The Airgunner editor visits...Bicester Target
- Credit: Archant
This month Dave Barham pops in for a quick visit to one of the UK’s most comprehensive FT/HFT gun stockists
I don't mind where I go or what I do for these 'Take Me Out' features in Air Gunner. So far, I've visited a couple of gun clubs, someone's backyard shooting range, and now I'm visiting a shop. It's not any old shop, mind you. Oh no, this place is the Mecca for all things field target.
Bicester Target is the brainchild of owner, Chris Moore, a well-known HFT regular at both club and regional levels. He opened the shop some four years ago after buying his first STYR rifle on the Internet, without even seeing it - all £2,000 of it!
Chris realised that there was nowhere local, if anywhere in the UK, where he could go and see the sort of high-end, customised rifles he was looking for, so he decided to put together a bespoke shopping experience for the myriad FT/HFT competition shooters out there.
Chris enlisted the help of Clive Graham, who helps manage the shop and is also a keen HFT and FT shooter. He is also a club instructor for The Bulldogs, North Oxon.
Only the best
Bicester Target only stock the best of the best. Adorning the walls inside you'll find a large number of customised rifles, including a host of brightly coloured, highly finished Warren Edwards stocks, and 'one of a kind' Nick Murphy barrels - two names that anyone into custom rifles will know instantly.
Chris is one of the few people in the UK who has a direct line to STYR and can order different coloured kit as opposed to the regular stuff. The shop is also a main dealer for companies such as Air Arms, Weihrauch, Daystate and GunPower.
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Of course it's not just competition rifles that can be found in this shop, they stock a large selection of quality 10m competition pistols, too, plus all the gear you need to go with them.
One thing that Chris did mention to me when I arrived at the shop took a while to hit home.
"Take a look around you, Dave. What don't you see?" he said as I slurped my mug of tea.
"Hmmm, I don't know, mate. What am I missing?" I replied.
"There's no camo, not at all. That's one of the things we pride ourselves on," he said with a chuckle.
I suppose that statement goes with the ethos of the shop - this is an out and out competition shooters' paradise. The same can be said for the décor, Chris was very specific when designing the interior - it had to be bright, light and no camo, and you'll see rows of LED lamps all around you when you walk through the door, lighting the place (and guns) up beautifully.
A typical job
While I was there, Chris showed me just what was possible when it comes to bespoke customisation. The company ethos is to help anyone who walks through the doors. First, they find out exactly what the customer wants to do, then they help advise and set them up accordingly. It's like going in and getting measured for a new suit.
One particular rifle that Chris was keen for me to look at was a recent custom build of a Rapid Air Weapons TM1000. It had a £2,400 price tag on it, but it's one of a kind and has had an amazing amount of work done to it. They had to cut back the air cylinder by 40mm and reduce the length of the shroud to get it all lined up and weighted correctly. The air cylinder was ceramic coated, and they added a Warren Edwards stock and butt hook to finish it off. You simply cannot buy a rifle like this anywhere else in the world.
From someone who has little knowledge of the FT/HFT scene, it was a real eye-opener for me. I'd just like to say a massive thanks to Chris and Clive for making me feel so welcome. Next time I'm in the area, I shall be popping in to sort out a feature in the field - with some of the high-end junior shooters who are sponsored by the shop, I hope.
Find out more...
If you would like to discover more about the wonderful world of HFT/FT custom rifles, check our bicestertarget.co.uk or call 01869 457170. Its also well worth the drive to go and see them in person at: Walton Moore Offices, 6 Grange Mews, Station Road, Launton near Bicester, OX26 5EG.