Man with shot load in field

Pellet size and shot load – due an increase?

A: The debate on shot size is always an interesting one and many people, particularly of my father’s generation, grew up shooting nothing but Eley Impax 28gram No.7s at everything. Now I come across lots of people who shoot nothing but 36gram No.4s as their standard load, from September partridge to January pheasants! Cartridges must be fit for purpose The…

practising at a clay ground

Four shooting myths you should ignore

1. Clay practice will improve your gameshooting Practising on clays is something many gameshooters shy away from. Most will wait until the first day or until all has gone wrong before putting in some practice. I have never understood this mentality and it is frustrating listening to some of the excuses for not practising. The most common…

Man experiencing gameshooting problems

Shooting problems in the field – and how to handle them

Mud – foot movement killer Heavy, wet mud is the biggest killer of foot movement, and foot position is the foundation of good shotgun shooting. If it’s difficult to move quickly to take a crossing target out to right or left then it is not worth the bother – you are going to miss because your upper body locks up…

Late-season driven shooting

Late-season driven shooting – how to get the most from it

Driven shooting in December and January is arguably the cream of a season’s sport. The birds are strong, the cover has died down, there is hopefully some cold weather and, of course, there should still be enough birds about to shoot at. Driven shooting may be at its best at this time of the year and the Guns…

shotgun in car

Can I keep a shotgun in my mum’s house?

David says: You need to raise the matter with your licensing department. Somehow I don’t think they’d be happy with such an arrangement. Personally I wouldn’t be too worried about transporting your gun to and from Devon provided you take the standard precautions when the gun is in the car. Another possibility would be for your Mum to get…

Man snap shooting pheasant

Snap shooting pheasant – what am I doing wrong?

John Bidwell says: This one has cropped up in this column before so, at the risk of repeating myself, I will cover the salient points of “snap shooting” again. You must stay alert and totally concentrated. Let your gaze fix a little ahead of the tree line. Assume the ready position with the gun muzzles held high. Trust in…

shooting Guns

10 things that can make or break a shoot day

Makes 1. The Weather: Many Guns prefer a lightly overcast day, a favourable wind with a decent nip in the air. Persistent driving rain all day is enough to break the spirit of the keenest gun. 2. The host: They set the mood for the entire day. A bad host…

gunsafes

Cohabiting? What’s the law on shotgun licences and gunsafes?

A: It always makes practical sense for cohabitees to have each other’s shotguns listed on both their individual certificates. If that is done, there never can be any question about either party having access to the other’s shotguns. The same holds true for Section 1 Firearms but then both parties will have to satisfy the “good reason” test…

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.…