Shooting Disciplines

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Currently, our main disciplines are rifle and shotgun shooting.

Rifle Shooting

We split rifle shooting into small-bore and full-bore shooting.

Small-bore shooting:

Small-bore is the country’s most popular form of rifle shooting. Small-bore refers to .22-rimfire calibre rifles, which are low powered and suitable for shooting on indoor ranges. In this country the National Small-bore Rifle Association (NSRA) regulates small-bore competition, and it is on the Olympic programme. We do two types of small-bore competition: ‘prone’ and ‘lightweight sporting rifle’.

‘Prone’ is the traditional form of shooting: using a small-bore rifle, the shooter fires from the prone - or laying - position at a target 25 yards away. The rifle is usually a specialised heavyweight target rifle, with precision aperture sights. Whilst 25 yards might not seem far, the target is minute, so the slightest tremor or twitch can result in a miss and a dropped point. Prone rifle is the backbone of rifle shooting in this country.

‘Lightweight sporting rifle’ is the replacement for pistol shooting. Using a sporting rifle (usually a magazine-fed repeater), the shooter fires at the target from a standing position. Whilst it looks easy, it can be extremely challenging, as it is difficult to hold the rifle steady and centred on the target. There are classes for rifles with 'iron' sights or with optical (telescopic) sights.

Because it does not require excessively sophisticated equipment, this is the Club’s most popular small-bore rifle discipline. Most of our rifle-shooting members compete in this class. Competitions are organised throughout the year on a local and national basis and we have been very successful on a County level.

The good thing about small-bore is that it can be shot indoors, so we can shoot all year round. We meet every Thursday evening and one Friday evening on a monthly basis.

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Full-bore shooting:

This covers shooting with rifles using cartridges that are larger than the .22 rim fire cartridge (see the Guns and Ammunition section for a full description of the types of guns and cartridges we use). The National Rifle Association (NRA) governs this branch of the sport. As a club, we take part in two types of full-bore shooting:

Gallery rifle, using rifles that fire centre-fire pistol cartridges:

These are usually lever action repeating rifles of the Winchester or Marlin type. Because they shoot pistol cartridges, they are relatively low powered and can be shot at short range (25 metres) on indoor ranges. With these, we can take part in competitions just like the 'light weight sporting rifle'. We occasionally shoot them at 100, 200 or even 300 yards at the NRA's Bisley ranges, in Surrey.

Full-bore rifle, using rifles that fire high power centre-fire cartridges:

Usually shot at distances from 200 to 1200 yards, we shoot these rifles at Bisley ranges. This is one of the world’s premiere shooting complexes with ranges from 25 metres to 1200 yards. The NRA organises competitions for various classes of rifle, but the Club organises its shoots as 'F' class. This allows club members to shoot with any suitable rifle. The Club goes once a month to Bisley, at weekends, taking a whole day and sometimes organising a camping weekend of shooting. Often, members may shoot gallery rifles and muzzle loading pistols at 25 metres on covered ranges. There is also the option of including a clay shoot on the Commonwealth Games layout on site.

 

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Muzzle loading pistols:

After the Dunblane tragedy, the private ownership of pistols, and pistol shooting was banned, and pistols were confiscated. However, Parliament expressly excluded from this prohibition pistols that are loaded from the muzzle: i.e. antique style pistols that were obsolete by the 1870s. As such, you can still own and shoot a pistol if it is of a design that is at least 130 years old, and is loaded with loose powder and bullet through the muzzle. You can also use a genuine antique, but the supply of good quality, shootable examples is limited, and continued use could see the destruction of valuable examples, so many choose to use replica black powder firing pistols. Muzzle loading shooting is slow and messy but ultimately rewarding.

 

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Shotguns

Shotguns are used for clay pigeon shooting -the sport of shooting at flying clay targets. Actually, they are made of plaster, not clay, and they look like saucers, not pigeons. A shotgun is a smoothbore gun, (that is the barrels are not rifled with the grooves used in rifles that spin the bullet in flight to stabilise it) and it fires a cartridge that contains shot, rather than a single bullet. 'Shot' is tiny pellets of lead, usually less than a couple of millimetres in diameter. The cartridge is loaded with hundreds of these pellets. On firing, these pellets form a fast-moving cloud of particles flying towards the target. The trick is to get the cloud of pellets and the clay in the same place at the same time. As the clay can be travelling at up to 100 mph, this can be tricky. Because these pellets are very small, they are also very light and once having left the muzzle of the gun, they slow down rapidly, limiting the range of a shotgun. As such most clays are shot at less than 30 yards away, and rarely more than 50 yards. This means that it is easier to set up a clay-shooting layout than a rifle range, because the amount of danger area space required is far less.


The techniques for clay shooting are entirely different from rifle shooting - the target is moving, the gun is moving, and it has no sights in the conventional sense and it is not deliberately aimed. Clay shooting is about hand to eye co-ordination, instinct and reaction. However, there are certain ruses that even the most uncoordinated of us can use to good effect.
The joy of clay shooting is that you either hit the target (in which case it usually explodes in a puff of dust), or you miss completely. Feedback is instantaneous; you see the target smashed (or not!).

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