I’ve never had good luck with a shoot at Waiuku. I’ve been to the range twice before and both times been hit torrential rain and gales, making shooting uncomfortable, if not impossible. Well, third time was the charm as I attended the Waiuku service rifle shoot this Saturday past.
Firstly, let me say that Waiuku has great facilities that enable a wide range of shooters to enjoy themselves. It’s also one of those rare clubs where pistol, rifle and shotgun are all welcome. However, I’ll leave a review of the range for another post. For clarity’s sake, this isn’t the same Waiuku range were ASRA does their winter shooting (The Farm).
On to the shoot itself. Well, it’s a 45 round shoot which I was hoping to do with my .303, until I realised that morning that I only had 20 rounds in the safe. With an abundance of 7.62×39, it turned out that the trusty SKS would get a work out this morning.
Service rifle shoot
If you’re into your military surplus rifles, going along to a service rifle shoot should definitely be top of your list of things to do. With everything from WWI Lee Enfields, through to Mausers and AK47s and AR15s, every major armed conflict in recent history was represented.
The shoot was run in two details and as previously mentioned, was 45 rounds. This consisted of a Trinity and Action M match and a 10 round sniper shoot.
The trinity shoot is 5 rounds each in the standing, kneeling and prone positions. With no sighters or spotting scopes, you’ve got to know you’re rifle well. The SKS performed well, but was shooting low – which was more me than the rifle, as my wife was shooting too high with the same gun. One thing I may consider doing in the near future is replacing the front sight post with a skinnier one that doesn’t blot out the entire target. Those rifles that were scoped were limited to a magnification of 4x.
After those fifteen rounds, targets were checked, which is when a few of us actually got to see where our rounds were going. For myself, another shooter with an unsighted SKS and another with a new suppressor on his AR, the results were less than stellar.
The next ten rounds allowed us to compensate where we needed to, but the faster pace and movement involved in the Action M shoot means you can’t spend too much time trying to compensate, especially with open sights at 100 metres.
An Action M is usually shot in 60 seconds (at least it was when I last shot one at the Auckland Service Rifle Assn), and consists of 2 rounds prone, 2 rounds standing, one kneeling – reload another 5 round mag or clip – one kneeling, 2 standing and 2 prone. It’s 75 seconds for bolt actions, which is okay if you have a removable box magazine or stripper clips. However, when I shot this last with a Swedish Mauser and no stripper clips, it was certainly challenging. The rules for different types of matches are made by the NZ Service Rifle Association.
In light of the range of rifles and abilities present on the day, and the generally non-competitive nature of the shoot, no strict timing was done, although everyone went as quickly as they could.
The last ten rounds was a sniper shoot which allowed shooting aids, such as rests, bi-pods and spotting scopes – this is where many people were able to turn the tables – despite the smaller targets. Having someone spotting for you is also very helpful when you’re on iron sights.
Although I didn’t place highly, I did enjoy the day and seeing all the old relics shooting (and their rifles too). About a third of the shooters were from HSSRC, so there were some friendly faces, and a few us enjoyed shooting some silhouettes with the rimfires on range 2 afterwards. All-in-all, for $20 and the cost of ammo, a good day was had all round.