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Thread: British Sporting Rifle Club - unhelpful

  1. #1

    British Sporting Rifle Club - unhelpful

    Whilst members of prominent shooting organisations rush around, often at personal risk in tense time of terrorist activity in Brussels, to save shooting from the EU bureaucracy. What is hapening back in Blighty. This is a story about club attitudes that often drive shooting sports into the ground.

    In the NRA's Autumn 2015 journal (p.53) under the "Club Call" section of clubs looking for new members. The British Sporting Rifle Club were telling readers what they had to offer!

    BSRC say that "Access is only available through membership of the BSRC. It is only by operating in this way that the club can generate funds to run and maintain sophisticated and expensive target systems"

    So I decided to answer thie call and join BSRC. Or so I thought!

    I filled out the form in September 2015. The club gives a 50% reduction on the membership fee of £80 for those joining after 1st October. I duly wrote out a cheque for£140 (inc the joining fee).

    I sent the application off to the single address (c/o NRA) published for use in mid October. I followed up a week later to say the form was on its way.

    I heard nothing.

    On 3rd Nov I enquired with the secretary.

    On 5th November the response was "nothing received as yet. I am at the club tonight so will double check".

    On 6th November the secretary emailed "I can confirm that I have received your application, you have missed our Executive Committee Meeting (1st Nov), your application will be reviewed in January."

    So no sense of urgency of the fact there was a committee meeting on 1st November. Club rules make the secretary responsible for preparing applications for the exec committee.

    I was disappointed, felt let down that expectations weren't managed. Clearly BSRCs chosen postal address is not up to the job.

    I was told "We also suffer from an antiquated postal system which we cannot improve as the Post Office will not deliver direct, only c/o NRA and we can only collect from there if a committee member happens to be on the range on a weekday during office hours." This excuse speaks for itself.

    The upshot at this stage was that I'd paid £50 subscription to the NRA as NRA membership is a proviso of BSRC membership.

    As my next chance at BSRC process was to be 10th and 24th January 2016. I had to renew NRA membership in December at the cost of £74.30. Thats a total so far of £124.30 paid to the NRA when I already have membership through another clubs affiliation. An unecessary doubling up but happy to in BSRC context.

    I responded to BSRCs secretary asking how the January announcement left me and what next steps were. I didn't want to have to pay for the half year on completion of the induction process to have to renew my membership in full at April. I asked if there was anything I could I do during winter for preparation. I was considering starting again in new April membership year.

    The response was a lot of excuses. The pièce de résistance as follows;

    Whilst I understand that the Club is run on entirely voluntary help and the Secretary, but in her own words said she has "a full time job, a home to run and two spaniels in training! So, sometimes things don’t get done simply because personal matters have to take priority." Words fail me.

    Further excuses were the running of applicants names past the police to get them 'cleared'. Clubs are only required to notify the police of those who join and those who leave or of those who have not attended during the club year. Not wait for vetting responses, a process that incidentally may be illegal under the Data Protection Act. Certificate holders have already been vetted and can actually be accepted for membership if the club wishes. It was all coming across disjointed and and disorganised.

    Unbeknown to me (because they didn't send out any information, dates or a rule book) I had yet to get to the 'Secret Ballot' stage, so I puzzle at why time was wasted at the outset with the police.

    The next excuse was that the secretary's own admin setup and computer all takes time. What? Three weeks my application was lying around with the secretary's full knowledge and that there was a committee meeting in November 1st with the next in January.

    I raised my concerns politely about the clubs mailing address and how my expectations have not been adequately managed and the possibility that membership value and associated costs was unrequited in the delays and system failures. After all all I was required to do was attach a stamp and pop to the post box.

    But as usual, people inflate, become defensive, close ranks etc. My application went back in ready for April and was promptly black balled by the committee in their 'Secret Ballot'.

    Strange really as I've only met the chairman once and have never met any other committee members. Two or more whom must have black balled me as their rules require two black votes to reject transition to a 'period of probation'. I'm told the secretary abstained from voting.

    Ive since found out that it's highly likely that the secretary's boyfriend is to blame through coaching the exec committee. A disgusting affair designed to spoil another mans sport.

    Despite early calls to discuss by phone, no call came nor number given for me to call and show my true integrity and supportive attitude. Their rules allow prospective members to be called in but yet appeals to the chairman resulted in defensive stances against the applicant. Despite offering an apology to the secretary, which has not been acknowledged, the club refuses to see things from the applicants point of view.

    If clubs put as half an effort into uniting against threats to shooting as they do to unnecessary rules we'd have a stronger position in the UK.

    The Oozlum bird comes to mind.
    Last edited by tFl; 13-06-2016 at 22:49.

  2. #2
    Hmmmm.....that about says all with regard to the 'club'! It's that sort of nonsense that keeps many away.
    Blaser K95 Luxus Kipplaufbüchse .25-06Rem. Zeiss 8x56, 110gn Nosler Accubond = Game Over!

  3. #3
    A good post t. I wonder if there are any members of said club on this fine forum to get another view? Going by the post, they may well keep their head(s) down.
    Its actually quite sad.
    In the short term, good hunting.

  4. #4
    The OP's point is really very serious - how many are put off, dont bother, or are lost to the sport.
    Some such organisations are run like private clubs but until someone speaks up, like the OP, nothing at all changes.
    Its very difficult being a complainer, despite good reasons and a love of the sport it is easy enough, as the OP has discovered, to become a target so that privileged patronage can remain in place for self protection.

  5. #5
    I'm not a member of the BSRC but in their defence I would say that far from being unhelpful in all my dealings with them I have found the guys to be extremely helpful and very pleasant.

    From what I can see it would appear that the initial delay resulting in missing the deadline for the November meeting may have been the result of mail getting lost or delayed at the NRA something that I have experienced myself when writing to the club.

    While the BSRC may not post copies of their rule book to prospective new members I do know that it is available on line via their website.
    The NRA requires that all members of the BSRC are individual members of the NRA and not merely members of affiliated clubs so something that they have no control over. Perhaps you should be speaking to the NRA about delaying your membership to run concurrently with membership of the BSRC.

    No I am not angling for membership but if I did live another 30 or so miles closer to Bisley then yes I would seriously consider applying.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  6. #6
    British Sporting Rifle Club - unhelpful

    time to form a new club how about a welsh sporting rifle club just throwing it out there


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by greenshoots View Post
    British Sporting Rifle Club - unhelpful

    time to form a new club how about a welsh sporting rifle club just throwing it out there

    Or the Great British Sporting Rifle Club....

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by greenshoots View Post
    British Sporting Rifle Club - unhelpful

    time to form a new club how about a welsh sporting rifle club just throwing it out there

    Great idea, go ahead do it.

    I would possibly be interested in applying for membership, but only as an individual member. Never again as a club officer or official, been there, done that, and no wish to get dragged in again to something that will consume 20 plus hours of my time each week and will prevent me from shooting.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie P View Post
    Or the Great British Sporting Rifle Club....

    Why Eddie?

    You're are not under the mistaken impression that the BSRC is a national association or governing body are you. As far as I am aware it is only a club that just happens to be based on Bisley camp just as so many others are, and it is run by the members for the benefit of the club members. Being on camp may have some advantages but there are probably some disadvantages too such as the insistence by the NRA that all club members must be individual members of the NRA and not merely associated via affiliated clubs.

    Speaking of rifle clubs and how some people have different views on how they operate and often confuse commercial ventures with democratically run members clubs. I should stress that I am not in any way suggesting that tFl the original poster did this but its surprising how many emails I used to get when I was the secretary of a rifle club simply saying - " I want to join, send me the application form". No introductions, no pleases or thank yous, simply none of the usual pleasantries that you would expect.

    I generally replied politely explaining that we were a members club and that we had no obligation to accept members and that while you could apply for membership we had no obligation to accept you. I would then send details of the club and invite the prospective new member along to introduce themselves and for a look around. However on some occasions the tone of the enquiry was so rude and abrupt that I replied accordingly almost to the point of saying "********- you've got no chance". After all we wanted a friendly trouble free club with no hassle and no unpleasantness which I think is what most clubs actually want. Yes the additional fees from an increased membership would have been nice but we can manage without them as we have proven, and in any case our fees are maintained to be as low as we can possibly maintain them while still covering our overheads.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  10. #10
    OK, here we go... I am a member of BSRC and have been since the 1990s.

    As a long time member I also know a little bit about how the Club runs and would like to set a few things straight as far as the process goes. I am not going to make any comment, specific or implied, about the response or actions of the Club Committee as I am only an ordinary member and not one of the committee.

    That said I am on the Committee of a small rifle club which is currently in the process of applying for Home Office Approval (HOA) so can comment first of all on the police vetting bit - HOA Clubs are required by the Home Office rules to submit the names and addresses of anyone submitting an application to join them to the police prior to admitting them to probationary membership. This is not something the Club have any discretion over and it is not contrary to the DPA. Put simply it is to ensure that people who are known to the Police as not being suitable to have access to firearms cannot simply get probationary membership of a club and gain access to club firearms and ammunition.

    Equally the HOA set a minimum probationary period for new members that enables those running the club to get to know individuals and make a decision as to whether they feel they are right to join and in doing so gain their ‘good reason’ to acquire a FAC if they do not already have one. HOA can ‘waive’ the probationary period for those who are already full members of another HOA club but BSRC do not generally do this as they use the probationary period to train new members in the running target aspect as well as shooting from positions which they might not be used to if, for example, they are a member of a more traditional target shooting club where they only shoot prone.

    Check this out to see what HOA Clubs have to conform to -

    Even if a new applicant already has a FAC and/or is a member of another HOA Club the Club still have to submit the details as it is possible that the new applicant may have had an FAC revoked recently – a bit like those lads you see on the cop camera programs who show a printed insurance certificate they got when they paid their first months insurance but who are no longer insured because they didn’t pay the instalments. Believe me not everyone who holds an FAC is as honest as they should be. I know of applications from people who say they are members of another HOA club but who have neglected to give all the facts, including one who was under disciplinary at another club but 'forgot' to say so.

    So, BSRC do have to submit details of every applicant to Surrey Police for vetting and for very good reason.

    Now the bit about being an NRA member. To correct 8x57, this is not an NRA requirement but one brought in by BSRC in about 2008 as a means to support, part financially but more morally, the NRA as the sport’s National Governing Body. This was a decision ratified by members of the Club at the AGM at the time and one which clearly they still believe is the right thing to do as they have not supported any calls to change this at AGMs in years since.

    Whilst it saddens me to read the OP’s post, I am pleased that he has set things out the way he has without any unnecessary emotion and hope that someone at BSRC will get in touch with him to try and sort things out.

    Forums are not generally a good place to discuss personal issues such as this one so I hope anyone else responding will remember this; all I can say is that my experience of the club is that it is full of friendly members who will happily help each other out, be that with tips on shooting technique, loan of kit, advice on reloading, or whatever else.
    Last edited by Donkey Basher; 14-06-2016 at 09:08.

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