INAUGURAL EDITION - FALL 2003
Welcome to the inaugural copy of the Chris Batha Gazette, a quarterly newsletter for lovers of fine guns and connoisseurs of high quality wing shooting throughout the world. Many of you will have joined me for a shooting school or custom gunfitting; others shared the excitement of high quality and testing shooting throughout Europe, Africa and South America. Many more share with me a passion for the bespoke double gun. Whatever your interest, I would like to continue to offer to supply you with personal service and consultation on all of your shooting requirements.
In this Edition
What Makes A Best Gun?
Dorchester Shooting Preserve Hosts Fall Wing and Clay Shooting Schools
Argentina! The Ultimate Wing Shooting School
Red Leg Partridge Shooting in Spain
High Pheasant Shooting in the Welsh Borders of the UK with Chris Batha
New Video! “Mastering the Double Gun”
One-Day Shooting Schools
The Ford Plantation Weekend
What Makes A Best Gun?
Follow the Building of a Churchill
Timeless craftsmanship and the most advanced manufacturing techniques are used to produce the modern day Churchill. The classic action is built using the very latest computer aided design technology. This, when combined with the skill of the gunmaker, gives a flawless and robust action.
Barrel manufacturing starts with the forging of chopper lump tubes which are cut and bored from the highest grade chrome nickel steel. After carefully jointing the barrels to the main body of the action, the jointer then passes the barrelled action to the actioner who meticulously fits all the bolting and lever work.
After this work is completed, both the action and barrels are proofed at the London Proof House to 1200 bar (2 3/4 magnum). After proofing, the actioner then fits all the internal mechanisms and lockwork before passing the gun on to the stocker who fits the stock and fore-end.
Hand-picked deluxe grade walnut is selected for its outstanding figuring with both warm colour and well-defined grain. When the stock and fore-end have been seemlessly married to the action and barrels the gun is finally regulated and the stock finished for chequering. The gun is then ready for engraving.
The gun is hand-engraved with painstaking attention to detail by a superbly skilled craftman. The famous E.J. Churchill name appears for the first time amidst the beautiful fine scroll engraving. The classic Churchill style of engraving is deliberately lacking in ostentation but transports the gun from the realm of mere mechanical excellence to a work of art with grace and movement in both the shape and details of the engraving.
Customers may prefer to order a range of different engraving styles to suit their own particular preference, whether it be a game scene or a favourite gun dog.
After engraving, the action is colour cased hardened, the gun regulated and the wood finished with repeated applications of oil to enhance the natural grain. In all, it will have taken 1,000 man-hours to complete.
HOSTS WING & CLAY
Beat those winter blues this year and join me for a series of One-Day Wing & Clay Shooting Schools tailored especially for the upland hunter.
A testing sporting clays course plus traditional quail hunting in the breathtaking natural woodlands of the Georgia Low Country combines to offer some of the best shooting this Fall.
Highly skilled guides, world class pointing dogs and fast hard flying bobwhite quail ensure even the best shot will be challenged.
One-Day Sporting Clays Schools
Cost per student is $550.00 with a maximum of 4 students and includes all clays, gun club fees and lunch. Ammunition is not included.
One-Day Wing Shooting
(When in season)
Designed specifically for Wing Shooters, these schools are limited to 4 students only.
9:00 AM The day starts with a half-day of classroom, video and clay shoooting.
12:00 PM A Traditional Southern Lunch
1:00 PM Quail Shooting
6:00 PM Cocktails at The Ford Plantation
Cost per shooter is $750.00 and includes all clays, gun club fees, lunch, wagon, guide, dogs and 8 quail. Additional birds are $10.00 each. Ammunition is not included.
Cost $300 - 4 slots available
ARGENTINA! THE ULTIMATE
WING SHOOTING SCHOOL!
We all know perfect practice makes perfect performance but when your limit is a dozen dove or six duck it can be a very long journey to perfecting your wing shooting technique. Of course, there is practice at clays, but these inanimate targets don't jink, curl and swerve like the real thing.
In a perfect world an ideal solution would be to take instruction on an inexhaustible supply of live quarry. Well, this perfect opportunity exists. During the coming year I have arranged an exclusive package with one of Argentina's premier dove shooting estancias; Tomas Frontera is pleased to host the Chris Batha Wing Shooting Schools at his magnificent home close to Cordoba and minutes from the very finest of volume dove shooting in Argentina.
The schools will be limited to four students to ensure the maximum of one-on-one personal attention.
The all-inclusive price of $2,895.00 includes:
• Assistance with all gun paperwork
• All ground transportation from Cordoba
• Superb accommodations and fantastic food
• Hunting guide service
• Three days high-volume dove shooting where 1000 shots per day is common
• 2,000 complimentary shells (extra shells @$9.50 a box)
• Three days of Personal Instruction from Chris Batha throughout the trip
Extras (Not Included)
• Argentinian hunting license - average $23.00 per day
• Return flight from Miami to Cordoba average price - $650.00
• Tips for bird boys, guide and house keepers average $20.00 each per day
Day 1: Arrive Cordoba midday, transfer to estancia, then on to the dove fields for an afternoon's shooting/ instruction.
Day 2: Morning shooting/instruction, lunch, siesta, afternoon shooting/instruction
Day 3: Morning shooting/instruction, lunch siesta, afternoon shooting/instruction
Day 4: Morning shooting instruction before lunch and departure for Cordoba and flight
During the three days of shooting and instruction there will be several tutorials on the different quarry and the best techniques for each. These will be practiced in the field and video analysis will be used throughout the school to help recognize faults and offer corrections to enhance your shooting ability.
The classic shooting techniques from the major British shooting schools (Stansbury, Churchill) will be emphasized throughout.
A simply fantastic opportunity to get a lifetime of wing shooting instruction and practice in three days.
Redleg Partridge Shooting
E.J. Churchill Sporting, Ltd. is delighted to have teamed up with Alfonso Fabrés to offer clients some of the finest red leg partridge shooting available in Spain, or indeed anywhere in the world.
For a line of up to nine Guns, Alfonso
can provide memorable days of driven partridges with bags of 500 to 700 birds per day.
Alfonso's operation is situated in
Northern Spain's vast province of Castilla Y Leon. As well as producing some amazing driven partridge shooting, the region is also justifiably famous for its picturesque countryside and historic cities dating from pre-Roman times. Alfonso's latest shooting is in the spectacular Sierra de Batuecas.
The base of operations is the Las Haijaderas Hunting Lodge which is approximately 2 hours by road from Madrid. Las Haijaderas is right in the heart of "Los Toros" country. This is the area of Spain in which bulls are bred for bull fighting and, as you drive through the countryside, you will see black bulls in most of the fields.
The traditional Hunting Lodge is set on a bullfighting ranch and the main Lodge boasts a large dining room, kitchen, drawing/sitting rooms, terraces and a pool-side entertainment area and Alfonso's chef ensures that no one has any excuse for going hungry. Guests sleep in the adjoining courtyard building which houses twelve extremely roomy and comfortable bedrooms, each with en-suite facilities.
The shooting area is approximately 45 minutes to an hour's drive from Las Haijaderas. There are, in fact, a number of different Estates and all are able to show high fast birds due to their excellent topography. One of the new Estates could easily drive a bird over 100 yards above the Gun's heads so a realistic 40 yard crosser is a frequent option.
Alfonso can arrange anywhere between one and five consecutive days of shooting although we would recommend a minimum of two days for European clients and three for American clients in order to justify the trip.
After arriving in Madrid, guests have the option of staying in Spain's capital city for a day before transferring to the shooting area or going directly to Las Haijaderas.
The following morning, shooters depart about 9:15 after breakfast, for the half-hour drive to the shooting area. The day typically includes two drives in the morning and two in the afternoon, with tapas available after each drive and a full lunch laid out in the field (either in the open air or in a shooting hut, depending on the weather).
Operations finish by 4:30 pm and, after returning to Las Haijaderas there is time for a bath and a short nap before cocktails at 7:00 pm.
The shooting with Alfonso is done on a "double gun" basis with each shooter using a pair of shotguns. Each Gun has the services of a cargedor who loads and a secretario who records the number of birds hit by the Gun and where they fall, which could be five hundred metres into a vertical valley. As Alfonso controls over 30,000 acres of shooting rights for driving partridge (and a variety of big game which are often seen on the drives), no two drives are alike. Due to the fact that each Gun draws a peg number in the morning tomelot, the rotation system on a pre-established formula, this ensures that he or she shoots next to different guests and in new places on every drive.
When To Go
It is possible to shoot partridges in Spain from September through the end of March, although we would suggest October onwards. Despite the fact that these are the winter months, the warm Spanish climate ensures that on most days an al fresco lunch is possible without having to wrap up with too many layers of clothing!
Spanish partridge shooting is equally popular with non-shooting guests as with the Guns themselves, as there are so many activities to enjoy while the shooting parties are in the hills. Madrid offers some of the finest shopping in the world, as well as a trip to the famous Prado Museum.
There are also some excellent restaurants and bars to enjoy. In addition, there are plenty of wonderful shopping opportunities for pottery, leather, antiques and typical handicrafts. Nearby are famous cities like Avila, Ciudad Rodrigo and La Alberce, a quaint 13th century rural village of wood and stone.
We recommend putting together a line of between 6 and 8 Guns or trying to join a team to make up a total line of no more than 9 Guns.
The price for each bird is $40.00 for the first 500 birds, and after that it drops to $35.00 per bird. The charge per person, per night, to include all accommodation costs, meals etc., is $350.00.
The above figures include: all shooting costs, services of a cargedor and secretario for each shooter, services of beaters and dog handlers, a bilingual shoot host, licences for firearms and hunting licences, assistance clearing shotguns into and out of Madrid Airport, firearms cleaning services each day, shooting lunches in the field or in the shooting hut, refreshments in the field between drives, all ground transfers and on-shoot transport, deluxe accommodation at Las Haijaderas, Salamanca, breakfast and dinners daily, open bar cocktail party nightly and a daily maid service (with laundry services available). The figures do not, however, include any expenses incurred in Madrid (although accommodation etc. can be arranged separately), international air travel, flights from Madrid to Salamanca (as an alternative to mini-bus transfers which are inlcuded in the price), personal expenses, third party liability cover, travel insurance or any sporting and domestic gratuities.
A typical itinerary would be as follows:
Day 1- Arrive - Madrid International Airport Transfer to Las Haijaderas Hunting Lodge
Day 2 - Shoot - 500 partridges - 8 Guns Lunch in the field. Dinner and Overnight at Las Haijaderas.
Day 3 - Shoot - 500 partridges - 8 Guns Lunch in the field. Dinner and Overnight at Las Haijaderas
Day 4 - Breakfast at Las Haijaderas Transfer to Madrid International Airport for return journey.
In Addition... It would be easy to stay in Madrid, the most cosmopolitan of cities at either end of your stay. It would even be possible to arrange to shoot pigeon at the exclusive Somontes Club in Madrid!
To make Reservations Call:
High Pheasant Shooting in the Welsh Borders with Chris Batha
We are delighted to be able to offer some of the finest driven pheasant and partridge shooting in the world for teams of 8 shooters in the beautiful countryside of the Welsh Borders.
The trip will involve shooting four days of 300 birds per day to 8 Guns on four different Estates. These Estates are all specially selected for their prowess in producing spectacular birds and their great hospitality.
The shooting party will be based at The Bettws Hall Hunting Lodge, expertly run by Gwyn and Anne Evans.
Each day the party will travel by Range Rover to a different Estate where they will enjoy fantastic shooting before returning to Bettws Hall for tea in front of the roaring log fire.
We incorporate a break after the second day's shooting so that the party has the opportunity to visit places of interest in the vicinity, including the famous Powys Castle, the historic border town of Montgomery and Shrewsbury Cathedral.
The party then returns to Bettws Hall and the final two days of shooting.
The four estates are Bettws, Delbury, Brigands and Kempron. The first day is planned at Bettws to allow for a later start on the first day of shooting after traveling.
We can then choose which of the other three shoots we go on to next. All three are renowned high bird shoots with Delbury and Kempton in the rolling hills of Shropshire, just over the border into England.
Brigands is located further west in the heart of the Welsh mountains. The steep valleys and tumbling streams create some beautiful landscapes and it is easy to imagine how this shoot got its reputation as a remote hideaway for the lawless in centuries past.
Day 1 - Travel from London to Betrws Hall either by rail or car arriving late afternoon for tea.
Dinner at Berrws Hall.
Day 2- Driven pheasant shooting on the
Bettws Estate - 300 Birds to 8 Guns.
Lunch at Bettws Hall. Dinner at Bettws Hall.
Day 3 -Driven pheasant shooting at Delbury Estate - 300 birds to 8 Guns. Lunch at Delbury.
Dinner at Bettws Hall.
Day 4 -Bye-day visit to local areas of historic interest. Dinner at Bettws Hall.
Day 5 - Driven pheasant shooting on the Brigands Estate - 300 birds to 8 Guns. Lunch at Brigands.
Dinner at Bettws Hall.
Day 6 - Driven pheasant and partridge shooting on the Kempton Estate - 300 birds to 8 Guns.
Lunch at Kempron. Dinner at Bettws Hall.
Day 7 - Breakfast at Betrws Hall.
Transfer by rail or car to London.
$11,840.00 per shooter
$ 1,300.00 per non-shooter
• All shoot day cost
• Six nights full board accommodation at Bettws Hall, including wine, beer and spirits
• Bad weather cancellation cover
• Provision of all shotgun cartridges
• Transport from London to Bettws Hall and return
• Transport on all shoot days
Extras (Not Included)
• Accommodation and expenses in London
• Travel and third party liability insurance
• Gratuities for domestic and sporting staff
• Telephone and fax
• Personal expenses
December - Monday 8th to Sunday 14th
November - Monday 8th to Sunday 14th
December - Monday 6th to Sunday 12th
To make Reservations Call:
A Unique Approach to the Instructional Video with Chris Batha and Bruce Scott
Learn to follow your instincts with Chris Batha, Chief Instructor and Gunfitter for Churchill Gunmakers and Bruce Scott of the Shotgun Journal. Their combination of classic wingshooting techniques and proven clay - busting tips is packed with technical and practical information. Churchill and Stansbury styles plus the three major techniques are demonstrated with the "EYE CAM" on the layouts, high towers and grouse butts of the Churchill Shooting Grounds, London, England.
If you are serious about improving your individual style and skill level, don't miss "Mastering the Double Gun". For the Wing Shooter who shoots clays, for the Clay Shooter who hunts.
Every missed shot, no matter your experience, is caused by a breakdown in the fundamentals. Mastering these fundamentals is the secret to straight shooting. Once learned, they can be built upon by the individual to develop his or her own personal style. This new video is not about how Chris and Bruce shoot, or anyone else, but a distillation of the lessons learned from over thirty years of instruction in wing and clay shooting worldwide and a lifelong passion for fine guns. Learn to follow your "instincts" with this unique approach to shooting excellence.
• The Instinctive Shot: The components and mechanics...
• Technique Analysis: Strengths and weak nesses, target to target application of pull away, pass through and constant lead
• Target Tactics for Wing and Clay: Establishing lead by speed, angle, and distance
• Classic Styles: Explanation, comparison and development of Churchill, Stansbury and Lancaster
• The New Eye Cam Technology: Shows lead pictures and techniques for wing and clay targets
• The Fundamentals: Footwork, stance, posture, head position and gunmount
• Gun Fit: Individual requirements, length, drop, cast and impact testing.
• Choosing Your Double Gun: Side by Side or Over and Under, advantages of double or single triggers, barrel length and gauge, differing stocks and forends
• Buying a Pre-owned Gun: Essential checks for lock, stock and barrels
• Correct Gun Handling: Safety, equipment and etiquette
• The Side by Side: The barrel plane concept, barrel flex, angled recoil, grip and much more
• Loading: Individual, single gun and the "The Two Gun Tango"
To order your copy please send a check for $64.95 (specifying VHS or DVD) to Chris Batha Shooting Schools, 43 Pinckney Colony Road, Okatie SC 29909-4100. Shipping is included.
One Day Shooting schools
It is indeed a busy world we live in; with this in mind, for 2004 I am introducing a One Day School format, maximum four students, at $550.00 per person per day.
This school will cover safety and etiquette,fundamentals, gunmount, techniques and target tactics for both the wing and clay shooter. Informative classroom sessions, together with video analysis, are used throughout the day to support the on-course instruction.
Home of the Chris Batha Shooting School
At my home base in Savannah, GA, I can also offer 90-minute, one-on-one personal lessons for $225.00 or, if shared with two students, $325.00.
These sessions can be taken individually or as a series to sharpen up and improve your skills for European Driven Bird Shooting, US Upland Bird Shooting or to maximize your clay-busting performance.
In Savannah I can also offer custom gunfitting with try gun and pattern plate for $300.00, in addition, I can make most alterations your gun may require.
Note: These slots are in high demand and I recommend an early booking for an appointment.
To make Reservations Call:
1-800-254-2406 or E-mail:
Chris Batha represents some of the best European and American Shotgun manufacturers: E.J. Churchill, A&S, Kemen, Grulla, AYA, Arrietta, B. Rizzini, Galazan, A.H. Fox, Ithaca and Model 21's.
He also offers these preowned guns:
James Purdey - a l2g, SLE Pigeon self opener, classic rose and bouquet scroll engraved, side clips and concealed third bite, 30" barrels pigeon rib and choked full and full, totally refurbished including restocking and rehardening by the makers. It is in as-new condition with beautiful figuring. 15 LOP. $40,000.00
James Purdey - a l2g. 1958 over and under, one of the first on the Woodward action, two barrel set with 26 inch and 28 inch barrels, retaining 75 percent original colour and crisp rose and bouquet scroll engraving, well-figured stock and forend - a rare and original gun. $60,000.00.
Bertuzzi - 2Og over and under sidelock, one of the worlds best made guns, 95 percent single trigger, 28 inch barrels, superb game scene engraving brush finished with goldinlays of grouse, woodcock and pheasant, 14 7/8" LOP of superb wood, finished with heel and toe plates in its makers case. $28,500.00.
THE FORD PLANTATION WEEKEND:
WING SHOOTING, GOLF, FISHING, RIDING & MORE...
The Historic Ford Plantation, just South of Savannah, GA, is planning a very special weekend, February 20th to 22nd, 2004. Only 12 guests will stay in The Ford Plantation's comfortable and attractive Guest facilities, and savor a variety of dining experiences at The Main House and The Club, and enjoy a wonderful array of activities:
• One-Day Wing Shooting School with Chris Batha at The Dorchesteer Shooting Preserve:
Four students start with Sporting Clays, a Southern-Style Lunch, and in the afternoon guests, guides and dogs hunt fast-flying Bob white Quail.
• Golf on Pete Dye's 7000-yard Southern Masterpiece, a front-nine designed around 250 acres of freshwater lakes; the back-nine, a Scottish-style links.
• Equestrian activities, fresh-water and salt water fishing, kayaking, boating, hiking or biking, scheduled to your personal preference.
• Tours of nearby Historic Savannah, GA can be arranged. This Ford Plantation Weekend is avail able for $1500.00 for the Shooting Participant;
Non-Shooters are welcome and may enjoy all the other amenities and activities for $200.00 per day.
All accommodations, meals, plantation activities and on-site transportation are included. A 50 percent deposit is required.