Bell Target Open evening report
Well, I had nothing better to do... i'd heard about Bell Target, but never seen it, or heard of it down my way. The Midlands again seems to be the centre of another airgun sport, and there was an open evening organised, so off we went. Dabbling in a bit of 10m and with all the gear and a vague idea, I threw it all in the boot, grabbed Dave and went off for a 3 hour evening drive, like you do.
A warm welcome greeted us inside the social club, we were show the 'range', a row of targets 6 yds away. Normally it's just the one, but it was organised around a team shoulder to shoulder event for the open evening. We were shown how the targets worked and what we had to try and squeeze through to ring the bell. A simple 3/8" hole. Hmm. Loads of rifles were at hand for loan, but I stuck with my 10m walther, hoping the handful of turns it needed to get the sights up to 6yds would work. A few quick blats at the target, and I felt it was as good as it was going to be. To be honest it took me longer to get used to the scorer standing in front of the line that it did to rezero.
It felt like ages before I got a pint down my neck!
I ummed and erred about putting all my 10m clobber on. Looking around the room there was a range of options of kit and rifles. Just jeans and t-shirts to bits of 10m clobber and everything in between, I even spotted a set of shooting boots. I elected to keep an excuse in my pocket, and just went with jacket. And glove. And glasses. And shooting top. Low profile... ish.
And then your on. Up you stand, shoulder to shoulder, and that hole staring you in the face. 1 shot. Then it's marked, and the target painted. Simple. Go again. After 6 shots, it's over. That's it.
But that isn't it really. Because I have to say, this is a simply superb way to spend an evening. What's better than spending an evening in a pub, shooting? Couple that with a simple target, simple rules. A pint, a bit of grub, 6 shots, more back to chatting and a pint (or coke in my case). I don't think I even was asked what score I got,I was too busy jawing away. Then I had to have a plateful of lovely grub. Then back to socialising.
The crowd is mixed. Not just your usual pile of blokes, with a few of the fairers along... this was everyone from those old enough to get in, those old enough to know better, and those you better not know how old, and their wives and girlfriends... and they can shoot. The top score was excuted cleanly by a young lady, without all the effort that many others seemed to be putting in, like me.
The format maybe simple, and the approach easy, but you can make it as complex as you want. Anything from an open sight springer, to a pcp goes. Same with the clothing, t-shirt to high tech. But you've only got 6 shots to get it right whatever you're using. I can tell you that after 3 5's in a row, that blimmin hole seems to dance around a bit.
It's inevitable you'll bump into a few FT reprobates around shooting somewhere. Last night was no different. At the end of the night, Ian Stoddart said "this
is what I do"... and to be honest, i'm pretty damned jealous. If this was on my doorstep, it would be what I did as well. And quite frankly, if you've never given it a go, then you really could me missing out on it.
Some say Bell Target is on the decline, gone are the days when 10,000 people turned up at a town hall to protest against a potential ban. But I don't know, it doesn't have the problems of the winter outdoors, it doesn't carry the stuffy smallbore range stereotype either and last night I saw a shooting sport that was well supported, a great environment and a great crowd, and a bar. It's kind of hard to see how it can ever be unpopular.
Anyway, here's some pics
and if you want any more info, contact www.waltonlions.co.uk
Right, so who makes bell targets then?