Bendigo. VRA Kings 2023

You prep the ammo. Pack the car. Get in the car. Drive 860 kms. Stop 3 times, maybe 4 times. Then 10+ hours after setting out you are in Bendigo. To some, Bendigo is a gold rush boom town & home to the mid-1900s Central Deborah Gold Mine. To those of us in shooting it is home to Wellsford Rifle Range, which this year held its first VRA Kings Competition in over 70 years.

You know you are at Wellsford when you see kanagroos on the mound at the end of the day or crossing the line of fire while you continue shooting (they hop well below the bullets).  Weather was near perfect for Bendigo but hard for shooters. For the majority of details, most of the light breeze came from the right – unless of course when there was no breeze – or when there was a tail wind.  If you haven’t been to Wellsford Range before, you mistakenly watch the side flags and don’t understand what the heck is going on. If you have been there before, you know to watch the central flags, the butts flag and the dust at butts after a shot – and yet sometimes you still wonder what the heck is going on. What can I say – flags lie!

This is one of the last places you can shoot a major competition (“Kings”) with paper targets. It is fascinating to watch people readjust to binoculars after being pampered by electronic targets elsewhere. (We love Hexta!!). And interesting to hear the proverbial “Range Officer – Challenge value on Target B4” or “Range Officer – Pull target C3”. And the anticipation of waiting for that target to come back up ever so slowly. Congrats to Mark Buchanan and Nigel Russell who did a fantastic job in their disciplines/grades coming home with lots of bling. Special call out to Paul Russell who showed everyone he is getting really ready to take on the GPS schools comp!

But how did our Roseville reps really do at the Kings? Well let me tell you….

  • Mark Buchanan (TR-A) – accuracy 99.24%  in the Kings and 99.32% in Lead-up.…. 2nd in the Grand Agg, 4th badge in the Kings, 2nd in Day 2 Kings, 1st at 1000 yds, 5th in the Syme
  • Dmitri Kazakov (TR-A) – accuracy 96.73 in the Kings and 96.29 in the Lead-up..… didn’t cross fire once! Was clean on day 1 and scored 4 possibles
  • Paul Russell (TR-B) – accuracy 95.47 in the Kings….. 4th in Kings (TR-B), 1st in Day 3 Kings, 2nd at 800 yds, 3rd at 1000yds & 900yds,
  • Nigel Russell (TR-C) – accuracy 91.70% in the Kings.….1st in the Kings (TR-C), 1st in Kings day 1-2-3, 1st at 500yds (twice) & 600 yds & 700 yds & 900yds & 1000yds (be sure to ask him about his last counting shot at 1000!)
  • Janet Beale (FTR) –  accuracy 98.49%  in the Kings and 96.22% in Lead-up (ok so the load for the 185’s didn’t quite work!)….most notable was a 3rd at 600yds and 2nd in one of the daily aggregates.

Say the good-byes then pack the car. Get in the car. Drive 860 kms. Stop 3 times, maybe 4 times. Then 10+ hours after setting out you are back in Sydney and time to prep some ammo for the next competition (if you have any projectiles, powder, primers, brass ….)!

Janet Beale

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