The Italian Job - A Jackal On Tour!
Team Jackal shooter Dean Hadfield, aka the Welsh Hillbilly, tells us all about his recent trip to Italy to take part in the a world first…….
The 1st IPRF rimfire world championships did not disappoint.
After having a week to reflect it’s safe to say the whole experience was overwhelming and gave me immense pride to be able to represent our country.
It all started 01:00 on the Sunday, blurry eyed we set off for the channel tunnel and the 16 hour drive to our stop for the night just inside Italy at Turin. The crossing was smooth with no issues and we headed off through France the miles flew by and before long we were skirting round the alps and in to Italy.
We made it in to Turin in great time finding the BnB we settled in for the night knowing there would be another six hour drive in the morning. Rising at the crack of dawn on Monday we headed off grabbing a coffee and pastries en-route to try and make it to the team hotel in good time.
Dropping down though the Italian mountains it was so picturesque looking up at the little villages dotted on top of the hills with quaint churches sticking out in the sky line. It felt like we were driving though some James bond scenery, inside the car was silent as we were taking it all in.
On arriving at the hotel you really got a sense of the team sprit being welcomed by everyone and settling down for a few drinks knowing the hard work would start tomorrow.
Tuesday we headed to the range. We checked rifles were in good order and registered for the match. I was a little nervous checking zero as I’ve never taken a rifle outside of the UK before and with a long drive in a packed truck it may have been knocked but the trusty Vortex Razor Gen3 hadn’t moved at all.
After shooting a ten shot one hole group and checking my dope was smack on at two hundred meters I was very confident going to the practice sessions
The opening ceremony was on Wednesday and the Italians put on a great event hosting it in Deruta a beautiful town. The street was packed with all the nations competing, the atmosphere was electric with everyone excited to compete.
We lined up in our national teams and walked in to the ceremony with our national anthems playing. This is a moment that will stick with me for the rest of my life!
I’ve been to rugby games and it has felt special hearing it but when its being played for you to walk out to then it really hits home this was an emotional moment and one I will always look back on fondly.
We then gathered in front of the stage and listened to the opening speeches as the heavens opened but it couldn’t dampen spirits.
With all the formalities over and done with we headed off for an early night. Although I wasn’t shooting the first day as it was the ladies, factory and seniors to start I was buddied up with Holly one of lady shooters. I wanted all the sleep I could get ready to help her on the first day.
We meet at the range for 7am with plenty of time to sort kit and get to the first stage. Having not shot with Holly before I didn’t know what she would want in the way of any help but going on what I knew I’d want to do before I shot each stage I started out by ranging the targets as accurately as possible.
Luckily Holly had brought a set of Vortex Fury HD’s with her. A set of range finder binos that i’m very familiar with and have full confidence in their accuracy. Just what you need when being a meter or two out makes a massive difference!
So with binos secured on a Vortex tripod I spent the day on glass ranging targets and watching out for impacts. Which turned out to be incredibly valuable helping the spotters to call correct impacts for all nationalities competing. Holly shot incredibly well getting many first round impacts and having zero mental errors we finished day one on a high.
Day two of the match and my first day I had a tricky morning with a bolt failure on the third stage. Mid way though my bolt decided to leave the rear of the rifle causing me to have a meltdown mid stage.
Leaving the stage I knew what the issue was and what I needed to do to fix it but I had to get to the zero range at the other end of the venue. I quickly packed my bag and ran, yes fatty ran!! All the way down the hill to the zero range where I manage to take the rifle apart and adjust the trigger to a heavier weight that would hold the bolt. The afternoon started to go my way the shooting improved and I managed to clean a stage to end the day positively.
Saturday was the final day for factory, Ladies and senior’s. I was back on glass and trying to support Holly as much as I could.
I really felt like the buddy system helped us as a team being able to have that support throughout the match took pressure of the shooters, even if it was as simple as reminding them to drink regularly in the very hot Italian sun.
Each buddy pairing would work a little differently depending on how much support the individuals would need but it was very clear that everyone appreciated having someone with them throughout the day.
This one just one of the many things the GBPRA implemented that I felt was a great success. I was very grateful to have Holly behind me on glass at the end of my last day when the heat seemed to be causing elevation issues.
Having come off a stage thinking I was battling wind she then informed me I was actual a target high which was quite a surprise as me dope is normally smack on. With this in mind heading to the last stage I took three tenths off all my dope and was back engaging targets again.
The closing ceremony was a sight to behold with all nations coming together, discussing the match over a few beverages.
Soon it was time for the medals and as a team we couldn’t have been prouder with what we achieved.
The guys in factory were outstanding to third place narrowly beating the Aussies on time.
The juniors also managed a third place which was an incredible achievement for them shooting against some tough opposition.
I have to take my hat off to the ladies with two of the shooting their first major match at the world championships they absolutely smashed it to take third and Im excited to see how the get on in the future.
Finally we get to the men’s open. Although I had a few issues luckily the rest of the guys shot incredibly well and with immense pride we took second place.
Overall the whole team was great and everyone should be very proud of how they represented our county.
Team USA might be setting the bar for precision rifle but team GB came away from the first rim fire world championships with our heads held high and ready to work hard for the next one.
For more information about Precision Rifle Shooting in the UK check out the GBPRA website -
If you want to follow Deans journey in Precision Rifle then you can find him on Instagram -
Thanks as always for the great support we get from Vortex Optics and Vortex Optics UK, want to know more about the great range of Vortex products, visit their website -