Dorchester Rifle & Pistol Club

Sandringham Sports Centre, Fordington Fields, Dorchester


About Target Shooting

The sport of target shooting involves the use of air rifles and pistols, muzzle-loading rifles and pistols and cartridge rifles, both rimfire and centrefire. Clay Shooting, Practical Shotgun and Practical Rifle are also important branches of the target shooting disciplines.

All require concentration, self-discipline and great self-control, despite what you may have seen in the movies - anger or any other emotional stress will destroy any possibility of hitting the bulls eye. Indeed any vigorous mental or physical activity, even something as simple as cutting the lawn before shooting , often destroys fine accuracy.

Target shooting is largely conducted within clubs. These clubs will usually have guns and equipment so that beginners can try the sport at minimum expense.

Air rifles and pistols are a popular and cost effective way to enter the sport, but they should not be regarded only as an entry because they can be developed up to Olympic standard ! (Britain has won more medals for shooting over the last umpteen years than for any other individual sporting event.)

"Small-bore" rifles (of .22 calibre) are generally used at shorter range such as 25 yards but sometimes out to 100 yards, whereas larger rifles (termed "full-bore") are shot at targets over much greater ranges, even up to 1000 yards.

Muzzle-loading pistols are either original antiques or modern replicas, which are loaded by pouring gunpowder down the muzzle or into the front of the cylinder of a five- or six-shot revolver, and are shot at targets over ranges of 20/25 yards.

Another branch of this popular sport involves muzzle-loading rifles, muskets and shotguns, both flintlock and percussion (caplock), again using either genuine antique guns or modern replicas. These are shot at targets over greater ranges than the pistol. Muzzle loading target rifles were originally shot at ranges from 100 to 1200 yards and the same competitions are available to enthusiasts today.

There are very many different competitions that shooters can enter once they feel competent enough - from very simple short-range club competitions right up to Olympic standard. The great thing about the sport is that you can choose your own level of competition and compete against others of similar skill. In fact you compete against yourself every time by trying to improve your last score and aim eventually move up to a higher grade.