SSAA ACT welcomes new pistol and shotgun ranges

The SSAA Majura Pistol Club has tripled its membership since its inception in 2012 and now boasts two competition-standard ranges, thanks to the hard work of its members and volunteers. Shooting SSAA/NRA and Pistol Australia matches, the pistol club features a 25- and 50-yard range catering for Service Pistol, 25-yard Service Pistol, WA 1500 Field Pistol, SSAA Target Pistol and Air Pistol competitions.

SSAA ACT Secretary and Majura Pistol Club President Jo King said the club has received much support from the SSAA ACT Branch, ACT Pistol Australia and the local and New South Wales shooting community. “We currently have 38 members and the club is growing with a healthy new members program,” she said. “Without such support, Majura Pistol Club would not be such a new strong club with the SSAA.”

Jo said club members have spent numerous hours working to bring the 25- and 50-yard ranges up to sanctioned competition standards, with a hands-on approach key to their success. “We offer a hands-on approach to shooting, with new members supervised by SSAA ACT instructors,” she said. The club hosted the PA ACT Service Pistol Championships in 2013 and 2014 and is currently preparing to host the championships again from March 14 to 15 this year, with more than 35 competitors already signed on to compete.

Canberra’s first-class shotgun range

The SSAA Canberra Branch is preparing to unveil its showpiece shotgun range. Everything is on track for the scheduled opening of the expansive property this month, which will be the jewel in the crown of the SSAA ACT Shooting Complex in Majura. “It has been built from scratch and we are all ready to go,” said SSAA Canberra Senior Vice President Joe Thaller, who also serves as SSAA Majura Park Gun Club President.

The project has been bolstered by a $62,500 grant from the ACT Government and $40,000 from SSAA ACT. It will cater for Olympic and Universal Trench, Double Trap and Ball Trap disciplines. Joe, who is a licensed plumber, has got his hands dirty, literally, by taking a proactive role during the construction of the site. “It’s a baby we’ve been trying to get off the ground for five years,” he said. “But it’s been built with the help of a lot of people.”

ISSF representative Dan Power is one of those people who have assisted with the upgrades to the range. A furniture maker by day, Dan has been instrumental in ensuring the facilities are up to ISSF standards. “We wanted to build a unique range that is a first-class training facility, and that’s what the ACT Government liked most about our submission,” he explained. Dan helped finalise the installation of wiring for the electronic circuit that controls the microphones for the calling of clay pigeon mechanics. An impressive infrastructure includes a monitored voice transported down to trigger the machine which sets the schedule in motion. The range also includes energy-efficient floodlights and offers beginners’ classes.

“The whole set-up will be of Olympic standards and we will be able to groom people for the big international stage,” said Joe. “If you are going to do something, you may as well do it properly.” The configuration has been modelled on such ranges as Keystone Shooting Park in Pennsylvania in the United States and features the same hardware as the Rio Olympic Shotgun Range and the one used at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Comments of praise have been received from national and international shooters, with some saying that once completed, it may be the best ISSF range facility in the southern hemisphere.

SSAA National Secretary and SSAA ACT Deputy Vice President Kaye McIntyre was full of praise for both Joe and Dan’s roles in pushing ahead with the bold scheme. “They have both put a huge amount of work into things,” she said. “The end product will be a significant template for any shooting range.”

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