Throck ‘n’ roll

Join the club! says reader, An­drew Collins, and goes on ex­plain the ad­van­tages at his own, Throck­mor­ton Shoot­ing

Airgun World - - Contents -

I’ve been pas­sion­ate about shoot­ing since I was 14 - I’m now 76. In those days, it was 7s 6d (37½p) for a li­cence from the post of­fice and 15 shillings (75p) for a box of 25 Eley Grand Prix car­tridges. Sadly, a road traf­fic ac­ci­dent at the age of 21 put the shoot­ing on hold and me in hos­pi­tal for two years, and mi­nus one leg and my right eye, but I did gain the staff nurse on the ward as my wife.

Af­ter sev­eral years con­va­lesc­ing and re­build­ing my life, I re­turned to the sport and taught my­self to shoot left-handed. It’s not as dif­fi­cult as you might think. Strut­ting about on a tin leg, and lat­terly on crutches as os­teoarthri­tis set in, I was able to shoot on equal terms with my col­leagues, and I would like to think that I be­came quite com­pet­i­tive.

In the last cou­ple of years, things went down­hill and I was un­able to lift the gun, and this co­in­cided with some pretty hefty surgery which left me with the plumb­ing on the out­side, but my gun club didn’t let me drift into a cor­ner. They per­suaded me to try air ri­fle shoot­ing on an FT/HFT course that was newly in­tro­duced. What a sur­prise! I had al­ways felt that air ri­fle shoot­ing was the pre­curser to real shoot­ing, but how wrong can you be! The op­po­site is true. Apart from miss­ing the big bang, the tech­ni­cal­ity be­tween the two is like com­par­ing chess to draughts. The mil dots, hold-over, hold-un­der, windage, fall off, and so on, were terms I had never con­sid­ered, and the en­thu­si­asm of the other mem­bers was in­fec­tious.

Back to the ob­sta­cles. I was by now to­tally wheel­chair-bound and had to con­sider how to get around the course. For­tu­nately, Alan, our

“what do you need to en­joy this won­der­ful and af­ford­able sport? Let’s start with the ob­vi­ous”

club owner, had set it out to be to­tally ac­ces­si­ble, and with an off-road mo­bil­ity scooter I was able to trans­fer from chair to chair, and with the help of a swivel seat, a light­weight, car­bon-fi­bre, pho­to­graphic tri­pod with a suit­able head, plus an ever-help­ful wife to lift the gun into place, away we went. No, I can’t adopt the recog­nised shoot­ing po­si­tions: i.e. ly­ing down, sit­ting and stand­ing, but who cares. I make up the rules as I go along, safety is paramount, and no one is in­con­ve­nienced.

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

So what do you need to en­joy this won­der­ful and af­ford­able sport? Let’s start with the ob­vi­ous – you need a gun. I have no strength to cock a springer, so I chose a pre-charged pneu­matic (four, in fact) plus a good-qual­ity scope. Ask around, try a few. I was given valu­able ad­vice by ex­pe­ri­enced mem­bers about what was most suit­able.

You also need some­where to use it. Plink­ing in the gar­den, if it’s big enough, with tin cans is all very well, but neigh­bours can get anx­ious with guns around, and should a pel­let ever cross into their ter­ri­tory, you are in se­ri­ous trou­ble. The best way is to find an air ri­fle shoot­ing club where you will not only en­joy mix­ing with like-minded peo­ple, but also have the fa­cil­ity to shoot in a pro­fes­sion­ally set up en­vi­ron­ment. The club I be­long to is run by a team of peo­ple headed by Alan and Sandy Bew­ley, who do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to make us feel at home.

The club caters for air­guns and clay-pi­geon shoot­ing, and is set in a beau­ti­ful wood­land area. Air­guns are catered for ev­ery other Sun­day through­out the year, and dur­ing the sum­mer months is open on a Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon un­til early evening. The charge: £5.00 per day on Sun­days and £3.00 for the Wed­nes­day plink­ing range. Fill­ing fa­cil­i­ties and re­fresh­ments are avail­able (Sun­days) and the ba­con butties are some­thing to write home about.

LOADS OF LANES

There are 30 lanes de­signed for FT/HFT shoot­ing, and 15 are set up each Sun­day.The lay­out is de­signed to be ‘loosely’ HFT rules, and is run as a friendly com­pe­ti­tion. The set-up team work hard to or­gan­ise var­ied set of tar­gets to meet all shooter lev­els; some peep­ing from be­hind tyres, some up in the trees and oth­ers up to 50 yards. dis­tant. Be­lieve me, it can be quite chal­leng­ing. The paths are laid down with chip bark, and the shoot­ing points are kept dry with more of it, so the lay­out is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble for wheel­chair com­peti­tors

It is ex­cit­ing to see so many young­sters com­ing along with their dads and mums, and Alan has a va­ri­ety of guns avail­able, plus the ex­per­tise to in­tro­duce shoot­ing un­der qual­i­fied su­per­vi­sion.

A GREAT EX­PE­RI­ENCE

This has been a real ex­pe­ri­ence for me. I hon­estly thought my shoot­ing days were over, but they have only just be­gun. Thanks to a lot of en­cour­age­ment and help from a de­voted wife, a fab­u­lous club where ev­ery­thing is done to al­low equal op­por­tu­ni­ties for all, and a won­der­ful set of ‘guys and gals’ who see you as a per­son to com­pete with – de­spite be­ing a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent, my life is full. May it go on for a long time yet, and I would en­cour­age any­one who is dis­abled to go along to a club or shoot­ing range and give it a go. You have noth­ing to lose and a whole lot to gain.

You could start by com­ing to see us at Throck­mor­ton Shoot­ing in the Vale of Eve­sham. Give Alan or Sandy Bew­ley a call on 07889 469285 or look up their web­site for more de­tails. www. throck­mor­ton­shoot­ground.co.uk and be pre­pared for a warm wel­come. I

Be­low: An­drew and his ‘ever-help­ful’ wife, Ruth, en­joy the su­perb lay­out at Throck­mor­ton. Above: Dawn over Throck­mor­ton. Fa­cil­i­ties like this could also be the dawn of a whole new shoot­ing life for dis­abled peo­ple.

Left: No short­age of va­ri­ety and chal­lenge, here! Be­low: The friendly mem­bers of Throcky make full use of the ze­ro­ing range.

Left: Wheel-power and de­ter­mi­na­tion! An­drew has plenty of both.

Above: The ba­con butties make for fine din­ing at Throck­mor­ton ranges.

Above: When you have set­tings like this, an in­ter­est­ing course is guar­an­teed.

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