The British Side-by-Side Championship was held again this year at the Shooting grounds of Atkin Grant & Lang, in Hertfordshire.
The event has been a fixture in the shooting calendar since the 1990s, with Express cartridge prizes awarded in each bore category, as well as smart, glass trophies. The winner gets a bespoke trophy made from the barrels and parts of a de-commissioned side-by-side shotgun.
For the first time, there was also a ZZ competition for the Hurlingham Cup, this ran alongside the main championship and was sponsored by The Hurlingham Club, where the sport of live pigeon trap shooting was once a major part of the London social calendar.
I competed in the main championship with a Stephen Grant side-lever hammer 16-bore. For the Hurlingham Cup, I used Charles Gordon’s massive 12-bore hammer gun.
Th course was fair and balanced, most targets killable but a few causing problems to most of us. One stand in particular featured what appeared to be a squirrel falling out of a tree at thirty yards as the second target of a pair! Needless to say, I missed it four times!
Shooting was of a good overall standard, with a wining score by M. O’Dowd of 93 out of 100 over thirteen stands. Mark Crudgington must be noted for winning the 28-bore category with a very creditable 73.
The Hurlingham Cup was well attended, with a fair entry fee of £10 for five shots. I managed three first barrel kills and two misses with Charles Gordon’s heavy Purdey, for a reasonable 9 points out of 15 possible. Another chap borrowed it and killed all five targets nicely.
The wind was a factor, as it always is with Helice, making the competition more variable and exciting.
Also in attendance were several British gunmakers, including newly-independent Ian Sweetman, from Purdey, the boss of John Dickson& Son, J-P Daeschler, and Carl from Ladbrook & Langton.
The event was very well attended, with personalities from all across the shooting scene. Patrick Hawes, newly appointed to Holland & Holland, joined his old boss from Bonham’s. David Williams and John Hargreaves demonstrated muzzle loaders, glass balls and traditional live pigeon traps alongside the Helice competition.
This years event was seamlessly organised by Atkin Grant & Lang, the grounds looking well-kept, professionally run and pleasant to occupy. There were no unreasonable waits to shoot and the day flowed smoothly. I hope, and expect, it to continue to the be the main event for the shooter of traditional British guns every year. It is a great place to renew acquaintances before the season begins.
Published by Vintage Guns Ltd on