Not long ago, it was the new kid on the block but the BSS is now a must-visit, says Ed Wills
A success story – the Great British Shooting Show
It is no secret that running shows and game fairs, in the shooting sector, is a difficult thing to get right. Over the past 20 years, a number of events have struggled and sadly a few have closed. However, the Great British Shooting Show (BSS) which was launched just over a decade ago, has bucked that trend remarkably, with 47 new exhibitors this year.
Some weeks ago, I was out rabbiting with our ferreting writer, Simon Whitehead, who told me that he thinks that, in terms of clothing and kit, it’s a essentially a one-stop-shop. Tom Payne, our pigeon shooter-in-chief, says “the British Shooting Show is about catching up with people after the season’s finished. It’s almost a debrief for our community.”
Important for manufacturers
Luke Davison, who works at the Beretta Gallery in London, pointed out that the show is an increasingly important place for manufacturers to launch shotguns and rifles.
One of the things that always stands out for me is the way the show attracts shooters from every section of society. Last year, on the Shooting Times stand, we met some ferreters, two men who travel regularly to South Africa to shoot doves, as well as a fair few wildfowlers.
Importantly, there is often a contingent who have never held a gun. Even if only five per cent of that group were to go on to take up shooting, it’s a really brilliant thing.
One of the organisers, Steve Morgan, said: “We have the leading manufacturers, distributors and retailers from the UK and overseas and this gives visitors an unparalleled experience when it comes to quality, quantity, choice of guns and shooting-related products.”
He added: “There are some real gems in the line-up for 2020, with exciting launches from Ruag, Leica, and Vortex Optics, to name just a few”. At the more traditional end, visitors will find stands where artisans demonstrate hand-engraving, barrel making and stock making.
One of the reasons that returning show goers are so keen on the BSS is that the exhibitors’ list is meticulously curated. It is well known that John Allison, the show’s managing director, is always on the look out for businesses, of all sizes, that are really going to strike a chord with the average Shooting Times reader.
A last year’s, I met the Knife Sharpener Guy. After a short demonstration, I bought two of his products and haven’t had a blunt blade since.
The arena is the place to be for visitors wanting to enjoy an exciting line up of displays, including Chris Green, the Cornish countryman, who will be demonstrating the art of wildfowling, and award-winning gundog trainer Andy Cullen, as well as game preparation and various cookery displays.
The air rifle range has been increased in size by a whopping 30 per cent for this year’s show, taking it to 60 lanes. These will give visitors the chance to have a go with a variety of air rifles and targets, including the manufacturer lanes where visitors can test-fire a rifle before buying.
I’ll certainly be trying to better the 91/100 that I scored last year and afterwards, you’ll find me in the bar. Hope to see you there.
Come and chat to us
We always enjoy meeting our readers and hearing about how your season went. Come and say hello on stand E10 where you can pick up the latest issue of Shooting Times and take advantage of our 40% off subscription deal, just £21 a quarter, which also comes with a gilet from our friends at Härkila.
The British Shooting Show
Location: NEC, North Avenue, Marston Green, Birmingham B40 1NT
Dates: 14-16 February 2020
Opening times: 9am-4pm daily. Free parking
Tickets: Free for children under 15 years, buy tickets in advance online or call 0844 8737 332