Click here for the Rules for Big Game Rifle
The SSAA Big Game Rifle discipline commended in Melbourne, Victoria in 1983. There were two main reasons that a need was felt for such a group. Firstly, it would foster the collection, preservation and use of classic big-game rifles in Australia and overseas. Secondly, it would also give a political voice in an ever-changing political and legislative scene in all the Australian states.
Currently there is only one club in South Australia which shoots big game rifle. This is SSAA Big Game Monarto Rifle Club.
The Firearms & Classes
Below is a brief description of the Big Game Rifle categories. The course of fire event is set out in the rule book.
Group one starts at .330 and goes up to .375. To give a few examples, in British cartridges, Group One includes the .318 Westley Richards, .333 Jeffery, .350 Rigby and the .375 Holland and Holland (H&H). In more modern cartridges, it includes the .338-06, .35 Whelen, .338 Winchester Magnum and the .378 Weatherby Magnum. Group One has a minimum caliber of .330”, a minimum bullet weight of 165 grains and minimum muzzle energy of 2900 ft-lb.
This group covers the .400’s and the various .450’s up to the .475’s. In British cartridges, it includes cartridges such as the .450-400’s, .416 Rigby, .465 H&H, .470 Nitro and the various .475’s. In modern cartridges, it includes the .416 Taylor, .416 Remington, .458 Winchester Magnum, .458 Lott and the .460 Weatherby Magnum. Group Two has a minimum caliber of .400”, a minimum bullet weight of 400 grains and minimum muzzle energy of 3900 ft-lb.
These are the largest of the big-game stopper rifles. It basically starts at .500 and goes up. In British cartridges, it includes the various .500’s to the .577’s to the .600 Nitro and now the .700 Nitro. In modern cartridges, it includes the .500 Wells, .500-378 and monsters such as the .577 Tyrannosaur.
Group Three has a minimum caliber of .485”, a minimum bullet weight of 525 grains and a minimum muzzle energy of 5300 ft-lb.
Black Powder Express
These cartridges range from .400 to .577. They are distinctly different from the military and target cartridges of the black powder era. Military and target cartridges typically used a heavy bullet propelled by a fairly small powder charge, This gave a low velocity and rather curved trajectory. Conversely, Express rifles used a large charge of black powder propelling a light bullet to deliberately flatten the trajectory.
Black powder express has a minimum caliber of .400” and a minimum bullet weight of 110 grains of black powder. Loads may be full black powder, pyrodex of duplex (of at least 80% black). Jacketed bullets may only be used with full black powder.
Big Bore Guns
These were the real big game rifles of their day. Typically, they were 12-, 10-, or 8-bore firing large charges of black powder and using a round ball or conical lead projectiles. This category is always a great spectator event at Big Game Rifle Shoots, with huge volumes of smoke combined with tremendous muzzle flashes.
The Bore Gun and Rifles category includes any bore bun or rifle with a full rifling or patent rifling, as in Paradox (rifle choke) or semi-invisible rifling for ball and shot. Smoothbore ball guns are permitted, provided they are specifically designed for ball and have sights fitted by the original maker. The minimum bore is 16-bore, it must have the maker’s fitted sights and may use black powder or nitro loads, with factory maximum or equivalent reloads. Shotguns using solid slugs, such as Brenneke slugs or similar modern developments are not permitted. Firearms’ of modern manufacture in keeping with the spirit of the event may be used, provided approval of the firearm and load is gained from the National Discipline Chairman before the event.
This group covers all the centrefire double rifles. In the early days of Big Game Rifle, the doubles were mainly of British origin. However, since 2000, there has been an increasing surge of new double rifles coming from Europe. These rifles are in both the traditional side-by-side configuration and the popular European over-and-under style. These new double rifles have given a real boost to this category.
Scoring & Targets
Please refer to the match rule book regarding scoring & targets.
Where to Start?
Currently only one SSAA range in South Australia shoots Big Game Rifle competitively. Participants interested in taking up Big Game Rifle shooting should contact the SSAA Monarto Big Game Rifle Club.
Major Big Game Rifle Shoots:
National Championships: held every year on a roster system around Australia.
State Disipline Chairperson: David Handyside Phone 0418 820 470