Greg’s Guide to Field Target Shooting – Part Three
In our last article we touched a little on what happens during a Field Target match. Now we’ll expand on that and also talk about what goes on before a match.
When you first arrive at the club for the day of the match, depending on the time you arrive you will more than likely encounter people running around making all the necessary last minute preparations for the match. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and offer any assistance. It is always greatly appreciated when you lend a helping hand. The Match Directors (MD) don’t do this for the money, they do it because the enjoy the sport!
Once the dust has settled from putting the final touches on the match prep, there is usually a sight-in range available and a registration table set up.
The sight-in period usually lasts for an hour or so. Take this time to run some shots through your rifle to make sure everything is where you think it should be. This is also a good time to converse with the other shooters. Again, much more often than not, the experienced shooters will willingly offer any advice and help that they can.
Below. A typical sight-in range and targets.
The sight-in targets are usually laid out in 5 yard increments from 10 to 55 yards. There is usually plenty of fresh paper to use for sight-in and some clubs put out swinging and knock down targets for you to use also.
Above and below. Shooters using sight-in time.
Registration usually takes place before or during the sight-in session. Local monthly match fees range between $5 and $20.
The registration info is used so that the MD can make up the squads for the day. Usually shooters shooting the same class are squadded together but shooters can request their partners for the day too. The MD will squad the new shooters with more experienced ones so they can help out the new shooters as needed.
There are 6 main classes for an AAFTA match. These include the divisions of Open, Hunter and WFTF which are then broken down into PCP or Piston class in each division. Depending on the participants for the day, the MD may do some consolidation to ensure that there are at least 3 shooters in each division.
After the registration and sight-in is completed, shooters usually jump in to lend a hand helping to tear down the sight-in range then make their way to the Field Target range.
Once at the Field Target range, shooters get situated and the MD starts the shooters meeting. When the shooters meeting is finished, the MD will assign the shooters their starting lane assignment and squad mates.
Lane layouts vary by location but always consist of lane markers and a shooting box. The rifles barrel must be between the lane markers and the shooter’s body must be behind them. As far as the course layouts go, it may be a walking path through the woods, in a line in an open field, under a covered range or whatever works best for the hosting venue.
Once the lanes are assigned the MD will call the line “Hot”. Shooters can then commence the match.
When you address a lane, make sure your equipment is set within your reach and that all the targets are pulled up and visible. The time allowed for each lane may vary and – if so – this will have been relayed to the competitors during the shooters meeting.
Lane time usually starts when the shooter sits down for a normal non-positional lane or when the shooter touches his/her rifle when at a positional lane. Any questions as to when the time starts or the target shooting order, ask your squad mates. They will be more than willing to help!
As stated previously, there will be 2 or 3 targets per lane with the shooter taking 2 shots at each target in the order and under the time limits that was set by the MD prior to the start of the match. Hits/knockdowns will be scored with an “X” while misses will be scored with a “O”. Shooters will shoot their lane and then continue on to the next one after all the shooters in their squad have completed that lane.
Below is a sample of a typical score card. Note that the shooters started on lane 9 and the target order for the match was 2 shots at the left target then 2 shots at the middle target then 2 shots at the right target. Also, note in this sample that the amount of targets per lane varied from 2 to 3.
Below. A typical scorecard.
There will probably be plenty of chatter going on during the match as everyone is there to shoot and enjoy the day. As soon as the shooter sits down, most of the chatter subsides. Depending on the closeness of the lanes you’ll probably be hearing things form the next lane or 2. Just be prepared and try to block out what you need to.
As you progress through your first match it will become apparent what things you’ll need to work on. There will be plenty of variation to test you as you go through the match.
Once the match is complete the scores will be tallied and awards will be handed out. Awards for local club matches consist of ribbons, certificates or other type of memorabilia that the MD has come up with. After that everyone helps to tear down the course and pack it away till the next one.
Hopefully these first three articles have given you enough information as to what to expect for your first match. This is a sport for all ages and genders! We’ve seen shooters ranging in age from 8 to 80+ and all ages in between. Plenty of Husband/Wife, Grandfather/Grandson, Father/Daughter, etc. duos have participated too.
Look up a local Field Target event in your area and give it a try!