On a gloriously sunny Spring day in April this year The Worshipful Company of Gunmakers held their annual ‘Rifleman’s’ Day’ at Bisleyin which five teams participated. Ours comprised Derek Stimpson (Team Captain; Gunmaker, Arts Scholar and Turner); Alan Cook (Gunmaker, Arts Scholar and Turner); Alice Stimpson (Gunmaker & Arts Scholar): Nic Somers (Turner & Arts Scholar); Mark Bridge (Arts Scholar)
Following an excellent bacon and eggs breakfast and safety briefing at the Army Target Shooting Club, the five teams set out for the ranges. Five disciplines were shot, two in the morning and three in the afternoon.
Black Powder Pistol. This was shot on the 25 metre range using modern replicas of the Remington New Model Army revolvers. These fired .44 calibre lead balls, the same as the 1863 originals that were used in the American Civil War. Each shooter fired twelve shots with the best ten counting.
McQueen. This is a sniping competition shot at 300yards shot with Accuracy International ten shot 7.62 rifles with telescopes. The target is a head size card mounted on a pole. This is held up for only 3 seconds, against a mock castle which has numerous windows and battlements. The rifleman has only 15 seconds to reload before the target re-appears in any one of the openings. With the wind gusting, it was not an easy challenge. Derek Stimpson, our team Captain had the highest score with 82 out of 100, winning himself a medal.
All the ranges at Bisley close down between 12.30pm and 2.00pm so we returned to the Army Club. After an excellent lunch (No alcohol allowed!!), we returned to the ranges for the afternoon session
Target Rifle was shot at 900 yards using a 7.62 single shot Target Rifle on a bipod with aperture target sights. Two sighting shots were fired and then ten to count. The wind coaches are vital and the wind was brisk and variable, so it was hard work to keep central on the target.
Stalkers Test. This is the standard test used by the British Sporting Rifle Club to simulate woodland deer stalking. It was shot at 100 metres with a .223 telescoped sporting rifle at a life size Roebuck target. Two shots prone, then off sticks – two sitting, two kneeling, two standing, and two off the bench.
Running Boar The target is a realistic depiction of a life-size wild boar. At a distance of 50 metres , it appears for just 4 seconds as it moves across the shooter’s front. During this time the shooter, who is standing, has to fire one shot using a .22 telescoped Sporting rifle.
When shooting finished, we all returned to the “Army” for a cream tea and the presentation of prizes by John Jackman, Master Gunmaker. The winning team scored a total of 1868 out of 2500 and took home the champagne! Our team came an acceptable second with 1746. As well as winning a medal for the Black Powder Pistol, our Team Captain, Derek Stimpson, also had the highest individual score on the day with of 426 out of 500. On behalf of those ‘Turners’ who participated, I send our thanks to all at Gunmakers for organizing such an enjoyable day’s sport.
Nic Somers, Upper Warden