Monthly Archives: August 2015

Was the shop-a-gun-owner hotline launched after secretive lobbying campaign?

New evidence has come to light showing that the withdrawn shop-a-gun-owner Crimestoppers hotline, championed by Chief Constable Andy Marsh, Britain’s top firearms licensing cop, may have cost taxpayers up to £15,000 as a result of secretive lobbying by a murky anti-shooting group.

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Great Britain wins the World Long Range Rifle Team Championships

Great Britain has won the Palma Trophy for the fourth consecutive time with a record-breaking score, beating eight other countries’ top shots to be crowned champions in one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious international shooting competitions.

GB’s team of sixteen shooters, captained by Jane Messer – the first female Palma team captain – posted a record score of 7106 points with 827 V-bulls, beating runners-up the USA by 79 points. The Americans scored 7035 and 719 V-bulls, while South Africa came third with a score of 7010 and 705 V-bulls.

Shot every four years, the modern Palma Match is contested over two days between teams of 16 firers. Competing at Camp Perry, Ohio, this year, the teams fought it out at distances of 800yds, 900yds and 1000yds. In addition to the firers each team includes four wind coaches, a main wind coach, the captain and an adjutant, as well as two reserve firers and an armourer. Wind coaches adjust the firers’ sights between shots to ensure gusts of wind do not blow them off target.

British shooter Toby Raincock, team adjutant, set a new individual record, posting a score of 449 with 55 V-bulls from a maximum possible score of 450 with 90 V-bulls. The previous record was set in 2011 by fellow British shooter Nigel Ball (also a member of this year’s team) with a score of 446 and 44 V-bulls.

The previous team record was also set by GB at the last match in 2011, when they posted a score of 7027 points. Other records broken by GB in the match include the first time a team has won all six ranges (posting the highest score at each distance on each day) and being the first team to  win the Palma four times in a row in the modern era.

Each Palma shooter fires 15 scoring shots at each distance, with each shot scoring a maximum value of 5 (the bullseye). The highest possible score for each firer at each distance is 75 with 15 V-bulls. The V-bull is a bull-within-a-bull, still scoring 5 but noted separately, in addition to the full score. In Palma shooting the V-bull has a diameter of 255mm (just over 10 inches) at all distances, while the black circular aiming mark is 1.12 metres wide.

Rifles used in the Palma Match fire a 7.62mm bullet. Under the match rules, the rifles are fitted with open sights; no telescopes are used for aiming. Shooters must line up the sights by eye in order to hit the targets, which are more than half a mile away.

Other competing nations this year were Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the West Indies and Germany.

Great Britain’s team was captained by Jane Messer. The main coach was Martin Townsend. Notable firers included David Luckman and Parag Patel, both 2014 Commonwealth games gold medallists, and David Calvert, this year’s winner of HM the Queen’s Prize for fullbore rifle shooting at the world-renowned Imperial Meeting, held at the National Shooting Centre in Surrey.

The Palma Match is one of the oldest international sporting competitions in the world, having been inaugurated in 1876 with a match between America, Canada, Ireland and Scotland. It is contested every four years between countries who are members of the International Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations.

For more information about world-beating target rifle excellence contact Katia Malcaus Cooper at the NRA of the UK.


Main picture is of the GB team with the Palma Trophy, which is based in form on a Roman legion’s standard. The picture is the copyright of Bill Richards and may be reused for reporting of the team’s victory.

Full results for all firers and nations, compiled at the range by volunteers from the GB teams competing in other World Championships events being held at Camp Perry, are available on this spreadsheet:

The official GB Palma Team website, including the full team list, is here:
The team’s diary of the second day of the match is available here: (the first day is also available)
The team’s brochure, including photos and team members’ biographies, is here:

A brief history of the Palma Match is available here:

The GB U25 target rifle team won all of their events and GB U25 shooter Jack Alexander won the U25 individual world long range rifle championships. Full information available via their Facebook page:

TR needs PR! Or, why we aren’t getting news coverage for GB rifle matches

The Great Britain Rifle Team has achieved a historic victory over America, while the GB U25 rifle team thrashed the rest of the world. Yet where do you see news of this? Virtually nowhere, apart from on volunteer-run Facebook pages (i.e. the most excellent Barry Buddon Broadcasting Corporation) that serve the shooting community.

For all that the airgun/smallbore-focused British Shooting organisation gets right up UKSN’s author’s left nostril by steadfastly ignoring anything that isn’t airgun/smallbore/Olympic-style clay pigeon, they’ve got the PR side of shooting sorted impeccably.

By that, I mean they’ve got demonstrable links to the BBC Sport newsdesk (take a look at Aunty’s shooting news page for proof – whither the Queen’s Prize, or any mention of the Imperial?) and their website has a dedicated press release area.

Compare and contrast to the NRA website, which has no press release area for visiting journalists to come and pick up stories from. Predictably, the fullbore community then moans that their sporting achievements, international and domestic, are ignored by the media in favour of videos of clay pigeon shooters publicly thanking the National Lottery for giving them a golden shower (of cash, not the Soho variety).

What we need – and by “we”, I suppose I mean the NRA – is a dedicated PR person charged with securing mainstream media coverage. I do not say this to do down the current NRA marketing team, who have made huge achievements in generating homegrown coverage of NRA meetings and events, as well as boosting the association’s social media presences, since they took up their posts. What I propose is the NRA hires a dedicated PR person with the brief of generating newspaper and broadsheet coverage.

Even a part-timer could do it reasonably well. All you need is basic information about the match (course of fire, distances, a brief history, what the trophy is, notable previous results), the scores, any notable individual performances (did the new cap go clean at one or more distances? Is this the 50th year that Old Bloggs has shot this competition?) along with an attributable quote from the team captain, adjutant or head coach of at least one paragraph in length – and, if an individual’s performance is notable or highlighted, a quote from that individual too.

Combine that with some carefully targeted email lists and a bit of meet’n’greet with sports journalists, and you’ve got the basics of securing a higher profile for British target shooting.

Journalists these days are very pressed for time and easy space-fillers are a godsend. But it needs proactivity from us – the days when reporters would bimble along in the hope of filing something on-spec to the newsdesk are long, long gone. If we don’t reach out and engage with the media, we’re going to continue to be ignored while airgun plinkers glibly keep on telling the public that the only notable target shooting in the UK is what they do – and that, in the long run, will cost us public support through ignorance and apathy. We cannot afford to let that keep happening.

Certificate renewals are delayed up to 9 months in Scotland, says BASC

The chief inspector in charge of Police Scotland’s firearms licensing unit has been forced to deny that his department is trying to reduce the number of firearms in Scotland as BASC reveals some of its members have waited up to 9 months for routine certificate renewals.

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