Greg’s Guide to Field Target Shooting – A Typical FT Match.

In this part of our series, I’ll describe what happens at a typical FT match. We’ll be concentrating on the “social side” today because this is a big and important part of every typical FT match.

So, let me tell you about our last match at BCSA (Broome County Sportsmen’s Association, Binghamton, NY) and see if if I can inspire you to get out and give it a try!

This was a pretty typical FT match…

Our monthly match was supposed to happen on Saturday August 12th 2017 but because of the threat of rain in the forecast, we unfortunately had to cancel.

As the Match Director, my wife and I usually do our setup on the day before the match. So I made the cancellation call at 11:00am on Friday August 11th. Later that evening, I asked my wife what she thought about asking who was in for doing the match on Sunday. I was watching all the weather websites and things were looking pretty decent for then.

Her answer was: “Why don’t you email everyone and see what kind of response we get?”

So I went ahead and sent out a mass email to all past, present and future participants that I had email addresses for. Within 9 minutes of sending the email, I got my first response saying they were in…

The emails continued to come in about 10 minutes apart – all saying yes. With around 15 people saying yes, it was Match On! A truly die-hard bunch of airgun fanatics that are more than willing to change plans just to shoot a match. Don’t you want to be one?

Due to the fact that we weren’t able to setup before the rescheduled match day I pushed the start time ahead an hour so my wife and I could get things setup and ready before the day’s participants arrived.

With the start time set at 9:00am, we got to the range Sunday morning at 6:00am to start the set-up for our typical FT match.

We had just laid out and measured the distances to the targets in a couple of the lanes when the first participant of the day arrived. Art and his wife immediately jumped in a lent us a hand laying out the rest of the targets.

See, Field Target shooters are a GREAT bunch of individuals that are always willing to jump in and lend a helping hand at every step!

Greg’s Guide to Field Target Shooting - A Typical FT Match.

After we finished setting all the targets for the day’s match, more and more people arrived for the day’s fun. With the help of others, we set up the sight-in range and were finally able to take a breath, relax and catch up with what was new with everybody.

We started our sight-in right at 9:00 am, as you can see below, thanks to all the helping hands!

Greg’s Guide to Field Target Shooting - A Typical FT Match.

After about an hour of sighting-in and shooting the bull, we had our Shooters’ Meeting and handed out the lane assignments for the day.

One of our regulars brought along a first time Field Target shooter with him. YES, this could be you!

Bill brought his buddy Louis with him. I squadded Louis with Bill, so that Bill could give him a helping hand and give him guidance as the other attendees at this typical FT match were all regulars.

The match went on with just a tiny little misty type sprinkle, but overall turned out to be a great day!

As always, there were many targets being knocked down, some gentle good-natured ribbing, plenty of grumbling about how the devious Match Director set some dark targets in some really dark lanes. Most of all there was plenty of help and guidance…

At the club level, well pretty much at all levels, other shooters are more than willing to help each other out with words of encouragement and little tips when needed. Kind of sounds like an atmosphere that you’d like to be around – well, what are you waiting for?

Going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure that everybody had a GREAT time! Everyone thanked us for rescheduling the match.

As at any typical FT match, there were a couple little rivalries going on between competitors and that’s always fun to watch.

Our newbie for the day, Louis was having blast! He was actually using one of our club’s loaner guns, and even though he didn’t knock down the most targets, he was having fun!

Below, Bill encourages Louis at his first FT shoot.

Greg’s Guide to Field Target Shooting - A Typical FT Match.

At the conclusion of the match, the ladies tallied the scores. During that time, there was plenty of chit chat between the competitors and also plenty of ”Hey, can I try your rifle?” This is always met with an enthusiastic “YES!”

We then handed out the awards for each division. All 3 of the AAFTA (American Airgun Field Target Association) divisions, Open, WFTF and Hunter, were represented. The only class out of the 6 that wasn’t shot by anyone was the Piston Class in the Open Division. See, there is a place for everyone at a typical FT match!

After all the awards were presented, everyone jumped in and lent a hand in tearing things down and helped put them away till next month.

There was then the normal “Are we going to see you next week at So and So’s match?” Or “We won’t be able to make it to So and So’s, but we will see you the following week at that match.”

This makes the typical FT match like a weekly/biweekly get together of friends…

Yes, we don’t get to see everyone at every venue, due to the distance some have to travel, but when you get to a different venue, you get to reconnect with a whole other bunch of friends. You are more than welcome to come join us!

Below. Presenting the Award for Hunter Piston class. That’s HAM Tester Eric Brewer on the left and Greg on the right.

Greg’s Guide to Field Target Shooting - A Typical FT Match.

At the end of the day, I asked Louis how he liked his first Field Target match? The answer was he’s already looking for his own equipment! Don’t miss out, you too can become a Louis!

I hope this description of a typical FT match has inspired you to give it a try. With only a few more months left for the 2017 Field Target season, there’s still chance for you to get out there…

There are plenty of FT matches left across the U.S., so what are you waiting for?

Read the previous part of Greg’s Guide to Field target shooting here.