I was still reeling from last years Stratstone Super Seven Challenge at the Royal Berkshire Shooting School – when I started getting information about this years event.  So, on a foggy morning, I headed along the M4 to Pangbourne to see what the team had in store for us this Autumn.

The Stratstone Ultimate One follows a similar shoot format to last year, a fifty bird warm up sequence followed by two attempts at the tower sequence. The top 20 scores on the tower sequence over the duration of the competition will be qualify for a grand final, where this year the winner (who must score 23 or over), will drive home in a new top spec Range Rover Long Wheel Base Autobiography worth £130,000. This really is a dream prize and Stratstone have pulled all the stops to make this an excellent first place prize.

Along the way, the shooter that scores the highest score out of 100 each week will win a bottle of Champagne from the newest sponsor Bollinger, and at the end of the 16 weeks they will all be invited back to shoot off for a Rolex Submariner wristwatch sponsored by David Duggan Watches.  As last year, The Really Wild Clothing Company will present £1000 of clothing to the shooter with the highest score shot with a Side-by-Side.

The 2015 Sequence

Stratstone2015_4The Royal Berkshire course setter Robert Cross has completely updated the sequence for 2015.  There are still 25 targets, but the angles and speeds have all been tweaked to provide something completely new.

With the fog starting to clear, and sun breaking through on the ground – Robert, Tizi McPherson and I walked to the stand to see the sequence and see how many we could hit. With the trapper in place, Robert started the sequence and Tizi shot first showing the way with a very commendable score.

The pace of the sequence is similar to last year, so you get moved around a lot, with wider left and right shots and some really interesting straight driven targets that need a variety of leads.  The massive curling left shot that caught a lot of people out in 2014 is not there, but is matched by a less wide right which will challenge lots… I was pleased to smash it to pieces on one of my runs through.

I stepped up next and started my first experience of the 2015 sequence – with targets being called fast and furiously by Robert Cross. I’ll probably go to sleep with “single right…more lead Matt!” in my ears – but in among a few misses were some satisfying hits of birds with big gaps.  I won’t reveal my score – but suffice to say there is plenty of room for improvement, and I won’t trouble the leaderboard without a bit more practice.

That’s my key takeaway for this season, the sequence feels much more achievable and less punishing than the previous iteration. I struggle with high tower birds, unless they are driven straight at me – but this time, I felt like with some practice I could hit the wider birds, and I’ll definitely be back to compete.  It definitely feels like the course has been set to get the top shooters into the final.

Once again, I think the team at Royal Berkshire have put on an amazing event. The fifty target sporting will be a great warm up, and the tower sequence is the most fun you will have with a shotgun this year. When you put that together with the amazing first prize and the excellent hospitality at RBSS this is a winning package.

I can’t wait for the final, and once again I hope that ShootClay will be part of the fun – you can read my report on last years final here. 

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 Dylan and the team at RBSS for inviting ShootClay to try this event – we’ll see you all again soon!