Any sport involving the use of complex precision equipment is not going to come cheaply. We are often asked by newcomers to the sport to project the likely costs. The answer is really – well how much do you want to spend?

The first consideration to bear in mind is that our type of shooting is generally practiced outdoors.

There are dedicated indoor ranges across the country but these are almost all small bore – generally .22, and out with our remit and scope of practice. Likewise there are separate air gun clubs often shooting a mix of indoor & outdoor, but again that is not within our Club’s practice.

An outdoor range tends to be fairly bleak & in remote places, and in the Scottish winter warm clothing, gloves & hat [a beanie is best] and obviously appropriate footwear are the first essentials. Ear defenders or ear plugs are essential and can be obtained cheaply from the likes of Screwfix but be aware that more useful & sophisticated defenders are readily available from any good shooting supply shop. It is very advisable to purchase quite thin defenders as a thick mug sized earcup will prevent satisfactory gun mounting. Eye protection is also strongly advised but not yet mandatory.

As a Probationary Member you will undergo full safety training before accessing any firearm. The Club has it’s own firearms which you may use under close supervision.

You will be obliged to purchase commercially manufactured ammunition. The Club has a stock of .22 rounds & is purchasing additional .38 & .44 ammunition. We tend to mostly reload our own, but because of the associated legal liability, should a round misbehave, we are no longer permitted to share our home loads. Small bore rimfire ammo is cheap however manufactured centrefire commercial rounds are not [we will however only charge what it costs us – we are not out for profit]. Using this factory ammo, you will however build up a supply of used cases, this will help get you started when you come to reload.

There are a host of journals out there ready to inform and probably scare you with the potential costs, and a visit to a good gun shop to inspect what is available is also sometimes daunting. However when you see how much people will pay for a half decent set of golf clubs or may spend on a model railway empire it helps to get things in better proportion.

Furthermore, you will have plenty of time to decide on your needs. As a Probationary Member, which may last typically for six months, you cannot use the Club as a reason to justify a Firearms Certificate. This comes only when you reach full Membership. We will guide you in the application when the time comes, and when the certificate is finally granted, you will then have five years to make your purchases.

Essential, prior to your FAC application, is a sturdy gun and ammunition cabinet. This must comply with current Home Office regulations, otherwise your application is sure to fail. These do come up secondhand quite commonly. It is important to bear in mind that your storage capacity will dictate the number of firearms permitted.

Most of us tend to buy secondhand which can bring significant savings when compared with new. We shoot predominantly lever action rifle at our own range, such a gun new will set you back about £1000 but half that secondhand. A good .22 secondhand might set you back about £150 - 200, a .223 or .308 a bit more – maybe about £5-700, additional cost may depend on whether it comes with a sound moderator, a scope fitted or just the mounts.. To all this you may need to add the cost of optics for the long distance rifles and .22 - a decent telescopic sight new can be worth more than the gun but you can get a good ‘scope for considerably less. Black powder pistols & long guns are also worth some consideration – they are great fun but unforgiving, in that they will quickly decay if they are not kept nice and clean.

A reloading press is also going to be needed eventually, to feed your weapon, unless you have very deep pockets! These come with a wide range of price & functionality. We can again advise.

Most of us also shoot clay pigeons at least once a month. A good multichoke 12G shotgun can, even secondhand, cost several hundred pounds or more but a cheaper secondhand gun can get you started and be just as much fun!

The Club Committee hopes that you find this information useful. The financial commitment may seem quite steep to many but do bear in mind that the Club rifles are there to be used, and indeed some Members seldom use anything else.

There is certainly never any need to acquire a gun in a hurry.

A final thought - a close friend of the author, when he knew his future outlook was bleak and terminal, told me ‘don’t let my wife sell my guns for what I told her I’d paid for them!’