“War and Peace”
LERAA members made their first 2019 migration to the infamous “John Kell OAM Memorial Rifle Range Hill End” (about 45mins from Bathurst). The 1000m range was cut into the rocks and granite almost 100 years ago and is situated next to the popular historic gold mining town of Hill End NSW Australia.
LERAA regulars started rolling in on the Friday to stake claims on camping sites amongst the boulders and cool climate gum trees. A variety of tents, campers and swags were hastily erected as rumours of a storm started to filter through. At 900m above sea level the weather at the range can be fast and furious and sure enough around 10pm the lightning and rain rolled on in. However, the LERAA faithful barely blinked and banded together around the large communal bonfire and tin hut base camp. First objective, to hear new stories and strengthen friendships.
As the dawn broke across the mountain, the magpies sounded and sore heads rolled out of bed. With camp coffee and breakfast consumed, LERAA made their way to the flag pole for the start of the comp and dedication reflecting on the Lee Enfield’s use in both war and peacetime. “WAR & PEACE” was the theme for the weekends shoot. In no time at all the shotgun event was underway, 10 shots at 10 orange clay birds. This warmup activity is designed to get shooters eyes in and trigger fingers working before the main event. It is also a chance for some fathers and sons to put their shooting prowess, and egos on the line, enjoying their opponents unbusted clay pigeon disappearing into the Australian bush.
Soon after, preparations were made for the LERAA Enfield Global Postal Shoot, a 200 yd service rifle event. Down at the range the weather started to change and a small front began to close in. In true “pommy” style a few No.4 Mk1 rifles got scared of the inclement weather and retreated for tea and scones and the comfort of their range bags.
But as usual and without concern, the first of 13 SMLE No.1 MKIII, all of Australian Lithgow stamping and reliability, took on the rain and revelled in the conditions. An unspoken respect of .303 heritage was proudly on display as LERAA members sent lead and copper down the barrels of their iconic rifles one more time. From beginners to experience shooters, baby faced to bearded ones, all took their turn on line and in the parapets.The competition consisted of 10 shots standing, 10 snap shots kneeling and finished off in prone, rapid fire for 45 seconds. Scores were kept and a mountain of fun was had. As the sun came out and the silence of the range set in, reflections of the day’s experience were absorbed for future stories and banter.
Posted by Toby K.