Based in Norfolk, but extending to the whole East Anglian region and beyond, Grove has over 350 members and covers the majority of shooting disciplines – everything from black powder pistols up to HME rifles at ¾ mile.
The Grove was founded as a commercial enterprise by Norfolk farmer Tony Hardesty who had constructed an indoor range on his farm in Forncett St Peter. The farm was called ‘The Grove’ and so that naturally became the Club’s name too.
For most of its early life, Grove was largely a pistol club, but with some some smallbore rifle shooters and trips to Bisley to shoot target rifles. A team from The Grove won the last ever Norfolk Pistol Championships (1998) and the individual title was won by a Grove member; a fitting end to The Grove’s time as a pistol club.
After the handgun ban, the Grove continued using its private range but a committee was formed and, like many other gun clubs at that time, Grove adapted to the new legal landscape by introducing gallery rifle shoots and catering for more muzzle-loading guns.
Eventually the range building was needed for other things so Grove had to find new digs. The Club kept its tradition of smallbore rifles, pistol calibre rifles and muzzle-loaders alive by reaching agreements, firstly with the Norwich & District Parabellum Club to use its range at Surlingham and subsequently with the Norfolk & Suffolk Muzzle Loaders Association, for access to its range at Rickinghall. These arrangements would continue until Horsford took over as the Club's main short-distance range.
As the years have gone by, Grove has added new shooting disciplines. There are shoots for black powder pistols and long-barrelled revolvers/pistols at 25 yards at the Smallburgh Rifle Club range at Horsford. There are electronic target shoots on STANTA (the MoD’s eight square miles of battle area in Norfolk). And there are practical shotgun meetings at Wetherden, fullbore rifle shoots at Thetford, clay shooting at High Lodge and long-range rifle shoots all the way out to ¾ of a mile at Barton Road Range in Cambridgeshire.
Prospective members are invited to Horsford Range, north of Norwich (more details in the Ranges section). Senior committee members oversee the training and encouragement of newcomers. Although some of our number do enter shooting competitions, there is no pressure to compete within the Club. We exist to appreciate and enjoy discovering sporting and historical firearms.