Monday, 13 October 2014

Small Bore Rifles An Underground Sport

Chad is right its high time I told you another story or at least started writing again. So here's a tale from a little while ago, a few details have been changed, but not enough to disguise the facts from an inquisitive reader.

After myself and the Ex Mrs SBW called it a day I found myself with a whole lot more time on my hands. So I started looking around for something to do in the evenings other than internet dating and drinking with wannabe homesteaders.

I'd tried inner-city foraging; and freeganism, failed to join an archery club, renewed my distaste for the gym,  cut down on girlfriends and given up smoking. I'd been able to set up an air rifle range at home and its been a great help, HunterY had given me some very good pointers at HunterX's range in the country where I'd put 'two though one hole' and wanted to do it again, so the lure of the rifle range was wailing its siren call - which in case you're wondering sounds a lot like Kate Bush's 'Running up that hill' played by an orchestra of rifle bolts.

In accordance with that rule of the internet I found a sub broadband site which told the fascinating tale of a small bore rifle club not too far from mi casa. I pinged them an email and was invited to an open evening.  The venue turned out to be an industrial site entrance under a bridge.

You know those gated doors under bridges and beside train lines ? A galvanised gate over a concealed stairway, the kind of space where longterm contractors keep a giant collection of road-cones or use as an improvised tea-room. Where those of you with a fertile imagination would have seen a hidden base where Blofeld toys with world domination and bikini'd hoochie-coochies use Sebenza's to spoon caviar into the mouths of captured spooks. Or possibly where feral children gnaw on the bones of commuters unlucky enough to have tried to take a surreptitious doorway-piss on their way betwixt pub and station.

There were a growing number of of other loiterers at the doorway so I figured it must be the right place. I ignored Pretty Girl and struck up an conversation with Sales Newbie. Who predictably had just arrived in old london town fresh from uni, and was in the first few weeks of his first sales job. We do a quick round of the 'sales culture conversation' and move on to 'strange museums you've not heard of yet'. Pretty Girl eavesdrops, clearly dismayed that she's not been invited to be the centre of attention.

A man in an 'I work in IT' tie rocks up to open the gate [I'll leave you to imagine the full horror]; that tablet PC an almost borg-like extension of his being, the comedy tie stretched over the yawning chasm where his personality should have been. He's a helpful sort and welcomes us to the club. During his preamble I keep zoning-out and imaging life at his breakfast table where his wife keeps interrupting his impending announcement of his candidacy as the Lib-Dem candidate for Frinton-West with a further iteration of her long-held concern with the size of chunks in a jar of marmalade sent to her by cousins for whom she holds little affection.

Meanwhile back in the room: the chairman saunters in and sets out his stall. A veteran of many a committe meeting, in both professional and recreational settings, he tells us a potted history of the club: it's aims, affiliations, and traditions. Now warmed to his subject he tells us how to get the most from the tuition available and generously offers the observation how women will be especially able to benefit from the wisdom as 'they' are more able to listen and are in the habit of 'doing what they are told'. There is a slight shift in the room's gravity as Pretty Girl adds a mark to some inner scorecard.

The club specialises in a school of small bore (.22LR) shooting where the shot wears what looks like a straight jacket, opticians glasses and strange lopsided orthopaedic shoes. Lying on the floor the shooters squint though pin-hole sights at a page of targets 25m away. One chap seems tormented by some inner angst, huffing and puffing himself further and further from his 'settle'. At the other end of the performance curve a woman who'd arrived at the same time as us, is lying on the floor clacking ten rounds down range with an air of detached precision. As soon as the tenth hits the card she gets up and puts away her kit. I can't help but wonder if the place really is the gateway to some 007 facility.
As you do I get talking to a member who is packing away one of those tacticool Sig Sauer 22's he tells me its a scaled version of the Sig he uses in his anti-piracy work. Its all a bit 'conversations in gun shops', but he doesn't seem as strange as "the Bear'

We take a walking tour of the facility, sadly the little electric train driven by eurasian hotties in air hostess uniforms isn't working that week and the shark tank has been drained for maintenance. The guy who runs the 10m air pistol range is quite a wag, and has us all chortling away with a vivid description of the fiendish physics involved. If he'd been my teacher I'd be a physicist now. He invites us to have a go. Strangely; several people who are there, I can only assume, to join a gun club turn down his offer. The first fella to take up arms is on the paper but a way off the printed bit, I'm within the circle I console myself,  Pretty Girl is a finger off the centre. I tell her "It looks like you're the champion". Playfully she hits me and conspiratorially tells me "that's because I'm a woman and we do do what we're told'.

More soon, well sooner I hope


Chad Love said...

You're back! I want to visit this place if I make it over there...

-blessed holy socks said...

God Almighty, have mercy on our souls...

Precisely why I had my epiphany: wanna see a perfectly cognizant, fully-spectacular, Son-ripened-Heaven?? … yet, I’m not sure if we're on the same page if you saw what I saw. Greetings, earthling. Because I was an actual NDE on the outskirts of the Great Beyond at 15 yet wasn’t allowed in, lemme share with you what I actually know Seventh-Heaven’s Big-Bang’s gonna be like: meet this advanced, bombastic, ex-mortal Upstairs for the most extra-groovy-paradox, pleasure-beyond-measure, Ultra-Yummy-Reality-Addiction in the Great Beyond for a BIG-ol, kick-ass, party-hardy, robust-N-risqué-passion you DO NOT wanna miss the sink-your-teeth-in-the-smmmokin’-hot-deal. Cya soon...

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


Currently in Porto where its pissing down, 'kin torrents! About 10c warmer than london and 200% more humid.

Nice place, lots of seafood -Bacalao and pulpo as far as the eye can see, I'd recommend a summer visit though. The harbourish bit looks promising but I travelled handluggage-only so no rod.


John the Gardener said...

Bout bloody time.....enough said.

Phillip said...

Damn, I'm glad to see you writing again, I hope. In fine form too, no less.

This "underground" club sounds pretty intriguing... but lots of potential good times.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


thanks guys nice to know its not just me and Chad left.

Unknown said...

Please take a look!!

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Hey jack, looking forward to reading more from you

Chas S. Clifton said...

Anti-piracy work, eh. Do people who do that talk about it to strangers? Or does he merely want you to think that he is an operator who has been operating operationally on operations?

Well, nice work if you can get it.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

What is it about this culture of wanting to be 'operators', and more to the point when did they term spring from?

from what I can see operator-worship is an american pastime and operators an American archetype. we don't really have it in the same way here.

While we're at it; what makes an operator a 'low-drag operator'?


Chas S. Clifton said...

SBW, I think the term derives from the designation "special operations," as carried out by your SAS, our Navy SEALS, etc. Thus: "operators." Now the term has been diffused by advertisers and by firearms instructors who may have seen a movie about Navy SEALS.

"Low drag" would be short for "high speed, low drag", meaning highly efficient, no wasted motion -- like a jet aircraft.

There is even website by that name.

Glad to be of (possibly dubious) assistance.

LSP said...

Glad to see you've back as an operator, and in an underground venue to boot. But I'm a bit concerned about the "low drag." Easy!

Speaking of small bore, just got a Ruger American .17hmr -- lots of fun. Visit Texas and come for a shoot.


lukeya said...


For God's sake write professionally, you will make a fortune.


Luke A.

Anonymous said...

Check out 17 HMR via the Chiappa Little Badger.
Talk about a versatile little backpacker's rifle!

LSP said...

+1 to Lukeya with the caveat that writing is incredibly highly paid.

Must. Give. Copy Editors. Pay Rise.