“We’re a shooting school, not a shooting ground…”
With those words ringing in our ears – we set off for a Saturday morning trip to the Oxford Gun Company and some much needed practice! This is a fantastic location, on Jericho Farm, close to the M40 near Oxford (Bing Maps Link), equipped with two courses of English Sporting, a decent shop and a nice rest area – all set amongst beautiful English countryside with streams running throughout.
When we arrived on Saturday, the scores were still on display from the excellent Bredon Schools Challenge which does a great job of promoting shooting to school age children from around the area.
We called ahead to ask about practice (advised) – and headed up to try our skills out on a beautiful spring morning. The two courses of English Sporting are labelled Blue (easier) and Red (harder) – the Blue required using cartridges sold onsite (we’re guessing because of noise restrictions) – but we had opted for the Red course – and after a short wait for a scorer we were walking down to the first stand with another shooter who would be joining the ShootClay team for our round.
First up was a tricky opener, consisting of a low going away bird from under our feet and then an incoming bird low and quick – these were both set in a naturally gully formed by two banks – tricky and easily missable. Our second stand was two left to right crossers at different angles – deceptive and interesting birds for pace and line. Third up was right to left going away with floppy incomer from about 45 yards which required careful shot selection to get the pace right.
Scores were passable as we settled down to our fourth stand – a sim pair consisting of another going away bird, with an incoming bird that came from a high bank at the back of the ground – looking much easier that it actually was as it slowly wended its way over the hill. Finally – we had a springing teal, and a right to left looper which was right into bright sunlight! The easiest line here was to shoot straight at the sun…. but taking the looper really early saved our eyes – and for some of us, our scorecards!
Overall – Oxford Gun Co is excellently set up, not one ‘no bird’ all day, and well presented targets that had variation in speed and line to really make you think. This is not a shooting ground to come and have a quick blast round – you’ll be with a scorer and your round will be well paced (as well as you getting some hints and tips on the way). Where Oxford Gun Company really wins out, is as a shooting school – they have a variety of options for learning – and at least one of the ShootClay team is planning to enroll for a days coaching there -the shop is excellent, with good experienced staff who can offer great advice if you planning to buy or upgrade your gun.
The whole site is absolutely beautiful – and the large rest area in the barn is excellent, with a warm fire, comfy chairs, loads of shooting magazine and some good food and drink to keep you company as you sit and work out where the missed birds are.
They were 100% correct, this isn’t a shooting ground – this is a place to LEARN shooting.