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81st South Africa Open Bisley Championships 2017

Match Report & Photos by John Field – 2017 US National Rifle Team

 

 

On my recent trip to South Africa, wide-open blue skies with only an occasional cloud greeted me every day, along with the ever-present 90º heat and heavy mirage. I discovered that it was allegedly “unseasonably warm” for South Africa nearing their winter, but for a shooter, these were ideal conditions for the South Africa 2017 Bisley Open. From March 23rd to April 1st, 10 US National Team and Vets Team shooters competed in International Fullbore Style shooting. When shooting fullbore internationally, it is shot “three to a mound”.

This means that each target has 3 shooters firing on it at the same time, alternating shots between them. This is a completely different approach for American shooters, as here in the US, we only shoot individual string fire. This was very challenging, as there is a long lag time between shots; the need for wind correction could be as high as 3-5 MOA from one shot to the next. Each shooter was allowed 45 seconds per shot at the short ranges, and 60 seconds per shot at the long ranges, which made every shot feel like a sighting shot. All shooting ceased when a hartebeest made it’s way onto the range every day, reminding me that I really was in South Africa.

The Australia, Protea, and RSA National Matches gave me the opportunity to shoot under National Team coaches that I had never met, and with other National Team shooters from all over the US. Several shooters, including me, made it to the 3rd stage of the President’s Match. This match is fired at 800 and 900 meters, and to make it to that match shooters must shoot 2 days at 300, 500, and 600 meters, while also placing in the top 100. This competition allowed me to shoot with several hundred of the best shooters in the entire world and make some fascinating new friends, including a cheetah.

 

You can read more about the 81st South Africa Open Bisley Championships on their official website

 

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