Monthly Archives: November 2010


    Christmas provides the ideal opportunity to give the perfect hunting or shooting gift that offers a little sporting advantage or adds a touch of elegance to an outfit.

    With the game season in full swing over the festive period, you need look no further than Sportsman Gun Centre for all your shooting presents and hunting gifts needs.

    Hunting Clothing Gifts

    Giving socks for Christmas may be a bit of a joke, but for the shooting enthusiast who spends hours outside over the winter months there is nothing more welcome than guaranteed warmth and comfort.

    Sportsman Gun Centre have an exhaustive range of high quality woven shooting and hunting socks, stockings and garters that are not only practical but designed to add a bit of elegance and a flash of colour to any shooting outfit.

    And what better shooting gifts for men to complete the outfit than a smart shooting tie, decorated with images of game birds, or one of our engraved or embossed pewter flasks for a fortifying nip when temperatures begin to dip.

    Practical Shooting Gifts and Hunting Presents

    Guardian Leather Dukes Shotgun Case

    Practically transporting a shotgun safely and securely isn’t always easy, and the last thing you want is it rattling around in the car getting scratched or buried under other paraphernalia.

    The beautifully presented Guardian Leather Dukes Shotgun Case ensures your gun arrives in perfect condition and style every time. Fleece lined and with leather detail at each corner for added durability, the case will take any shotgun side by side or over and under.

    This Christmas we are offering the Guardian Dukes case at just £99.99 (inc VAT), a staggering £100 off the RRP.

    Ear Defenders for Xmas

    Ear defenders have the advantage of not only protecting the rifle or pistol shooters’ hearing but also offering some extra warmth in the winter months, and there is no longer any need for the wearer to look like he has just walked off a building site.

    Sportsman Gun Centre is offering up to 50% off a range of ear defenders to suit every budget, ranging from top of the range Peltor electronic active-volume protectors to the Peltor Bulls Eye at just over a 20 Pounds.

    Keeping a gun clean and well maintained is not only vitally important but can be a therapeutic way to while away a few rain-bound hours - be sure to check out our gun maintenance section for cleaning kits that would make an excellent choice of gift


    Armchair shooting and hunting gifts and shooting and fishing gift vouchers

    Sportsman Gun Centre stock a vast range of gifts to suit the tastes of every hunting and shooting enthusiast, including a range of instructional and inspirational Books and DVD’s and novelty shooting gifts.

    However, if you want to be sure that they get exactly what they want why not let them chose themselves by giving our exclusive shooting and fishing gift vouchers.

    The vouchers come in values from £5 to £50 and can be used to purchase anything from any of our Sportsman Gun Centre stores.


    Bain of foxes everywhere, Mike Powell writes a regular fox control article for Sporting Rifle Magazine and is one of the UK's foremost sporting rifle experts 

    I was looking forward to seeing the Weatherby “in the flesh” as this was a make of rifle that when I was young, and avidly read American and Canadian shooting magazines, ranked alongside such names as Marlin or Ruger alike. Whether these mystical names, when they arrived on these shores, live up to boyhood dreams, is a matter of some conjecture.

    Weatherby Rifles

    Times have moved on and the American gun making scene now looks carefully at the wider market. On opening the box of the Weatherby Vanguard, I was pleasantly surprised; the stock was very nicely finished in straight grained walnut with a rosewood tip to the forend. The cheek piece on the Weatherby Monte Carlo type stock was nicely finished and comfortable in use. Chequering was sharp and well defined with the stock finished off with a well fitted rubber butt pad. Some fibreglass bedding had been done and the overall fitting of the action and barrel to the stock was extremely good for a rifle in this price range and any chasing out of the forend had been nicely finished. Sling swivels are fitted and the 24 inch barrel was screw cut with a ½ inch UNF thread. The screw cutting had been well executed and the crown was quite deeply cut. Blueing was not heavy but more than adequate.

    The safety catch on the Weatherby Vanguard is a conventional forward for fire rearward for safe and there is cocking indicator situated at the rear of the bolt.

    Weatherby Vanguard

    Weatherby guarantee a 1.5 MOA at 100 yards, whilst by modern standards many would say this is not outstanding; however it is good enough and without a doubt not many rifles will do much better than this. Home loaders will also greatly improve on the guaranteed figure. The rifle is largely manufactured by Howa in Japan a relationship that dates back to the late 60s, whilst Weatherby is associated largely with their two magnum calibres 257 and 460, today a wide range of calibres are available.

    The Weatherby Vanguard resembles both the Remington 700 and the Winchester model 70, not surprising as the Weatherby rifle was originally brought out to offer an alternative to those two icons. The magazine takes five rounds and is of floor plate design; the trigger pull was excellent and broke crisply at just over three pounds. It was good to see that American rifles have addressed trigger pulls!

    Weatherby UK

    This particular Weatherby rifle was on loan from The Sportsman Gun Centre who is now the exclusive distributors for Weatherby in the UK. The Sportsman Gun Centre are providing a special combo package on this Weatherby rifle where for a given price you get the Weatherby Vanguard rifle, the scope, in this case a Redfield “Revolution” 3x9x50 and a Wildcat Predator 8 sound moderator. Click here for Weatherby Combo Deals

    Weatherby Vanguard rifle

    I was keen to try the scope as this would be the first time I had got my hands on this particular make, the whole outfit looked the part but the test would come in the field. Cleaning the Weatherby Vanguard rifle prior to testing showed a very good standard of finish both internally and externally. Bore sighting the Vangurad rifle at 50 yards got the Sako 55 grain ammo on the paper after a couple of rounds and from there I moved the target out to 100 yards, zeroing as usual, an inch high. It only took three shots before I was on the money and switching rifle targets to the excellent life sized fox target copied from Robert Bucknells “Foxing with lamp and Rifle” put three shots that filled the bill. I know I only tried the one make of ammo but I am quite sure the Weatherby Vanguard rifle is more than capable of producing even better results with factory ammo matched to it and of course home loaders will almost certainly do better still.

    The Redfield rifle scope

    Performed well with a really clean sharp picture, I would have liked the turrets to have rather sharper more well defined “clicks” but I managed perfectly well, so perhaps I am being a bit picky. Redfield scopes are made by Leupold in Oregon so doubtless build quality should be well up to standard. Leupold resurrected the old established Redfield name and this range of scope will certainly have an impact on the market. Price wise it slots into the market allowing an ever wider choice to fit all pockets.

    UK Custom Shops Wildcat predator 8

    UK Custom Shops Wildcat predator 8 is well known to me as I have used both the Predator 8 and the Whisper on my own rifles for some time now. They are very well made and can be stripped down for cleaning. As usual the test model performed perfectly well bringing down the noise level to a very acceptable level. Also although not small this is one of the few mods that looks quite passable on a rifle!

    Weatherby review

    What then were my overall thoughts on this Weatherby combo set up? I have to say, I am well aware that there are those who say reviewers always “big up” the test items. This is because there is not much point in reviewing rubbish! And today most of what is offered for test is very good quality indeed. This certainly applied to this Weatherby outfit, I liked pretty well everything about it. The Weatherby Vanguard rifle felt right somehow, nothing pretentious but a good looking functional rifle that gave the impression it would give many years of trouble free service.

    I would, if I was looking for a reasonably priced rifle certainly look very closely at a Weatherby and probably end up buying one. Well made, well finished with plenty of attention to detail I thought it was very nice.

    The choice of the Sportsman Gun Centre to marry the Weatherby Vanguard rifle to the scope and moderator selected in their deal gives a practical and sensible yet above all a really usable rifle for foxing. Anyone coming into the sport and looking for a good set up really wouldn’t go far wrong with this one especially at the combo price.

    The Vanguard rifle reviewed was in .223, but Weatherby do a full range of calibres to suit all needs. If time permits I will take it out and see what Charlie thinks about it.


    Buying a first gun

    When it comes to buying a first gun for beginners the old adage 'if it's worth doing, it's worth doing properly' was never so apt.

    There is absolutely no harm in doing some initial window shopping and getting advice on the sort of gun that will fit with what you want it for and your budget, but before you start thinking in earnest about buying a gun, it is imperative that you can first satisfy the UK gun licence laws for anyone owning a firearm in this country.


    Getting the right UK gun licence

    So you may be asking yourself how do you get a gun licence? Well UK gun laws are among the most stringent in the world. To lawfully possess a shotgun - defined basically as a smooth-bore gun (not an air-gun) with a barrel not less than 24 inches and a bore diameter not exceeding two inches - you must first have obtained a Shotgun Certificate.

    To legally own a rifle – usually described as a cartridge-loading, rifled-barrel longarm with a barrel not shorter than 300mm - you will require a Firearms Certificate.

    Before the Chief Police Officer of your regional constabulary can grant or renew a UK gun licence certificate he must be satisfied that the applicant does not pose a danger to the public safety or to the peace and it is essential that you fill this in fully and correctly.

    Not all previous convictions are relevant, but it is best to provide all information required and let the police decide what needs to be taken into account and what not. For a Firearms Certificate the applicant must be 18 years old or over, but under-18s can obtain a Shotgun Certificate with the written permission of their parents.

    Securing guns within the home

    Applicants who satisfy the criteria will then receive a visit from a police officer to discuss and inspect arrangements for the safe storage of the gun(s). This will normally involve installing a security cabinet or steel safe on the premises. No licence will be issued until the police are fully satisfied with security arrangements in place at the applicant’s home address.

    You should expect to spend a minimum of between £100 and £200 on secure storage, or more if you want something more decorative. Sportsman Gun Centre stock a comprehensive range of secure gun cabinets and safes at a range of prices from budget to luxury.

    The Shotgun certificate costs £79.50 to grant (£49 to renew)* and the Firearms Certificate costs £88 to grant (£62 to renew)* , so you will also need to factor that into your budget. Once that stage of the process is complete, although not a legal requirement, it is well worth thinking about taking some lessons in basic shotgun use and gun safety before buying that first shotgun or rifle for beginners.

    *Prices correct as of September 2015

    So what is the best shotgun or rifle for beginners?

    When you are finally ready to take the plunge and buy that first shotgun or first rifle making the right choice can be a baffling process without expert advice.

    At Sportsman Gun Centre we pride ourselves not just on the unrivalled range of shotguns and rifles we stock, but highest quality of service and expertise customers can expect from our staff, all enthusiastic and experienced sportsmen themselves. We will go through the myriad of considerations that need to be taken into account in choosing the right gun with you, including; what it is you want the gun for? What calibre and weight you need? Where you will be using it and, of course, what best fits your budget?

    Having established the basics, be it shotguns for clay shooting or target shooting, field guns orhunting rifles, the team will then be able to guide you through our vast range, including great valuerifle and riflescope combo deals, and advice on other essentials such as ammunition, clothing and optics.

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