Smallbore Prone Rifle
At St. Nicholas, the Small-bore Rifle shooting is undertaken as a prone event at three distances, and in several different disciplines. Taking the disciplines first, these are either deliberate 'slow fire' precision events, shot over a 20 minute 'detail' and involving 20 shots at 50m or 100yds, or 10 shots at 25yds, or they can be a 'timed' event at 25yds, where the 10 shots have to be completed in a 90 second period. The 'slow fire' precision events at 50m and 100yd can be shot with 'iron sights' or 'any-sights', depending on the competition rules.
The photo below shows members of the Club shooting 'Smallbore Prone Rifle' from the 50m firing point. The rifle types vary but are usually Anshutz rifles from the 1813 and 1913 series, or are the older 'Martini action' BSA rifles. One of the joys of outdoor shooting, especially during the autumn and winter, can be the weather conditions experienced. It can get quite 'murky' when it rains or starts to cloud over...
Usually shot on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, all day Saturday, and on Sunday morning.
There are two types of Air Pistol being shot at the Club. The first, and more popular, are the slow-fire single-shot precision air pistols used for competitions. These air weapons used tend to be pneumatic, CO2 or compressed air, and usually have contoured wooden grips and fully adjustable sights, on a longer than normal sight base. Makes such as Walther, FAS, Hammerli and Rohm are common.
The second, and newer discipline, involves shooting paper targets in timed details and can include rapid fire sequences. These competitions developed out of the old full-bore pistol competitions, such as "Police Pistol I" and "Service B". One of the most popular air pistols currently being used at the Club for timed and rapid fire competitions, is the German "Walther CP88" air pistol. The CP88 is used with 8 shot pellet magazines and are powered by 'Sparklets' cylinders that fit into the handgrip.
Usually shot from the standing position, on paper targets set at 10m and 6yds, on the indoor range on a Tuesday evening. To help members, the Club has available a large compressed air 'scuba' cylinder with standard fittings. This will allow members to charge up their cylinders and pony bottles prior to shooting.
This discipline follows the same steps as Air Pistol shooting, but is not as popular at present.
Black powder pistol shooting is becoming a popular discipline within St. Nicholas. As of July 2006, we have been granted a variation to the Club range safety certificate that now permits us to shoot black-powder on the 25yds outdoor range. Using mainly revolvers and single-shot percussion pistols, the activity usually takes place on a Saturday morning.
Black Powder Pistol
As well as a pistol, the BP shooter needs 'fine' black powder, a powder flask, percussion caps, lead balls, spare nipples, nipple wrench, lubricated patches, a 'starter', and lots of moist 'baby wipes'! It's a messy sport with clouds of smoke, but great fun to shoot! Shot on the outdoor 25yd range on a Saturday morning.
Gallery rifle, mostly shot using small-bore Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifles or under-lever 'pistol calibre' fullbore rifles , provides for the shooter, the opportunity to shoot those 'action' and 'practical' pistol competitions that had been lost to them. Members also shoot Marlin and Remington rifles. Competitions such as Police Pistol 1, Service B, Bianchi and the 1500 now appear as courses of fire in Gallery rifle.
Although many Club members shoot using the basic unmodified Ruger 10/22 rifle, several members shoot with customised rifles which come with many variations of stock, sights, barrels, triggers etc.
The middle photo shows two members, one with a stock Ruger 10/22 and one with a customised stock, shooting a 'Man v Man' competition. Each shooter starts with the loaded rifle, 10-shot magazine, any-sights fitted, and on the command of the Range Officer, the first person to knock down 6 steel plates wins the round.
The right photo shows one member shooting Gallery Rifle during a visit to Bisley. The shooter is using a 10-round Ruger 96/44 lever action rifle in .44 Magnum, fitted with a low power telescopic sight.
Bench Rest Rifle
Using target, gallery or light sports rifles, shooters aim to shoot the highest possible score while resting the front of the rifle on a rest. Any type of sight may be used.
Light Sport Rifle
Taking the place of the precision and timed target competitions previously shot with semi-automatic pistols, Light Sports Rifle, (usually shortened to "LSR"), is the up and coming replacement for them. The LSR competitions are being shot using .22 semi-automatic rifles, such as the Ruger 10/22, as well as rifles from Remington and Marlin. Very few use open sights, most people opting for low power telescopic sights (3-9x40 covers most of them). Some shooters use their red-dot sights from their Gallery Rifle setups. Other than a rifle, sights and some ammunition, the setup for shooting LSR is minimal. Targets are normally the N.S.R.A. PL14 type, and are shot as either slow-fire precision or as a timed shoot. The LSR competitions usually require the shooter to compete from an unsupported standing position.
Field Target is a shooting discipline that tests a shooters ability to the full. It is shot using air rifles at distances of up to 50m. Air rifle types include break-barrels, underlevers and pre-charged compressed air (PCP).
It is a unisex sport that also allows juniors to compete on level terms with the seniors. Shooting is normally from the sitting position, but can include standing, kneeling and prone as well.
The targets used are usually metal silhouettes that have 40mm holes cut in them. Behind the hole is another metal plate on a hinge and a spring. When a pellet goes through the hole and hits the rear plate, the plate moves backwards releasing the spring. This causes the whole of the targets metal silhouette to fall over, indicating a good hit. A course of fire in a competition may consist of up to 30 targets at various distances. Shot outdoors on a Tuesday evening, even during the winter season. This shooting discipline is very popular with the younger Club members.
Hunter Field Target
Relatively new here at St. Nicholas, Hunter Field Target is a also a shooting discipline that uses air rifles such as break-barrels, underlevers and pre-charged compressed air (PCP).
Hunter field target is a target shooting sport derived from the air gun disciplines of field target shooting and hunting. A typical hunter field course is made up of a number of lanes, with each lane consisting of a "peg" and a metal "knock down" target, which is placed in a position to simulate a hunting scenario. The peg marks the shooting spot and the shooter must touch the peg with part of his/her body or gun, for the shot to count.
The targets are usually based on typical vermin quarry such as rabbits, rats, crows, magpies and grey squirrels. They are made from metal and mimic their counterparts in both shape and size. Each target has a circular hit zone that varies in size, (typically 15–45 mm in diameter), and are set out at varying ranges (typically 8-45 yards). A direct pellet strike to the hit zone triggers a mechanism that makes the target fall back flat. this would be worth two points and the target is reset by pulling the "reset cord" that runs back along the ground to the shooters firing point. "Plating" a target (hitting the target anywhere but the hit zone) get the shooter only one point. Missing the target altogether results in a zero. After all shooters have completed the course of fire, the shooter with the highest number of points is the winner.
Full Bore Target Rifle
Although St. Nicholas does not have facilities to shoot full-bore rifle at its Foxbury range, Club members often travel down to Bisley in Surrey to shoot as members of other Clubs. These include Caterham & District Rifle Club and Bexleyheath Shooting Club.
A slow-fire precision discipline, full-bore rifle shooting falls into two sections; Match Rifle shot at 1000, 1100 and 1200yds, and Target Rifle shot at 300, 500, 600, 900 and 1000yds. Within the Club, it is the Target Rifle discipline which has the most followers. We tend to shoot Full-bore Target Rifle as members of the Full-bore Rifle section of the Bexleyheath Shooting Club. Members use a mix of commercial, ex-military and custom made rifles, mainly in 7.62mm (.308) or .303 calibre. Given the distances being shot at, most events take place on the Century and Stickledown ranges at Bisley Camp, under the auspices of the N.R.A.
At Bisley, the longest range available is the 1200yds firing point on 'Stickledown'. The 1100yds and 1200yds firing points are not normally in day-to-day use. Shooting on the 1200yds firing point entails the closing of several access roads on the camp. With good weather, (for a shooter that means not raining, not too hot and not too windy), a sight to warm the heart is a details of full firing points. The photo below shows the view from the 600yd firing point on the Bisley 'Century' range.
Distinct from the Fullbore Target Rifle shooters in the Club, are those members who shoot the shorter distances of 100yds, 200yds and 300yds using mainly ex-military rifles. Especially popular is the No.4 version of the .303 Lee Enfield rifle, as well as the older S.M.L.E. and Long-Lee rifles.
Disciplines shot include Service Rifle A, Service Rifle B, Match Rifle and Free Rifle, and are shot on the Stickledown, Century and Short Siberia ranges at Bisley. Most of the bookings that St. Nicholas has at Bisley for Service Rifle shooting are for Saturday mornings, and usually includes a paid marker.
At the St. Nicholas ranges, members also shoot other disciplines such a 3-Positional Rifle, while on outside ranges, they shoot Shotguns and Clay Pigeons.