Dick Travis VC .303 Nationals 2018 Match Report.

 Saturday the 17th of March 2018 rolled around very quickly and the Karori Rifle Club was filling with shooters at 730 am. Geoff Collings our usual scrutineer was in hospital (get well soon Geoff) so the task of checking that the rifles complied with the Trentham Range Standing Orders was carried out by nephew and NZ Rifle Team Armourer – Mike Collings. Thank you Mike. All rifles were declared fit for the purpose.

Thank you to Firearms Safety Specialists for the ECI and pen in each entry pack. Also to Derek Morris for the .303 key rings too.

The usual welcome was followed by a brief on the upcoming matches, code of conduct (emphasis on fun) and the workings of the electronic targets. With that done 14 shooters assembled at the 500 yard mound for the briefing by our Range Officer. Shots were going down range at 9am sharp.

The conditions were calm with little wind. A good score there to be had and achieved by most. Notably a pair of 49’s by reigning champion – Mike Collings – and possibles for Nicole McKee, Ernie Schuch and myself in the second string.

Despite the electronic targets being quicker to use the 14 shooters were still at it at 12pm. The Wellington Rifle Association club members were starting to arrive for the afternoon shoot at 300 yards. This meant the .303 shooters had little or no time for lunch. Still we were there to shoot not eat and most made do with something at the mound before the afternoon shooting began.

The weather was cooling but the wind was light. Scores at 300 were great with 8 shooters getting 49’s and possibles from Mike Collings and Nicole McKee (2). There was a bunch at the top with other shooters making there mark as they got to grips with the olde rifles.

Back the Karori Rifle Club for a beer or two, excuses, what if’s and a BBQ. Life is good…….

Day 1 saw Nicole out front having dropped 1 point over 4 matches and Mike Collings down 3.

New comers Ross Mason (SMLE) Callum Beardslee (No 4) and Alex Beesley (SMLE) and Kiriahi McKee (17) (Nicole’s No 4) were enjoying shooting the older rifles and the unique atmosphere of the Dick Travis VC shoot. Malcolm Morrison was regaining some of his form from years gone by. Daryl May (P14) from Petone and Ernie Schuch (SMLE) were starting to warm up at 300 yards and ready for the Sunday matches. John Jordan (P14) Steve Bain (P14) and Derek Morris (No4) were rueing lost points and determined to shoot better come Sunday. Regular .303 shooter Stuart Brown (No4) was fighting with a heavy cold and shooting below his usual high standard.

Breakfast was cooked on the BBQ early on Sunday morning. A good start to what was an eventful match or two. Shots went downrange at 9am sharp. The conditions were warmer than Saturday with sunshine and a light wind from left and right. Maybe a minute either side for the 600 yard match. Mike Collings shot first and put down a 49 and a 50 followed by a 48 and 49 from Nicole. I managed to get a possible in the first string but crashed to a 46 in the second. Callum Beardslee saved his best for  a great 49 in his second string. Ross Mason clearly getting to grips with his unfamiliar SMLE also managed a 49 as he rose up the scoreboard.

Back to 800 yards and Nicole McKee and Mike Collings were tied for first place. The usual discussion took place as to the elevations required and the differences between relative differences between those using Parker Hale or Central rear sights. Most importantly all shooters were straight on at 800.

The conditions were beginning to get tricky. The wind was rising and falling. It was changing from left to right. It was coming from behind and from in front. None of this stopped Mike Collings putting down a match and championship winning 75.12!! He really worked for this and it was the best shoot of the competition. It was not unbeatable but certainly a strong statement from Mike that he wanted to take the DTVC Trophy back to Te Puke.

Nicole put up a valiant 72.7 only to be topped by our daughter Kiriahi in her first DTVC with a 73.9. Well done those girls. Ernie 71.6, Malcolm 71.5, Ross 70.4, and John Jordan, wearing Steve Bain’s shooting jacket, rounded out the top scores with a creditable 70.7.

The standard of marksmanship was excellent. The conduct of the shooters beyond reproach and the general attitude was in the spirit of the DTVC .303 competition. Well done everyone.

Back to KRC for a drink and the presentation of prizes. As always we are blessed with the presence of the descendants of Dick Travis. Noel Bockett and his wife Denise came over from Australia and Keith and Rita come down from Opotiki. Many shooters engaged with the family and stories were swapped.

Cloth badges for the top ten shooters were presented. Each with the finishing place on it. This year was the first time we had top shot cloth badges. This was for the top shot at any distance. These went to Nicole 50.7 at 500, 50.6 at 300, and Mike for his 50.8 at 600 and 75.12 at 800. Well done those shooters.

Firearms Safety Specialists Ltd puts up cash for prizes each year and in 2018 they went to Kiriahi McKee for third place – $100, Nicole McKee for second place – $200 and Mike Collings the winner – $300.

Of course Mike was also presented with the Dick Travis VC Trophy for the second time and it goes back to Te Puke again. Well done that man! A great display of marksmanship with a P14 rifle.

Noel Bockett always gives me three $50 notes to give out to those who deserve something. This year they went to Sam Stevenson our long suffering scorer and entry taker. Thank you Sam. Also to Fiona Beardslee who worked tirelessly helping with dressing the range, with dinner duties and generally being useful to everyone who needed help. Also to Ross Mason who showed great attitude. Asking to borrow 100 cases, reloading dies, and reloading a .303 rifle for the first time. Then getting a zero the week before. That was the spirit that deserved recognition.

All in all another great competition.

Photos and a link to them at the Karori Rifle Club website will follow shortly.

See you in 2019.

Duncan McKee
Match Director
Karori Rifle Club
Dick Travis VC 2018