HFT Diary: High Tech or Low Tech?
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- Last updated: 24/05/2019
As the start of the 2019 HFT season gets ever nearer, it may be time to firstly remind ourselves of the different shooter classes which exist, to give everyone a fairer chance of success. The UKAHFT National Series awards trophies as follows:
Top 5 shooters from the winning Club Team
Several elements are required in order to compete at the highest level in HFT, and they all need to come together for that much sought after place on the rostrum. Whilst some shooters are just happy to be out in a countryside environment, free from the stresses and strains of work, a smaller band of competitors are intent on jostling for position, trying to gain any small advantage, and enjoying the tussle for silverware at the top.
For a perfect example of the former group, I always remember taking David, an old-school friend of mine to a competition, and noting his comments. Free from any connection and pre-conceived ideas about shooting, his observations were enlightening; namely that time spent out on the target course seemed to free the mind of any worry and day to day stress. Concentration took over and a determination to try and get the pellet through the kill zone was, for the duration of the match, all that seemed to matter, but the location and setting also played a big part. That shoot was admittedly set out through glorious rolling hills around a rather picturesque valley, which helped. But there’s been many occasions over my years of competing, where, lying on a target lane (or sitting when it was FT), when you find your concentration lapses, and the sheer pleasure of just being in such a nice environment, bathed in sunshine, suddenly hits home.
Fall into the latter group, and focus might be a little tighter; and that’s where we come back to those elements previously mentioned. Skill in the shooting arts, as in trigger control, breathing etc., all need to have been well honed and in place, but fitness also comes into the equation. Look at some of the top exponents in Hunter Field Target at the moment, creeping through the rankings, and there’s no doubt that the youth element, (let’s face it, we were all natural athletes at the age of 20 or so) is an advantage.
It is stating the obvious but possessing the necessary skill and fitness levels all stands for nothing, if we opt for a rifle that simply isn’t up to the job. With an increased number of small kill zones, right down to 15mm, any prospective rifle needs to be blisteringly accurate and consistent, and the shooter needs the skill to get the best out of it. Which means careful consideration, to make the right choice.
So, the question is, do you go for an all-out match grade rifle, or keep it simple? Top choices in the former group would have to include such models as the Air Arms FTP900, Steyr LG100 Challenge, Anschutz 9015, and RAW TM1000. This class of rifle will include a match stock configuration with adjustable elements such as the butt and cheek piece, but also, in the case of the Steyr and Anschutz, an adjustable pistol grip. Many shooters consider this level of refinement a pre-requisite to success, but others take a more simplistic approach. What is vital and has to be top of the list for success, is an action that will print ragged tight group right out to our maximum of 45 yards and not all airguns are up to this specialist discipline after all.
Opt for a lower price bracket, and a more simplistic approach, then models such as the ubiquitous Air Arms S400, FX Streamline, Weihrauch HW100, and BSA Scorpion are just some of the serious contenders up for consideration. But if you are looking to invest, perhaps in your first rifle to get into the sport, get down to the local club and try as many models as possible, before parting with any cash. What suits one shooter, may just not be for you, so don’t think that by splashing out on a match special, that it will be automatic, guaranteed success; just do some homework, and enjoy the journey.
A recent glance at the shooter entry list for the 2019 World HFT Championships to be held at Weston Park in Shropshire, showed just 40 places left out of 360, and they may have gone by the time this article hits the news stand. But it does show just how popular the sport of HFT has become. Exciting times for sure
UKAHFT World HFT Championship- Midland Game Fair, Weston Park, Shropshire, 14th& 15th September 2019
HFT Masters World HFT Championships, Kalety, Poland, 22nd & 23rd June 2019
The European Hunter Field Target Championships 2019 will be held on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May 2019, at La Ferme du Chateau, in Grupont in Belgium. For pre-booking application forms and downloads regarding established UKAHFT events (where bookings are possible), and all the latest information on anything connected with Hunter Field Target shooting, take a look at the following websites: https://sites.google.com/site/ukahft/ and www.shooting-the-breeze.com https:// sites.google.com/site/whfta1/
HFT Masters have been developing their website at www.hftmasters.net so it should be confirmed soon. They also use www. facebook.com/hftmasters/ . For details of their own World Championship, check out www.whfto.com.
April 14th Lea Valley, Herts
May12th Northern Shooting Show, Harrogate
June 9th Cloybank, Scotland
July 28th Emley Moor, Yorkshire
August 11th Wendover, Bucks
September 22nd Cambridge
Round 1 28th April Misfits
Round 2 19th May Cambridge
Round 3 22nd June Rivington Rifles, nr Bolton
Round 4 23rd June Rivington Rifles
Round 5 20th July Maldon (M.A.D.), Essex
Round 6 21st July Maldon (M.A.D.), Essex
Round 7 17th Aug Furnace Mill, Shropshire
Round 8 18th Aug Nomads, Shropshire
Round 9 20th Oct Quarry, South Wales