SSAA NSW Black Powder Cartridge Rifle and Service Rifle State Titles
16-17 August 2014 - SSAA Griffith
These State Titles were hosted by SSAA Griffith on its Metallic Silhouette Range at the Target Shooting Complex at Rankins Springs in south-western New South Wales on August 16 and 17. The tone of the shoot was set when local member James Macdonald opened the shoot by ‘touching off’ his miniature cannon, much to the joy of all the ‘charcoal burners’ present.
More than 20 competitors attended from the ACT, Tasmania, Sydney, Southern Highlands and around the Riverina area. While a rain depression dropped some much-needed rain, everyone stayed dry under the shooting shelter and two marquees erected nearby.
As with all Metallic Silhouette matches, the targets were set in banks of five, with competitors having two minutes to fire one shot at each target, hoping to knock the steel targets off their stands for a scoring shot. NSW Discipline Chairman Con Smith soon had everyone squadded and graded and competition began with the Small Bore event.
A variety .22LR single-shot traditional rifles were used, including Brownings, Sharps and Martinis, and these were fitted with a variety of peep sights. Hobart shooter Justin Dittman posted a top score of 31/40 to win the match, while Daniel McDonald followed on with a 29. Daniel Johnston (Leeton) and David True (ACT) tied in AAA Grade with 24/40, with Daniel prevailing in a shoot-off. Con Smith (Sydney) claimed AA Grade with a 22/40, James Macdonald (Griffith) B Grade with 21/40 and Reg Moore (Griffith) won the Juniors with a 20/20.
In the Service Rifle match, a variety of ex-military rifles, including Lee-Enfields, Swedish Mausers, Mauser 98s and others, took on the difficult task of hitting full-sized the silhouette targets set at 200, 300, 385 and 500m using open sights and a freestanding position. Local shooter James Macdonald backed up from his win last year by top scoring with his .303 Lee-Enfield claiming 10 targets. Andrew Judd from Hobart followed in B Grade with 9 targets.
The feature match was the Black Powder Cartridge Rifle event, where older-type single-shot rifles with peep sights attempted to knock silhouette targets set out to 500m with black powder cartridges. Cross sticks were used to steady the rifles at the three longest distances. While the rifles were from around the 1880’s ‘Buffalo era’, all rifles used were modern replicas including Winchester Model 78, Sharps, Remington Rolling Blocks and so on. Most competitors used .45-calibre cartridges loaded with large cast bullets, lubricated with their favourite home-brewed bullet lubricant.
Yet again, Justin Dittman won the day with a brilliant score of 20/40. Of particular interest is that Justin chose to go against the trend to larger calibres and used a .38-55, demonstrating that this old target cartridge is just as accurate with black powder as with modern smokeless powder loads. Daniel McDonald followed with a 12, while Dave True claimed AA Grade with 17, Con Smith A Grade with 16 and Daniel Johnston B Grade with 16.
Everyone enjoyed the annual event, which was well run by Shoot Director Con Smith and supported by the Rankins Springs community.