Greetings to all the hardy souls who competed in the fifth Dick Travis VC .303 Nationals at Trentham last weekend.
Most shooters have been to the DTVC before but a special welcome was extended to first timers Mike Collings and Malcolm Morrison. Also in
attendance were the family of Dick Travis – Noel and Denise, Keith and Rita and this year Noel also brought over from Australia Dick Travis’s great
great great nephew Zane. It is always great to see familiar and new faces in the Karori Rifle Club (KRC)
The weather was arranged well in advance so we enjoyed two days of sunshine and kind winds at 300 and 500. 600 yards was more challenging and some were
“Trenthamed” by the fickleness. The usual format of 2 matches on the Saturday afternoon and 4 matches on the Sunday was followed. It seems to
work well and provides a good challenge. There have been murmurings a of a change for 2017 with a 500 yard shoot on Saturday morning and a 800 yard 15
shot match to finish on Sunday. This matter has been discussed at KRC and approaches to the powers that be will be made in order to secure the 800
The high standard of preparation of rifles was apparent at scrutineering with all entered well up to scratch. The near universal use of hand loaded
match ammo and good shooting equipment was also noted and clearly added to the standard of shooting and high scores shot. Most shooters tend to do this
Championship ‘cold’. By that I mean they may have had a match or two with their .303 rifles prior to the competition and I suspect most turned up to
do the business without having spent huge amounts of time on the range. Trigger time is always a good thing and preparation usually reflects in good
Although I do get out to Trentham from time to time through the Full Bore season I have only taken my .303 target rifle out twice – it showed when it
came to wind reading. Whereas Nicole picked up her rifle once since DTVC last year! Some shooters seem to be able to adapt on the spot but most need
more time. My suggestion is for all competitors to spend time with these ‘vintage’ target rifles prior to the DTVC and for those who can get to
Trentham to do so and learn the foibles of the wind on that fine range.
That said one thing was apparent. Our scorer, Sam Stevenson, made an aside to me during the 500 yard matches – ‘the scores are up’. That they were with
8 possibles shot over the first 4 matches. This is a good thing and continues the trend of improving scores over the last five years. I am
confident that we will all continue to improve and show that these battle rifles can indeed be tuned and turned into credible target rifles despite
their military origins. The scores are attached and make great reading. The winner for the second time, Karori’s Richard Liddell, shot 5 49’s and a
possible to win. First place was tied going into 600 yards. It was that close. A winning score of 295.25 is the new benchmark and has set a high
standard. Well done Richard.
Another enjoyable aspect of the DTVC is the outstanding butts service given by seasoned target pullers. Quick accurate service makes for settled
shooters with minimum waiting for the result and the ability of a quick follow up shot when the wind remains the same. Thank you to Kiriahi and Rex
McKee and also our scorer Sam Stevenson for another great job.
Although I normally write a comprehensive match report this year I am going to attach a very entertaining report written by competitor Henry Firmston.
The DTVC .303 Nationals have been a success each year and the addition of the excellent cloth badges and for 2016 a purse of $500 has been welcomed by
competitors. Thanks goes out to Firearms Safety Specialists New Zealand Limited ( Nicole McKee) for the cash prize. Also thank you to the Travis
family for their cash prizes for 2nd – Nicole McKee and 3rd – John Ball. This year Noel handed me an envelope with a cash prize for the most
deserving shooter – going to Petone’s Stuart Brown for an outstanding out of the blue double possible at 500 yards.
Over the last five years there have been 32 different shooters who have come to the DTVC shoot. Perhaps one year we will see them all there at the same
time! Those who have come have all left with a grin and a sense of participation in a unique event. The competition and the commemoration of
our Great War VC is there to enjoy.
Best regards to all