30 March 2023 - Palmerston North sharpshooter Barry Scott has been selected for the equivalent of the Olympics of Fullbore Target Rifle Shooting.
Scott, a research technician at the Riddet Institute at Massey University in Palmerston North, is competing next year at the World Long Range Championships at Bloemfontein, South Africa, representing New Zealand as a member of the New Zealand Rifle Team.
Using a .308 calibre rifle, the Fullbore class competitors will aim at targets from 300 yards (274 metres) to 1000 yards (900 metres) over two-and-half weeks of competitions from 7-23 March 2024.
The programme consists of the SA Individual Nationals and World Individual Long Range Champs, culminating in the prestigious Palma Match for the World Long Range Teams Trophy.
The World Long Range Championships are held every four years, but have been disrupted by Covid-19, with the last one held in New Zealand in 2019.
Scott says the competition is like the Olympics of Fullbore target rifle shooting.
“I have been trying to make this team for the last 20 years.”
The team of 25 are nominated and selected based on competition history, rankings, and ability to work in a team. Scott says also important is having the means to self-fund the trip, as there is no financial assistance to get there.
The team on the competition day consists of four squads made up of four shooters with a wind coach, a master coach, team captain, manager and two reserves.
As Fullbore is shot outdoors, weather is a critical factor in the sport.
At Scott’s home range at Trentham in Upper Hutt, wind can be a nuisance. But in South Africa the arid air and elevation will change the dynamics of ballistics significantly.
“We will be shooting at a much higher altitude. The projectiles will not be slowed down as much by air resistance. The bullets are going to be less affected by the less dense air, the physics.”
At the World Champs hosted by New Zealand in 2019 at the Trentham range, the event was memorable for the wind nearly toppling a marquee. In South Africa heat will be a factor instead.
The team will be shooting prone over a gravel surface which means the heat will bounce up and they will need special protective mats.
“We are used to shooting on lovely soft, grassy ranges in New Zealand.”
Scott says Massey University has a proud sporting heritage in competitive shooting, and he represented Massey in Fullbore and Smallbore from 1986-1994.
This event will not be Scott’s first international. He was also in the New Zealand team in Brisbane in 2009 when he earned his first Silver Fern and was in the New Zealand Universities Team in 1994.
The New Zealand contingent also includes the New Zealand under-25 team, with several members formerly part of the 2019 World Champion under-21 team.
Scott says there is a strong family focus in the team, with quite a few members having fathers and daughters, fathers and sons, or husbands and wives competing. Scott’s own family are also keen shooters, although in a lower calibre. His grandfather Logan, father Lachlan and son Liam have all been smallbore shooters, with Liam representing North Island twice in the junior smallbore team.
As a Riddet Institute research technician, Scott’s day job is analysing amino acids as part of an international research programme concerning the supply of protein in human diets.
The Riddet Institute is a Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), hosted by Massey University in Palmerston North, focusing on advanced food research.