Thursday 31st January

Thursday began with the brightest start to any day so far, threatening the hottest conditions. The earliest to arrive at the range saw a thin layer of mist just covering the targets, but this did not last. As it turned out, the heat did not seem quite as draining as in some previous days (in some cases because of the abandonment of extra shooting layers), and perhaps the lighter load of shooting (3 shoots rather than the 4 of both yesterday and Tuesday) helped. Today’s schedule has been the most relaxed we have seen to date, with us leaving the accommodation at 7.30 and arriving back by 5pm on earlier days and just after 4pm for some today.

600 yards began in a dead calm and unsurprisingly saw 139 50s out of 298 A-class scores & 6 out of 37 B-class scores. Top GB score was from Toby Raincock, who came 6th as the lowest of 5 scores of 50.9, with the remaining 4 coming 2nd=, each having dropped their second counting shot into the bull-5, vs Toby’s sixth. 900 yards was shot in the late morning, with quite a variable set of wind conditions. For those who shot early, it was very benign and even later shooters faced less challenge than in many long range shoots, possibly because those are in the afternoon, when the wind can pick up to its most challenging. This diarist fired first and needed a trickle from the right, judged mainly on mirage: anything from 1/4 left (so it seems from the plot) to 1 1/2 right, which was much more believable. At 900, 48 scores of 50 were recorded, which still counts as gentle conditions.At Bisley, many post-shoot stories run along the lines of “If I’d put all the shots in the middle then I would have got a 50.”  After Trentham’s 1000 yards today (and frequently in the past, I expect), the conversations were along the lines of “If I’d put more shots into the black then I would have got a 40”. 96 out 352 recorded scores were indeed below 40 and there were just 2 of 50. Wind ranged from zero to about 8 minutes right for much of the detail, with most people experiencing a 5 minute wide bracket within that. Most difficult of all was the fluidity of wind changes and the need in string shooting to choose a strategy for managing the (reasonably generous) 16 minutes available for a 2 & 10 at long range. The received wisdom of waiting for a recognisable wind setting simply wasn’t available for most, and certainly not with confidence ahead of time. Having fired first at 900 yards, this diarist fired last at 1000, needing mostly right wind (up to 6 minutes) and, on two occasions, 1 1/2 left (sadly, for only one of which a bit of left wind had been set). With the detail running from 1.30pm to 3.30pm, there was no late afternoon settling down of the wind, which might have helped the later firers on a longer day.The day concluded with a small group visiting the target end of the range to look back and consider the effect of some of the terrain andintermittent shelter from trees. A walk down any range is certainly to be recommended if available. Trentham has its own “magpie alley”, in this case on the far left at long range, where firing points 1-10 shoot through a confluence of currents from behind coming from either side and then over a pair of dunnies abutting the fairway of the neighbouring golf course.

Concurrent team match results have been published, including success for the Old Guildfordians (in which this diarist must declare an interest) winning the Masefield Short Range Teams match; and the Surrey RA (1st) and London & Middlesex RA (2nd) in the Masefield Long Range Teams match, also taking 1st and 3rd respectively in the Masefield overall team championship.

In the evening, various teams went for dinner – Thai, Italian or fancy – before bedding down to prepare to shoot the same ranges again tomorrow: 600, 900 and 1000 yards.


  1. Kent Reeve

    Thank you for keeping us informed.

  2. Kent Reeve

    Please tell my friend Nigel Ball I said,”good luck” and I am sorry I could not be there to trade shirts.


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