Near Andoversford, Cheltenham, GL54 4AX | (01242) 870391
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Ian Coley Shooting School is nestled in the Cotswolds, five miles from Cheltenham, and is described as one of the top 10 shooting schools in the UK.
The school is run by six-time Olympic coach, Ian Coley, who has represented the country, either as a shooter, a coach or team manager, on more than 200 occasions.
Set within mature woodland, with gravel pathways to guide you around the course, the school benefits from 24 different shooting stands, each with a minimum of two traps; three High Towers up to 120 feet high; Double Trap and Down-the-Line layout, and more.
Catering for beginners and advanced shooters alike, the school benefits from friendly and experienced instructors, most of whom have shot at a county or national level, with both individual and group lessons available.
The clay shooting packages are ideal for corporate away days or birthday celebrations, with bronze, silver and gold options available depending on the experience and the number in the group.
If you’re a complete novice, the Try Clay Shooting package is ideal to give you a taste of what to expect, with instructors equipping participants with an appropriate gun, either a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun, before guiding you through hitting different clay targets.
The Have-A-Go air rifle sessions are ideal for under 18s who are new to the sport. Juniors or those wanting a refresher will learn how to load and fit the magazine, how to use the air rifle and enjoy the chance to try a range of spinning, knockdown and fun targets.
There's nothing like a bit of healthy competition to get a rainy Wednesday off to a sporting start, with SoGlos taking on Ian Coley's Have-A-Go experience, and each other, at the Cheltenham shooting school.
Always up for a challenge, especially a sporting one, the SoGlos team headed to Ian Coley shooting school near Cheltenham to test their aim with its popular Have-A-Go package.
The award-winning shooting school, run by six-time Olympic coach Ian Coley who has represented the country more than 200 times, caters for beginners and advanced shooters alike.
The Have-A-Go package, which lasts for 45 minutes and includes 25 shots, offers the perfect introduction to the sport, and we were more than ready to take on the challenge to see who would be crowned the sharpest shooter at SoGlos.
Our team of six included a mixed bag of experience, ranging from complete novices to someone who’d had several shooting lessons, so it was going to be interesting to see how everyone fared, and just how many clays we managed to hit.
After being split into two teams of three, we set off with our experienced instructors – Sean Porter, head coach at Ian Coley who has more than eight years’ experience and competes on a national level, and Craig Hartley, who has worked at the school for four years.
We got taken through a safety briefing and popped our earplugs in before we were shown how to hold the 12-gauge shotguns, which offer minimal recoil, and learnt how to position our feet and where each hand should rest on the gun.
Sean told us that each of the targets we were going to try during the session are named after animals and are designed to mimic how they fly or run, to make it as realistic as possible.
Equipped with the basics, we geared up to try our first trap, closing one of our eyes depending on whether we had dominate left or right eyes, in order to improve our aim.
We tried the crow first, with the clay rising high from a distance, as we took aim and Sean instructed us to follow the clay as it rose up in the sky, before telling us to shoot.
We quickly realised how satisfying it is to hit the target, with most of us proving to have mastered a bit of technique thanks to Sean and Craig’s guidance and patience.
Buoyed by a bit of success from our first trap, we wandered to our second target, known as the teal, and tried our luck at a different shot that saw the clay fire out from the opposite direction, testing our skills at hitting a target that moved away from us.
There’s definitely an adrenaline rush when you hit the clay and see it smash into lots of pieces, with the instructors providing useful feedback and pointers to help us if we missed a shot.
Next up was the rabbit, a quick target that fires the shot along the ground and requires a slightly different technique, before we stopped at our last challenge, which Sean referred to as ‘teal on steroids’ as it shoots out at speed!
We were so distracted by the excitement of the morning that we didn’t keep score, but it’s safe to say that Terri was the champion of one team, and James, the victor in the other group.
With private tuition also available, those wanting to hone their skills can take advantage of the private tuition that’s also available, while the school also caters for stag and hen parties, corporate events, and offers Pay & Play practice for licence holders.
The morning definitely instilled a love of the country sport among us, and was a great way to get a flavour of what to expect from clay shooting that even the rain couldn’t dampen.
By Anna Marshall
Thursday 06 April 2017
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