Roy Muller at the Maryborough Rifle and Pistol Club on Walker St with the rifle he uses for bench rest shooting.
Roy Muller at the Maryborough Rifle and Pistol Club on Walker St with the rifle he uses for bench rest shooting. Alistair Brightman

The national shooting champion who can't train at his club

SHOOTING: Roy Muller recently won an Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games gold medal for benchrest shooting and now has his sights set on a world title, but he will have to drive hundreds of kilometres to practise.

That's life for the Tinana volunteer firefighter, who serves as president and club captain of Maryborough Rifle and Pistol Club. The guns fell silent on the range seven years ago, and he has been unable to train at the Walker St complex since.

"To shoot in these competitions has been very hard as I've got nowhere here at the moment to train," he said.

"The council has worked with us and Defence to get us back on the range, which will hopefully happen in the next couple of months."

"It closed in December of 2011 so I have to go and shoot all of these competitions cold turkey."

You would never suspect a lack of training when you look at his 50m benchrest Games gold medal-winning score, a perfect score 600 out of 600 with 52 centres out of 60, the first perfect score of his career.

"You have to allow for the wind and mirage, but a centre at 50m is about three-quarters the size of a match head," Muller said. "You have to hit that to get a centre, the 10-ring is just outside of that.

"I was happy (with 52/60).

"That would be my best."

Muller, who also claimed a bronze medal in the air rifle at the Mandurah, Western Australia Games, the progressed to Melbourne for qualifiers where he earned a place in the Australian team after his fifth in the heavy rimfire benchrest.

He also made the air rifle team and is a reserve in the sporting team to compete at the World Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Federation fourth World Championship, to be held in South Africa from August 4-15, 2019.

In February, he will travel to Belmont for competition, which doubles as his training session for other competitions.

It's a lot of time on the road, but Muller, a Maryborough Rifle and Pistol Club member of 38 years, wouldn't have it any other way.

Muller's introduction to his beloved club was simple.

"I used to live down the road and a bloke said to me 'come have a go' so I did," he said.

"I kept coming back.

"It's taken me places I never thought I'd go. I've been all over Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, I've shot at the world championships in Brisbane in 2015, I shot at the World Cup and European Championships in Slovenia in 2017 and I'm back to shoot at the world championships in South Africa in August.

"Everybody goes there to win, but all of the Australian blokes are there to win for the country. They're all focused on working as a team: if something goes wrong, there's always a team member there to help you out."

While he has enjoyed high levels of success at various competitions and earned the opportunity to represent Australia, the lack of a local training facility has taken its toll.



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