Sportsmanship, camaraderie and a respect for the tools has helped Andrew Heard achieve success in rifle shooting.
He was named Male Sportsperson of the Year by the Rural City of Murray Bridge at its 2023 sports awards.
The 66-year-old Murray Bridge resident is an adept rifle shooter with a commendable record of achievements. He secured two individual gold medals and two team silver medals in the Masters division at the World Fire and Police Games in Winnipeg, Canada last year.
He's also legend at the Murray Bridge Rifle Club, frequently earning top off-rifle shooter distinctions.
Andrew spent 21 years with the Army Reserves, where he was part of the shooting team. Having left the organisation, he picked up long-range rifle shooting, reaching distances between 300-1000 yards (or 274-914 metres). He picked up the sport recreationally in 2011 and became a member of the local rifle club, which shoots at the Murray Bridge Rifle Range, but it's the company he treasures the most.
"They're a bunch of really good people; everybody looks out for everybody else," he said.
Andrew uses one rifle for shooting; he has a shooting jacket with a sling, gets on his elbows while holding the rifle up, and looks through a hole at the gun's rear sight while lining up the target with the front sight. He particularly enjoys aiming for 1000 yards and has learned how to manage the weight of the bullet, the speed it projects from the barrel and assess weather conditions to achieve the distance.
While Andrew regularly enters a number of competitions, it's the sportsmanship that he particularly likes about them. For example, in the Games at Winnipeg, the eight players who were target rifle shooters (from Taiwan, the US and himself) organised themselves into two groups so they could form a competition.
"Although it is a competition, it's still friendly. We're not shooting for sheep stations, but the camaraderie is very good, which is what it's all about," Andrew said.
"If we see somebody struggling, we help each other out. I showed them more my sights I pointed out that one of them was leaning his rifle over which is not a good idea. It needs to be straight up and down and I showed them my sites that I use which are different to theirs."
Outside of rifle shooting, Andrew tinkers in his shed, which includes a lathe and a 1985 Nissan ute he is restoring. At time of writing, he was installing a barrel into another rifle.
He's also kept busy looking after his grandchildren.
The Rural City of Murray Bridge Sports Awards, recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of the district's local sporting heroes. For more information, click here.
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