Saturday, 13th October, 2018
By Tyler Hannigan
Local Ben Grossi has continued his rise up the shooting ranks by taking out the Single Action Shot National Championships for a fourth time.
The competition requires shooters to use ‘Old West’-style firearms such as single action revolvers, pistol caliber lever action rifles, and old time shotguns whilst also wearing attire of that era and adopting a character.
Having previously won the title in 2004, 2014 and 2016, Grossi was once again crowned Australia’s best in Millmerran, Queensland, bouncing back from a second-place last year.
It was a dominant display from the sharpshooter - known as Henry Sharps in competition - as he won by a large margin.
“I ended up taking it (the win) out by 13 seconds which at that level is quite a lot,” Grossi said.
“With 12 stages, being over a second quicker per stage was really pleasing considering the competition.”
Stages typically consist of around two dozen shots - 10 pistol, 10 rifle and a varied amount of shotgun - and the length will vary depending on how the course it set out. Grossi’s quickest stage completion was 15 seconds and longest 24.
While speed is important, Grossi said that it isn’t the be all and end all for him.
“I’ve never been the quickest shooter ... I don’t put all my eggs into the one basket like some other shooters where they just rely on pure speed,” he said.
“I work on transitions, movement and not missing which pays off.”
Not missing certainly has paid off for Grossi who was perfect through the entire event, avoiding five-second penalties for missed targets and 10-second penalties for shooting targets out of order.
“I won the South Australian state titles back in August and between that and the National Champs I’ve shot about 1000 rounds without a miss,” Grossi said.
“So I have been shooting fairly well but it does play on your mind a bit that you haven’t missed in so long. It’s a big thing to clean a match, people have been shooting for 20 years and have never cleaned a match.”
Grossi said that this win was a particularly sweet win due to a lack of practice which limited his preparation.
“It was pretty emotional for me this time because it was really hard to get to where I needed to be to compete as I can’t shoot here in Broken Hill with my range being shut down,” he admitted.
“I haven’t been able to shoot (in town) for about a year. I’ve had to travel to Adelaide just to practice.
“I can do a little bit of dry-firing in my shed which is fine because you don’t actually shoot but it’s just not the same.”
“That’s been a bit of a battle and also coming off hand surgery, trying to get my hand working again,” Grossi added.
“And knowing how hard the other guys had been working, some had just come off the world titles, and to beat them made this win really sweet.
“I have to thank my wife, mum and dad and my brother for all their support and work has been great in allowing me time off to compete so I need to thank them as well.”
With four Australian titles now under his belt Grossi’s next goal is defending that crown in Victoria early next year, something he has yet to achieve, before turning his attention towards America and the World Championships in 2020.
“They do actually sponsor the winner of the Australian championships to go to the world champs the following year but unfortunately I have a bit on next year,” Grossi explained.
“But I do have my heart set on getting over there in 2020. My wife is happy with that and I have a mate who is keen to come over with me, he’s starting to get serious about his shooting too.
“It’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’ve been there, way back in 2005 when I was 21, and had some success but the ultimate goal is winning a world title which is what I want.
“If I get one I’ll probably slow down. I’ll stay involved in the sport because I love it but I want to give it one really good crack.”