Settling In - HFT Diary
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- Last updated: 31/10/2019
Come the summer months, and inevitably the trickle of Hunter Field Target tournaments, becomes a flood. Calendar dates start to fill up, and tension increases in households up and down the country. For just how are we supposed to maintain a balance of family visits, and keep partners happy, with holidays and such like, when important HFT shoots are there to be shot at any given weekend?
August was one such typical logjam, and I had a crucial inter club event with our rivals in Lincoln to deal with, one week, followed by a double helping of UK Nationals the next. Local events can be a confidence boost, when the pressure is slightly off, and the country’s finest aren’t in attendance. However, whilst these slightly lower key events can be immensely enjoyable, there’s nothing quite like the Nationals, for pitting yourself against the very best competitors on the circuit.
UKAHFT National Round 7- Furnace Mill, Shropshire sponsored by BSA, Bicester Targets, BASC, & Solware
Come late August, and National UKAHFT Round 7 was due, and what a shoot it proved to be. Furnace Mill is an established venue for HFT shooting, and their beautiful ground near Kidderminster in Shropshire, has to be one of the very best. Pass through a fantastic stretch of giant fir tree lined woodland, then arrive at the high ridge, to park alongside the network of fishing lakes. Grab some breakfast in the cafe/club room, check your rifle on the practise range, attend the safety briefing, then it’s all off to walk through to another stunning piece of woodland; and here we do battle over 30, cleverly placed targets.
Shooting high up into trees, across a lake, and even one tantalisingly close, but confusing target, down into a rivulet. It was all here and shooting in groups of three just added to the fun. My party, whilst competitive, were determined to enjoy the morning- and appreciate the near perfect conditions and scenery into the bargain. I was respectable too. I’ve made a few alterations to my kit of late, and I’ll cover these in more detail later. Suffice to say, a 55 ex 60 posted, despite missing a few gimmes and discipline shots along the way, gave me a confidence in the hardware that I have been lacking for some time.
Open Class: 1st Jack Houghton 60 ex60, 2nd Tony Male 59, 3rd Dave Hunter 58
Primary: 1st Bradley Cox 33
Junior 14-16: 1st Ewan Pantling 55
Ladies: 1st Jean Greatrex 50
Recoiling: 1st Gary Chillingworth 52
.22 Class: 1st Simon Howarth 49
Veteran 1st Mike Burgess 55
Top Manufacturers Team: Steyr
Top Club Team: Misfits
UKAHFT National Round 8- Nomads, Shropshire sponsored by Gamo, Bicester Targets, BASC, & Solware
However, as we wrapped up our shooting party and began heading back down the line, I just happened to be in the right place, as on the very next lane, young Jack Houghton was just about to seal the deal. Their group hadn’t quite finished, and I instantly picked up on the tension in the air, as he had the final target to take, for a super cool clear round. Keeping it together over 30 targets takes grit, and Jack’s brilliant round, using his EV2 suggests that the Air Arms team may have just made another top signing!
Jim Harney walked away with a brand new BSA Silverstar in the raffle too, so all round, quite a day.
I couldn’t make the second day of this HFT jamboree, but day two at Nomads, saw that highly talented chap, Elliot Compton, reminding the sport’s amassed heavyweights, that he’s not going anywhere this season. A blistering 59 proved the point in style, keeping him well up the rankings percentage wise. Elsewhere, Gary Chillingworth took another easy win in the piston class, whilst young Megan Reed posted a strong 51 to take the Juniors.
Due to the timings of events, I wasn’t quite able to bring the report on the World HFT Championships at Weston Park this month, but that will be coming next.
As for those hardware tweaks referred to earlier, it does make a big difference when you feel settled with kit and, in that respect, I feel I’ve turned a corner. My old Air Arms S400 has proved a brilliant rifle, but after becoming a little erratic in velocity, I reckoned it was probably about time to get a Welham regulator fitted from Airmasters, and this has proved a great move, giving this old favourite a new lease of life.
Whilst it takes a lot for me to switch from Air Arms kit that I’m so used to, my other favourite rifle is now the Impact GSX600, which admittedly, has been rather heavily modified. Dave Welham’s prototype regulator now governs velocity and I’ve also had a new Lothar Walther barrel fitted. Third time lucky here, as the factory original was nothing special, and a replacement Anschutz tube leaded up ridiculously quickly. This latest though, is a corker.
I’ve added a slimline hamster plate, but the final piece of the jigsaw sees a totally custom machined counterweight assembly, that screws in place of the old nylon valve cover. Again, made by Airmasters, this beautifully engineered adjustable ‘weight bar’ just tips the balance in my favour, and the result is a top class airgun, capable of competing at any level.
Scope-wise, I’m back on my classic old Zeiss Diavari C 3-9X36, but a timely tweak of the rear fast-focus (something I haven’t touched for years) has improved sharpness overall. Settled quality kit then, with a good measure of familiarity. Game on!
Round 9 20th Oct Quarry, South Wales
UKAHFT World HFT Championship- Midland Game Fair, Weston Park, Shropshire, 14th& 15th September 2019
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/www.whfto.com