During the last few months we have been planning our Shooting Calendar for 2022 and in particular the Scottish Riﬂe Meeting at Lauder and the National Championships at Bisley. Both events were last held in 2019 and of course since then we have had to deal with the consequences of COVID. The most challenging of these has been the financial fallout which inevitably impacts on our resources to run major events to a high standard.
In sporting terms, 99 years is a very long time. Leave aside the coaching, training and fitness of the athletes themselves, just the development of the sports equipment used has moved performances on to levels inconceivable a century ago.
Take the men’s pole vault. The World Record in 1922 was 4.12 metres, but the 1950s technical revolution of using flexible poles has been the principal factor in increasing the 1922 record by 50% to today’s mark of 6.18m. Cycling’s One Hour Record has progressed more modestly, but still by almost 25%, from 44.2km to 55.1km.
These improvements pale into insignificance when compared with small-bore target shooting. Here there have been so many areas of change – the shooter’s clothing, the rifle barrel’s performance, the accessories to customise the rifle to the shooter, the grouping potential of the ammunition and so on. But how can one compare shooting performance over the same period?
The 2021 Postal competitions are now up and running normally. The Competitions Team have been working at pace to bring a high degree of normality back to the programme of events on offer.However, due to the issues created by Covid, a backlog of results, medals and awards has accrued.In order to maintain the current programme of events most efficiently, we have taken the decision that the department will concentrate on the current competitions from Summer 2021 forward.The backlog prior to Summer 2021 will be dealt with, but we would ask for your tolerance as it is not currently being prioritised. Please don't contact the department about these awards - we will work to reduce this backlog and are looking at ways to direct extra resource to it if possible.We appreciate that many of you have waited quite some time now for your richly deserved awards, and we ask for your patience for a little while longer as we make the space for ourselves to deliver current competitions.
We will of course ensure that everyone gets the overdue medals etc that they have won in the future.
Once built there is a tendency not to look behind the anti-splash curtain on an indoor range to see how well the bullet catcher is standing up to the continual strike from a round of ammunition.
It has been known for the steel to be damaged to such an extent that a hole is formed, the fabric of the building is breached, and a round exit the building. It is important that a monthly inspection of the whole of the range takes place. Our range construction booklet at annex B documents what should be checked. A copy of the appropriate pages is attached.
The Home Office has published the new Firearms Licensing - Statutory Guidance for Chief Officers of Police, which comes into force on 1st November 2021.
In contrast to previous guidance, this version is a statutory document that must be followed by both the Firearms Departments and shooting public. It is hoped that this change will deliver more consistency in the application of firearms licensing law by police forces across the country. There is some flexibility, but any deviations from the guidance must be justifiable on a case by case basis.
SMRC and NSRA meetings have always included a competition for juniors, though over the period the age limit has varied. In 1922 it was for those under 17. The individual championship was not an arduous affair – a single card of 10 shots at 25 yards for an entry fee of six old pence.
The course of fire in the competition for junior teams of four was longer and with a twist – 10 shots deliberate and 10 shots in 90 seconds, again at 25 yards. It is perhaps not surprising that the medal-winning teams were based locally; the Royal Grammar School, Guildford beat Woking County School by 744 points to 690.
Bisley 1922 was a first, but in another respect it was a last. Since 1907 a Home Countries International Match for teams-of-10 had been a feature of two SMRC Meetings each year. The Bovril Shield was the first trophy used, shortly after joined by the Ian Hamilton Cup.
Lord Roberts Centre, Bisley
Week commencing Monday 22 November
The Inter-Services Small bore Rifle Championships took place over the weekend of 2/3 October on the 50m range at the Lord Roberts Centre.
Prior to the championships we had made a number of changes to the electronic targets. Also during the championships we double-checked the operation of each target between relays. While there where 3 phantom shots recorded, two bays were declared DNU, and one feed failure overall reliability was much improved with the Sunday final of 8 competitors being shot on a single bay with no incidents reported.
The working group is continuing to investigate ways to improve the reliability of the 50m ETS's and will keep interested parties updated via facebook.