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200m shooting on Short Siberia - NRA response

posted 2 May 2016, 01:58 by Tony Cattermole
For members information, quoted below is Andrew Mercer’s formal response to my emails regarding Short Siberia and 100/200m shooting.

The NRA are aware that more opportunity to shoot at 200 m appears to be required, and as stated are continuing to monitor range use. The comment about echelon shooting highlights another of the limitations that were always there but become more notable as additional shooting needs develop on the Bisley site, which is both limited in range size and danger area. Growth in NRA membership is also notable and whilst in itself good news, it increases further the pressures on the use of the ranges.

We will continue to communicate with them on the issue.

Derek Stimpson

Thank you for the email

The issues regarding Short Siberia range are a consequence of two happy "problems" namely the rapidly growing membership of the NRA (we are averaging 100 new applications per month) and increasing demand for our ranges, particularly at weekends.

It will come as no surprise to learn that shooting at 100/200 is enormously popular; however demand for 100 is more than twice that of 200, initial indications were 3 times greater demand at 100 however monitoring continues to facilitate further adjustments. The real issue is range capacity; simply put Short Siberia can either provide 18 targets at 100/200 or 27 targets at 100 only. I have therefore taken the decision, to benefit the maximum number of NRA members and affiliated clubs, to restrict Short Siberia to 100 for all but the fourth full weekend of the month (when we revert to 100/200). We have decent availability of 200 yard targets during the week on Century range but not at weekends because of the gross loss of targets resulting from echelon shooting.

Early indications in terms of targets booked suggest the change to Short Siberia is a sensible decision; however we will monitor the situation carefully as the season progresses.

I readily admit that communication these changes could have been delivered more smoothly; they were signalled earlier this year in various communications (my article in the Winter 2015 journal is but one example) but individual bookers changed from 200 to 100 have not always been given as much notice as we would have preferred. In fairness to my Range Office staff they deal with a very large number of enquiries (just under 16,000 target bookings since September last year); bookings are made up to 15 months in advance so changes to ranges always risk the need to cancel bookings. My staff are working hard to minimise the problems caused during the transition; we will obviously maximise the opportunity to shoot at 200 when demand allows. It is fair to say we have received a number of complaints; we are also aware of now being able to accommodate members whose bookings would have previously been rejected.

We have invested heavily to improve the shooting experience at Bisley; Short Siberia has benefited from new ablutions, new car parking, extended 100 firing point, and re-engineered 200 firing point.

The nature of shooting at Bisley will continue to develop and we will always try to accommodate the maximum number of NRA members and affiliated clubs as is possible; however this will result in changes to what has been viewed as the "traditional" calendar of events. We will continue to manage these changes as sensitively as possible.

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards
Andrew Mercer