The Guyana National Rifle Association (Guyana NRA) would be celebrating its 150th anniversary in October (9-15) this year with the hosting of the West Indies Fullbore Shooting Championships at the Timehri Rifle Ranges.
This is part two in a series on the history of the Association as compiled by Margaret Smith from the commencement of shooting in the 19th Century to 1992. Subsequently, the history of the remaining years was put together by Mahendra Persaud (Guyana NRA Fullbore Captain), Ransford Goodluck and Ryan Sampson (Guyana NRA Secretary) with the assistance of a few members of the Guyana NRA.
During the Second World War (1939-1945), the American Military stationed at the then Atkinson Field established the Atkinson Range (now Timehri Rifle Range). The Timehri Rifle Range is now controlled and maintained by the Guyana Defence Force.
It is acclaimed to be advantageous only to experienced riflemen, particularly Guyanese because of the peculiarities of its conditions. In 1969, the Guyana Defence Force gave the members of the Rifle Association permission to utilise the range. This resumption, afforded the Guyanese shooters the desired practice to recommence participation at local and international competitions.
Constitution of the Guyana NRA
Due to a bad experience in the Benson and Hedges competition held at the Timehri Rifle Range in 1987, a few features were been added in 1991. These features are an addition to Paragraph 24 of the constitution.
They are: 1. The ammunition boxes must be opened in the presence of all shooters. 2. The weight of the trigger pressure must not exceed 1.5 kilograms. 3. Once shooting has commenced, movements are prohibited between the firing points and the butts.
How to become a member of the Guyana NRA
1. An application form can be uplifted from the Secretary of the GNRA.
2. When filled, the form must be submitted to the Secretary. It must be accompanied by a copy of the applicants Police Clearance and references about the applicants temper and character.
3. At the Association’s next meeting, the Secretary would present the application to the general membership. If any member is in doubt about the applicant’s character, further enquiries would have to be made about the applicant.
4. If members are not in doubt, the application would be accepted. Two members of the Association would be required to support the application. One member would propose the acceptance of the person as a member, while the others would second the motion.
When the application has been approved, the applicant will be required to pay an entrance fee of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) to become a member of the association. He will also be required to pay an annual subscription of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) to maintain the membership.
Equipment required for rifle shooting
When Rifle shooting was introduced as a sport in the 1790’s, military rifles were used. Subsequently, they were found to be inadequate and their caliber was modified to .303 inch. This later became standard.
In 1970 the teams from the Caribbean countries met in Barbados for a friendly reunion meeting. At this meeting it was realised that the .303 inch rifles used by the local teams were outdated. Members of the other teams were using custom made rifles.
Details of the equipment necessary for rifle shooting are:
Rifle description –Calibre – 7.62 millimeter; Manufacturers Trade Marks: Swing Target Rifle, Steyr – Mannlicher, P-17 Winchester Conversion, Sportco, Paramount, Musgrave, Barrel make Length and Twist: Schultz and Larsen: 28 inches and 30 inches: one in 14 inches or one in 13 inches twist.
Stocks: Standard, Non-Standard; Locks: Designed by the Manufacturers
Other equipment – Rifle shooting Equipment: Shooting Telescope, Telescope Stand, Hand Stop, Sling, Shooting Gloves, Ground Sheet, Ear Defenders, Shooting Jackets made of Canvas or Leather, Score Book.
Types of shoots – The members of Guyana National Rifle Association engage in three categories of shoots during the calendar year. Shoots of each category are organised on a monthly basis. As a result, a shooter can get the opportunity to participate in all three categories each month.
1. Practice Shoot – No record is kept
2. Record Shoot – This is a competitive shoot but prizes are not awarded. A record is kept of the scores. They are used to select teams to represent Guyana at international competitions.
3. Competitive Shoots – There are many types of Competitive shoots. Records are kept and prizes are awarded for these shoots. These are: a) Spoon Shoot: One silver spoon with the rifle shooting crest is awarded each month to the shooter with the highest aggregate.
b) NRA Silver Medal: The National Rifle Association (Great Britain) donated a silver medal annually, to the Guyana NRA. The Guyana NRA has stipulated the following conditions under which this Medal can be won.
I: 15 rounds shoot at 300 and 600 yards. II: The winning score must not be less than 140. III: Postal Shoot – This shoot is organised by the country which is controlling the prize that is being competed for. On a selected day, each team shoots in its respective country, under conditions stipulated by the country controlling the prize. The targets are sent to a neutral country which determines the winner.
c) Annual Prize Meeting: At his shoot, four trophies and cash Incentives are competed for. All prizes won during this year are awarded.
d) Christmas Hamper Shoot: This is the last shoot in the calendar year. All members of the association compete for the Christmas Hamper. The hamper is presented to the winner with the highest aggregate at 300, 500, 600, and 900 yards.