Dylan Williams, founder of Royal Berkshire Shooting School, tells you all you need to know about the upcoming Handicap Challenge
What is the Handicap Challenge?
It is an open, handicapped, 100 target, English Sporting championship held over 11 weeks, with the course built to a “par” score of 94 ex-100.
The course, set by Royal Berkshire Shooting School (RBSS) instructors Robert Cross and Steven Turner, will include the renowned high tower as well as theexciting grouse sequence.
The Handicap Challenge is a collaboration between the RBSS and Time Inc, publishers of Sporting Gun, Shooting Times, Shooting Gazette, as well as other selected sponsors.
Standard Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPSA) rules apply including: no coaching during the competition, hearing and eye protection is mandatory and using a maximum 28g cartridge only.
When and where does it take place and how much does it cost?
The competition runs from 2 February to 22 April 2017, with the final being held on 2 May. All the shoots will be held at RBSS from Monday to Saturday. It will cost £49 per person and you are welcome to either bring your own cartridges or purchase at the shooting school.
Usually the prizes in competitions are won by a superstar clay shot, so why should I enter?
You don’t need to be George Digweed to win a prize – although you might see him taking part. You don’t even need have any experience of clayshooting. The handicap system means that everyone stands a chance of winning some fantastic prizes, such as the Browning Heritage shotgun worth £7,500, or a Land Rover experience day courtesy of Stratstone. At the end of each week (each Saturday), regardless of the number of the week’s competitors, there will be a Top Gun prize of £150, £75 for the runner-up and 250 Gamebore cartridges for third place. You could also win a bottle of Taittinger champagne if you are in the top squad.
Can I do a round with my mates?
Yes. What is more, all squads of four people shooting together as a group will be entered into the “Taittinger Challenge” with the highest scoring four combined scores, with handicap, receiving a bottle of Taittinger champagne each.
Do I have to bring my own gun and cartridges?
No. You can borrow a gun from RBSS free of charge and buy cartridges on the day. Safety equipment, such as eye and hearing protection will be provided. Of course, you can bring your own cartridges, but there is 28g load limit. Fibre wads are preferred, but not essential.
Can I shoot an extra round on the day if I wish?
Yes, but it is always best to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Also, you can enter the competition as many times as you like.
Where can I see my scores?
Scores will be entered on the master scoreboard on the RBSS website and the Shooting UK website, so you can see where you rank. If you start to go down the rankings, then have another go to see if you can improve your score!
Do I have to be a member of the CPSA to enter and do I need insurance?
You will be covered by the RBSS insurance, so no need to have your own insurance and you don’t have to be a member of the CPSA to shoot the competition.
I see there is a cup for Sporting Gun, Shooting Times and Shooting Gazette, can I enter for all three cups?
No. You can only enter the competition for one magazine. However, there are unlimited entries for that title. Naturally, we would say enter under the Sporting Gun banner and do us proud! The winner will be deemed as the highest reader score with a handicap and will receive a trophy.