South Yorkshire Shooting Show Report
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- Last updated: 18/01/2019
Now in its fifth year, the South Yorkshire Shooting show cum Game Fair came to Doncaster again. My son, George, and I had been for the last two years and so were looking forward to immensely. The venue of Doncaster race course exhibition centre is ideal, with great facilities and lots of free parking.
The main sponsors this year and a repeat from last year were Nightmaster and Swillington Shooting Supplies. Speaking of them, George took a liking to the Zeiss optics on the Swillington stand; he’s only 10 but he’s looked through a good selection of optics. He loved the V4 and V6 Conquest, even he could tell the superior quality is a step above the rest. Chris from Swillington was most helpful in explaining its finer points; If I were a stalking kind of shooter, I’d make a beeline for them. Hull Cartridge were on the Swillington stand with their Weihrauch range of airguns and also had a separate indoor ‘Have-AGo’, 12ft.lbs. shooting range, which proved very popular. There was another outdoor pay as you go airgun range, run by Rochdale Air Rifle Club; George managed two sessions on their BSA Ultra pre-charged pneumatic, perfect for a junior shooter like my son. It was good to see complete novice adult shooters walking up and asking to try airgun shooting on the stand.
I had a dabble next door to Rochdale on the Erik Arron archery range, which was fun. Sticking with shooting, Daystate and Brocock, those two giants in the airgun scene, had a stand at the show. I talked to my old friend Tony Belas and he showed me the Red Wolf; it’s a top-flight PCP with electronic regulating system and trigger, carbon fire wrapped air cylinder and a stunning red striped laminated wooden stock. It’s a real work of airgun art, and places pellet upon pellet at 55-yards too. MTC scopes were shown on the same stand and George liked the new Brocock Commander for its ‘tactical’ appearance.
This year, I spent some time on the Nightmaster stand, talking to Tony the MD; it’s the first time I’ve had the chance to look at the latest thing to revolutionise night time shooting. I’ve ‘lamped’ a fair few rabbits in my time and using a thermal spotter is a game changer for lamping. This small, hand-held device does away with the need to wash over a field with a lamp to pick out the tell-tale reflection of the eyes of your quarry, which can have the effect of spooking them into deep cover if you use it too much, before being able to get into a position to take a shot. We had a play in the exhibition hall with the XQ38F; I say we, as George had a rare old time scanning the crowd, the dogs walking around the hall were showing up hotter according to him. Once you know where the quarry is, that’s when the day/night sight on your rifle comes into play. The Digisight N355 is a best seller and I could see why – 3.5 to 14 times magnification makes it a perfect hunting scope.
As usual, a few knives caught my eye. Blue Mountain Forge from London were back again; their speciality is all things sharp and made of Damascus steel. I bought a UK legal carry knife with green mammoth bone scales last year and this year they had one with a wood scale, which was very nice. Mark, the man from the Blue Mountain Forge, is a knowledgeable guy as well, they had a few new designs from last year. The thin bladed caper for duck breasts looked cool, as did the spear point with a light green scale. I also bought a Byrd Tern UK legal carry folding knife from Chris Grant trading. He had a very nice selection of knives on show from Boker, CRKT, Opinel, Old Bear, Buck, Victorinox, Kershaw and Whitby. I also picked up a nice orange fixed blade Kershaw Buck Commander with a leather sheath for £15, a bargain for sure!
Shows like this are great to do some face to face shopping. New for this year was a floor of Airsoft products, along with a cool indoor ‘Have a go’ shooting range, George was taken by the range of AR type rifles on show.
There was so much to see at the show, birds of prey, various demonstrations in the arena, everything from ferrets to chainsaw carving. The food available at the show was spot on too, Harvey’s award winning sausages being mine and George’s favourite lunch every year and this one was no exception; with onions and tommy sauce, the gourmet ones are a treat for the taste buds.
Pete Winner, of SAS fame, gave talks on the Iranian embassy siege, as well as other things on both days. He’s always entertaining. George and I will be back at the South Yorkshire Shooting show next; make a date in your diary too.
Swillington Shooting Supplies: swillingtonshootingsupplies.co.uk
Weihrauch Airguns/Hull Cartridge: hullcartridge.co.uk
Rochdale Air Rifle Club: rochdaleairgunclub.co.uk
BSA Guns. bsaguns.co.uk
MTC Optics: mtcoptics.com
Blue Mountain Forge: bluemountainforge.com