The name could hardly be more British – and the company, which was founded in 1891 and is the largest British owned gunmaker in the UK, is proud of its roots. Supporting suppliers and businesses around the country is also important to E.J. Churchill, from the shooting facility providers to the country clothing and accessory brands they stock.
‘The British element is incredibly significant given the rich history of shooting in the United Kingdom; it has international appeal and a global audience. The association with Britain provides a strong element of quality and assurance,’ says Rob Fenwick, managing director of E.J. Churchill.
Despite Covid-19, as an outdoor sports company, E.J. Churchill was able to keep its doors open for a period in 2020. During the first lockdown period the team decided to take the initiative, and they invested heavily in both of its shooting grounds in Buckinghamshire and North Yorkshire, installing covered shooting stands and a new state-of-the-art air rifle range.
‘Covid-19 has increased interest in the sport massively as it’s an outside activity,’ explains Rob. ‘Shooting is a perfect chance to do a fun competitive sport while being out in the fresh air. It also has very few barriers to entry so people from as young as nine years old, with any amount of experience, can take it up. When people have visited they have often brought members of their family or friends to have a go as it is a social sport.’
A partnership with Caviar House & Prunier has added to the appeal. ‘This meant that when people came back after lockdown, we were able to offer them a first-class shooting experience followed by excellent food and wines,’ says Rob. ‘Lobster and fries and a glass of Sancerre became the most popular post-shooting dish.’
Country sports might be steeped in tradition and even though E.J. Churchill has a great heritage, the company is constantly evolving to meet the demands of new fans and customers. E.J. Churchill achieve this by delivering unrivalled events for all occasions, not just shooting. They also have a Sporting Agency which has access to some of the most spectacular estates both in the UK and abroad, a gun room that supplies new and second hand shotguns and rifles including its own portfolio. And their instore and online retail shop stocks a number of carefully selected brands alongside its own collection of country attire and accessories.
For example, a new, fully self-automated clay release system was installed by trap supplier Promatic, the new system means that experienced shooters with a valid license can use the shooting facilities at their leisure and pay for exactly what they shoot.
‘Our clay manufacturer, CCI’s new Eco Clay Pigeons are a huge step forward in our goal to become a more sustainable company,’ says Rob. ‘We recycle all of our plastic wads and cartridges and so having a fully eco-friendly clay, which is made using pine resin, is brilliant for our grounds, for our clients and for the countryside.’