A number of years ago now, I used to have permission for an old WW2 gunnery range. It was a superb site, with a huge number of finds possible for very little effort, if you knew the ‘sweet’ spots. I visited it two or three times a year for this very reason. On one trip alone, I recovered enough 303 cartridge cases and spent bullets to fill an entire 250rnd Vickets belt!
Unfortunately the landowners changed and the new ones were less keen on me visiting than the previous one, so I had to call it a day. This was a shame as the site was the source of a great number of cartridge cases, as well as other items.
Used for training of both ground troops, and a strafing range for aircraft, the site would yield an incredible volume of finds in a very short space of time. As it was used as a ground strafing range as well, there were chances to recover some bigger cartridge cases like .50cal and 20mm. They also practised with grenades on this range, as well as mortars, PIATs and artillery pieces like the 25pdr.
I got to know where most of this ‘action’ took place and would vary my visits between recovering ground fired small arms cartridges, to those fired by aircraft, with each being concentrated in different areas.
One thing about old gunnery ranges like this is that it is all well and good having landowners permission, but the vast majority of these ranges had bye-laws attached to them. Ensuring that such bye-laws have lapsed is essential as otherwise, you could be inadvertently recovering relics from a site still covered by such laws. This range had an old bye-law, but it had been revoked a good 20 years before I first started searching it.
Here are a few of the finds from this site. I won’t show everything as this page would go on for ages!
Shame that I can’t get back there and I do miss the place, but being lawful is far FAR more important that a few cartridge cases!