We visited Premier Guns to find out how much it would cost to get the gear you need to compete at the next level.
While £5,000 is a decent amount of money, the items listed here are not necessarily meant to be bought all in one fell swoop. Some people may see it as petty cash, and will be able to spend it all at once but others will need to save up to go on a shopping spree. Alternatively, you could buy items individually when you feel that it’s time to upgrade: for example, you might not think that your hearing protection needs changing this month and that an upgrade in performance eyewear would be a better investment as a one-off purchase this month. However, you could save on both of them and trade in your shotgun for a competition-grade Sporter.
Regardless of how you go about getting kitted up, getting better products will help you to improve in different ways, even if it’s just by ensuring that you are comfortable. Matt Morgan showed us around and told us what you need to get – and how much it costs – to become a better shooter.
Pilla 2015 VIVX 2 Bank Kit
At the top end of eye protection and eyewear is Pilla. Made in America, they are excellent quality and the latest style comes with Zeiss VIVX 2 lenses. They are optically correct, so you can’t buy anything better, and they come with a three-lens kit and carbon arms for durable protection. There are various lenses available; one that is particularly popular at the moment is the purple with 66N, which is great for popping orange targets, so a lot of Olympic Skeet and Double Trap shooters have been buying them.
Premier Guns price: £600
Pilla Sport UK
001 2038 943265
We do Randolph glasses. You can get a good three-lens kit for a great price in its popular Ranger Falcon Pro range. These are really popular in the States and have a wrap-around lens for good vision.
Premier Guns price: sub-£300
Blaser F3 Professional
With guns, the more you pay, the better the handling and performance. In the sub-£5,000 category, we have the Blaser F3, which is built to our own Premier Guns specification. It’s a slightly cheaper version of the Professional in order to make it affordable for everybody. In terms of innovation and performance, there’s nothing to beat this gun on the market. It’s superbly built, comes with a 10-year warranty and is extremely versatile with the stock balancer. On this particular model, though you don’t have the balance weights on the barrel, the facility is there and you can buy them as an extra. It has Briley spectrum chokes, over-bored barrels, adjustable trigger, a transit case and it comes in at just over £1,000 less than the Professional models with beautiful woodwork.
Premier Guns price: £3,995
02076 222116 www.blaser-sporting.com
We have a large number of used guns, about 150, in stock. I’ve picked out the Beretta DT10, a proven world-beater has won numerous high-level competitions. It has a cross-bolt mechanism for added strength; these guns can shoot well in excess of a million rounds – durability is second-to-none. The DT stands for detachable trigger, which is good from a security and maintenance point of view; if you’re travelling abroad in competition, you only need to take a spare trigger mechanism. Barrels are back-bored, as they are in many competition guns, for lower recoil and better ballistics. The balance of the gun is superb; you could shoot three or four hundred shells in a day and you wouldn’t feel any sort of recoil or fatigue. Because the DT11 is now on the market, replacing this model, this gun can now be found on the second-hand market at a couple of thousand less than a previous model.
Premier Guns price: £3,695
The superb Hamilton pop-up gunslip offers good protection when it’s in situ. You can hide your gun away from any falling clays, and it has a neat carry-handle, an umbrella stand, a big pocket to put your chokes, glasses or shotgun licence in. Most importantly, it’s very sturdy and lightweight. The standard version, which comes in three colours, will quite comfortably take a 30in barrel gun, but if you do have a longer gun, you will probably want to upgrade to the Deluxe version, which comes in this smart leatherette finish.
Premier Guns price: Standard £89.95, Deluxe £130-140
As we move up to the next level of shooting, competition shooters will look for products like the Hull Pro One and the Hull Sovereign, which are faster, hard-hitting cartridges. The lead is more consistent, they are made of better components and there is a considerable difference between these and the lesser quality brands, particularly at range on Sporting targets.
Premier Guns price: £230-240 per 1,000
Hull Cartridge Company
01482 342756 www.hullcartridge.co.uk
These are comfortable to wear and are slimline but what sets them apart is that they are electrical. You have a volume control and they will turn themselves off after a certain amount of time. The most impressive thing about these is the sound quality. You will hear the arm on a manual trap go off 40 yards away.
Premier Guns price: £139
GMK Ltd 01489 587500 www.gmk.co.uk
At the top end, the newly launched Musto series has a soft suede right-hand shoulder on this particular vest, so that it’s completely snag-free mounting. This also comes with the Musto D-3 pad, which will go in the side of the vest for a bit of recoil protection. It has high-quality mesh and deep cartridge pockets, and it’s available in quite a few stylish colours, including red, royal blue, green and navy blue. It’s similar to the world-famous Castellani vest and is brand new to the market.
Premier Guns price: £125
Browning Claymaster Cartridge Bag
The Browning cartridge carry-all has a reinforced base and is capable of carrying up to 250 cartridges. It has lots of little pockets on the outside for glasses, extra lenses and hearing protection.
Premier Guns price: £44.99
01235 514550 www.browning.eu
Beretta Medium Range Bag
The Beretta one comes with a padded carry-handle. It has a good, wide, gatemouth opening so you can get plenty of gear in the main pocket. Typically, they cost a little more than the smaller bags, but they’ll carry everything you chuck in them.
Premier Guns Price: £49.99
Hull cartridges: £240
Browning Claymaster bag: £44.99
Hamilton Deluxe: £140
Beretta DT10: £3,695
Musto shooting vest: £125
Peltor Sport-Tac: £139
Pilla VIVX 2: £600
Premier Guns will show plenty of these products on its stand at the UK Game Fair on 22-24 July, 2016.