Over two years in the planning, the Stratstone Super 7 challenge looks to be THE event of the winter. Held in a newly reconstructed stand at Royal Berkshire Shooting School, the competition will see shooters pit their wits against a fearsome sequence of targets from the high tower.
I was lucky enough to get a special preview of the shoot as the launch took place, so on a still and mild autumnal day I headed down to the RBSS for a pep talk from Dylan Williams and two of the coaches and an attempt on the challenge.
Over bacon butties we had a quick intro from Dylan, explaining how hard the team at RBSS had worked with their partners to get this set up, and provide an amazing prize pot for the best of the best. Stratstone are providing the winner a choice of seven cars from top marques and the highest score out of 100 over the entire challenge will win a limited Rolex watch from David Duggan of Burlington Arcade. The top side by side shooter over the event will win £2000 of Really Wild Clothing.
So, what else do you get for your entrance fee?
Each entrant gets to shoot a fifty bird sporting course, designed to test both Clay and Game shooters – and then two attempts at the 25 bird challenge. We had a quick limber up on a lower tower, and then headed in for an attempt at the Stratstone Tower.
So – the targets, the TARGETS! They are incredible – from the first straight overhead, through to the end of the sequence the birds are enormous – and very deceptive in places… there are curling, edge on birds, pairs that look close together, birds that RISE from the tower, and some that are driven at a downward angle at speed. they are breathtakingly fast at times – bit none felt unhittable. I am no driven specialist, but first time out I hit 9×25 – second attempt I hit 12 – very satisfying to hit birds that need a big gap. A member of the RBSS team loads for you, and calls the sequence – anyone who has shot the grouse sequence at RBSS will recognise the format, but the towering birds are truly formidable!
The sequence is fast and relentless and it feels very like being on a pheasant drive, your gun needs to be down to see the birds, but your barrels need to be high to get the line on these targets. The instructor loading for me kept telling me to get my barrels UP and watch the line for the wide and curling birds which are a super test. It is a wide shooting area, and you can move around the position to get the best angle, if you feel a few feet either away will help you.
I have a feeling that all of the top shots (both Clay and Game) are going to want to have a go at this, and the top 20 scores over a three month period will be invited back for a grand final, where a score of over 23 will stand a chance of winning the car. Everyone I was with relished the chance to have a go at this, and certainly I will be back for an attempt that gets me onto the leaderboard.
Overall I think this is a fantastic challenge, and a super day out – the targets will be a test and so they should be for a massive prize, but make no mistake – those 20 places in the final will be well contested. ShootClay will be there to watch the final unfold.
If you want to take part – you’ll need to book in – all the details (and the live leaderboard) are on a dedicated page at the Royal Berkshire Shooting School website or you can call the ground direct on 01491 672900
A massive thanks to RBSS for inviting to ShootClay try this event – we’ll see you all again soon!