Aged just 15, Nathan Skinner already has nine years’ shooting experience to help him reach his goals and has recently secured some much-needed sponsorship
Kent shooter, Nathan Skinner, shoots for his county across a number of disciplines in the Colts Class and has won such a reputation that Somerset gun shop Avalon Guns has recently signed a sponsorship deal with him.
The teenager was first taken out shooting at the age of six with his father, Andy, who said: “he wanted to come along pigeon shooting so I took him. I remember, we were together in the hide and bird after bird would fall to the ground – when I counted his 115 birds I realised that he had a talent and I should encourage him to pursue it.” He was then bought a Belgium .410 and developed a passion for clay shooting.
With two parents and a grandfather who are keen shooters, Nathan doesn’t struggle to find someone to take him to competitions. Mum and dad try to take him to events or to their local Sporting shoot each weekend, and his grandfather takes him shooting during the school holidays. He prefers to shoot FITASC and All Round events but also turns his gun to Skeet, Trap and Sporting.
Nathan currently shoots a Beretta DT10 Trident, supplied by Avalon Guns, with Hull Pro One cartridges. He looks up to fellow South Eastern shooter George Digweed, who he regularly shoots alongside at Abbey Clay Shoot, Detling, and is working on being able to focus on just the game in a similar way to George.
So far in his three-year competition career the Colt has won the 2011 Essex Gun Masters with a score of 164/200 about which he said “it was a fantastic Sporting layout I really enjoyed shooting it and was thrilled to win”. His other achievements include retaining the Junior title at the side-by-side Grand Masters 2010 for the third year running, being crowned Kent Colt champion at Southdown in 2010, winning the Colts Class at the British side-by-side championship 2010, and winning the Junior High Gun two years in a row at the Weald of Kent Plough Match in 2009 and 2010. He aims to retain these titles in the coming season as well as winning more.
Nathan is keen to make a career out of his passion for shooting and is taking part in a work experience programme at his local gun shop. If he can’t make a career out of shooting clays he is considering training in game and wildlife management with a view to becoming a gamekeeper. However, in the short-term he has set his sights on the English and British FITASC teams and is working towards the selection shoots next season.