Robert Oxford Reload Swiss Ambassador for Target Rifle shooting
I'm a software engineer based at my home office close to Bisley ranges. This affords me the luxury of spotting interesting conditions from my desk (like storm 'Eleanor') then popping over to Stickledown range to shoot in them.
Shooting CV - Started shooting at school in 1974. Athelings cadet team 1976. Cambridge University Rifle Association 1978-83, captain 1980 and ’82. Won Armourers for first time 1980, when also shot in Elcho first time. First GB tour 1983 – to Canada. Toured with GB TR team 10 times, MR team 4 times, England team twice, NRA team twice. Winner of Hopton 5 times, English Eight Gold Jewel 5 times, Queens in 2009, South African State Presidents ’09 and 2017. 25 Queens final badges, 23 Grand Agg crosses. Captain of GB TR team to South Africa 2017, when team won clean sweep of team matches including Australia Match. Member of 4 Palma teams. Current Captain of English Eight and member of England Elcho team 30 times.
Ammo CV - Started hand loading 1986 and been loading my own ammo for MR and to lesser extent TR since then. Extensive experimentation with different components, especially powders and bullets. Been using Elcho 17 since first available in UK, and continue to use it as very much preferred choice. Also much experience with using faster Swiss Reload powders for TR and all ammo used on GB team to South Africa in 2017 loaded with Reload Swiss powder.
Barrel CV - Have used many different makes of barrel since starting shooting – Schultz & Larsen, Maddco, Enfield, Mattco, Border, Shilen, Walther, Bartlein, and Krieger. Currently using Kriegers on all my rifles.
I like RS propellants for their consistency, energy to pressure characteristics, ease of metering and ambient temperature tolerance. I use various other makes of component but particularly like Lapua bullets (220gr and 155gr Scenars) and cases. I often use Berger bullets competitively for their superior wind ‘bucking’ properties, but will still use Sierra bullets for their consistency and ability to achieve small vertical group dispersions. My experience with barrels is wide, as shown in the list of those I’ve used. Nearly all of the makes have produced good results from at least 1 barrel but Kriegers have given the best consistent reliability from barrel to barrel.
Goals for 2018.
a To have a successful ‘recce’ trip to Trentham, New Zealand, at the end of January in preparation for the Palma Trophy in 2019, when I shall be main coach for the GB team.
b To develop a more competitive load for MR.
c To support fledgling MR shooters.
How did you get into shooting, and (discipline) in particular?
My father introduced me to.22 prone at Chobham & District RC aged 11, then I started full-bore at school where the bug really took hold.
So how did it feel being asked to become a Reload Swiss Ambassador?
To be recognised as one of the highest achieving Reload Swiss users was an exciting surprise. I was one of the earliest adopters of RS powders and promoted Reload Swiss to my fellow shooters from day one, so I'm delighted to be associated with the brand.
What’s your main rifle/s build?
Grünig & Elmiger ST200 in XRS stocks.
Krieger barrels from 1-11.5" to 1-13", 30" to 32".
Trakker rear and Riles front sights with Gehmann & Centra accessories.
What’s your main reloading solution and thought process for making highly accurate ammunition?
Identify the important factors & engineer an efficient & repeatable process that delivers those characteristics. Don’t fuss over minutiae that offer no verifiable benefit. Enjoy the time I spend in my Loadarium.
What’s in your range bag?
Basic but comprehensive tools, scorecards, weather-writer, shooting glove, waterproofs & chamois leather, sun block, cold weather gloves. I try to travel light while still being able to deal with any eventuality.
Who has influenced your shooting?
Far too many to mention. Team-mates, club-mates, training partners, managers, family members, opponents and members of the global shooting family.
What’s it like being a competitive shooter?
It's demanding, but rewarding. Like any sport, competing at a high level requires a great deal of training and sacrifice.
What have been your most challenging shooting matches?
I guess it was the 2017 CSF Championships in Belmont, Australia. I'd had a great season with a lot of success in open meetings, particularly in the 6 weeks prior to the event. At the CSF I was frustrated by my performance and final position. On a previous occasion a disappointment had really set me back; not this time - we landed back from Australia Wednesday morning, I was on Stickledown range that afternoon!
Which shooting range really stands out for you?
Tough question! Belmont's midday thermal flickyness and airflow-modifying terrain, the rugged natural beauty and high wind values of Les Landes, Jersey & Fort Le Marchant, Guernsey; the extreme heat of Dhekelia, Cyprus; each range has its own personality. Seddon range in New Zealand is highest on my ToDo list, but the stand-out one for me is the one where TR dreams are made and shattered, the range where I spend most of my time: Stickledown, Bisley.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given or would pass on?
At the start of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, from the Shooting Team psychologist:
"The work has been done in training; now go and relax, enjoy, and let the performance flow".
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