Airgun range profile: Range and Country, Lincolnshire
- Credit: Archant
Mark Camoccio reveals a new airgun range deep in the heart of Lincolnshire
Many of us are fortunate in that we are able to shoot in our gardens, and it's something we can take for granted, yet there's an army of enthusiasts out there who aren't so lucky. Hardly surprising then, that an increasing number of dedicated airgun ranges are opening up around the country, eager to capitalise on the sport's growing popularity.
In theory, indoor facilities are the ultimate for an airgun shooter, since they allow the gun to be set up in near-still air, yet being outside in the great outdoors is still highly appealing, and one of the reasons many of us find shooting so enjoyable.
Range and Country seem to have struck the perfect balance with their brand-new airgun range, and I took a trip there recently to see how it was all progressing. For a start, it's in a lovely setting, in North Rauceby, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, and having now seen the facilities, all I can say is, it's a very exciting prospect if you live anywhere nearby.
Peter Rose and his son, Lawrence, are the driving force behind the new venture, and it's a spin-off from the gunshop they run in Sleaford. Peter has been passionate about shooting since the age of 12, shooting airguns, and dabbling in target shooting. Rough shooting and clays soon followed, and his big passion is Practical Rifle and Practical Shotgun. Peter's son, Lawrence, has come into the business straight from school, and is already highly knowledgable on all things airgun, and their enthusiasm for this new venture is clear to see.
The airgun range is set over an attractive stretch of landscape, just behind a large farmhouse, and with a massive area for parking and an on-site shop, it all seems to be coming together nicely. 'Wow!' seems to be the response when most people first view the site, and what they have done is certainly impressive. The obvious key ingredient is a covered shooting area with a full-length roof shielding the firing points, but a ten-foot-high perimeter barrier made of straw bales means that the effects of wind - the bane of airgunners, after all - can be minimised and at least dissipated.
Having run his own survey, Peter found that the vast majority of shooters who use this type of range do want to be seated at a bench, so that has been the main thrust of the operation, so far. There are currently 15 seated shooting bays under the covered roof, and there are plans for another 30, so capacity will be significant. As Peter points out, " The last thing shooters want is to travel all the way to a range only to find they have to queue to get on, so we are trying to minimise that and expand accordingly. There will be flexibility, too, since several of the benches will be designed to be removable, allowing shooters to lie prone if they want to. They will still be on a concrete floor, so free from the mud and wet. A wood will also be utilised, and the idea is to get HFT off the ground, too."
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I've been party to the development figures, and let's just say we are talking serious investment here.
There's a huge selection of metal spinners and knock-down targets, set at ranges from 8 right out to 60 yards, and the on-site shop sells all the usual shooting accessories, and different types of paper target, so everyone is catered for; fun shooters, HFT, or serious field target enthusiasts alike. Shooters can have their PCP guns filled up for just 50p up to 200bar, and there is a plan to get an on-site compressor, too. There are guns available for hire, and the BSA Ultra XL is a great option, for £10 a session. Of course, with the on-site shop up and running, shooters can try before they buy, which can be invaluable in a bid to get hardware that properly suits the individual.
On the day of my visit, I was lucky enough to bump into Ken Garrill, who just happens to be Range & Country's first member to sign up. Ken is incredibly sprightly, clearly loves his shooting, and at 80 years old, is an inspiration to us all. There are 60 members already on the books, so the idea is to also get a club in place.
Cheats will prosper
Being able to cheat the weather, and have guaranteed shooting, courtesy of the covered firing points, is a huge asset. Throw in the beautiful venue, and it's hard to see this business failing. So if you live anywhere in the vicinity, take a drive over. You won't be disappointed.
- The range can be found at Lodge Farm, Church Lane, North Rauceby, NG34 8QU
- Range opening times: Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 10am until dusk, including on-site shop
- Membership: £40 annual fee, plus £5 per session. £8 per session for non-members.
- If you want to visit Range and Country Shooting Supplies, the shop is situated in White Hart Mews, just off of Sleaford High Street, at 34b to the rear of 34, Southgate, Sleaford Lincolnshire, NG34 7RY. Parking is available nearby.
- Sleaford shop opening hours: Mon, Wed and Fri 9am-5pm, Thu 9am-5.30pm