Castle Gunmakers, Norham, Northumberland


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Castle Gunmakers, Norham, Northumberland

Grouse shooting

August the twelfth, the first day of the grouse shooting season is nearly upon us. It is often referred to as the Glorious Twelfth although you’ll be hard pushed to find a dictionary definition for this term. It is a special day for many in the shooting community and often a family occasion. It will also be the first day for many commercial shoots with walked up and driven grouse shooting bringing huge sums of money into the rural community.

The best weather for grouse shooting?

“Glorious” may well be the term for the weather that we might expect in mid-August but in reality we would probably prefer the “Ordinary Weather Twelfth”. Hot, still, sultry days make the grouse reluctant to fly and frustratingly they often settle in front of the butts. Some cloud and wind is welcome but hopefully not too many showers to bring out the midges!

Preparing for the new grouse shooting season

When it comes to grouse shooting, whether shooting walked up or driven grouse, single or double guns, make sure you are well prepared. Ensure your gun has been serviced by your local gunsmith and make sure you have enough of the correct cartridges together with all your usual shooting kit – most of which has probably been sitting in your cupboard or gun room for the last 6 months! Even better, before your “glorious” day, try to get to your local clay shooting ground for some valuable practice in the grouse layout or even the skeet range to sharpen your reactions.

The best gun for grouse shooting?

We are often asked, “What is the best gun and cartridge combination for walked up or driven grouse?” We all know that with regular practice and good gun fit, most guns can be perfectly efficient for all types of quarry. However for grouse shooting you can’t beat a light, fast handling 12, 16 or 20 bore shotgun be it over and under or side by side – shooting the choked barrel first with a fibre wad cartridge of no more than 30 gram 6’s or 7’s. There seems to be a fashion lately for would be hot shots to use 28 bore or .410 and this is all to the good if you use these gauges all the time and are supremely proficient, however we should never settle for a wounded bird – only an outright kill. If you need to change or upgrade your gun, check our current shotgun stock or give us a call.

The Glorious Twelfth

Enjoy the moment

So you’ve got your gun (recently serviced!), your cartridges and all your kit (including your midge repellent) and you find yourself on the grouse moor. For a moment, forget you are there to shoot grouse and take in the beauty of the landscape, the habitat, and your place in its management and conservation. A grouse moor is a truly glorious place to be.

Sound advice for enjoyable grouse shooting

Make yourself aware of where your fellow guns are – be you walking a line or stood in a butt. Be aware of beaters, flankers, pickers up and dogs. Listen to your host and follow all instructions. If in a butt, pick a spot about 50 yards in front of you and shoot at your quarry as soon as it reaches this point. Once the grouse are past you turn safely, raising your gun like a guardsman presenting arms and then shoot safely behind the line. On a walked up day be very aware of your line of fellow guns and mark your bird accurately. When grouse shooting safety is everything.

If you are lucky enough to be out on a grouse moor on the Glorious Twelfth, be safe and don’t worry about the size of the bag, just appreciate the company that you are with and the glory of our countryside.

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