Do I need to register for my second introductory event?
Yes. Places available each week are limited, and on some Saturdays places will not be available at all or further limited. If after reading this document you wish to take up the offer of another visit then please email: (contact) and we will negotiate with you a mutually convenient Saturday afternoon. You may try the Target Rifle discipline on that second visit.
When and how can I join a Club, and how much will it cost?
If you are serious about joining the Club then you will be offered a third introductory event. On that occasion you may apply for membership by completing a nomination form and by paying an annual membership fee. For existing Canberra Rifle Club members the membership fees for 2015-16 will be as follows: adult $126; Centrelink pensioner $111; under 21 $62; full time students $89.
These fees include an affiliation fee to our national peak body that provides the all important insurance coverage for you and your Club. They are heavily reduced when someone is starting in our sport for the first time. (PS: if you join a Club, expect to become a volunteer worker as well.) They exclude an Australian Target Rifle magazine subscription, which is an optional extra $40 pa.
Do I need a firearm’s licence or minor’s permit?
Yes, you will need a licence or some other legal coverage (as can be provided by the Club in the introductory period) to just “use” a rifle. So, after joining a club, obtaining a firearm’s licence (or a permit in the case of a minor) is a priority. The Club will either provide you directly with the safety awareness coursework and testing required or direct you to an appropriate provider.
Obtaining a set of STANDARD SHOOTING RULES (SSRs) is a must on joining a Club. The SSRs explain in detail most of the procedures and rules for competitions, and in particular the SAFETY RULES. It is highly recommended that you download and print Chapters 1-6 inclusive of the SSRs from the website of our National body, the NRAA.
The law does vary depending on whether you are a resident of the ACT, NSW or some other jurisdiction. For information in regard to the ACT follow the links at www.afp.gov.au to “ACT Policing” and then “Firearms”, or search the AFP website for the word “firearms”.
A quite separate process applies when “acquiring” your own rifle. Until you can legally possess a rifle of the relevant calibre it is mandatory that you leave any spare ammunition with the Treasurer for safe keeping in a container bearing your name. The AFP website has information in regard to the minimum standards for the “safe storage” of firearms.
What does it cost to compete in Club shoots?
Canberra Rifle Club range fees for a normal Saturday club shoot of two ten shot stages are currently $17. This covers the cost of the range lease, payment of markers and insurance for these workers, and the maintenance of the targets and the range generally. Winchester 308 factory cartridges, the most common option, currently cost 105 cents per round. So, the 24 rounds that may be required for a normal club shoot will cost $25.20.
What does a competitive full bore target rifle cost?
Second hand options vary enormously in price. $1,600 would likely secure a very good rifle and aperture sight combination requiring minimal immediate maintenance. $500 would likely secure a working, safe, but worn combination. In that case, refurbishment would be advised: a new barrel fitted for about $900, a sight overhaul for about $100 and some expert assistance with set up for about $300 would see you in a very competitive situation.
A brand new, top of the line rifle and aperture sight combination, just like those used by the Commonwealth Games medalists, would cost you about $5,000.
Can I use a Club rifle for an extended period?
Yes. The Canberra Rifle Club has a set of high quality club rifles that may be used at Saturday club shoots. Depending on your intentions about acquiring your own rifle a hiring fee of $5 per club shoot may be levied. By law, opportunities to use that rifle at other ranges in open competitions will be very limited and it is more than likely that you will have to share the use of these club rifles with other new or prospective members.
What other gear would I need to purchase?
In order, you need to purchase: personal earplugs / earmuffs / hat / groundsheet. If pursuing the prone Target Rifle discipline as opposed to F Class a personal shooting coat and sling combination ($400 to $600 new) is vital to improvement. With electronic targets you can get by without a telescope. However at other ranges you will require a telescope and most ‘A’ grade shooters use a telescope to judge the wind allowance by viewing mirage.
Once you are committed to the sport then it is very likely that you will want to have your own complete set of gear in order to be relatively independent and to compete in open competition here and elsewhere. Again, prices vary enormously and second hand options are often the best.
What is the routine once I join a Club and have a firearms licence?
Canberra Rifle Club conducts a club shoot most Saturdays. The normal arrival time is 1.00 pm for 1.30 pm. If you are relying on a club rifle being available then you must obtain confirmation from the New Member Coordinator well before the Saturday that you intend to attend. You should also consult with your coach or your mentor in the week prior. Once on the range, please pay your range fees and purchase ammunition as required from the Treasurer as soon as practicable.
If you are at a point that you can operate independently, then you should participate in the draw for target and shooting order. Otherwise, the Range Officer will allocate you a place in the draw that is convenient for you and your coach on the day, and for the sharing of club gear if required.
You would normally fire two stages of two sighters and ten shots. Each shooter fires their first stage and then retires from the mound to allow the next shooter to start and to allow the next shooter after that to get onto the mound to prepare. Each shooter scores for the second person following them. The last shooter scores for the first two shooters.
As already noted the SSRs explain in detail most of the procedures and rules for competitions, and in particular the SAFETY RULES. Club Rules and By-Laws, and Range Standing Orders are equally important references. You will find most Members are more than willing to offer advice on different aspects of the sport. The culture of Australian Rifle Clubs is that a Club succeeds when one of its Members succeeds, and so we are all trying to help each other succeed.
How can I practice at times other than Saturdays?
Unfortunately, the set up procedure, the maintenance of targets by volunteers, the need to have people to mark targets, and the need for a qualified volunteer Range Officer to supervise any shooting basically precludes most usage of the range by Members other than on Saturdays. The Club is however, looking to establish regular mid week club shoots in the near future. There are numerous open competitions held on other days at ranges all around Australia and some are conducted on Sundays within a 3 hour early morning drive from Canberra.
There are other very effective forms of practice that do not require the expenditure of a dollar every time you pull the trigger! They include “dry practice”, “mental rehearsal” and smallbore shooting. After a while, for most people, target shooting becomes a “mind game” that must be systematically practiced just as much as the physical mechanics of firing a rifle. It is not an easy matter to consistently hit a bullseye of just 510mm in diameter (less than two rulers!) over 800 metres.