Baikal Challenge

The following guest post on the ‘Baikal Challenge’ at the North Coates Butts shooting range is kindly provided by Aaron bailey, a passionate shooter and Firearms UK supporter. If you are interested in writing a guest article or producing content for Firearms UK please send us an e-mail to

A Day At The North Coates Butts Shooting Range!

On boxing day I found myself sat thinking now Christmas is over I am at a loose end till new years, wondering what to do I thought back to earlier in the year to a afternoon at the gun club. I was invited on a ‘Fun shoot’ they call it the Baikal challenge it has been running ten years now, traveling from strength to strength over them years they have anything up to and above 50 attendants at the day full of shooting.

Now when ‘Fun shoot’ is ever mentioned allot of people seem to get there back up about safety of shooters etc… This shoot is run by a gun club for all walks of life anyone can join in! They use a number of single shot Baikal non ejector single barrel shotguns. They are all laid muzzle forward on a table that you stand at and shoot forward from. You are in teams of often 4 or 5 people, every team is drawn from a hat, this means teams are totally random making the shoot good for meeting other shooters, you get the chance to talk to people you would never normally talk to.

With the shoot being open to public as well it’s a chance to introduce otherwise nervous or sceptical people to our sport.

So I arrive at 11 the morning of the shoot to register. The price for the full day was only £20 this includes all the tea and coffee you want a free BBQ the use of the guns and all the ammo you can use during the Baikal challenge.

The day also has a number of other things going on at around 10am there is a round of clay pigeons consisting of 25 clays. Alongside this there is a number of ‘side shoots’ happening this year there was ‘blind air rifle’ giving you the chance to experience the good that the guys at North Coates do they have a range fitted out so visually impaired people can shoot using sound aids. There was a pump action shotgun shoot, you was timed on the speed taken to knock down 4 targets. A little further round the trail, you come to the .22 standing 40 yards shoot. This is done on spinning targets using a .22lr rim fire rifle. The side shoots normally cost between £1 and £2 per go, again the gun and ammo is included in that price.

Now moving on through the day the Baikal challenge starts normally around or just after dinner. This is started by gathering round and any new comers being shown the range and what will be done throughout the shoot. We move onto teams after this, all teams are drawn at random. You split off into your teams introduce yourself and come up with the days tactics and plan whether it be blast away till your done or designate targets for each shooter. The team I was in consisted of two new comers to shooting, a shooter that had never shot the Baikal (me) and an experienced shooter that had only missed one Baikal challenge since it began. We moved to one side and decided our tactics.

Awaiting the fun to start, there was a number of rounds before us, finally our number was called along with the team we would be shooting against. Standing on the start line the adrenalin starts to rush, the range officer calls the round. This could mean anything, kneeling down before you move off to your shooting position, standing on one leg, one teams facing the wrong way, cover your eyes with your hands. The range officer then calls GO! And you’re off to the shooting table where you pick up your gun and start shooting whatever target you have to shoot there is normally a series of plates to shoot after the dedicated shooters have shot the ‘first plate’ (this earns a point) and the second target this years was a spinning clay (also worth a point). After you have worked your way through all you targets there is a ‘last target’; this year, once the last target was shot a clay pigeon was thrown into the air. First to bust the clay wins….. What if you miss your last clay? This year there was a flash bang that your team could shoot at putting your opponent off hitting their last clay.

Every team shoots against every other team. Don’t worry if you are a bad shot there is a booby prize for the worst shot!

So if you’re ever at a loose end thinking what should I do this Christmas or summer get yourself over to North Coates Butts shooting club and see the guys. You never know it might spark a hobby!

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