Life After Lockdown
OSRA has been testing the waters of the ‘new normal’ at NRA Bisley following lockdown.
After a couple of tentative socially-distanced shoots in June, in July, following some
relaxation of regulations, two groups of five shooters were able to attend Bisley and, finally,
do some proper team training.
We were particularly excited to shoot our new rifle, Vera – nicknamed ‘V’ because that’s all
she shoots – which we had managed to purchase during lockdown. Despite some confusion
with bolt allocation, Harriet Aburn was able to do V justice by shooting a 48.4 (ex. 50.10) at
While social distancing has radically altered daily life, shooting at Bisley in the open air
across vast acres of Surrey land makes such measures easier to implement. We are now
allowed two firers per lane, which means that, in our groups of six, we are able to do a good
amount of shooting over a weekend.
The OSRA team tested the waters at 300x on Saturday morning. Anthony Bromley and his
father, Mike, were down first in a pair, shooting nearly shot for shot in some mildly variable
wind. Anthony shot a 49.6 to Mike’s 49.3, which set the bar for the rest of the weekend.
Freddie Pawlik followed suit, knocking in an impressive 48.3, mirrored by Ted Ervine’s 48.4.
600x was an entirely different beast. As the wind picked up in the afternoon and we moved
further from the target, which requires greater wind changes, it is important to moderate
expectations and recognise successes, however small. Although Anthony shot a 46.4, good
wind changes saved points and served as a learning experience; Percy shooting a 45.2 and
Youngman shooting a 46.4 is equally respectable. It is a process of marginal gains.
After an enjoyable first day, the OS team was ready to face long range. Unfortunately the
barmy conditions on Saturday gave way to light rain and drizzle on Sunday morning. 900x at
8:30 saw far fewer Old Suttonians than the day before; it turned out that socially distanced
festivities the night before had left some thick heads in the morning.
Anthony got down first, faced with a hazy target and drizzle at his back. While a fuzzy sight
picture – caused by mist – makes shooting more challenging, it does encourage a firer to focus
on other aspects of their shooting – position, breathing, etc. – which can lead to some successful scores. Accordingly, Anthony was able to shoot a 49.6, losing one to a particularly
obscure sight picture.
Chris Youngman was next up. They say Youngman’s new Barnard is shinier than the
silverware he plans to win with it. Sure enough, after a couple of weekends of easing into the
rifle, Youngman shot his first HPS with a 50.4, an exceptional shoot, especially at long range. Shooting shot-for-shot with Anthony, Chris Dale managed to score a 50.4, matching Youngman’s fine performance, and
exceeded only by Anthony’s 50.7. Two 50s on the same target proves that it is possible.
To finish the weekend off, Harriet, who had been getting used to the new rifle, proved that
Vera was worthy of her name, and shot a 48.4 – great shooting.
Overall, July saw OSRA return to Bisley in fine form. It was great to see Harry Percival, who
is just getting back into shooting after his training at Sandhurst, shoot a 70.8 at 900x. Seeing
mentors help and coach mentees was also a delight. Ted Ervine and Chris Youngman have
formed a great mentor partnership: it’s clear that working together, both practically on the
range and theoretically over Google Meet, is paying dividends.
This attitude is reflective of the culture that OSRA has cultivated since its inception two years
ago: collective support produces the collective growth to achieve collective potential. OSRA
is a team and in that team we trust.