A reader wants to know what equipment to take to his first driven grouse shoot

Q: I’ve won a day on a driven grouse shoot, but have never shot game before. Will my 28in Zoli Sporter and 1oz No.7 cartridges be okay for the day?

A: Grouse are fast flyers but they can’t fly faster than 1200 ft per sec so don’t worry about your cartridge choice – No 7s are fine, as are the 28in barrels.

The important thing here is that you and your friends shoot safely by taking birds in front and do not swing through the line of butts with a gun in the shoulder.

If you are able to take a second shot after a covey has gone through the gun line the procedure is to dismount the gun, keep its muzzles pointing skyward then only re-mount and swing the gun onto a chosen bird after you have turned fully, and repositioned your feet safely.

Personally I find it far more satisfying to shoot a bird – better still two – out of a covey when it’s in front and bearing down on the butt at breakneck speed.

True, these birds are devilishly difficult if you let them get almost on you before reacting, but they become slightly easier if you can get into them early.

Pick out a bird

Pick a spot, say, 50 yards in front (60 if the birds are coming with the wind) choose a single bird, stay with it as you mount the moving gun, and fire a fraction of a second or so after the stock has come to the face and shoulder.

Don’t stop the swing.

Now lower the butt slightly, pick out a following bird, keep the muzzles ahead of its beak and shoot in front when the stock is remounted.

A driven grouse shoot is definitely an exciting proposition, but don’t let that phase you: just listen carefully to what your host or headkeeper has to say about safety and how the day is going to be run.

After that, relax – and (hit or miss) enjoy!

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  • Robin Johnson

    a side by side, 25 or 26 inch barrels. 1oz 7 and lots of money