The ‘big guns’ came to the Warracknabeal Rifle Club over the weekend, when the first official 50 Calibre Shooters Association 1000 Yard Australian Open Championship was held, where any rifle with a calibre of up to ‘50bmg’ or 50 calibre could be used for competition.
The Warracknabeal range, situated on the northern side of town is the only range in the entire state where 50 calibre rifles can be fired over 1,000 yards.
Shooters travelled from all over the state with a strong contingent from Mildura to join local club members and other visitors.
A busload of enthusiasts also travelled from Scott College in Sydney to compete.
For those unfamiliar with what a 50 calibre weapon means, organisers explained that it is the size of ammunition used in machine guns on the famous WW2 Spitfire aeroplanes. It is also the round of choice used by snipers in current overseas theatres of war.
The rifle range facilities and butt were upgraded to meet the requirements of the weapon and its projectile which has a longer range.
Because the Warracknabeal rifle range is situated in such a way that there are no residences or businesses behind the west facing rifle butts of the range, it has proven to be an ideal site for the safe use of 50 calibre rifle range shooting and hence being the only site in Victoria where shooters can use this calibre over 1,000 yards.
The Warracknabeal range was officially sanctioned for 50 calibre shooting last year and the first official shoot was opened by the world president Randy Powell from the USA.
It was during this time that Mr Powell spotted a youthful 12-year old shooter from Mildura that caught his eye. Lachlan Adolph, under the watchful eye of his Dad Owen, shot exceedingly well last year, shooting a near perfect score. After the shoot Mr Powell approached Lachie about a sponsorship agreement, so that he could compete in the Junior World 50cal titles.
Mr Powell was so impressed with the young fellow’s accuracy, shooting a near perfect score, that he was keen to see him match up with other competitors from around the world.
“I was stunned when Mr Powell approached Dad and said he was impressed with my shooting performance. He said he’d like to see me match it up with other shooters from around the world and represent Australia.”
“He offered me a custom made rifle and ammunition for the event from his company Thunder Ammo and Arms, so Dad and I are off to the States for two weeks and the championships are being held from July 5 to 7 this year,” an excited Lachie said.
As a 13 year old he will shoot in the Under 21 class with many other more experienced and older shooters.
Four other members from Mildura will attend together with another from Wangaratta.

• INSTRUCTION: Mildura Long Range shooting Club president Paul Cohrs, gives Warracknabeal rifle club member Tamara Bandy her first shot of a 50 calibre rifle on Sunday.