ADF clay shooters on target

27 April 2024

ADF shooters took on Australia’s top shots and placed among the best during the Australian Clay Target Nationals.

Six members of the ADF Clay Target Association took part in the competition, held at Wagga Wagga from March 3-17.

Air Force Corporal Michael Crapella, of 75 Squadron, said the competition was tough, with long hot days and skilled shooters, but he still achieved podium finishes in skeet and trap shooting disciplines.

In the national skeet handicap championship he shot 45 of 50 targets to progress to a 43-person shootout, where he shot 77 of 79 to finish fourth overall.

He placed third in the Commonwealth skeet championship with 93 of 100 and a close second in the national skeet championship with 93 of 100.

In double-barrel trap he shot a perfect 50 of 50, but came third with 21 of 22 in the shootout.

“I've shot at a couple of nationals before, but I've never really shot that well. Even more of an accomplishment for me was shooting 50 targets straight in skeet for the first time,” Corporal Crapella said.

Growing up shooting rifles and shotguns on his grandparents’ farm, Corporal Crapella started competitive clay target shooting in 2014.

“One of dad's mates was trying to get him into a new sport and I thought, ‘That sounds pretty cool, I'll come for a go as well’, and I got sucked into it,” he said.

Another life-long shooter, Lieutenant Colonel John Anderson, grew up in a shooting family and competed in pistol shooting from a young age, but moved away from it when he joined the Army.

After transferring to the Army Reserve in 2021, he picked up the sport again after discovering the ADF Clay Target Association, which he had somehow missed during his full-time service.

He shot in A-grade, finishing fifth in his grade and tied 15th overall, but his championship skeet doubles shoot came after he was regraded to C-grade, though his final 94 of 100 would have tied first in A-grade.

Skeet shooting involves trying to hit 50 clay targets from eight different firing positions, and having a pre-shot routine is important to help consistency, according to Lieutenant Colonel Anderson.

“In my mind's eye, I look at where I'm going to shoot the clay, where I'm going to hold my gun and where I'm going to focus so I can see the clay,” he said.

“I’m shooting the clay in my mind before I actually get on the mound so that when I get up there, put two cartridges in and call ‘pull’, I've already done it. Then it’s just see target, track target, shoot target.”

The ADF Clay target Association supported the members by covering entrance fees and ammunition for the competition.



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