National Benchrest Championships

Two more enter Benchrest Hall of Fame

The 2023 SSAA Benchrest National Championships took place during the Easter weekend at Dairyville Range near Coffs Harbour with four days of excellent shooting producing a different winner each time. The Unlimited class was first to be contested, this one requiring 10-shot groups at each yardage. Remarkably, of the smallest groups for the five targets only one exceeded two-tenths of an inch, the best of them being a .143 shot by Milan Morrell which helped him win the aggregate with .2284.

The longer yardage also saw some amazing groups, the smallest of them a .300 by Paul Sullivan while the longer aggregate produced a clear win for Les Fraser on .2645. It’s of note that no fewer than 17 ‘Screamer’ award patches (for very small groups) were won on the day, surely a record. The Unlimited grand aggregate went to Fraser on .2560 from Sullivan (.2588) and John Gnech (.2945).

Saturday was Light Rifle day and again those tiny groups came thick and fast with the best of them a .114 by Gavin Marshall, though the aggregate award went to Mark Taller on .2058. At 200 yards it was the same story with tiny groups and excellent aggregates, the best of them a .240 by Keith Sewell which saw him win the aggregate with .2327. The Light Benchrest grand aggregate title also went to Sewell on .2313 from Marshall (.2715) and Sullivan (.2811).

Sunday brought Heavy Benchrest and shooters were now coming to grips with the vagaries of the Dairyville range. At 100 yards the smallest target went to Ron Sinclair with a tidy .111 group, the winning 100-yard aggregate an excellent .1722 shot by Mitchell Taller. At 200 yards, newly-elected National Benchrest Chairman Dave McKillop produced the best group with a .234, the aggregate won by Darren Parsons who put together a nice .1850. The Heavy Benchrest grand aggregate also went to Parsons on .1888 from Mitchell Taller (.2215) and Sullivan (.2225).

The last event was for the Sporter Benchrest class which has a weight limit of 9lbs and is considered by some the most difficult class to master. The smallest group at 100 yards was shot by Brendan Atkinson with a .114 while the aggregate saw Marshall put together an excellent .2006 for the win. The 200 yards proved challenging and John Babic took the small group prize with a .331 while Michael Thompson took out the aggregate with .2605. Winner of the Sporter class was Marshall on .2673 from Sewell (.2753) and McKillop (.2761).

  • Other results: Four-Gun Champion Trophy: Sullivan (.2668), Parsons (.2712), Fraser (.2795). Three-Gun (SR, LB, HB): Parsons (.2594), Sewell (.2540), Sullivan (.2694). Two-Gun (LB, HB): Parsons (.2369), Sullivan (.2518), Mitchell Taller (.2535). State of Origin Trophy: New South Wales (Parsons, Ray Beavis, Mitchell Taller, Thompson). Top Junior: Josh Russell. Hall of Fame: Two more shooters scored enough points to enter the prestigious Benchrest Hall of Fame so well done Gavin Marshall and Darren Parsons.
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