DRPC 1999 was originally formed in 1969 as Derby Rifle Club by 10 or so people who went on an introductory shooting course; because they enjoyed it so much they decided to form their own club.
Louis Douglas, one of the Club’s founder Members and first Club Secretary
The clubs first venue was an old wartime range at the now demolished Normanton Barracks.
The Barracks range is the building with holes in the roof, behind the MGB
Shooting was .22 target rifles; legend has it that it was a cold and draughty place but enjoyable none the less. Word soon spread about the club and it attracted new members, DRC became established by entering NSRA and Derbyshire RA postal leagues.
Meanwhile Derby Council were drawing up plans for a new sports facility about a mile away at Allenton, this became the Moorways Sports Centre and the council in their wisdom included and indoor range suitable for .22 rifle and pistol.
Up to six prone rifle shooters could be accommodated. The four dark areas higher up were for the pistol targets.
1973 saw the club move to this new range, at first there was some concern about the increase in costs but this was soon forgotten when they had the benefits of heating and good lighting and increased its bookings to three a week. With the move and its new facilities a taste for pistol shooting started to develop in fact one member Bob McLester went on to win the British Pistol Championship.
Because of the restriction to .22 at Moorways some members were shooting full-bore pistols at other clubs so it was decided that the club should seek out a new venue to suit, luckily an old RAF 25 yard range was found to be suitable at Burnaston airfield about 5 mile outside of Derby.
A lease was arranged and the members had started to refurbish it when Derby council announced that it was closing the range at Moorways so the club was on the move again in 1980.
The then clubs members put in many months of hard labour to get the new range into a usable state and because of this there was a great feeling of achievement. In time DRPC as it was now known started to produce some very good shooters such as the multi talented Bud Baxter who seemed to excel with any pistol, the club was really starting to gather pace now and the members were entering every competition available and also running their own open shoots.
In the late 80s Toyota announced that the Burnaston site was on their shortlist of possible sites for a new car production plant and guess what? Burnaston was chosen, so in 1990 DRPC were looking for another new home again.
The club had viewed over 40 different sites without finding a suitable location and things were looking bleak until some land near Stenson was put up for auction, two of the fields seemed suitable and the local planning department thought they were possibly OK for a range development. So with the help of Derby City Council and the compensation received for the lease on Burnaston, the land was purchased. At first there was a lot of local opposition but eventually the plans were passed.
Two years, and some 300,000 tonnes of soil and rubble, later the club had the banking you now see, originally it was developed as a pistol range because no one could foresee the pistol ban. But since then it has gone through extensive remodelling to become a rifle range. Luckily the money received also allowed the club to build its excellent club house and kit out the range with most of the equipment to run it. Whilst the range was under construction the clubs membership dropped to around 30 but over the last few years this has increased to the 130 or so we have now, that along with a healthy probationary list seems to bode well for the future.
In 1999 the shooting section of the club was separated from the land owning side and renamed under a new constitution as DRPC 1999.
In the last few years the club has started to re-establish itself on the competition circuit and once again boasts some fine shooters and more than a few promising ones who have picked up medals in a wide variety of events. Since 2006 Club Members have been chosen for GB team shooting in the 1500 International for Gallery Rifles against Germany and Ireland.
Each year the club holds The Derby Open, a weekend of events for gallery rifle shooting, that has grown into the largest outside the National Shooting Centre.
None of us knows what the future may hold especially in the area of shooting but we at least seem to be progressing in the right direction, let us hope that the government will leave us in peace to continue enjoying our sport for many years to come.
It is hoped that some photographs will be added to the Gallery, showing the early beginnings of the Club when we only shot .22 prone rifle, to the opening of Twyford Range. Many of them had deteriorated but with the marvels of Photoshop they are almost reasonable now. Thanks go to Steve Barradell for most of the images, however there is a shortage of photos of our time at Burnaston, so anyone can help please contact Jim
This is how some of us looked in the 70’s, please let us have your photos.