National Championship 2023
08 Oct 2023 - Eagle Park Shooting Complex, Little River. Victoria
SSAA Big Game Rifle National Championships
held at Little River Victoria on 7 & 8 October 2023.
The area now known as Little River has been a gathering place for people for millennia. Eagle Park Shooting complex is situated just North of the Wurdi Youangs which is an arrangement of stones set in place by the ancient civilisation that inhabited this area. There is little doubt that even then, the hunters of the day would have had competitions to see who was best.
So, over the first full weekend in October competitors from all over Australia converged on the Eagle Park Shooting complex to find out who would be the 2023 Big Game Rifle National Champion.
The Big Game Rifle Club (BGRC) of Victoria was the host club, and were proud to show off their improved range, now with two firing lines. With this arrangement they were able to safely run concurrent events, and this proved to be a tremendous benefit, as 33 competitors from 6 states and the Northern Territory would have seen the organisers working feverishly to get through all the events. With the new firing line in use, the whole weekend went tremendously smoothly.
Competition was fierce, but gentlemanly. One of the best things about events like this is the opportunity to bring people together from across the country to enjoy the camaraderie and conversations about large calibre rifles and dangerous game hunting, while simultaneously honing their skills in shooting such rifles in rapid fire events that simulate field shooting situations. Events such as the special snap and stopping double rifle events, simulate charging situations where competitors must shoot fast and accurately. (Respectively these events have courses of (rapid) fire involving eight shots in 35 seconds at one distance, and 2 brackets of 4 shots in 16 seconds at two different distances).
At the end of the day Bob Christopher from Victoria was the 2023 Big Game Rifle National Champion, winning by a comfortable margin, and securing his third straight victory in recent years, and his sixth title since he began competing in the discipline in 2010. Mark Hibbert and Graeme Wright both from Queensland were second and third respectively. Results are summarised below:
|Overall Aggregate Position||Competitor||State||Aggregate Score|
The individual top 3 positions for the 8 core events are provided in the table below:
The BGRC also put on a series of four supplementary events. These were scored based on a combination of bullet weight, velocity, time and the actual score. The course of fire was 6 shots in 40 seconds or 3 lots of 4 shots individually timed, with score divided by time and multiplied by a factor that equalised the impact of recoil. However, it meant that if you can shoot a large calibre rifle firing a heavy bullet both fast and accurately, you had a good chance of winning. The top ten in the supplementary events are given in the table below:
Overall, the weekend will be remembered by the extremely well-run shoot, the camaraderie of 33 shooters coming together at a common meeting place and a spirited but friendly competition to test their skills and find out who was the best of them. Things really haven’t changed much over the millennia, have they?
Mark Hibbert Big Game Rifle National Discipline Chair.