February 1st, 2020

Aussie Teen Wins Heavy Gun in Big Benchrest Match Down Under

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

It’s great to see young people involved in benchrest competition. Young competitors are truly the future of our sport. While in the USA the average age of 100/200-yard benchrest shooters seems to be getting older every season, down under in Australia, there is a youth movement. A very talented young man, 15-year-old Cameron Bailey, took top Heavy Gun honors in the prestigious 40th Australia Day match in Canberra, Australia. This big 100/200-yard competition is one of the most important matches on the Aussie Benchrest calendar.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

40th Anniversary Australia Day Match
The Australia Day Benchrest Match is one of Australia’s largest and longest-running Benchrest shooting competitions. The 25th and 26th of January 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of the Australia Day Benchrest Match. This year conditions were extremely challenging. Leading up to the match, Canberra was hit by a number of bushfires, with some competitors struggling to get to the match when Canberra Airport was closed due to nearby fires just days before the 2020 match.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

Challenging Conditions with Smoke from Bushfires and High Winds
Weather on both days saw temperatures in the low-mid 90s, with wind gusting up to 30 miles per hour. Mirage can often add to the challenge when shooting at the Majura Range in Canberra, but during the Light Gun class held on Saturday, a layer of smoke from the local fires reduced the sunshine enough that visibility at 200 yards was much better than normal. However by Sunday morning, most of the smoke had blown through, so mirage was much more of an issue for the Heavy class. Conditions on both days were extremely switchy and unsettled, with the wind continually changing direction. Many competitors shot small 4-shot groups, but lost one of their 5 shots to the continually shifting winds.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

15-Year-Old Cameron Bailey Tops Field in Heavy Gun
Cameron had a great preformance in the Heavy Gun Glass, beating all Heavy Gun competitors (of any age) to win the Heavy Gun Grand Agg — the combined HG group size Aggregate for 100/200 yards. And Cameron also finished 7th overall in the Two-gun Championship. Very impressive performance for a teenager. This was not his first competition though — Cameron has been shooting benchrest in Australia since he was 12, the legal minimum age to use firearms in most Australian States. Cameron shoots off the left shoulder, so is able to use one of several left-hand rifles owned by his father, Fergus Bailey.

Here is Cameron shooting LV at 200 yards. Note the whirring windflags.

Cameron had a slow start on Saturday morning in the 100 Light, finishing 34th with a .4226″ Aggregate. But Cameron generally shoots better at 200 yards, so went into the Aggregate that afternoon confident that he could significantly improve his results. Cameron worked hard throughout the afternoon, and finished in 6th position with a .3833 aggregate at 200 yards. This left Cameron 14th in the Grand Aggregate. Cameron came into the Heavy Class on Sunday with confidence, and worked hard to avoid getting caught by the difficult conditions. While Cameron did not shoot many small groups, he was able to avoid the occasional lost shots that could kill an Aggregate. In the Heavy 100, Cameron finished 4th with a .2774 Aggregate, and in the 200 Cameron finished 2nd with a .3668 Aggregate. On the day, Cameron was the most consistent across the two yardages, giving Cameron the win in the Heavy Grand with a .3221 aggregate.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

Young Cameron Even Loads His Own Ammo
Cameron employed some new gear at the match, including a new Lensi rear bag, a new 3M-covered bag on his NEO rest, and a new March High Master scope. The whole weekend, Cameron shot Barts Ultra flat-base bullets, loaded with Vihtavuori N133 powder. The cartridge was 6PPC with 0.269″ neck. And yes, Cameron loaded all his own ammunition during the match. Cameron’s hot-shooting rigs used the following components:

Krieger 1/14″-Twist Barrel – Heavy Gun Class
Krieger Gain Twist Barrel – Light Gun Class
BAT Model B Multi-flat Stainless Action
Scarborough Stock
Flavio Trigger
March 48X High Master Scope
Morr Accuracy High Scope Rings

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

Congratulations Cameron on Your Australia Day HG Win!

Canberra in State of Emergency
EDITOR’S Note: Canberra, Australia’s Capital city, has declared a state of Emergency, as bushfires threaten. The entire Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which includes the city of about 400,000, is under a state of emergency due to the Orroral Valley Fire burning in Namadgi National Park, about 30 miles south of the city. Authorities are concerned that predicted hot weather and high winds could drive the fire north. It is the worst threat the Canberra area has faced in 20 years. See Canberra News Report.

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