DAD AND HIS LAD
Tim Finley and son experience the delights of a proper shooting club
Shooting in your back garden is fine, as long as it’s done safely, of course, but I cannot recommend enough for shooters to join an airgun shooting club. I joined one in the 1980s and never looked back. Shooting clubs have come a long way since I started, and I wanted my son George to experience a proper, professional club environment with his new HW30 S spring rifle. The South Yorkshire Shooting Club is such a place, so I booked a couple of lanes as a non-member. The club has 16 indoor lanes, and even has its own café – parking is free and it’s open seven days a week. It’s all very civilised indeed. The comfortable café area leads into the club’s premier 33-yard long, six-lane airgun shooting range, fitted out with a whole host of metal targets, electronic moving paper target holders, even CCTV systems to check out where your pellets are hitting and there are comfortable benches and seats to shoot from.
I liked the paper system because it is manually operated so you can set the zero where you need, and on the back wall of the big range below the viewing window, there’s an airgun trajectory information sheet – very useful and informative. Stairs then lead up to a new, benchrest-style, 33-yard range, and that’s where we were booked into.
The club offers a taster session for people wanting to get into shooting, so if you’ve never even shot before you can get a feel for airgun shooting in a very safe, controlled way. It’s a £35 one-off fee for adults, and £30 for juniors aged nine-plus, for a one-hour session with a range marshal giving instruction on the skills of becoming a competent airgun shooter. They go for nine years of age because by then, children should be able to sit at the shooting benches at SYSC and control a rested gun. George is ten, so it was all good to go for us.
After a taster session, you can choose to become a member, the cost of which is £55 a year for an adult – juniors pay £50.
Once a member, you are entitled to use all the club’s facilities and there’s always someone at SYSC. Booking a shooting lane for an hour costs £8, and it does get very busy. Air cylinders are provided for PCPs, and to hire a rifle costs another £8 an hour, but not for supervised juniors – their club gun hire is free. This is another way in which SYSC actively goes out of their way to get youngsters into shooting. Well done, I say! I could come back with George to book a PCP for him to shoot, even as a non-member.
Downstairs, next to the gun shop area, they also have a four-lane, 13-yard pistol range. Two of the lanes have Olympic rifle and pistol target set-ups, and the other two lanes have metal targets for a bit of ‘fast-fire fun’ with BB CO2 pistols. I liked the look of that, being a big
I know we were at a shooting range. but I insisted on George wearing eye protection.
George loves the shooting range.