Coming of Age for Pellpax Star

James taking aim at a shooting range.

Key of the Door

It’s hard to believe that, until October this year (2018), James Farquharson – international target-shooting champion, qualified first-aider, and experienced shooting and canoeing instructor – was a minor.

When seventeen-year-old James began sponsorship with Pellpax, we were all wowed by his talent, determination, and maturity. We were taken aback by this lad with an intellect beyond his years. But in October, James (legally) became a man.

So, what’s been happening this autumn? I caught up with James for the latest news. As you would expect, he’s been busy!

National Scout Rifle Championships

In October, James competed in the National Scout Rifle Championships. The competition, which was sponsored by the National Smallbore Rifle Association (NSRA), was held at the National Shooting Centre at Bisley – the UK’s premier shooting venue, and international home of target shooting. James came away with five medals: three Bronzes, a Silver, and a Gold.

Surrey Open Airgun Meeting

The Surrey Open Airgun Meeting takes place each November at the Lord Roberts Centre, Bisley. The Lord Roberts Centre was originally built to host the small-bore shooting events at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It is now the NSRA headquarters and home to the Association’s 10m airgun and 50m rifle ranges.

The competition was played over two days, and James took first place in the Mixed Sporter event on both days, clocking up a score of 353 on the Saturday and 359 on the Sunday. In the ISSF Junior Men’s Air Rifle, James scored a total of 578.6, although, on this occasion, he didn’t achieve a medal placement. On the Sunday, James was roped into helping out on the range, due to a shortage of range staff.

James takes aim in the prone position, sporting his Pellpax gear.

November: Welsh Open Airgun

The Welsh Open, sponsored by the England Smallbore Shooting Union (ESSU), was held in November at Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff.

James told me, “This was my first full ISSF Air Rifle competition, and I was pleased to exceed my goal of 570 on two of my three shoots. It was a really nice competition, and I enjoyed my trip up to Wales.”

Greater London South West Scout Shooting Competition

James’ dad, Huw, has been involved in Scouting since he became a Cub Scout in 1976. Although he never put any pressure on his son to follow in his footsteps, it was a route that James chose to take.

“I guess I have Dad to thank for everything I’ve done, seeing as it’s all been through Scouts!”

Huw Farquharson is the current Secretary of the Royal Kingston Scout Air Rifle Club (RKSARC), and James is webmaster and armourer. For the last four or five years, father and son have been organising Scouts’ annual shooting competitions: the Royal Kingston Scout Open Airgun Competition in March, and the annual Greater London South West Scout Shooting Competition in November. James was pleased with this November’s event.

“Ninety-one shooters attended. Between them, they fired 2840 shots at 568 targets, gaining a cumulative score of 15,092 points!”

An Academic Study

James, who is in the middle of A level studies, has recently completed an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). The EPQ, a relatively new qualification that takes the form of a thesis, was devised in 2006 and is highly valued by universities for its rigorous academic content. James’ subject was the psychological and physiological effects of target shooting in the UK.

James’ investigation into the psychological and physiological effects of shooting was based on a study of more than 100 people, each of whom identified themselves as either a ‘shooter’ or a ‘non-shooter’. His analysis took into account the fact that some of the common characteristics and skills of shooters might be factors in their attraction to the sport, rather than a direct result of target shooting. James also highlighted the possibility that shooters, in an effort to contradict unfavourable public opinion, might be (either consciously or unconsciously) inclined to weight their answers towards a favourable conclusion.

However, one particular result stands out clearly: in general, shooters possess a significantly higher level of dexterity than non-shooters. James explains that this could be a predisposition of those who are drawn to the sport; but on the other hand, it could well be the result of regular target-shooting practice. As the dexterity tests were based purely on aptitude rather than self-analysis, James considers this conclusion to be reliably accurate.

“There’s a lot more research to be done on this subject,” James said. “For example, I’d like to make a more in-depth study of aggression levels. The results of this survey showed shooters to be less aggressive than non-shooters. This doesn’t surprise me at all, but I’m really interested in discovering the reasons for this.”

James has a busy year ahead of him. Keep an eye on the Pellpax blog for more news.

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