GO MAD IN PRESTON!
Lee Maddon tells us about something truly special custom built for airgunners of all kinds
It all started when a few friends and I came down to my parents’ rural smallholding to practise shooting targets in the field behind my father’s Asbo Exhausts workshop. We soon recognised that there was huge potential for an outdoor air rifle range in the one- acre plot, due to its ease of access, and the fact that no similar facilities exist within a 30-mile radius, so my parents and I formed a partnership to create MadAir.
We employed the services of a highly respected planning consultant to work with Wyre Borough Council and obtain the necessary planning permission to develop the green-field site, and erect a building alongside the existing Asbo Exhausts unit. There were many hoops to jump through, including obtaining environmental and ecological reports from various agencies, but we worked tirelessly with Wyre Council to meet and exceed their criteria, and eventually, we were granted planning permission.
We studied other indoor and outdoor ranges, up and down the country, and looked at their best elements and their shortfalls, and we talked with dozens of air rifle enthusiasts to find out what they wanted and expected from an ideal air rifle range. We collated all this information to create the MadAir Experience.
I built the range at weekends, over a two-month period, with help from friends and family members and a very large excavator, and we opened for business on Saturday, May the 6th 2016. We’ve seen month-on-month growth ever since; we welcome air rifle enthusiasts of all ages, and we’ve hosted corporate events for the likes of Universal Pictures, hen and stag parties, and Scout and Wolf Pack groups of youngsters, most of whom had never held an air rifle before.
Our gun hire facility has proved to be very popular – we currently have around ten guns available for hire at any one time – and the hire package includes pellets, targets, training and as much tea as you can drink. We have a strict health and safety policy and all newcomers are subjected to a strict induction process prior to shooting.
Right from the start, we have had the support and encouragement of Blackpool Air Rifles (BAR) and their effervescent proprietor, Lloyd Schober, who has promoted our venture and whose staff all wear our regalia in the shop – their advertising banner is proudly displayed at MadAir.
Our range is over 70 yards long and 35 yards wide, and is north-facing, so visitors are sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly wind. Our building is 25 metres long, 2.5 metres wide, and it has 24 seats and placemats. We have over 200 targets of all types, including knock-down, spinners, electronic and reactive targets, plus paper target holders at various distances. The targets are repainted twice weekly, and broken or damaged targets repaired or replaced. They are moved around occasionally, as well, to keep our regular clients on their toes. The grass is mown and rolled two or three times a week during the summer months to keep it under control because appearance and image is important to us.
The range is run and maintained by me, with help from Geoff, Shirley and Emily Madden, during the week. They are a massive asset to MadAir because they are able to help when I cannot be there – I still have a day job.
At one side, we have a 10-yard pistol range that has proved very popular, and we also have facilities for prone shooting for competitions etc. Our Thursday ‘Gun Club’ competition is also well supported, and we have great prizes, fabulous banter and anyone is welcome to come along and join in – it is a big conversation point on our popular Facebook page.
One of the appealing features of MadAir is its rural location, and its closeness to nature. When people visit us from the towns and cities, they love to listen to the birds singing in the trees, and enjoy the sight of an owl or buzzard flying high overhead. We are purely a target range, and support wildlife conservation, and occasionally, shooting will stop for a few minutes
to allow a family of partridges or a mother duck and her brood to waddle across to the adjacent watercourse.
Our facilities include tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks. We have ample car parking and toilet facilities for visitors. We have regular visitors from Yorkshire, Cumbria, Scotland and Wales, and we had regular and welcome visits from a family from South Africa, now living in the Lancaster/Morecambe area. Everyone who visits says that we are the by far the best air rifle range they have ever visited, with great facilities and friendly staff.
We are constantly amazed at the huge spectrum of people who have airguns. They range from youngsters to retired people, male and female. The camaraderie between airgun enthusiasts here is remarkable. One young chap who had travelled some distance to MadAir recently, found that his gun had broken after about 10 minutes of shooting. He was about to pack up and go home when the elderly chap shooting next to him asked him what was the matter. When the young lad explained, the elderly chap pulled out his spare rifle from its case and said, “Here, use this one, son.’ A true sportsman!
PLANS AND LOCATION
Our plans for the immediate future involve building a new toilet block, developing a website, and promoting ourselves to an even bigger audience via advertising and social media. A massive thank you from everyone at MadAir to Airgun World, for publishing this feature. MadAir is located on the main A588, ten miles south of Lancaster, M6 Junction 33. We are open every day of the year, except Christmas Day, from 9am until 6pm Shooting sessions £5.00 for 3 hours £10.00 for all day Gun hire (please pre-book to avoid disappointment) From £25.00 for 3 hours all-inclusive
For further information please call or contact us at:- MadAir Outdoor Rifle Range Oak Lea, Head Dyke Lane, Pilling, Preston, PR36SJ
Tel:- Lee Madden 07825 321665 Email:-firstname.lastname@example.org Or find us on Facebook – MadAir Outdoor Air Rifle Range
The local sheep looked on in admiration as we built the main range.
Firing points under construction.
Plenty of targets - and we re-shuffle them, too!
Lloyd from Blackpool Air Rifles has supported us from the start.
Come and see us - you'll be made very welcome, I promise.
Target variety is a feature at MadAir!