Greg’s Guide to Field Target. Part Nine – Sticks and Seats.
It’s been a long winter here in the Northeast, but Spring has finally Sprung. Now it’s time for the Field Target matches to begin. Well, actually quite a few all around the United States already have begun!
Now since the season is underway, I need to get all my equipment out of storage and ready to go! I’ll also touch on a few other things and give all the new Field Target shooters a few more pointers on what to expect come match day.
That’s me in our heading photograph above, shooting Field Target with sticks and seat. As you can see, I shoot primarily in AAFTA’s Hunter Division – though I have dabbled a little in a couple of the other Field Target Divisions over the years – so I’ll concentrate my efforts/planning on that.
After all I did in the previous articles to make sure my equipment was set-up to my liking, I need to make sure I’m comfortable and steady when I’m at a match. Something I haven’t touched on previously, but will now, is seat and sticks (or no sticks) options for Field Target shooting.
For seat options in Field Target Hunter Division, AAFTA states: “Any form of seat without back or arms support may be used, but the seat may NOT be used to support the rifle while shooting.”
That means there is no height restriction, so find out what works the best for you! Below are a few options I have seen at my Field Target matches.
A participant using a taller seat with a set of adjustable shooting sticks that were modified to the height they felt comfortable with:
A participant using a crate (with cushion) and an adjustable set of shooting sticks:
A participant using a shortened 5 gallon bucket along with some homemade shooting sticks:
A participant using a low “turkey seat” with a set of adjustable shooting sticks:
And a participant using a thin pad and NO sticks:
As you can see, there is no magic combination. So long as what you have chosen works for you, then stick with it!
If you are having problems and don’t feel that you you are shooting up to your potential, then by all means try a different combination of seat height and/or sticks and see if that helps. Remember, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it works for everyone.
Not sure if you noticed or not, but another thing that was common in all the pictures above is that all the participants had a gun case, cradle or some kind of homemade combination of the two by their sides. This is not a requirement at all Field Target shoots, but it is becoming more and more a rule at the venues I travel to.
A case or cradle (preferably covered) not only keeps your equipment safe and organized. It also helps to make the other participants at the match feel at ease. You will be walking around to get to the next lane and this will instill a feeling of safety of no accidental discharge among everyone.
Another thing of note is, practice with your setup! All AAFTA Field Target sanctioned matches have a time limit once you address the lane.
The timer is usually started at the first time when the first of the following happens:
– your bottom hits the seat for non-positional shots
– your knee hits the ground for kneeling shots
– when your rifle touches your shoulder
– you look through the scope on standing shots.
For non-positional shots, make sure your seat is where you want it. Also have your sticks are at the ready. Make sure your case is positioned and unzipped/unlatched so that you won’t be fumbling around once your bottom hits the seat and the timer starts.
OK, now that I have my seat, sticks and gun case ready, I need to make sure I have my other necessary supplies together.
In my gun case, I usually carry:
– a couple of extra tins of pellets
– some necessary tools for any need quick gun repair
– a towel/rag to wipe down myself or equipment
– bug spray
– safety glasses
– my range card.
Besides the rifle, these are the most important things not to forget!
My pellet pouch, pellets (the ones used to set the gun up with, I don’t want to be using light pellets in a rifle that likes heavies!) and my range card for the rifle I’m using that day.
Now if I opt to shoot PCP for the day, I better remember to bring my air supply! Now this is not too much of a big deal since there will be others shooting PCP and they will be more than willing to give you a fill. Also some Match Directors will have air available for shooters to use.
Along with what I carry with me in my gun case, I usually carry a range bag that I leave in the car that has more tools, gun oil, additional pellets, etc. just in case the need for any of those items arise.
I also always take a back-up rifle with me for whatever class I’m shooting that day. Unfortunately I’ve had to use the back-up on a couple of occasions.
There’s nothing worse than traveling a long distance to a Field Target match (whether it be a small monthly match or big Regional/National event) and having your equipment malfunction with no back-up available!
Well, that about covers the equipment portion of what I take with me, but there is more…
Since most Field Target matches last 4+/- hours, my wife and I make sure we pack some drinks and snacks/lunch. The closest match we travel to (besides the one we run locally) is a 2 1/2 hour ride one-way.
This makes for a long day, so we do get hungry and thirsty! We also make sure to take along a change of clothes, shoes and rain gear. There has definitely been some times where these were used!
Hopefully this article gives you a little insight on some pre-match prep! Make sure you have the main things with you (rifle/pellets) and then pack whatever other things you think you might want/need for the day.
Once you have everything together and packed then head out to a match near you and have Field Target FUN!