Smallbore shooting has been part of the NZ Masters Games in Wanganui since the beginning, but this year numbers are down.
The outdoor and indoor shoots are now a single event because of the lower entries. The bonus for participants is one can take part in both events without having to pay twice.
Eleven outdoor and 16 indoor shooters gave it their best shot at the weekend, with yesterday's indoor shoot concluding the smallbore programme.
The 25yd range at Okoia Hall doesn't have the wind and heat problems of the outdoor shooters at the Wanganui Pistol Club, and the shooter has 10 small targets instead of a single large one. Three shots are fired to ensure sights are accurate, and then one shot per target in 12 minutes, with three rounds in all. The highest possible score is 300.
Range officer Sid McAuliffe, who went on to win a gold medal at the event, started shooting in 1966 and has been involved with the Masters since the beginning. "It's a very individual sport ... It's very much about concentration. About 90 per cent of the shooting is in your head. It's a sport you can do for as long as you can see," he said.
Wanganui man John Goodare, who also sailed in the Paper Tiger yacht racing this weekend, is a relative newcomer to the sport.
"I've only been doing this in the Masters for about four or five years. I sold my old trailer yacht and with the money from that I bought my new one I was racing today and this new rifle. I'm still getting used to it."
His new rifle won him win a gold medal in his class.
Only two of the 16 indoor competitors were women, which gold medallist Raewyne Simpson said was not unusual.
"Nationally it's still very much a male-dominated sport. In our club I'm the only woman member in the competitions, which means we have two awards which we call the Me Trophies because I normally don't have anyone to compete against."
She introduced husband Graeme to the sport about seven years ago. Yesterday they competed side by side, albeit in different classes.
Said Graeme, "I'm just an A Grader, whereas she's a Masters Grader." In his first year of shooting he won a national D Grade championship, and at yesterday's Masters Games shoot won silver.