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TFF Chaplain
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It’s been a busy few days last week. Aberdeen Full Bore Gun Club hosted the Gallery Rifle phase of the 139th annual Wapinschaw competition. The only break in this competition was during WWII, for obvious reasons. We’ll have the full-bore and Black Powder phase in September.

“Wapinschaw”? Weapons-show. This dates back to the 1700’s when the residents of Aberdeen were required to keep weapons in their households so they would be ready to fight off French invasion if it ever came. Once a year they would need to prove they could shoot their guns at an annual weapons show, or in the old Scots, “Wapinschaw”.

This year was a little more complicated than previous years. Up until December last year we had a lease on a good range. The landowner decided he wanted to put his land to other use, so he terminated the lease. Fortunately, the club leadership had the foresight to prepare for this eventuality and we had a couple of “back-up” ranges. One is about 20 minutes away from where I am, and is only for .22 use. The other is about an hour and a half from where I am but is good for center fire rifles as well as .22, but is more primitive. We divided the shooting into full-bore (center fire rifles) and small-bore (.22).

Thursday I went to help set up the .22 range. We had a good team of volunteers who would be helping out on the actual competitions over the weekend as Range Officers, people helping with targets, and stats and other things. We spent the morning helping with getting targets organized, cleaning up the firing point, and other miscellaneous tasks. When things were pretty well organized, we went on to give the system a dress rehearsal by shooting those phases of the competition we wanted to take part in, since we would be busy on the days of the competition. That was a 12 hour day.

Friday we went up to the full bore range and spent most of the day getting it set up, organizing targets, and cleaning the covered firing point and setting up a tent shelter. Then we gave that range a dry run with our gallery rifles. These are lever-action rifles in .38/.357, or .44. That was another 12 hour day by the time I got home.

Other guns people brought along on the days of the competition were long-barreled revolvers in .38/.357 or .44, and long barreled pistols in .22. We also had “classic” gallery rifles, meaning open sites, and scoped gallery rifles. We shot parts of the competitions from 25 yards up to 10 yards, and ranged from 30 rounds to 102 rounds.

We could enter any or all of the competitions with as many guns as we had. One guy anchored himself to one place first thing in the morning and stayed there all day, shooting 12 competitions that day with the center fire guns he had—two gallery rifles and a long barreled revolver. He had shot most of the .22 competitions the previous day with his rifle and long barreled pistol. Altogether there were 23 individual competitions we could enter.

I went to have fun shooting, and to make other shooters look good. I didn’t do too badly (for me), but I was shooting against members of the Scotland Gallery Rifle team and Team GB. So for example, on one competition, my score of 545 out of 600 (with 8 X) put me dead last. The winner shot 600 with 51 X.

We tried out something different this year…target shotgun. Some of the guys have what we call Section 1 shotguns. These can be semi-automatic or pump with magazines that hold more than two cartridges, and can shoot slugs. From 25 yards these shooters cut loose with slugs on targets and made confetti of the backs. Some of the targets were harder to score because the wadding made its own hole!! But they had fun.

We also set up a speed steel plate course just for fun, and it proved to be an extremely popular item. I tried out my semi-auto that holds one in the chamber and two in the magazine.

We had people from across Scotland, and age groups from teenagers to people 70 or so years old.

Saturday I assisted with scoring, replacing targets, and taking pictures. Sunday I was in the stats room getting all the score cards entered onto the database which worked out the winners of all the competitions. I escaped from time to time to take pictures and do one or two other things. One of our club members provided burgers for lunch, his wife made some brownies and other finger-food cakes.

The rain held off until yesterday afternoon, when we had a covered firing point to shoot from for some of the competitions.

All in all, it was a busy, but fun four days. Splitting the shooting between two venues was interesting and worked out quite well. The club chairman and his wife, the club secretary, did an excellent job organizing it and keeping to schedule.

The full-bore range:

One of the competitions at 25 yards


Moving up to 20 yards


The .22 range


The trophies for the winners

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