About Our Club
Bristol and District Rifle and Pistol Club (BDRPC) is a friendly little club with about 150 members, situated in a picturesque setting a few miles to the South of Bristol, where it has two ranges. Members shoot all sorts of firearms, including historic and black powder ones, from the comfort of covered shooting points which total twenty-seven. A lot more information is provided below. You will see from the history how much the club has moved on and developed over the years. Indeed, much work has been carried out in recent years to pull the facilities up to scratch as well as all of the club’s extensive documentation. Members are very proud of their club, its ranges and its premises. Many who carried out most of the construction work still shoot regularly.
The club was formed in 1955, originally shooting on a TA Rifle Range at Pilning, on a bank of the River Severn. This proved to be very exposed with the steady gale blowing up the Bristol Channel. In the winter a .22 range in a TA Drill Hall was used, and it was that which kept the club together. Soon, an abandoned quarry was found on the other side of Bristol, after a period in an old aircraft machine-gun range at Filton Aerodrome.
Originally, in the quarry, there was only a range safety certificate for seven targets. Wooden huts were used to provide some shelter. Some fifty tons of grit had to be brought in for a stop-butt. Firing points were soon established for 25 and 50 metres, although originally the 50 metres was little used. During the next ten years, the number of targets was increased to fourteen, with a corrugated iron roof over the 25 metre shooting point. Turning targets were installed; the first set of these came from Bisley, and were used in the 1948 Olympic Games. BDRPC was one of the very, very few clubs to have actual Olympic equipment. This depended on pulleys, steel cables and levers!
The use of the quarry started with a ten-year lease, but then carried on under a weekly tenancy until a further lease was arranged. In 1986 BDRPC was able to buy its quarry land outright. It was then that the club could seriously develop its facilities and the quarry was levelled. The Hamilton Range was constructed and can be seen in the pictures; named after the first Club Secretary. Nearly all the work was carried out by volunteers and involved moving a lot of earth, stone and other materials. The range building provides nineteen shooting points all under cover. It has a kitchen as well as safety areas, plus Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s toilets. From these points, both 25 and 50 metres can be shot. The target system at both distances has fully automated, electronic turners, which have been specially built. These are electronically controlled and fully programmable, and with a remote “key-fob” control.
There is also the Watkins Range (see picture), which was created in the mid 1990s. This has eight shooting points, with automated targets at 20 metres. This building houses a Committee or Training Room. The range envelope is the same on both ranges; namely 2150 fps maximum velocity and 1496 ft.lbs energy limit. Up to .58” breech-loading, and .75” muzzle-loading firearms may be used with appropriate loads. Also, look at the Google Earth picture provided, which shows the general arrangement of the Hamilton and Watkins buildings and ranges and also shows our nice setting. The grey-coloured rectangular features are the buildings. The ranges are at right angles to each other, the Hamilton range facing approximately due-West. The environs of the quarry land and surrounds are quite nice, as we have many conifers and other trees. The adjoining land is agricultural.
Our own two substantial, main car parks are adjacent and at different levels within our boundary. There is limited parking also by the Hamilton range, including for the disabled. Members can shoot any day except December 25th, as long as two full members are present; that is after 10:00 am and before sunset. We also shoot elsewhere, eg Bisley and MoD Ranges for which we are licensed, when events are organised by our Rifle Captain.
New probationary members go through a thorough training scheme, which has been accredited by the NRA, and under the watchful eye of our Training Officer and his helpers. They are trained on all types of firearm, including muzzle-loading ones. It is great to see that more ladies are expressing interest and joining our ranks. The Club is managed by a twelve-strong committee; that is elected annually. We own fully our ranges and buildings. Several of our members shoot for Great Britain and England Teams.
There are competitions at least once per month and all interests are catered for, since these are based around the contents of the members’ gun cabinets! The main competition is a GRSB TP1 and MT run over five months; there is a service rifle competition and a black-powder cartridge rifle competition, as well as competitions for lever-action firearms, LBRs, and BP Revolvers. Some of these are timed and some precision. There is also a Christmas competition. The social side is developing.
As mentioned above, there is some space for new members, and in the first instance you should contact the Membership Secretary. Please use the email address: BDRPClub@gmail.com You will be provided with information on the process. We are a Home Office approved club and thus have twelve guest days per year.