Usefull reading

The Law

BFTA set up manual

Technical Skills



By Colin Baggs

In the thirteen years I have been shooting H.F.T competitions, I cannot recall a single shoot which has been whistle free, you will always get that one stray pellet that will cut the line, but they can’t be helped. Here are some basic guide lines to help reduce cease fires which can put you off your next shot along with some simple advisories to setting up a ‘whistle free course! ‘
  • In regional competitions it is mandatory to have a firing line, which state that the trigger should not protrude past this line. To reduce this hazard, try to position pegs further back from line, enough to get a comfortable shooting position but not too much making it unsafe for spectators to get in front of shooter.
  • Start by laying out two pegs per lane, with at least 2 yards between each peg (1.828m for those who are in new money mode). Try to have at least 5 – 10 yards between each lane. This prevents bunching up and the feeling of being watched when taking a shot.

  • Once the distance has been agreed, pace out from the pegs, 1 yard equates to 914.4 mm so is like a normal stride. Remember to take this measurement from the peg, not the firing line

  • When setting out a long distance target makes sure you have picked one with enough line to go the distance.

  • Work in a pair to position a target. One person should stay at the peg points to spot the target from both peg positions, while the other can set the target..
  • Make sure the target is fixed securely, on average 50% of cease fires derive from a target which has worked loose from its mounting. Bang nails ¾ in and bends over, even use 2 or more per fixing hole.
  • Once the target has been set and spotted , knock it over and reset with the string a few times just to make sure it works well, is not leaning too far back and the string does not foul any moving part of the target.

  • Now the target is secure and the peg positions have been decided, don’t forget to hammer the pegs into the ground, 10% of whistles are due to pegs moving either giving the next shooter an advantage or disadvantage.
  • When uncoiling the string, take it to the second peg on each lane (the odd numbered one). This saves time in resetting the target when moving between pegs. It is also a good idea to drape the sting over the firing line rope so it can be easily seen.
  • Finally, spray the target with fresh paint after it has been mounted, this saves the individual getting covered in wet paint ! .

Ramblings of an Airgun Novice

I have recently reached the end of my first year as a member of The Basingstoke Air Rifle and Pistol Club, and I thought it would be fitting to describe my first year as a complete air gun novice. If, along the way I encourage someone to try something new then it has been a worthwhile experience for us both.

My main reason for choosing BARPC was the web site. Put simply there is one, whilst other clubs more local to me haven't bothered. Well, that was how it appeared to me I'm afraid.
First Impressions

Clutching the directions from the web in one hand and my newly bought HW77 in the other, I entered the walled garden. I've got to be honest I wondered if I had the right place, but the crack crack sound from over the wall was encouraging enough to make me press on. With a certain amount of trepidation I pushed open the red flagged gate, and followed the hedge very closely, as instructed. Peering around the corner I was approached by a large man dressed entirely in combats and sporting what the Americans casually refer to as a sidearm. A formidable sight, but he proved to be friendly enough (sorry John). He introduced me to the short rules of the club and some of the shorter members.

I think it is probably universal but I was convinced that the whole firing line was judging me as I fumbled my first few shots. Thankfully I have now got past this and enjoy the general banter that is such a large part of this sport.
Competitions or more ritual humiliation

My first competition was the Bunny Bash a week later. I hadn't got the foggiest what I was doing, but the cabaret act between Bob and John was pure class. I ended up propping up the results table, a position I have since become used to, but I was hooked.

If you have never done Hunter Field Target I suggest you give it a go. I never thought that lying in a muddy puddle during the depths of winter could ever be classed as fun, but believe me, it is. And if you make the effort to join the winter league I guarantee that to gain that extra point, you too, will wallow with the rest of us and what's more, you'll do it with a smile on your face. Or you could stay at home and watch the Sunday matinee, once again.

Of course it’s not compulsory to do HFT in the rain, it also takes place in the summer. Come on, prise yourself away from the garden or shooting range and visit somewhere new this year. I’d appreciate it if you didn't beat me though. The results table is heavy enough to support already !

I have booked in to all the UKAHFT venues this year, as have Mat and Simon. Hopefully we won’t embarrass the club too much but we are up against the best HFT competitors in the country. I've chosen the recoiling class as in theory there is less competition. Theory is a great thing isn't it?
More competition stuff

Following a short lesson from Bob in 10 metre match pistol shooting, I have discovered the true meaning of expectation, frustration, and finally, humiliation. How is it possible for a 7 inch square of card to cause such an emotional roller coaster ride ? It never ceases to amaze me, and what's worse, keeps me coming back for more.

On the theory that I could get physically nearer the target using the longer barrel of a rifle I made another purchase. But believe it or not, it’s even harder. The targets are smaller for a start and the wobbles increase, because the gun is so much heavier. For the record, I will be concentrating on the match pistol for the rest of this year. The problem is which pistol….
Too many is never enough

I started the indoor season with a Gamo Compact, which is the cheapest match pistol on the market. Mine felt as if the grease that lubricates the trigger had been replaced by treacle. I would look down the sights, locate the target, squeeze the trigger and watch the gun waver away until it finally decided to fire. By which time, the small window of opportunity to actually hit anything like a decent score had gone.

I got the offer of another Compact with a “worked on trigger” unfortunately this one was a bit too eager and had a habit of firing before I could actually reach the aiming part of the cycle. At present I am borrowing a Rohm Twinmaster Top and would thoroughly recommend it. And, although this is against informed, local opinion, it has improved my averages from 72% to 84%.

The thing I have noticed since getting into this airgun business, is that one gun is never enough. I accumulated a new gun per month when I first started. Last count I have….

6 rifles;

Weihrauch HW77,

Air Arms S400, I needed a pre-charged to compete.

Feinwerkbau 601 match rifle for 10m.

Career 707 ‘cos I wanted a .22.

BSA Meteor for the open sights competition, and a

BSA Merlin, because, well just because.

3 pistols;

The realistic S&W 586 revolver,

Weihrauch HW45, because the S&W doesn't have the energy to knock over the targets. And of course the previously mentioned Gamo Compact.

Not only is there a desire for an entire home armoury. I have also changed all the standard stocks for left handed ones, Changed the scopes numerous times and tried all kinds of different pellets. However it’s no use, I have had to come to the conclusion that each time I miss a target there is always one defining factor. The nut behind the trigger, i.e. me.

In conclusion I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year with BARPC, a friendly crowd of people, a great new sport and a whole new bunch of thing to spend my hard earned money on.

Sean Cameron





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