From Scone to Aberdeen – Saturday Practice for New England North West DRA OPM

Nigel and Ross and the welcoming committee at Scone – with the new Ute in the background.

Ross Webb and Adrian Bonanni were looking forward to a good weekend of shooting and camping starting on Friday the 15th of March.  The plan was to head off from Sydney at midday and drive into the farm gate at Scone to meet Nigel on his front porch for beer by 4:30pm.  Ross was keen to stretch the legs of his new Isuzu D-Max 4WD and so he took the first shift on the drive.   The trip north on the New England Highway was very un-eventful – but we did discover that Singleton and Scone have some of cheapest fuel prices in NSW – so it was great to top-up there.   We arrived with caravan in tow at Nigel Russells farm as expected and enjoyed a quiet drink before we headed off to the Thoroughbred Hotel for a delicious steak.   Most of the discussion over dinner centred around shooting as you would expect, and we finished our social at around 9pm and went back to the farmhouse to watch the Sydney Swans flog the Collingwood Magpies in the AFL.

There is something about country life – the fresh air, the sounds of nature – that means you always have a good night sleep – and that night was no exception.

The next morning we had a decision to make:  Head to Spring Ridge to practice on the day before the Prize Meeting, or go 15 mins down the road to Aberdeen and experience Nigels local range.   When Nigel informed us that the Captain of the Aberdeen Rifle Club was going to change their range programme from 300yards to 500yards so we could get practice at the same distance we would be shooting first up the next day at Spring Ridge – the choice was easy.

Having never shot on the Aberdeen Rifle range before – I can say I was very impressed with the range as soon as we drove in the front gate.  It is very well maintained range with 50m and 100m firing points and the firing points from 300yards all the way back to 600yards. It has 5 target lanes – and the Club has 4 Silver Mountain targets.

Looking downrange from the 500 yard firing point at Aberdeen.

We met Kevin Muffet – Club Legend – at the 100m mound where some morning shooting with .223 Centrefire and .22 Rimfire was taking place.  They were finishing off the morning shoot so we signed in, and when shooting ceased – we headed to the butts to put the Electronic Targets up.  Looking back down the range from the elevated stop butts was a pretty sight – and there was a tricky Southerly wind coming in at 6 to 8 MPH so it was going to be a challenge.  We met some familiar faces on the range including Rod Davies from Cessnock – who regularly goes to Aberdeen to practice wind reading.

3 Electronic Targets were installed and we headed back to the 500 yard mound for the afternoon shoot.  There were about 8 shooters that afternoon and I am told that is a big day for Aberdeen.  Nigel, Kevin and Adrian had Target 1, Ross paired up with Rod on Target 2,  and a number of locals shot on target 3.

Adrian had recently installed a new barrel using his standard load and was getting over 3,100 fps at the muzzle – boy does it shoot flat – but maybe a bit too fast for .308 Win

Nigel shot his first stage and was 4 shots in when someone accidentally reset the target.   He started his stage again and posted a credible 49.1 in tricky conditions.    Adrian followed suit and notched up a 49.6 with one drifting out at 3 o’clock due to a wind drop-off.   Ross shot one 15 shot match and recorded no shot less than a 5 to post an 83.2

In the second practice, Nigel had two batches of ammo, and at the changeover one fired low giving him one more inner 4 than he would of liked.   He posted a 48.3.   Adrian shifted over to Target 2 and shot his second stage in trickier wind conditions and was pleased to get up with a 49.5

Nigel on-aim during the second practice.

The Club Practice at Aberdeen was all done by about 3:30pm and so we helped pack up the targets and said our goodbyes to Kevin Muffet and the Aberdeen boys – with a promise to return sometime soon.   There are rumors that they will host an OPM – so we pledged our support and are keen to return.   It was a great afternoon on the Aberdeen range and it is a wonderful range to shoot on if you are ever in the New England area.

The next day we were heading to the North West New England District Rifle Association OPM – so read the next article for more on that.

Adrian Bonanni

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