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Dunlop just can't miss!

By Gary Caffell

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DEADEYE: Phil Dunlop completed a clean sweep of the pistol, shotgun and rifle sections.
DEADEYE: Phil Dunlop completed a clean sweep of the pistol, shotgun and rifle sections.

There was no doubting who was the most consistent performer at the New Zealand three gun shooting championships held in Rotorua last month.

Carterton's Phil Dunlop, a member of the Wairarapa Pistol and Shooting Sports Club, was in a class of his own.

Dunlop, 49, took out all three sections in his division - pistol, shotgun and rifle - to win the tournament outright with a perfect score of 300.

"I guess you could say things went pretty much according to plan, I was hoping to win all three and it was nice to pull it off," Dunlop said yesterday.

Three gun is enjoying the largest growth within shooting sports worldwide.

Not only does it test the ability of competitors in three different forms but being an "action" event it awards scores on the basis of points per second, so speed and accuracy are rewarded equally.

Dunlop describes it as "exciting and dynamic".

"It is a problem-solving exercise with target placement, engagement order and remembering loading sequences being at the heart of the game."

And preparation for the event is no walk in the park either with Pistol New Zealand ensuring competitors undergo a vigorous training and vetting process before being permitted to compete.

Success at the top level is nothing unusual for Dunlop. He has represented New Zealand at a couple of world championships and was top Kiwi at last year's Australasian pistol championships which were held in Rotorua and attracted 700 competitors.

The next major assignment for Dunlop is the pistol nationals, also being staged in Rotorua. He has won that title on two previous occasions but success would fulfil an ambition of winning the three gun and pistol crowns in the same year.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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