Holland & Holland is home to the UK’s first shooting cinema (or ‘Schiesskino’, as it is called in Germany where they are widely used); we talk to Steve Rawsthorne to find out more

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Holland and Holland (H&H) has, over the last 170 years, brought several great innovations to the Shooting World – the .375 H&H Magnum, the .300 H&H Magnum, the H&H Patent Wedge used in regulating large double rifles, and now, continuing this tradition, the UK’s first Schiesskino.

A Schiesskino is literally a ‘shooting cinema’, and is simply the best training aid for shooting running and moving game with a rifle and full power ammunition (not lasers), up to and including a .500 Nitro Express.

Friends of mine are kind enough to invite me to hunt boar and deer with them in Germany on a regular basis. They introduced me to the concept of Schiesskino, which I had not come across before, as practise and training for driven boar, and also for the Spanish traditional ‘Monteria’ and the ‘Battue’, mixed driven game including roe, red and fallow deer, Mouflon and boar.

There are currently around 14 of these cinemas in Germany but none in the UK, until now, possibly due to the cost of building one. Here at the Holland and Holland Shooting Grounds in London we have just built a huge £4.5 million state-of-the-art corporate venue and shooting lodge.

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Usually in Britain we shoot rifles at stationary targets, carefully stalking our deer, selecting the right animal and putting great emphasis on bullet placement. On the continent it is much more usual to shoot game ‘on the run’, and with more and more British sportsmen and women travelling abroad to Eastern and Central Europe to take advantage of these brilliant sporting opportunities, it became apparent that there was not much available in the way of really good accessible practice facilities… so we decided to rectify that.

A Schiesskino comprises a 10x3m screen, 25m from the firing point. A film of your chosen quarry is projected onto the screen; this could be a nice gentle boar to get you started, or a whole sounder charging across a woodland clearing. When you shoot, the bullet travels through the screen into a high-tech backstop. The film pauses for a couple of seconds and a laser illuminates the point of impact. The film then runs on, while you reload and shoot again.

Afterwards, we can re-run the film and analyse your performance. Currently we have around 300 films covering all scenarios you are likely to encounter. We will be constantly updating and adding to them, so if there is anything you would particularly like to see, please let us know on your next visit.

Shooting running game with a rifle is completely different to stalking, even if you shoot the odd muntie or fallow as it ambles by. To take full advantage of the opportunities presented on your trip, whether in Europe or further afield, you need to train and practise on running targets. I would suggest that first you have a look at a couple of stationary animals, as the vital zones may be a bit different to those you are used to.

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Depending on your experience, you might start with a single gentle crossing boar, or whatever you intend to pursue, and gradually build up the speed as your confidence and skill level builds.

Then we can start to introduce quartering animals, so that you can adjust your point of aim. You need to think of an animal in 3D, so if it is quartering away from you to the right you would need to hit it further back than if it was simply crossing, so that the bullet travels through the kill zone properly. If it’s quartering towards you, you would need to place your shot further forward so that it would exit through, or just behind, the opposite shoulder.

Once you are competent with all of the above we can introduce groups of animals, herds or sounders. Just like shooting a covey of partridges, you need to be decisive, pick your target and stick with it, and learn to take one with nothing behind it so that you do not wound another animal when the bullet travels through (or misses) the one you are shooting at. If you are shooting boar, most places have a ban on shooting the ‘lead sow’ (dominant female) and some charge a big premium if you do. You will need to be able to identify her, and the films we have will help you in that decision-making process. You also need to know how to spot a big keiller, which is again important as there may be big overages to pay if you shoot one unintentionally. At certain times of the year hunts limit the size of what may be shot (for boar) to 50kg plus the VAT; so, 60kg, and there are penalties for shooting bigger ones. The films can help you learn to choose what is and is not shootable.

Travelling with a rifle and ammunition can be a hassle and expensive, and many shooters opt to borrow a rifle where they are shooting. In Europe, you are most likely to be lent a Blaser or Sauer, so we have partnered with Blaser and have a selection of their latest R8 models available, including true left hand models for you “southpaws”. The new Sauer 404 is a great bit of kit, combining the de-cocking mechanism of a Blaser with a traditional bolt action; I like it so much I have one that I keep in Germany.

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Our other partners are Swarovski, with whom H&H have had a long standing relationship, and Aimpoint, and we have the latest Swarovski sights on some rifles and the range of Aimpoint red dot sights on others, so you can try before you buy or practise with the tools you’ll be using when you travel.

There is no charge for rifle hire for the next three months, and we have a range of Blaser and Sauer rifles and Swarovski and Aimpoint sights available to buy for your trip in our new retail area. All our instructors are keen hunters themselves and will be able to advise you on suitable kit.

We also have Zoli over-and-under 9.3mm double rifles for you to try. I would suggest practising with our Hornady reduced recoil .308 ammunition and then take a few shots at the end of your session with the 9.3s or 30-06s in order to manage recoil-induced fatigue. It’s great fun and you will shoot a lot… a lot! We normally use two rifles per person and cool them in between with a cold air pipe in the barrel, they get so hot!

You are welcome to bring your own rifles and ammunition, up to .500 in calibre. Bring your friends and fellow guns; it’s a lot of fun as well as educational. If you are spending your precious time off, not to mention money, on a trip, it is as well to be properly prepared to get the most out of it and to be fair to your quarry. We owe it to the quarry to shoot to kill it cleanly and humanely.

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Rifle Shooter magazine Editor, Dom Holtam comments: “It is about time that the UK had a facility like this – so hat’s off to Holland and Holland for investing the money and resources into this venture. It is a great setup, too: there a massive array of simulations. These range from fun targets that are ideal for corporate events or those new to shooting through to fast, testing and realistic scenarios that allow even the most experienced driven game experts to hone their skills and evaluate their performance.

“In any sport it is the ability to train specific skill sets and scenarios that allows you to improve. As ethical shooters, we owe it to our quarry to develop our ability in this kind of environment before we ever head abroad to shoot live animals. Moreover, I can guarantee that you will get more enjoyment from any trip thanks to the confidence and understanding you gain from a session with a knowledgeable and experienced instructor.”

credit: Archant

credit: Archant