Bell Target Open evening report

Discussion in 'News and Results' started by RobF, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

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    Bell Target Open evening report

    Well, I had nothing better to do... i'd heard about Bell Target, but never seen it, or heard of it down my way. The Midlands again seems to be the centre of another airgun sport, and there was an open evening organised, so off we went. Dabbling in a bit of 10m and with all the gear and a vague idea, I threw it all in the boot, grabbed Dave and went off for a 3 hour evening drive, like you do.

    A warm welcome greeted us inside the social club, we were show the 'range', a row of targets 6 yds away. Normally it's just the one, but it was organised around a team shoulder to shoulder event for the open evening. We were shown how the targets worked and what we had to try and squeeze through to ring the bell. A simple 3/8" hole. Hmm. Loads of rifles were at hand for loan, but I stuck with my 10m walther, hoping the handful of turns it needed to get the sights up to 6yds would work. A few quick blats at the target, and I felt it was as good as it was going to be. To be honest it took me longer to get used to the scorer standing in front of the line that it did to rezero.

    It felt like ages before I got a pint down my neck!

    I ummed and erred about putting all my 10m clobber on. Looking around the room there was a range of options of kit and rifles. Just jeans and t-shirts to bits of 10m clobber and everything in between, I even spotted a set of shooting boots. I elected to keep an excuse in my pocket, and just went with jacket. And glove. And glasses. And shooting top. Low profile... ish.

    And then your on. Up you stand, shoulder to shoulder, and that hole staring you in the face. 1 shot. Then it's marked, and the target painted. Simple. Go again. After 6 shots, it's over. That's it.

    But that isn't it really. Because I have to say, this is a simply superb way to spend an evening. What's better than spending an evening in a pub, shooting? Couple that with a simple target, simple rules. A pint, a bit of grub, 6 shots, more back to chatting and a pint (or coke in my case). I don't think I even was asked what score I got,I was too busy jawing away. Then I had to have a plateful of lovely grub. Then back to socialising.

    The crowd is mixed. Not just your usual pile of blokes, with a few of the fairers along... this was everyone from those old enough to get in, those old enough to know better, and those you better not know how old, and their wives and girlfriends... and they can shoot. The top score was excuted cleanly by a young lady, without all the effort that many others seemed to be putting in, like me.

    The format maybe simple, and the approach easy, but you can make it as complex as you want. Anything from an open sight springer, to a pcp goes. Same with the clothing, t-shirt to high tech. But you've only got 6 shots to get it right whatever you're using. I can tell you that after 3 5's in a row, that blimmin hole seems to dance around a bit.

    It's inevitable you'll bump into a few FT reprobates around shooting somewhere. Last night was no different. At the end of the night, Ian Stoddart said "this is what I do"... and to be honest, i'm pretty damned jealous. If this was on my doorstep, it would be what I did as well. And quite frankly, if you've never given it a go, then you really could me missing out on it.

    Some say Bell Target is on the decline, gone are the days when 10,000 people turned up at a town hall to protest against a potential ban. But I don't know, it doesn't have the problems of the winter outdoors, it doesn't carry the stuffy smallbore range stereotype either and last night I saw a shooting sport that was well supported, a great environment and a great crowd, and a bar. It's kind of hard to see how it can ever be unpopular.

    Anyway, here's some pics :)

    and if you want any more info, contact www.waltonlions.co.uk or belltarget or www.belltarget.com

    Right, so who makes bell targets then? :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  2. Weevie

    Weevie Banned

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    Sounds great.

    I've just one question that I suspect everybody will be wondering, so I'll be the buzz-kill and ask.

    Alcohol and shooting. Doesn't that make you feel a little uncomfortable?

    I know, I know, shooters tend to be more disciplined than most and no shooter would want to be associated with the 'some people can't be responsible so nobody should be trusted' school of thought but still...

    Interesting to hear your thoughts is all.
     
  3. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

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    I can understand it raises an eyebrow, that it's not applicable elsewhere for other reasons than just the participants involved.I guess I could only answer it that if I felt in any way uncomfortable, I wouldn't have shot. I certainly saw no trace of anyone being intoxicated and thus acting in an unsafe manner. I think everyone in the room seemed to have a healthy and professional respect for the opportunity they enjoy and I couldn't never see ill disciplined behaviour being allowed to happen.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  4. Arfdone

    Arfdone New Member

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    I shoot for the Lord Ednam League in Worcester and here Bell target is shot in pubs through the winter months.
    However just to allay any fears you will find that all the league shooters are very responsible and the sport comes first, drink is not high on the agenda and the issue is certainly not taken lightly. All the shooters are vetted for a season before being placed on a team and are always overseen by a senior member, there is always a safety officer on the scene and over the four years I have been shooting have never heard of any accidents. There is always a safety screen in place and as all the guns in the league have to have a safety catch or bear trap it is very safe.
    Most shooters don't have even a sniff of a pint until after they have shot, but I must admit half a pint of ale does steady the nerves a little. The link below is a great read of the history of Bell Target and when you look at the conditions in the early days of smoke filled bars you can understand why some of the shooters are quite good, standing in a smoke filled room with 80 odd men and all the noise associated whilst trying to squeeze that last pellet through a tiny hole must have been hard. The social aspect is great but some do take it very seriously as in any sport. Personally it's safer than getting a dart in your foot or a snooker cue in your eye.



    http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/articles/belltarget/front.htm

    Frank Spittle wrote the book, you can find it at http://frankspittle.com/
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Member

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    Looks good fun,how does the scoring work and does anyone know the dimensions of the plate and the circles on it.Should'nt be to hard to knock a few of those up,quick spin in a 4 jaw chuck;)
     
  6. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

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    It's great fun :D

    I'm not sure of the dimensions beyond the 3/8" hole. I think it's outwardly scoring, and there's a slight ring just outside the hole (5) which is marked by a tool... if your splat is inside that, it's a 5. Then it drops down to 4,3, etc. I heard Ian mention there's a 5.1 you can get for a clean bell strike, i'm not sure if that's done for elimination or if no-one did it on the night.

    I heard some mentioning that although the plate stands well, the hole takes a bit of a battering and even hardened steel starts to wear... but then I guess if you're using just the one target week after week, that would be expected.

    Probably all that info on the links at the bottom of my waffle, but i'm sure Arfdone will know if not :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  7. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

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  8. McMurphy

    McMurphy New Member

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    Great stuff Mr F, looks really fun that does.:)
     
  9. Arfdone

    Arfdone New Member

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  10. Weevie

    Weevie Banned

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    Thanks Rob.

    I suspected that would be the case but given the general air rifle shooting cultural prohibition on mixing any amount of alcohol with shooting, I figured that people might want to hear an answer. I did and I'm people! :D

    There are other places where it's possible a post talking about having a pint and then shooting would be attacked. Nice to see a sense of proportion on here. ;)
     
  11. Enthusiast

    Enthusiast New Member

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    Interesting, very interesting. I would absolutely love to have a go at that.

    Why are the open sights mounted (in the pic with the guy with the DM T shirt on) what I would call the "wrong" way round? Is there some benefit for mounting them like this?

    Richard
     
  12. Ian C mon

    Ian C mon Member

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    bell target

    As rob says ......this is what i do . great night more people need to have a go , its not till your standing there with your gun, at the target, knowing that every shot needs to count ,then the pressure is really on.
    ...........well i do ft ...hft ....bell target ...10 metre...almost all aspects of the sport at the end of the day its what we do SHOOTING..!:):D
     
  13. Steve

    Steve Member

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  14. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

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    Yep, it opens a word document, so perhaps it's saved somewhere or you don't have something to view it?
     
  15. Arfdone

    Arfdone New Member

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    Hi Richard
    The sights mounted are as far forward as possible to increase the accuracy of the sight. as the skill is holding the gun still while standing the movement seen is not as exaggerated as it would be if the rear sight was back.
    It also has the advantage of depth of focus for the eye making both sights easier to see rather than the eye having to focus back and forth. Diopter sights take this out of the equation so make it easier. That's the mystery of bell target with open sights and recoil rifles, it's harder than you think.
    Arf
     
  16. Feral

    Feral New Member

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    That looks an awful lot of fun, shame there's not a league in this neck of the woods I'd like to give it a go!
     
  17. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

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    think bisley may have some bell targets, but it definitely seems to add something being away from a normal range :)
     
  18. big_phil555

    big_phil555 New Member

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    NSRA at Aldersley have a few second hand one sfor sale I seem to remember

    tel 01902 743562
     
  19. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Just round the corner Phil, well three miles.
    Tried it four years a go but work constraints.
     

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