Club News

2022 News

Popham 1st May

Lovely shoot at Popham today, Bob Ward grabbed some more pictures of the excellent bluebell and Primroses. This year has been one of the best for the flowers.

Bluebells and Primroses

Bluebells and Primroses

Couple of FT shooters in the Bluebells

Sea of Colour

27th April Walled Garden Repaint

This morning 3 club volunteers (Richard Newcombe, John Puddick and Bryn Jones) arranged to met at the walled Garden and give our safety wall a spring clean and repaint. They cleared growth away from the front lower edge and gave the lower section a number of coats of paint to cover the various splat marks which occurred over the last few years since the complete rebuild we did in 2020, then gave the whole wall a couple of coats to make it look "as good as new".  Bryn has informed us that any one missing targets and hitting the back wall wil be fined £25 a miss from now on..  perhaps an excellent motivation to hit the targets.  As always a few pictures tell the tale

John and Bryn

Any Guess's what Bryn is Doing ?

Foreman Richard checking on progress

Foreman Richard showing us the wall

The Finished wall, cracking job team.

Looks like Bryn decided either (a) to help develop a new UK Army Camouflage scheme or (b) He could use his coat better than a brush to paint with

17th April Popham Bluebells

One of the most amazing sights regular spring time shooters at Popham look forward to is the amazing blanket of Bluebells on the wood floor

Popham Course Setting : An insight into the Art Form of Peter Chaffé

The club is really lucky to have many experienced and skilled people that work in the background making things happen for the members. One special skill is that of our FT/HFT course setters. The club recently asked one of our most experienced course setters to share with us some of the magic that is the artform.

Peter has been shooting with BARPC for around 27 years, having started with his eldest son who is 40 this year! That was a time when springer rifles were prevalent and course setting was "get it set up as quickly as possible, because I've got to help the missus with shopping later". Hunter Field Target (HFT) didn't even exist, just the Field Target (FT) discipline.

How things have changed - and course setting has almost become an art form! For ease of reading this topic, Peter has split all the information into the relevant disciplines.

Whilst in theory our course could consist of any distances, any kill zone size, etc., we try to comply with Central Southern Field Target Association (CSFTA) rules - especially as BARPC host a round of the CSFTA Club Winter League each year.

It's important to space out the 20 lanes (which involves 40 pegs, two per lane) within the allocated space for the overall course. There's no point setting up lanes 1-15 (30 pegs), only to find you've got 7 yards left to fit in the final 5 lanes and 10 pegs! So we initially walk the course, laying pegs 1 and 2 on the ground at the start, pegs 20 and 21 in the middle and pegs 39 and 40 at the end. It's then a case of filling in the gaps, laying each peg where we believe a target can be sited, with a recommended 5 yards minimum between each lane. Pegs aren't banged into the ground at this stage.

It's then a case of siting one target per lane, so that one shot can be taken with a part of your body being able to touch each of the two pegs for that lane. That could mean shooting prone, kneeling, or standing, depending on the target position - and remembering that there are left-handed people, youngsters, etc., who must similarly be able to find a safe route through any obstacle to the target. Sometimes it's tricky getting an accessible shot from both pegs - first peg fine, second peg there's a tree in the way! So a lot of clearing usually takes place!

HFT is based on hunting. In other words, the 'target' wouldn't normally be sitting in an open field, in clear sight. They would be partially hidden, up a tree, behind a bush, etc., so it's up to the shooter to find that clear shot through any 'crap' that might be in the way. Setting up our metal targets is based on that hunting tradition. Some are obscured, some are clearer but out much further, some are right in front of you but a smaller kill zone. Over the whole course, it's finding a balance between difficulty and not putting people off by making it too hard. I personally love to find that 'challenging' target position that makes the shooter think outside the box, whilst ensuring a good mix of prone and kneeling shots to enhance shooting skills. On our course, standing shots are thankfully few and far between!

I've mentioned kill zone size - well once you've chosen a potential target site, you have a choice of target to use. I can't think of an easy way to explain the complexities, other than bulleting each type together with their restrictions:

Target with 40mm kill zone

Target with 25mm reduced kill zone

Target with 15mm reduced kill zone

Distances are measured from the peg. In competitions there is also a firing line (which your trigger finger must never go over), approximately 1 yard in front of the pegs. Obstacles cannot be nearer than 8 yards from the pegs for ricochet safety purposes.

So… once you've chosen your target type for that lane, sited the distance and where it can go, checked there's an accessible shot from both pegs for right & left-handed people and youngsters - you can actually put the target up and bang the pegs into the ground. Of course putting up targets could be on a bracket, attached directly onto a tree, banged on a spike into the ground, etc.

And once you've done all that, there's another 19 lanes to go!

The biggest difference in FT course setting, is that all targets must be unobscured allowing the shooter a clear shot from that shooting position (sitting, kneeling or standing). We still walk the course, laying road pins at the beginning, middle and end, then filling in the gaps. While the HFT course closely follows the latest CSFTA & British Field Target Association (BFTA) rules, the club has made a decision that for our club FT league we will deviate occasionally from the rules. Therefore, in our course, "the code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules".

Like HFT, there are certain complexities governing the type of targets and distances used:

Like HFT, the FT course is a balance of distance, shooting position, kill zone size and difficulty. Targets are fixed on a bracket, attached directly onto a tree, banged on a spike into the ground, etc.

Ongoing Maintenance
Obviously there's a lot of ongoing work involved to ensure the courses remain fit for purpose. Before each shoot, targets must be spray painted and strings pulled out. We also check that nothing has fallen in the way since the last shoot - a perennial problem in Popham Woods! After each shoot, strings are wound in and targets checked that they're still firmly in position.

There's also regular 'tweaking' of both courses, to ensure boredom doesn't set in and people don't get too cocky! For example, finding new challenging target positions, changing a 40mm target for a 25mm reducer, making an HFT prone shot into a forced kneeler by placing an obstacle in front, etc. Simple changes to a few lanes can alter the course make-up in a huge way.

Peter Chaffé

20th Feb 2022 - A first timer at Popham Woods.

I’m a new member and joined the club in November 2021 and I’ve enjoyed shooting at the walled garden for the last few months. I am completely new to shooting - a raw beginner. I’d read on the club website about shooting at Popham Woods and I’d heard people talking about it on a Wednesday. But I just couldn’t picture what it was like - whether I’d be good enough without completely embarrassing myself! I had no idea what to expect.

BBut I decided to book and to go along. I couldn’t have picked a worse day, weather wise, for my first visit, as heavy rain was forecast. As it happens, it was only light drizzle and it didn’t affect me at all. I was met at the gate by the clubs Outdoor Secretary, Phil Cosham, who walked me through the woods to where we would be based, and he explained the layout of the woods and that there is a course of targets which you progress around. It’s very different from sitting on a comfortable chair at a table in the walled garden! In the woods, you make do with a cushion to sit on, or a mat to lie on, and it felt like shooting in the raw.

The woods are really beautiful and the shooting positions are set along a winding path. The targets are spread among the trees, and vary in shape, elevation and distance. It’s very interesting and also challenging. It was very nice to have range officers and more experienced shooters to talk to, who took an interest in how I was doing and gave me guidance.

The whole morning was incredibly relaxed and friendly and at no point did I feel, even as a beginner, that I was holding up anyone or was in anyone’s way. I could move along the course at my own pace. If you’ve never been to Popham Woods, whether a beginner or a long term shooter, I can’t recommend it enough.


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