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…

working spaniel

There’s more to picking-up than meets the eye

The aim of a good picker-up is not just to come back to the gamecart laden with dead birds, but also to find those illusive runners and pricked birds. A good picker-up and their team of dogs will make every effort to sweep an area, not leaving any injured or dead birds behind. It takes dedication and determination, as…

Clayshooting spectators

Clayshooting lesson – high, slow-driven clays

Sean Ponting of Widdington Shoot has pretty much been there and got the T-shirt as far as Sporting and FITASC clayshooting goes. He has had 20 years of coaching experience, and has won competitions at county, regional and national level. He has been in the England team 18 times and also captained it. He is a member of The Association of Professional…

venison burger

How to make a venison burger

Ingredients 600g coarsely minced venison 1 red onion, finely chopped 1tsp chopped thyme Sea salt Ground black pepper 1 parsnip 2 carrots 1 celeriac 4 slices blue cheese 4 buns Seasonal salad Mustard Method To make the burgers, mix the mince, onion and thyme together, adding sea salt and ground black…

firearms licensing system

The firearms licensing system could do better

In September 2015 HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published its report into the efficiency and effectiveness of the firearms licensing system. It had the infelicitous title “Targeting the Risk” which rather suggests that legitimate firearms owners are a problem – we aren’t. Moreover it later goes on to talk about its recommendations “all of which are designed to protect the…

Clayshooting tips

Clayshooting tips for the game season

Clay shooting is in full swing, so why is my mind already turning to the new game season in just a few weeks time? Good stead for game As we are based in a rural farming area it’s natural that our members’ attention will now begin to turn towards the coming gameshooting season. The practice they’ve had…

20-bore game guns

Second-hand 20-bore game guns

Browning B725 Hunter 20-bore, target price £1,500 A basic, Grade 1 version of the Browning B725 Hunter may weigh anything between 7lb and almost 7½lb, depending on barrel length (tubes of up to 32in are available) and wood density. And those figures suggest to me that the weight is right for a full day’s comfortable shooting.…

Cleaning a gun

The risks of a dirty gun

A shotgun is an investment that needs to be cared for to look beautiful, but also perform to its full potential. So where do you begin? Does it need to be cleaned after every outing or just when it’s starting to look a bit ropey? What products are best and ultimately, what’s the worst that can happen if a…

Terrier

A closer look at the terrier

There is no doubt that the terrier breeds are the “hard men” of the canine world, ready to take on their quarry above and below ground. Most terrier breeds were developed in Great Britain and Ireland, and before legislation changed, they could be worked for quarry such as rats, rabbits, foxes, mink while traditionally they were also used to…

Grouse counts

Grouse counts with cocker and springer spaniels

There I was stretched out on a sun-kissed beach drinking cold rum and cokes when all of a sudden I could hear a high pitched shrieking – it was my alarm. As I slowly opened my eyes I realised it was 4.30am and I was “back up north” to help out on a couple of days’ grouse counting.…

Remington 1100

Remington 1100 – the best gun I never had

The year 1963 may not seem so long ago, but in truth the world then was rather different to the present day. There was no colour TV, the few computers that existed were laboratory toys, there was no internet or mobile phones, and Britain still had the remains of an empire. In ’63, however, there were some…

fowling

Early season fowling

Having shot my local marshes for numerous years, I have a good understanding of where the best chances lie, depending on the time of year and weather conditions. I decided to put this theory to the test and ventured out with my young dog, Goose, on a marsh that normally…

new dog to picking-up team

How to introduce a new dog to your picking-up team

At this time of the year many of us are looking to either buy a new pup or a slightly older youngster. I tend to look two years ahead as this is roughly the time that it takes for most trainers to get a dog into the shooting field. One…

airgun to control woodies

Five reasons to use an airgun to control woodies

You may never get the large bags you get with a shotgun, but there are numerous advantages to shooting decoyed woodies with an airgun. We’ve listed a few below: When shooting a woodpigeon with an airgun it is best to aim for the head or – if the bird has…

Bob Braithwaite Olympic shooter

A national treasure – Olympic shooter Bob Braithwaite

John Robert (Bob) Braithwaite, sadly lost to us in February 2015, was a legendary trap shooter who represented his country at two consecutive Olympics in the 1960s. A true sporting hero and one of shooting’s great natural talents, his Olympic gold medal is one of the sport’s most romantic stories. Born in 1925, the purely amateur Shot had only…

count grouse

How should we do a grouse count on our moorland?

Our small syndicate has taken on a nice bit of moorland in the Grampian region this year and we have been keeping vermin under control. We would like to have one or two days this summer, but we don't want to overshoot our stock. How should we go about doing…