A woman only knows she’s a good shot when the men stop telling her she is…

 Sir Joseph Nickerson

Shooting grounds are literally crawling with lady guns, especially the ones in the Home Counties, at around 9am after the school run.   Over the past 10 or 15 years the different shooting schools have really pushed their marketing at women and it’s worked.  Shooting instructors report that women learn a lot faster and listen more carefully to instructions than male shots – they really do get very good at it much more quickly.  Some go on to become competitive clay shots and say it’s the perfect antidote to a stressful home life bringing up young children!  The knock on effect is that lady guns are no longer so few and far between on the shooting field these days.    This is great for the sport, and shooting certainly cannot be accused anymore of being a purely male preserve.

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Oliver Preston The Killer Bitch

Gavin Gardiner Ltd’s first auction of 2014 of Fine Modern and Vintage Sporting Guns and Rifles comprises over 200 lots including a rare pair of 12-bore Hammer Ejector shotguns by London-maker James Purdey & Sons, that were built in 1895 for the Hon. Harry Stonor. Estimated to fetch £20,000-30,000, the guns will be part of the auction, which will take place on Wednesday April 16th 2014 at Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London. Read more…

Gavin Gardiner Auction April 2014

Sir Joseph Nickerson, Joe to his friends, was an extraordinary man, and I was therefore delighted to be asked by Robert Jarman, the editor of The Vintage Magazine, to write an ‘Appreciation’ of him in this, the centenary year of his birth, which seems particularly fitting.

As his youngest daughter I sadly only had the privilege of knowing him for 21 years, but he moulded me into the person I am, introducing me to shooting and conservation from a young age, instilling the importance of etiquette on the field – and off it.

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Sir Joseph Nickerson and his daughter Rosie Whitaker in 1987/8

When The Field magazine published a feature on the 75 best game shots of 2012, eight of them (over 10%) were female, a situation which did not exist even a few years ago, and which reflects the increasing numbers of ladies who shoot, and shoot well.  However, women were not always so willingly accepted on the Shooting Field, and Queen Victoria once opined Only Fast Women Shoot’!

Meanwhile Sir Joseph Nickerson once famously, and accurately observed that, ‘A woman only knows she is a good shot when the men stop telling her she is’ – this quote is taken from his daughter, Rosie Nickerson’s book on shooting etiquette entitled, ‘How to be Asked Again’, published in 2009 by Quiller.

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Purdey Ladies Shooting Outfit

Roxtons are the leading providers of the finest fishing and shooting opportunities around the  globe.

‘For the quality of the whole experience, the smooth efficiency with which it is organised and the stunning nature of the sport they provide, Roxtons lead the field’

This quote from the respected shooting journalist, John Humphries, reflects their strong reputation which is based on their passion for field sorts.

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Roxtons Shooting and Fishing


Gavin Gardiner Ltd’s first auction of 2013 of Fine Modern and Vintage Sporting Guns and Rifles saw a historically and internationally significant rare “Russian Purdey”, that was presented to British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan by Russian President Nikita Krushchev on the occasion of MacMillan’s Historic 1959 State Visit to Russia – one of the key points in the Cold War – sell for £21,600 to a collector, who was bidding on the telephone. The auction took place on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London. Remaining in a new unfired condition and with presentation inscription in a gold plaque, the 12-bore gun was made to Purdey specifications by the Tula State Armoury and carried an estimate of £20,000 and £30,000.

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April 2013 Sale 'Russian' Purdey MacMillan and Kruschev Gun

‘We few, we happy few, we band of Brothers’ – One of the well-known lines from the St. Crispin’s Day Speech of Shakespeare’s Henry V.

This photographic Essay is comprised of all the elements that make this the most enjoyable of shoots, namely my fellow guns, our families and friends, children, and dogs, who come and beat, and our ambitious Keeper, and his supportive wife and friends, and the team of pickers-up, and the incomparable countryside in which we are fortunate enough to enjoy our sport.
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Shooting images

This is, of necessity, a very subjective list, and I have not shot on all these shoots, but I have shot on some of them (marked *), and have taken into account the views and opinions of people who know far more about shooting than I ever will, and have been lucky enough to have shot on the shoots which I have not shot on.  So, the following list is a collaborative effort, and does not  claim to be a definitive list, but rather a personal selection.
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