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JohnJ
(@johnj)
Estimable Member

Asking those that have actually been there, how high are the birds as they pass overhead? Ive been invited to visit England and "have a go", so to speak. Whats expected of a guest shooter, in both ettiquite and dress? 

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Posted : July 7, 2019 3:56 pm
Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Noble Member
Posted by: JohnJ

Asking those that have actually been there, how high are the birds as they pass overhead? Ive been invited to visit England and "have a go", so to speak. Whats expected of a guest shooter, in both ettiquite and dress? 

John - what a wonderful opportunity! Congratulations!

As is typically the case, there is no simple answer, but we will do our best to assist you.

“How high are the birds?”

Do you know where you will be shooting, and what your quarry will be? The answers can help you with this. Let us know if you can, Very few venues offer many birds at over 35-40 yards but some are particularly noted for this.

Do you know when in the season you will be shooting? The time of year, as you will understand, will affect your choice of clothing. A light rain jacket and over-trousers are almost an absolute necessity regardless of season. Wellies or 10” high waterproof boots will be your footwear choices.

If you search you can find many YouTube driven shooting videos, very possibly for your shooting venue, that will illustrate appropriate clothing styles. We can supply both American and British sources for all your needs. Very briefly - shooting shirts; necktie(s); stockings with flashes (woolen garters); breeks - cotton, moleskin, or tweed; water resistant heavy jacket; perhaps a sweater.

If you’re taking your own gun, does your shoot agency or host offer assistance in obtaining your Visitors Shot Gun Permit that you must have? If not, you will either have to find a way to obtain your VSGP, and we may be able to assist with that, or borrow or rent a gun over there. If you take a gun you will need to obtain a CBP Form 4457, typically at either a city or airport CBP office. You can find and complete this on line but must get it stamped and signed at a CBP office,

See if you can find a used copy of Sir Joe Nickerson’s book, A Shooting Man’s Creed - it’s an invaluable resource for every aspect of your new experience.

I just googled “videos driven shoot etiquette,” and found a whole slew of them. Watch as many as possible.

Greg, others: have I left out anything up to this point?

John - email me, or C Brummer for further answers.

Good luck!

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Posted : July 7, 2019 4:45 pm
Greg T.
(@greg-t)
Famed Member
Posted by: Moonshine
Posted by: JohnJ

Asking those that have actually been there, how high are the birds as they pass overhead? Ive been invited to visit England and "have a go", so to speak. Whats expected of a guest shooter, in both ettiquite and dress? 

John - what a wonderful opportunity! Congratulations!

As is typically the case, there is no simple answer, but we will do our best to assist you.

 

Greg, others: have I left out anything up to this point?

John - email me, or C Brummer for further answers.

Good luck!

I would add emphasis to the point of the paperwork.

You must have your 4457 with you on return, or they can take your guns.

My view of what works, ( and Moonshine has been an excellent guide on all of this) and what makes the experience more special, has been as much about letting go, as it's been, getting started.

One thing I think is worth pondering is that shooting is a team sport of sharing.  WE are a line.  WE work together to fill a days bag.  WE only take our most testing shots to SHARE the days bag among all members of the line.

So, if the days bag is 250, and there are 8 guns, excluding the very poorest shots ( and I have yet to see a private pay shot that was a poor one) a fair share for a gun might be around 30-35 over the course of the day.  All chosen by your minder if you are worried.

Afternoons are lighter than mornings, so, maybe 25 in the AM, and the rest after lunch.

Being mindful of that is part of the sharing I mentioned.

It's hard not to pound the easy shots, like we might do when just hunting at home.

It's a definite faux pas if done.

All part of being a good guest is being mindful of this kind of stuff.

It was hard to get past only shooting at birds that were in my 70% confidence level or less.  The game is a test of your abilities.  Not a slaughter.  That said, if your minder suggests that you "Have a go...", by all means take some closer birds or longer birds to help fill the bag. 

I practice to about 45 yards.

I shoot 1/4 and 3/4 chokes, and 1 oz 20 ga fibre wad cartridges at 1250 fps.  Brit 5's or 6's.

And I'm talking about reared birds, not Red grouse.

I might add that this sport is very ritualized, and each element can be celebrated.

Tweed shooting waistcoat,  breeks, stockings with flashes are all part of the pageantry.

You absolutely must wear a tie.

If you like getting dressed up, it's great.

I like having a minder.  I love having a loader.  Highly recommend having one for your first days.

So, it was important to me to go to London, have a man's day, and buy a shooting suit.  A couple hundred dollars against a trip that can get stratospheric is a small indulgence.

 

 

"Chemists make good solutions" 🙂

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Posted : July 7, 2019 5:25 pm
Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Noble Member

Greg’s points all very valid.

Query - determine if you have to furnish your ammunition, and if so, can you buy it at the venue or must you do so ahead of time. Make sure if you need felt wad rather than plastic wad cartridges; the venues allowing plastic wads are diminishing rapidly.

Re: my choice of ammo - 20 g, paper, not plastic hulls, biodegradable wads. The shoots I go  to get these for me.

I always use a minder out of necessity, but wouldn’t shoot without one anyway. A minder is enormously helpful in far more ways than you can possibly imagine, including being good company.

One caveat - don’t watch him load your gun! Keep your eyes up to anticipate your next bird. It’s simply amazing how many Guns keep looking down as the minder inserts the cartridges. It doesn’t help him one little bit!

If you have fired one shell and don’t already have a target for your second shot, break the gun immediately to be ready for the next opportunities. Being caught with only one cartridge is not fun.

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Posted : July 7, 2019 6:18 pm
Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Noble Member

Greg - I very much appreciate your words about the Team and sharing aspects of a shoot day. Our upcoming October family shoot will be the first one where we are limiting the daily bag to 220 birds; I have taken the same numerical/cooperative approach in discussions with the family. I have now copied that portion of your post and sent it to them. 

There are a couple of points I find interesting - There are a great many British shoots that go out for fewer than 100 birds a day, with all participants seemingly having a very pleasant day’s experience. And, it’s apparently quite common with families who have a multi/generation shooting background within which youngsters spend several years in the line absorbing the experience before they’re even allowed to carry an empty gun, much less fire a shot. All of this leads to a significant appreciation that I’d say is, for the most part, absent in American Guns shooting in the UK.

 Thanks for your input.

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Posted : July 7, 2019 8:08 pm
JohnJ
(@johnj)
Estimable Member

Thanks for the helpful and informative responses. 

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Posted : July 7, 2019 9:14 pm
Greg T.
(@greg-t)
Famed Member

I think the joy people find in the smaller days, at least as far as the shooting goes, is that it is easier to remember a great shot.  And far more likely that others have observed it. 

and there's a cultural modesty that is a part of a day out as well.

I also meant to add that certain '"shoots" cater to novice guns.

I highly recommend starting with an established shoot that starts beginners out on the right foot.

"Chemists make good solutions" 🙂

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Posted : July 7, 2019 9:25 pm
Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Noble Member

John, as you will see, I’ve dumped a world of additional info and suggestions upon you via emails.

If you want to respond here so others may see your thoughts, that’s fine,

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Posted : July 8, 2019 10:08 am
JohnJ
(@johnj)
Estimable Member
Posted by: Moonshine

John, as you will see, I’ve dumped a world of additional info and suggestions upon you via emails.

If you want to respond here so others may see your thoughts, that’s fine,

Yes, I have those emails. Thanks very much.

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Posted : July 8, 2019 7:49 pm
JohnJ
(@johnj)
Estimable Member

After careful consideration, Im out. Just to many hoops to jump through for a few days or pen reared shooting. I am working towards knee replacement surgery anyway and I truly would prefer guided grouse hunting here at home. Once my knee is 100% again. Im very grateful for the information both here and via email. Thanks to all that contributed.

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Posted : July 12, 2019 4:38 pm
Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Noble Member

I’m sure you have made the best decision for you. Very happy to be of assistance.

I just decided to forego an event to which I had given a lot of thought. Sometimes the best thing to do.

 

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Posted : July 12, 2019 4:50 pm
JohnJ liked

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