BOTH Brett Wilson and Geoff Knight took up rimfire benchrest shooting to turn a former past time into a competitive hobby.
They never dreamed it would lead to this.
“Not really, not for me anyway,” Knight said upon his return from the Czech Republic.
The duo have just been part of the Australian team that shone at the World Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Federation World Cup, taking it up to the highly fancied Finish, Italian and German sides on their home turf.
“From my point of view, I came out (to the Orange range) when I retired to have a look at it. I’ve always been a shooter, coming off the land. I got interested and thought I should be able to shoot better than this ... everyone was beating me,” Knight smiled.
“It’s progressed from there. The competition is wonderful.”
Wilson is in the same boat.
“I was based in Wagga away from family and I found a little range similar to this and started there,” Wilson said.
“I came back and the community here got me a bit hooked.”
Now, from Orange to the Plzen International Shooting Range in the Czech Republic, both Knight and Wilson did their bit to help cement Australia’s position as one of the premier benchrest shooting nations at last month’s World Cup.
Competing against 22 other countries shooting both air rifles and 22 calibres, Australia’s team of 15 came away with an impressive swag of nine medals.
Wilson was part of two medal winning teams, helping his Rimfire/Sporter 25 metre team earn bronze, while the Rimfire LV 50 metre team he shot with proved itself the best in the world, winning the gold.
In total, Australia won two gold, two silver and five bronze medals in the Czech Republic, a country that threw up some considerably difficult conditions to perform in.
“It was very difficult shooting conditions. The range was fully baffled,” Knight said, meaning the range was fully enclosed by a seven-foot high fence.
The baffled range meant the wind circulated in and out of the host arena.
It made life tough for non-European nations, who went without an adequate acclimatisation period in the conditions.
“I don’t know that I did (adjust),” Wilson laughed
“That’s the thing,” Knight continued.
“We found it very very difficult. The European’s handled the conditions better than we did, particularly the Italians. They shot particularly well in just about everything.”
The pair will now turn their attention to the World Championship, which will be held at Brisbane in 2015.