Sunday, 16 September 2007

Midland Game Fair highlights

Well, I just got back from the Midland. What a great fair! This year it seemed busier than ever, and somehow it had a particularly warm, friendly atmosphere (or was that the Jack Daniels?!). The team on the Sporting Shooter stand worked hard throughout, and we met hundreds of readers with positive things to say about the magazine, and only the odd one with a gripe (mostly about badges gone missing in the post - and yes we will sort those out as soon as the new stock arrive).

General impressions of the fair seemed very positive. Most traders agreed that it had been particularly busy on the Saturday (one even complained it was too busy!). What with a successful Midland, and the offer of a 60% refund on the CLA game fair, most traders seemed to be in buoyant mood. Visitors were generally happy too. In fact the only grumble I heard was from a group who had arrived at the West Gate at 6.30 and had to wait outside (with conflicting info from the security guys on the other side) until the gates opened at 8.

It will take me a few days to sort through the big pile of business cards in my pocket, get all the pictures off the camera and go through my notebooks. For now, though, here (below) are a few memories that sum up this year's Midland for me.

Apologies to anyone I inadvertently missed, or promised to visit and never quite made it - despite the best intentions, there's just never enough time. I lost count of the times I set off to visit a particular stand or find a particular person, then got sidetracked and hours later remembered what I'd meant to do in the first place!

Mike Yardley tries out the amazing new ST-2 Shooting Simulator, on the Acorn Traps stand. I was astounded by the potential of this system - Mike will be writing about it in a future issue.

John Swift of BASC with Graham Downing's excellent book on the association's history, published to mark its centenary next year.

Gary the ferret, a regular visitor to the fair, takes his owner Steven Holmes (9) for a walk. They had travelled from Cannock.

Colin Jones from the Midland Gun Co with one of the new Demon semi-autos they are selling at £399 (and even cheaper on a special game fair offer) - remarkable value, and selling well at the fair.

David Hitchman with one of his Berger Picards. Apparently they are an old celtic herding/guarding/droving breed, and there are only 23 in the country - most of which appeared to be going round the show with David, Shirley and their family!

And finally, for now anyway, Andy Norris from Browning International showed me this new Browning T-Bolt .22LR. It's an amazingly fast straight-pull bolt-action, with a double-helix 10-round magazine. It comes in regular or carbine barrel lengths, and is threaded for a moderator. It's in the shops now at around £500; there's a .17HMR version due out next year.

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