In 1997 following the handgun ban in GB, former pistol shooters rather than give up their sport, decided to adapt the various pistol courses of fire for use with Gallery Rifles.
Gallery Rifles are essentially .22 semi auto rifles and centre fire under lever carbines.
A highly organised and successful discipline now exists with teams from Wales, Scotland, England, Republic of Ireland, South Africa and Germany competing regularly in a number of high profile events at the NRA ranges at Bisley and elsewhere in Europe.
The biggest and best event is perhaps appropriately known as the ‘Phoenix’. The Phoenix Match takes place over the second Bank Holiday weekend in May and incorporates both a Home Countries Match and an International Match as well as circa eighty individual matches shot not only with Galley Rifles but shotguns, target and military rifles – there is something for everybody as the Phoenix also includes a substantial Trade Fair and Arms Bazaar with bargains for all.
Teams of five shooters including a reserve compete for the Home Countries Match using smallbore semi auto rifles usually the Ruger 10/22 or a variant thereof. Another team of five including reserve compete in the International Match using centre fire carbines with the Marlin under lever in .357 or .44 being the most prevalent firearm – sights are generally optical.
The Gallery Rifle disciplines require only ear and eye protection, rifles and ammunition. Equipment can range from the most basic and unmodified rifles to custom built race guns. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you shoot, if you don’t point it in the right direction it doesn’t matter how much it cost!
There are a number of very interesting articles that describe the sport and most everything to do with it at http://www.galleryrifle.com/skills.html the NRA also have a Gallery Rifle section on which you can access details of the various competitions, courses of fire etc. http://www.nra.org.uk/
A lot of URA members have visited Bisley over the years and know what a unique venue it is – for those of you yet to make the pilgrimage …………… its roughly a 840 mile round trip from Stranraer or 260 from Liverpool. Accommodation is available on site either from the NRA, some of the Club pavilions or local hotels and guest houses. Staying on camp can be fairly basic as little has changed since the early part of the twentieth century!