Transplant Down Under moves from Service to Fullbore rifle for America Match
With the 2013 NRA National Championships right around the corner, we bring you a shooter from last year's long range high power championships:
Port Clinton, Ohio
- When the Australian Long Range Rifle Team traveled halfway around the world to compete at NRA's National Rifle & Pistol Championships in Ohio
last year, they did so with one purpose in mind … team building. Fresh off hosting the World Championships in Brisbane, they packed up more than a dozen or so shooters for a swing through the North America. First Camp Perry, then the Canadian Fullbore Rifle Championships, then back home.
Getting to the states was no easy trick. But it was a necessity. After all, the 2015 Long Range High Power World Championships will be shot on the same grounds as the National Championships at Camp Perry. The grounds one Aussie shooter, Mr. Aubrey Sonnenberg, shot on back in 2005. But that's not where it started.
"The only shooting I did in the past was in the military, in South Africa," Sonnenberg explained. "Maybe a little hunting. I've only been doing competitive fullbore since 2007. I started about 30 years too late."
In this international game, that's what we refer to as a late bloomer.
"No, I'm not even budding yet," he said with a laugh.
Making it in Australia
After transferring from Aon Consulting in South Africa to set up a new consulting practice in Australia, Sonnenberg was eventually tapped to establish a new online health initiative. Now bringing some of that initiative to America through his new operation, LifeAlly, he still finds time to for a little long range fun.
"We have club teams, we have district teams, we have state teams … things like that. I shot with Angus Bell with the Australian 300 meters team which is ISSF which is like the Olympic stuff at 300 meters. We were on a team there in New Zealand and we beat them for silver and gold."
Despite such success, there had to be some hesitation when it came to selecting such a "non-budding" shooter for the Australian Travel Team. But what Sonnenberg brings to the table is more than a respectable shooting career, it's experience. And there's no substitution for experience.
"I shot here (at Camp Perry) before with service, so knowing the area and how it works kind of helped. And I'm doing okay with my fullbore. Guess I got a bit of a look see as they say in Australia. See, I shot Service Rifle here in 2005 and 06 with David Waters. He and I helped start Australian High Power."
With such credentials, one would assume that Sonnenberg was an easy choice for the team. One would be wrong. Apparently there's a bit of a pecking order when it comes to categories of rifles, and Service Rifle isn't all that high on the totem pole.
"We're like the grimy cousins," Sonnenberg chuckled. "The unwanted red headed step child. That's what service shooters are in Australia."
Grimy or not, this Aussie transplant has found a home down under. And considering that he finished with a top three score in the Australian Team's America Match efforts, as well as earning NRA's coveted 448 pin for his performance, odds are we'll be seeing him again in 2015.