Thursday, March 23, 2006

March 23, 2006, Thursday, Individual Match Final

We assembled for the last time on the range today to fire the final stage of the Individual Match. As there was for the Pairs event, there was a good turn out of spectators for the final. Approximately 300 people turned out to watch, by my conservative estimate. The event organizers provided washrooms, souvenirs and even hot dogs and beer. The crowd had a lot of fun and included our friends from Castlemaine, Chris and Trevor. The unexpected surprise at 1000 yards was the appearance of Frank Horgan. His father was at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne and took some of the cards Gerry Oullette had shot when he won the Gold Medal for small bore. He presented the cards to Alain Marion, who had seen them 38 years before with Frank’s father at a BBQ in Melbourne. Alain was very touched by Frank’s gesture.

The day promised to be hot and the wind did not look like it was going to provide any relief or the potential to shake up the field too much. Sure enough, that was how events panned out. The temperature climbed steadily and the wind’s strength remained mild. It blew down the range towards us and moved across centre with enough strength in the changes to put a person out into the inner and sometimes even the magpie. But for the most part a person could follow the changes and a lot of big scores were turned in. I started the day sitting 10th, fired a pair of 74x75 for 148 total and finished pretty much where I started, 9th. Pat had a 74 at 900 but ran into elevation trouble at 1000 and finished the match in 23rd place. At the top of the heap Parag Patel of England, who started the day in 1st place one point ahead of Bruce Scott of Australia, shot a 147x150 over the two ranges. Not quite good enough as Bruce fired a 149 and won the Gold Medal by a single point. Parag was second for the Silver. Meanwhile, James Corbett of Australia shot a 149 to win the Bronze Medal. The order of finish for the top ten is listed and I have included a few photos.

I hope the people who have read this have enjoyed following the events and do not mind the tardiness of some of the posts. Cheers, Jim.

1 Bruce Scott, Aus 403.60
2 Parag Patel, Eng 402.57
3 James Corbett, Aus 401.57
4 Zainal, Mal 401.51
5 Zulkeflee, Mal 401.49
6 Robert Hayter, RSA 401.46
7 Johannes du Toit, RSA 399.52
8 Lindsay Peden, Sco 399.50
9 Jim Paton, Can 399.50
10 David Calvert, Ire 399.50

John Nelson of Jamaica and Pat before the 1000

Shooters on the line getting ready at 1000

The Winners on the Podium

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Australians pose for the Press under the Aussie Flag

The Winner being chaired off the Range

Two volunteers compare their results

In all 92 volunteers tried rifle shooting.

Jacquie shooting.

Jacquie, from our venue office, puts on a nervous look before shooting.

Jenni, Games volunteer herself, helps another volunteer try her hand at shooting

The Volunteers gathered behind the firing point waiting for their turn to shoot.

March 22, 2006, Wednesday, Last Practice Day and the Volunteers Shoot

So our plan for today’s 900 and 1000 yard practice was to give the rifles a good cleaning and then fire a few shots to foul them and get early morning elevations. That we did, finishing early to save ourselves for tomorrow. In the meanwhile after lunch the range was turned over to all of the event volunteers so that they could give shooting a try. Five shots each from 500 yards, with the rifles rested. The people I spoke to all had a good time and for some of them it was the first time in their lives they had fired a shot. I have attached some photos. Cheers, Jim.

March 21, 2006, Tuesday, Individual Match Day One

And a long day it was. We shot a Queens One in the morning followed by a Queens Two in the afternoon. For non shooters that is 2 sighters and 7 on score at 300, 500 and 600 yards followed by 2 sighters and 10 on score at 300, 500 and 600 yards. Temperatures have been steadily climbing the last few days so it was hot work in the afternoon with the mercury hovering just below 90 degrees. My new trigger made the rifle much easier to break good shots with and I was pleased to put the all in at the first 300. I was not so happy with 500 and 600, dropping a point at each range. So I finished Stage One down two points, good for 12th place of the 38 entered. Pat had a slightly rougher go at 500 and 600 dropping 4 points in total. I knew the afternoon would have to be better. 300 and 500 were both clean and despite the heat I was confident 600 would also go well. Unfortunately I got caught for two inners in a row, shots 8 and 9 after a very good start. That was not a good finish to the day, so I am sitting in 10th place going into the final stage Thursday. The bad news is I am four points behind the top two competitors and that will be hard to make up if the conditions are benign, but we will see what happens on the day. Pat had a better afternoon then morning, shooting a 149 and leaving him down a total of five points and sitting 15th, but not without some drama. At 500 he got off one shot and then could not chamber another cartridge. His partner finished while he cleaned out the chamber and then he was able to finish, shooting a 50 in about five minutes. So we wait for Thursday. Cheers, Jim.

Monday, March 20, 2006

March 20, 2006 Post Pairs Match

What do you do after a frustrating match that you think you should have done better in? Put the damn thing out of your mind and get on with it, whatever it is. For us we went to the range today with specific missions in mind. Pat and I both wanted to fire a few shots to foul our barrels after cleaning them following the pairs match. For the non shooters, an overly fouled barrel shoots a big group, bad news. A squeaky clean barrel sometimes needs a few shots to settle down, bad news if you have to fire some of those shots on score in a competition. So we cleaned after the pairs match knowing we could lightly foul the barrels today. That was Pat’s only mission so he went out and had a shoot at 300 yards. The other mission was mine. I have been shooing my Angel and struggling with the trigger, today I installed the spare trigger I had brought with me and then I went out and had a shoot at 500 yards. A word about the install, the trigger needed a bit of fitting, something I was not prepared for. James Corbett from Australia lent me a file and Martin Millar from Ireland lent me some Loc-Tite, such is shooting. Missions accomplished we drove out to Castlemaine for lunch at Tilley’s Tea Room, the restaurant owned by our friend Glenda. We had a great afternoon chatting with Glenda and husband Chris. Chris will be at the shooting event tomorrow, Glenda will be working. Our final stop of the day was at the home of Barry Davies. We had a nice visit with Barry who also kindly gave me a screw I needed for my rifle. All this on a pleasant, sunny day, who could ask for better? No pictures today, Cheers, Jim.

Zainal and Zulkeflee, Bronze Medal

James Corbett and Bruce Scott, Silver Medal

Parag Patel and Glyn Barnett, Gold Medal

March 19th, Pairs Match

What can you say about a match that does not go your way, even though it was close, except that it’s frustrating thinking about what might have been. The weather for the match was excellent, sunny and not too warm. The spectators numbered around 200, including some of our Castlemaine friends. When the 300 was finished we had lost three very close points through a combination of elevation and wind and had dug ourselves a hole we were going to have to climb out of. We were 12th out of 19 teams. 500 and 600 were much better, we dropped only one point when the wind changed abruptly while we were on aim. We had pulled up to 7th. Lunch was a rushed affair and then into the 900. We needed a good one but things did not go our way. Two very close inners for wind and one poor shot left us with a 71 for the first shooter. We had the wind figured out though and made 75 on the second shooter but were sitting 9th overall going into the 1000. Our 1000 yard score topped the field, a pair of 74s, but too little too late. We climbed up to 5th, 1 v behind the 4th place Scots and 2 points off the podium, 3 points out of 2nd place. We felt afterwards that we could have been a bit crisper in our shooting but it also came down to a few of the shots that were very close but not in for wind and group centering. On another day a couple of those might have been a tiny amount closer to the centre and bit the line. Not to be though. The winning teams shot well. England topped the field with 594.87, a point off the games record but with more v’s. Australia was second with 593.74 and Malaysia 3rd with 592.72. We finished with 590.80. A few photos of the winning pairs are included.
Cheers, Jim.

March 16, 17 and 18 Final Tune up shoots for the Pairs Match

We had a fairly leisurely morning after the opening ceremony since we were not shooting until the afternoon. We had our breakfast then said our good byes to the people we were rooming with and wished them good luck in their matches. A volunteer driver took us back to Bendigo and we headed out to the range. 300, 500 and 600 yards in the afternoon with our second rifles was our plan. I shot my Swing at 300 and decided then and there to switch to the Angel. Pat had his shoot and decided that his Barnard was out shooting his Musgrave. So we had our rifle decisions made. On the 17th we had a long day, shooting 900 and 1000 once each in the morning and the afternoon practice sessions. In the evening the hotel laid on a jazz band in honour of St. Patrick’s Day. The 18th was a dry run for the pairs, 300, 500 and 600 in the morning and 900 and 1000 in the afternoon. Pat and I skipped the 500 and 900 to avoid playing ourselves out before the match itself.
The practice was with our number one guns and went well. That brings us to the Pairs Match which we will be firing tomorrow and an early night for all of us. Cheers, Jim.

More Fireworks

More Fireworks

The Fireworks

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Our flag bearer and Pat pose with the Australian umbrella girl who led the Canadian Team into the Arena.

The Full Bore Crew; we came in on the green ramp behind us

Friday, March 17, 2006

Jim Marching

Alain Marching

Inside the gymnastics venue, the Teams assembled.

Melbourne skyline from the Rod Laver Tennis Centre where the gymnastics are being held.

Muster for departure, instructions on hat and towel etiquette.

The Shooting contingent assembled in front of Canada HQ.

Wednesday March 15, 2006 Opening Ceremony Day

We packed up our opening ceremony uniforms and set out by bus for the Games Village in Melbourne at 10:30 am. This got us to Melbourne by 12:15. We decided to check in at Team Canada HQ before we went for lunch. Pat and I had rooms assigned to us in the village; Alain’s room was at a nearby hotel. We stashed all the gear in our room and then headed off for lunch with Mike Hockings, a small bore three position shooter. Lunch for me was Indian food and it was excellent. After lunch Pat set off to see if he could find his Sony Mini Disk that he had left behind on Tuesday, Alain and I went to check out the International area of the village. The international area has various shops, services and games rooms plus an open air café restaurant. After browsing the shops for a while Alain and I decided to sit down in the café. Since I knew we would go a long time without food at the opening ceremony I had a snack, a small serving of fish and chips. That and several coffees later and we caught up with Pat back at the Canadian residences. His music player had been found and turned in. He was able to recover it from lost and found. Some more chit chat with the other shooters at the accommodation and then around 4:30 it was off for and early dinner before we left for the opening ceremony. This time I had a slice of Pizza and to be honest was getting a little tired of eating. We changed and mustered in front of Canada HQ to be issued ponchos, in case of rain, and last minute instructions about how to proceed through the ceremony. That done we headed off by bus at around 6:00 for the arena. All the athletes were assembled in the gymnastics venue, a short walk from the opening ceremony and given more last minute instructions before walking out and eventually filing into the arena. Walking into the arena with the huge crowd and the flashing of thousands of cameras was quite the experience. It was hard to hear the announcements over the sound system because of the crowd noise and the echoes. We walked past the Queen, tipping our hats and then waved our towels to the crowd and came to a stop to watch the rest of the opening ceremony. Speeches and then fire works, it was a good show. Afterwards, we bused back to the village at around 1:00am. Alain disappeared in search of his hotel and Pat and I went for a late night snack, more Indian for me. A personal record of five meals in one day, I must be going through a growth spurt. I have included a few photos with not too many comments. Cheers, Jim.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Badge Match Winners

First, Adam Jory 296.35
Second after a shoot off, Peter Jory 295.29
Third, Gareth Morris 295.29
Fifth, Pat Vamplew 294.38
12th, Jim Paton 293.28

Tuesday March 14, 2006, Badge Match Day

Today we shot the Badge Match. The purpose of the Badge Match is to give the event organizers a dry run prior to the main events being held. The volunteer range staff and register keepers get a chance to practice along with the shooters. The course of fire was 2 sighters and 10 shots on score at 300, 500 and 600 yards in the morning and then 2 and 15 at 900 and 1000 yards after lunch. The weather was very good for shooting, sunny but not too hot. Pat and I tested our second rifles today. We wanted to try our second equipment and not take the match too seriously with the main events still to come. Interestingly the winner and runner up were Adam and Peter Jory, brothers from Guernsey. They were followed by Gareth Morris from Wales. Pat finished 5th two points behind the winner and one point ahead of me in 12th place. A total of 38 competitors took part. Tomorrow we head to Melbourne for the opening ceremony. We start shooting again on Thursday. Cheers, Jim.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A tour boat cruises the river while we walk the paths.

Acres of water lilies.

A bridge on the nature walk.

Alain with a couple of very large vats of aging wine.

Tahbilk’s tower

The grapes used to be raised to the second floor and then gravity would carry the juice down into the fermenters when the grapes were pressed.

Alain, with the vineyard in the back ground.

Sign at the entry to Tahbilk, the winery is 3.2 km up the drive.

Monday March 13, 2006 Rain Out and a Winery Tour

Today was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for the Badge Match but it never happened. The promised break in the weather arrived with a vengeance at around 5:30 am in the form of very heavy rain. It kept raining on and off through the early morning and the event organizers canceled the days shooting at around 9:00. At loose ends now, Pat decided to go to Melbourne in the hope of seeing some of the other shooting matches while Alain and I decided to take a drive out to one of my favorite Australian wineries, Tahbilk. The oldest winery in Victoria, Tahbilk is just under a hundred kilometers from the hotel so we were there in just over an hour. We had a nice lunch at the Wetlands café and then toured the winery itself. The cellars are 140 years old, dug buy hand. The older fermenting barrels are similar vintage. I tried their Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The wines tasted as I remembered them from when they were available through the LDB. Full bodied and sold with the potential for improvement with age they defy the current trend of “big fruit, drink now” that characterizes so many wines today. The winery is located on a river and supports a wetland walk of about 5 km through the marsh land beside the winery. The walk took us 2 hours. In the evening we attended a civic reception at the hotel that featured dragon dancers for entertainment. All in all an enjoyable day, some photos attached. Cheers, Jim.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Geoff Grenfell checking rifles

Geoff checks a competitor’s rifle with the go no go gauges while in the background Pat provides equipment details to Kathy Bowden.

Sunday March 12, 2006 Equipment Check

Today was an off day, that is to say, no shooting but we gathered at the range in the afternoon for the official equipment check. Just as well we were not shooting, 100 degrees F. and no breeze to speak of. The equipment check went more or less as follows. Jackets, mats and gloves were all checked for artificial support. Slings were checked for excessive width. Shooting boxes were checked for overall dimensions. Rifles were weighed, triggers were checked for minimum weight, sights were examined for illegal optics and lastly chambers were checked with go no go gauges for safety. Tomorrow we will shoot a run through for the badge match. Cheers, Jim

Saturday, March 11, 2006

This character lives just around the corner from the range at Bendigo

They tried that experiment in the B.C. interior also.

The Club House at the Castlemaine rifle range

Bert Bowden, a fine Australian shot, is the volunteer Match Director for the Full Bore shooting. Seen here with Jim Thompson.

Jim Thompson of Canada, here as a member of the jury, relaxes in the jury room

Pat Coaching Jim in a Pairs practice at 900 yards

The targets are just to Pat’s right at about the height of his right elbow.

Alain Marion, Canadian Coach on the left, chatting with Sandy Peden, Malaysian Coach

The 1000 yard firing point is in the back ground.

More little buildings.

Looking parallel to the 1000 yard firing point at the rear of the range.

Some of the temporary buildings on the range in Bendigo

There are about 20 of all sizes including some very large air conditioned tents. These ones hide the original VRA building in the background, right of centre.

Saturday March 12, 2006 900 and 1000 Practice and BBQ at Castlemaine

Another Team practice day and another encouraging result, a pair of 75s at 900 and only a few points dropped at 1000. The winds for our practices have been fairly mild and mostly readable. The heat has been mounting, with temperatures reaching nearly 40 degrees Saturday afternoon. The temperature is supposed to break Monday. We went to Castlemaine after shooting finished. The club had invited us to join their Saturday practice and BBQ. We could not take our rifles with us because we would not have had time to return them to the lock up in Bendigo before it closed for the day. So we visited instead and joined in for the BBQ after shooting. The Castlemaine range is one of seven in the immediate area and has a little over a dozen members. They took the range over from the militia around 75 years ago. They rent out the old Range Wardens house to pay the property taxes. They have about a dozen targets and shoot back to 900 yards. They have a club house on the property and BBQ’s after shooting finishes are a regular event. The range is in a valley just west of the town, about a 7 minute drive from the main street. Jealous anyone? I have put up a few photos. Cheers, Jim

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday March 10, 2006 300, 500 and 600 Team Practice

For our second practice day at short range we decided to proceed with a dress rehearsal for the Pairs Match. We were particularly interested in seeing how we would fair with the timing. For people unfamiliar with the sport here is a thumb nail sketch of a pairs shoot. The shooters work together, one firing and the other watching for changes in conditions, altering the sights and keeping the bookwork. When the first person finishes they switch roles and the first firer now becomes the director for the second persons shoot. There is an overall time limit for the pair to shoot their required number of shots on score. At the distances we fired today it is 35 minutes for a total of 20 shots on score. Part of the key is to prepare for both shoots as much as possible in the preparation period that precedes the start of each distance in the match. The second is to transition roles quickly after the first firer finishes. The final key is to clear the firing point quickly and move back to the next distance and get set up to do it all again. Pat and I had a dandy 300 yard shoot, 100x100 fired in 17 minutes flat. For a first run as a pair you could not ask for better. The 500 and 600 also went very well. We executed our changes cleanly and although we dropped a few points the process went so smoothly that we should be able to focus mostly on learning the range and not having to rush things in order to finish within the allowed time. A good day but alas no photos. Cheers, Jim.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thursday March 9, 2006. Another Day at the Office.

Although it is difficult, at least for shooters, to imagine a shooting report being boring I have to admit writing this that not a great deal happened on the range today. We shot twice, 900 and 1000. Wind was light from left and the sky was almost cloudless. We finished soon after 1:00 and the temperature had already climbed to the point where we were happy to call it a day. An interesting feature of this range is that the very lush firing points are watered over night with the result that they are very humid in the early sunshine. Unfortunately the forecast is for steadily increasing temperatures through to the weekend, with relief due Monday. A note of some interest for the wine drinkers in the crowd. Bottled wines here are only about $2.00 or so cheaper then the same wines at home. For example, the ever popular Yellow Tail costs $10.99 at the local drive through liquor store. Bag in a box is a totally different story. Renmano 2L Chardonnay, about $22.00 at home is on sale at the same shop for $8.99 Aus. Talk about how to support your local industry. Just in case anybody is wondering, fuel is about $1.20 a litre for regular and $1.30 for diesel. No pictures today, Cheers, Jim.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wednesday, March 8, 2006, We Go Shooting

Back on the range for 300, 500 and 600 yard practice. We decided last night that today we would run our back up gear to get zeros. Pat brought out his new Barnard, which he had previously shot a few rounds with at Castlemaine. I shot the Angel. It was soon obvious my wind zero was out a bit but once that was fixed the rifle shot very well. Pat had a good go with his new rifle. His Barnard is in a Robertson stock with a Warner back sight and really looks first rate. There are still a few competitors to arrive but most of the field is here now. Tomorrow we shoot longs. Missing in action so far is the large mob of kangaroos that populated the range last year. There still must be some of them around, you have to be careful where you put your gear down, but they are keeping out of sight. Maybe all of the extra security around the range is making them nervous. No pictures today. Cheers, Jim.

Looking from the Dining Hall into the Village

After the Games I understand that these residences are to be sold as housing after the interiors are redone. Price; I was told about $500,000.00. I took the tour, but I didn’t sign anything.

Pat and Alain outside the Main Dining Hall

It really is as big as it looks. A large temporary structure, it is as big as a hanger inside. There are multiple food and drink counters, an international smorgasbord.

Pat with his coworkers’ niece

The Three Amigos go to Melbourne

Yesterday we moved all our gear into the official games hotel. It is very nice. A modern building, large, with nice dining facilities, a pool and a casino. The rooms feature large marble tiled bathrooms and are very comfortable.
Today we had to go to Melbourne to collect our team gear. We set off by bus at 11:45 and were at the games village a couple hours later. First order of business was to catch lunch. The food is intended to provide something for everybody from all the varied Commonwealth countries. I decided to have Indian food for lunch. We had only just sat down to eat when Pat struck up a conversation with some of Canada’s track athletes and discovered that one of the girls is the niece of a lady Pat works with. She is competing in pole vault and we wish her all the best of luck. We met up with Canada HQ. Dennis Shukla from the Shooting Federation of Canada had our uniforms ready to go. The person who is the aide for all of the coach’s is from Kamloops and knows Paul Reiban among other shooters. She has shot with her husband as well as trying air gun over here. She said if she makes it up to Bendigo she will give full bore a try. We took some uniform bits for alteration after trying on the lot. We met with a few of the other shooting team members and had a pleasant afternoon. Then a quick dinner, I had African this time and it was time to meet our driver for the trip back to Bendigo. The trip back was a bit long and bit rough. The driver was given an unfamiliar vehicle that was low on fuel. While searching out diesel for the van we had a too close encounter with a large rock. After the adjustment the sliding door still opens half way so it could have been worse. We took the back roads route and the van was not up to real highway cruising speed. Suffice to say we left at 7:00 and arrived at 10:15. Our volunteer driver still had to return to Melbourne, hand in the van, fill in a damage report and then drive herself home. It is well after midnight as I write this and I doubt she is there yet. Any way it was a long day. Some pictures are attached, tomorrow we shoot something. Cheers, Jim.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Mirko and Jenny keep cool

In the pool at Chris and Glenda's.

Jenny doing the books

Jenny enters her bookwork after the Queens 1000. She is smiling because she and Mirko both won a badge. Jenny is staying on as Games volunteer.

Alain on the job

Alain at 1000 yards. He last shot this match in 1968. He said some of the kangaroos looked familiar.

Pat keeps score

Pat keeping the board at 1000 yards on the final day of the Queens. You might just be able to make it his score, 50. Well done Pat!

Jim and Pat have a shoot at Castlemaine

Thanks to Barry Davies (Davies Triggers) we had a shoot on Castlemaine the day after we arrived. About 85 degrees out, Alain pulled the targets, Barry snapped the picture.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Commonwealth Games Melbourne, A Trip Log, First Post

Hello to all my family and friends who care to visit here and follow the Canadian Fullbore Team at the Commonwealth Games, 2006, Melbourne. I had hoped to have posted several times by now but I have spent my first days in Australia either shooting or in bed trying to sleep off a miserable cold. I did not have the gumption to get to internet access. I will try and keep up regular posting from now on. Since the Victoria Rifle Association Queens is now in the history books and the results are up on the VRA's website ( I will just make a few comments.
The weather was hot through the whole event. The shoot was well run and the Australian competitors and the shoot organizers bent over backwards to be sure that visitors like ourselves fit into their system and had a good time. It was nice for me to see many of the same people I shot with last year. Pat shot handloads he produced in our caravan every night while I shot the commercial ammo that is due to be used in the games. About 180 people shot the Syme and I finished 40th, a couple spots ahead of Pat. Alain busied himself watching Pat and I shoot so we were all pretty beat by the end of the shooting days. Pat and I persuaded Alain to shoot the Queens with one of my rifles. He did and he, Pat and I all finished on almost identical scores. We placed 36th, 38th and 40th out of about 250 competitors. We think we have learned a lot we will be able to apply to the upcoming training period. At the end of the Queens I felt well enough to get out in the evening and we went to Castlemaine for a nice evening of Chinese food and conversation with shooters from Australia, Canada, Gurnsey and Jersey. We followed that up the day the matches ended with a very nice afternoon and evening at the home of Chis and Glenda who treated us to a lovely BBQ. It more then made up for the fun I missed earlier in the week. I will end for today by putting up a few pictures. I also want to thank Mark Dennis and Craig Hartnet for their help setting up this site. Cheers, Jim.