SIM­U­LATED GAME:

Whet your ap­petite for some fast-paced fun

Sporting Shooter - - Contents -

If, like me, you are al­ready hav­ing with­drawal symp­toms af­ter the end of the game sea­son, it might be worth con­sid­er­ing a sim­u­lated day on the clays. For a frac­tion of the cost of the real thing, you get a re­al­is­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a big driven day with the added ben­e­fit that, as it’s pre­dom­i­nantly a spring and sum­mer ac­tiv­ity, the weather is usu­ally rather bet­ter.

I joined a team on one such sim day, run on the out­skirts of the beautiful city of Bath by the Bath Shoot­ing Com­pany (BSC). Priced at £145, it’s not the cheap­est but it’s also nowhere near the most ex­pen­sive (there are some days be­ing ad­ver­tised for up to £300 or more per per­son which for some might be a lit­tle on the high side).

We ar­rive at a rather pleas­ant pub for a ba­con roll break­fast. The group of Guns is a mixed bag from dif­fer­ing back­grounds as is of­ten the case on sim days and it looks as if we are in for a good day. The or­gan­is­ers Matthew Cole and James Bryan en­sure we all get a thor­ough safety brief­ing be­fore head­ing off to the first of the morn­ing’s drives.

Walk­ing out, it’s clear that the lads have struck gold with their venue; not only does it of­fer a truly stun­ning vista across the sur­round­ing coun­try­side, but it also looks ide­ally suited to the job at hand, with steep val­leys of­fer­ing per­fect ter­rain for pre­sent­ing driven clays.

The first drive is a gen­tle in­tro­duc­tion to the day with plenty of fairly straight­for­ward tar­gets ap­pear­ing over a stand of trees. Ev­ery­one was soon break­ing them con­sis­tently and the BSC team added in plenty of va­ri­ety with some longer range clays for those who wanted a chal­lenge.

Half­way through the drive, Matthew Cole, who was run­ning the Gun line, blew the whis­tle to put a halt on pro­ceed­ings and al­low the teams of shoot­ers to swap over. With one per­son on each peg shoot­ing and the other ‘stuff­ing’ for them, it soon be­came ob­vi­ous just how high a rate of fire is pos­si­ble if the mo­ti­va­tion is there!

With the co­pi­ous quan­ti­ties of spent car­tridges picked up, it was time to head to the next drive. This saw the Guns stood in the bot­tom of a bowl with the two Pro­matic Hunts­man game trail­ers throw­ing clays from their six traps from op­po­site ends of the line. This cre­ated some fan­tas­tic com­bi­na­tions of clays, with pairs cross­ing each other over the line, while some ex­treme range crossers made for a gen­uinely chal­leng­ing sim­u­la­tion of a top-qual­ity par­tridge.

The weather on the day wasn’t hot, but the gun bar­rels cer­tainly were. It is im­per­a­tive that all who at­tend wear gloves to avoid burning fin­gers and hands. Although the Guerini that was used on the day isn’t equipped with a metal fore-end catch si­t­u­ated where the hand would nor­mally sit, the heat com­ing through the wood was still so much that it would have been pretty much un­bear­able with­out gloves. Any touch on the bar­rels would have un­doubt­edly caused a burn when the ac­tion was at its most fran­tic.

The rate of fire is high, so one shooter has the gun while the other stuffs, be­fore swap­ping over

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