A timeless location

West Raynham Business Park is located on the site of a former RAF base. Sorties were flown from here until 1974. The facility then went on another 20 years before its closure in 1994. After that, the place lay empty for some years, until it was eventually bought and turned into an industrial park.

The “backlot”. A large selection of old MoD buildings and lush greenery.

The Park’s list of occupants includes a busy film production company. Not suprising really, as this old base has bags of character. All sorts of movies could be set here, from an Enigma-type story to a full-blown zombie apocalypse.

Huge fir trees are dotted about but don’t dominate, as their setting is big and roomy.

Perhaps due to its tranquil aspect, the Business Park is also home to a variety of artists and craftsmen. My neighbour across the hallway, for instance, makes the most beautiful custom guitars and wood sculptures inspired by waveforms.

With nothing to suggest modernity, you could be right back in the 1940s.

For me and my little venture, the past few months have seen a gradual transformation of what was a large, echoey void into dedicated workshop and retail spaces.

One end of the retail area, now dressed and ready for fitting out with shelving and displays.

I’ve said this before, I know, but I still can’t believe that all this equipment was once packed into an 11′ x 18′ room.

Still a bit chaotic backstage, but we’ll soon get there.

The joy of working on this project has been in realising ideas which, only a few months ago, existed solely in my head. I’ve always worked best when there was a creative problem to be solved, so doing this has been a challenge and a pleasure.

At last, the mighty Bench B is fully decked out with shelves. Just got to decide what goes where.

There are a couple more mountains to climb before the premises is ready to resume being an RFD (registered firearms dealer). One consolation though, is that the eye-wateringly expensive joinery stage is now complete, so we can now move onto the fabrication and so forth.

As I write this, the electricians are in, adding power for the various benches, including the reloading area. Juice, at last, for the lamps, case-prep machinery and Dillon press.

It will be a few more months before we’re back doing what we always did, but we are open, for non-licensable goods and to welcome potential customers

If you’re considering getting into shooting but don’t know where to start, please contact me and I’ll be happy to give you some pointers.
Tel: 01328 838142 or email: jon@jdrguns.com

Early summer progress update

Things have moved ahead. It’s now three months since I came to this unit and this is how it’s gone…

The first task was getting the desk and all the benches up and running.

By far the most time-consuming aspect was unpacking the 150 or so cardboard boxes. How I crammed much of the above into an 11′ x 18′ garage beats me.

I’m OK at “improvisational carpentry”, but for this kind of job I needed to hire someone.

These images convey the emerging premises, but not the hundreds of hours of unpacking, moving, sawing, drilling and hammering and swearing involved.

I like to use angles, so decided to start by placing the counter in the same plane as the entrance.

The joiner had to contend with a few issues in this former MoD building, not least of all a floor that isn’t perfectly flat.

One of my pet hates is having everything flat against four walls, so Bench B (left) picks up the same angle.

It was important to get the scaling right, even if that meant using nearly half the available space in creating a light and attractive retail space.

Right-hand display partition completed and front of counter decorated to complement the top.

It’s interesting how ideas form when you’re planning. The colour scheme takes its cues from one of my favourite rifles, the Marlin 1895SBL in 45-70.

Marlin 1895SBL in 45-70.

“What’s your favourite firearm” is a question I can never answer, but this would probably be in the top five.

A very attractive blend of feral grey and beige on that gun.

Not having the space too enclosed has also allowed us to make more of the existing lighting. When you walk in, you don’t feel like you’ve entered a broom cupboard.

Left-hand and rear partitions now up.

There’s a lot more work to be done, decorating and dressing the retail area but the joinery work is almost complete.

Next, the metal fabrication work.