Which lead-free airgun pellets would you recommend?

Q: After all the talk about shotgun shooters moving away from lead shot, I feel inspired to try using lead-free pellets in my airgun. Are there any brands you can recommend, and should I expect them to perform differently? A: Many of the best airgun pellet manufacturers, such as JSB,…

VW Tiguan review

VW Tiguan review – the ideal family and country vehicle despite the tyres

A country-based VW Tiguan review Since its introduction in 2007, the Tiguan has proven a popular vehicle for the modern 2.4-children family.Normally associated with the school run or a weekend trip to a National Trust property, the latest version could tick a few Shooting Times boxes. So I’ve done a…

end of high birds

Is this the end of high birds?

Could the ruling on lead mean the end of high birds? In the early 1990s, when we had a voluntary phase-out of lead for shooting over wetlands, my old mate Charles Nodder and I had a little try with some steel cartridges out on the Medway mud. Being young and…

Howa Contractor rifle

Howa Contractor SP rifle combo

The Howa Contractor SP rifle combo A growing number of manufacturers are enticing us with deals that combine rifle, scope and sound moderator in one package. These include essential items from top brands but all from one supplier. This has the advantage of not only offering a big saving in…

training a gundog to hold a line

How to train your gundog to hold a line

At a recent gundog training session, all of my dogs were running well, handling and stopping, hunting hard and generally being very pleasing. However, the ground was a little different to what they’re used to. The ground I was on was much more unforgiving. It had small gullies, ditches and…

Scottish roe review 2020

Despite COVID-19, figures for the Scottish 2020 list are impressive. From more than 260 roe heads presented, 232 were awarded CIC medals — 61 golds, 65 silvers and 106 bronzes. An astounding 19 heads achieved a score in excess of 150 CIC points, the level considered to be the benchmark…

dog raw bones

Is it safe to give your dog raw bones to chew?

Is it safe to give my dog raw bones to chew? This is one of those subjects where opinions differ. Some dogs will chew bones their whole lives and never experience a problem. Others will require emergency surgery after being given only one bone. The complications of giving a dog…

browning a covey

How top Shots minimise misses

Looking out of my window at a big cock bird picking his way down a hedge, just beyond my garden, it strikes me that I shot fewer days this season than in any other since childhood. In truth, it showed. Rather than getting into my stride, I frequently found myself…

Rifle shooting

Vintage rifles can still be viable

There are historical and legal reasons for the decline in interest in vintage rifles in this country. When I was a child, to have a modest collection of sporting and military rifles was not an uncommon thing for a country gentleman. My father had only a passing interest, but owned…

Land Rovers

Why Land Rovers are hard to beat

During my childhood spent getting in the way at shoots, there was always a race to be the first to jump into the Land Rovers and secure the bumpiest ride to the lodge. We would eschew the comforts of the various Isuzus and Toyotas in favour of the rock-hard benches…

pheasant shooting

How to tackle January pheasants

Many of the best Shots whose opinions I most respect won’t shoot a pheasant in October. For the very lucky, August and September are for grouse, October is for partridges and only in November do they start thinking about pheasants. By the time January comes round, it is supposed that…

perfect Labrador

How can we breed the perfect Labrador?

The Labrador retriever was first recognised by the Kennel Club as a breed in 1903. It was originally known as the St John’s dog or lesser Newfoundland dog. The breed was in Newfoundland in the 1700s and imported to England in the 1800s. When I was researching its origins, I…

Browning B15 Beauchamp

Browning B15 Beauchamp

Our verdict on the Browning B15 Beauchamp In the world of gunmaking, you have to accept that the breechloading shotgun design was perfected at the turn of the past century. Very little is new or groundbreaking in mechanical design. The biggest change has been the way in which guns are…

hunted by a bloodhound

What’s it like being hunted by a bloodhound?

I have lost count of the times random and faceless animal rights devotees have, on social media, offered a challenge for me to “get shot at and see how I like it” or “imagine I was the one being chased by a pack of ‘dogs’ for miles across country”. To…

forward allowance

Why do you miss when shooting?

You will probably have heard it at some point on a clay ground from the back of the cage: “You’re behind it, mate.” While it is meant well, there is little more irritating than this kind of unsolicited comment. Another supposedly self-evident truth that is trotted out repeatedly on a…

Sauer 100 Classic XT

Sauer 100 Classic XT synthetic

The Sauer 100 Classic XT synthetic is designed as a no-nonsense practical sporting arm and the XT models are the entry-level rifles — offering value but with the Sauer quality. Alternative models have walnut or synthetic stocks, with classic Sporter stock arrangements or stainless steel finishes too. Perhaps the adjustable…

Fieldsports

How does the public perceive our sport?

Public perception of fieldsports At the age of 11, Robin Marshall-Ball was walking through a Welsh village with his Midland 20-bore under his arm when a police car drew up and asked him what he was doing. Robin explained that he was on his way to shoot pigeon on a…

shooters to pay for Chris Packham

How will the new BBC guidelines on impartiality affect Chris Packham and Wild Justice?

Things are changing at the BBC. The new director-general, Tim Davie, recently issued strict guidelines about how ‘colleagues’ should avoid using social media in a manner that undermines the corporation’s due impartiality. That word ‘colleague’ is highly significant. In the past, freelancers under contract to the BBC have led a…

Can I load ammunition for a friend?

Q:  I enjoy loading my own ammunition for my .223 and .243 rifles. I have been asked to do some reloading for a friend. Is this legal and would I need to inform my firearms enquiry officer (FEO)? The law on reloading A: There is nothing in law that says…

lightweight 20-bore shotgun

Is a 20-bore better than a 12-bore for long, walked-up days?

The proposition was put to me recently that the ideal gun for walked-up shooting is a lightweight 20-bore side-by-side shotgun. It got me thinking, in these days where 20-bore mania is still gripping the nation, what is the enduring appeal of the Victorian ladies’ gun to the strapping six-footers who…