Simulated Driven Experience | Driven Clay Company Lancashire

Simulated Experience: Driven Clay Company Lancashire

The “Simulated Driven” phenomenon has been growing in popularity and exposure recently. Primarily intended as a way of ‘practicing’ for big bag days or experiencing them without the cost, the “Simulated Driven” model is being seized on by numerous operators, big and small. It is becoming increasingly common to see actual game estates running these days- a way of utilising their land assets for profit in the off season- while smaller outfits hop from place to place, setting up shoots for landowners or syndicates.

It was the latter that I attended last Sunday, organised by Driven Clay Company Lancashire, run by Chris Brindle. I saw his “No Frills- The Quarry” event advertised on Facebook that purported to be in an area not five minutes’ walk away from my Parents’ house in Wigan.

I was, naturally, intrigued, so after a couple of enquiries I put together a relatively short-notice team of five; Me, two shooters from the UYCPSC (Beth and George), and two from our local syndicate, my father included.

The day was advertised at £55 per head and promised 3 drives of 250+ ‘Birds’ over “The Quarry”. Our entry was organised over Facebook and Chris was really open and helpful with any queries I had, so all looked promising! This included safety questions around the Dreaded Semi Auto, as I intended to take my old Browning Double Auto for at least one drive. All fine, said he, as long as it’s flagged and slipped between drives.

The day arrived and- as per usual- one of our Students was late. The assembled 15-or-so people and our gracious host, Chris, were easygoing about the whole thing, despite my embarrassment.

The day proceeded like this:

3 Drives with Seven Pegs, with 3 teams of Seven (Five for us). The next team along would, if wanted, load for the first team, and vice versa. Back for light refreshments and then out again between drives.

Our team shot last, due to our latecomer- but it gave us a good opportunity to assess how the clays were presenting. The superb variety from a well-hidden and fully-stocked set of traps gave something sporting for every ability. The first drive was well paced, and on stand One the Double Auto’s slick side-speed-loading system let very little get past. A fast crosser almost overhead was the main challenge, curling back in such a way as to be unnoticeable for pegs further down the line.

After having to crawl through nettles hunt high and low for my spent cartridges, I decided to swap to my Rizzini Aurum 20b for the last two drives. The sheer volume of targets presented provided the perfect opportunity for a little bit of troubleshooting with this gun- Firstly, it had been away for repair, and needed testing, and Secondly, I’d often had trouble with gun mount on true driven days.

With a reliable loader helping me run god knows how many rounds through the little 20b- scalding my fingers on a couple of occasions- these drives proved the perfect test. The day ended on a massive high as I stood Peg Seven, where it seemed the traps were firing constantly. I’ve only ever been involved in something similar once before- a superb flush at Bodidris Hall- and the feeling, that rush of meeting an overwhelming challenge, everything working almost on instinct, certainly still applies to clays.

As I’m always trying to drag new people into the sport, and our experience day impressed me so much, I’m currently organising another day in October pitting the old ‘uns against the young ‘uns in the UYCPSC. A full Simulated day with Driven Clay Company Lancashire comes to £129, including Elevenses and a full set of drives, so it’s seriously good value.

To sum up, I can, honestly, see this being the future of our sport. The pressure from environmentalists and “Conservationists” will only increase, despite the evidence- and Simulated Driven shooting, while not quite the same experience could provide a valuable, more easily defensible outlet for sport shooting. It’s still social, powder still gets burned, and it’s remarkably good practice, sharpening the eyes and reactions.

However- and this is a big “However”. So much of value would be lost. I trained as a historian and ‘heritage’ practitioner and the traditions of driven game shooting are of cultural value. Our landscape has been shaped by it, our popular conceptions moulded by it. Tangibly and Intangibly, the rural heritage of Britain is related to shooting game, and the practices facilitating the sport. Being involved in any way has so many benefits. Simulated Driven shooting in its own right is a superb sport, an immensely enjoyable, challenging discipline- but it is a simulation.

Besides, as my dad would say- “Tha con’t eyt clay pidguns”

Driven Clay Company Lancashire is:

Boasting 9 different locations and 60 different drives across the beautiful Lancashire countryside.

Rizzini and Browning shotguns purchased through York Guns Ltd

Photography credit: Beth Linnane/David Farrimond

Browning Rifle Experience at WMS Firearms Training

Our newest colleague, Jill, recently visited WMS Firearms Training in Ceredigion, Wales, for a Rifle experience day with Browning International. An experienced rifle target shooter herself, well known for her work with the York Railway Institute, we thought Jill would be the perfect choice to represent York Guns and cast a keen eye over Browning’s rifle selection…

Here, in her own words, is Jill’s experience at the Browning day.

Hi David,

“On the day of the Browning shoot, we were picked up from the hotel in Browning cars. We started shooting at 100 Metre using the Browning T-Bolt in 22 Calibre.”

(Part of the ‘message’ of the day was to show the results that could be achieved with standard rifles and standard scopes at range. Andrew Venebles, Lead instructor at WMS and Managing Director, is also a firm believer in burning as much powder as possible with a small-bore, low-recoil rifle before moving onto the Bigger stuff)

“We went on to use the Browning X-Bolt and Winchester XPR in .243 and .308. These all used a standard Kite scope and Winchester ammunition. Andrew provided firearms coaching that was particularly useful for those that were new to rifle shooting.”

(It should be noted here that Jill, for health reasons, has a pretty unique rifle shooting style and mount. When confronted with this, he thought it best to… leave her to it.)

“Beginning at 200 Metres, we then moved onto 1000 Metre targets. The rifles proved really effective and proved Andrew’s point about just what can be achieved with Standard guns, scopes and ammunition. Taking into account the weather conditions, we were all able to hit the targets- from newbies to properly experienced shots.”

(The day was capped off with rapid-fire shooting on a Running Boar target with the straight-pull Browning Maral rifle that Jill has since described as “Lightweight” and “Really good”)

“Overall the day was a big success. We had a great day, made good friends and I was able to skive off work spend the day doing my favourite thing, shooting. A big thank you to all at Browning and WMS firearms training for having us”

(The day was, it seems, really well attended, with everyone from industry veterans to modern media outlets participating)

I can’t think of a better way to spend a day off work than shooting big rifles at long ranges in the beautiful Welsh countryside. Again, a big thanks to Browning Europe  and WMS for hosting the event. They really did provide an excellent experience for all.

Look out for more from Jill soon!

Images: Jill Foulner

Words (Mostly): Jill Foulner

Editing: David

WMS Firearms Training Ltd:

01947 831869

Fettling an Umarex Rifle with Chris Garner

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the airgun community while working for York Guns it’s just how vast a range of expertise and knowledge is out there. I’ve also learned that no matter what the subject or item in question- airguns, shotguns, rifles- people love to tinker. People “tinkering”- in sheds, factories, shops across this country- has resulted in some of our most interesting inventions and innovations.

With the success of the Umarex Cowboy Rifle we were contacted through our website by one such innovator- Chris Garner, who told us about his efforts re-barrelling smoothbore CO2 pistols with quality rifled barrels to gain increased accuracy with pellets. Here, in his own words and pictures, is his process:

Hi David,

Okay do not know where I am going with this, as I like to ‘tinker’ and if it helps people out there then great and yourself as a Co.

Attached images are of Sat/Sun Tinkering and end results. BB being the first picture obviously or a pretty pointless conversion! Latter image is with pellet and there is a 100 shots in there until the Co2 ran out as you will note the drop off shots below the black outer.

If you are wondering the two at approx. 10 o’clock position these were the first two shots after fitting the barrel and the rest after a bit of ‘tweeking’.

This process is not easy as I say if you are considering doing the same as the outer barrel casing is okay but the inner is misaligned in casting or was on my example! So it needed tender care filing and reaming out to give the required straight bore to house the new one.

Had to turn the whole length of the new barrel after the ‘Twiddly’ bit’s at the receiver end to fit down the casing and fit the existing aluminium receiver end housing.

Interesting! The way I approached this was in such a way to utilise the existing set up and seal as I wanted to be able to return the gun to its original state if I ‘fouled up’!!

I used the 12mm dia x 635mm Weihrauch unchoked barrel, that at 20+ meters provided good results. Rested test shots both BB (pic 1) and Pellet (Pic 2) with RWS field pellets (so not the lightest). I’ve not got around to Chrono test yet but perhaps this weekend maybe but as Easter might not be considered PC!? I think the pictures speak for themselves!

The pictures  below show the distance I use practicing and Peacemakers are way better using 586 barrels at same distance. Rested obviously. Blued example already came with a rifled barrel via Umarex but very light rifling!

Changed as then a known factor as have 4″ 6″ & 8″ 586’s similarly converted my 2.5″ 4″ and both 6″ ASG Dan Wesson’s so all shoot the same. Simples!! I am then the weakest link ie the human factor!

As you can see, with work, diligence and skill, little rifles and pistols such as the Umarex Peacemaker or Cowboy rifle can be turned into practical, accurate little garden guns. I asked Chris about what else he’d converted, and his chosen barrels for the task. I’ve come to appreciate the goldmines of information some people are in this industry, and Chris is one of them.

His conversions have included:

4x Umarex Colt Peacemakers:

Barrels used as a first conversion irrespective if rifled originally or not- I used a known common denominator- the Umarex S&W 536 6” barrel. I I have the S&W “family” of which had proved reasonable accuracy at the 50 – 60ft I shoot. (Tests me, tests the pistol, as they’re not really target pistols etc.)

Umarex Winchester Rifle Legends & Walther Winchester

Weihrauch 635mm length turned down, as shown above, to length which leaves 150mm of barrel left to ‘tinker’ with. Only negative is the amount of twist in the rifling to the shorter length etc. With the Walther Winchester- I must have had a bad one here as it used to fire high and at 1 -2 o’clock irrespective and I have had similar reports elsewhere.

Cheap barrel in my mind and probably Far Eastern (sorry not PC!) again converted and used Weihrauch 635mm- left the same spare cut off to tinker with. Changed the sights here also as it came with cheap plastic rear sights. Why plastic? Expensive at £343.00 originally but I picked up Second Hand at approx.£160.00 mint as original owner had complained after a few weeks- about inaccuracy funnily enough- high and right!

Also, not shown in the pictures:

ASG Dan Wesson Pistols:

Converted 2.5”, 4” &  6” with the same Umarex 586 as all at the time were BB (apart from the 6” but converted anyway) 2.5” & 4” all converted prior to rifled versions being made available (new Style cartridge rear loading). Dan Wesson barrels in my mind have a faint hint of rifling and therefore do not have much impact on the pellet re twist/flight- Now proven!

2x Umarex Schofield Revolvers:

At present on both are an ex BSA Meteor barrel as needed the diameter to achieve and mill a ‘haunch’ for the through pin to act on as a stop. I am looking to redo with a Weihranch barrel and fashion a new bush/ANO method to achieve similar results. Sadly the off cuts mentioned above are not long enough as you need approx. 7”- 7.5” to play with. Bad maths on my part!!

The shame of all of the above is that you can achieve reasonable accuracy/results from a ‘plinker’ if you have a reasonable barrel in there in the first place. The one vital bit in all of this is the quality of the rifled barrel plus the Ammo used. I use RWS Superdome field line 0.54g 8.3gr in everything. I cannot quantify the human factor though!

So there we go. Not your average Saturday afternoon project and certainly not something to be attempted by the faint of heart! Serious gains can be made by someone with the time, patience and skill to attempt a conversion like this. For the rest of us, however, the Umarex Cowboy Rifle certainly does its job well enough. Here’s hoping sometime in the future they release a rifled version!

Image Credits: Chris Garner

Main text and Conversions: Chris Garner

The Crabtree Competition

Spring is a busy period for University shooting as it falls before any major exam periods.

This week, then, our sponsored team, the University of York Clay Pigeon Shooting Club visited their Age-old rivals, the University of Lancaster, at Crabtree Shooting Ground. This excellent ground is situated in the truly beautiful landscape between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

The day was eventually won by the Liverpool University team, a testament to the talent on display on an extremely challenging layout in particularly difficult (windy) conditions. If anyone is looking to test their skills on Sporting Clays, we can’t recommend Crabtree enough. Lancaster beat York this time around, with their shooters taking Male and Female High Gun. It’s still all to play for, however, as the teams will face one another again at Roses 2019.

Despite their age-old rivalry, these teams have always shared a commitment to engaging and developing new shooters, whatever their needs or situation.

York Guns has supported the UYCPSC for over half a decade now, and we’ve seen many members come and go from many backgrounds.

At the Lancaster competition, both sides displayed this commitment. Many of the York members this time around have only recently started shooting. They did, however, post respectable scores with the tutoring support of the club. Similarly, we live in a time when shooting needs to be reaching out to new audiences. Presenting a modern, inclusive and conscientious image, both teams delivered in spades.

Both sides played host to superb female shots, enthusiastic and driven members who have taken up valuable roles of leadership within them.

As a sponsor, we have helped the UYCPSC invest in equipment that has made them more accessible to everyone. From Beartooth Cheekpieces to stylish, embroidered Jack Pyke Gilets, Hull Cartridges and lightweight semi-auto shotguns, York Guns and the University of York Clay Pigeon Shooting Club work together to cater for different gunfits, tastes and needs.

It is important not just to pay lip-service to addressing the developing needs and audiences of our sport. Do your research, think critically about what you’re doing and always ask “How can we do this better?” The results will speak for themselves. We’re proud to support these active, engaged young people as they continue to make shooting a Sport for All.

Image Credits: Header: Sherwin Robinson, Body: David Farrimond

Crabtree Clay Shoot is located at:

Crabtree Farm, Crabtree Lane, Cow Brow, Carnforth LA6 1PJ


Easy Pheasant Curry

Easy Pheasant Curry

With the Game season over and freezers full we’re all looking for new ways to use our favourite quarry. This recipe comes to me from my dad- who I assume got it from somewhere else- and is perfect as a flavourful, simple dish to satisfy everyone.

As this is a family recipe and subject to taste, don’t expect precise measurements- experiment, play and see what suits you best.


Here’s what I used to make a Mild curry for my student household:

  • Butter
  • 1x Brown Onion
  • “An Amount” of Garlic
  • 4x Pheasant Breasts (Chopped)
  • Mild (Or Medium) Curry powder
  • 1x Red Pepper
  • 1x Green Pepper
  • 1x Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tin Coconut Milk
  • Sharwood’s Mango Chutney

The best part? All these ingredients cost less than a fiver to feed four people.


Brown your Onion and Garlic in oil with a knob of butter. Throw in your chopped pheasant, frying in a medium to high heat. Take care and don’t burn your pheasant.

When browned, mix in your curry powder. I used about half a pot of the stuff added over the course of cooking, but again, this is one of those “personal preference” things.

When the curry powder has coated and coloured your pheasant, mix in the chopped peppers and tomatoes. Stir and let this cook for a bit, and the resulting sauce should be a dark orange. Mix in your coconut milk (about half a tin will do) and over the next 10-15 minutes stir in Mango Chutney to taste.

Your curry should have a mild spice and a very fruity flavour, complimenting the rich flavour of pheasant well. What I love about this recipe is how cheap it is, how much of it can be done “By eye” with no complex ingredients or preparation, and how it accounts for the potential dryness of fried Pheasant.

Best served with Basmati Rice for a good base that will absorb the sauce.

The York Cup

At York Guns we’re always doing our best to get young people into the shooting sports.

To do this we support small clubs and societies from York and the surrounding area. It’s why we’re proud to sponsor the University of York Clay Pigeon Shooting Club and support them in their endeavours. This included, most recently, their annual York Cup competition.

Graced with glorious weather and excellent attendance, with representatives from Hull, Nottingham, Lancaster and Durham Universities. Twenty-four shooters from York, including Alumni, attended, therefore making this well organised and challenging competition a wholehearted success. It is a testament to the genuine care and dedication of the organisers, and to the enthusiasm of young people in our sport today.

As a 75 Bird sporting competition, capped off with a 100-bird team flush, there was something for everyone.

A hand-picked variety of targets provide a superb mix and tests of different skills, from quick loading to technical shooting.

The day also had something for gun connoisseurs, too. University competitions host shooters from a range of backgrounds, abilities and people with a range of tastes, and therefore provide a unique range of guns. Ancient Browning Auto-5s made an appearance. Greener GPs and Remington 1100s saw action. Numerous Mirokus, Brownings, Berettas and even the odd Mossberg that have previously graced our shop floor proved effective on the sporting layout.

The University was well represented in the standings, with York Alumni taking High Gun and Best Flush Team.

Nottingham University took a well-deserved win on the 75-bird sporting layout. Their President Georgina Barratt also shot superbly to win Ladies’ High Gun.

Prizes were provided by the University Club, with York Guns donating a pair of Howard Leight Electronic Ear Defenders as the team prize. It makes us proud to see so many participating in and enjoying shooting in a safe, professional manner. These people are the future of our sport and we hope to see more successes in the future.