Hunter Field Target
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Hunter field target (HFT) is a target shooting sport derived from the air gun disciplines of field target shooting and hunting. Primarily an outdoor sport, shot with air rifles (rated at a maximum of 12 ft·lbf), a typical HFT course is made up of 30 lanes, with each lane consisting of a peg and a metal "knock down" target placed in a position to simulate a hunting scenario. The peg marks the shooting spot and the shooter must touch the peg with part of his or her body or gun for the shot to count.
The targets are metal silhouettes frequently of an entertainingly abstract design but sometimes based on quarry such as rabbit, rat, crow, magpie and grey squirrel. Targets have a circular "kill zone" which varies in size, (typically 15–45 mm in diameter), and are set out at ranges between 8-45 yards/7.3-41.1 m (if using the UKAHFT rules). A direct hit to the "kill zone" triggers a mechanism that makes the target fall flat. Successfully "killing" a target rewards you with two points and the target is reset by pulling the "reset cord". "Plating" a target (hitting the target anywhere but the "kill zone") rewards you with one point. Missing the target altogether results in a zero.
Assuming a shooter has basic rifle skills, the primary skill in HFT is the ability to range the target as accurately as possible. Ranging is done either using the traditional method of "visualising" the number of yards separating you from the target or, more scientifically by using a telescopic sight fitted with a "mil-dot" reticle; some shooters choose to use the more traditional 30/30 reticle - a simple cross-hairs. Once the shooter starts the course they cannot adjust their scope e.g. by changing magnification, parallax settings, or zeroing the cross hairs. Aids such as windicators and bipods which may be used in other target shooting disciplines are banned. The key second skill is judging the wind; a brisk breeze may laterally deflect a .177 calibre pellet weighing little more than half a gram by 10cm or more at 45 yards.
When shooting, contestants may adopt one of three stances: prone (lying down), kneeling, and standing. Sometimes contestants will be forced to adopt a certain stance, for instance a lane that has "STANDING ONLY" sign must be shot in the standing position. If the shooter fails to follow this rule, the score for the target will be marked as a zero, even if it was "killed". The prone shooting position is the most stable and will therefore help ensure a good result.
Shooters from clubs all over the world participate in local and regional competitions and also travel to National competitions held under the guidance and rules of the UKAHFT as well as attending international events.
A typical HFT rifle set-up consists of an air rifle fitted with a telescopic sight. The rifle can vary from the very basic break-barrel spring-powered rifle to the most advanced electronic recoil-less pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) rifle. The most popular calibre for HFT is .177 because of its flat trajectory, and telescopic sights capable of x10 magnification are favored.
Participants in HFT may compete in different categories, such as Recoiling, Open and .22. and there are different categories for children and young people.
|Open||Any shooter. Primarily contains shooters using pre-charged pneumatic rifles in .177 or .22 calibre|
|Junior||Shooters aged between 9 and 16 (2 classes 9 to 13 & 14 to 16)|
|Recoiling||Spring-powered or gas-ram air rifles (any calibre)|
|22||Any rifle in .22 or .25 calibre|
The competition side of HFT has a controlling body in the form of the United Kingdom Association for Hunter Field Target (UKAHFT). The UKAHFT series that has run every year since 2003 currently consists of nine rounds held at different venues around the United Kingdom. Each round attracts around 200 shooters from all over the country, with varying abilities and equipment.
When a club hosts a UKAHFT round, it must adhere to various strict rules controlling the format of the course. The main rules for a UKAHFT round are:
- Target "kill zones" must be 15 mm to 45 mm in diameter.
- Targets must not be places closer than 8 yards (7 m) or further than 45 yards (41 m).
- 15 mm targets must be set at a range of between 13 and 25 yards (23 m).
- 20 mm targets must be set at a range of between 8 and 30 yards (30 m).
- 25 mm targets must be set at a range of between 8 and 35 yards (32 m).
Rules may change from time to time and may be reviewed on the ukahft.co.uk series website. The rules will also be available on the ukahft.org website from 2008. If you require information about where you can shoot this discipline, follow the external links below. The .org.uk site has a clubfinder that will highlight the UKAHFT affiliated Airgun Clubs in your area; these are clubs that adhere to the UKAHFT rules.
- WHFTO - World Hunter Field Target Organisation - international organisation for HFT cooperation between countries
- Official UKAHFT and WHFTA Forums
- SAFTA Slovak Airgun Field Target Association - cares also for HFT
- PFTA Polish Field Target Association - cares also for HFT
- CAFTA Czech Airgun Field Target Association - cares also for HFT
- DFTA Dutch Field Target Association - cares also for HFT