PREVIEW: British Shooting Show
The British Shooting Show has enjoyed such growing support over the past few years that it has outgrown its venue. Find out what’s new at the 2018 event
This year has seen some big changes for the British Shooting Show; and when we say big, we mean massive! Over the years, the British Shooting Show has seen a steady growth of support from the global shooting industry, including countryside organisations. This has resulted in an increase in the number of exhibitors attending and record numbers of visitors year after year.
After the 2017 event it was clear that if the British Shooting Show was going to continue its controlled growth, something was going to have to change – and that something was the venue. Stoneleigh Park has been the home of the British Shooting Show since 2013 and has served it extremely well, but the organisers’ visions for its future and the shooting industry’s needs meant that Stoneleigh Park was no longer going to be big enough to host future events.
A new home for the British Shooting Show was going to have to meet certain requirements. It was going to have to offer sizeable, first-rate exhibition facilities and also be easily accessible, not only for UK visitors and exhibitors but also for those travelling from Europe and further afield. The first job was to compile a shortlist of potential venues, and that list was very short indeed. In fact, there was only one name on it: The National Exhibition Centre (NEC), in Birmingham. With its central location, 75% of the UK is within a three-hour drive and, once you arrive, parking at the NEC is free for visitors to the British Shooting Show. If the thought of the UK roads is something that doesn’t fill you with joy, there are 43 direct rail routes from around the country straight into the NEC; with 25% off advanced fares from Virgin Rail, why not leave the car at home and let Virgin Rail take you within two minutes of the entrance to the show? For visitors and exhibitors alike who are travelling from abroad there are 143 direct flights into Birmingham International airport from European destinations, as well as direct flights from the USA and, with the NEC only 90 seconds from the terminal, ease of access to the British Shooting Show from international destinations has never been easier.
Shotguns and shooting accessories
If you’re visiting the show with the intention of purchasing a new shotgun, or perhaps you are buying your very first gun, you will find a host of stands displaying a huge range of major international shotgun brands as well as fine English-crafted sporting guns. Whether you are looking for a Trap gun or a game gun, all the assistance you could possibly need will be on hand from the manufacturers, with skilled gunmakers to help you find the perfect fit.
The British Shooting Show isn’t just about the guns and ammunition. There are a multitude of accessories available for every shooting sport – handmade knives, electronic calls, shooting sticks, clothing and footwear, hearing and eye protection, gunslips and bags – the list of quality accessories for purchase is almost endless.
Gundogs and gamekeeping
The popular gundog trainer Andy Cullen will be holding question and answer seminars and there will be a wealth of gundog demonstrations and clinics held over both days of the show (as well as some fabulous cooking demonstrations and country displays). Get your retail fix and stock up on the things you need at the many trade stalls selling everything you could possibly need to fulfil your doggie needs. Dog-owners should note that dogs aren’t allowed in the NEC.
The Gamekeeping Hall is conveniently located adjacent to the Gundog Hall and, as well as providing the perfect meeting place, it will become a temporary home to suppliers of specialist gamekeeping products and services, including the must-visit NGO stand. Everything from bird health to pest control and trapping supplies will be catered for, along with advice on cover crops and UK laws and best practice.
Rifles, optics and reloading
From new, out-of-the-box factory rifles to the finest specialist custom builds, the choice is almost endless and there are prices to suit every budget. There are rifles for every discipline from pest control and deer stalking here in the UK through to big game rifles for the international hunter, and the target shooting disciplines are also catered for.
Check out all the hardware, discuss the options available and get the latest technical and competition information. Airguns are also well catered for with the latest models and 34 manufacturer have-a-go airgun lines.
Choosing the right scope for your set-up can mean the difference between a kill and a miss, and with over 60 optics brands represented at the show there will be something there for every shooter. For the serious pest and vermin controller there has never been a wider array of thermal and night vision available, with no less than three dedicated dark tunnels in which to test and see just how incredible this technology is.
If you’re a shooter who loads your own ammunition, or you’ve made the decision to take the plunge into the world of hand loading, then the British Shooting Show is the only event of the year where you will find such a range of reloading equipment and components.
Is a hunting safari something that’s on your wish list? These trips are becoming more popular with intrepid hunters who want to experience tracking and hunting game in exotic locations such as the African plains.
The British Shooting Show has more professional international hunting outfitters attending than in any previous year, and with the number of different packages that can be tailored to your specific requirements, you might be surprised at just how affordable the hunting trip of a lifetime could be.
Festival of shooting
What is the appeal of the British Shooting Show? The answer is quite simple – the show focuses on the needs of the gun trade and the needs/wants of the individual shooter. For those of us who get to visit the big trade shows around the world (such as Shot Show in Las Vegas and IWA in Nurumberg) we know how it feels to walk into these venues and have our jaws hit the floor with the sheer expanse of stands and products.
These international shows are not just trade events, but offer a visitor experience. They bring the Wow Factor and that is something that we need to have in this country. The move to the NEC gives the British Shooting Show the venue, and the shooting industry the stage, on which to deliver and present a truly spectacular international shooting show here in the UK.
The show is an opportunity for first-timers to speak to gun experts
There is always a wide range of shooting accessories