Saturday 31st August - building on the success of our Youth Day in April, and in an effort to encourage more of our lady members to try out the longer range shoots, we held our first Ladies Day at Bisley this weekend.

With the benefit of hindsight, choosing a bank holiday week probably wasn’t the best idea as we had a number of ladies interested in attending but were away on holiday and so couldn’t make it but 4 could and so Ladies Day moved from being an idea and became reality.

Starting off our day at 300 yards, at least half of our group hadn’t shot anything like that distance before, and were firmly in the 25 yard camp. But our ladies were soon enjoying the challenge of new distances, new rifles, and seeing their shots appearing instantaneously on the screens of the electronic targets, and there was some really fantastic shooting going on.

Shen, who hadn’t pulled a trigger for more than a year, and never beyond 25 yards, was walking around like the Cheshire cat with the biggest grin on her face. Soo, who’s been to Bisley a few times now, was having the first opportunity to put her two new Tikka’s to the test, and loving each and every shot. It’s a very endearing quality that she has - she talks each shot out of the barrel and on to the target as she takes aim.

Meg has had a couple of visits to Bisley and Euston, and was quick to get herself on target, although when we changed her ammunition in the Schmeisser AR15 she was using, things did become a little more difficult ! Note to Dad - your Schmeisser doesn’t like 55 grain bullets !

And Joanne, on her first trip to Bisley and shooting beyond 25 yards for the very first time with her new Accuracy International AX was awesome. Very controlled, relaxed, highly observant, and full of questions, she was having a great time with some really exceptional shooting.

But 300 yards wasn’t it. At 10:30 we fell back to 600 yards for the rest of the morning to stretch the legs even further. The new club Sabatti came out to play as well, and it performed admirably in the increasingly windy conditions, shooting some really good groups and taking V-Bull after V-Bull.

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Lunch was had in the Clays Café at 12:30, and our ladies were buzzing with the energy and excitement of the morning’s shooting but also a little cautious about the 1000 yards that was planned for the afternoon - they’d had a quick look at the range before going for lunch and had concluded it was a long, long way.

The weather forecast had indicated a sunny afternoon with temperatures in the realms of 24oC with light winds. The perfect conditions for a lovely afternoon of shooting on the iconic Stickledown range, and so we started after the hooter at 13:30 with a whole new set of challenges for 1000 yards.

Those light winds were nothing like light ! They were gusting to about 20 mph, and so our ladies learnt a whole new lesson - holding off for wind. The target board at 1000 yards is roughly 10 feet wide - it needs to be big, obviously. We were shooting in lane 50, the wind was coming left to right across Stickledown, and our ladies were having to aim at the edge of the target in lane 49 to allow for the wind.

We’ve seen it worse than that before at Bisley, but if you’ve never shot at 1000 yards before, that’s pretty disconcerting to be aiming at your neighbour’s target in order to hit your own. But our ladies quickly got to grips with the wind, the equipment and the smiles and grins were soon back on the faces after our break for lunch.

The afternoon shoot continued at a lovely leisurely pace with everyone getting plenty of shooting in. Things couldn’t really get better after the ice-cream van finally came to our side of the range, and we were able to sample Oreo smothered and strawberry drizzled cones, or just a good old Flake 99. It really was a fantastic day, and then the sky changed colour !

We looked on in amazement and horror as the brightness turned to dull darkness, and those sunny intervals disappeared in the blink of an eye, and then the wind picked up even more and the heavens opened ! A huge downpour that drenched us all.

It was freezing suddenly, blowing a gale and the sky was full of rain, but I insisted on the team photo before we disappeared back home - of course I did ! Aaran’s face says it all in the photo !

We had a great day - it was full of learning, full of good humour, full of fun. Our ladies, all of them, were excellent, and they all said how much they enjoyed the day, and if there was a chance to go to Bisley again, they’d definitely do it - and that is exactly what we’re trying to achieve ! Spark the imagination of our members so that they have the chance and the choice to grow their skills and involvement in our club activities.

Top Shot award went to Joanne who shot like a pro ! Well done Joanne.

Thanks to Mick and Arran for supporting with the coaching, to Soo’s driver Malc for getting her there, and to Mark for coming along to support Joanne. Thanks to the Club Committee for supporting the shoot from idea to action, but most importantly, thanks to Shen, Soo, Meg and Joanne for making it such a good day - you were all stars !