HBSA Midlands Group – Inaugural Meeting Report

posted 29 April 2023, 11:28 am


Inaugural Meeting Report

The inaugural meeting of the newly formed HBSA Midland Regional Group took place on Thursday 27th April 2023.

This initial meeting was able to take place due to the support of the Committee and members of The Stourport on Severn Pistol and Rifle Club too whom we are very grateful.

A total of 13 invited guests and members attended.

The proceedings commenced in good time with introductions from all present.

Mr Tony Cattermole HBSA Treasurer gave a short talk detailing the history behind the association, an overview of what the HBSA has to offer by way of research, organised shoots etc. and the kind of support offered either directly by the Association Council or via the online Forum. He highlighted how the HBSA Council continues to support its members and the aims of the association by being a crucial participant at all the major events that take place in the UK and Internationally.

Mr Paul Smith thanked Tony for his input and proceeded to ask those present what they wanted to achieve from a Midlands Based Regional Group and if they thought it was worth pursuing.

The general consensus being that the Group should continue and that a plan be formulated for its future.

The following items were raised for discussion:

  1. Fred Boulton suggested that the Midlands based shooting activities could be increased to include Schutzen Rifle and some of the larger calibre rifles which currently do not have a suitable match to be shot in.
    (What I would loosely describe as Park Rifles, 300 Sherwood being just one example.)
    This will be investigated and possibly included in the Long-Range Match scheduled for June 24th.
  2. Possible visits to Museums, Collections and a tour of the Birmingham Proof House were suggested, investigations are ongoing.
  3. Topics for lectures/talks, 3 individuals have offered to give presentations and these will be scheduled for future meetings.
  4. It rapidly became apparent that the individuals present had a wealth of knowledge and a simple questionnaire should be created to define what each person has to offer, this will be circulated ASAP.

The question of support for the 60th Anniversary of the Stourport club was discussed, it is hoped that a demonstration of Rook & Rabbit shooting can be organised, further discussions are required.

A short refreshment break took place with cake plus some wonderful homemade biscuits provided by Mrs Boulton.

Following the break, a “Show and Tell” session commenced. The attending members had been asked to bring their favourite or most unusual Rook & Rabbit Rifle.

In total we had 7 rifles presented along with a short description or story about each one. All 7 were different in style, manufacturer, calibre, age and condition.

  1. A .300 Rook Rifle manufactured by Samuel Allport of Birmingham with W. Richards of Liverpool being the retailer, a small framed rifle with an enclosed hammer. The break action being operated via a lever situated below the trigger guard.
  2. A 380L Rook Rifle manufactured in the Tranter style by Thomas Perks, the present custodian had this example functionally restored following its purchase to ensure safety and functionality, now saved for posterity and used on a regular basis.
  3. A .300 Rook Rifle manufactured by P. Webley and retailed by The Army & Navy Stores, a break action top lever in superb condition, the custodian had been able to research the origins of this particular rifle as the University of Glasgow hold all the sales records for the A&N.
  4. A .32-40 Park Rifle (? Target) manufactured by Webley of Birmingham, a falling block in incredible condition with beautiful case hardening around the action. Everyone was green with envy. Its only issue was that the Rear Aperture Tang Sight is missing so if you know of the existence of one please let us know.
  5. A .380L Rook Rifle of unknown origin, most probably produced at the change over period from Needle Fire to Central Fire as it had design elements originating from the earlier ignition system. This take down example had been restored by its current custodian.
  6. A .22 Long Sporting Rifle manufactured by Remington in the US, a cased takedown rolling block rifle, quite a small frame size (possibly for junior’s). Its current custodian was very lucky to acquire this rifle as it had languished in a dealer’s store room for many years.
  7. A .297-250 Rook Rifle manufactured by Stevens in the US on the Favourite Action, it had been imported into the UK by a London based retailer who was trying to complete with the UK manufactures. Even though the custodian had been advised not to purchase a .297-250 due to reloading difficulties, he enjoys using his acquisition.

All in all, it was a very impressive display of rifles, each one different with its own story, the majority of the rifles are as good now as the day they were manufactured.

Perhaps the main topic of interest being who was the manufacturer, the name engraved on the gun generally indicates the retailer. Famous London makers sold exactly the same gun as the good old Co-Op (Army & Navy). Current day values are elevated by those London names but the quality of the item is exactly the same as a provincial retailer.

The meeting closed at 9.00 pm with all participants having had I believe a most enjoyable evening.

A big “THANK YOU” to all who took part and supported me in this venture. Once I have confirmed dates etc. I will issue a list of forthcoming meetings and events.

Please check the HBSA website for additional information, in particular the three remaining Rook & Rabbit shoots to be held at Stourport on Severn.

  • Long Range R&R June 24th
  • Autumn R&R October 7th
  • Christmas Charity R&R December 2nd


Paul Smith 
HBSA Midlands Representative
E-Mail: midlands.group@hbsa-uk.org