HFT Diary: Keep it Local!
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- Last updated: 19/12/2016
OK; maybe I should just go to Spec- Savers and have done with it, but as a temporary measure, a friend suggested I just try winding the magnification down. Good point, why didn’t I think of that? Sometimes, you can become blind to the obvious basics, and just shooting on a lower magnification is an easy way to improve clarity through the target distances. Of course it’s all about compromise, and you don’t want to go too low, but it’s surprising how your eyes adapt. When I first began FT shooting, I regularly shot on just 4x mag, (even winning some events with it), yet I look through that now, and wonder just how I ever did it?
With the English Open looming, it seemed a good opportunity to bite the bullet, and take action, and for this event, I wound the mag down from 9x to 7x.
The Misfits club are run by super keen HFT enthusiasts, and we have come to expect some seriously good target courses from this lot. Well come the first week in August, and back we came, to the Christmas Tree farm in Rutland. A baking hot day was clearly in the offing, and with a sprawling layout snaking through an attractive stretch of woodland, it soon became one of those days where it was just a nice place to be. I’ve subsequently heard that a worryingly large black puma has been regularly sighted in this vicinity, but thankfully it didn’t surface for the duration of this match at least!
What did prove a problem on the day was the intermittent breeze, and the disastrous results on the practise range pre-shoot, were an ominous warning. As it panned out, I couldn’t quite believe how well I started, as my early section of target course was clearly more protected from the elements. What proved my undoing however, was a dreaded misfire where I had accidentally left the bolt open- and with the specific rule stating that ‘if air has been fired, then the shot is deemed to have been taken’, or words to that effect, I was clobbered for a zero. Bloody hell! Flustered at my carelessness lost me at least another, and I finished safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have been too far away, if I hadn’t messed up.
Up at the top, James McLachlan stamped his authority on the proceedings, with a clear win on 55ex60, whilst Linc’s shooter, Nick Yates shot well to come in third on 53, just behind Pete Dutton. The fact that a score of 53 would have got you into a shoot-off for 2nd showed how tricky most found this course, so I didn’t feel too dejected.
Open: 1st James McLachlan 55ex60, 2nd Pete Dutton 53, 3rd Nick Yates 53
Ladies: 1st Michelle Parsons 51
.22 Class: 1st Simon Howarth 45
Juniors: 1st Laura Dickson 43
Recoiling: 1st Bob Clay 41
National events are all very well, but there are plenty of shooters who prefer to stay local, either to save on travel expenses, or just because they favour the less pressurized, more relaxed atmosphere.
Either way, local events are a great way to encourage newcomers and shooters who may not normally take part, or shy away from competitions.
A couple of years back, my club arranged an inter-club competition with some likeminded and local HFT clubs, and although it has become competitive, it has been very well received by all who have taken part. The beauty of the system is that there are no designated team members. Instead, everybody who wants to take part can shoot for a particular club on the day, and the simple rule is that the highest four scores count as the team. This means everyone, potentially, can affect the result. Each participating club stages a round, and of course there can be an element of home advantage, as you naturally become familiar with the distances and landmarks/terrain of your regular ground. But that’s all part of it.
Ok; forgive my self-indulgence, but this year’s event has just come to a close, and my club Heckington has finally beaten arch rivals Linc’s HFT based at Waddington, in Lincolnshire. Theirs was the final round, and this shoot also counted as a separate Summer Open event. The standard of their courses is rarely matched and I would say never beaten, since they really are top class.
A combination of undulating landscape, tunnel effect, targets out on an open field, and cleverly placed throughout the wood, all come together, for a super challenging experience. Our four man team of Peter Knight, myself, Romek Wiles and Nev Baguley closed the deal, taking the shield for the season, and I fluked the Open overall. A satisfying day indeed. Oh yes, the magnification for this one? 8X since you asked. Local event I know, but a big confidence boost nonetheless. So the moral is, don’t be afraid to experiment, and play around with parallax and magnification settings. Trial and error is the name of the game, and all part of the sport.
Round 7- 25th September Cambridge (Cambs)
Round 8- 15th October Emley Moor (Yorks)
Round 9- 16th October Emley Moor
The Gathering 20th November Furnace Mill
23rd October Lea Valley, (Hertfordshire)
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