Targeting perfection

Shooting Times & Country|May 27, 2020

Targeting perfection
A switch to handmade ammunition is an eye-opener for Soldier Palmer

Having recently tried my hand at fly-tying, it was tempting to look around and see what other field sports-related hobbies were on offer, particularly as the virus lockdown compressed the days into a single, blurry and unvaried slog. For a time, I tried to act out a childhood fantasy of building my own bow and arrows, but that is slow work with wood to cut and season.

I found myself some nice yew boughs and brought them into the shed, but from what I was able to gather from the pages of an old handbook, only time can make a good bow. I felt like this was a matter of opinion and depended upon whether or not you had 1,000 French knights bearing down upon you.

I only wanted to fling a few arrows into a straw target, but rather than rushing to do half a job I parked my plans and waited for the wood to season. Perhaps the matter will be concluded in a future article, since I can’t believe that I am the only grown-up with a hankering for boyhood weaponry.

In the meantime, I followed my nose in a slightly different direction. A friend of mine has devoted his life to the pursuit of precision rifle shooting, and he is never satisfied by anything less than perfect accuracy. My idea of good rifle work is simply to deliver a quick, clean death to whatever fox or roebuck crosses my path, but he is niggled by even the smallest margins of error.


It is his delight to fire round after round through his 25-06, inching his bullet holes ever closer in the ultimate hope that one day all his shots will pass through the same perforation. This has become his guiding obsession, but I am often comforted to find that he has not lost a practical touch — after a day on the range, he is still itching to get out and find a fox.


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May 27, 2020