SOF Rifle Club Guest Day: Bisley

This is the day when SOFRC members invite guests to Bisley to experience the delights of target rifle shooting in the sports most hallowed venue.

If you’ve never been to Bisley, or you used to shoot and fancy another go, then this is the event for you. We lay on all the equipment and coaching, along with a good tea in one of the Rifle Clubs on the Camp. It’s hard to describe Bisley: a place caught in a time-warp, where you could easily imagine yourself back in the days of the Empire, but also a modern sporting facility which will be one of the centrepieces of the Olympic Games bid and has recently hosted the Commonwealth Games.

Eighteen members and their guests attended, and enjoyed the event. One guest, Piers Tippett (an Old Felstedian, but quite a nice chap in spite of it) produced a 7mm Remington hunting rifle, which fired such hefty charges that the report loosened the fillings of those standing with thirty paces! Sadly that was about the only damage it did, as zero problems with the telescopic sights meant that the target was never in jeopardy.

The following report was written by one of the guests, Peter Howard-Dobson:

Saturday the 6th September brought yet another bright sunshiny day in a seemingly endless summer, as Peter (R65-69) and Adam (Current Upper 6th) Howard-Dobson set off from Saxtead to Bisley for the SOFRC Guest Shoot. I approached this with some trepidation, as I hadn’t fired a full-bore rifle since about 1967. Adam, on the other hand was as relaxed as only an 18 year-old member of the school shooting team could be; and one who’d spent half the Summer holidays at Bisley both as competitor and then as butt-marker (a very strange term, if I may say so).

We arrived fairly promptly at 1pm to find the Century Range deserted. Fortunately, armed with Adam’s experience, we quickly found our way to Jenny’s Cafe, where Jenny herself served us the most enormous bacon rolls and a couple of drinks.

By 1.30 we’d found some of the Rifle Club and a few other guests down at the bottom end of the range, where we were soon joined by several others, including a single and very welcome young lady. It was good to see that this wasn’t a solely male pursuit. Brian Smith and James Mehta gave us a quick introduction and safety briefing before we started to shoot and this was clearly essential since the rest of the range was pretty busy and, at one stage we found ourselves in between two other groups both firing from 600 yards, while we were 100 yards forward at 500 yards. All pretty alarming, I can tell you, but the old hands seemed confident that we’d be ok.

The shooting itself went along very well, with a good spirit of competition between the guests, some of whom were conspicuously good – I saw a score of 48.6 out of 50 from one of our number who should surely be recruited for the mainstream. My own Adam had a pretty convincing 47.3 – not bad considering he’s a left-hander and there wasn’t a left-handed gun available (we should have thought of this beforehand and asked. Interestingly, out of fifteen or so guests, five were lefties). And how did I fare? Pretty badly, I’m afraid. I can’t tell you how many aches and pains suddenly raised their ugly heads as I lay down to fire, and all the instruction about “just line up the circle of the target in the middle of your fore-sight ring” suddenly seemed a very complicated exercise. I did at least hit the target with all but one of my shots and came away with a pretty un-convincing 32 points.

Fortunately, there was the consolation of an excellent high-tea in the clubhouse of the North London Rifle Club, which raised my flagging spirits for the long drive home.

Many thanks to the SOFRC for their hospitality. Adam will, I’m sure, go on to a long shooting career. Mine, I’m equally sure, is over (again)….

At the end of the day prizes for top scores were awarded to Geoff Houston and to Emma Shenton (a first timer with a full-bore rifle). If you would like to join us next year, please contact the Hon Sec, James Mehta, at honsec@creffieldlodge.co.uk

Piers Tippett fires something more conventional and accurate

Emma Shenton shows the blokes how it should be done


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