Swiss vs Navy: Bi-Annual Rifle Match

Swiss vs Navy: Bi-Annual Rifle Match

by Dierk Lüthi

Since the late 1900s there has been a friendly rivalry between the South African Navy Shooting Club and the Cape Town Swiss Rifle Club (SRC) in the form of a shooting match between the two clubs.

In the early years, competitions were held at the Milnerton Shooting Association range in Table View, but since it closed down, the Swiss use the Klawer Valley range above Simonstown. Twice a year a shooting match is held, each club hosting one event. The winning club receives the floating trophy and a bottle of sparkling wine for their efforts. At the same time, there is an internal competition amongst the Swiss participants for two separate floating trophies, one for each biannual event.

Because the Navy Club’s rifl es have been ‘under audit’ and not available for the last few years, competitors use the Swiss straight-pull Schmidt-Rubin K31 carbines, fitted with peep-sights and using the excellent 7.5x55 (Swiss) cartridges, provided by the SRC.

There was a light breeze on the cool and overcast morning of Saturday the 15th of October when the two teams met at Klawer. After a welcome and briefing the 28 participants (13 Swiss and 15 Navy) were allocated their positions. Four pairs of pulldown targets were drawn up and the markers occupied the target points. The red flag was lowered, the target officer radioed the range officer that they were ready and the command was given to the designated shooters and observers/recorders to occupy their shooting positions. Each participant was allowed up to 10 sighting shots in order to familiarize himself with the rifle and to make the necessary adjustments. The competition was shot from the 300 meter mark (actually, 300 yards as the range was built in the late 1800s), consisting of a series 5 shots fired from the prone position, 3 shots sitting, and 2 shots standing, the scores marked and recorded after each series, maximum points being 100.

Swiss Schmidt-Rubin K31 straight-pull Carbines

After each target had been shot by two shooters, all positions were rotated so that every participant served alternately as shooter, marker and observer. Because Swiss shooting competitions at club level are mostly shot from the prone position, the sitting and standing stages of the competition proved to be challenging for the Swiss members, most of whom are no longer youngsters.

The Firing line; Paul Schweizer aiming, Steven Nodder marking. David Eastwood spotting for Kurt Schiess

Spectators followed the results of the sitting and standing shooters, as the fi nal outcome depended largely on these two disciplines While this was going on the fi re was lit and the braai was started for the ‘after-event’ at the club house. When all had completed their programmes, they cleared the range and packed everything away. They then moved to the clubhouse for the social part of the event (which for some is the more important part of the proceedings!)

After the obligatory group photos and speeches were made, a braai consisting of steaks, chops, sausages, salads and rolls was consumed, accompanied by beer or cool drinks. Anecdotes, experiences and ‘excuses’ were exchanged, amongst much humour and laughter, which has been a hallmark of this long and ongoing friendly rivalry.

Only the top ten results of each club were taken into account for the competition. The scores were tallied, and much to the delight of the Navy and the embarrassment of the Swiss, the Navy won the day with a total score of 685 points against 586 of the Swiss. This was their second defeat this year – the trophy has quite regularly alternated between the two teams in the past, with a slight edge in favour of the Navy. The redeeming factor was that the highest individual score of 82 was made by a new member of the Swiss team who had never used a K31 rifle before! Each participant received a commemorative medal from the Swiss Rifle Club. After the food had been consumed, everyone went home, vowing to do it all again, next year!


Last modified on Wednesday, 07 December 2016 10:08
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