Introducing – Brett Davies

The Sporting Lodge would like to give a warm welcome to our new blog contributor Brett Davies.

Brett is a highly experienced game and clay pigeon shooting instructor at North Wales Shooting School, with an impressive history in competitive shooting.

As a junior, Brett re-wrote history by winning the Home International Championship with a score of 196/200 making him the Inter Countries all round Champion. He was the only junior to win this title. He also was the Home International Champion at Automatic Ball Trap as a Junior shooting for England.

Brett then went on to represent The England Shooting Team three times, winning the English Open Sporting AA class and the English Open ABT.

In 2016, America also opened up a wealth of opportunities for Brett, as this is where he achieved 12th place in the Seminole Cup.

Staying true to his roots, Brett represents Cheshire in national inter counties competitions where he has become Cheshire’s English sporting, English Skeet and Olympic trap county champion numerous times at senior level. Within Cheshire, Brett is also the Sporting and Skeet Doubles Champion.

At present, Brett is ranked 8th in the official CPSA top ten ranked English sporting shooters in the country. Brett is also the current West Midlands Inter Counties all round Champion.

We are really looking forward to getting a glimpse into Brett’s life, seeing where his shooting careers takes him next and getting some of those valuable shooting tips!

3 Things to Consider When Clay Pigeon Shooting

3 Things to Consider When Clay Pigeon Shooting

Stance

It is important to stand comfortably when shooting, but positioning and angle is essential too. The front foot generally should be pointing to where you are going to shoot, and the other placed in a way that provides balance when shooting. Being unstable can disturb your alignment and therefore reduce the accuracy of your shot.

Cartridge Choice

Cartridge choice is really down to opinion and preference. The most important thing is being confident with what you’re shooting as this is more likely to ensure consistent scores. The best thing to determine which cartridge is most suitable is to test them and how they go through the gun you are shooting. One method of doing this is to pattern them at around 30 yards and then see how many gaps are in the pattern. It is best to have little or no gaps to reduce the chance of not breaking the clay. 

Time to Shoot

Although shooting in warmer, less windy conditions is always preferable, it is important to practice in all weather conditions if you are planning on taking part in registered competitions as this prepares you for whatever conditions you may be faced with. Knowing how to respond to rain, sun, wind and different lighting will provide you with an advantage.

Thanks Fred – really great top tips! For all your shooting accessories & clothing at The Sporting Lodge browse here.

Fred Whitehurst – at the English Open Sporting Championship

I mentioned in my intro blog that I was going to be taking part in the English Open Sporting Championship, so I thought I would update you on how it went. The event took place on Wednesday 10th May at Highwaymans Shooting Ground in Suffolk. Fortunately, we had extremely nice weather and the conditions were perfect for shooting – Nice and warm with no wind meaning the consistency of the targets was very good.

The shoot itself was set up very well and ran very smoothly, which helps to reduce any nerves. There was a range of targets to suit shooters of all abilities. I shot 105/120 putting me in joint 3rd in the juniors category, however as I decided the 4 hour drive to the final would be inconvenient I did not get placed.

Highwaymans Shooting Ground is a fantastic CPSA Registered ground, which I would definitely recommend it to other keen shooters.

Thanks Fred, and well done – keep us posted!

Cleaning a Gun in Six Simple Steps:

Fred Whitehurst talks gun cleaning – 

Cleaning a Gun in Six Simple Steps:

  1. Dismantle the gun and wipe down with a cloth to remove any grease from handling the gun.
  2. Spray barrel cleaning solution down the barrels and leave for a few minutes.
  3. Run through both barrels with a phosphor bronze brush to remove the debris.
  4. Use a mop to remove any further debris left within the barrels.  
  5. Wipe down the action and grease all of the moving parts to reduce wear on the gun.
  6. It is also a good idea to remove the chokes from the gun, clean them and grease when putting them back in. Using grease instead of oil for the chokes means that they are less likely to come loose when shooting. 

I would advise that you clean your gun after every time it has been shot, as there may be moisture left in the barrels of the cartridges. This kind of damp can cause rust in the barrels. 

Thanks Fred, top tips! There are many different cleaning accessories available from Beretta. GMK, Perazzi, Purdey and more. Fancy a browse? Head over to The Sporting Lodge

An Audience with Phil Raisbeck

We had a chat with British blogger and outdoor adventurer, Phil Raisbeck, ahead of his impressive participation in the Fjallraven Classic trek that’s set to go ahead on Friday 8th August. Phil is a regular customer of The Sporting Lodge, who has a great love for the outdoors.

Taking your Fjallraven collection into account, can you name your favourite item and what makes it so special?

That is a tough question. I have so many items now, it’s hard to choose a favourite as all their clothing and equipment are excellent quality. I’m torn between my most commonly used items of Fjallraven Keb Gaiter trousers, Fjallraven Ruaha zip-off trousers, my first Fjallraven trousers, Sarek, or the Keb hooded fleece jacket. I think for its multiple uses for more technical hikes, challenges and varying conditions I will go with the Fjallraven Keb Gaiter trousers, plus they are in my favourite colour of UN Blue.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Without doubt it has to being lucky enough to win 1st place for the UK in this year’s Fjallraven Polar back in April. It was such an amazing unique experience that I will remember for the rest of my life and made some amazing friends during the event.

fjallraven-polar

Ahead of the Fjallraven Classic on Friday, what are three important steps you take to prepare yourself?

In the last few months I have been doing various hikes locally in places like Weardale, North Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Lakes. Doing hikes of various distances and challenges with the most recent ones carrying my Fjallraven Abisko 75 litre rucksack fully loaded with around 18kg in weight including everything I will be carrying on the Fjallraven Classic. You can be fit for long walks, but walking with a much heavier rucksack does make a huge difference, and you do need to practice carrying such weight before taking on a multi-day hike like the Fjallraven Classic.

Have you always been interested in expeditions and outdoor activity from a young age? What are your inspirations?

I did a little bit of outdoor activity many years ago in my teenage years, but then nothing for about 20 years. My recent outdoor epiphany only started in the summer of 2012, when my stepbrother Ian asked me to join him on his life-changing 250km trek through the French Pyrenees, where we did the Cathar Way. Since then I have been hooked on everything outdoors and this was followed by completing the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc trek last year. I’m also attempting to do the 282 Scottish Munros (though rather slowly, only done 4 so far!).

I’m always looking for my next adventure. Recently I went to Norway to visit my Norwegian Polar friend Jostein and we did an amazing hike to Trolltunga.

After the Classic next week I will focus on my next big adventure, which is the Toubkal Two Valley trek in Morocco this October. This will be the highest altitude I will have hiked. My ultimate goal is possibly ascending Mont Blanc after seeing it closely as I trekked the Tour du Mont Blanc, though I feel I need a lot more winter skills before I tackle that challenge.

What do you look for in the perfect piece of gear to accompany you in your travels?

That depends on how I intend to use them. If it would be for long multi-day trekking then one of the key thing would be the weight, however I also think ease of use and/or having multiple uses if possible is key and of course the quality. I find if you buy cheap you buy twice, and you really need all your gear to stand up to the challenges you face as you never know what to expect and can’t afford to carry spare items “just in case”, as this would add to the weight you would carry. So quality and practicality is key.

Any last words?

Since taking part in the Fjallraven Polar I have met some amazing people from around the world, some in person and some virtually online through my Outdrr blogging network and past Fjallraven Polar participants and it has been great sharing experiences with all of these people as well as planning many future adventures together.

Thanks a lot Phil! Don’t forget to check out Phil’s blog to follow his quirky and exciting documentation of various expeditions and adventures!

Straight From Our Rep – Ross, Fjallraven

Here at The Sporting Lodge, we like to keep up to date with the latest news from our brand representatives, and today we had a visit from our Fjallraven rep, Ross. We’ve worked with Ross for many years, and took the opportunity to ask him some questions and get some tips on choosing your Fjallraven products. Ross has worked in the outdoor retail business for 18 years, and for Fjallraven since 2010.

Q. How do you select the best fit?

A. The best way is to choose from the different ranges we have, if you’re after an active slim fit you’re best going for the Keb or Abisko range. If you want a more forgiving size with better range of movement go for the Ovik, Sarek or Kiruna range and if you want the traditional ‘boxy’ fit stick with the original Greenland range.

Then there’s the trousers where you have pro fits, which are a mid and regular waist, and the non pro fit which are the traditional high waist, very comfortable and a little baggy.

At the end of the day it’s all about what you feel comfortable in!

Q. If my trousers come in raw length, what’s the best way to alter them?

A. People do it different ways, if you’re a dab hand at sewing, this is the main way, cutting off the length with scissors, or if not I suggest using something like wonder web, which you can stick on, it works just the same.

Ross’ Top Tip If you’re using Wonder Web (hemming tape), or similar, don’t cut off the excess material, fold it up and it can act as an extra layer of protection. Like a gaiter! Also, if you do manage to rip or singe your G-1000 material (very difficult, especially with the HeavyDuty), you have emergency material available to cut off the bottom and use as a patch!

Q. Can you tell us about the different materials used?

A. All our fabric is G-1000 which is a cotton blend. It’s so durable due to the way it’s woven, which makes it UV proof up to 40F, mosquito proof and water and wind resistant. This can be improved by using the Greenland Wax, which I’ll tell you more about soon.

We source only the best materials and track them straight from the beginning, some of our range is organic cotton and in the future we will be doing the whole range with it.

Q. Why isn’t the whole range in organic cotton?

A. Because it is so difficult to get hold of the best quality, we’re working really hard on this!

Back to the materials, we have the G-1000 Lite range which is a lot lighter than the original, best used for spring and summer trekking. As it’s lighter, it’s slightly less durable so we’ve added rip stop into the material. This is a true rip stop that is stitched into the material (basically if you rip your clothing the rip stop will only let it rip in vertically or horizontally so it’s really easy to fix!).

Then we have our G-1000 Silent range, as the name suggests this material is best for hunting. It’s made from the original G-1000 but has been brushed to to make the material extremely soft and of course silent.

Next we have our HeavyDuty range. This is by far the strongest material we produce, it’s like having a triple layer of the original! Lots of our bags, including the Kanken No. 2, No. 21 range and the Duffel No. 4 are made from Heavy Duty G-1000 because it’s so durable. It is stiffer than the original, but if it’s clothing like our Greenland Jeans they will soften in time and look better and better!

And lastly in the G-1000 range we have the Eco which is our ecological alternative to the original, just as durable but made from recycled polyester and organic cotton- this will be the future!

All the Kankens are made from a material called Vinylon-F – this is robust lightweight synthetic material with natural properties, ensuring that when it gets wet the fibres swell and absorb the moisture, making it denser, hence more water resistant.

Q. How do you know the G-1000 material is so durable?

A. Every material that is sold must go through the Martindale rub test. It’s a test where the material is put on a round and rubbed against a sand paper like material. 6,000 rounds is the lowest the material needs to pass without any thread breaks. Our G-1000 passes at over 15,000 rounds, and our Heavy Duty G-1000 went twice at 25,000 rounds and still there were no thread breaks- quality!

Q. Can you tell me about the Greenland Wax?

A. Greenland Wax is made from Beeswax and paraffin, we’ve been getting it from the same company since Fjallraven started. The idea of the wax is to improve performance of your item by enhancing its water and wind resistance and also it prolongs the life of your garment by deterring. All our garments come pre-waxed.

Q. How do you apply it, and how long will it last?

A. You apply the wax by putting it on the material and ironing over it (on a cotton setting) to press it into the material. Duration depends on what activity you’re participating in and how long you are in the elements, but usually one layer will come out in one wash, two layers in two, etc.

Ross’ Top Tips:

  • Apply the wax in thin layers for best performance, about 2 layers for summer and about 4/5 layers in winter.
  • Press harder on the stitches using the edge of the wax to really get it into the material.
  • In summer, only wax certain areas – like the knees, shoulders and hoods for protection. This will keep maximum breathability in the other areas when it’s warm.

Q. What’s in store for 2015?

A. We’ve got a lot happening at Fjallraven HQ! We’ve recently employed our new designer, Henry, who really wants to get back to our classic style, that means more leather, fur, down and wool.

We have new colours of Kankens including Campfire Yellow, Orange and Lake Blue, and new ranges of number bags like the Ovik, Vintage and Totepacks. New travel accessories, leather wallets and card holders. We can’t wait, can you?

Q. Why did you want to work for Fjallraven?

A. I am really passionate about outdoor retail and had never seen products like Fjallraven’s. I really wanted to be involved in developing such a unique brand.

Q. Lastly, what’s your favourite item?

A. Without a doubt it has to be the Keb Trousers! They fit me like a dream and are genuinely the best trekking pants I have ever known!

Fjallraven Greenland Wax – Waxing Lyrical..

Every so often, you come across an item that you just can’t do without. As a keen outdoors person I spend most of my free time and work time in the great outdoors – and all weathers offer oportunities to test the products we sell.

Fjallraven clothing is fast becoming a must have brand when stepping outside to work or play. Fjallraven’s G-1000 material (a unique blend of polyester and cotton) works well in all weathers and terrains, and can simultaneously withstand the rigours of thousands of washing machine cycles.

While Fjallraven G-1000 fabric is a workhorse, it’s not water resistant – and this is where Greenland Wax comes in! When you apply Greenland Wax, an eco-friendly mix of paraffin and beeswax, the material performs even better, capable of repelling water even in the heaviest of downpours. Forget sticky, smelly wax – this stuff is clean and easily applied in a matter of minutes, using an iron or hairdryer.

We’ve been using Fjallraven Greenland wax for many years, and in short, it works! Fjallraven have also introduced the Greenland Wax in a handy drawstring bag for Summer 2013, ideal for a rucksack or jacket pocket. And don’t forget, Fjallraven Greenland Wax isn’t limited to Fjallraven products – it works well on ventile, canvas, or any cotton based material. If you have a pair on Converse shoes, try it out for fantastic results!

Happy waxing and keep dry!

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