20 April 2016 – The NRA has announced no fewer than three training courses for new markers in May, following yesterday’s report of critical marker shortages at Bisley Ranges.
An email sent to markers, the text of which has been seen by UK Shooting News, offers the NRA’s apologies for cancelling its previous 7th April training course and offers new courses on the 8th, 22nd and 29th May.
UK Shooting News’ author, a target rifle shooter, has just been informed that pre-booked NRA markers for a match he is captaining this weekend are no longer available. Other clubs and associations are scrabbling around to find volunteers from their own membership to mark their targets this weekend.
Meanwhile shooters from non-Bisley ranges look on in bemusement because self-marking is the norm everywhere else in the country. Paid markers are a luxury that has become ingrained in Bisley target rifle shooting – and, in fairness to the more senior shooters who are no longer capable of heaving the poorly maintained Bisley target frames up and down, they are a definite necessity.
In years gone by the main Imperial Meeting used to rely on competitor marking, with the option for shooters to “buy out” of marking by paying the NRA the going rate for a marker to take their place during their allotted shift.
Target marking is unskilled manual labour. Workers pull the big Bisley target frames down when a shot is fired at them, insert a piece of coloured card on a piece of wire – a spotting disc – into the bullet hole, move the value panel at the bottom of the target to indicate the score, and then push the target back up for the shooter to see. Most Bisley markers are school pupils or school leavers.
According to the NRA website at the time of writing, the gross pay for markers is £7.51 per hour, with supervisors receiving a supplement. Applicants for marking work should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.