DREAM PROJECT!

Meet Ja­son Perry and Lewis Col­son – and see how they’re turn­ing a great idea into a work­ing re­al­ity

Airgun World - - Bullseyes -

For me, Au­gust bank hol­i­day usu­ally means a long week­end of ‘rough­ing it’ with fam­ily and good friends. Three nights in a tent or ham­mock in an or­chard, at our friend’s land. Pol­ish­ing off some ales whilst cook­ing over a roar­ing open fire; the men plinking down the bot­tom end of the field, and the kids fly­ing around on quad bikes at the top end – a per­fect sum­mer week­end.

What I didn’t know was that 2017’s Au­gust bank hol­i­day would be the fuel for an idea; a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to make a real dif­fer­ence not only for the area we live in, but also for this won­der­ful sport of air­gun shoot­ing that three like­minded friends and I have grown to love over the years.

This year, Lewis Col­son, with full sup­port from Hazel the landowner, and I de­cided that we would take ad­van­tage of the tree lay­out and cre­ate our­selves a 35-yard range, shaded from the sun and pro­tected from the wind, where we could plink away safely.

CLEAR­ING

We got to work one Satur­day morn­ing, af­ter arm­ing our­selves with a chain­saw and hedge trim­mer, and set about mak­ing a clear­ing. We fol­lowed the tree line and cleared the floor area all the way along the bot­tom edge of the land that borders the or­chard, and five hours later we had a 35m long x 2m wide, 2m high tun­nel, with a large fallen-tree back­stop at the bot­tom, a two-per­son shoot­ing ta­ble at the top, dis­tance mark­ers from 10 yards to 35 yards, and an ar­ray of spin­ners, re­set­ting an­i­mal sil­hou­ettes, a tar­get-card holder and any­thing else we could find to shoot at. As you can imag­ine, we spent pretty much the rest of the week­end on our range, and know­ing we had cre­ated a safe struc­tured en­vi­ron­ment got us think­ing … ‘If we can cre­ate this in five hours, what could we do for the sport and the com­mu­nity if we had a proper plan?’

A week later, Lew and I took a day trip to A Dif­fer­ent Cal­i­bre Ltd, an in­door range run by a friend of mine in Letch­worth Gar­den City. The idea was to see what a pro­fes­sion­ally run air­gun range looked like but maybe take away a few ideas. Not only did we get all of that – and Lew bought him­self his first PCP – but by the time we left we were both buzzing with mo­ti­va­tion to start look­ing into tak­ing our idea for­ward. Fun­nily enough, the whole of the hour and a half drive home was spent throw­ing ideas at each other about set­ting up our own club; we al­ready had a per­fect club site, with a bonus; Lew’s 4½- acre field can

house a 100-yard range, a club house, park­ing … and still have loads of room left to hold rally week­ends with camp­ing and com­pe­ti­tions. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less! We also knew that we couldn’t do it alone, so we en­listed two other pals to join us on this epic jour­ney.

James Faulkner – a mem­ber of Mer­lin’s com­mit­tee has of­fered a wealth of ‘club’ knowl­edge, and Shane Bor­rett – A welder fab­ri­ca­tor who is cre­at­ing a mass amount of FT and plinking tar­gets for us.

NO STIGMA

That was it! The touch pa­per had been lit and we were off. The ‘606 Air­gun Club’ was to be­come a re­al­ity; some­where like-minded en­thu­si­asts could come to­gether in a safe, struc­tured en­vi­ron­ment, share best prac­tice, hone skills, prac­tise tech­niques, and gen­er­ally have a great time whilst pro­mot­ing the sport and help­ing to re­duce the stigma around air­gun abuse. We look to of­fer plenty of shoot­ing va­ri­ety to cater for a wide range of skills and ex­pe­ri­ence, and we hope to be able to train new­com­ers in safe gun han­dling, ef­fec­tive tech­niques in breath­ing, trig­ger po­si­tion, stances, and how to re­spect air­gun law.

So far, we have had over­whelm­ing sup­port from within the in­dus­try, friends, fam­ily, lo­cal busi­nesses, and Mer­lin’s Archery and Air­gun Club, the clos­est club to us, has also of­fered their sup­port. Chris Win­k­less, another close friend from Wigston Signs and Graph­ics, has cre­ated a club Logo for us, and will cater for all our club­house and range safety sig­nage. Nikki from Cus­tom­tar­gets.com has been very sup­port­ive and we are look­ing to work closely with Le­ices­ter­shire Airguns so that we can of­fer club guns to rent for new­com­ers to try as well.

As you can ap­pre­ci­ate not ev­ery­thing is free so we are also look­ing for do­na­tions/ spon­sor­ships to help with start-up costs.

Ja­son and Lewis at the gate­way to their dream project.

Top end of the first range.

Club Sec­re­tary Shane weld­ing a tar­get.

Club site lay­out plan.

Landowner, Hazel.

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