles with a legion of government departments in the anti-gun atmosphere of the late 1990s.
Ross is currently the President of the Jarrahdale Sporting Shooter and is still deeply immersed in the development of new facilities and the fight for shooter’s rights. These days he competes in IHMSA, Practical Pistol and Single Action Shooting.
Russell Mowles has been National Discipline Chairman for the SSAA’s Handgun Metallic Silhouette discipline and President of International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association (IHMSA) Australia Inc since 2001. In addition to managing the discipline, he also takes part in it on a regular basis, competing in club, state and national competitions as often as possible. For the past four years, he has flown to the United States to compete in the IHMSA World Championships. At this year’s event in Ohio, USA, Russell was a member of a three-person SSAA IHMSA team that won the Big Bore team event. The fact the team was the first SSAA IHMSA team ever sent to the US for Handgun Metallic Silhouette makes the accomplishment all the more impressive.
In addition to shooting Handgun Metallic Silhouette, Russell also dabbles in Smallbore Rifle Metallic Silhouette. Hunting too is a hobby. When he finds time to head bush, he enjoys chasing pigs and rabbits.
Russell is a cabinetmaker by trade and has been in the construction industry for the past 35 years. It was because of the influences of a few work acquaintances that Russell joined the SSAA in 1981. His interest in shooting began years earlier, as a youngster growing up in south-west Queensland. While being a current member of the Queensland Branch of the SSAA, Russell also holds life membership with the SSAA Alice Springs, which is where he lived and worked for 27 years. “My fondest memories,” says Russell, “are being part of the SSAA IHMSA winning team at this year’s IHMSA World Championships, being granted Life Membership of SSAA Alice Springs and winning my first national title in the Revolver Category at the National Championships held in Alice Springs in 1997.”
The title of favourite rifle belongs to his Remington XP 100 chambered in 7BR, which he uses in the Unlimited category for Handgun Metallic Silhouette.
Russell is married to Sally, who kindly spots for him at competitions and during target practice.
“I am proud to be a member of SSAA,” says Russell. “I tell as many people as I can about the Association - and especially about the joys of Handgun Metallic Silhouette.”
Stacy Roiall, born May 14, 1977, has recently joined the SSAA. Horse riding was her passion until sadly, in 2000, her sister passed away. To help take her mind off things, Stacy took on Clay Target shooting.
She had been introduced to Clay Target shooting in 1996 by local Werribee general store keeper and long-time member of the Werribee Gun Club, Richard Howden. After learning one of the club’s members, Russell Mark, had just won gold at the Atlanta Olympics, Stacy went to the club, had a go, and thoroughly enjoyed herself.
Her parents, Dianne and Robert, bought her a secondhand Miroku shotgun and she started to attend the club more regularly.
Stacy later attended an ISSF competition seminar in Frankston and learned the dedication (and expenses) necessary to compete at National level. This started her in Olympic Trap Shooting. She soon attended every ISSF shoot around Melbourne, even competing in the ISSF Grand Prix.
In 2002 Stacy was given her first new gun - a Beretta S682 Gold E - from long-time family friend, Kerry Pearce. Kerry and his wife Irene have generously helped Stacy with ammunition and training expenses.
Kerry, who holds the 1968 and 1971 World Record for the Indoor 2-mile Run, told Stacy that to compete at an elite level she would need the right equipment - with that Beretta she went on to win the 2004 World Cup in Sydney.
Nowadays, everything Stacy does is about shooting. She practises often, constantly juggles forthcoming competitions, and works full-time at the Victorian Arms Gun Shop in Melbourne. “My employers are wonderful people and adjust my work commitments to enable me to attend any shoot,” she said.
Her funniest moment was shooting not only her own target - but also the shooter’s next to her at the Newcastle Grand Prix.
Presently, Stacy shoots with a DT10, presented to her by Beretta after her World Cup win. Her favourite ammo is Mirage Grand Italia.
Some highlights from Stacy’s shooting career are:
• 2004: 1st ISSF World Cup, Sydney
• 2004: 3rd Sellier & Belliot Masters Cup, Slovenia
• 2004: 2nd Singapore Shooting Festival
• 2005: Overall High Gun in the Nationals, Brisbane
• 2005: 1st in two events - Overall High Gun in the Australia Cup, Werribee
• 2005: Gold medal Commonwealth Shooting Championships, Melbourne
• 2005: Bronze medal in team event (with Suzy Balogh) at same shoot
Stacy also intends to compete in the World Cup in Rome and World Championships in Lonato (May 2005), and the Commonwealth Games Trials (Sept/Oct 2005).
Already a budding champion, Stacy Roiall could well be ‘the next World Champion’, said Russell Mark.
I had the pleasure of meeting and shooting beside this lovely young lady at the Colonial Action State Titles shoot. Not only is Stella charming, friendly and a really nice person, she can shoot like you wouldn’t believe!
Stella is a 14-year-old, Cambridge Park high school girl, hailing from one of Sydney’s outer suburbs. She started shooting air rifle at the age of 12. Her father, Barry Fell, has been involved in competitive shooting for years and it was only natural that his daughter would follow suit. Stella shot air rifle for about 18 months, took a 12-month break and returned to take up shotgun as well as air rifle.
Stella’s scores in air rifle were in the 340s. Returning to the sport she is scoring 360s out of 400, not bad for someone who had a 12-month break. To date, her best score in air rifle is 367.
At the Colonial Action State Title shoot, held at Mudgee during the last weekend of March 2004, Stella and her mum came along to support her dad in the competition.
During the long-range rifle events, Stella was asked if she would like a shot. Stella accepted in her own shy way. Well, Stella showed us fella’s up. In one event, Stella and yours truly were the last two standing; she cleaned me up at 350 yards, with a BSA Martini Cadet in 310-calibre! I’ve been shooting since 1947 and I tell you folks, this little lady is going places!
Stella has decided to apply for her Category ‘H’ licence and hopes to compete in next year’s Colonial State Title shoot. Look out everyone; this girl is going to show us all how to do it!
For the past 15 years, serving the SSAA has been Stephen Heidrich’s life. However, his involvement in the shooting sports started many years earlier when he was a young boy growing up on his father’s farm. He was introduced to and joined the SSAA in 1984. Since then, he has taken on a number of important and prominent roles within the Association.
Stephen is currently the National Discipline Chairman for Combined Services and has been in this position for seven years. His duties include overseeing the running of the National Combined Services Shoot and the National Postal Shoot, liaising with host clubs and individuals involved with the Combined Service style of shooting, collating national postal scores and assisting with the distribution of medals.
He has been a safety instructor for 11 years and a Queensland State Safety Officer for the past nine years. The latter role sees him assisting in state firearms safety training and attending to the day-to-day processing of proficiency, range officer and instructor applications. He has also been the Eidsvold Club President for two terms.
Stephen shoots with his wife Linda at the SSAA Eidsvold Range as often as he can, focusing on Combined Services, Metallic Silhouette, Field Rifle, Shotgun, Lever Action and Black Powder disciplines. He is a strong competitor, taking part in as many branch, zone, state and interstate competitions as his busy schedule allows.
In addition to competitions, Stephen enjoys handloading ammunition and hunting pigs, goats and feral animals in general. The steel salesman’s favourite hunting hot spots include Thargomindah and Yowah in western Queensland. His favourite firearms are his SMLE No. IV Mk II .303 and his Mohawk .308.
He and Linda have a son and daughter aged in their 30s who are also sporting shooters.
Like most keen shooters, Stephen wishes there were more hours in the day to spend at the range and in the bush. When he can’t shoot or hunt, he enjoys motorbike riding and watching old Western movies.
During his 20-plus years in the SSAA, Stephen says he has met a number of people who have become part of his extended family. He is described as a good sportsman and ambassador for the sport and an asset to the SSAA.
Steve began shooting as a ten-year-old. His father taught him and his brother to shoot with a .22 Lithgow, which was always taken on family fishing trips.
Steve joined the SSAA Para Range in South Australia in 1974. At various times, all members of his family have shot at Para, although his eldest son, Michael, is the only one actively competing.
Mainly a self-taught shooter, Steve currently shoots Lever Action, Muzzleloading and Single Shot Rifle. He has shot Lever Action at state and national level and was National Champion three times. Steve has also shot Muzzleloading at state, national and international level. He recently took out fourth place in the smoothbore flintlock pistol event at the 2004 World Championships.
Steve’s involvement at the Para Range is varied. Joining in 1974, he made Lever Action Captain in 1977 (a position he retains today), Junior Vice President of the Branch in 1985, President from 1986 to 1989, taking a year off as President to be reinstated in 1990 - a position he holds today. For ten years Steve was also the National Lever Action Discipline Chairman.
Being the President of the SSAA Para Range, Steve puts in a good ten to 15 hours a week on shooting activities, shooting one of his two favourite rifles as often as possible: his .38 muzzleloading slug rifle or a .32/40 Marlin lever action. As he only shoots cast bullets, he loads for everything: .25/35, .32/20, .32/40, .38/55, .40/65 plus all the round balls and projectiles for his muzzleloaders.
Steve’s shooting goals are simple - to see an increase in junior shooters. He is proud of the achievements of his eldest son, Michael, and three other juniors at Para - David McCarthy, Ian McCarthy and John Visnyai - who started shooting at the same time. They have shot exceptionally well at all levels and in several disciplines of the SSAA.
Steve Nicholas has been involved with the SSAA for more than 30 years. Not only as President of the Para Branch, but also as SSAA SA treasurer (from 1997-current) and was awarded State Life Membership several years ago - of which he is immensely proud.
He wouldn’t be able to enjoy his sport at any level without the support of his wife, Marianne, who not only puts up with all of his shooting commitments, but also the SSAA State and Branch stuff that has almost taken over their home.
In a shooting career spanning 43 years, Stuart Elliott has competed at every level including International and World Championship status. He has competed in Australia, New Zealand, USA (in 10 states), Sweden, Italy and England, and is a member of the Australian Benchrest Hall of Fame.
Growing up on a farm in western New South Wales, Stuart was introduced to shooting at around nine years of age by his father. Foxes and rabbits were plentiful and provided challenging targets to a young shooter starting out.
Settling down with wife Annie in Canberra, Stuart ran a very successful automotive servicing and repair business; however, time was always set aside for competing in and running shoots at the Majura range. Along with Annie and their two children Jane and Andrew, they were the backbone of the popular Australia Day Benchrest matches held every January. Stuart has served on the National Benchrest sub-committee for the past 27 years and is currently the International Benchrest delegate.
A SSAA member for nearly 30 years, Stuart competes mainly in centrefire benchrest events, which includes 1000-yard benchrest and the 500m Fly Shoot. His favourite firearm is his Stolle Teddy 6mm PPC benchrest rifle, but a massive sleeved Remington rifle weighing some 55lb and chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum rates a close second.
Recently, Stuart and Annie sold the business in Canberra to concentrate fully on the Bench Rest Training program (see www.benchresttraining.com). This one-day training course designed by the Elliotts is available to shooters of most disciplines and concentrates on the thinking part of shooting, as well as the actual equipment and shooting. So far it has proved to be extremely popular and many participants have gone on to achieve shooting success.
Even after a lifetime of shooting there are still goals to be achieved, such as winning gold in the Individual 2-Gun at a World Championship.
Stuart’s other hobbies include camping, four-wheel driving, computing and amateur photography.
It is with sadness that we report on the passing of Terry O’Brien, proud member and past President of SSAA (ACT).
In 1992, Terry was elected President of the SSAA in Canberra, which was a position he held for more than five years. His presidency was during a critical time for shooters and firearms owners - their rights of ownership and use were being destroyed and there was constant pressure from legislators and media to place greater restrictions on normal law-abiding citizens. Terry was passionate about shooters’ rights and alongside many of us, fought long and hard to protect the freedoms we all believe in.
During the mid to late 1990s, Terry also served on the National Management Committee of the SSAA. Through that body he became president of the Institute of Legislative Action (ILA), which was set up specifically to protect shooters’ rights nationally. At the same time, he was president of the local ACT shooting association, which is an umbrella organisation representing all local shooting clubs.
Terry’s early days of shooting started on the family farm in the Southern Highlands district of NSW. His sister, Kerry, tells us that he even taught her to shoot at the age of eight. Shooting rabbits was the main activity. This was necessary, not only to reduce the population eating the pasture, but to supplement the food on the table most nights. Things were tough in those early days. Shooting and hunting was more than just a pastime; the tools of the trade were the humble .22 rifle. So it was from these beginnings that Terry developed a love of rifles and hunting.
Our earliest memories of Terry were of him attending our general meetings in the early 80s. He would sit at the back of the room in his bib and brace overalls, taking notes into a small notebook. Eventually, he become more and more involved and was elected onto the ACT committee as a members’ delegate. He also started getting interested in competition shooting, mainly Metallic Silhouette. Terry took over as captain of this section in the mid 80s, where he did a power of work upgrading facilities. At the same time he started doing a lot of other work all over the Majura Range complex. His mark remains with us in the many buildings and other structures constructed or organised by him. His ability with the welder and metal did not go astray.
In 2003 our club undertook a major upgrade of one of our range facilities. Previously this area was simply known as ‘The Juniors Range’. The committee decided it was time to properly name this new facility and it is now named the Terry O’Brien Range. He was particularly tickled about this as he was always supportive of the activities of junior development. Our club has a long history in training and tuition of juniors (and their parents), which goes back some 35 years. Terry was proud of that.
Terry will always be remembered fondly by all of us as a friend, a shooter, a fellow competitor and a good mate.
Theo Cassidy Jnr
When not in school, most 16-year-old boys can be found playing computer games, skateboarding, playing footy or cricket or vying for the attention of a particular girl or two, but not Theo Cassidy Jnr.
Theo spends about ten to 14 hours a week on shooting-related activities, most of which is spent practising at the Deep Creek Rifle Complex just south of Batemans Bay, NSW. There he shoots all disciplines of rifle metallic silhouette and occasionally takes part in field rifle and three positional shooting events. Introduced to the shooting sports three years ago by his brother-in-law, Theo has been a proud member of the SSAA ever since.
Even though he is just 16, he has achieved more than many of his peers. He was named Junior Intermediate Champion at both the Louisiana Southern Titles and the NRA Nationals in the United States in 2001 and won both heavy and hunter class rimfire events at the New Zealand Nationals the same year. At the 2002 International Metallic Silhouette Shooting Union World Championships in France, he took home the bronze medal after a shoot-off with team-mate Anthony Finn. Competing as a team, Anthony, Allan Murray and Theo won the two team gold medals for Australia at the event.
While winning these awards was thrilling for Theo, his ultimate goal is to win the NRA High Power Nationals in the United States, a task that is not beyond his reach. Another achievement, which most Aussie shooters have yet to accomplish, is obtaining master grade status. In 2001 Theo became the first Australian to reach master grade in centrefire metallic silhouette. In 2002, he repeated that feat in air metallic silhouette.
Having been a shooter for only a short time and having achieved all that he has at such a young age, Theo has set himself apart from many of his competitors. But, like many of his peers, Theo has climbed his way to the elite level without the aid of a coach. However, he is quick to point out that he has received a great deal of assistance and encouragement from fellow shooter Graham Whatman and many members of the Deep Creek club.
Theo doesn’t just shoot - and win awards. He is also a keen reloader. Eager to get the most out of his ammunition, he reads as much as he can on reloading and loves to experiment with projectiles and powder loads. At this stage he mainly loads 7.08mm cartridges for heavy and hunter class events.
While Theo may not be your typical teenager, he still relies on his parents for money, hangs out with his friends and thinks up ways to impress his girlfriend, Katie.
Tim Colville is the current Vice President of the SSAA Condobolin Branch Inc, formerly known as the Condobolin Sharpshooters.
Tim was first introduced to shooting at 21 years of age by his father, who taught him all of the safety factors to shooting. That was some 35 years ago. However, it wasn’t until four years ago that Tim was introduced to Single Action Shooting at the Condobolin Range by Barry Howarth. Tim has been a member of the SSAA for four years now and his preferred type of shooting is, obviously, Single Action, with a few ‘fun’ firearms thrown in for good measure.
Being the owner of two properties, Tim has to hunt pigs, goats, foxes and rabbits to keep them under control. He gets to spend around five hours a week on shooting-related activities. He has to travel 100km to attend matches, but he wouldn’t miss any for the world.
Since being introduced to the sport, Tim has tried to attend as many different matches as possible and he does rather well too. At the Sharpshooters Round-up in 2006, Tim took out first place in Speed Rifles, third place in Speed Pistol and third place in the Traditional category. At the Mudgee Bushrangers and Bolters event, he won second place in Speed Rifle and hopes to one day attend the big Millmerran Shoot.
At this stage, Tim says he is happy with what he has achieved when he attends the shoots. He is just “out to have fun and meet new people”.
Tim handloads ammunition for his Pietta pistols and his .357 Magnum Marlin rifle. The Pietta pistols are his favourite.
Tim is coached by Barry Howarth, who he says has “helped me a great deal, not only with my shooting, but in all aspects of handling firearms”.
Tim is a Qualified Firearms Safety and Training Office and a Level 1 Range Officer. When not shooting at the Condobolin Range or helping Barry and Barry’s partner Sue to prepare the range for our major shoots, Tim and his wife Heather enjoy taking their boat to Cowra with family and friends.
SSAA Inglewood’s Tom Donald heads out to the range with just one goal in mind: “To enjoy my sport regardless of scores.” The current president of this Queensland branch began his shooting career almost 60 years ago and strives to have fun with his shooting and hunting, while also sharing some of his know-how. He was introduced to the sport by his father and now shoots with his granddaughter, nephews and son, making it a great way to spend time with his family.
Tom has been a SSAA member for 12 years and competes every Sunday in a number of disciplines, spending up to 20 hours a week on shooting-related activities. Not one to talk up his skills, Tom jokes that he has his moments, managing to win a Muzzleloading clay target shoot and pistol shoot on the same day earlier this year.
The true club man enjoys introducing new members to the Inglewood range and aims to help others enjoy the sport that has played a large part in his life.
In addition to his enthusiasm for shooting on the range, Tom is a keen hunter and has travelled to New Zealand’s Stewart Island six times for hunting trips. He hunts a range of animals on a regular basis including deer, foxes, rabbits, feral cats, pigs and goats.
Tom said that he really enjoys using his .303 Enfield, but doesn’t like to play favourites. He handloads .38 Special and .357 Magnum cartridges.
Outside of his shooting, Tom is a stamp collector and likes his antiques.
One of the great things about the shooting sports is that it does not discriminate between young and old. In fact, SSAA member Tom Rhodes started shooting on his parents’ dairy farm at the age of seven. His father would often hand him three .22 cartridges and tell him to bring home two rabbits.
Tom has been shooting in one form or another since then. He is a keen clay target shooter and is a member of the SSAA Illawarra Branch and the Illawarra Gun Club located just south of Wollongong in New South Wales. He can be found there most Wednesday afternoons with his mates shooting a round or two of Skeet. Tom says having fun and just enjoying himself is his main goal. Tom joined the SSAA back in the 1960s. While he had aspirations of being a serious competition shooter when he was younger, shift work and arthritis in his later years prevented him from taking his shooting to a higher level.
Tom also enjoys hunting pigs and goats on private property with his trusty 6.5x55 Swedish in the Braidwood area. When he’s relaxing, he enjoys reloading ammo for both the 12-gauge and 6.5x55.
Now 81, Tom is living an incredible life both on and off the shooting range. This year, he and his wife Audrey were both awarded the prestigious Order of Australia Medal for Services to the Community of the Shellharbour district. Tom and Audrey have each served more than 40 years as volunteers, members and leaders within the Red Cross, Girl Guides, Scouts and Uniting Church. Tom was also a member of the Civil Defence and Volunteer Bushfire Brigade for many years and has been a member of the Shellharbour Council Disaster Relief Committee during some of this period.
One of Tom’s biggest disappointments is the way the media sometimes reports on the shooting sports. “The media is not doing the shooting sports any favours. It’s brainwashing the public into believing shooting is not a proper sport and that shooters are second-class citizens,” he said. “It’s a great shame kids these days are discouraged from taking up this fantastic sport.”
While he admits to having begun to slow down since he turned 80, Tom has no plans to give up his community or shooting activities.
Worried his targets were more than safe while out hunting, South Australian shooter Tony Andrews joined the SSAA in 1993 to improve his aim while in the field. Little did he know that this move would not only improve his chances of shooting a fox threatening his lambs on the farm, but it would be the start of a treasured hobby and family activity.
“A fox could stand 10m in front of me and be pretty safe before I started target shooting,” Tony said. “After joining the SSAA, my aim improved dramatically out in the field, but the target shooting at the range had me hooked.”
The SSAA Moonta member, committee member and President of 16 years began shooting on his parents’ property at the age of 14 with his father Bruce and two brothers Craig and Grant. The family was targeting pests such as foxes and rabbits and today, he continues this pest control on his own property. Family involvement has continued into club shooting, with his wife Michele, two children Rachael and Kyle, his mother Barbara, sister Lisa and various cousins also joining the club.
“It has been really great to have that real quality time with my family on the range,” Tony said.
“For a while there, when my kids started, it detracted from my scores, as I was worrying more about them, but after a couple of months, they were right back up there.”
Tony shoots a wide range of disciplines, from Centrefire Pistol and Air Pistol to Air Rifle and Rimfire and Centrefire Metallic Silhouette, 3-Positional and Field Rifle. He said he really enjoyed being able to compete in a sport that wasn’t just physical activity-focused.
Tony said he had coached himself over the years, but has gained valuable inspiration from international-level shooter and 2010 Commonwealth Games participant Will Godward. He said he is now looking forward to working with up-and-coming junior and Moonta member Nathan Francis as he grows into a skilled shooter.
More recently, Tony has joined the ranks of the SSAA South Australia State Executive Board, firstly as Junior Vice President, then as Senior Vice President. He now estimates that he spends more than eight hours a week either conducting SSAA Moonta or South Australia business or working on his reloading. But, he said the enjoyment he gets from his involvement in the SSAA, the people he meets and the friendships he has formed over the years makes every minute of work worthwhile.
A lifelong interest and passion about firearms saw SSAA member Warren Brown head to western NSW as a teenager to work where he could indulge his enthusiasm for hunting, particularly for wild pigs and ducks. With more than 40 years spent living throughout rural NSW, Warren also enjoys target shooting with rifles, shotguns and pistols, and hunting, when the opportunity arises.
Warren has been a SSAA member since 1969 and is currently the Inaugural President of the SSAA Griffith Branch that was formed in 1996. As President, and in conjunction with the local rifle club, he has led local members to redevelop and relicence a nearby rifle range at Rankins Springs, some 70km away, for most SSAA matches.
On the outskirts of Griffith, the club is currently constructing a 100m Rimfire range that will have a covered shelter with permanent shooting benches and other facilities. The range will be set up for most SSAA Rimfire matches and will provide members with a convenient and comfortable shooting facility close to Griffith.
Three years ago, Warren was elected NSW Shotgun Discipline Chairman and shortly afterwards the National Shotgun Chairman. Both of these positions keep him busy organising state and national 5-Stand events and preparing for the SSAA Shotgun teams to compete each February at the New Zealand Championships. He was instrumental in getting the new SSAA Shotgun rule book completed and published in 2006.
Aside from his SSAA official duties, Warren has been an active pistol shooter since 1977 and has been Secretary of the local pistol club for the past 15 years. He has also been shooting Sporting Clays since 1973. When time permits he enjoys Skeet shooting at the nearby gun club. Warren has been able to successfully build partnerships with other shooting associations to promote the shooting sports. He is a great believer in the different shooting groups working together to promote shooting, attract new members and to defend the rights of law-abiding firearm owners to use their firearms.
Warren’s favourite rifle is a custom .257 Ackley Roberts he had made in 1975. He particularly enjoys Lever Action, Metallic Silhouette, Military Rifle and Fly matches and is currently tuning a 6mm PPC for Benchrest shooting. He is an avid reloader and student of ballistics and enjoys the challenge of researching and reloading obscure cartridges. He has been a member of the Australian Cartridge Collectors’ Association for many years and has a good collection of shotgun cartridges and shooting ephemera.
For 40 years Warren worked in primary school education before retiring from a position in senior management several years ago. He is married to Clare, who has an understanding and supportive attitude to his shooting activities. Together they have two adult sons, both of whom are interested in shooting and hunting.