History of the Shropshire Rifle & Pistol Association
Please note we are NOT a Rifle Club or Air Gun League Refer to the Clubs/Leagues section for more details. The Association was formed on the 16th March 1907, when representatives of the various miniature rifle clubs in Shropshire got together with the view of forming a Miniature Rifle Association. After discussion it was agreed that it be called the “Shropshire Miniature Rifle Association” (SMRA)
Our first chairman was Col Robert Colletum Burt CB, and the Secretary was Mr A E Atcherley. The SMRA affiliated to the National Rifle Association in 1907. A Cup was obtained from the offices of the local paper Shrewsbury Chronicle. First winners of the "Shrewsbury Chronicle Cup" was the Much Wenlock Rifle Club in 1908. The Association continued up to the start of World War One and due to the numbers of people being called up it ceased to exist until 1931 when it was reformed so as to shoot for the Shrewsbury Chronicle Cup again.
In September 1934 they affiliated to the National Small-Bore Rifle Association, to reflect the fact of the type of shooting that was being done by its members. Mr W J Creak of Wem was elected Chairman and Mr H W Dipple as Secretary. The Association continued and in June 1937 the Shropshire Small-Bore Rifle League was formed with the following clubs. Shrewsbury Rifle Club, Bridgnorth, Wellington, Moreton Say, Much Wenlock, Wrekin College, Market Drayton Grammar School.
On the 8th July 1939 saw the last minuted meeting of the Association due to the outbreak of World War Two. However in November 1945 it was reformed but this time under the name of “Shropshire Small-Bore Rifle Assoc. Mr E Wilson was elected Chairman, and again Mr HW Dipple was Secretary.
Over the last 30 years clubs had shot primarily for the Shrewbury Chronicle Cup, but a major step forward was in 1949 when the formation of a Winter League and any club shooting from 15 yards upwards were welcome to take part. The Wrekin RC opened a 100yard outdoor range which was available for the County to use.
It was noted that the AGM held in 1950 was poorly attended with only 3 clubs present. The problem of so few committee members meant that the Chairman also acted as Treasurer. Over the next few years as did a lot of other establishments, they were being run by the same people. E Wilson, Chairman, D Cooper, Secretary and RHP Smith Treasurer.
In 1956 it appeared that the association had a full complement of committee members. President Major General Viscount Bridgeman, Chairman Mr J Wilson, son of E Wilson, GS Wright Secretary, RHP Smith Treasurer. It was a milestone in the Associations history as in 1958 they were able to open an outdoor range of there own at Wenlock Edge, 20 firing points at 50/100yards and covered albeit with corrugated tin sheets on scaffold poles as a framework. No sides or back.
In 1962 the name changed again to the Shropshire Rifle Association as there were a number of full-bore shooters in the County and we needed to take this into account. This must have been the start of a revival as the County entered numerous National Competitions. With one in particular the National Inter County Winter Rifle League, consisting 20 County shooters. Shropshire also entered the Queen Alexander Cup Competition for the first time, team of 10 shot at 25yards. Both deliberate target and Time Limit. Over the following years the County organised the annual Shropshire County Championship shot at the Wenlock Range.
1969 saw the County loose the use of the Wenlock Range due to the Quarry owners wishing to expand the site. This caused a headache for the County as they were unable to find a replacement. However in 1970 Wrekin Rifle Club offered there outdoor facility at Dark Lane, Broseley, which the County took up. This was short lived as they also lost this range the following year.
In 1971 COD Donnington offered the use of there army outdoor range and Shropshire shot here for the next 10 years. The County also entered teams in the BSA Cup, Western Counties Bowl, Minor Counties Cup and also the Women’s County Cup in 1975 for the first time. These competitions were entered when the County could field suitable numbers, but this was not just a Shropshire problem as other Counties suffered this situation as well.
1982 to 1985 saw very little activity apart from the Club winter league, there was no Short/Long Range Championships, when a new committee was appointed and a revival of shooting interest within the County meant that Shropshire came back into serious competition shooting again.
In 1985 with this new enthusiasm the County changed its name to the Shropshire Rifle & Pistol Association which it still has today. This was done so that all shooting disciplines were supported by the County.The Secretary was John Wright who is still in this position to date (30yrs)
In 1988 the Airgun Leagues of Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Wrekin, Clun Valley, Wenlock became affiliated members of the Association so as to enable them to take up the NSRA Insurance. These leagues shoot on a the Bell Target system in pubs and clubs throughout Shropshire and surrounding Counties. These leagues have become an integral part of the County Association.
The Associations format has not really changed over the years since 1907 but can be typically described as grass root shooting County. The County has tried to promote all shooting interests over this period and yes we have had some successes, and that we will strive to continue this in the future.