Being quite new to the sport of Air Rifle Hunter Field Target (HFT) / Field Target (FT) it was suggested that perhaps I could do some sort of a ‘new starters’ guide, so here we go…
First of all, if you are young, old, male or female it does not make a blind bit of difference! The world of FT is there for all to enjoy, whether it be for fun or competition. Field Target shooting is a sport that has grown in popularity in recent years; it combines the outdoor field conditions of a rough shoot with the target precision of competition shooting.
A course of targets is set outdoors in lanes of two targets per lane at a distance of 8 to 55 yards. The knock down target will only fall if your pellet goes through the circular ring, which can be 15mm, 25mm or 40mm, and strikes the paddle behind. The targets can be up in trees, in hollows in the ground, half hidden in pipes or behind objects etc anything to make it a challenge to the shooters skill to hit the target. The target is pulled back up (reset) by the string at the fireing point ready for the next shooter.
Immediate advice that I have:
- Don’t go to the local shop out and spend all your money on the latest kit
- Pop down to a club shoot for a very informal chat with a few of the members
- Ask whatever questions you have, even if you think they are stupid…. “a tenner says that someone has previously asked such questions” (he says with a smile)
- Take whatever opportunity you can to try and shoot various air rifles to see how they fell to you’
- Listen to the good advice on offer; remember that the members have been in your position before
- Take your time and be patient in your choice of rifle and scope and don’t think that because it costs a lot it must be good
- Don’t expect to be a budding world champion…take your time perfecting your technique
- Rifle – Just about any air rifle can be used for Field Target/hunter field target with a power level from 11flbs to 35ftbs. the two main calibres are .177 or .22
- Scope – There are a wide variety of scopes available and at varying prices, so your finances play a big part here, as well as the advice.
- Pellets – The only way to determine which pellet is best is to shoot a variety of pellets through your airgun and see which one shoots the best for you.
As I have already mentioned, ask questions and listen to the advice given and chose your kit accordingly. What you need to bear in mind is that you might not like the sport after a short period; so until you are certain, think about buying second-hand kit…brand new is not cheap and not necessarily the best!
The sitting position is the most popular as it provides a stable platform however you can lie prone. Ther will be some targets which will have designated positions such as standing or kneeling and these are more challenging. There is no substitute for practice in perfecting your positions and technique.
The targets used for FT/HFT shooting are made of metal and are shaped traditionally to look like typical airgun prey – rabbits, rats, pigeons, squirrels, crows however there are some diamond and circular targets. Most will have a 40mm diameter hole in them, however there are 15mm and 25mm. smaller, with a metal disc behind which is linked to the paddle that holds the target upright. When a pellet hits this paddle it falls backwards causing the target to fall down. The target has a cord attached which is used to pull the target upright again which resets the paddle ready for the next shot.
OK, so there you have the basics. All that is required now is for you to come to one of our shoots and try it for yourself.
PLEASE NOTE – In Northern Ireland airguns and CO2 guns having a discharge kinetic energy in excess of one (1) Joule (0.737 ft lbs) require to be held on a Firearm Certificate.
Please see link for further details Firearms know the law