We are very excited to present the first in what will be a regular feature on the Firearms UK page. With these articles, we hope to highlight not only the diverse nature of shooting by breaking down traditional stereotypes but also show how inclusive shooting is. Indeed it is an interest with so many disciplines that there is something for everyone and anyone can participate regardless of class, gender or physical ability. It is responsible for forging many life long friendships and a great way to spend time with family. Our first interviewee is Jamie who has very kindly taken the time to talk to us and tell us a little about himself and what shooting means to him.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Jamie, but my friends and family usually call me Jay. I’m 28 years old. I live in Cardiff but I am originally from Middlesbrough. I moved to Cardiff in 2002 as I was in a long-distance relationship with a girl I met when I was 15 on holiday in Greece with my parents. Three years later on my 18th Birthday I travelled down to see her, we started going out officially and I moved down 10 months later because luckily I had been accepted into Cardiff University. I’m happy to say that 10 years later we are still together and have been married for 6 years this May. I am a BASC and NOBs member.
How did you get into shooting?
I wasn’t lucky enough to come from a shooting family. I grew up on a council estate but it was close to Stewarts Park and Ormesby Hall and I spent a lot of my childhood walking around in the woods. My only experience of shooting as a youngster was a little BB gun I begged my mum for but I was only allowed to shoot at paper targets in the back garden or air gun darts at the dartboard and used to play ’round the clock.’ I was on crutches between 5 & 7 years of age due to a medical problem with my hip so I couldn’t play outside that often. My Uncles bought me a Nintendo 64 and my favourite game was Duck Hunt. I was a master hunter (or so I thought at the time!)
I applied for my license in 2009 and bought the same model gun I learnt to shoot with, a Beretta 686e Sporting, but I got it with a black action rather than the traditional plain steel.
What type of shooting do you currently participate in?
I predominantly shoot clays and I’m a member of Rhiwderin Clay Club. It is a great little club that has been running for the last 27 years and still has some of the original members shooting. I have also had the opportunity to shoot game. I have shot on two Beaters Days and Tony invited me as a guest on his own shoot in North Yorkshire.
Do you see yourself taking up any other form of shooting in the future?
I would love to get involved with more game shooting and wildfowling. I’m not one for big driven days though, I much prefer rough shooting and I’m happy if I get a couple for the pot.
As for the clay world, I would like to start competing, possibly in ABT. We have a ball trap at Rhiwderin Clay Club and it is by far my favourite stand. I like the fact that you don’t know where the clay will be going from one shot to the next. It keeps you on your toes and doesn’t let you over think.
How important is shooting to you?
Shooting is very important to me, It’s my release; how I relax. I don’t smoke, I don’t go out clubbing, I go shooting. That’s my vice if you like.
I enjoy being around like-minded people in the field. People think that shooting is just a rich mans sport; it’s not! In my experience, the shooting community is as diverse as any other sport or hobby.
What has been the best shooting experience for you so far?
My best shooting experience was my first Beaters Day. I had never shot game before. The gamekeeper and shoot captain knew this and they made sure they put me where the birds were flying. On the first drive, a few flew in my direction but I was way off the mark. The trouble with game is that it doesn’t fly in the same line each time like clays do, so you only get one or two shots at each bird. On the second drive, I was a walking gun. This is where I got my first pheasant, a lovely crossing cock bird and dropped like a stone with the first barrel. I still have the cartridge I shot it with. I ended the day with 10 pheasants for a total of 35 shot. I still remember each bird and often relive the day when I’m daydreaming.
What other hobbies/interests do you have?
I enjoy beating during the season. The shoot I beat on is in Chepstow, I love it! it’s beautiful countryside, and I’ve made some good friends as a result.
My other interest away from shooting is Rugby. I played blindside flanker for my secondary school, I wasn’t a great player but I enjoyed it. I decided to do my coaching and I am a Level 2 Coach. A couple of years ago I took my under 16s team for a clay day as an end of season treat, they all loved it!
What changes to firearms law would you like to see in the future?
I would like to see the handgun ban repealed or at the very least relaxed. I would like to see ranges re-open, and our pistol sportsmen and women be able to train in their own country to represent us at world events.
Last year I went to Orlando on holiday with my wife and her parents. Top of my list was to go to a range and try a few handguns. We went to Oak Ridge Gun Range and the staff were great. My wife came with me as she likes shooting too. We started with a Ruger SP101 .38 special and finished the session with a Smith & Wesson 1911 .45 ACP.