Twenty-eight Australian Air Force cadets attended the Jim Smith Range, Belmont, just south of Brisbane over the weekend 5-7 October to test their marksmanship over 25 metres at the AAFC National Rifle Competition for 2012. Seven of the AAFC’s eight wings sent their best four shooters to compete in the annual event to take out the Olin Winchester Prize for Best Team, and the Commander’s Prize for the Best Shot in the AAFC.
The rifle competition was restarted in 2008 and, until this year, was hosted by 3WGAAFC (NSW/ACT) at the Sydney International Shooting Centre, (the former 2000 Olympic Games shooting venue) at Cecil Park west of Sydney. However this year, 2WGAAFC offered to host the event at the shooting complex, Belmont, Queensland.
The Olin Winchester Prize was retained by 3WGAAFC with 2,191 points scored out of a possible 2,400 points, with 7WGAAFC (WA) coming in second with 2,156 points and 4WG (Victoria) piling up 2,146 point for third place.
The Best Shot in the AAFC was won by CWOFF George Wallace of 323 SQNAAFC, Glenbrook, NSW with a remarkable 573 points out of a maximum of 600 points, or 95.5%.
AIRCDRE Stuart Cameron, together with GPCAPT (AAFC) Ken Given, CDR-AAFC, presented the awards at RAAF Base Amberley, which included 20 cadets who achieved the AAFC’s ‘Crossed Rifle’ badge which requires an overall score of 85% (510 points) or higher using open u-sights with the rifle unsupported apart from the cadet’s natural strength. Optical sights are not permitted. The ‘Crossed Rifle’ badge depicts two old .303” SMLE rifles in crossed fashion, and is highly regarded by cadets not only for the achievement but also the historical connection with Air Force cadet rifle competitions dating back to 1941.
Today, however, the AAFC uses the BRNO (pronounced ‘bruno’) CZ 452 .22” single bolt-action firearm which has a strong international reputation for reliability and accuracy in competition match play. The CZ 452 is also the Defence-approved firearm for cadets.
The Senior Firearms Officer (.22) for the AAFC, FLTLT (AAFC) Colin Palmer said many cadets competed locally at their home squadron over the preceding 12 months, and then at their Wing-level competitions for a place in their Wing National team. It would normally take at least two years of consistent work practicing their marksmanship skills to reach this national level. The AAFC’s firearms training program is extremely popular among cadets which instills firearms safety, competence and confidence as a principal aim, and marksmanship as the secondary aim.
CWOFF Ashleigh Flanagan, 302 SQNAAFC Rockdale, NSW, takes aim.
12 shooters on the firing point, Jim Smith Range, Belmont, QLD.
3WG Team L – R: CWOFF George Wallace (Best Shot), CCPL Stephen Mercer, FSGT (AAFC) Rodney Manton, Team Coach, CFSGT Samuel Davidson and CWOFF Ashleigh Flanagan.
2WG Team practicing in the morning.