Club Activities and History

The club was formed in 1975 originally as a 6 Yard/10 Metre indoor match club but it wasn't long before an outdoor range was found and outdoor shooting catered for. The club is one of the oldest dedicated airgun clubs in the UK and we try to offer our members the opportunity to participate in all airgun disciplines in a safe and friendly environment.

Field Target

After the first FT shoot was held in 1981, the club took an active interest and as the first FT targets did not react in any way (stickers would be placed on the metal plate to indicate a hit), one of our members used this as a business opportunity to market a knockdown target and so Nockover Targets was born! These targets are now BFTA standard and used in just about every FT and Hunter style shoot in the UK. The club can boast several members both past and present who have shot to the highest standards in FT up to world class level. We usually put on an FT open around Easter each year and all are welcome.


This style of shooting was introduced to the public for the first time in 1994 as an alternative to FT with the purpose of encouraging all airgun shooters to participate and not just those with expensive scopes and rifles. The basic rules are no sitting, no adjusting your scope or stock between shots and part of your body touching a peg. Targets may be partially hidden but accessible to all. Scoring is 2 points for a knockdown, 1 for a hit on metal and 0 for a complete miss. This style of comp was an immediate hit with our members and as in FT, many have excelled at Regional level. Hunter shoots were soon adopted by other clubs in our region (CSFTA) and remain very popular to this day. The CSFTA Winter Hunter League has been running for several years with up to 12 teams competing over a series of 6 meetings. Basingstoke have also used varying experimental formats including an 80 shot marathon (comps usually consist of 30 shots), using a marked box that the whole body must fit into rather than a peg and painting the whole target a natural colour, including the hit zone. The club has participated in this style of shooting since the beginning and Hunter shoots remain the most popular discipline with our members. We even have dedicated "spring" or "recoiling" rifle only competitions to keep the purists happy.

Hunter Pistol

This is a variation of the above but shot with air pistols. Rules are exactly the same with the exception that shoulder stocks, match pistols and magnifying sights are not allowed (although red dots and other non magnifying sights are). Targets are various reacting items such as skittles, discs, bars and bells and may also be partially hidden. We try to put on at least one club shoot a year as well as side shoots at our opens.

Pneumatic Powered Pistols - PPP

When CO2 powered air weapons came "off ticket", (historically CO2 powered weapons where only allowed on a full fire arms certificate), in 1997, the club held an open shoot, once again using the skittles, discs, bars and bells mentioned above but shot against the clock. We were fortunate enough to obtain trade sponsorship in 1998 and held a National Open which was well supported by competitors from all over the UK.

10 Metre Match

The club originally started as a 6 yard Match club before moving onto 10m and interest in this style of shooting has remained constant throughout. Whilst past members have shot for the UK in both National and International competitions, please don't think you must shoot to this standard as all competitors are graded according to ability and you will only compete against others of a similar ability to yourself. We have an indoor facility on Tuesday evenings which is used September through to May each year whilst in the summer months, we use our outdoor range during the lighter evenings.

Side/Club Shoots

We have offered the following in the past: Open sights, Vintage airgun, Gamble, Snooker, 3 Positional, Dump and Decoy Shell shooting. The emphasis being placed on safety and fun. Although we offer all of our members the opportunity to compete in as many disciplines as they wish to, it is important to remember that enjoying shooting in a safe environment is the primary facility we offer. If you wish to spend club days plinking on our range as some 70% of our members do, then you are most welcome to do so. All of our club targets are available for members' use so you can plink or practice to your heart's content.

Away Days

With many other like minded clubs in the region, the club has a long established practice of supporting fellow clubs on their open events, with many members regularly travelling to these "away day" competitions to compete and shoot at different grounds. These events are usually throughout the warmer summer months, but we have been known to wrap up warm and brave the some of the worst weather the winter can bring!

What is in a Logo ?

When the club was formed in 1975 it was as BARPC. The opportunity to shoot outside came along and a separate club was formed meeting at the walled garden as Basingstoke Out Door Shooters. A new logo was required and a member came up with the Initials BODS which was artistically designed into the rabbit shape. When we decided to introduce club polo shirts and fleeces for members as a corporate or club id around 2002-2003, we felt it appropriate to use just one logo but didn't want to loose either so combined the two with the BODS sitting in the centre of the original Basingstoke Air Rifle and Pistol Club wheel".

During 2020, while having some thumb twiddling time, the web bod decided to "tidy up the log". As such we went from a pretty dire "noisy" logo to a nice clean print read one, the work can be seen here

A Look back at the history

Back in 1975, a group of air rifle and pistol enthusiasts met in a chilly Territorial Drill hall at the bottom of Sarum Hill in Basingstoke and started shooting paper targets at 6 yards distance with varying levels of accuracy. Thus the Basingstoke Air Rifle and Pistol Club was formed and has continued to grow and evolve over the years. Since then, the 6 yard targets have been replaced with 10m versions and the old spring and single stroke pneumatic rifles and pistols have largely been replaced with PCP or pre-charged pneumatic guns. The locations have changed and expanded along with the disciplines shot with paper targets supplemented with metal reactive versions now out to distances of up to 55 yards or 50m (although we prefer to use the imperial measurement as it sounds better).

There’s still varying degrees of a shooters accuracy, so some things never change although the ability of a competent shooter to shoot the head off a match or achieve one hole groups at 30 plus yards is certainly helped by the accuracy and technology of a modern airgun and can be achievable by pretty much anyone who is prepared to put in a little range time and effort. Over the past years the club has witnessed many changes in equipment and technology and also the types of target shooting discipline available to members. The “paper punching” 10m shooters are still with us but not everyone is smitten by the clinical precision of the Olympic 10m match target discipline where rifle shooters strap themselves into tight trousers and jackets in an attempt to remain total immobile whilst holding a rifle weighing several kg, holding their breath and hitting a bull the size of a biro nib or free holding a pistol that has a mind of its own whilst mentally shutting down and relaxing the body to avoid even the movement caused by a heartbeat. Such is the goal of achieving a perfect 100 ex 100.

The vast majority of our members still enjoy coming along to the club and “plinking” which is a very satisfying non competitive pastime of just knocking over various targets at differing distances on one of the clubs outdoor range whilst enjoying the camaraderie and banter of other like minded individuals. Those who don’t follow the plinking or indoor path will invariably end up in the woods, sometimes standing, sometime kneeling or laying down in all weathers, trying to locate a 40mm disc halfway up a tree at a distance of 45 yards whilst partially hidden behind a bush or tree stump as part of the more popular event of Field Target or Hunter Field Target events which evolved from a desire to open the boundaries of paper punching and encompassing an outdoor environment in the early 1980’s. Whilst winter competitive shooting may not be for the faint hearted, being outdoors during a sunny spring morning, a balmy summer’s afternoon or a crisp and misty early autumn day is a wonderful feeling. A bit like golf but without the “good walk spoiled”.

Other spin off disciplines have been tried and tested over the years by the club and its members but the one constant has been the clubs founding “father”, Derek Peckover who was the original and first club chairman. During the following years, Derek has remained on the committee in various posts and indeed still holds the position of President today. Indeed Derek is the only member to “stay the course” from day one. Derek was also the inventor of the Nockover target now used worldwide by Field Target clubs and enthusiasts and those looking for more than an old coke tin to shoot at. Who knows what the next years will bring but one thing is for sure, we intend to celebrate the clubs achievements as often as we can, by sharing our hobby and sport with as many like minded folk as possible at one of our numerous shoots each year.

Bob Ward Club Secretary

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