Success for Esperance Rifle Club members at the 2017 Queens Prize.
Captain Mike Henley, Michelle Hurley, Shane Mortimer, Jim Dunne, Raymond Hurley and Graham Donovan travelled to Pinjar Rifle Range north of Perth for the first event at the new West Australian Rifle Association home.
The culmination of years of work to relocate from their old home of Swanbourne Rifle Range.
The new facility has a state-of-the-art rifle range consisting of one firing point which is 300 metres wide, made of concrete at the recommended angle and galleries of targets across the range of distances from 300 to 900m.
The club house has a modern catering kitchen dining, function rooms, central hall for competitors and rifle cleaning facilities, shop, toilets, showers, caravan and camping area and more.
The 80 electronic targets allow for competition to flow with fast changes from range to range.
The rifle range itself has three massive stop butts staggered across the 300m distance and targets mounted at each distance across the view.
The range is flat, cleared from native bush and already establishing green regrowth of natural succulent ground cover which will thicken in time leaving a great cover to control the wind erosion problems which could occur.
The competition was supported by 180 odd competitors including F Open, F Class Standard F.T.R. and traditional Target Rifle.
The modern rifle shooter is taking over the traditional iron sights and resting on elbows and replacing with high powered telescopic sights and rifle rests.
The shooting conditions at the new range were horrendous with winds across range measuring in excess of 60 kilometres an hour, three to four lines of wind needed to hit the target at 300m.
The buffeting was constant and the skill required to keep the bullets in the middle was intense.
Captain Mike Henley picked up six medals over the four-day shoot and claimed top spot for F Class Standard in Division two for the Queens competition.
Jim Dunne had success winning a range medal in the top end competition for the state at his first Queens. Graham Donovan had some success during the Duke of Edinburgh finishing in 15th place.
Michelle Hurley and Shane Mortimer had difficulties with the conditions and didn’t feature in the higher positions.
However our Irish born naturalised Australian member Ray Hurley had a blinder of a competition, contesting the super competitive F Open Division, leaving no stone unturned with his preparation.
Hurley won the Duke then followed on to win the Queens by one bull and one X, scoring 463.30 from Bob Kinnear 462.29 second, and Brad Day third with 462.26.
With 900m to go Hurley was in third place and showed amazing fortitude to put in a match winning score of 58.2, missing the bull just twice in the extremely dark and difficult conditions to claim first place and realise a major dream he has held since first being introduced into the sport at the Esperance Club.
Congratulations Raymond William Hurley for winning the most prestigious event on the Western Australian shooting calendar and a birthday you will never forget.
A place in the history books as the first Queens prize at the new Pinjar Range, performing a clean sweep, winning the Duke, Queens and Grand Aggregate.
I believe the first to perform this feat from the Esperance Club.
The Esperance range will again be active this Saturday from the 700 yard mound, starting at 1.30pm; visitors are welcome.