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Practical Shotgun is for those who want a comprehensive course in the essential elements of this diverse system, especially useful for hunters and those employed in pest control. Whether a novice or a shooter who wants to enhance existing skills, this course will challenge and strengthen your marksmanship where it really counts -- in the field. The class will provide a thorough understanding of exterior and terminal ballistics at ranges from 5 to 200m, and students will learn to hit quickly from standing, kneeling, squatting, sitting and prone positions. You will shoot in simulators paralleling conditions in the field, with an emphasis on quick target acquisition at extended and unknown ranges. By the end of your course, if you can see it, you should be able to hit it – on demand and under time pressure.


Practical Shotgun Outline.

(This basic outline should not be considered a complete syllabus.)

Performance Objectives.

Classroom Theory understanding:

  1. Firearms development.

  2. Firearms types/actions.

  3. Firearms nomenclature.

  4. Choosing a firearm and caliber.

  5. Practical Ballistics of the shotgun and cartridges.

  6. Patterning your shotgun.

  7. Firearm tuning and accessories.

  8. You and the Law.

  9. The Seven Rules of Firearm Safety.

  10. Game animal anatomy and humane shot placement.

  11. Gun cleaning and maintenance.

  12. Humane livestock dispatch.

Practical Firearms handling:

  1. Range Safety Rules and Conduct.

  2. The Practical shotgun mindset.

  3. Basic Marksmanship stance.

  4. Practical shotgun technique.

  5. Loading / unloading firearms.

  6. The firing stroke.

  7. Achieving a Zero

  8. The snapshot

  9. Clearing malfunctions.

  10. Supported firing positions.

  11. The use of the sling.

  12. Position shooting 15- 200 metres.

  13. Carry methods.

  14. Pivots and turns.

  15. Shooting with movement.

2.5 Day Course

Course Fee: $950 Incl gst

Ammo reqd:

Minimum 250rds birdshot

25 rounds Buckshot

20 rounds slug

Guidelines for Sparrowhawk Practical Shotgun Students.



Bear in mind that this is a practical course. Most of our work will be done at 50m or less, under reasonable time pressure and using intermediate or field-expedient shooting positions. If you are a hunter or an aspiring hunter, bring the shotgun you intend to carry in the field. semi automatic and pump action shotguns are the most suitable for this course. You are welcome to use a break open shotgun but it won’t give you an advantage and may actually hinder some of our firing drills.


Do not use or bring steel shot ammunition.

Any lead birdshot no larger than 6 shot with non magnum cartridges preferred ( this saves wear and tear on both our reactive targets and your shoulder, over the period of the Course).

If you plan to supply your own ammunition, you’ll need to ensure that it feeds and fires reliably in your shotgun before your arrival at Sparrowhawk. Match grade performance is not essential. We don’t allow steel cored or tracer ammunition on any of our Ranges.

You will also need the means to carry readily-accessible spare rounds, belt loops/ pouches or buttstock carriers will all suffice.





The Sparrowhawk Range Complex at Shenley Station is a registered private facility. The home of the Cave Pistol Club, recognised by the NZ Police and Pistol NZ. The facility, comprising of eight united ranges and simulators to facilitate handgun, practical rifle, sporting shotgun, carbine rifle and combat shotgun and open country precision rifle.



Emphasis being on practical shooting, both paper and steel reactive targets are used.



Applicants are encouraged to provide their own firearms, their own ammunition also. . Firearms should be in a safe working condition.



If you are not suppling own ammunition we can provide an ammunition package is available by prior arrangement.

If we are notified a specific Match ammunition package can be supplied.

Reloaded ammunition policy: Dedicated home loads or  fully developed reloaded ammunition is acceptable. Do not use our courses as an opportunity to test or develop your home loads.



For first time students especially, bring an open mind and a sense of humour- and be prepared for the most enjoyable and challenging days you’ve ever spent with a firearm. 



Hearing protection, safety glasses, hat, seasonal clothing, warm clothing, Boots, Wet weather gear (we don’t stop!), water bottle, knee pads, elbow pads (optional). A pack that you can fit all this in! An ammunition carrier is a useful addition, as is a belt or pouch carrier. Flashlight, small hand held intense (60 lumen minimum) flashlight with a rear button actuation switch is desirable. Quality flashlights are available for purchase by prior arrangement.



Comfortable accommodation (Homestead style) is available by request onsite. Cottage sleeps 12 people, is fully furnished with cooking utensils and cutlery provided. Students will however need to provide their own food and bring sleeping bags or bedding.

Price: $45 pp/night

Albury Inn is located 12km from the ranges and has firearms friendly accomodation.



It is your responsibility to inform us of any of the above to facilitate the continuity of the Course for both the students and the Instructors. Shooting with movement, under stress, requires students to have a reasonable level of fitness.


Our Instructors will endeavour to provide the best firearms and practical training in their field and are invited because; of their knowledge of the doctrine and communication skills along with their standing in associations involved their discipline. We endeavour to keep a student/instructor ratio of 3:1.



It should not be necessary to point out that firearms can cause severe inadvertent damage in careless hands. There are no “accidents” with guns – only negligence. You will be carefully and forcefully instructed in the principles of safe gun handling. Any student who unsafely or negligently discharges his/her firearm on or off the range during the Course will be dismissed from the Course.



A Release, Discharge, Indemnity form will be required to be filled out by all applicants, any visitor, observer or other persons not actively on the Course, on entering the property and prior to the commencement of the Course. A copy of which can be found Here


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