Man snap shooting pheasant

Snap shooting pheasant – what am I doing wrong?

John Bidwell says: This one has cropped up in this column before so, at the risk of repeating myself, I will cover the salient points of “snap shooting” again. You must stay alert and totally concentrated. Let your gaze fix a little ahead of the tree line. Assume the ready position with the gun muzzles held high. Trust in…

gundog in cover

What ground cover is the hardest for a gundog to work?

A multi-purpose gundog of any breed should be able to deal with anything that is put in front of it. But depending on what part of the country you live in, or whether you travel to work your dog, it may not come across certain types of cover and develop the different styles that are needed to…

pile of paper

Firearms licensing in the Thames Valley

“What we know from experience is that widespread use of these [Section 7 permits] places an additional administrative demand on the Licensing Department which far from resolving the problem for our licence holders ultimately exacerbates it.” That’s from a letter sent to me by Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Andy Taylor, writing with the advice of the licensing manager Zoey Evans, in February…

Petlog

What to do if your gundog gets lost on a shoot day

Make sure all the dog’s microchip details are up-to-date on the Petlog website  Upgrade to the premium account (£16) and if you have to register your dogs as being lost, Petlog will automatically inform all of their agents such as vets and dog wardens etc. Also, make sure you upload a picture of your dog so it can be…

A lesson shooting overhead clays from behind

  The target The target that Geoff had chosen to look at was an overhead clay from behind – the reversal of an incomer. This target is not only a challenge for the clay shooter, but can also offer a simulation of a woodpigeon hurting over a tall hedge or trees from behind a hide. Geoff…

grey partridges

Golden rules for wild grey partridges

The early results of the GWCT 2016 Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) has caused the organisation concern about chick survival success over the colder months. Sporting Gun writer Dr Roger Draycott, head of advisory at the GWCT, said that by taking part in its PCS and adopting certain conservation measures, farmers and keepers can help more birds survive the winter. Wild grey partridge rules for…

Picker up with gun dogs

What’s a gundog worth?

Last week I started my 2016/17 picking-up season at my regular shoot, near Henley-On-Thames in Oxfordshire. During lunch there was the normal early season grumblings about how much people get paid and how such and such a shoot has increased its daily rate. I never get involved in these conversations, let’s be honest in “normal” life if someone offered…

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…