Man shooting in rain

Struggling on long crossers – what should I do?

Shooting instructor Adam Calvert replies: A: The walking gun brief can be one of my favourite roles but equally it is a tricky one, and the addition of long crossers can be an extra challenge. When you are given a brief as a walking gun the most important thing is to remember the associated safety that actually surrounds walking…

woman with pheasant on shoot

Beaters’ pay and the living wage

Most of us go beating or picking-up for fun and don’t think of it as a form of employment with formal beaters’ pay. There are few exceptions to this principle, such as in areas where shoots form an important part of the seasonal employment pattern – grouse moors in summer and shoots in tourist areas in the winter,…

No. 9 shot

Get shot of No. 9s…

John says: Too many people hamper their scores by constantly changing chokes and worrying about shot sizes. They seem to forget that No. 8 shot – and certainly 7½ shot – fired through ¼ and ½ choke will cope with just about every target on a Sporting layout. Eights are a good all-round choice but it’s worth taking along a few 7s…

Gun dealer

Should you always buy a gun from a dealer rather than privately?

A: I always think it is a good idea to buy a gun from a dealer rather than from a friend or private person’s advert. Admittedly you will be paying for the dealer’s profit, but this does at least give you the security of buying a gun whose state has been properly assessed and described. Also, if anything…

shooting at dusk

Is it legal for me and my friends to swap guns?

Peter Glenser replies: A: In short, yes absolutely. Assuming you both have valid shotgun certificates there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t do as you ask. The law allows a certificate holder to borrow a shotgun from another certificate holder for up to 72 hours without needing to…

hitting high birds

Trouble hitting high birds?

A: If there is one question I get asked time again, it’s about hitting high birds. The first thing is to know your range; I often see people shooting at things that are out of range. We have a duty to only shoot at what we think is killable. The second thing is to be realistic about your…

Antimony in cartridges

What’s antimony content?

Mike says: Antimony is a metallic element, which, in its pure state, is rather brittle. However, it has a low melting point and mixes readily with lead in small percentages. Lead-antimony alloys are harder than pure lead, and this extra hardness gives shot two desirable qualities. First, since pellets containing antimony tend not to get squashed out of round…

cartridges

The danger of mixing cartridges

A: I once conducted an experiment in order to  find out which calibres and cartridges this risk applies to. Of course, chamber and bore dimensions vary quite widely in large-bore guns, particularly older ones. However, an 8-bore cartridge will lodge in the forcing cone of a 4-bore, allowing a 4-bore cartridge to be loaded on top of it, while…

man shooting

20 golden gun safety rules

Always know where your fellow shooters are Have a quick glance around as you walk onto the stand – it could save a life If anyone hands you a gun (and they’re stupid enough to hand it closed), check to see if the chambers are empty and the barrels clear…

Practice dry gun mount

Want to be a better Shot?

A couple of months ago I floated the suggestion that even a small bit of preparation for the game and wildfowling season might result in a more successful first day out on partridges, pheasants or the flightpond. Doubtless pressure of time has again stymied your best intentions to shoot some clays and to practise those high-incomers and longer…

broken gun

Insurance for shooters – is it necessary?

A: It isn’t, but it would be foolish of you to go shooting without insurance. Accidents when out shooting are more common than you might think and can happen to anyone. It is common practice for sporting agents to ask Guns to provide evidence of their insurance before they shoot. The same applies to shoot captains and hosts on…

rimfire

Is a rimfire safer?

A: The conventional hollow point lead bullet fired by the .22 rifle has stood the test of time and is still immensely popular. However, it is known to have a tendency to ricochet if it hits a flint or stone. The .17 HMR, on the other hand, fires a lighter, polycarbonate-tipped bullet at a considerably higher velocity.…

Poorly poults

The gamekeeper’s constant fight against game bird disease

Travel back far enough and the major components you’d find in a keeper’s arsenal were gin traps, snares and a bottle of strychnine. Over time the gins were replaced by fen traps, strychnine removed altogether, and snares modified so they are no longer self-locking. It is true that Larsen traps have been a godsend and of course a shotgun and…

men shooting

Do I need special insurance to go shooting?

Q: Do I need special insurance to go shooting? I’m a bit confused by all this liability stuff… A: I have always thought it completely extraordinary that it is a legal requirement to be insured while driving a car but not while using a gun. But that is the case. That said, no responsible person would ever shoot without…

reloading ammunition

Loading for some friends – is it legal?

A: There is nothing in law that says you may not reload cartridges for other people as a favour. The only proviso is that you must have a firearm certificate that authorises you to possess the cartridge types your friends want you to reload. You must also ensure that the quantity that you intend to reload does not…

Lyme disease in dogs

Are ticks and keds the same?

A: No, they are quite different, though both are found on deer and can be present at the same time. The tick we see in the UK (Ixodes ricinus) can be found on a variety of animals and birds and is most notorious for transmitting Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis, both of which can infect a range of…

stopping a gundog running-in

I want my dog to have his day as a picker-up

A: There is no set procedure for Guns who take their own dogs, and each shoot will have its own policy regarding the collection of dead and wounded game both during and after drives are complete. Therefore it is best to find out from the shoot captain what the expectations for that particular shoot usually are. This certainly applies…

shooting behind combine harvester

Tips for shooting behind the combine

A: I love shooting behind the combine. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity this year, but after practising this discipline for a number of years, I have picked up a tip or two along the way. First, it is always undertaken in good dry weather, so you want to wear light yet protective tops, remembering the dust gets…

reloading a cartridge

Am I using too much powder when I reloading a cartridge?

A reader asked: I see you quote some reload data in your rifle tests but when I load the same weight powder it does not always all go in. What am I doing wrong? Shooting Times’ rifle reviewer and stalker, Bruce Potts had this advice for reloading a cartridge: You are doing…

scope mounts

Should a scope be sitting tight in the scope mount?

A reader asked this question about tight scope mounts: I have fitted a new scope to my .243 stalking rifle and it is very tight in the scope mount. Is this right? I don’t want to over-tighten and damage the scope’s body. Shooting Times’ rifle reviewer and stalker, Bruce Potts had…