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Starting shooting

writing paper

Shooting etiquette

Musto tweed jacket

Shooting clothing

shotgun certificate

Shotgun certificates and firearms licences

gun cabinet

Gun cabinets – what you need to know

Legal answers

Clay shooting

Shooting answers

miss a shot

How NOT to waste a shot

Each year at our shoot, we have a day, usually in June, when we gather to shoot a few clays and have a BBQ. Last year, to add some interest, I set up a pattern plate and the guests were invited to test their guns and cartridges. A good many…

fox with mange

Beware the mangy fox

Q: We have foxes in our garden and one has a lot of bald, sore-looking patches, especially over its head. A friend suggested that the foxes have mange, which could be passed onto our dogs. What do you suggest we do? A: Foxes can suffer various types of mange and…

15 things to know when buying your first gun

Apply for your shotgun certificate in plenty of time. Depending on where you live in the country it could take weeks or months to arrive. A reputable dealer will reserve your gun for you while you’re waiting for your certificate. Buy your first gun from a recommended gun shop –…

Ben Davies of Bisley

Gun mount and gun fit – going back to basics

Close decoying pigeons often look like the easiest shot, but too many misses can be the start to a memorable day for all the wrong reasons. The key is attention to basics — I often tell clients that if it feels hard, they are doing it wrong — so the…

Getting lead right in shooting

I want to understand more about lead and targets

Q: I want to try and understand more about lead. Some people say give the target 5ft while others say a couple of inches. Can you help me see the light?  A: The differing amounts of lead that people see on targets can be one of the most talked about subjects in the shooting…

buying a gun at auction

Tips on buying a gun at auction

Thanks to popular TV shows, most of us are familiar with what goes on at auctions. But that doesn’t mean we’d be happy with the idea of bidding at a gun auction. The fact is that, in spite of our familiarity with TV entertainment such as Antiques Road Trip, Bargain…

Beads on shotguns – your questions answered

Q: I am relatively new to both clay and gameshooting and am now into my second season. I have seen people using green or red beads on the ends of their barrels and am curious to know what the pros and cons of these are. A: You can shoot without a…

What to do in closed season?

10 ways the modern sporting gentleman can survive the closed season

Spend quality time with your second family It is common knowledge that the modern sporting gentleman refers to his main family as his shooting syndicate, his fishing syndicate or his hunt, or, all three. It is therefore his duty during the closed season to gather his second family around during…

Pigeon cartridges

What’s the law on transporting shotgun cartridges?

Q: I am new to shooting, having gained my shotgun certificate in May last year. I am now the proud owner of a Beretta 12-bore and a Browning 20-bore. I am shooting clays at the moment to get used to the guns and improve my accuracy, but may go on…

Shooting birds in the field

The top 10 shooting excuses

1.The sun was in my eyes… This is a classic, especially among partridge shooters in, as it might be, October when the sun tends to hang low in the sky of a morning. Step one, of course, would be to slip on a pair of sunglasses. Really good sunglasses, mind…

cartridge colour

Should cartridge colour denote bore?

Q: Why don’t cartridge makers stick 
to an internationally agreed colour code for different bore sizes as used to be the case (12-bore were red, 16-bore blue and 20-bore yellow)? Surely this would stop all of these dreadful accidents where people who mix cartridges double-load a 12-bore on top of…

Hatsan Escort Magnum Xtreme

What makes a gun a magnum?

A: With regard to the proofing of shotguns, “magnum” is a legacy term that is no longer current. Under the 1954 Rules of Proof, 3in 12-bore shotguns were proofed at either 3½ton or 4ton per square inch, the abbreviation MAG being applied to the latter. However, the word magnum is now only used in relation to proofing rifles of…

shotgun security

Firearms security

One of the most tragic events of 2016 was the murder of the MP, Jo Cox. She was shot with a sawn-off .22 rifle. Quite how the odious Thomas Mair came to be in possession of it is not known, but it is known that it was previously a lawfully held rifle that had been stolen. It…

Gun fit

Do I really need to have my gun fitted?

Q: Is there really any need to have a gun fitted? My factory-stocked Beretta is perfect in every respect. A couple of friends, though, are forever tinkering with their guns, with mixed results. What are your thoughts on this? A: John says: A lot of folk are fortunate in that “standard” stock measurements…

Banned from shooting for life?

Q: I am currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for manslaughter (there was no element of violence in this offence and the court accepted that there was no intention to cause harm to anyone). I have been a keen shooter for around 15 years but have been told that because…

shotgun barrel

Can I break my gun down into parts to store it?

Q: I need to buy a gun safe for my house, but I don’t have room for a full-size cabinet. I will therefore need to break my gun down into its parts to store it. Will this cause any problems with the gun? A: None whatsoever. Shotguns are designed to be broken…

DIY shoot beaters

Tax and the DIY shoot

Many shoots on farms and estates, with just a modest number of shoot days taken by family and friends, will be run as DIY shoots and private affairs and very much outside the scope of tax and VAT. But there may also be thoughts as to whether the shoot could make money if placed on a commercial footing. Points…

pest species in garden

Can I shoot pest species in my inner-city garden?

A: Always be very circumspect about shooting pests in your own back garden. You do not want armed police attending because some nosy neighbour has called to report that there is someone firing a gun out of the window. In most gardens, it is only safe to use an air rifle. However, larger gardens may be suitable for…