Three Hundred Pounds. While I have been writing the articles I have published on the SD I have come to realise this is a significant figure in my shooting spending. Why I have no idea. Some might say “Its because your tight” Others “because you’re careful” and some “You never spent enough on yourself” I like that one. What ever the reason it seems to be the case its an amount I part with. Many years ago there was a nice gun shop in my local town and one of my principals is to shop local if you can. I had decided to return to shooting after a lay off of many years and went in to ‘look’ at some guns. The smell of a gun shop is always the same it gives a shooter a ‘fix’ as soon as the door is cracked. We all seem to stand on the threshold and take a deep breath. The owner was present and we let the chap who followed us in go first, he just wanted some cartridges. I knew I was interested in a 12 bore, over and under. There were racks of guns with the usual reinforced steel wire security system and loads of the usual accessories. He patiently showed me several guns and I liked them all some were not a good fit for me although not an expert at all they just did not come up right. I brought up a Lanber and it felt nice, I did it again opened and closed it. “You like that” he said, “I do” I replied. “That ones second hand, I sold it new and he traded it up for a Beretta” I really liked it, I looked at it and asked how much it was. “£300” was the reply. I produced my certificate and wrote out the cheque. I had my first double barrel shotgun. While I was not a beginner I remembered the words of Carl Forbes in my shooting bible “The Sporting Gun” having two barrels is a good way to use twice as many cartridges. But a single and sporting clays does take a certain level of dexterity in the reloading department. I had never had a choice of chokes before and while playing around at first after a while quarter and half were settled on and they have been used now for many years for all my shooting. When I got home I rang my Uncle Sam and told him of my new purchase. “Bring it over and we will give it a go on the pattern plate” he said so that afternoon I went off over to Cheshire. He looked at my pride and joy with a critical eye. “They make some fair guns the Spanish, it looks short for you, but its not to late to take it back” Now I love this guy dearly but this was not what I expected or was looking for. Perhaps a bit of a sullen me, for a grown up, followed him across the field to the plate. He washed a small bit of the plate with old engine oil from a can at its base and stuck a bit of roughly torn paper on it about two inches square. “Now he said walk of about fifteen paces the don’t mess about aiming just bring up the gun and snap shoot at the paper, up and bang, no messing” I felt nervous. But here goes. I put my first cartridge in quickly lifted and fired. The paper evaporated, just disappeared. “That’s ok then” he said, and walked back to the house. I watched him go, did I give a little shake of the head and a slight chuckle, oh I think so. My original impression of Uncle Sam was of “a rather gruff and some what scary man,” and these were the opening words I used when I spoke at his funeral last year, how ever he made time for me and gave me experiences and memories that have lasted to today, many have been expressed in my other articles and he or his teachings keep coming into my thoughts as I write other things like they have here today. Anyway, that disappearing piece of paper made my day. I have had the Lanber for over twenty years, one of the ejectors needs a little work as it has worn a little sloppy, but each time I pick it up its like returning to a trusted old friend. The last time I used it was clay shooting in Lincolnshire with the guys from the wildfowling club. I was relaxed not taking count but there were two guys shooting well and at the end we were having a laugh and a joke when the scorer said “ You can shut up you won” So the old Lanber can still do the job. To save the Lanber the rigours and harsh environment of the marsh, the salt atmosphere, along with steel shot I decided to have a dedicated wildfowling weapon. My shooting mate Chris is a great guy and does loads of research before buying anything and I have basically developed the habit of following on behind. So after having a go with his new gun I too ordered one. Chris has a Biakal, semi auto three and half inch chambers multi choke proofed for steel. Having three shots instead of two I also thought might be an advantage. I could use three times as many cartridges.In actual fact I have never fired three shots in a days fowling, so far anyway. I went to Cheshire gun Room in Stockport and ordered one. Chris’s is synthetic which is a good idea for a wildfowlers gun. I ,being a bit more of a traditionalist had mine in wood. It came in and I went straight off to get it. I also got some three inch fours and some three and a half inch forty two grams in one shot. Now Biakal guns are renowned for being tough, functional bits of kit that work in the vagaries of the Russian weather. There is a tale that the steel comes from old railway line and the wood work is the old sleepers, now his could be true, but I like mine what ever its origins. On its second outing locally not miles away on a marsh, the stock split. I must say both Cheshire Gun and York Guns were very prompt in shipping and fitting a replacement, since then its been great. The only thing I have done is fit a neoprene sling and a brighter bead fore sight. It recycles all cartridges from twenty eight to forty two magnum loads with out a blip. I shot my first goose with it, and often take it for rough and clays some times. So for just a tad over the £300 I was set up with my first new gun. If I were to offer any advice on them, its don’t fiddle with the gas recycling pressure adjuster. When it came to buying rifles I wanted two in quite close succession and the price was going to be a factor here. I wanted a .22 and a .270. A nice day saw me at Melbourne Tackle and Gun. They were really helpful. After a load of research of my own. Chris doesn’t have a FAC, worse luck. Magazines and the internet had been long consulted and I had decided I wanted a CZ bolt action and was not adverse to a tidy second hand model. “Take a look at this one” he said passing one down off the rack. Oh did it look nice, what my stalking mentor calls a Star Wars rifle. Stainless, synthetic, silver scope black moderator. It felt nice, it looked new, I had a surreptitious look at the price tag on the trigger guard. “Ooh, I thought that’s ok.” I had a look out the back of the shop through the scope. Resisting the slight temptation to draw a bead on his dog sat in the sun, the bolt was open. But the stone work on the wall looked nice and crisp. I got home and wished my FAC had come. The next day I rang the shop and asked if I paid a deposit would they keep it for me. This was agreed and I hung up really pleased, I had missed good buys before through putting off deals and my favourite phrase used to be “well I’ll wait and see”. When my certificate came a couple of weeks later I went to collect it with 50 high velocity and 150 sub sonics in different makes I left the shop having put just over £300 on my card. I was amazed how quiet the subs were with the moderator. It took me a while to sort out zeroing and rifle shooting in general but now the shotgun does see much more cabinet time. With the .270 things were not so certain. I had looked at some lovely weapons. I really liked a used Remington It was solid and looked dependable almost like it would fire big bullets with a confidence of its own, the other was a new Howa 1500 but my finances were rather short of the price tags on these trigger guards. My mentor had mentioned that there were plenty of good cheap rifles on the market and something adequate need not cost a lot of money. The Parker Hale was a good example. So I looked on the internet, principally Gun Trader. I searched through loads of ads over quite a while and scoured those tiny print, whole page ads in the gun magazines that you need a good pair of glasses to read. You know the ones. Eventually there was an ad on Gun Trader that I came back to several times. Basically it said Parker Hale .270 in good condition with 3 – 9 x40 scope, bipod and sling. I rang then up, they were in Cheltenham, I paid by credit card having called my nearest RFD who agreed to accept it. In a few days it arrived. It looked fine and I was pleased with my just under £300 purchase. With the first shot with my mentor some time later I was stunned by the noise and the recoil. But the results were encouraging I could shoot under two inch groups from the off. I had tinnitus despite hearing protection for two weeks, so decided to ramp up my protection and get it moderated. This took me to Hardy’s in Sheffield and after advice on the SD the barrel was threaded and a T8 moderator fitted. Now my first few shots were a revelation. The sound was much reduced as was the recoil and the sight picture was retained, it was much pleasanter to fire. Another £300 well spent. My next step, is there always a next step, I think so, the time taken to make them may stretch out but for ever onward and upward I feel, is to upgrade the optics and a unscheduled visit to the Derby Countryman brought optics to the fore. I would like to replace the Nikko Sterling scope with a Meopta 7 x 56. Guess what they are about the right price.
Last edited by Tom270; 09-10-2010 at 21:33.
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