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,…

William Powell Perseus

Three second-hand game guns worth looking at

ATA Arms Lightweight Field The late and much respected shooting writer Gough Thomas expressed the opinion that the ideal weight for a game gun to shoot 1oz of shot was 6lb, while 6lb 6oz was right for 1 1/16oz loads. The book in question – Shotguns & Cartridges for game and clays – was first published…

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…

Kennel cough vaccination for dog

My dog hates having the kennel cough vaccine!

Neil says: Kennel cough is a bad name really. Most of the affected dogs that we see have never been near a kennel but have caught it in the park, on the street or at a training class. Or even at a shoot! The causal agent, Bordetella bronchiseptica, is airborne and, if it lands on the…

Lincoln Vogue 20-bore game gun

Lincoln Vogue 20-bore game gun

Based on a limited edition shotgun with the same name from the early 1980s, the new version of the Lincoln Vogue over-and-under game gun is placed in the sub-£1,000 sector of the market. But what sets it apart from competitors? Lincolns have been built by F.A.I.R. (Fabbrica Armi Isodoro Rizzini) since 1971. The company prides itself on…

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…

Winchester Model 23

Second-hand guns for gamekeepers and clayshooters

Winchester Model 23 Side-by-side classes in major sporting contests don’t seem to be as popular as they were, which is a pity because they formed a friendly link between clay and gameshooting. Nevertheless, using a side-by-side for club Sporting targets can be great fun, as well as sharpening up the reflexes ready for the autumn. Of course,…

Remington Spartan

The super cheap gun in my fantasy gunroom

To me the Baikal is in the same league as a 1940s prefab or a 1950s Ford Popular. The prefab gave ordinary folks a taste of living in a dry, well-designed, warm house with an indoor toilet, a bathroom and a fridge, while the dear old Popular, with its crude side-valve engine and cart-spring suspension, gave working…

pigeon in field

The myth of pigeon pattern

As you would expect, I spend a lot of time watching pigeons, from picking up flightlines to trying to find their favourite field at any given time of year. I get plenty of opportunity to watch birds on the ground, and to observe how they cover the ground while feeding. After 50 years of doing this, I can…

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…

Gundogs

Dogs in the beating line need to be the best of all

If you were to look at the hierarchy of gundogs in the shooting field, you would more than likely consider dogs that work in the beating line at the bottom of list. But, in fact, they probably need to be the best trained of all the gun dogs in the field and they certainly work the hardest. All…

Cogswell & Harrison Windsor game gun

Cogswell & Harrison Windsor game gun

Cogswell & Harrison (C&H) is a company with a wealth of history. It can be traced back to 1770 and is the oldest gunmaking firm to have evolved out of London. I use the word “evolved” because C&H has gone through many changes in its long history. More so since the mid-20th century and is now owned…

Baikal over and under

My first gun – a Baikal single-barrel 12-bore

Strictly speaking my Baikal single-barrel 12-bore was not my first shotgun. That honour goes to a BSA Snipe, a single-barrel shotgun given to me by my cousin Geoff Hoyle. He was a target pistol shooter of some renown, an editor of a target-shooting magazine and really wasn’t that interested in shotguns. He generously passed the Snipe on to me as…

airguns

Controlling rabbits with firearms certificated air rifles (FAC)

What’s the best way to approach rabbit control? That depends on a considerable amount of factors, including habitat, land use, neighbouring land, and so on, for each job. On very few occasions can you rely on just one method to control rabbits where a landowner will be satisfied. This year, I have been using my…

grouse moor

Protecting grouse moors

With around 75 per cent of the world’s heather moorland located in the UK, tied with the fact that heather moorland habitat is in a more critical condition than the rainforests, it is clear that conservation and positive management of the moors to maintain this diverse habitat is vital for its survival. Continuing the overwhelming efforts of the previous generations…

Sauer 404

The Sauer 404 bolt-action rifle

The 202, the predecessor of the 404 was launched in 1993 and was seen as one of the best rifles around. However, the new 404 has many mechanical improvements over the 202, one being the safety catch. When you push the safety catch up to make the rifle “live”, you are physically cocking the rifle. Moving the safety catch…

Labradors in pickup

Fruit-loving Labradors

Neil says: Clever boy indeed to be skinning his bananas himself! Patience with food such as this is unusual in Labradors. Yes they will eat anything. A Labrador patient of mine recently made a valiant attempt to eat the entire contents of the coal bunker. It took three days of enemas to get it all out. You could say a “miner” issue…

AYA No 1 action

The AYA No. 1: the best gun I never had

When I edited the very first issue of Sporting Gun, back in 1977, I asked Fred Buller of Chubbs of Edgeware, then one of the country’s leading gunsmiths, to nominate the best new gun for a newcomer on a limited budget. Without hesitation, he recommended the AYA Yeoman. In the era it was a tough but well-balanced, sweet-handling side-by-side boxlock –…

Miroku Universal MK60 engraving

Three secondhand Sporters

Miroku MK60 Universal Grade 5 In the 1980s a type of gun for the Sporting disciplines was just evolving. All too many Continental manufacturers were trying to palm us off with slightly modified trap guns, while their game guns were too light and often too tightly choked, and skeet guns were too open-choked and not nearly steady…

Airgun pellets

Picking the perfect airgun pellet

The airgun pellet is an important link between the shooter and the target. It can make the difference between Olympic gold or bronze. For most airgunners it can just mean the difference between a hit or a miss, but that’s equally important as Olympic glory, especially when you are hunting. Pellets come in four main calibres (sizes): .177; .20;…