Halloween Vintage shoot 2018

Halloween Shoot – 31 October 2018

John Milewski

A gentle nudge to the shoulder and a pellet speeds its way towards a pumpkin faced target 10 yards away. Suddenly a ghoulish voice laughs as the target goes down and a dummy with red glowing eyes struggles to release itself from an old sack just to the side of you, as you move on to the next lane. This can only be a description of the spooky annual BFTO vintage Halloween shoot, which is traditionally held on the last Wednesday in October.

A relatively warm evening brought out an excellent turnout from members and 25 entered the competition, which was intended for pre 1939 open sighted air rifles such as the various BSA and Webley Service models in the hands of the majority of members. Many opt for the BSA as they can be bought for £150 or less and even at this price; these octogenarian rifles are capable of connecting with the majority of targets used in the competition as well as the bell target used in the club league. How many other 80 or 100 year old items can you say that about?

The course was set up by the ever enthusiastic Andy Draper and enjoyed by all present. With the closest targets placed only 8 yards away and the furthest a modest 20, the course was great fun to shoot over open sights. With the excellent range lighting on the vintage and pistol range, all targets could be clearly seen and hits were easy to score. Andy being Andy meant a good proportion of the targets reacted and a hit not only resulted in a knockdown but often a ghoulish reaction from strategically placed Halloween themed items that were wired up to certain targets. There were dancing skeletons, dismembered hands, evil crows and dead bodies in sacks; were they really that dead? Only the bravest of shooters dared to look in the sack to see!

The course reminded me of a couple of old fashioned shooting galleries I have had the pleasure of frequenting in times gone by. These galleries offered no prizes as the prize was the smile you walked away with after hitting some of the reacting targets such as a dog that cocked its leg and sprayed you with water when a bullseye target next to it was hit. Now there’s an idea for Andy’s next course!

After the shooting had finished, all enjoyed the buffet consisting of Andy’s Halloween soup, Chris’s ever popular sausage rolls and Josie’s home baked cakes as well as numerous other savouries and confectionery that members kindly supplied. Some only came for the food (only joking Roy!) and there was plenty left over for another day.

It was great to see such an excellent turnout for this shoot and the sheer fun these themed targets elicited when they were hit. If you have never tried a vintage rifle, come and visit the vintage section on a Wednesday evening or come along to a shoot. With open sights, the standing position is not that daunting as there is no magnified wobble and it can be a lot of fun.

See you at the next one!