What’s the big eye-dea?

Jonathan McGee attended the launch of Ben Husthwaite’s new Eye D Rail – an opportunity for shooters to learn, have their guns fitted, and of course obliterate some clays!

It was set to be the very first event of its kind in the shooting community – a vibrant shooting village that wouldn’t look out of place at a world championship. Arriving at Kibworth Shooting Ground in Leicestershire early on Tuesday 11 July, a tired and visibly quite poorly Ben Husthwaite explained how his Open Day came about: “The idea started with a live Instagram feed.

“A lot of people mentioned they’d like a gun fit but it’s way out of the realms of their income, so thinking on my feet I offered to donate a day. This is just another way for me, as someone at the top of my game, to get those people involved and give something back.

“Then the Eye D Rail came around and I thought let’s combine the two. It developed into inviting my sponsors and team, and from there it’s built up to the amazing trade village you see here today.”

The gates opened at 7am for final exhibitor set up, with shooting and guests due to flood in around 10am. Word had spread; by 7.30am there was already a queue waiting for Ben’s free gun fit and modifications.

Kibworth looked amazing, a real credit to the hard work behind the scenes. The grass was freshly cut around two new Laporte Compak layouts, and entrants were treated to Ben’s challenging 50-bird Sporting competition with some amazing prizes.

The real highlight of the day was the launch of Ben’s new Eye D Rail (the D stands for dominance). Ben has been working hard to create an aid to improve the shooting of those with eye dominance issues.

“After lots of field tests with other devices that only left shooters getting worse because they can’t concentrate on what they’re doing, I delved into the dominance world and what I found was amazing. Using other devices people’s dominant eye changes with recoil,” he explains. 

“The Eye D Rail shields the opposing eye whilst allowing full barrel length, depth perception and speed functions to work normally. The biggest thing with dominance issues is barrel jump as you close your eye, meaning you’re not where you thought you were. This is a game changer.”

All who attended Ben’s open day were given the opportunity to test the rail system on a specially designed Compak layout. I personally have no eye dominance issues, but for me the rail actually aided concentration and allowed me to retain perfect placement of cheek to stock. As a relatively new clay shot this is more of a concentration issue but another massive benefit of the rail system.

By 10am the car park was overflowing and shooting had begun. Testing of the Eye D Rail was underway along with a host of guns to try from Zoli and Krieghoff.

As the afternoon approached Ben halted shooting for a quick Q&A session. Mike Williams was on hand to discuss nutrition before, during and after competitions.

No-one asked about the suitability of the day’s incredible hog roast! David Scott from Gamebore led us through the latest developments in the cartridge world and Tom Starkey from Starkey Headsets discussed Pilla and changing light needs.

With my photographic, film and social duties for the day covered I was able to venture off to shoot the 50-bird Sporting with fellow sponsored shooter Dave Hughes, designer Tim Chance and rugby legend Mike Williams.

Given the targets we all shot well, with Mike putting in the best score, dropping only three targets. Mike went on to lead the scoreboard and have a final shoot-off with another of Ben’s sponsored shooters, Karl Patten. Karl nudged ahead and took High Gun – well done to him.

As the day drew to a close Ben completed his final gun fit, the last of nearly 80 free fittings, with £600 raised in donations to be split between the BICTSF Colts and the Disabled Shooters Group.

Ben was keen to thank everyone who came to his first open day, those who donated and especially his sponsors and supporters who made it all possible, including Krieghoff, Laporte, Gamebore, Pilla, Vario, Starkey, Eye D rail, Magic Bore, Edgar Brothers and Zoli Guns, and Midland Gun Services.

From my point of view, I’d like to say a massive thank you to Ben for putting on this incredible day. Fingers crossed it becomes an annual event.

For more information on Ben’s Eye D Rail or to see videos from the day, visit Ben’s website, benhusthwaite.co.uk.

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