Sharpshooting beats writing and arithmetic any day
RETIRED school teacher Alan Cronk may have left the world of writing and arithmetic, but he could still teach you a thing or two about sharpshooting.
Rifle target shooting might be unfairly snubbed as a sport by some, but there's certainly a raft of complex variables to think about when you're staring down the barrel at a target almost a kilometre away.
"You need a steady eye, steady hands and steady emotions," Murwillumbah Rifle Club vice-captain and shooting veteran Cronk said.
"We shoot over a very long distance, you've got to have a good rifle, know your ballistics and keep an eye on weather conditions.
"It's a sport of variables." Cronk, 64, took up shooting when he was 16 and despite having a mid-life break due to work and family concerns he eventually returned to the mentally demanding sport, due to the sheer sense of achievement the perfect shot provides.
It's a challenging sport...every riffle is different in the way it performs and building our own ammo is an important thing.
"You're really competing with yourself, it's a bit like golf in that respect," he said.
"We have quite a number of young people who come after school because they want to learn how to shoot."
Cronk even builds his own rifle stocks and ammo to help shoot predictably and become at one with his chosen gun, a prized customised .308 rifle.
"By changing the specific ammo you can change the harmonics of the bullet and the way it performs," he said.
"It's a challenging sport ...every rifle is different in the way it performs and building our own ammo is an important thing.
"Sometimes people see an image on TV or in the movies and say 'I'd like to do that' but then they see just what it takes and think it's just too difficult."
On top of the variables of the rifle, ammo and mental and physical requirements, the kilometre long shots in Cronk's chosen division are made without the aid of a telescopic scope.
"We use what we call a peep sight, a very small hole which you look through," he said.
"Because eyes have the ability to centre very easily the sight lines up and you aim for the target."
Cronk said Murwillumbah Rifle Club has about 100 members and a handful of other members will accompany him to the prestigious Queensland Rifle Association's 123rd Queen's Prize event, to be held at Belmont Shooting Complex, Brisbane on August 13 to 17.
The club was founded in 1901 to provide civilians the opportunity to practice and improve their marksmanship in support of the defence of Australia.
These days the club's priority is sports shootingand anyone interested should call Cronk on 0439 542 191.