After seeing the North Yorkshire Firearms Licensing team at the Northern Shooting show 2017 I was given my SGC and surrounded by thousands of shiny shotguns at various trade stands, I couldn’t resist buying my first gun. I was like a kid in a candy shop.
All the trade stands were happy to give me advice on what purchase to make for my first gun apart from one, Premier Guns from Ashbourne. Their advice, “dont buy from the show, go to a proper shop at a quieter time and make sure you buy the RIGHT gun and the right fit”. Did I wait? Did I heck!
I knew they were right but I just couldn’t help my self, there was a clay line outside that I wanted to have a go on and a crisp new certificate in my hand… I was buying my first trusty gun TODAY. After walking round the exhibition hall a few times and picking up a couple of guns, I found myself at the Cheshire Gun Room stand looking at a left handed Franchi Alcione One (left handed of course!). As I was shopping on a budget I had read a number of reviews on this gun and it seemed an OK place to start, after all they are imported by GMK that also do Beretta and Benelli so they cant be bad.
I took it home and cleaned it, practiced mounting it in the mirror and took it shooting the very next weekend. To be fair within a few weeks I was doing OK, I had got my score up to 40/50 from a starting point of 16/50! But something was just not right.
Every Saturday afternoon on my way home my face felt like I had been hit by a Hammer until only the other weekend I shot 100 rounds through my gun and my left cheek was swollen. After a bit of google self diagnosis it became clear one main fault is gun fit, although it has to be said that mount and stance also seemed to be possible factors too. Maybe I should have listened to Premier Guns and waited to buy a gun at the right time and place rather than in the massive crowds at the gun fair.
I took my Franchi to Swillington Shooting Supplies where I was helped by Royce Kirkland and they were quick to identify that the gun was not the right fit at all… it felt right though?! I tried out a couple of different guns at the shop and finally picked up a Browning 525 Sporter one. WOW! I mounted the gun and it felt like a completely different bit of kit. I guess it was like thinking a pair of size 13 shoes fit when they are the only pair you have tried and you are actually a size 9…
Needless to say, I shot on Saturday with the Browning in hand and I wasn’t being beaten up in the shoulder or face by my gun and had a really enjoyable day out. What have I learnt? Make sure you buy your first gun when you have time to do it properly, have it fitted and have some advice from experienced professionals around you…