The Different Types of Shooting
This either involves shooting game birds: grouse, pheasants, partridges, pigeons and wildfowl (ducks and geese) or ground game which includes rabbits and deer. Generally speaking you use a shotgun to shoot birds and a rifle for ground game although this is not always the case. There are pre-determined times of the year when shooting live game is permitted. Check on the BASC website www.basc.org.uk for details.
Traditional shotguns are 12-bore gauge with side-by-side barrels although over and under guns, where one barrel is on top of another, have become increasingly popular in recent years. Depending on your physical size and use proposed of the gun there is a variety of barrel lengths typically from 24” to 32”, a normal barrel length is 28”. There are other shotgun gauges, commonly 16 and 20 gauge bore. Some prefer these lighter bore guns which fire smaller cartridges; traditionally it was fashionable for ladies to opt for smaller gauge guns because of their ease of use and less recoil when discharged. 20 gauge bore are often preferred for pigeon shooting.
Much ground game shooting involves rabbits and other vermin on farmland. Depending on the terrain and personal preference either a rifle (often with a telescopic sight) or a shotgun would be used in these circumstances. In the case of deer stalking a high powered rifle with a telescopic sight would be employed.
CLAY PIGEON SHOOTING
This is an exciting and exacting sport where ‘dummy’ biodegradable clay discs are fired from traps towards/away or across the shooter’s line of vision. They are designed to replicate the flight path of a game bird or ground game. Sometimes multiple discs are fired to test the quick reaction and eye of the shooter. Clay pigeon shooting events are organised at licensed clubs and often involve teams of people in competition. Shotguns, particularly the over and under variety, are used in this sport. The Clay Pigeon Shooting Association is the national governing body and will provide details of clubs near where you live www.cpsa.co.uk. Clay pigeon shooting is a recognised Olympic sport.
APPROVED TARGET SHOOTING CLUBS
There is a selection of Home Office Approved Target Shooting Clubs throughout the UK where full bore and small bore rifles and muzzle-loading pistols maybe used on club ranges. Anyone wishing take up target shooting (unless they are a prohibited person) will require a club’s sponsor. Initially the applicant will be given a probationary course of instruction in the safe handling and use of firearms on a one-to-one basis.
After a period of at least three months (it varies from club to club), dependent upon attendance and a satisfactory completion of the probationary period, the prospective member can apply for full membership. This brings with it the opportunity to apply for a personal firearms certificate (rules may vary slightly from club to club). To apply for a certificate you must ‘demonstrate good reason’ for possessing a firearm. The police will make enquiries to check club membership. Certificate holders will also need to demonstrate their intention to use their firearm on the club premises on a regular basis – at least three times a year.