JUST half a second.
That's all it will take for a shooter's weekend to go from sensational to so-so, as the best marksmen in the country hit town for the richest event in NSW the Casella Open Shoot.
Griffith's Glen Castellaro is one of the best in the country, having picked up representative honours at every level, and he gave The Area News an insight into what it takes to win this weekend's High Gun title.
"You've only got about half a second to pick up the target, track it and place your shot, which is a lot to do in that time," Castellaro said.
"It's a damn lot of concentration, and if you're not doing that you're not working.
"When you miss a target it's normally because of one of two things, you were either not totally concentrated or the gun didn't fit, it has to be in the exact same position every time.
"A millimetre too far one way or another on your shoulder, or if you're holding the gun a millimetre too high or low, it can cost you."
While competitors are only at their stand for less than a minute, the down-time inbetween can also make or break a shooter's chances of being successful next time up.
"I try and turn off (mentally) between shots, which is hard to do because you have to learn how to, but the top guys that will be down here this weekend will be spot on," Castellaro said.
"As the round progresses and you get close to your turn again, then you start thinking about it.
“I go through a set routine every time, where firstly I make sure my stance is right, then the gun’s up and I make sure my eye is down centre and of the barrel and it’s focused, then I focus out the front. Then it’s 100 per cent concentration looking for the target to leave the trap.”
To the untrained eye, shooting is not as taxing on the body as any of the football codes, but Castellaro said in marathon competitions the body and the mind can start to give way.
“I shot my biggest break of 800 (targets) straight last year, which took me just on two days,” he said.
“I was exhausted, my eyes were hurting, physically I was exhausted. You have to keep your fluids up and take in sports drinks. The gun gets heavier as well because your bringing it to your shoulder 800 times.
“And all of that combined is the difference between shooting 99.5 per cent and shooting 95 per cent.”
A special after-dark event is set for tonight, before the real action begins over the next two days at the Griffith Gun Club, as the shooters seek to win their share of the $50,000 prize pool.
Being a realistic chance of winning his home event, Castellaro said its only human to feel pressure to perform to a certain standard, but backed himself to put it aside for half-a-second at a time.