Semi-Driven Shooting Buyers Guide
Semi-Driven Shooting is a fantastic sport and offers the best of both worlds! The shooting season runs from 12th August (‘the Glorious Twelfth’) to 1st February – beginning with grouse in August, followed by partridge in September and then pheasant in October. Generally Semi-driven days are either on the outer fringes of large driven shoots or are the main type of shooting for small local shoots. It is rare to have a semi-driven grouse day but sometimes this occurs in late autumn and can be combined with partridges and even pheasants. The beauty of semi driven shooting is that you can experience all the different types of shot in a day and you are never quite sure when the next shot will come.
If you are looking for some inspiration regarding some suitable shooting clothing – Jackets, trousers, breeks/plus fours, waistcoats, mid-layers, socks, wellington boots, hill boots and accessories, such as Cartridge bags and gun slips – then we have listed what we believe are some of the best options available to the shooting enthusiast.
Given that the season covers both warm and cold months we would recommend that you choose shooting clothing based on a layered approach as this will give you the most flexibility.
If you would like a more tailored service please do not hesitate to contact one of the Ardmoor specialists by email or phone.
Picking the right shooting jacket
It is vital that your shooting jacket keeps you warm and dry but also offers you maximum flexibility to ensure that your swing is not impeded! Modern materials ensure that shooting jackets are light (particularly when wet), tough and breathable. Other factors to consider in a shooting jacket are the pockets which should cater for both hand warming and cartridge storage. Examples of waterproof, breathable, durable, lightweight and flexible materials are Gore-Tex, Windstopper, Seetex, CTX, Thinsulate Platinum, Thermolite and Cordura – for more details on these different types of material please see our materials guide – all of which offer ideal protection and material breathability.
So what do we recommend? We’ve highlighted 5 of our favourites below:
Picking the correct shooting breeks and trousers
For semi-driven shooting we would recommend breeks (plus twos or plus fours) or trousers. Shooting breeks are more traditional and offer great warmth as well as being very practical and trousers are generally more waterproof. It is also worth mentioning that breeks tend to sit proud of the boot top which means rain water does not go down the inside of the boot. Based on a layered approach we would recommend a good pair of over trousers for the days of extreme conditions – additional protection against the cold and wet. We are pleased to recommend the following breeks and trousers:
Picking the correct shooting waistcoat
A shooting waistcoat is ideal for semi driven days as in combination with a shooting jacket it offers you the layered option depending on whether you are walking energetically in search of the bird or standing still waiting for the driven bird!
A waistcoat can also offer extra pockets for storage of cartridges as well as the all important lunch, which can be very useful if you are walking a long way from vehicles.
Waistcoats are generally made out of tweed or a fleece. Tweed is a practical and heard wearing material that blends in with the surroundings and it also provides excellent protection against the unpredictable British weather! A fleece waistcoat has the benefit of being very easy to wash, a great benefit if your ‘immaculate’ gundog decides it is also a very comfortable bed after a long, hard, wet and muddy day in the field! Here are our recommendations:
Picking the correct shooting fleece
The shooting fleece is probably the most flexible clothing ‘layer’. It has excellent heat retention versus weight and bulk and therefore adds warmth and comfort for a day’s shooting without restricting movement. There are various weight ratings (grams per square meter) applied to the material with 100 being lightweight and 300 being heavy weight (see our Fleece material guide for more information). It is also worth considering natural material vs synthetics. Marino wool and Bamboo are natural materials which are very well suited as a shooting layer of clothing – they uses moisture to retain heat in cold weather and helps moisture to evaporate in warm weather. Although natural materials tend not to dry quite as fast as synthetic they are more breathable and also odour resistant!
There are options for both full zip and half zipped fleeces – half zipped offer slightly higher thermal properties and a full zip offers additional flexibility in terms of cooling and access to internal pockets and items such as cartridge belts.
Check out our recommended shooting fleeces below:
Caps, hats and gloves for semi driven shooting
Caps and gloves are key accessories for driven shooting.
A cap or hat not only keeps your head warm and dry but also protects your vision when your line of sight is impacted by the low winter sun. A good pair of gloves should keep your hands warm and dry without restricting the feeling or movement of your fingers – Warm hands are key for enjoyment, performance and safety.
We’ve picked out some shooting caps, hats and gloves for semi driven shooting below:
The importance of the correct footwear should not be underestimated for a days’ semi driven shooting. You will need a boot that helps you clamber across rough terrain as well as one that offers excellent support and stability while swinging through and shooting game. Footwork is key to a great shot and being able to move your feet quickly and with precision is very important. In the colder months well insulated boots are a great benefit particularly if you are standing for a period of time.
Shooting socks are a vital part of shooting clothing and a number of factors need to be taken in to account when selecting the correct pair. If wearing breeks then a long and thick pair of socks protect your lower legs from the cold. If on the moor be conscious of ticks and ensure there is no bear skin between the bottom of the breeks and the top of the socks! Shorter shooting socks can be worn with trousers but again ensure there is plenty of overlap between the bottom of the trousers and the top of the socks. Socks have numerous properties including, thermal protection, insect protection (ideal for grouse shooting), reduced friction to minimize blisters, waterproofing and tailored fit.
We’ve picked out some shooting footwear below:
Protection from moisture and knocks are the key roles of a gun slip. The most common gun slips are made from canvas or leather but modern waterproof materials are also used. In both cases a soft thick lining like wool or foam is paramount to ensure the protection of the gun. You should also consider different types of zips, a gun slip with a full zip ensures it is easier to dry after a wet day’s shooting.
We’ve picked out some gun slips below:
A leather or canvas cartridge bag protects your cartridges from the elements and is a key piece of shooting equipment particularly drive shooting days. A good cartridge bag should last a lifetime and is often something that is passed down from one generation to another. Cartridge bags come in different sizes (capable of carrying 50, 75, 100, 150 12 bore cartridges), we recommend that a cartridge bag with the capacity for 100 x 12 bore cartridges is the most practical. For those of us luck enough to have a loader a cartridge bag with quick loading capability is the ultimate in luxury.
We’ve picked out some cartridge bags below:
Key equipment for rough and semi-driven shooting. Loading a shotgun form a cartridge belt is the easiest and quickest way to reload and it ensures the cartridges are the right way up when being put into the breach of a shotgun. It is a great way to carry 25 cartridges and if you are expecting to fire a few more you can always put a few in your pockets. An additional bonus is that the belt offers a method to carry birds and also attach dog leads. When sizing a cartridge belt it is worth considering that the cartridge belt can be worn either outside or inside a shooting jacket or other outer wear such as a shooting waistcoat or shooting fleece.
We’ve picked out some cartridge belts below:
For more shooting articles and guides, please see shooting guides page.