Jon Oakley, CompAir’s man in the Midlands for all things airgun, headed off to pay a visit to a recently-formed club that in a little over a year has really started to make a name for itself in airgun circles.
Located on farmland just off Little Moor Lane in Loughborough is the relatively new Loughborough Airgun Club, and I had been invited by Gary King to pop down for a shoot and a chat. I need no second bidding when I get an invitation like that, especially as this new club was only a short drive away, so with my rifle packed off I went…
I had shot a round of last year’s Daystate Midland Hunter Series at Loughborough, and had really enjoyed the day, but at the time I hadn’t been aware that the Club actually has the use of 3 large fields in which to set up courses for shoots, covering a massive 60 acres in total! Gary and fellow club member Rob Bates met me at the parking area, before taking time out to show me around and answer a few questions.[blockquote align=”none” author=””]Every club has at least one ‘gun tart’, and Rob is definitely a contender for the Loughborough title – though if his wife is reading this, he only has 4![/blockquote]
The club has a 60 yard plinking range with a good variety of reset targets, spinners and paper targets for checking your zero, which has space for about 10 prone shooting positions as well as a couple of benches. Work has also started on a 100 yard range alongside, which when finished will have covered and seated firing positions, with the plan being to have the work completed by the end of the summer. The guys had set out a short 20 target HFT Course for practice, which is changed every Sunday and can be shot from whichever position you choose, and is really handy for keeping your eye in for either HFT or FT.
Around 25 shooters were present on the day of my visit, with quite a few of the regulars off shooting at Quarry for the first round of the UKAHFT National Series. Loughborough has attracted a goodly number of shooters, and boasts some familiar names including Theresa Reed, Jacob Pantling, and newly-crowned 2016 HFT World Champion Simon Howarth as members. The Club also has a very active junior membership section, and Gary’s young son Alex was keen to show me his shooting prowess with his very pretty red laminate Air Arms S200. Under the watchful eye and fatherly guidance of Gary, I can easily see this young man being one to watch out for in the future. It’s always good to see youngsters encouraged to take up our sport, and Loughborough Airgun Club does just that, with membership fees being extremely good value. Adult Membership is just £25 a year, £15 for juniors, and you get a £5 discount for your second year! Joint Membership (1 adult and 1 junior) have £5 discounted from the total cost, and there is also Family Membership (2 Adults and 2 Juniors) for an amazing £50. The good news continues when it comes to range fees – your first visit is free, and for non-members it’s £4 per visit after and just £2 for members. I think these prices are excellent, and they mean that adult shooters can readily afford to bring their kids along and take part in what is a fantastic sport.
One thing I love about club visits is looking at all the different rifles and scopes that members are shooting, and generally people are more than happy to talk about them, and even let you have a go. I’m currently in the market for a new scope, so I was keen to have a look at what other people were using and see if any took my fancy. Everyone that I got chatting to at Loughborough Airgun Club invited me to have a go with their kit, with Rob Bates being particularly keen to show me his set up – an Air Arms HFT500 with a MTC Viper Connect 3-12×32 atop of it – as well as talking about all the other guns that he owns. Every club has at least one ‘gun tart’, and Rob is definitely a contender for the Loughborough title – though if his wife is reading this, he only has 4!
The Daystate Midland Hunters Series will be returning to Loughborough this winter, but in case you can’t wait until then the Club also has its own Grand Prix Series, which has just started and runs throughout the year. Run to UKAHFT rules, but with the results worked out in a similar manner to an FT Grand Prix – I’ll definitely be back to give it a go.
As is often the way, real world work commitments meant that I had to cut my visit a little short, much as I would have loved to stay and shoot round the course again. However, the visit definitely whetted my appetite and I’ll be back for sure when I next have a free weekend. The club also welcomes visiting shooters, so if you find yourself in the Midlands I would highly recommend you pay the guys at Loughborough Airgun Club a visit – after all, there aren’t many places where you can try your hand at shooting out to 100 yards! The club is now open on Wednseday evenings for the summer; for times and to arrange a visit, please contact the club direct:
Club address: Loughborough Airgun Club, Little Moor Lane, Loughborough, LE11 1SF (it’s just over the bridge and through the gate)
Contact: Gary King: 07714 088670
Rob Bates: 07802 907439
Or visit: the facebook page