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proper unfit

All about gunfit

Why do you think that, historically, gunfit has not been at the forefront of the minds of British shots when buying or indeed using guns? “If you go back to when I started in the workshop here in 1977, we very rarely altered a shotgun. There was also very little in the sporting press about gunfit. Back…

over and under shotgun

The rise of the over-and-under

On a shoot day in October I had a fascinating conversation with a fellow gun about his switch from a side-by-side to an over-under. After more than 30 extremely successful years of game shooting with the former, he decided the time had come to seek out even greater consistency, particularly on the high birds, and make the switch.…

Winchester Model 23

Second-hand guns for gamekeepers and clayshooters

Winchester Model 23 Side-by-side classes in major sporting contests don’t seem to be as popular as they were, which is a pity because they formed a friendly link between clay and gameshooting. Nevertheless, using a side-by-side for club Sporting targets can be great fun, as well as sharpening up the reflexes ready for the autumn. Of course,…

Remington Spartan

The super cheap gun in my fantasy gunroom

To me the Baikal is in the same league as a 1940s prefab or a 1950s Ford Popular. The prefab gave ordinary folks a taste of living in a dry, well-designed, warm house with an indoor toilet, a bathroom and a fridge, while the dear old Popular, with its crude side-valve engine and cart-spring suspension, gave working…

Man shooting with Baikal 12 bore

My first gun – a Baikal single-barrel 12-bore

Strictly speaking my Baikal single-barrel 12-bore was not my first shotgun. That honour goes to a BSA Snipe, a single-barrel shotgun given to me by my cousin Geoff Hoyle. He was a target pistol shooter of some renown, an editor of a target-shooting magazine and really wasn’t that interested in shotguns. He generously passed the Snipe on to me as…

man shooting .17HMR

Is this new rimfire cartridge any good?

A: Yes, this new cartridge looks to be very interesting to anyone who likes small calibres. It is a rival to the .17 HMR cartridge, which is also a rimfire, but the WSM or Winchester Super Magnum is a more powerful round. Its brass case is roughly 50 per cent thicker than the .17 HMR The .17 WSM…

Baikal shotguns

23 things you should know about Baikal shotguns

Baikal shotguns are inexpensive BUT reliable A new over-and-under would be about £617 A new side-by-side would set you back about £562 They are made in the Russian city of Izhevsk in the Western Urals They probably aren’t created from melted-down battle tanks However they are built like a T34…


Shotgun cartridges for geese reviewed

A wild goose chase can be exactly what it says on the tin, so when  you get the birds in range you want the confidence that you are packing sufficient power to get one in the bag. Goose shooting can take place in a range of different scenarios, from decoying at close range to foreshore flighting…

Browning B725

Browning B725 Hunter G3

The B725 from Browning has been out in the wild for some time now. The range has been steadily expanding since 2012 with a variety of finishes and weights in order to compete in seemingly every conceivable section of the over-under market. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, given the ongoing trend towards long guns designed for serious game shooting, that this is…

Beretta 687 EELLClassic

Top 10 guns for game

Beretta 687 EELL Classic £6,850 A modern icon, the EELL from Beretta is amongst the most sought after guns by sportsmen and women up and down the country, and with even a cursory glance it is easy to see why. With a design lineage stretching back to 1979, Beretta’s 680 line of guns have long…

Cartridges in belt

How to choose the right cartridge

There are lots of different makes and thousands of configurations of cartridge on the market, so many in fact that even many experienced shots don’t fully understand all the terminology. When it comes to choosing cartridges, everyone has their own ideas. Despite the increasing popularity of the 20 bore shotguns, the 12 still rules the roost. By virtue of its versatility…


Controlling rabbits with firearms certificated air rifles (FAC)

What’s the best way to approach rabbit control? That depends on a considerable amount of factors, including habitat, land use, neighbouring land, and so on, for each job. On very few occasions can you rely on just one method to control rabbits where a landowner will be satisfied. This year, I have been using my…

Man with shotgun

What’s the best cartridge load for standard driven pheasants?

Q: As we move towards the pheasant season can you recommend the best cartridge load for standard driven pheasants, and I don’t mean 60-yard skyscrapers? A: I think cartridges are very much a personal preference and I would say that whatever gives you confidence when you are shooting is the correct cartridge for you. Shooting is a mental game…

Huglu 103 DE

Budget shotguns

Lincoln Premier A bestseller, the Premier satisfies the need for an elegant and practical shotgun at a reasonable price. It features fine chequering, internally chromed bore and chambers for improved lifespan and better distributed shot patterns, and is available in 12- or 20-bore. Key features: Three-year warranty as standard, fine-pitch laser chequering with double-grip pattern. Bisley Price: from £800   Huglu 103 DE…

airgun target

Can an airgun barrel be too clean?

A: If you used a cleaning kit that was designed for airgun barrels it is very unlikely that you’ve caused any damage. The most likely cause of the loss of accuracy is your barrel being too clean, as pellets seem to run best when there’s a fine film of lead in the bore. I’ve known it to…

hunting rifles

Hunting rifles – Parker Hale M81

The M81 rifle was Parker Hale’s top-of-the-range hunting/stalking rifle and completed a portfolio of bolt-action rifles. These included classic, clip feed, deluxe, standard, African and varmint grades, to name a few. Pure English styling The M81 was a refined version of the hugely popular 1200 model rifle, with more classic styling, and was introduced in 1986.…

Sauer 404

The Sauer 404 bolt-action rifle

The 202, the predecessor of the 404 was launched in 1993 and was seen as one of the best rifles around. However, the new 404 has many mechanical improvements over the 202, one being the safety catch. When you push the safety catch up to make the rifle “live”, you are physically cocking the rifle. Moving the safety catch…

AYA No 1 action

The AYA No. 1: the best gun I never had

When I edited the very first issue of Sporting Gun, back in 1977, I asked Fred Buller of Chubbs of Edgeware, then one of the country’s leading gunsmiths, to nominate the best new gun for a newcomer on a limited budget. Without hesitation, he recommended the AYA Yeoman. In the era it was a tough but well-balanced, sweet-handling side-by-side boxlock –…

Miroku Universal MK60 engraving

Three secondhand Sporters

Miroku MK60 Universal Grade 5 In the 1980s a type of gun for the Sporting disciplines was just evolving. All too many Continental manufacturers were trying to palm us off with slightly modified trap guns, while their game guns were too light and often too tightly choked, and skeet guns were too open-choked and not nearly steady…

16 bore

The rise and rise of the 16 bore

A recent advertisement by ASI – the importer of AYA guns from Spain and, more recently, Rizzinis from Italy – bravely announced that “16 bore is the new black!”. This seemed a bit cryptic on first reading but on further investigation disclosed that there was a bit of a fashion reference going on. Black, it would seem, is the…