A MARKSMAN with a high-calibre pistol has been getting after-hours practice by breaking into the Orange and District Pistol Club’s shooting range and taking pot shots at the club’s equipment.
The shooter, who regularly enters the Stage Coach Road grounds by climbing a high fence, is not only trespassing but also using the facilities without ensuring adequate safety measures are in place.
The club’s publicity officer Roger Bond said it was imperative that signage and red flags were erected whenever guns were in use at the range.
“The signs say shooting is in progress,” Mr Bond said.
“It lets private landholders know that shooting is going on.”
Mr Bond said the club’s safety rules also stipulated that no one was able to shoot at the range unaccompanied.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” he said.
“If you’re shooing by yourself you could be severely injured and there’s no mobile coverage so you wouldn’t be able to ring for help, you could bleed to death.”
Mr Bond said the club would prosecute those responsible.
“We want to put fear into whoever is doing this,” Mr Bond said.
“They could also end up losing their rifle or pistol licence for 10 years for shooting without permission.”
Mr Bond said he knew it wasn’t a club member who was trespassing because no one in the Orange club is licensed to use a .40 calibre pistol, with all shooters restricted to using .38 calibre pistols.
“We’ve found the shells so we know they came from a .40 calibre pistol,” he said.
According to Mr Bond, .40 calibre pistols are primarily used by people in the security industry, the police, or shooters from other clubs such as Cowra and Mudgee.
The rogue shooter has damaged a number of items due to the “almost armour-piecing bullets” and made holes in a range of equipment, including the steal plates that hold the targets.
Some of the bullets have travelled through 18mm pieces of metal.
Mr Bond said club members would start making random visits to the range in an effort to catch the shooter.
“The person that’s doing this is doing it for enjoyment, but the damage is getting severe,” he said.
“It’s inconsiderate shooting.”
Club members recently conducted a working bee at the range to fix a falling plate machine that had been so badly damaged it was unable to be used for competitions.