I am Andrew Walne. I was born, lived and have worked all my life in Framlingham, Suffolk.
Guns of some sort were always around me as a child so I suppose it was inevitable that they became a big part of my life. When I was four or five my Grandad had an umbrella stand that held a couple of air rifles, one of them a pump action repeater as old as the hills but it could knock down Grandma’s bean tins if I was pointing in the right direction. I grew up with airguns of all sorts and moved on to a No.3 garden gun, various shotguns and .22 target rifles.
Leaving the agricultural trade and its long hours behind me more than 30 years ago I was looking for a hobby. I found clay pigeon shooting and was taught to shoot them by 14 times FITASC Sporting World, European and British Champion John Bidwell using his Move, Mount, Shoot method. I was captivated by the sport and by the way most people had the ability to hit a moving target with a bit of help.
Sitting in a wet, doggy smelling car one afternoon at Dunwich, a friend convinced me that I could pass on my knowledge to others, why not set up on my own business to introduce more people to clay shooting? In 2010 Howtobreakclays.com was born.
I bought enough equipment to set up my own shoots and with the backing of local firearms officers worked out the bare bones of my business. That business has grown to include trap sales, spares and repairs but the core is still the same. I will bring all the gear you need to be able to shoot clay pigeons in your own time, at your own venue using real shotguns.
After a short while I realised that most of my customers had heard about clay shooting but didn’t know how or where to do it or didn’t want to walk into a strange place with people all dressed in shooting gear and carrying guns. My parties are set up as just that, parties. A group of people who have the opportunity to have a go at clays in a relaxed, friendly and above all safe environment. I don’t want my guests to be under any pressure to shoot, they can watch and still learn what it’s all about. I usually find everyone will try, even if it’s only a couple of shots to see what it feels like.
Clay shooting is my passion and I want to share it with anyone who hasn’t ever tried it. The biggest reward I can have from any of my shooting parties is to see the look on someone’s face when they have just hit their first target. I want to show people what it feels like. During their first shots the adrenaline pumps and there’s a buzz around them as friends and colleagues look on while they wait their turn to see what it’s like to use a shotgun.
Amongst a group that shoots with me there will probably be one or two, sometimes more who become hooked on clays. Those people will be able to go beyond the easy targets, the traps and equipment I use can present them with more challenging or competitive clays to give them an idea of what they could see at a gun club.
Shotguns are tools to enjoy my sport, the same as a golf club or cricket bat are to others. There is nothing sinister about guns or the hundreds of thousands of us who enjoy the shooting sports or use them for everyday jobs. There is a huge band of clay shooters travelling the country to take part in competition, right up to and including the pinnacle of our sport, the Olympics. What I do is show my guests the basics to allow them to open one of the doors into the wonderful world of shotgun shooting.