Air rifle ranges open around the country – why they’re a great idea and where you can go right now
Where to hone your skills or start airgunning
Garden airgunning is all very entertaining and good practice – but you need to have a decent sized garden for it.
The alternative is to go to an air rifle range. We’ve picked out some around the country that welcome newcomers, offer tuition, competitions and a way to meet fellow airgunners. However at many you will need to book so it’s worth ringing up beforehand to check what’s happening.
Matt Clarke, editor of Sporting Gun comments: “Airguns are the gateway to our sport and getting out on the range or joining a club is a way of expanding your horizons. Here you will meet like-minded people, improve your marksmanship and make some useful friends. Making contacts could also help get you a much-coveted permission, enabling you to get out in the field with your air rifle.
“If you don’t have a garden then a range is essential for you to practise your airgunning skills. Even if your backyard is big enough to use for “plinking” a trip down to your local shooting gallery will improve your skills because it offers some friendly competition. Being able to shoot under pressure from fellow airgunners is a valuable skill in the field as well as in a Hunter Field Target (HFT) competition.
“Even experienced shooters can benefit from a trip to the range. Nothing will highlight sloppy technique more than target shooting with a springer. The adverse recoil of the spring piston will soon help you hone your skills and this is an indirect (and cheaper) way of improving your marksmanship with a full-bore rifle. There are so many benefits to going to your local airgun range and it’s also a lot of fun. “
Airgun expert Mat Manning and Shooting Times contributor advises: “Purpose made ranges are fantastic places to shoot your airgun and to learn to be a better, safer shot. They offer shooting over a greater distance than most people can achieve in their garden, and most feature a huge variety of different targets and sturdy benches from which to shoot – prefect when setting up your air rifle. Just as importantly, ranges and clubs provide a valuable opportunity to meet, make friends with and learn from like-minded people.”
Air rifle ranges
At the time of writing here are the air rifle ranges that are open again with COVID-19 restrictions in place. We’ll keep them updated as we know more.
The club is now open again with social distancing. If you’re looking for a place to plink then you can choose from 22 acres of open meadowland, five acres of woodland or the covered areas if it’s raining. The plinking range goes out to 70 yards for those who want to practice field targets and long range shooting. Membership gives you access for 365 days a year from dawn to dusk and costs £110. Children go free.
Pete has been shooting air rifles since he was a youngster and has represented the England shooting team internationally. He is passionate about air rifles and keen to share his enthusiasm and knowledge with everyone visiting.
Bring your own air rifle and have fun plinking, zeroing and practising on the outdoor range where a range of knock-down and reactive targets are provided. The facility offers pay and play but you’ll need to book.
Try the Sharp Shooter range, a speed shooting target system with a digital LED clock which will definitely challenge your competitive edge.
You can hire an air rifle here or bring your own and the ground also does repairs. Shooters are challenged by the selection of reflex targets which spin, buzz and flash once you hit them.
A great place to start airgun shooting. An introduction to airgunning is about an hour long, includes a safety briefing and then learners are taken out on the covered ranges. The key elements of shooting an air rifle are covered.
A safe two acre shooting ground that welcomes all ages and abilities in a friendly club atmosphere. Field target and HFT courses, 40 knock down targets each. Iron plate action shooting and pistol plinking range.
Well-equipped indoor and outdoor ranges on offer. You don’t have to be a member to shoot here but if you plan on visiting a few times then it will definitely save you money. Membership starts at £40 annually.
Try the full distance HFT course or do a spot of zeroing on the plinking range.
Recommended by airgun writer Mat Manning who shoots here “but not as often as I’d like”. The range offers all-weather zeroing, plinking, practice and competition shooting with covered firing points. Twelve lanes are designed for all disciplines and levels of experience.
North of England
Three ranges are available. Range one is around 20 yards, range two out to 55 yards with some targets out to 90 yards. Range three is still under development but currently is a 10m range for air pistols with the plan that it will feature wind-out targets.
You can use any of the on-site ranges but you will need to bring your own air rifle. Range fees start at £4.