December 2017 Newsletter 11-Dec-2017

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September 2017 Newsletter 12-Sep-2017

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Our Blog

Reflection on a Master Class - John Timmis

Rachel Blackwood - Thursday, May 18, 2017

John Timmis tells his experience of a Promatic Master Class

Early on the morning of 1 February, I battled with the traumas of the M6 northbound to attend the free Masterclass in trap maintenance and target setting at the Promatic factory at Ellesmere Port. It was a
course I had long wanted to attend, having missed a similar opportunity some three years ago and I was not to be disappointed.
Three Lakes Gun Club, just South of Birmingham, has a mixture of traps, seven old Parkers I inherited when I took over in January 2013, along with an even mix of newer Bowman and Promatic’s that I have purchased. Much of what I learned on the course was generic to most of my traps, not just the Promatic’s and has now given me a confidence to tackle what I thought was something only a seasoned expert should


For the past four years I, like many others, have been guided largely by other untaught, well meaning individuals, believing what they told me and oblivious to the correct procedures and settings. Yes I had the manuals, but the written word can so easily be misinterpreted and there are times when hands on guidance from an experienced expert are required. For those four years in the dark, I was in effect a blind man led by the partially sighted. By lunchtime on the course however, it was like a veil had been lifted, a cataract removed and for the first time I could see both clearly and in colour.
On arrival, after coffee and biscuits we were split into four small groups of four and guided by individual technicians around basic Promatic electronics and three of the more common Promatic traps. Our guides
for the day were Monty, Artur, Owain and Adam.

We spent a good 45 minutes with each technician and personally I learned a great deal, for example, how to set the knife edges and the blades properly to the correct settings to allow some small tolerances, not just in the thumbnail gap between the clays themselves and the knife blade but so that the clays could also move freely around the carousel base. I also learned how to simply lift the plate and move the arm to ensure the correct relationship between the arm rubber and the clay.
I learned the correct tension needed when setting the carousel on the trap, not too loose, not too tight but one where it could spin maybe half a revolution then stop. I learned too that it was possible to run the trap briefly in reverse by switching the battery connectors over; how I wish I’d known that before, when well meaning helpers had managed to trap cables within the trap mechanism, forcing me to strip the trap to release them.

I learned never to ‘max out’ the traps in any respect. Don’t be tempted to wind the spring up too tight or to slacken it off to its weakest position, as too weak and the spring clatters around damaging itself and
other moving parts while 3/4 tension actually throws the target to its maximum. Don’t set the traps on maximum tilt settings as the gravitational forces interfere with clay reloading contributing to breakages. Three quarters of anything is always enough. I also learned from Monty that the reason for clay breakages on both of our own club’s Falcon traps which Three Lakes Gun Club had won at the 2013 and 2014 Clay Classic events, was in part due to a faulty slide plate which had since been redesigned. Two replacements were promptly sourced by course director Steve Peers and supplied free of charge, which was excellent service and much appreciated. I learned so much more in this four hour course, too much to adequately summarise here and it was clear that my own ‘Road to Damascus’ experience was not unique, as others in my group were often remarking, “ I never knew that”or “I’ll be re-checking ours now”. This was a very worthwhile course and I recommend it to anyone who has to work with traps on a regular basis.

John Timmis
Three Lakes Gun Club
07968 341391

"Target variety is essential for any club or ground that hosts local, county or national competitions - and that's exactly what you get with Promatic traps."

George Digweed, multi world champion in Sporting, FITASC and Compak