at Marple Rifle and Pistol Club
Basic instruction in shooting is offered to all visitors and new members when they first come to shoot. This is so that they can both learn to shoot safely without endangering either themselves or others and so that they can make rapid progress without becoming discouraged. The amount of instruction that a person needs to get started is quite small, so newcomers should not be put off having a go, it is not like learning to drive a car.
The club has a range of 'how to do it' books and videos for members use. These are very useful for anyone wishing to pick up tips and advice from expert shooters.
MRPC Introduction to Target Shooting and the Club itself
This brief introduction is intended to give a basic outline of both Marple Rifle and Pistol Club (MRPC) and target shooting in general. It is by no means a comprehensive instruction manual; rather it is a set of outline notes and is intended to form the basis of learning.
MRPC was founded in 1957 at Rose Hill in Marple and moved in 1983 to our present address.
Originally we were a .22 rifle and pistol club which added airgun shooting in 1986, upgraded to full-bore in 1992 and black powder in 2002.
The club is run by a committee of 10 members and 3 officers who are elected on an annual basis (and also a President who serves a five year term). We lease our land from Stockport MBC on a renewable 21-year lease, but own the range building and all equipment outright.
MRPC is a social Club, not a business such as a Bowling Ally and as such exists for the members and is run by the members. One consequence of this is that you as a member are expected to help in the running of the Club; by for example, assisting in the setting out of range equipment and sweeping-up at the end of a session.
During your probationary period you will have been taught the basic rules of Safe Gun Handling on and off the Range, by which we ensure that our unblemished record of accident-free operation remains intact. A full set of Range Rules for safe shooting can be found on the notice board, on the Range entrance door and in the Stats Office.
This brief introduction fills in a little background information, which will help guide you through your Probationary Membership period and will help you decide which branch of shooting that we do at MRPC is the one for you.
Types of shooting carried out:
A) .22 rifle shooting to ISSF / NSRA rules on Mondays and Tuesdays evenings. Positions used are: prone, standing, kneeling. This is a precision sport requiring a high level of self-discipline and practice.
B) 4.5 mm Airgun (both rifle and pistol) on Thursday evenings, position used: unsupported standing only. This is a precision sport requiring a very high degree of self-discipline; it is nothing like the popular image of airguns, shooting at tin cans in gardens!
C) All calibres and propellants on Wednesday and Friday evenings and Sunday mornings, position used: standing, slouching and bench-rest. This is more a 'hobby' type of shooting and is not so 'serious' as the other kinds.
Shooting Positions used:
A) Prone: this means lying down on your front, supporting the upper body on the elbows, usually the rifle is supported with a sling between it and the upper arm (especially used on Monday and Tuesday).
B) Kneeling: this means going down on one knee and resting an elbow on the raised knee, usually the rifle is supported with a sling in a similar manner to prone shooting (especially used on Monday and Tuesday).
C) Standing: this means standing upright and holding the gun (either rifle or pistol) with either one, or two hands, according to type of gun, preference, or rules of individual competitions.
D) Slouching: this means leaning on the shooting bench and resting the elbows and / or gun on it for support. This is not a recognised competition shooting position for un-handicapped shooters.
E) Bench-Rest: this means that the shooter is sat and the gun is supported on a purpose made shooting bench. This is the most accurate form of shooting and comes in a wide variety of classes to suit all calibres and types of gun and covers distances from 25yds to 1 mile and beyond.
Types of gun used:
A) Rifle: A rifle is a gun held in two hands and is steadied against the shoulder. It has a 'rifled' barrel to make the bullet spin for greater accuracy.
B) Carbine: A short rifled type of gun, usually firing a pistol-calibre cartridge.
C) Musket: A short-stocked type of muzzle loading gun, similar to a rifle, which may, or may not be rifled.
D) Muzzle loading guns: as the name implies, are guns loaded from the front of the chamber with gunpowder and bullet inserted separately and not by metallic cartridges.
E) Pistol: A short weapon, held in either one or two hands (hence the term "handgun") and either cartridge loading, or muzzle (front) loading. Current Firearms law prevents most UK shooters from owning handguns which are loaded with metallic cased cartridges (except for long-barrelled types).
F) A, B and E above can be either rimfire or centrefire.
Types of ammunition used:
A) Airgun pellets: These are not subject to any legislation provided the user / purchaser is over 18.
B) Rimfire cartridges: These require an FAC to purchase. They are not reloadable.
C) Centrefire (Full-bore) cartridges: these require an FAC to purchase and are usually reloadable.
D) Black Powder: This can take the form of either a centrefire cartridge or separately loaded components. An FAC, plus explosives licence is required to purchase the black powder itself.
Types of guns used:
Guns are mostly described by the size of the bullet they shoot this is known as the calibre of the gun.
All Club guns are rifles in .22-inch calibre and fire a rimfire cartridge, which has very little recoil but is very accurate.
The MRPC Range is certified safe to shoot calibres, velocities and energies as described in its Range Safety Certificate, a copy of which is on the Notice Board in the social area.
How to shoot accurately:
Position: No matter which position you use, it is 100% vital that you are consistent, both shot-to-shot and card-to-card. Consistency is the most important word in shooting. Guns recoil in the line of least resistance and you must offer the same support for every shot, otherwise the muzzle will be pointing in a different direction for each shot. Breathe out normally and hold your chest in a relaxed consistent state for each shot.
Firing: The release of the shot must be smooth and consistent. No jerking or yanking of the trigger. The position of the trigger finger on the trigger must be consistent. Ideally, the trigger finger should move at right angles to the centre line of the barrel. The shot must be released when the sights and the target are in alignment and not moving relative to each other.
Sighting: Depending on which type of shooting you are interested in, you will be using Club guns with either telescopic (magnifying) sights, open iron sights, or aperture sights.
A) For iron sights: align the sights so that the front and rear sights are aligned correctly under the aiming mark with a clear gap between the top of the foresight and the aiming mark, this is known as Area Aim. For rapid fire with large aiming mark targets, use Point of Aim. Focus the eye on the sights NOT the target.
B) For aperture sights: Align the front sight ring around the aiming mark with the eye about 2-4 inches behind the rear sight. Focus the eye on the front sight ring.
C) For telescopic sights: Place the cross hairs of the reticule over the centre of the target. Check that the parallax setting is correct for the distance being shot. Set the zoom magnification as low as practical: Where there is a choice, use the largest aiming mark possible. Focus the eye on the reticule.
Target shooting is a hand-eye co-ordination sport and practice is required. You will get results in proportion to the amount of disciplined practice you put in to it.
Keep records of your performance, so that you can measure improvement. Score all your shot cards and remember that for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday shooting it is the edge of the hole nearest the centre that gives the value of the shot. The shot hole has only to touch the scoring ring, not cut it, to give the higher value; this is called "inward gauging". For Monday and Tuesday, it is the edge of the hole furthest from the centre that gives the value and this is called "outward gauging".
For more in-depth knowledge of target shooting, take one of the periodical run, longer courses available; enquire of the Range Officers when they are to be held.
The club website contains additional information and in particular, the Glossary lists many shooting related terms not covered here.
On a slightly different note, advice and guidance is available from existing members on the subject of reloading, for those wishing to shoot centrefire and Black Powder calibres.