Shop review - R Bamford Guns, Lancashire
- Credit: Archant
Find out what the family-run gun shop R Bamford Guns is all about - what it stocks, what the staff are like, and how it all started
The shop, originally a bicycle repair cabin, was founded by Ralph Bamford in 1920. His daughter Alice married a local farmer, Alan Jones, who sold shotguns as a sideline to his farming. In the 1940s they started to incorporate this into the bicycle repair business. Alice and Alan’s son, Lawrence, joined the business in the 1960s at the age of 17. His great passion was shooting, and so this was the direction the business took over the next five decades. Today, Lawrence’s daughter and son-in-law (Sky and Rich) are taking over as the fourth generation to be involved in the business, and have made their own addition to the shop in the form of a new clothing and footwear section, making it a one-stop shop for all things shooting.
There is a bright and airy feel to the new shop following the refit. As a family business the Bamfords pride themselves on a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and have also tried very hard to give the new shop a more upmarket feel. It is obvious that a lot of thought has gone into the detail, which gives the shop a unique character.
Brands and products
The shop specialises in shotguns (also offering a comprehensive range of air rifles) and is a main dealer for Beretta, Browning, Benelli and Caesar Guerini, amongst others. As well as guns, a wide range of shooting accessories, such as cartridges, shooting clothing, and footwear, are stocked. Many of the leading brands in the field can be found on the shelves, including Schoffel, Dubarry, Barbour, Musto, Le Chameau, Hunter, and many more. The family are proud to be the only Schoffel stockist in the area.
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Rich and Sky’s children – aged nine and 10 – have recently taken up shooting, so the family have done quite a lot of research into the best shotguns for the younger age group. The shop offers a dedicated youth section and the staff have first-hand experience of introducing young shots to the sport.
Rich and Sky also bring another business – Out of the city – into the mix. Selling specialist shooting and country clothing and footwear online for the last 12 years, they have gained extensive knowledge and developed close relationships with some of the industry’s best-known names. After an extensive refurbishment to the gun shop in 2015, all of these brands are now available in Bamfords as well.
Gun fitting is an area that the staff have always been able to give advice on, and they are always on hand to assist with choosing the right-fitting gun and having any necessary alterations made. An in-house stock alterations service (bending, re-finishing, etc.) and some minor gunsmithing repairs are available. Anything that cannot be done on the premises is outsourced to a local gunsmith. Bamfords offers finance at affordable rates on most purchases.
It’s very much a family business, with second, third and fourth generations of the same family all still involved in the business. Every member of the team is an experienced shot and very much involved in the shooting community locally.
Everyone involved shoots regularly. Even Alan, who is now 96, is still shooting – although he’s had to swap his trusty 12-bore for a 20-bore these days! Between them, they enjoy sporting clays, wildfowling, rough shooting, driven game and air rifle shooting.
Check out the shop’s website here http://www.rbamfordguns.co.uk/ n