Some significant dates since the formation of the BSRC


The NRA held Running Deer competitions at the Imperial Meeting every year from 1862 with breaks during both World Wars.

In 1962 The British Sporting Rifle Club was formed under the drive and enthusiasm of Archie J. Butterworth with the main aim of saving the Running Deer. In January that year he had received a letter from the Secretary of the NRA telling him that “they were dickering with the NSRA about leasing them the Running Deer Range on a long term lease as a permanent small-bore rifle range”. On 15th February he wrote to several people stating that he proposed to form a Bisley Sporting Rifle Club in order, among other things, to save the Running Deer which was at that time only used during the Imperial Meeting.

The inaugural meeting was held on 18th March that year by which time he had decided that British, rather than Bisley, Sporting Rifle Club sounded grander; Archie did “grand” rather well! Six present at the meeting with another three on the range but not at the meeting and a further eleven prospective members were named who had promised support for the Club.

After no-one elected to shoot the Running Deer from the then optional sitting position during the first three Club meetings this option was withdrawn in favour of UIT standing position only. Telescopic sights were also banned to conform to UIT rules. The Running Deer was operated by a team of four men, two on each side to push and stop the carriage on which the wooden target was mounted. This took place on right hand of the two existing 17 yard runs. The Bandit (sitting snap) and Martin Smith (prone precision) static competitions were shot on targets mounted on a trolley on rails in the left hand run. This could be drawn into the shelter and patched while the Deer was still operating.

The following dates might be of interest:

22nd/23rd September 1962 – First Annual Championships held. Armourer-Sergeant Alan Chatfield won all events except the Mackworth-Praed (standing unsupported, 5 shots per minute) which had by then been incorporated in the event. There was no firing point shelter.

August 1963 –  Five members represented G.B. at Running Deer and Running Roebuck at European championships in Sandviken with standard hunting rifles in .280 &.308 calibres. Soviets were using what came to be know as .22PPC

5th October 1963 – an ‘experimental Running Roebuck shoot held – (E.W. Carpenter 4th)

November 1963 – John Rees Davies resigns as Secretary being very unhappy with the way moneys were being collected and spent on would-be International shooters.

December 1963 – Buck Match replaces the Bandit

February 1964 – UIT approved Deer target used for first time, with hinged antlers but still only a 17 yard gap.

June 1964 – First use of electrified Deer on the left hand of the two ranges with target still on a trolley. No automatic brake and much skill needed to operate it. The right hand one pushed manually.

July 1964 – Captain John Gough wins all Sporting rifle events at the NRA National Meeting except Martin-Smith and McQueen won by George Svenson, one of the originators of the SWING rifle.

November 1965 – 50m Running Boar range first in operation in the Time Limit range with the target suspended on a carrier cable attached to a tree. Fast runs initially 2.0 seconds found to be very taxing!

September 1966 – Captain Le Mesurier (Sec. NRA) complains about motor operators allowing the deer to go too far into the shelter when the target was not properly pushed down into its sockets thus decapitating the deer!

18th October 1967 – Telescopic sights first used on Running Deer. Dr. Roderick Woods scores 94 in Singles eclipsing Butterworth’s record of 87 (in both Singles and Doubles)

July 1968  – ‘temporary’ new Deer facility installed in time for NRA Meeting. This was a twin target affair suspended on wire and was shot from a green collapsible ‘sentry box’ firing point hut that was erected each day the range was to be used. The centre line of fire was as in the 1890s, on a bearing of approx. 3010.

October 1973 – May 1977 Running Deer range closed.

January 1975 Royal Engineers commence re-building the higher Running Deer stop butt, in part on top of the existing run. Completion in June after delays due to weather.

April 1975 Inaugural Spring Match – a Boar only team event, with 8 teams of three.

1976/77 – a new Deer range built by Don Thurlow and others, with the target running on a mono-rail. Opened in May but without any firing point shelter or provision for markers. Cost £912.  Later the collapsible sentry box firing point was positioned to the left of the centre line, to shoot on a bearing of 317.26 to fall in with MoD safety trace.

21st April 1977 Safety Certificates for Running Deer and Running Boar issued.

January 1978 Second rail and trolley in place on Running Deer obviating the need for top cable.

March/April 1978 New Speith Boar range installed in time for Spring Match. John Gough score 573 for new British Record, a truly world class score comparable with current W.R. of 579

21st July 1978 – Range officially opened by HRH Prince Charles. He hit the Running Deer target several times thus following the footsteps of his Great-Great-Grandfather Edward on Wimbledon in 1863 when he was Prince of Wales. Don Thurlow’s .222 rifle, used on the occasion, is in the NRA Museum, the property of the BSRC.

July 1978 National Championships for Running Deer and Running Boar were included in the NRA and NSRA meetings.

January 1979 John Anthony shoots an escaped “wild” boar in Essex, the first killed for 400 years?!

September 1979 – decision to use DJV Buck and Fox and abandon Sitting Hare

December 1979 – Boar Firing Point rebuilt ‘in same proportions as Moscow model’.

January 1980 – first use of DJV Buck and Sitting Fox replacing 50 HPS Buck & Sitting Hare.

June 1980 – Following discussion the previous year at World Championships in Austria, BSRC hosted and organised an Invitation Moving Target Match as a “thank you” for the many invitations it had received in recent years. Having only one 50m range it was decided to limit entries to seven countries each with two shooters. People’s Republic of China, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, West Germany and DDR were accepted. Three matches over three days were organised. Baxter, Gough (later handing over to Tony Clark), Thurlow (targets), Kynoch (CRO), Bane (results), Ashpole (butts) and Wiseman were heavily involved, the later in installing CCTV for the first time. Alka Seltzer agreed to sponsor the event. BBC Grandstand attended and put on a 17 minute screening in 21st June.

July 1980 – New British Running Deer Championship trophy – the twin deer trophy – produced though auspices of Charles Leatherby, Reg Bowden & Colin Cook for total of 40 shots Singles plus 40 shots Doubles.

December 1980    Confirmation that Emlyn Newman awards in the form of tankards were to recognise promising junior shooters. Awarded to David Orell for 1979 and Simon Evans for 1980. (Later in 1985 to John Maddison who kindly returned the tankard in 2005 for re-use along with many other glassware trophies)

August 1981 – Portakabin Deer firing point, Swedish electric motor and drive gear with our own Honda petrol generator operating. Cost £4000 of which £1500 by BSRC, remainder from NRA & Shooting Sports Trust.

September 1981 – scattering of Charles Leatherby’s ashes, he having died in Canada in July. Leatherby Memorial competition first shot in September 1982

July 1981 – Decision to raise the Monthly Entry Fees from £2. NRA marker now cost £8 a day.

August 1983 Running Deer Range closed along with most others.

April 1984    John Maddison shares “Cafferata” Award with Joanne Farr. Awarded by NSRA to promising young shooters

August 1984 Running Deer Re-opened – after one year.

September 1985 New Speith Boar set delivered. 3 phase Motor unit installed on existing Boar set-up.

August 1986 – self-loading rifles to be permitted on trial basis, not for Deer Doubles Later banned by resolution of 1988 AGM

29th August 1987 – major breakdown of Deer electrics and controls. S.R. Championships abandoned

1st December 1987 – all three ranges closed

Jan 1988 –  new Club Hut  supplied by NRA in use. Deer Firing Point Hut ordered

April 1988.  All three ranges re-opened after remedial work. The Port-a-Kabin had been replaced by the Firing Point hut from Messrs Buffalo Ltd. in the position of the former.

February 1990 – Harry Eaton, much respected NRA Range Superintendent died.

July 1991 – TAS drawing for repositioning of Running Deer to make room for Winans development showing distances of Firing point and centre of gap from datum line of left hand side of Melville.

1992 – new Running Deer range laid down by Don Carter and others, parallel to the orientation in the above drawing, but approx. 1.5m nearer to Melville at both ends built. The centre line of fire is on a bearing of 3120 approximately, i.e. 1.50 away from the trouble spot.

June 1992 – Michael Baxter, Club Chairman died outside his hut on Camp after working all day building the new range with others

16/7/92 Range opened by John de Havilland, Chairman NRA, just in time for Nordics.

March 1993 – two crystal ‘Loving Cups’ bought for Static events at Annual Championship meeting

May 1993 – Class B Deer competition introduced

September 1995 doubts expressed by MOD about the safety trace of Running Deer range. Closed in October to modern centre fire calibres – 4th time in 21 years. FP needs to be moved 7.94 m to the left, (TAS drawing TO 1640 -3 of 5) i.e. into the middle of the Static FP, to fit this trace. To get the Static range to fit into the new Safety Trace the angle of fire needs to be altered 7.50  to the North. This equated to a move of the targets of approximately 13m which is close to the inward end of the left hand antler run.

February 1996 Deer Firing Point lifted onto new base 8m to south.

Spring 1996 new Static Canopy built and new stop butt built under southern ‘antler run’, this altering the line of fire some 130 against the 7.50  that was required.

14th May 1996 New Safety certificate K1314 issue for all three ranges although the Boar not operational. Spring Match goes ahead on 18th-19th May

10th August 1996  Boar Range opened for R.B. Championships. Archie Butterworth fires ceremonial shot. Derek Seaton does the same for the new Statics range

March 1997 new target shed in operation  – later to be called the Middle Shed.

October 1997 NSRA hands over three cases of parts of Speith Boar range. This included the single phase drive unit which had been used up to September 1985.

November 1997 start made on new Club Pavilion – opened at AGM June 1998. Financed out of two year’s surpluses, mainly Range Hire. No grants or borrowings.

June 1998 Following implementation of new ‘aiming error’ angles for military moving target ranges in JSP 403, NRA negotiated a compromise whereby the military will move a fence and we will shoot out of the left hand bay only on the Deer Firing Point. Electrics moved over to accommodate this. Firing Point now 7.3 m off the bisecting perpendicular. Nordic specification – maximum 4 metres.

June 1998 Reconfirmation of BSRC self imposed ban on all calibres exceeding 8 mm, or case capacity greater than that of the .30-06, from the Deer Firing Point House. Further that except in competitions required to be shot under Nordic Rules, rifles to be held in a horizontal ready position, not muzzle up.

July 1999 following statement that the military would no longer move their fence now that is was realised this involved 700m of it, BSRC was required to move the Deer ‘gap’ 0.7metres to the right. In the event it was moved 2 metres thus allowing firing to be from the right hand bay. The statics frames were moved 3 metres to the left following agreement from TAS, so that they did not impinge on the left hand antler run. This work done by Brian Brimfield at BSRC expense. The military expressed the hope that they would fund the realignment of the Deer track in due course which was now more than 9 metres ‘off centre’.

December 1999 Two Suis Ascor electronic units delivered with Buck (2), Fox and standing Boar targets. Targets used first for Inter-Club match on 9th April when 24 relays of Stalkers Match put through in 2¼ hours.

December 2000.     Long Shed beside Statics bullet catcher, from which electronic targets could be drawn out on wheels, built by Robinsons. Running Deer butt realigned at MoD expense. New rails laid; locally made trolley and new driving gear from Dalby in Sweden installed.

January 2002.     Closed for centre-fire when 7mm FMJ bullet found in roof at Heatherside GR906598. Re-opened February after enquiry that concluded that although the bullet may have come from Sporting Rifle Complex it could well have come from other ranges particularly from the Trafalgar Meeting in October.

August 2002.     2 further 100m electronic targets sets delivered from Suis Ascor along with 10m Running Target range.

September 2002. Buck Timer made by Ian Sugden used in Club Championships, as were new electronic targets; 2 Bucks & 1 Fox.

March 2003    Work started on building new Boar range on Time Limit including building new stop butt. Dalby drive unit delivered in June. Firing Point house started in October. Brimfield did ground work and foundations and Albert Lyons the block work on both. Much voluntary labour from the Monday Squad – Derek Seaton, JMK, John Jackson, Martin Gradon, John Watson, Paul Grannell, Vaughan Cherry, Mike Sheehan

January 2004    Shooting Rules concerning Class B Buck altered to allow the use of a fitted or hand-held bi-pod, providing the rifle or hand was supported above the intersection of the legs, which was deemed to be a stable and safe position from which to raise the rifle to the shoulder.

Autumn 2004    Time Limit Boar range operating – old canopy refurbished and glazed in.

November 2004     John Kynoch and Vaughan Cherry visit Häring electronic scoring installations in Germany. Executive approve go-ahead to install systems on Deer and TL Boar

12th February 2005  Archie Butterworth (born 19th June 1912), died aged 92. January 2006  his widow Barbara died aged 91

7th March 2005    First installation of Häring electronic scoring equipment on Deer and Time Limit Boar

July 2006  Delivery and installation of complete Häring system on Mid Boar.

September 2009 Haring 10m Range purchased from club member Vaughn Cherry

May 2014 Sius Ascor 10m RT range replaced with a Haring 10m RT range. The Sius Ascor range was loaned to the NSRA with the hope of encouraging others (particularly Juniors) to try the moving target events.

March 2015 Sius Ascor static targets replaced with Haring electronic scoring static targets. All the target systems on the range now use the same software.

August 2015 Invitation extended to the NSRA Junior International Competitors to shoot Running Boar & 10m at BSRC – attracted 30+ competitors from all home countries, USA & South Africa.

March 2017 Anatomical roe buck target added to the electronic static targets. The target based on a paper target supplied by Bushwear who kindly supplied high resolution images for creation of the computer target definitions.