Gary Chillingworth reports on the RSN10 Air Arms Memorial Shoot
Gary Chillingworth reports on one of the highlights of the competition year
One of my favourite shoots of the year is the Air Arms RSN10 memorial shoot. This event has become a ‘must do’ competition for the vast majority of HFT shooters, and there is no doubt that it has achieved almost cult status in our little community. The shoot is a memorial shoot in memory of Bob Nicholls; Bob was the founder of Air Arms and the father of the current MD, Claire West.
The event itself is probably the most civilised event of the year. As you arrive, you are ushered into a wonderful clubhouse where bacon rolls and drinks are available. Then, after the safety brief, you are allocated to shoot either the blue or red course – you will shoot both during the day. After you have shot your allocated course, it’s time to return to the clubhouse for lunch and a natter, and when you are fully refreshed, you head out to shoot the other course, then after completing the two courses it’s time for tea.
Now, tea has become a huge tradition for the RSN10 and, to be honest, yes there are sandwiches and sausage rolls, but what there is in huge abundance is cake. There is no better sight then watching a huge throng of hungry shooters sitting down with slabs of chocolate cake and happy faces. As I said, this is probably the most civilised way of shooting HFT in the country today, and I think this concept of shooting plus cake should be expanded.
The actual event was an utter success as usual. The ever-youthful Andy Simpson and his team of minions had spent the week setting out the two, 25-shot courses, and they had done a sterling job. It has to be said that Andy will be a huge loss to the course-setting community. This event was his final swansong because after many years of setting courses for the HFT World Championships, National Championships, Southern Hunters, SiHFT and many others, he has decided to take a well earned rest and I, for one, will miss shooting his creations. I will not miss the tears that I often shed after coming off one of his courses, though. It is rumoured that he drinks the tears of HFT shooters to keep himself young. Personally, I don’t believe this, but it is possible.
The two courses set were the lake course, and the woods. The lake course that we started on was a beast with range traps and a field section that took no prisoners. As you arrived in the field, the first target that you saw was a 40- yard, 25mm lollipop that was 20 feet up a pole. With a wind blowing from left to right this target was a real bumclencher and as you looked through the scope there was a real chance that you could miss the target completely. I was lucky and managed to knock it down, but two groups back was former National champion, Richard Woods, who went to take the shot and as he pulled the trigger, we could all hear the deafening sound of silence as his pellet sailed past the target for a big fat miss. Now, I don’t tell you this to brag about killing the target with my springer, I tell it, purely to poke a bit of fun at Richard and to show how tricky this course was.
The lake section was visually stunning, but was difficult to shoot. When you are in woodland, you can pick a point halfway to the target, rangefind it, then double, and you won’t be far off, but with open water, this isn’t really possible and it makes ranging targets difficult. The woodland course was also difficult. I would tell you more about it, but as it destroyed my score and any chance of winning the trophy, I am desperately trying to block it from my memory because it makes me very sad.
The RSN10 is not just about top shooters, though. It’s about getting everyone together to have fun and shoot and it doesn’t matter if you shoot an Air Arms, Daystate, Steyr, BSA or even SMK – if you love shooting and cake, then you are very, very welcome.
There were some shooters who took to the challenge and showed they were a cut above the rest, and the 2018 winners were as follows:
In the Open Class, Jack Houghtonh won with an HFT 500; in the Ladies, Karen O’Mara was victorious with her Pro-Sport; in the Recoiling, Danny Roff took the title with a TX200HR, and the Veterans was taken (as usual) by Mike Burgess with his FTP900. The .22 was taken by Jason Lockett with his S400, and the Juniors went to Scott Sommerville also with a S400. This is the first time in eight years that all the winners were using Air Arms rifles, and Claire West could not have been happier.
There was also a raffle and a plethora of goodie bags handed out, and the big prize of a HFT 500 was won by Wendover shooter, Simon Marriott.
The RSN10 is a wonderful day out and a fitting memorial to Bob, so if you are going to shoot any events next year, make sure it’s this one.
RIGHT: Simon Marriot the winner of the stunning HFT-500
BELOW: Bob Nicholls was the founder of Air Arms
BELOW: This is the first time Danny Roff has beaten me. I think he was happy
RIGHT: Angus Williams shows that the MPR is still a force to be reckoned with
LEFT: Don Vickers tucks into the bestever chocolate cake