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How to find PRS / Field Shooting matches in NZ

If you’re new to the precision rifle sports, or maybe you just read our recent article on what PRS and Field Shooting are, next steps are probably to find out how to get involved and where matches are held. This article will list out all of the current organisations which hold these kinds of matches – if we do miss any, feel free to drop us a message on Facebook and we’ll make sure to add it.

Speaking of Facebook, the bulk of info on matches, entries, updates, etc., is done through Facebook and Facebook Messenger. If you don’t like social media, or you’ve just never got around to it, it would be worthwhile creating a profile just so you can interact with these organisations.

A rare non-natural prop at a TLRS event. Featured shooter Mizz Gunrack

North Island

Gillice Practical Rifle Events

The original and the best! Simon has been running shoots for longer than most of us have been in the sport, and his events inspire and inform a lot of the other matches held across the country. You can follow GPRE on their Facebook or Instagram pages. Regular matches held by GPRE include the Pre-Roar Eye Opener (Mar), Desert Duel teams match (May), Speed vs Precision 22LR Match (Nov) and Tarata Practical Rifle Match (Nov).

As and when other properties / locations have been available, Simon has held other medium range and long range matches, as well as frequent 22LR shoots. Keep an eye on their social media for events not listed above. GPRE events are mostly held in the Central North Island, around Taranaki and Waiouru / Taihape.

Taranaki Long Range Shooting

TLRS, run by Graeme (and his loyal crew of volunteers), largely follows the format established by GPRE, adding its own flair and personality. Having started off as some social gong shoots a few years ago, the organisation and matches have evolved significantly to be some of the best precision matches in the country.

Surplus Steel is an awesome Service Rifle / Field Shooting crossover event that is a highlight of the shooting calendar

Regular events for TLRS include Surplus Steel (Jan), Ahititi Long Range Challenge (Feb) and Winter Blast (Jun / Jul). Other matches have included Bowers Valley Brawl (a dedicated long range / magnum event), and some 22LR matches. The Ahititi Long Range Challenge is the biggest event in the precision sports calendar, with the 2022 match consisting of 3 days of shooting, each day being a separate event. TLRS operates mostly in Ahititi (Taranaki), and other Central NI locations, up to Waitomo District.

TLRS and GPRE have collaborated in 2022 to run the SPARC 22LR series, four matches with distinct flavours, different match directors and locations, culminating in an upcoming series final.

To follow TLRS, you can check out their Facebook or Instagram pages. Graeme also runs Bolt Action Media, and co-hosts the Precision Unloaded Podcast with Mark (land owner / match director / podcast host extraordinaire).

The Gun Rack

Yes, that’s us! We’ve run a grand total of two 22LR events in the northern Waikato region (out towards Port Waikato) over the course of 2022, and hope to do more in the future. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for more updates.

Our aim is to provide matches that the other regular match directors/ hosts can participate in (as they’re always doing the hard work), as well as holding events closer to Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland. This means a little bit less driving for those of us up this way, and also means we can attract new shooters to the sport.

Rifle being made safe at the end of a stage. We shoot in any conditions, so long as we can see the targets.

Precision Rifle Series New Zealand

PRS NZ are the official PRS affiliated organisation in New Zealand, and run matches in the Waiouru / Taihape area. It seems to be the aim of the organisation to get other match directors / locations involved and part of the series in due course, as well as qualifiying shooters to compete in the PRS USA Finale.

You can find them on Facebook. PRS NZ is also supported by Long Range Academy, and you can find out more at their website.

Central North Island Gun Club

CNIGC are primarily a Service Rifle club, and they host a few really cool events every year (along with all their club shoots). If I’m not shooting a precision or practical rifle match on the same day, I’ll try and be at their ANZAC shoot, Rapids, etc.

A couple years ago CNIGC worked with Simon from GPRE to run their first 22LR precision match. As far as I know, they have held more matches since then and have gone from strength to strength. Some of the CNIGC members have become familiar faces at other North Island matches, so it’s good to see the sport spreading to shooters from other disciplines.

CNIGC have a website where you can get in touch or find out more.

Auckland Shooting Club

Auckland Shooting Club are based in Makarau, about 45 mins north of Auckland central. They host 22LR precision club matches, amongst lots of other shooting disciplines. It’s not clear if this is restricted to members only, so get in touch, I’m sure they’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Auckland Shooting Club have a Facebook page and a website for contact details.

The dreaded camo net is a prop that features at GPRE shoots every now and then – gear management is essential.

South Island

Now, I have very limited knowledge of the precision rifle scene down South, so Mainlanders, please excuse the brevity of this section.

Section 22 is a great resource for our Mainland friends looking to get into precision shooting. Blair also imports some essential gear for the sport

Section 22

Section 22 is run by Blair, and hosts a bunch of 22LR matches in the North Otago region. Blair also imports a bunch of shooting gear, including tripods, ammo pouches, Wiebad bags, etc. Section 22 is run as a private group on Facebook, so have a look for them there.

Sparrowhawk NZ

Sparrowhawk NZ has been around for a minute or two. These guys have their own range in South Canterbury and run regular shooter education and training courses. They also host matches at their range. You can find them on Facebook or at their website.

Boundary Creek

Another venue down South which frequently hosts precision style matches, the range is just outside of Oamaru. A private group on Facebook contains info on upcoming matches, so search for them on there.

Hokonui Precision Rifle Matches

22LR is a great way to get into precision shooting, yet is still a highly competitive and fun subsection of the sport when you’re fully into it.

Another private Facebook group for you to search and apply to. A great resource for matches being held in the South Island.

Alpine Long Range

Alpine Long Range hosts matches in the Canterbury region, not too far from Christchurch. You can follow them on Facebook to keep an eye out for upcoming matches.

Peak View Range

PVR operate an established range with targets available for plinking or practice at distances from 100m – 1000m. They also run competitions and have a shop to buy gear you might need. If you or your significant other need extra motivation to get out there, they also operate Peak View Retreat.

Peak View Range can be found in Nelson, on Facebook or their website.

New Zealand Mountain Challenge

The Vortex NZ Mountain Challenge has been running since 2015, and is a world class long range event. The most recent event had a 3-day format, with a 1000 yard shoot off, the main mountain challenge match, and a precision rifle match on the third day.

You can find more info on the Mountain Challenge on their Facebook page. The match is sold out fairly quickly from what I hear, so make sure to keep an eye on it if it interests you. The Mountain Challenge is an annual event in Wanaka.

Field Shooting and PRS in New Zealand

If you’re interested in competitive or long range shooting, you’ve probably heard the term “PRS” or noticed the preponderance of new shooting gear aimed at the “precision shooting” market. If you want to understand a bit more about what this is all about, and how you might be able to get involved, this article is a short primer on what is available and happening in New Zealand. We’ll do some follow up articles on what gear you need, basic skills to practice, etc., so keep an eye out for those.

What is PRS?

Precision or practical rifle competitions are not all “PRS Matches”. The PRS (Precision Rifle Series) is a trademarked, sanctioned series of matches in the USA, in which some of the best precision shooters in the world compete. It has developed over the years, and the level of competition and the equipment used has changed dramatically. There are PRS affiliated organisations around the world, notably Australia, South Africa and recently New Zealand.

In a PRS or PRS-style match, you would expect to have around  8 – 10 stages (small courses of fire within the overall match) in a one day match, with varying challenges to test different aspects of your shooting ability. Two day matches are more prevalent overseas and will probably feature more and more in the NZ scene. Two-day matches that have been run locally tend to be the same overall match course of fire, but day two might be .223 only, or some other variation.

Each stage will have a description which will tell you what targets you need to engage, and how you need to engage them – you don’t need to know this stuff in advance. You will also be given a time limit for each stage. If you’re new to the game, concentrate on making good hits instead of trying to be fast. You’ll have more fun if you hit steel, and it will be easier to operate safely and smoothly if you take your time.

What kind of shooting should you expect?

Precision shooting has developed largely around “square ranges”, which lends itself to man-made props, rather than using natural terrain or obstacles

Generally speaking, you would be engaging steel plate targets from 200m out to 700 / 800m, with the occasional long range stage over the 1000m mark. Some dedicated long range events stretch this out further.

Your shooting position is usually built around using a prop or obstacle for support, and you might have to “build and break” several positions on the same prop or multiple props and engage a single target or multiple targets.

There are occasionally prone stages, which would usually be long range stages or stages with a complex order of fire. Some match directors do offer a more prone focused match, whereas others might be more heavy on the positional / prop side of things. Unsupported positional shooting is not very common, but can be expected.

Does this sound like a bit much? Don’t worry. At every match in New Zealand you will find that you will be put in a squad with experienced competitors who are happy to help you out, guide you through the day, and probably even lend you a bit of gear if you need it.

What is Field Shooting?

Field shooting is similar in ways to PRS-style matches, but has distinct differences and challenges different aspects of your shooting, gear management, admin and stage management. For an international comparison, it might be considered to be closer to the NRL Hunter series in the USA.

The Precision Rifle Series has largely developed using “flat ranges” or “square ranges”, with a perpendicular firing line, berms and often fixed target distances. This has lent itself to a lot of standardisation of types of props and stages you might encounter, including several “PRS Skills Stages”, which are the same at every match. Given the sheltered and somewhat artificial environment these kinds of ranges have, the sport has revolved around small targets and tight time limits.

Field matches often take advantage of natural terrain or props. Photo credit Dylan Ackley, featured shooter Kassie Phillips

Now, to be fair, not all PRS matches are like this, and depending on the geographical location in the USA, you might have a much more “field style” match. New Zealand matches are trying to emulate the US and Australian matches, but we are generally shooting on farms, not fixed ranges, so our PRS-style matches might favour the field shooting side of things overall.

So, what is field shooting? How is it different? Field shooting is based around the “practical” side of competitive shooting, rather than the “precision” side. Now, just as precision matches might have the occasional field flavour, the same is true in reverse, and depending on location and match director, you might find a lot of props, small targets and tight time frames.

When we say “practical”, we mean using shooting skills that are beneficial in practical scenarios. For most of us this means hunting or pest control. For our military and law enforcement friends, their skills might be deployed in a more “tactical” scenario when they’re on the job.

Loopholes and obscured targets are not uncommon, nor is unsupported positional shooting

In field shooting the target sizes and time limits are generally a bit more generous, but the shooting positions are often uncomfortable, improvised, unstable or offer limited visibility of the target(s). This forces you to think on your feet and approach each stage differently, developing a broad set of shooting skills. Precision matches, on the other hand, tend to offer stable props, familiar positions, and somewhat standardised courses of fire, which means you are focusing on a narrower set of skills, but you might become much more proficient at them over time.

There is a lot of crossover between these two styles of shooting, and you’ll often find the same competitors at both types of events. If you start investing in rifles and gear for one, you’ll be able to shoot the other as well. A lot of the same sills will translate across both sports equally well, such as focusing on your natural point of aim, building a solid position, squaring up to your rifle, etc.

If you’re keen on getting into this game, you will shoot in interesting conditions, see some gorgeous country, develop great friendships, and ultimately become a better shooter.

In the next article we’ll talk about how to find local matches and who to follow in NZ for updates on the sport and related content.

*Featured image credit: Gillice Practical Rifle Events*

PSNZ22 – Practical rimfire shooting event

Firstly, where the hell did March go? Between shooting events, reloading, work, and an overseas holiday, I can’t say there’s been very much time to write anything. However, I did make time to attend Precision Shooter’s inaugural PSNZ22 practical rimfire shooting event.

Remember that horrendous rain and flooding we had a few weeks ago? Yes, we were shooting in that. I have never shot in such wet and miserable conditions in my life – and it was great fun! Being RO for our detail of 6 also presented its own challenges in the rain (i.e. keeping scorecards dry – which didn’t happen).

The test shoot

I was lucky enough to be invited by Kerry Adams to the test shoot a month prior, where we shot the course and provided feedback for the competition proper. It couldn’t have been in more different conditions. I walked away dripping in sweat, and completely sun burnt, but having had a great time.

I shot the test shoot with my bolt action Norinco JW-15 in a Boyds Pro Varmint stock, topped with a 6.5-20 x 44mm Weaver 40/44. The stock was great, and I was glad I had a bipod, as I used this to lean on fences and obstacles (even when folded), which avoided damage to my rifle. I also used one leg folded out as a foregrip on the tank trap and barricade obstacles with great success.

Chris takes alternating left- and right-handed shots at the practice shoot, with the entire detail watching, Kerry videoing, and me taking photos. No pressure.
Chris takes alternating left- and right-handed shots at the practice shoot, with the entire detail watching, Kerry videoing, and me taking photos. No pressure.

The scope was an interesting choice – but the only one I had on hand at the time. The course was not designed for taking wind and dialing elevation – it was designed for holding over and snap decisions. With a duplex reticle and capped turrets, I was going to have a hard time.

So, what I did was sight in at the range  the day before at 75 metres, and figure out my drop to known ranges of 50, 75, 100 and 150 metres. I did this by firing a group at a target at the known distance, and then using the magnification to zoom in or out, until one of the posts lined up with the group. I then tested the holdover and it worked fine.

This was far from ideal as I shot 50 m targets at 20x and 150 m targets at 6.5x. The latter is fine, but shooting close targets at high magnification while moving around is pretty difficult.

If you have a FFP scope, or a reticle with drops that you know at each magnification setting, then a magnification range like this is not the worst idea.

The test shoot was a success, and we provided Kerry with our feedback, which we were happy to see was integrated into the final course. The feedback was around timing, clarity of course of fire, etc. In other words, exactly why you have a test run.


The day of the shoot we all came prepared with wet weather gear, wondering if it would be called off. Spoiler: it wasn’t.

Although it absolutely bucketed down, we never got to a point where it would have been unsafe to continue. The only thing the rain affected was how we carried and covered our equipment and rifles, and again, the score sheets got soaked, but each team came up with a way to keep track of their scores.

I was highly impressed with my equipment. I shot with a different set up this time around. I had an HK 416 D145RS .22LR, topped with a Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24mm with AR BDC reticle. The HK, manufactured under licence by Carl Walther, stood up to some serious abuse. I had only shot it once prior, which was the day before, when I tested ammo and sighted in. After chowing through 300 odd rounds of eight different types of rimfire ammo, I found CCI Standard to shoot very well and Winchester Target 22 shot almost as well. Hey, if the best ammo happens to be the cheapest one tested too, who am I to complain?

Both of the above brands shot less than an inch at 50 yards, off a bipod, with the butt stock unsupported. The CCI was closer to 0.8 inches.

The eight types of ammo tested in the HK 416 .22LR, with CCI standard coming in tops, and Stingers throwing the worst groups.
The eight types of ammo tested in the HK 416 .22LR, with CCI standard coming in tops, and Stingers throwing the worst groups.

I didn’t clean the rifle thoroughly after testing, but ran a bore snake through twice, with a few drops of Hoppes No. 9. Generally speaking I leave a rimfire rifle for 500 – 1000 rounds before cleaning the barrel (or as soon as I notice accuracy starting to drop off). However, with a brand new rifle I didn’t want to take the chance.

I missed my cold bore shot on the first target, which was extremely disappointing, as it was worth 5 normal shots. The gun walked on to target within 5 rounds as the match grade barrel liner leaded up nicely. I shouldn’t have run the damn boresnake through. The course was roughly 90 rounds over about 4 – 5 hours, and even though the rifle was exposed to pouring rain almost the entire time, it never jammed once. The blowback mechanism did a fine job, and the magazines held up well, feeding reliably, and remaining super easy to load, thanks to the tabs on the side which hold down the spring and follower.

The scope performed beautifully. The AR BDC reticle is designed primarily for .223 Rem ballistics, and lines up nicely with average loads. It’s also pretty good with a .308 as well. To use the .22LR I used the Vortex LRBC to enter the data for CCI Standard ammo.

I did a different reticle print out for each magnification setting, and confirmed these at the range the day before. For some shots I used the full 6x magnification, but for most I used the 4x, as with a zero at 50 metres, I had convenient holdovers at each hashmark that approximated 75, 100, 130 and 170 metres.

This scope was way easier to use, but again highlights the need to either know your magnification, ranges and subtensions, or use an FFP scope for field shooting.

The only equipment failure I had was when my rail-to-stud adapter crapped itself, and my bipod fell off on the tank trap stage. I was annoyed, but it didn’t slow me down too much, and really, the rest of the shoot went fine. I went into Serious Shooters the other day to get a replacement (turns out the hole in the stud was a bit low, and the radius on the stud a bit high/wonky). They sorted me out with another stud, so that’s all good for next time.

Thanks Auckland Isuzu for thinking of us poor shooters out there in the wet, and providing brollies to keep us dry (...ish). Image credit: Precision Shooter
Thanks Auckland Isuzu for thinking of us poor shooters out there in the wet, and providing brollies to keep us dry (…ish). Image credit: Precision Shooter

The course was innovative and challenging, and kept everyone moving along at a reasonable pace. Some of the running stages highlighted how unfit we were, while the fine wording of the Course of Fire was tested by some of the more competitively natured among us. The obstacles and shooting parameters were a good test of skill, as shown by the vast range in scores at the end of the day. My advice – slow down. Finishing a stage with 15 seconds to spare doesn’t mean squat if you miss 4 or 5 shots (yes, that was me…).

The wet weather slowed us down a bit, but we reached the end of the course eventually. I came in around the middle of the field, which I was okay with, with a new rifle and a different style of shooting. As the scores were being tallied, the prize draws began.

Ridgeline had already provided every single shooter with a pack of goodies, including bright orange blaze gear for the ROs. In addition to these packs, they provided some awesome prizes too. The real draw card of the day was a Lithgow LA101 Crossover, which was done as a random draw. After the main event, shooters raided the table for swag from Ridgeline, Auckland Isuzu and Gun City (including $50 vouchers – thanks!). The Gun Rack proudly supplied some ammo as a prize.

The top shooters on the day were Hennie, Shane and Simon Gillice, with a tied first place, and only one shot making the difference between tied first and coming in third. If I recall correctly, all placing shooters used a bolt action rifle (I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure!).

There were some pretty interesting rifles there on the day.
There were some pretty interesting rifles there on the day. Image credit: Precision Shooter

The day was a great success, and Kerry and the team who put it on deserve all the thanks and congratulations they received. It was an excellent time, ringing steel in the rain with inexpensive ammo and lots of good banter. The pub afterwards was full of stories from the day, as well as general shooting chatter and hunting stories, as you’d expect.

Hopefully the next one is not too far away, so keep an eye out on The Gearlocker website, and subscribe to their newsletter for regular updates!

Feature image credit: Precision Shooter

Eight Gun Competition

Just prior to Christmas I was lucky enough to get a call from a friend who told me he was helping out with an 8 gun competition shoot the following day, and would I be interested in entering.

I had no idea what an 8 gun shoot was exactly, but hearing there would be shooting out to about 800m involved, I was in! (Those sorts of distances don’t come up too often living in the city).

There was a reasonable entry fee, but I was also told I didn’t need to bring any ammo or guns as it was all covered in the entry fee. I was given directions to a private farm about an hour north of Auckland and told to arrive before 9am.

Ammo include, and trying out some new toys? Why wouldn't you?
Ammo included, and trying out some new toys? Why wouldn’t you?

Arriving bright and early in the morning I was guided by a person in Hi Viz to a carpark area and told someone would be along to collect me shortly, after a few introductions with others in the carpark area, we all jumped in various 4wds and were driven to the staging area.

Still not really knowing what I was in for, the organiser Shawn gathered us all around and explained we would all be given a scorecard to carry with us at all times, as we rotated through 8 shooting stations throughout the day and would be scored by the range officer at each station.

A good result after a great day of shooting.
A good result after a great day of shooting.

The stations were:

  • Shooting spinning targets at about 25m meters with a .22LR
  • Shooting a lever action .45 at falling steel plates
  • An AR15 chambered in .223 at a set of bowling pins
  • An AK-47 in 7.62×39 at a set of bowling pins
  • 20g shotgun with a series of flying clays
  • .300 Win Mag at 350m
  • .338 Lapua at a series of distances out to just shy of 800m, and;
  • A 50BMG with incendiary rounds at an engine block at 300m

Each shooting station had a “range officer” in Hi Viz who explained the course of fire, helped where required, and scored each shooter.

With some 30-odd competitors, experience was varied from people who had never shot before, to those with substantial experience. This event catered for all. Even the locals from neighbouring properties were invited along and it was great to see them coming over and showing their support for such a great event. Some of the young ones also got a chance to have a shoot with the smaller calibres under supervision.

After a great day’s shooting and meeting some like-minded people, we were invited back to the house for a BBQ and informal prize giving.

The only thing better after a great days shooting than a cold beer and a BBQ was the awesome trophy I managed to score, winning the event!

Over all it was a great day out, and I would highly recommend it to shooters of all levels.

If you’re interested in attending the next one (planned for March 2017), contact Shawn at or 021 180 3823 to register your interest.

Pretty cool trophy!
Pretty cool trophy!



Long Range Shooting – Level 1 – Fundamentals

Late last year I had the privilege of being invited along to the first Long Range Shooting course run by Precision Shooter. The event was not only an introduction to long range shooting for many, but also the first event of its kind.

The LRS Level 1 – Fundamentals class was primarily focused around getting shooters of all abilities onto a fairly level playing field, and teaching solid shooting techniques. The course was run by Kerry from The Bloke and Precision Shooter, but most of the content was delivered by Christian Neubauerx – Beretta’s head gunsmith in New Zealand. With 20+ years of experience as a smith, Christian knows his way around a gun better than most.

How's this for a classroom setting?
How’s this for a classroom setting?

The classroom

The first half of the day was a ‘lecture’ of sorts. Essentially a classroom-like setting, undercover and with the use of props (i.e. rifles and gear). If the word lecture puts you off, don’t let it. Think about all those questions you’ve been researching in internet forums and gun sites. Now imagine an authoritative source, giving you the answers direct, without bias and internet-inspired bravado or stupidity.

Even though my rifle was shooting groups like this the day before, I still found the course quite a 'shake up' of my technique.
Even though my rifle was shooting groups like this the day before, I still found the course quite a ‘shake up’ of my technique.

There was plenty of time for questions, and we managed to cover off what kind of rifles make good long range rigs, cartridge choice, shooting equipment and a decent amount of theory (such as MOA vs MIL, etc).

There were plenty of breaks and opportunities for tea/coffee and snacks (all provided). Before heading down to the mound we had a demonstration of shooting technique from Christian, who climbed up onto a long table with his unloaded rifle, and took us through body position and shooting sequence.

The range

Now it was time to put what we learned into practice. Everybody got their gear down to shooting position and racked their rifles. There was a good array of firearms, from utilitarian hunting rifles, through to long range platforms such as the Ruger Precision Rifle, and several in between.

I was shooting my fully supressed Tikka T3 in 6.5×55, residing in an MDT TAC21 chassis, and topped off with a  Vortex Viper PST 6-24×50. Having a Tikka, I particularly enjoyed having Christian take the course, as I was able to pick his brain on Tikka-specific issues, such as the trigger creep I was experiencing. As head gunsmith of Beretta NZ, he has forgotten more about these rifles than most could ever hope to know.

The venue for the day was the Swiss Club, north of Auckland. If you’ve ever shot at the ASAR (Any Sights Any Rifle) shoot, you’ll know it’s a pretty sweet set up, and all of your shooting is done from an enclosed shooting position, out of the sun and the wind.

We were shooting at a set distance of 300 m. Hold on you say – “that’s not long range”. Fair comment. Remember this is the fundamentals course. Some of those attending had never shot beyond 100 yards/metres before. Not only was it about bringing these guys up to speed, but it was also about honing fundamental skills, regardless of distance.

The target area and shooting hut.
The target area and shooting hut.

Even at 300 m, trying to implement the techniques we had just learned, I did notice a lot more spread in my groups than I would have expected. Basically I was having a shake-up of my technique, and trying to focus on new ways to do things meant not shooting as well as I usually would, but building positive habits to shoot better in the future.


There was one frustration on the day, and that was supporting the rear of the rifle. I had just bought a new bag that was the perfect height for my MDT chassis, which sits higher off the ground than the original Tikka stock. However, the Swiss club is most often used for unsupported shooting of target rifles, with slings and jackets. To suit this purpose the club had built their mound on a slight upwards incline, to better aid body position, while the targets were on a downward angle from the mound.

The bag I snagged from Kerry made a huge difference.
The bag I snagged from Kerry made a huge difference.

For many of us, this meant struggling somewhat to get the right height/angle on our rifles. Thankfully after trying one of the rear support bags that Kerry had on hand, I was able to get shots downrange with greater consistency. This really inspired me to start looking at purchasing a multipurpose bag for field shoots. I’m not always going to have a perfectly level and stable shooting platform, so a more versatile bag is definitely called for. I haven’t decided yet on the bag I’ll use. I like the idea of the Reasor Gamechanger Bag, but I’ll need to have another thorough look at the options provided by the Gearlocker before I make a final decision.


The format of the shoot was focused around improving the individual shooter. We had a few sighters, and then Kerry and Christian gave each shooter individual, one-on-one coaching through a series of single shots. We focused on body position, breathing, eye-relief, rifle mounting, bipod loading and more.

At some point we had lunch, which again, was provided. This was a great opportunity to chat with everyone and see how they were doing and what they were learning.

One-on-one coaching was one of the highlights of the day.
One-on-one coaching was one of the highlights of the day.

Next up was shooting groups of five. However, instead of simply having Christian or Kerry tell you where your shot landed, we had to try and determine where the shot went, based on how the shot felt. After a while you get pretty good at this. Adding this extra link between action and reaction really helped me identify which parts of my technique and environment were affecting my shot placement.

Unfortunately we ran out of time to complete the shoot, as we learned that the resource consent for shooting is limited to 5 pm. However, after a full day of learning and shooting, no one left feeling disappointed. After packing up we headed back to the club house to do a quick debrief and also to talk about cleaning methods and some other bits and pieces. I found this last casual info session extremely useful, as there is a lot of misinformation and disinformation out there when it comes to proper cleaning technique and which products to use.

Comparing gear and swapping stories with other shooters was a big part of the day.
Comparing gear and swapping stories with other shooters was a big part of the day.

Being the first event of its kind, there were some timing/teething issues, but nothing that negatively impacted my experience of the day. Having been on another course run by Kerry, I know the next Long Range Shooting course will be running like clockwork.

Speaking of the next course… I’ve heard rumours from Precision Shooter that the Level 2 course could be coming up soon, and at distances up to 850 m. Definitely sign up for the Precision Shooter newsletter and keep an eye on their Facebook page so you don’t miss out on that one.

For those who would prefer to start at Level 1 and get their fundamentals solid, I would highly recommend the course, especially for anyone wanting to get into long range competition, or stretch out their ethical hunting ranges. Beginners will benefit the most from this course, but looking back over the 4 pages of notes I took, even those a bit further along the learning curve will take away significant amounts of useful tips and techniques.

Not the best shooting I've done in my life, but a day of serious learning.
Not the best shooting I’ve done in my life, but a day of serious learning.

One of the things I learned more about was the effect of cant (tilting) on point of impact – especially at longer ranges. It’s something I hadn’t considered too seriously, and you can bet I’m going to do a tall target test to check out my cant in the near future. Another good tip was, when deciding to use MOA or MIL, think about what kind of shooting you’re going to do. For example, I intend on shooting a bit of F-Class, and they mostly use MOA, so that will be easier for me. Also consider what your shooting buddy uses, so you can speak a common language when it comes to wind calls, etc.

You can read more about the past course here, and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter to hear about upcoming events.

Meat processing course with The Bloke and Balnagown Hunting

I recently heard a quote that went something like ‘if everyone gave more than they took, the world would be at peace.’ Well, while we can’t claim to be tackling world peace, it’s a fact of shooting sports that many take a lot and give very little.

This is why I was very impressed with an initiative by Kerry Adams of The Bloke to implement a hunter education and deer processing course. It’s something that our community is increasingly missing – those that give back, and also those that know what they’re doing.

For many hunters in their 20s and 30s, they didn’t grow up in a hunting family, or their dad or uncle didn’t pass on what they had learnt from their dad. And with an increasingly globalised Aotearoa, many come from countries where they either didn’t have access to hunting environments, or had very different sorts of hunting available to them.

Two at a time makes the day go quicker. And yup, that's your's truly elbow deep in a deer carcass. Photo credit - Kerry Adams
Two at a time makes the day go quicker. And yup, that’s yours truly elbow deep in a deer carcass.
Photo credit – Kerry Adams

The 6th deer processing course

So the course I attended was Kerry’s 6th, and you can see that all the kinks have been worked out of the event, as everything ran as smoothly as you could want. No doubt Kerry will aim to continuously improve the experience, but I certainly enjoyed my time at Balnagown Hunting and learnt a lot from Richard, the land owner and proprietor.

I heard rumours on the day of the next course being in October, so keep an eye on The Bloke’s FB page, or check out updates at The Gearlocker website.

The format of the day

Even though we had spots of heavy rain, sideways rain, and even frozen rain, the afternoon was well coordinated and followed a pretty good timeline to get you back on track with your weekend by just after lunchtime.

After arriving and parking up near the main house and sheds, we carpooled in a few 4-wheel drives to get to the hunting hut and Richard’s new meat-hanging ‘gallows’ and barbecue area.


We started out with some basics on equipment, having a look at a few different rifles and their various accessories. Hunter and writer Dougie kindly provided us with some of our fresh meet for the day, and we got to check out her rifle as well.

After looking at things that go bang for a while, we looked at small, sharp, pointy bits. The knives in Kerry’s box of toys were awesome, but also told a story of trying everything under the sun to come to the conclusion that, generally speaking, less is more. If you’re wondering what knife to buy for your first hunt, I’d wait a sec and hop on this course and actually have a go with some different knives on an animal. So, armed with an insight into which knives to avoid and which ones are suited to small game such as fallow, we commenced with the processing part of the day.

Richard was great at explaining what he wanted us to do, but also let us make some mistakes along the way.
Richard was great at explaining what he wanted us to do, but also let us make some mistakes along the way.


First up, Richard gave us a very good introduction to his land and what he does. After that it was all pretty hands on as Richard took us through skinning and gutting a deer. Most people volunteered at some point and had a crack. With my lack of experience, I took all the opportunity I could to be the guy with the knife. Speaking of knives, there were a couple giveaways too, so a fair few us walked away with a new knife as well.

After the first dear was completely skinned and gutted, we tackled another, but this time field dressed it.

Getting me some backstrap. Photo credit - Kerry Adams
Getting me some backstrap.
Photo credit – Kerry Adams

Breaking the animal down

The two fresh animals were taken away and a couple that were a a few days old and already dressed came back on the quad. This is where the lads from Country Meat Processors jumped in, showing us how to cut off backstrap, spare ribs, etc.

After breaking down the animal we wondered over to the bench and everyone had a crack at butchering a bit of deer, producing their own steaks for the bbq. It was amazing to figure out the different cuts and what really goes on if you usually just send a carcass to the butcher for processing.

Overall impression

After we’d all cleaned up and enjoyed a healthy bbq of venison steak sammies, accompanied by warm coffee, everyone stuck around for a bit of a yarn. There was a vast range of experience among the attendees, with a couple never having put a deer down, to experienced hunters looking to learn some new tricks (like punching out the skin – you’ll find out what that means!).

The banter was good and there was plenty of food. To be honest there was plenty of time to talk and have a cuppa throughout the day as well, it wasn’t like a classroom setting. It was a very relaxed atmosphere in which it was okay to learn and even make mistakes.

Richard was an absolute master at communicating the skills he’s picked up over the years, and if you’re ever in the market for a fallow meat hunt, or even your first ever hunt, a trip to Balnagown may be in order. Kerry was the consummate host, ensuring everyone benefited from the event, and again, it was great to see someone giving back to the hunting/shooting community by taking on such a big task and organising a day that many people benefited from.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Whether you’re trying to figure out what to do after you shoot your first game animal, or you’re experienced and trying to find out better ways to do what you’re already doing, there’s plenty to take in throughout the day, and it’s a perfect excuse to spend some time outdoors, talking crap and enjoying the company of fellow shooters.

For a reasonable cost of $80 per person for just over half a day of education, food, great bush scenery and good mates, you really can’t pass it up! I’m even thinking of going again just to cement what I learned the first time.