MaY 2012 Issue - Target Shooter Magazine

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MaY 2012 Issue - Target Shooter Magazine

Busman’s Holiday - Part 1by Carl BoswellWith a number of matches to entice new members,including air rifle shooters, being staged throughoutthe year, the sport will grow steadily. Finland has anumber of clubs set up for benchrest already so theinfrastructure is already present. This is somethingwe could consider in the UK, as not many clubs haveRegional Air Rifle Match 2more than five benches. Building a good and wideclub infrastructure is paramount to further success.On our travels we visited a club range in Lohtaja,Houraatin Ampumarata, about thirty five kilometresnorth of Kokkola. Although well in the countryside thefacilities to hold a large match are excellent.Another fascinating aspect to my visit was furthernorth, as I came across the beginnings of a shootingRegional Air Rifle Match 3school led by Juhani Tulppo. Juhani shoots bothcenterfire and rimfire benchrest and has had success ina number of Finnish and Scandanavian tournaments.He is in the initial stages of developing this shootingschool in the city of Rovaniemi, with a 50m indoorrange. This is just inside the Artic Circle and also homeof the Santa Clause Village. (So lots for the familyto do while shooting). There is also land to shootoutdoors in the summer months.At present, there are five selection matches betweenJune and August this year to arrange the Finnish teamfor the Championships in Plzen next year. There areof course other matches being developed. Jens iscapably aided in this development by all the Finnishshooters themselves and a small, but affectivemanagement team – Antti Ikäheimo and TapaniNousiainen.Air rifle benchrest is very new to the Finland team andis something that Jens is trying to foster to keep themcompetitive at international level. This has taken agreat deal of effort and like many countries aroundthe world, a good number of Field Target shooters arestarting to gain an interest in the sport. So much sothat they are looking at fielding a full air rifle team forPlzen next year!This obviously takes a great effort to develop furtherknowledge of air rifles and really develop someshooter knowledge of how they work. If anything theFinnish have moved a great deal quicker than most ofus, as they are playing catch-up ……. and succeeding. Ifound their ideas, especially related to designing newproducts and rifles, quite fascinating and it is good tosee this level of determination and thought. As thepopulation of Finland is only five million it makes youthink...The Finnish team and individuals have had somesuccess, being ‘placed’ in the last three internationalchampionships. They also pulled off an individualSilver and team Bronze in their first internationalouting in 2010. So the only way is up - like all of us,new equipment must be purchased, designed, made,etc - as they get prepared. I am quite sure that we willsee more Finnish shooters on the leader boards in thefuture.Individuals, groups and the associations are makingevery effort to develop both equipment andknowledge of the sport. If anything, these shootershave proved their competitiveness already and thefuture can only be seen as bright, having listened totheir discussions and seen some of the designs/ideasthey have. Here are just a few snippets about thesport in Finland.22

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