Big Game Rifle showdown set for Darwin

Rachael Oxborrow

International and Australian shooters will converge on the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia’s Mickett Creek Shooting Complex in August for the eighth informal International Big Game Rifle shoot. The dynamic event is sure to attract lots of attention from the international community, keen to return to Australia now the SSAA’s full range of local, state, national and international shoots is back on the calendar.

SSAA Darwin Big Game Rifle president Mick Connor said it was exciting to bring the shoot back to this country after several years’ break due to Covid restrictions and international visa complications. “The International Big Game Rifle Shoot is a real drawcard for Australia, having previously attracted competitors from around the world to compete then stay on and explore what our country has to offer,” he said.

“The competition is top-notch and after such a long break the rivalry will be fierce. We’ve had a healthy interest from Australians and so far have international entries from competitors in the US, England and South Africa.”

The eighth informal biennial International Big Game Rifle shoot will be staged in Darwin from August 23 to 25. SSAA Darwin is sponsoring the event which will be hosted by the Northern Territory Big Game Rifle Club of the SSAA Darwin branch.

Seven core and three supplementary events will be shot using a mixture of popular courses-of-fire from around the world, with several events using animal targets as is the practice in South Africa. The moving target sequence on the program will be a charging lion. The Special Snap and Double Rifle events have proved very popular in other countries and will also feature in the program, while the final format is subject to change and will be confirmed closer to the start date.

Competitors will be vying for a share of the $25,000 in prizes up for grabs, the main ones being for overall champion, ladies, junior and country champion with other awards for all competition stages. Big Game Rifle is a discipline which aims to foster the collection, preservation and use of vintage and modern classic large calibre big game rifles, particularly those of British origin including black powder and early nitro cartridge firearms. Matches aim to simulate field-shooting conditions to improve the shooter’s firearm skills in pursuit of large and dangerous game.

Mick said for those travelling from overseas or interstate, the shoot presents a great opportunity to visit the Top End and perhaps plan a holiday, visit friends and relatives or incorporate a business trip. “Northern Australia offers some outstanding hunting for buffalo, banteng, wild boar and scrub bull with various deer species more available in other parts of the country,” he said. “A visit to Darwin is a chance to add on a pre or post-shoot safari, crocodile viewing, fishing charters or visit world heritage areas, cultural and scenic attractions.”

Nominations close on June 30 with organisers happy to consider late entries on a case-by-case basis.

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