Hunting season essentials

From bore size to lessons, we cover the whole shooting match

If you’re a gentleman who’s new to the world of game shooting, you need to get the basics right from the get-go. Number one on the list is knowing how to buy the right shotgun – an important decision, and one we’re happy to help you with.

When it comes to buying your first gun, you have plenty of options. While traditional British-made guns are usually a bit pricey, there are new makes and models appearing all the time that take fewer resources to produce and don’t cost the earth. You may want to consider Italian gunmakers too – their trademark over-and-under guns have become increasingly popular for shooting pheasants and other high birds. And of course, there are the classic side-by-sides, which are always a common sight on the grouse moor.

For your first shotgun, go for a good-quality over-and-under, like this new Beretta Silver Pigeon (pictured below). They’re relatively inexpensive and very easy to use, usually featuring a narrow sighting plane and just a single trigger.

Let’s first brush up on what bore size actually means. Bore is measured by calculating how many lead balls equal to the diameter of the gun’s internal bore it takes to equal 1lb in weight. Put simply, the smaller the bore (barrel gauge diameter), the bigger the gun.

For your first gun, we suggest choosing a 12-bore (or a 20-bore if you have problems with upper body strength). Make sure the gun isn’t too heavy either – ideally, it shouldn’t weigh more than 7lbs.

The next step is to have your shotgun fitted properly by an expert. You’ll notice the difference immediately afterwards – it’ll feel just right on your body, the barrel will point naturally to where your eyes are looking, and you’ll be able to control recoil a lot more effectively. In other words, it’ll go a long way in making you an able shooter.

Combine your gun-fitting session with a shooting lesson – you’ll have all the fundamentals drilled right into your head in no time, getting your shooting career off to the best possible start.

Be all set for shooting season. Make sure you get the proper kit, and remember to brush up on your shooting etiquette.

Become a Gentleman’s Journal Member?

Become a Gentleman’s Journal Member?

Like the Gentleman’s Journal? Why not join the Clubhouse, a special kind of private club where members receive offers and experiences from hand-picked, premium brands. You will also receive invites to exclusive events, the quarterly print magazine delivered directly to your door and your own membership card.

Click here to find out more

Further reading