SSAA National Combined Services Championships

During a weekend of impressive performances at the SSAA National Combined Services Championships, there was one which stood out and it wasn’t even the highest score. Using a borrowed .22 training rifle on the ACT Majura Range, Canberra junior Sinee Khanprasert, 17, (who featured in the October 2017 Australian Shooter magazine) shot 143.09. That score placed Sinee seventh outright in her first outing in national level Combined Services rifle competition over the weekend of October 20-22, 2017.

Top score in .22 training rifle was Queensland grand master grade shooter Trevor Rock, with 147.09. He went on to win rifle Top Gun with a grand aggregate score of 293.41, followed by ACT shooter Simon Ross with 288.15 and Victorian Rob Richards on 287.24.

Trevor also won pistol Top Gun with a score of 508.09, followed by West Australians John Edwards on 504.11 and Matt Lewis with 499.15.

Junior Top Gun was won by Samantha Goodsell, of Queensland, with 215.05, followed by ACT pair Khanprasert with 150.03 and Jason Delaney managing 103.

The Combined Services Nationals, hosted by the SSAA (ACT) Military Firearms Club, attracted a field of 77 shooters from as far away as Western Australian and Queensland to the national capital for three days of rifle and handgun action.

After a welcome by SSAA ACT president Dave True and Combined Services National Discipline Coordinator Steve Knight, shooting started on Friday morning and continued to Sunday afternoon.

No report of a national gathering can go by without mention of the weather. Canberra shooters gleefully reminded the visitors that not so long ago they had conducted one Sunday shoot in blizzard conditions. But for this weekend, the weather was glorious, with the sun shining, winds moderate and forecast rain holding off until evening.

Top score in the rifle core three-position was Victorian Frankie Griffo on 147.10 with Andrew Deans, also of Victoria, in second place on 146.11 and Rock third on 145.17.

As always, the Rapid B produced some excellent shooting. This course of fire requires competitors to offload five rounds rapid, reload and fire five more, all in a time of 50 seconds. That is done twice, for a score out of 100.

Top scoring was Rock with 100.18. That was 18 out of 20 shots in the target V-bull, a 150-millimetre circle, using an open-sighted military rifle fired as fast as you can work the bolt. The range is 100m with penalties for late and unfired shots.

Second place went to Queenslander Greg De Koning on 100.13, with third a dead-heat between Canberra shooter Doug Robinson and Matt Lewis, of WA, on 99.10. The outcome was decided by a shoot-off, with Lewis the winner by two V-bulls.

The Canberra Nationals featured one event never shot before at a Combined Services National Competition, but which should be included more often – the agony snap. This was a category for scoped long range rifles, designed to add to the small number of openings for such rifles in the current rulebook.

This was conducted on the Canberra Rifle Club butts range next door to the SSAA ACT shooting complex and involved 10 random, three-second exposures of mini-core targets at a range of 500m.

Why is it called the agony snap, you might ask? After 10 minutes, staring intently through a scope waiting for targets to appear, your eyes blur and your neck starts to cramp. Highest score was 45.01 by Canberra’s Ross, followed by Queenslander Simon Brady on 44.01 and West Australian Owen Ismail on 40.

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