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Tagged with 'Shooting'

A Beginners Guide to Shooting Etiquette

For those who are new to the sport of shooting, it is important to learn the etiquette of the sport to ensure that you keep yourself and those around you safe. It may seem as if there are thousands of rules in the shooting world, and rightly so, as guns can be incredibly dangerous when not handled correctly. Learning to conduct yourself in a safe and appropriate manner is of the utmost importance whatever your age, and it may take a little bit of time to get to grips with all the traditions of shooting. However, the sport can be incredibly enjoyable once you’ve learnt the ropes. The rules of clay pigeon shooting are much more relaxed, so if you’ve just begun to learn and practice, you won’t need to adhere to all of the things we’ve mentioned. Our beginners guide is here to help you to get the best out of the experience of your first proper shoot:

A man and a woman with their leather gunslips and cartridge bags

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Guide to applying for a Firearms Licence

When you first start shooting, you are often regaled with numerous stories about how difficult it was to get a firearms licence. Common myths include:

  • “You need land in order to get a firearms licence”
  • “You won’t get one if you have any history of significant physical or mental health”
  • “You’ll need to set up Fort Knox to keep your guns safe”
  • “It’s very expensive”

Below is a step-by-step guide to applying for your first firearms and/or shotgun licence that dispels some of the more common myths and pitfalls.

firearms licence forms waiting to be filled out

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Essential Beating Kit

If you’re new to beating then you may be wondering what it is you’ll actually need to wear and take with you. Whilst all shoots differ, here is the basic kit that you will definitely need if you are going to enjoy yourself. Woodland shooting beating essential kit | Gloves waterproofs chaps leggings gun dogs stick hat fleece | Fur Feather and Fin country living and sporting gifts

Boots & Gaiters — Wellies are great but very few, if any, offer the proper foot and ankle support you ought to have when spending an entire day tramping up and down hills through rough ground. A good pair of waterproof boots in conjunction with a decent pair of gaiters will keep your feet and lower legs supported, protected, and relatively dry. Waxed Leggings/Chaps — personally I prefer chaps as they are very easy to remove, and allow your nether regions to breathe! If you’re worried about a wet backside then leggings are the best way to go, they also tend to be a little better at keeping you dry. Base Layer — If you aren’t sweating when you’re on a beating line then there’s something wrong. When you’re clothes become damp from the inside it’s far more uncomfortable than when they become damp from the outside. A simple way of combating this is a wicking base layer, which also helps to keep you warm. Fleece— As well as being a good insulator to help keep you warm, fleece is also quick drying and helps to wick moisture away from your body.  It is also lightweight, reasonably rain-proof, and tends to be reasonably priced. Waterproofs— if the weather gets truly savage, it may be necessary to break out the waterproofs. Thin plastic-type waterproofs will last about a minute when you’re beating your way through dense undergrowth. You will need either heavy PVC/PVC lined waterproofs, or heavy waxed waterproofs. Gloves — No one likes having cold hands, and you can’t walk along with them in your pockets when you’re beating as you need them for balance. You don’t need anything too special as long as they make and attempt at being waterproof, and you’re able to hold your stick or a warm drink. Stick — A stick is always a useful thing on a beat. It gives you additional support and allows you to spread your weight on a climb, and also is useful to whack against trees and ground to help corral the birds in the correct direction. Hat — Keeping the rain out of your eyes, as well as your head warm! Dog & Whistle — Dog’s aren’t for everyone, and neither is gundog training. An untrained dog has no place on a beating line, and best case scenario is it will ruin the paid-guns day (you can forget your invite in the future!). Worst case scenario is it will be accidentally shot or seriously injure itself. If you want to be able to take your dog beating, it will need a considerable amount of training first. The basics can be found in our gundog training articles, after which you should seek the advice of the shoots keepers as to who can help you bring your dog along.

CLA Game Fair 2014

It’s the time of year when the ladies and gentlemen of the country loving world proudly don their Tweed flat caps and come along to help celebrate the Great British countryside with the other keen attendees at this year’s CLA Game Fair. CLAA Game Fair From Friday 18th to Sunday 20th July 2014 the annual event will take place at Blenheim Palace to become the CLA Game Fair’s 56th year of the event’s history, and if you are looking to attend a country fair this year, then this is the one that is simply not to be missed. Visitors are guaranteed to enjoy an action-packed programme that will offer them the chance to watch some of the best country sportsmen do what they do best and spectators can even see how they fare when they have a go themselves. Gunmakers Row will also be packed with the very best and latest shooting products in the industry, so be sure to come and see us at Stand S650 for barrel loads of shooting accessories, clothing and gifts. Fancy a go on clay shooting range, stepping up to the archery range, or maybe the fishing village is more your thing? There’s fantastic variety of field sports and country pursuits on offer to try your hand at, from beginners to experts, there’s something to be enjoyed. Don’t forget to catch the 4x4 off-road course displays where exciting displays will be taking place either. Finally, for dog owners and enthusiasts there will be a number of top professionals going head-to-head in a host of Gundog competitions, again, simply not to be missed! We look forward to seeing you there!

Keeping warm this winter

The winter season may appear to get in the way of going out and shooting or beating, however, with the right equipment, it is something you can do all year round. Here's how to brave the elements and enjoy a winter's day in the country: Winter shooting | Keeping warm this winter | Fur Feather and Fin country living and gifts

Layering… Layering is the term that refers to wearing several layers of clothing rather than one bulky garment. The science behind this is that air is trapped in between the layers of clothing — air is a very poor conductor of heat so these layers of air prevent heat from escaping from your body. Layers can be broken down into three categories; Base, Middle, and Outer layers:   Base layer — Modern base layers are usually made of a close-fitting comfortable synthetic fabric designed to wick moisture (perspiration) away from your body as it is produced. The importance of removing moisture will be explained later in the waterproofing section. Middle layer — This is often referred to as the insulating layer, and can actually be up to two or three layers of insulating clothing such as a microfleece, thick shirt, and jumper. How many middle layers you wear will depend on just how cold it is, but in the UK one or two is the norm. Outer layer — The outer layer, usually a heavy coat or waterproof, is designed to protect your base and middle layers from the elements (wind and rain). If cold air or water is able to get to your other layers they will be rendered useless.   Waterproofing… Water conducts heat from the human body 20 times faster than air, so the moment perspiration builds up or rain gets in you are set for a miserable outing! In my opinion, there is no such thing as a breathable waterproof coat! Better quality coats will be rain-proof to a point, but after enough driving wind the rain will be driven into the pores that usually allow air to circulate. That isn’t to say that some coats will not keep you dry all day in the rain, but it is a rarity so don’t expect too much from such items if the weather is utterly foul. To be truly waterproof a garment needs to be made of something that will hold water, such as PVC, heavily waxed cotton, or treated leather. It will also need to have either no seams or very well made and placed seams. The trouble with true waterproofs is they tend to be heavy, as well as rather sticky inside once you start moving around. There’s no magic trick here unfortunately, heavy waxed outers are probably the best all round compromise in wet weather country days out.   Hats… Contrary to popular myth, you only lose approximately 10% of your body heat from your head. Nevertheless this is enough to make you feel uncomfortable, so a hat & scarf to keep your noggin warm and dry is always a good idea.   Footwear… I generally wear a pair of leather and Gore-Tex wellies, then vary the thickness of my socks to suit the weather. However everyone’s needs will be different as no two people or environment are the same. My choice was struck on a compromise between comfort, waterproofing, durability, and style (in that order as those are my personal priorities). Probably the most popular option is to have a pair of Neoprene lined wellies for the wet and cold, and a pair of brogues when conditions are more civil.   Alcohol… Alcohol does not warm you, this myth comes from a basic misunderstanding. When we are cold our blood vessels contract and move away from the surface of our skin (making us appear pale or blue!). When we then enter a warm environment we find it difficult to absorb external heat as our blood is being kept away from the external environment. Alcohol Expands blood vessels, so drinking when you are outside will actually make you colder, because more blood vessels will be exposed to the environment and heat will be exchanged from your blood to the cold air around. Drinking once you get back into the warm will however aid warmth as it allows your blood vessels to expand and absorb the external heat. It’s worth mentioning that this can also result in broken blood vessels as often blood vessels expand too quickly due to alcohol. Having said all of this, what would a day’s shooting or beating be without the customary end-of-day tipple or sup from the hip flask! Always drink responsibly —   Getting on with it!... Ultimately the best way to stay warm and dry is to simply get on with it — a bit of wind and rain won’t kill you, and the right clothing will soften the effects. Moving around will generate warmth and help dry you off. Smile, enjoy yourself, and wear the right kit!

Strong grouse season predicted on Glorious Twelfth

Grouse Season Shooting Scotland | Glorious Twelfth Lapwig Curlew Estates | Fur Feather Fin Country Lifestyle GiftsThis year’s grouse shooting season looks set to be a memorable one if the nation’s best gamekeepers are proved to be correct. With the Glorious Twelfth celebrated today, gamekeepers say prospects for the season look good thanks to the mild winter and warm spring we’ve experienced this year. While those conditions are believed to have boosted grouse numbers the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) says prospects are also good for the threatened curlew and lapwig species.

Excellent heather management and predator control by gamekeepers has helped produce a surplus of grouse for sport, which has also benefitted the threatened curlews and lapwigs. “The prospects for the grouse season look good,” SGA chairman Alex Hogg has reported. “The weather has been right for the birds, and they’ve feathered up well, while there’s also been enough water and a healthy insect hatch.” Mr Hogg said that it should secure a good season for sporting visitors to the Highlands, which will, in turn, help Scotland’s small rural communities, its tourism businesses, shops and retailers. The season is expected to net Scotland’s economy around £32m. While the economic benefits of a good season are welcome, Mr Hogg said he was more pleased to see Scotland’s native birds thriving. He said: “The most pleasing thing for us, is the fate of our fragile species." Mr Hogg added how conservation work by gamekeepers has seen a full head count take place of all the country’s curlews and lapwigs — work paid for by grouse. “Since sustainable grouse shooting helps estates to pay keepers for such vital conservation work without public money,” Mr Hogg argued, “the season helps to prevent afforestation of vast swathes of Scotland’s heather moorland, which is more endangered than the rainforest. To celebrate the Glorious Twelfth why not buy one of our charming grouse themed products? You could have breakfast from a grouse egg cup before putting on one of several silk grouse ties and heading out to shoot.

Country Pursuits for the British Summer

In the height of summer, before the shooting seasons starts again, it is always good to get outdoors and taking part in some fun traditional British country activities. Even if it is something you have never done before, you are never too old to try out a new hobby. There is so much you can do in Britain too, and all you need to get started on your countryside pursuits is some good quality country clothing, then you are all set!

Polo as a country pursuit in British summer

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Shooting voted the third most popular recreational activity in National Parks survey

A survey held recently revealed an incredible amount of support for recreational activities such as shooting and walking. The Campaign for National Parks survey was made up of a list of 23 different activities, and each were voted for by those living and working both inside and outside of one of the 15 National Park Areas in the UK. Mens shooting jackets for partridge shooting season The first category included in the survey were those who lived and worked within the National Parks, who voted shooting as their third favourite recreational activity, whilst walking and observing wildlife took the top two spots. The second category addressed those who live and work outside of National Parks, and the survey revealed that they also voted walking as their top activity, whilst shooting was in a close second place. “It is great that shooting is so popular within National Parks, both with residents and visitors, because we know that wherever game shooting is popular it brings jobs, investment, beautiful landscapes and conservation benefits,” commented the Countryside Alliance head of shooting, Liam Stokes. “Of course, well-managed shooting in the uplands and lowlands increases the amount of wildlife to be seen, so shooting is supporting the favourite activities of those who shoot and those who don’t.” he added. It is great to see such a tremendous response of support for the sport, particularly as partridge shooting season gets underway. Take a look at our men’s shooting jackets and woman’s shooting jackets to ensure that you are prepared for a successful season! Image: Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors/Flickr under Creative Commons

Open your eyes to the latest expert advice on shooting technique

For many, many years, we have been taught and trained to believe that shooting with only one eye open is the best way to hit the target. Usually the dominant eye is chosen to give you the most accurate view, or so we have been told, but the experts are now advising that we need to stop the ‘army of cyclopses’ in order to better our shooting technique. shooting season in the field with men equipped with their leather gunslips The magazine, Country Life, recently announced that they had found a new orthodoxy which proved that you should not be shooting with just one eye open, but with two. Noting that there is a reason we have two eyes, and use these both to see in normal circumstances, so it makes sense that we should utilise the full potential of our eyesight when shooting. Shutting one eye can cause parts of your brain to effectively fall into a sleep mode, negatively impacting your visual acuity, depth perception and spatial orientation as well as balance. These are all important features of our eyesight that are vital, especially when operating a firearm. “If you close an eye, you shut down the computer in your brain and lose your triangular vision, you can’t compute how far away the bird is and how fast it’s going. With an eye closed, you’re only guessing at the gap in front of the bird,” commented Nick Penn. Dylan Willams of the Royal Berkshire Shooting School added that the figures of shooting with one eye open lead to about a 70-80% accuracy score, however, with both eyes, you have the potential to shoot at 100%. Get your shooting technique right this season and fulfil your potential - be prepared with your leather gunslips and shooting gloves to get out and enjoy the great outdoors whilst bettering your shooting skills with this revelation!