Welcome to Target Shooting

There are many types of firearm which you can use at WRPC, with only a few exceptions all can be used by probationary club members.
We try to make your probation sessions fun and will give you experience on as many different types of firearms as possible.

So what disciplines are available?


Prone and Three Position Rifle


This is an official Olympic discipline shooting .22 rifles for accuracy.  Mainly this is shot prone (lying down) at distances of 25m, 50m or 100m.  Each competitor wears a jacket and a sling to steady the rifle during shooting.  A competition which includes standing and kneeling, is also available.  At WRPC, we shoot at 25 yards on our indoor range. The club has rifles and equipment for you to use.



Air Pistol and Rifle


These disciplines are also on the Olympic list.  The rifles and pistols are of .177 calibre and the competitor stands 10m from the target. At Wakefield we have a dedicated four firing point range just for 10m air.  This is a very demanding discipline which requires a lot of dedication but It can also be a lot of fun, and a good way to start because no Firearms Certificate is needed, and shooters can start straight away.  The club has two basic target air pistols available for use so there’s no need to buy your own if you want to have a try. This area of shooting is particularly suitable for the disabled, and the range is wheelchair friendly.



Lightweight Sport Rifle


Specifically designed to be shot at club level, this involves shooting bolt action or semi-auto .22 rifles for precision. Very popular as the equipment is relatively cheap to buy once you have your Firearms Certificate.  The club has a collection of modern rifles which suit this discipline and you’ll be doing your probation with them. Good practice then, if you want to compete – and you can use the club rifles if you don’t have your own. The discipline is popular and competitions for shooters of every standard (yes, even beginners) are now available. Don’t be afraid to try them. Generally the competition is shot standing unsupported, though there is now a bench resting aspect becoming popular.



Gallery Rifle


In the main this refers to carbines designed to shoot pistol calibre cartridges. So the old style lever action carbines often seen in cowboy films fill this role.  However there are some semi automatic rifles which are in pistol calibres which are converted to comply with the UK law so that the action has to be operated between shots. Common calibres are .38, .357 Mag, .44, .44 Magnum and .45 Long Colt. This discipline is developing but can be shot by shooters of any standard, with competitions to reflect this. Very popular as it gives a bigger bang! The club has two .357 calibre lever action rifles for members to use.


Black Powder and Muzzle Loading

Ah, the smell of gunpowder, there’s something about it. Sulphur, mostly. Much more dramatic to fire than modern firearms with the smoke, sparks and smell and, some agree, much more fun. The discipline comes under the rules of the Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain for competition and covers rifles, shotguns, pistols and miniature cannons. These firearms are, as the description says, loaded at the muzzle.  If you ask any of our black powder members for a demonstration, I am sure you will be shown how it is done.
Not everyone likes the smell of gunpowder so there are modern muzzle loading pistols which use modern smokeless powder instead of black powder. Much cleaner to use, in fact identical to a modern, cartridge based gun. (Just slower to load) The club has a six shot nitro revolver which is very popular with probationers and proves to be a good introduction to muzzle loading.

Full Bore

Too powerful to be shot indoors, this refers to full power rifles. Instead we shoot these at outdoor ranges particularly the army range at Strensall, York. There’s a full range of types from hold historic guns which pre-date World War One, through World War Two and right up to date with the latest sniper style rifles. Ex-military rifles such as Lee Enfield, Mosin Nagant and even AK-74’s are popular.

The club has two modern scoped sniper style rifles in .223 and .308 calibre for members to use.


Shooting is one of the safest sports around, because we make it so.

You might find some of the safety aspects of shooting a little theatrical. We make no apologies for that, as it constantly highlights the safety aspect and reinforces it every time there is movement on or off the range.
Before you can use our range – whether for firearms or air it makes no difference – you will be taken through a safety briefing by one of our instructors and Range Officers.
Nothing to worry about, the briefing is straightforward but ensures that everyone knows and works to the same basic rules.


This is the person who is responsible for the running and safety of the range.
The range officer’s instructions MUST be obeyed. If the RO is not obvious by wearing a jacket or arm band, then ask who the RO is.

Some basic rules – covered in the safety briefing


  • Handle a firearm, without the RO’s permission
  • Take a firearm out of a bag or box, without RO’s permission
    Load a firearm or magazine, without RO’s permission
  • Fire a rifle or a pistol, without RO’s permission
  • Hand a firearm to another person, without RO’s permission
  • Go down the range in front of the firing point, without RO’s permission
All this sound very intimidating! What is more the RO will usually shout instructions rather loudly. This is mainly because the shooters will be
wearing ear protection, so the R0 has to be loud to be heard. The only thing the RO will be thinking about is safety.
Our Range Officers are qualified with the NSRA and NRA and most have a current first aid certificate.  Although they will bark commands at you whilst on the range, they’re really a friendly bunch and will be very happy to help. They were all probationers once!
One last thing : If you choose to disobey or argue with the RO, you will be asked to leave the range.
If it’s not important to do something safely, it’s not important to do it at all.
Once you become familiar with how the range works and who the people around you are, everything will become second nature. Don’t worry, the Range Officers will look after you.

So, what commands do the range officers give?

They are somewhat standardised and will be clear in purpose, for example the Range Officer must check that each of our five firing points are clear and will shout as each is checked ;


Typcially this will be followed by ;

On return to the firing point by all persons and before any shooting starts you will hear ;
The Range Officer will then check to see that all persons on the range have suitable eye and ear protection in place.
You will then hear;
Only then can you load the firearm and commence shooting.
There’s no need to memorise these commands, the Range Officer will ensure that everyone has heard, understood and complied with the instructions as they are given.

You will also notice that any time a Range Officer picks up a firearm they will check it is clear and unloaded and will shout “CLEAR” so everyone knows that it has been checked. If that firearm is handed to another Range Officer or member they in turn will check and will themselves shout “CLEAR”. This is just good practice. It might sound odd and pedantic now but makes perfect sense when you’re in the club.

If you find yourself in the club room or are taking instruction in a class environment, the instructor or person holding the firearm MUST prove that gun clear to any person in the same room. The breach of the firearm will be shown to all persons present with the word “CLEAR”. It is expected that you will respond in the same way.
One other thing – as a probationer, don’t be tempted to sneak a live round off the range to show your friends. This is a VERY serious offence in law with long lasting, serious repurcussions. If you want to show your friends, bring them with you and they can watch from the club room. Empty shell casings and shot targets however are fine to take home.




Having got through your probationary period and been granted full membership….CONGRATULATIONS!
You can apply for your firearms certificate now and you may even be allowed to have a key to the range, if you have applied for one.
Now you have to get familiar with your new gun.
This is where we would ask that before you blow bits of our range to pieces trying to find out where your gun is sighted. You ask advice from a more experienced member as to how you might achieve initial accuracy. Remember all bullets as they leave the firearm are capable of causing serious injury or death. They can also cause serious damage to the range if they hit parts of the range not intended for bullet impact. Please use a proper target in the proper holder, at the proper height.
Iron sights may well have been knocked prior to delivery, and if the gun is second hand, the sights may well have been removed and replaced. Do not assume that they will put the shot on the target. To an experienced shooter it may well be obvious that a little adjustment is necessary.
With Red dot or telescopic sights, it gets event more complicated. Mounting a sight onto a rifle does not mean it will put a shot on the target, or even anywhere near the target. It is better to ask advice if you are inexperienced on how to achieve accuracy.
Having made the point of asking advice, I know impatience will rule the heads of some, so I will offer a little advice as to how to sight in an optical sight.
Firstly make sure it is mounted properly. If you are doing it yourself for the first time, get it checked before you shoot it please. Mounting it correctly is crucial to it maintaining its point of aim. If in doubt ASK.
An old piece of wall paper or and extra large target are useful here. Cover the target board with a light coloured paper. Aim at the centre of the target and take one shot.  If there is no shot on the target DO NOT shoot again at that distance!
With the RO go down range to 10 yards and try again. When you see the fall of shot adjust the sights accordingly.  If you are so far out, you will need to adjust by quite a few clicks.  Every sight is different so it is difficult to guess, but it is not unusual in these circumstances to adjust by up to 50 clicks before the next shot. Be advised by the RO.
If you see your shot on the target at first go from the firing point, start by adjusting one parameter at a time. Elevation is a good start (up and down) and keep firing single shots until the shots are level with the point of aim. Then adjust windage (left and right) andonce you are close to the centre put a proper target up and start to adjust for exact point of impact.
Once you have sighted your rifle in you can be reasonably certain it will have the same point of impact the next time you pick it up. Some of the cheaper end of the optical sights may need a little readjustment the next time you shoot. You get what you pay for. The more expensive ones will stay on zero.
If you happen to have purchased one of the semi-automatic rifles such as the Ruger 10/22, you may feel the need to enjoy rapid fire. That is fine as long as you can control it. The Ruger 10/22 has a magazine which holds 10 rounds (bullets). There is really no competition to see how fast you can fire them off. Please learn accuracy first and when you can reliably place the shots on the target, then you can speed up, if you need to.
Ranges are constructed to very specific plans, which are designed to prevent the bullet returning (ricochet) and injuring someone. Our range is designed for standing, kneeling and prone. The target must be lower if you are sat or kneeling, and lower still if you are prone. This is to ensure the bullet travels in a straight line, before it passes through the rubber curtain and hits the backstop. Angles create ricochet and the increased risk of a bullet returning and spoiling someone’s day.
Finally, shooting is a tremendously challenging sport, with many different competitions to try. You can stay as a club level shooter if you so choose. On the other hand we have members who can take you to International Standard if you have the will to achieve that. It could be you at the next Olympics. But most of all enjoy your chosen sport and be safe.
Welcome to our club.
John Emmerson
President/Chair of Wakefield Rifle and Pistol Club (copyright 4th Sept 2013)