AYA No.2 28 bore

AYA No.2 28 bore

Spanish gunmaker Aguirre y Aranzabal (AYA) admits that “a true work of art does not simply appear out of thin air”. The more cynical amongst you might chuckle at this seemingly tacit admission that much of the output of its Eibar factory has been inspired by the work of craftsmen – particularly English craftsmen – who came before. This, however, is…

Shooting with choke

Should I change chokes on high bird days?

A: In more recent years it has become fairly standard practice for over-unders to be multi-choked, thereby opening up a dilemma for many shooters about what choke to use. I think this decision is best made by answering the following three questions: what are you going to be shooting, over what distances, and more importantly, with what cartridges? Thinking about the…

Game bird

What makes a game bird fly well on shoot days?

What makes our game birds fly well one day only to perform poorly the next? No one wants low birds that present little challenge and result in an inedible carcass along with a feeling of ‘really, what is the point?’ At the opposite end of the scale, the cruelty of excessive-range shooting is not only unacceptable but leaves a similar…

Pigeon shooting days

Pigeon shooting influenced by Syd Barrett?

There are two difficulties for me in writing this story. Firstly, while readers love tales of everything going wrong, this happens to be an unashamed success. Secondly, while it is immodest to write about one’s own performance, this was so extreme that, like an out-of-body experience, it was not me but someone in my dreams shooting in my…

on grouse moor

How the grouse debate was won

More than two years of hard campaigning by those who wanted to see driven grouse shooting banned has ended in complete failure. Securing parliamentary time for their issue was more than the anti-shooting campaigners dared hope for when they launched their latest petition to ban driven grouse shooting, and their excitement was palpable. The activists’ hopes were dashed however when what seemed…

Will Garfit chooses dream pigeon shooting team

Will Garfit’s dream pigeon shooting team

The first would have to be the late Archie Coats, father of modern pigeon shooting. He was like a sporting father to me as friend, tutor and influence, for better or for worse. He was a superb shot using his Webley 700 boxlock, side-by-side, with nimble footwork, fast reactions and intense concentration for the opportunity of a safe shot at whatever quarry entered…

pheasant drive

What’s better? A big last drive or a big first drive?

Big last drive By Ben Samuelson It shouldn’t really come as any surprise that a lot of shooting folk are also worshippers at the gentle church of cricket. Both involve a lot of very civilised waiting around with the soothing balm of a glass or two of something being applied to ease the pain. Both…

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…

Beretta 690 Field I

Beretta 690 Field I reviewed by Shooting Gazette

It is a natural human instinct to have favourites even when we are told we really shouldn’t. Though you might happily wear a smile and tell your difficult teenage daughter that of course she’s your favourite child as she attempts to shake you down for an extra £20 for the weekend, we all know that if it came down to…

Beaters out in the field

Letter from a fed-up beater

The driven shoot day is a team effort and by no means the least important team consists of the beaters. These men, women, boys and girls turn out in all weathers mostly not for the money but because they enjoy what they do. Beaters not given due consideration However on some shoots it would…

dog sleeping by aga

Should gundogs live in the kitchen or a kennel?

Across the dog-owning fraternity there is one debate that always brings out a strong difference of opinion. Where should the dog(s) live? In the house or in a kennel? And there is usually no fence to sit on. Camps seem pretty divided on the issue and opinions run high as a kite. Google it and you get 11,700,000 results…

Gundog picking up a scent

Gundogs and scent

Scent is truly an act of God. We have no direct access to it, still less any ability to influence it: and yet nothing is more critical to the way our dogs work and the way we choose to handle them. For we see, time and again, how challenges that are almost effortlessly overcome can, in other circumstances, present…

Perazzi Ribless Game

Perazzi Ribless Game

You might be forgiven for heaving a sigh at the sight of yet another Italian over-under on these review pages. But it is rather difficult to ignore the fact our European cousins are responsible for much of the new hardware unleashed upon the sporting world. Unusually, however, this particular Italian over-under owes a significant debt of gratitude to some decidedly British influence.…

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…

A selection of books for shooting families this Christmas

BARKING MAD Two Centuries of Great Dog Stories By Tom Quinn In the shooting world we pride ourselves on the way we enable gundogs to utilise all their natural instincts to help us find, flush, shoot and collect our game. You will never see a happier animal than these working dogs, which have been…

Mobile phones in the field

Do mobile phones have a place in the field?

Crucial phones By Ben Samuelson It was only a couple of generations ago when our late king wouldn’t have seen much use for a mobile phone on a day’s shooting. He took his private train down to his private station, had an excellent morning’s sport, lunch and a quiet hour after before bumbling back to…

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…

Harry Meade

Harry Meade

Things get quieter around mid-October for you what with the end of the eventing season – presumably you chose this career to fit in with the shooting season? “Ha ha… quite right. Optimistically, we think of eventing as a summer sport but realistically we start training again in December and then we get busier the further…

William Asprey of William & Son

5 minutes with… William Asprey of William & Son

How were you introduced to shooting? By my paternal grandfather shooting fir cones in his garden. I really can’t remember what it felt like and I don’t think that I hit anything! At that time it really didn’t make that much of a conscious impression. Where was your first shoot day and do you remember…