Marksmanship, getting good on the cheap

oberonh

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Posts
3
Reaction score
3
I joined a highland TA regiment during the last days of the SLR and the ranks were bursting with crack shots, mainly game keepers and farmers (or poor farm hands like myself), but we all had an interest in marksmanship and the great attraction of the TA was the ability to have a huge amount of full bore practice (full bore ammunition is very expensive), and there is a need to practice a LOT to get good at it.

In the Highlands young lads, and I guess any rural area where shooting is commonly done, are given a .177 air rifle around the age of 8 or 9 and start to practice with that. Can be done indoors if there is a decent hallway or barn and the skills learnt getting good groupings with that are directly transferable to full bore on the range way down the road. I've seen experienced (civilian) shots walk on to the range and get 10" groupings at 600m with an SLR whilst they are still early in (military) training. 10" at 600m with a gas operated rifle fitted with iron sights is pretty good indeed! A local lad & friend of mine was a game keeper until he joined RM in the early 90's (he then went to 45 cdo), and when he came home during leave in training, and later Norway, we talked extensively about marksmanship and the training, especially as they had the SA-80 then and I was still with the SLR being TA. The general feeling then was that the SLR was a much better weapon all round, at least for marksmanship, but the SA-80 was more effective, despite its many faults, as it got more lads unused to rifle shooting, more accurate more quickly so overall it achieved more for less, especially in an era where civilian shooting is much more rare that it once was.

Only word of caution is that iron sights are different to optical, not only the way the shot is lined-up, placed and released, but the whole weapon is slightly different, more weight, centre of gravity is higher, sight picture & etc., so switching from iron sights to optical requires quite a bit of practice too, but .177 air rifle groupings at 15m will work wonders whatever level one is at, all for the cost of a tin of pellets.
 

Ninja_Stoker

Admin
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Posts
35,358
Reaction score
17,485
Ooh dits. My go...

During my youth in the 1970s, pretty much every lad I knew had a .177 Gat pistol, a Milbro cast aluminium catapult & everyone seemed to want a .22 Weihrauch air rifle with a scope & souped-up compression spring.

Of course, in them days, shooting your oppos was not considered attempted murder, more a case of "Careful now, you'll have someone's eye out".

We became quite adept and could even fire ring-pulls off Coca-Cola cans, using the peeled-back top as the launch vehicle. Then of course, someone was ordered by a teacher to fire one at the wooden blackboard (early predecessor to a chalkboard, whiteboard and smartboard). We were all expected to gasp in awe when the ringpull embeded itself in the wooden board.

Following on from this I remember shooting rabbits with a bolt-action .410 shotgun and then finding out why we didn't use 12 bore shotguns to bag rabbits - unless you wanted them vapourised.
 

Chelonian

Moderator
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
11,466
Reaction score
14,173
...more a case of "Careful now, you'll have someone's eye out".

A phrase applied almost universally to any activity from flicking a rubber band to throwing a tennis ball when I was a boy. Do people say it anymore? :)

I'll take a stroll along Memory Lane. I always wanted the chrome-plated Gat but mine was a standard black model like in this picture pinched off t'internet. Good fun though.

Gat.jpg
The Weihrauch many lads wanted was a HW35e. I think it had a walnut stock. Way beyond my reach. Still got my old Webley Mk III ·22 though. I think I've still got the Gat too, funnily enough.

On the topic of the SLR (Peace be upon It) many consider that the arrival of such new fangled technology and the demise of the SMLE ·303 heralded the death of UK arms drill and marksmanship.

As alluded to by @oberonh a box of 100 civilian 7·62mm rounds now costs about £75-00. :eek: A pleasing thought for anyone who has ever attempted to make themselves comfy sitting on a small mountain of spent GPMG cases.
 

oberonh

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Posts
3
Reaction score
3
Gentlemen, shotgun, bb gun, dart gun, rubber band, coke ring pull, tennis ball? None of these projectiles, however admirable in their own way are, um rifled...
 

DJANGO

Valuable Contributor
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Posts
183
Reaction score
125
Absolutely magnificent, I'd definitely want you on my side if I ever found myself in a medieval siege
 

Ninja_Stoker

Admin
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Posts
35,358
Reaction score
17,485
Absolutely magnificent, I'd definitely want you on my side if I ever found myself in a medieval siege
Yep, you can't beat first-hand experience.

Looking at the weaponry pictured above, that tortoise, by scale, has better armour and firepower than a Challenger II main battle tank.
 

corvus

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Jul 15, 2013
Posts
361
Reaction score
328
The trebuchet is of course a superior siege weapon...
 

DBenn01

Venerated Contributor
Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Posts
824
Reaction score
427
Can't beat a good ould Long Bow. A big favourite of mine, alongside the Airsoft rifle.

Getting to be quite a good shot with the bow. Also with sling shots.
 

cc1

(former RM)
Joined
May 14, 2016
Posts
751
Reaction score
1,191
I once shot at a SAPU (Fig .11) and blasted a Pheasant. It quickly, and obediently, died on the point.
 

DBenn01

Venerated Contributor
Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Posts
824
Reaction score
427
I once shot at a SAPU (Fig .11) and blasted a Pheasant. It quickly, and obediently, died on the point.

Que the signature squawk made by a Pheasant on a regular basis, only this time prompted by being blasted to smitherines.
 

Chelonian

Moderator
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
11,466
Reaction score
14,173
Judging by the genocide-scale amount of pheasant corpses littering the roads of North Devon the Vauxhall Astra is a very effective weapon too.
 
Similar threads



New Threads

Top