It sits upon the top of a hill, right in the middle of a wheat-field, and offers 360° views across fields, small creeks and rolling hills in the distance. People lived here once, but they are long gone: Dead and buried. The house stands still though, it's bones do anyway; Sun-bleached, weather-worn and crumbling.
The once-solid homestead, built in the mid 1800's, was a home providing shelter, warmth and comfort to its inhabitants, adults and children, but now no-one calls it home, except maybe the critters: Snakes, lizards, possums, rabbits, spiders, bugs.
The house on the hill I refer to above is one of my favourite places and somewhere I go a lot. It sits right in the middle of a farmer's property and there are no roads leading to or from it. It is, quite literally, in the middle of a field. To get there I drive over those fields - The image above shows some vehicle tracks made by me, and the ruins at the crest of the hill. I know that when I'm there I'll see no one, except my mate if I've brought him along, and that it'll be quiet; At least until the shooting starts.
This is my range. My long-range shooting range.
I recently chatted with gentleman redneck @janton who asked about a comment I'd made in which I used the words, "my range"; in reference to a shooting range; He asked if I have my own property. My answer was no, and yes.
I have access to this range day and night, but of course, we don't go driving through the crop until after it's harvested so that precludes a few months of the year. Mostly I can go there any time I like though.
I have a few shooting locations and as you may recall I cull on a farm however house hill is a little unique in that I can shoot out to great distances. I could do so on the farm I cull on, but it's a farm and shooting a lot there - I go there to cull, not general shooting. It's work; Nothing more. Here at house hill I can shoot all day and night until I have no ammunition left and so it's perfect for practising. I often throw my swag out and stay the night too. It's not 5 star, it's a billion-stars...When it's not cloudy anyway.
I use this range for practice mainly, and fun of course. As a sporting shooter keeping my skills sharp and learning or practicing new techniques are pivotal to competition success. I travel around the country shooting, and as Australia is such a big country, it costs a lot of money. So, if I'm spending money I want results, good results - That means practice which I do right here.
Above is me, practising. Here you can see me shooting off what used to be a window. You'll note the band on my left arm which is my DOPE chart - The cheat sheet for windage and elevation adjustments which obviously change with the distance being shot and the wind speed and direction. I won't go into it in this post as it's technical.
From house hill we have the ability to shoot out to way further than the guns are capable of. I shoot the one you see above out to around 1600m (1 mile) although mostly only to 1400m. Competitions I shoot may call for shots from 300-1500m or so but generally 400-1000m is about what we see.
We have targets set out at various distances; They're steel plates called gongs which make a sort of ringing sound when struck by a bullet. We have them out to 1800m (1968 yards) and all the way in as close as 250m (273 yards) - The close ones are obviously much smaller.
We shoot at them from various positions, prone, kneeling, standing and from barricades like the massive fallen tree out the front, or the house itself as you see above. The idea is to simulate real-world practical scenarios which is what we face in competition. We also stress ourselves by running between positions which elevates heart rate and breathing. They do that to us in competition also.
Above you can see the fallen log I mentioned earlier and me kneeling next to one of the targets, this one at 1342m (1467 yards). You can see the hit I got. I was aiming for dead centre of the plate so it's not a great shot but considering the range...Meh, I'll take it. (I've blacked out my eyes because for some reason I have my glasses off - Yes, I'm also wearing flip flops, which we call thongs here in Australia - Safety first huh?) 😂 Calibre is 6.5mm creedmoor using Sierra 142g SMK projectiles pushing 2824fps
The wind was full-value from the right at 9mph so strong enough to make it a difficult shot. Full-value means 3 o-clock or 9 o-clock, so right angles to the flight of the bullet which means the wind has the full-value of force, or effect, upon the shot pushing the bullet the way the wind is travelling. With flight time of a couple seconds at that range this needs to be taken into consideration, as does Coriolis, humidity...Sorry, getting technical again. I record every shot I make: The environmental factors present plus the distance, elevation and windage input plus where it falls on the target. That is where DOPE comes from. (DOPE: Data of previous engagement). Technical again...Sorry. That's for another post.
One of my guns sitting on a window of the ruins looking out over the hills beyond.
I'm very lucky to have this location to shoot at - I think one of the challenges shooters have these days, here in Australia at least, is finding somewhere to actually shoot. Sure, there's loads of ranges to shoot from but they either do not have the distance or have loads of very strict rules relating to range-usage. I agree with them too, the rules I mean. Finding somewhere to shoot is very challenging and it has taken me years to find the locations I shoot at; Building trust with farmers isn't the easiest thing to do.
For what I need to do with long range rifle shooting gun ranges are not suitable and so I come here, to house hill and shoot freely, and of course safely. It's a privilege and my time spent there is always enjoyable. It feels pure...Not just the air, but in general.
Anyway, that's where I'd rather be and what I'd rather be doing right now as I sit in my office at work this Wednesday.
Just tag #whereonwednesday in your post, on a Wednesday, to join in if you would like. It's not a challenge or anything dumb like that, neither do you get anything for it. It's just a chance to post your thoughts and maybe a picture or two.
Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default
Discord: @galenkp#9209 🇦🇺