Impact Airguns air rifle range
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- Last updated: 06/12/2023
I have been a member of quite a few shooting clubs over the years, and from quite early on I got hooked on the outdoor disciplines of Field Target shooting and HFT. However, the great outdoors can be limiting when the rain arrives, and the constant getting down and up whilst navigating a typical target course just isn’t for everyone.
Perhaps that partly explains the intriguing phenomenon of the ballooning popularity of shooting ranges around the country.
I got wind of a new venue that was in planning a while back when Chris Whistler contacted me to explain his proposed venture, and I’m pleased to report that the brand-new Impact Airguns Air Rifle Range is now officially open! Chris is an affable chap, and his enthusiasm for the shooting sports is obvious. He knows his subject too, having served 18 years in the firearms industry, then running the Impact Airguns factory (formerly Theoben Engineering). Sadly, the main operation has ceased, but the incredible passion for the brand continues and Chris still sells spares and carries out repairs.
His right-hand man at the range is Jim Dun, another real enthusiast, and with Jim now a qualified Airgun Instructor, via BASC training in Monmouthshire, the team certainly look good on paper.
Set on the outskirts of the pretty Cambridgeshire village of Fen Drayton, the Impact range is well-situated and easily accessible. The venue offers an outdoor and indoor range, and whilst rifles are currently catered for, the long-term plan is to also incorporate a swing-out pistol range inside.
The outdoor range sees a large menage-type area offering an impressive 65 yards to play with. There are six bench-style firing points, and a key feature here is that they are cut out to offer left or right-handed position and mounting. As Chris points out, they may well add more benches as there is plenty of space and potential. Alongside these, there’s also a raised platform for prone shooting, which is quite a neat idea. Again, more may be added. Main target holder ‘stations’ are built around a pallet, and this offers a wide area for free-standing targets or target holders. A large array of metal reactive knock-down targets, silhouettes, and spinners are a feature of the range, and the Bell Bomb targets featuring three different kill zones, all with their own bell to ring, look great fun.
If shooters wish to bring their own targets (of safe design), then that’s fine, but the paper targets offered at the range have been specially selected to be colourful in order to more easily show where shots are appearing, and with the club aiming to appeal to expert marksman as well as total beginners, casual shooters, and everyone in between, that aspect makes a lot of sense. Initially, shooters will be given a continuous one-hour slot without interruption, but this is to be reviewed, so breaks/target changes may be introduced more regularly if deemed necessary.
As for the indoor range, it can be found up a short flight of stairs, where you’ll also find the reception. Here, there are refreshments, free Wi-Fi, and a glass surround so partners or parents who aren’t participating can keep a watchful eye on the proceedings. Inside the main hall, there’s a 30 yard range with five seated lanes, and two prone positions on AstroTurf, then 25 yards with four seated lanes. Having a dedicated prone area is a great idea, and it’s all very civilised and well thought out. Everything is floodlit, and again there’s a great selection of knock-downs, spinners, plus paper target holders for more serious stuff.
Many shooters will of course bring their own hardware, but for beginners, novices, and corporate days, guns are very much for hire. You can also ask for expert coaching, and for those that take this route, you can expect to use an Air Arms S400 with an ambidextrous stock in .22 calibre, or an Air Arms S500 Carbine in .177. Both will have the bolt mounted on the left side, as Jim, the main coach, has found this helps with emphasising ultra-safe handling and hand positions at the very early stages. Opt for general gun hire without coaching and you can choose between a PCP FX T12 Synthetic in .22 calibre, an ATA Airborne .177, or spring-powered HW30 junior models in .177.
Chris initially advertised the range on Facebook, but after holding an open day on Saturday, August 12th, the response was encouraging to say the least. What he calls a ‘soft opening’ saw hire guns available all for free on the day, just to give people a taste of the facilities, and a good number came, saw, and left with a smile.
The idea is to sell tea, coffee, and soft drinks eventually, and the range will also be selling all the consumables required for shooting, so pellets, targets etc. Plus, an air refill service via their own on-site air compressor. With no refill facility/shop or gun shop nearby for at least 20 miles, pretty well in all directions, the Impact Airgun Range should hopefully fill that genuine local need.
After receiving several exploratory enquiries regarding archery, Chris is even considering possibly catering for this exciting branch of the shooting sports further down the line, so it really is a case of watching this space.
Booking is all online, either from the website or by logging into Facebook then searching ‘Impact Airguns’, and then clicking on the obvious blue ‘Sign up’ button. This takes you into the booking system. You’ll be asked to register and enter your details, which only need to be done once as they will be held for future use. The process includes signing to agree to the Section 21 Firearms Declaration, which basically says you are fit to and legally able to shoot an airgun. From there you will be taken into the calendar and time slot section to make the booking.
Indoor Lane Hire - £12 per lane, per hour.
Outdoor Lane Hire - £10 per lane, per hour.
Purchase from ‘My Money’ menu and then go to ‘Calendar and Lanes’ to book.
Indoor Lane Sharing (two people), £20 per lane, per hour.
Outdoor Lane Sharing (two people), £16 per lane, per hour.
Indoor Lane with airgun hire (includes 100 pellets), £27 per lane, per hour.
Outdoor Lane with airgun hire (includes 100 pellets), £25 per lane, per hour.
5-Lane Pack, £52.50 for five one-hour sessions, £10.50 per lane, per hour.
10-Lane Pack, £90 for 10 one-hour sessions, £9 per lane, per hour.
Silver Membership – Pay monthly for two sessions per week, reducing the lane booking cost to £9, plus a monthly supply of a tin of pellets.
Gold Membership – Pay monthly for three sessions per week, reducing the lane booking cost to £7.30, plus an Impact Airguns T-shirt and a monthly supply of a tin of pellets.