Ian Jacobs goes by the name Spiky Jake when he is on the range.
Ian Jacobs goes by the name Spiky Jake when he is on the range. Brandon Livesay

Shooters at home on the range

NAMES like Spiky Jake, Uncle Buck and Griz don't come up often when covering sporting clubs.

But a cowboy moniker is all part of the fun at the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia's South Burnett Branch.

The shooters meet up once a month at a range built on Ian "Spiky Jake" Jacobs' property 50km outside of Kingaroy to take aim at targets with everything from single-action pistols to black powder muskets.

The members don't just go by cowboy names; they shoot with cowboy guns, wear the right hats and most have long beards that wouldn't look out of place on the set of a western movie.

Ross "Uncle Buck" Robinson said single-action pistols were a club favourite and were an iconic style of weapon.

"We like lots of cowboy shooting, single actions," he said.

"If John Wayne did it, it has got to be good."

The style of handgun is straight out of the Wild West, and a skilled marksman can hit a silhouette target from 200m away.

Ross "Uncle Buck" Robinson shows off his pistols. Brandon Livesay

However, for club member Phil Argent, the single-action pistol is a little too modern for his tastes.

The smell of black powder is more Argent's style and he competes in what is called the rendezvous discipline.

"It's competing with firearms from 1600 to 1860 (time period)," Argent said.

"And people camp and dress in the time period as well, all that is a part of the discipline."

Rendezvous sees competitors take aim with single-shot muzzle- loading pistols, cap and ball revolvers, muskets, rifles and even cannons.

Argent said his personal favourite firearm was a reproduction version of a musket, which took 100 grains of black powder for each shot.

But the big daddy of the black powder world was the cannon.

"Depending on what the scale of what the gun is, they could use somewhere between eight and 16 ounces or something like that."

Grains are a measurement used for black powder and are roughly converted as 437.5 grains to one ounce. So a 16 ounce shot is one big bang.

Argent said a single shot from a cannon could set the owner back $80 in black powder.

They're pretty expensive to shoot, so they usually only drag them out for cannon match state titles and things like that.

"They have some that are miniatures and other ones that are two thirds to full size," he said.

"But they limit them in Queensland, the full-size ones, because there is a limit on cannon size and calibre.

"And it's got to be properly constructed and proofed and all that sort of stuff."

Rain didn't stop the club members from aiming down the sights.
Rain didn't stop the club members from aiming down the sights. Brandon Livesay

The club is not solely for the history buffs and there is a 700m long range for rifle owners, bull's eye targets and rim fire events.

Argent said the club was preparing for a big year in 2015, which would include hosting two state championships.

"The first one is the single action and the second one is our black powder rendezvous," he said.

"They are two of the biggest, competitor wise, on the SSAA calendars.

"And they are both family- oriented matches.

"So you've got juniors, women, men, you get whole families turn up to compete and that's one of the reasons they are so popular."

For more information on the SSAA South Burnett Branch, phone 0417 628 213.

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