Shooting Instructor’s Day Off To The Royal Cheshire County Fair

by Brett Davies.

It’s a bad sign when your day off work starts with an early morning. But, if you are planning a visit to The Royal Cheshire County Fair, I highly recommended that dreaded early morning start. After a quick Starbucks stop off we still had a long wait in show traffic before we reached the ground. Wishing I hadn’t ordered the Large Coffee we swiftly headed towards the gates.

The Royal Cheshire County Fair, with the familiar smells of cows to your right, pigs to your left and sheep straight ahead. We have been coming to the show for a good few years on the run, no map was needed as everything is well signposted.

We started with the livestock, a good idea considering it was boiling hot and all the tents that featured animals were nice and cool. An impressive display of the sheep shearing gave me some good knowledge to try out on the dogs later at home. The young lads worked quick and precise before educating the audience on the age old tradition.

The Royal Cheshire Show is a good place to look at cars, yes cars (?). As always there was a stronghold of auto-mobiles in the middle of the show ground.

Instead we headed to the main ring and the always exciting Pony Club Games. I highly recommend looking at the games, they are full of energy, some impressive speed and competitive spirit. For those who don’t know what The Pony Club Games are, it is like a sports day for kids on ponies. With games that include passing items to other rides, collecting items and placing them in set places all whilst on a pony and travelling at high speeds. The teams receive points for completing the challenges first, the winning team won a memorial trophy at the end of the games.

Being proud owners of a LOT of poultry, one of our favourite parts of the show is the poultry tent. Which if you are like us and like seeing the different arrays of chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese, I would recommend you visiting the show on the first day. The second day leaves only the winning birds, pigeons and rabbits. Unfortunately, at this point Mrs Davies noticed the Pygmy Goat Club sign. Luckily for me she couldn’t fit the goat she had gotten attached to under her shirt, though I’m sure if my back was turned, she would have tried. But, I would like to say a big thank you to the lady who took the time to convince Mrs Davies that the best dog to own is an Irish Wolf Hounds. The dog show provides an array of dog breeds from the great to the small but equally great.

The Show arenas hold all kinds of attractions, from the Scots Guard Association Pipe Band, Falconry Displays, The parade of the cattle and one of my favourite attractions, the Huntsman and Hounds.

We took a trip down to the have a go clay pigeon shooting, with good incoming targets for first timers, they also had an air rifle range and archery. It was nice to see a wide variation of people having a go at the shooting stand. Talking of shooting, back to work I go with a full week of lessons ahead. The Cheshire show is a good county fair and a good day off. But we are, as always, excited for the year’s supply of Game Fairs.

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!

Introducing – Fred Whitehurst

Meet Fred Whitehurst, our newest Blog Contributor for The Sporting Lodge.

Hi, I’m Fred Whitehurst, a 17 year old shooting enthusiast. My Dad introduced

me to game shooting at a young age, and over the past three years I have also

got into clay pigeon shooting as it allows me to get my practice in all year

round.

I was ranked No 1 in colts in UK until I recently moved up to the juniors where I

am now ranked 8th in the UK.

I shoot most weekends, whether that be practising, taking part in local

shooting competitions or representing Cheshire CPSN at county shows around

the country. My next big competition is the English open this week where I will

be hoping to improve on my no 8 ranking. Wish me luck!

My current weapon of choice is a Perazzi MX8, 12 bore 30½” barrel (my pride

and joy).

At home, we have 4 dogs; 2 working cockers, a German wirehaired pointer and

a lab x Collie. This is my dog which I have trained myself to be a retriever at our

local bird shoot throughout the winter when I am not clay shooting.

I have a real passion for everything outdoors and I am currently studying

agricultural engineering, so I am pretty handy on the tools which has put me in

good stead whilst working on my Defender.

If you would like to keep up to date with my progress, my passion the sport of

shooting and maybe a few hints and tips then you can find my latest posts here

on The Sporting Lodge Blog.

James Purdey – The Best in the World

by Neil Summers.

James Purdey, the best gunmakers in the world for over 200 years.

In 1814 James Purdey established his gun and rifle making business at premises in Prince’s street just off Leicester Square and within ten years was regarded as the finest gunmaker in London. By 1858 his son took over the running of the company from his father. Being at forefront of change and advances in the design and building of his guns and rifles James the Younger improved on his father’s legacy by taking out several patents for technical innovations, many of which went on to be adopted by other gunmakers such as the Purdey bolt. In 1868 Purdey received its first Royal Warrant by appointment to the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII with Queen Victoria also granting an additional warrant ten years later such was her love of their prestigious guns. Shortly after this time Purdey moved to new prem­ises at 57 South Audley Street where they offered gun-making workshops and cartridge load facilities and is where the company is still situated to this day.

At the turn of the century Athol Purdey took over from his father, James Purdey the Younger with his two sons James & Thomas joining the firm after recovering from serious injuries sustained fighting in France during WW1. The two brothers later took over the business though due to the economic downturn caused by WW2 sold the majority of their shares to Hugh & Victor Seeley though continued to establish Purdey as the as the best gun makers on a global scale with the help of expert gunsmith Harry Lawrence.

After Richard Beaumount took over the business in the fifties his wife the Hon Mrs Richard Beaumont went on to set up the Purdey accessories shop in adjoining premises on Mount Street in the early Seventies. The shop sold a range of exclusive high quality shooting clothing and was the first London gunmaker to ever do so. Since then Purdey have celebrated their bi-centenary in 2014 and are firmly established as an iconic name synonymous with unrivalled gun making craftsmanship as well as having forged a reputation as suppliers of excellent outdoor attire and accessories.

We are so proud to work with Purdey, long may that continue, browse our extensive range at The Sporting Lodge.

Brady Bags – Made in England

by Mark Smith and Neil Summers

The Brady brothers John and Albert started their company in Birmingham in 1887 having begun making leather goods in the 1870s. While they eventually made their name in fishing and game bags, it was their leather gun cases which first announced them to the outdoor community.

John’s son Ernest and Albert’s son, Leonard both joined Brady Brothers later and in 1928 Ernest took over the business.

The business grew from strength to strength under Ernest’s tutelage and in the 1930’s Ernest and Leonard moved to larger premises in Shadwell Street in the heart of Birmingham’s gun quarter. It was there Ernest first designed and personally made a range of fishing bags all named after English rivers. These bags came to personify the brand and gave them a strong identity on which to foster a prosperous future.

Brady gun cases became another mainstay of the brand and were coveted by the great and good, from the Sultan of Oman to the Duke of Westminster.

In what would seem an unlikely turn of events, Leonard sought to make his name in Hollywood and perhaps unsurprisingly his keen craftsmanship helped him establish himself as a prop maker in the film industry.

In the middle part of 20th century, the war effort meant the focus of Brady shifted and the entire business suffered serious upheaval. Ernest moved production to his home where he worked alongside a stitcher and machinist. Eventually, heavy bombing of the region meant another relocation was necessary and roots were put down in Halesowen in the Black Country.

As Brady sought to reestablish itself as the leading bag maker in post-war Britain, Ernest took the unusual step of building a caravan and taking his family on a road trip which led to London. While there he took his products into as many retailers as he could find and took orders which would prove to be a tremendous boon for the business.

With a fine tradition for using the best materials, including canvas and leather, Brady continue to be based just north of Birmingham in Walsall. Their values hold true and when many brands are transplanting their production overseas, Brady remains steadfast in its belief in British manufacturing. While the family took a step back in the 1990s, they kept the same ethos key to the future of Brady by passing the company into expert hands, based in the same region.

brady1

Brady still make some of the bags they did years & years ago using the same traditional methods they always have.

The Sporting Lodge have long been proud members of the Brady Bunch, having had a working relationship with the brand for more than half a century. Long may that continue. If they keep making great bags there’s no reason why not.

Filson – Built to last

If you’re new to Filson, Mark Smith digs into the history.

Filson may have been around for several lifetimes, but it’s a new introduction for us here at the Sporting Lodge.

Clinton C. Filson spent the early part of his working life as a railroad conductor, before moving to Seattle, Washington in the 1890s. It was here where the real roots of Filson began, when Clinton set up a small loggers’ outfitting store. In a scene which was mirrored in many parts of the U.S in this era, Filson made its name meeting the needs of prospectors passing through Seattle on their way to the Klondike Gold Rush. The brand eventually got itself on a solid footing in 1897 and although the gold rush was relatively short-lived, it cemented the brand as a reliable supplier of clothing and accessories which would stand the test of time. After the gold rush ended around 1899, Filson shifted to providing gear for outdoor oriented activities and occupations including hunting, fishing and logging.

In the modern day, Filson continues to enjoy an unrivalled reputation in its field. In the early 90s, its heritage in canvas luggage was revived, while more recently in 2010 it fittingly partnered up with another brand born of the gold rush to create Levi’s Workwear by Filson.

With slogans such as ‘Unfailing Goods’ and ‘Built to Last’ running through their veins, Filson have a unique confidence in the gear they make. It’s perhaps their best known tagline which sums them up most accurately though – “Filson – Might as well have the best”.

We’ve handpicked products we think you’ll love. View the full range here.

watchmackinaw dry-pack

Beretta Since 1526

by Neil Summers.

In 1526 Bartolomeo Beretta sold 185 of his cutting edge, high quality ‘arquebus’ barrels to the arsenal of Venice and in doing so started up what is now the oldest active firearms manufacturers in the world, Beretta. A world renowned brand whose incredible history even includes a Beretta gun finding its way across the Atlantic on board the Mayflower’s legendary journey alongside the founding fathers of modern America. Unsurprisingly this legendary ‘Mayflower Gun’ can now be found  sitting proudly on display at the NRA’s museum in Fairfax, Virginia.

arquebus

‘Arquebus’ meaning ‘hook gun’ was Beretta’s first gun ever made.

Over the centuries to follow Beretta have successfully remained a family run business as well as keeping their reputation as a brand totally dedicated to quality and beautiful Italian design. Based in Brescia in the North of Italy, the Beretta Headquarters boasts it’s very own museum featuring more than 900 pieces on display including guns previously owned by John Adams and Napoleon. In addition to making some of the world’s finest firearms, accessories and clothing Beretta also produce a number of renowned Italian wines as well as running a non-profit organisation dedicated to cancer research. It’s hard to think of another brand (even one outside of the world of shooting or sport) that have consistently made  incredible products over such an impressive amount of time and who knows where the next 500 years will take this fantastic Italian company…

We can’t wait to see. View the full range of Beretta at The Sporting Lodge.

Taking a Shot for all the Right Reasons

Our guest writer Eleni MacFarlaine finds out what makes Malikaa Wig – one of the best shots from India and a friend of The Sporting Lodge – tick. Although only in her 20s, Malikaa is fast becoming a woman to watch, as she travels the world competing at the highest levels and striving for that gold medal win!

Indian-born Malikaa Wig – a rarity of the sports world – is one of the youngest women representing her country’s trap shooting team, at just 20 years old. With eyes full of enthusiasm, Malikaa is leaning forward with a smile from ear to ear. She’s clearly eager to talk about her passion and intended profession.

Malikaa lives in Kanpur, India, which is also known as ‘Manchester of the East’. Due to its urban stature and heavy industrialisation, it can be imagined that it may be hard to stand out and make a name for yourself amongst 2.5 million inhabitants.

India is famed for its cricketing skill, adopted by a male majority. However, neither Malikaa’s age nor gender are points she believes could single her out negatively – she’s seems amused by the thought.

‘I’m confident! I feel the days of male domination in sport are gone,’ she laughs. ‘Males have been my main influence admittedly, although I am a proud sportswoman!’

‘My country has a rich history of brave women who took up arms during struggle. They fought for our independence!’ she stresses. ‘The same passion has been passed through generations and today I believe that the women of my country are as passionate for shooting as they were centuries ago. I know many other women who are excellent shooters and do very well in their field – that is why I can say I am confident.’

malikaa-wig-3

Wig is loquacious and eloquent. She gained her first big achievement, a bronze medal, at 19-years-old whilst competing in the Trap Women World Championship in Lima and relishes in talking about the subject. ‘Becoming the junior national champion in trap is one of my greatest achievements. I now bear the tricolour on my shooting jacket!’

A brush on the topic of her home country is encountered with an immediate surge of warmth. ‘Fabulous!’ she beams. ‘My country is my inspiration, my home and my inspiration,’ she expresses, ever so simply.

‘Both my father and my forefathers were all in the [shooting] profession, I could not ignore this, I suppose I could say it runs in my blood.’

She is determined to learn through sport and insists that she has learned many lessons since first learning to shoot. ‘I have learned to be self confident and independent. Before I started shooting I was a very indecisive person, yet I have gained knowledge in handling countless different, difficult situations.’ Malikaa’s age is turning into a reminder that has to constantly be reiterated; barely an adult, this young figure holds impressive sensibility.

Taking age into further account, when asked about having possible other hobbies she seems extremely keen to inform. ‘I love chatting with my friends; I dance and appreciate good food. I’m just a normal teenager, I love badminton especially! I try to stay active as I have always been made aware of its importance.’

malikaa-wig-2

When competing, it’s nothing too outlandish to associate guns with fear due to news coverage. Upon being asked if she feels any sense of danger holding a gun, Malikaa seems shocked. ‘I believe that shooting teaches one to handle firearms properly and safely. Surely this makes it one of the safest sports, no?’ Well played, Wig.

Malika has pushed through competitions, sometimes being the youngest competitor. It’s refreshing to witness her high hopes for the near future and to hear her make reference to the Olympics. ‘It’s where I want to be [the Olympics]. I would love to win a gold medal for my country, but especially for my parents.’

The young woman will be attending further trials in April to determine whether she will be able to qualify for further competition worldwide. Germany, Finland, Italy, Iran and Kuwait will serve as the five destinations to further prove her worth within her field.

One of Malika’s all time heroes, about whom she speaks with great respect, is a previous shooting Olympic silver medallist – Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. He is famed for his athletic talent and political opinion, having been both a flag bearer for India during the Olympics and the recipient of the Padma Shri (a special award from the Government of India). It seems as though Wig would be delighted to follow in his footsteps.

Many people will never know how it feels to hold, or even shoot a gun. The portrayal of firearms is often surrounded by controversy, a controversy that young Malikaa seems to overlook. She associates her sport with positive connotations, skill and trust. She goes on to describe the feeling of competing as ‘nerve-wracking but exciting’.

‘One more thing…’ she adds. ‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.’ … ‘It’s a quote by Robert Frost, my favourite poet. I’ll always strive for something more.

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