Back in my first post I mentioned that I started to get into HFT by shooting at practice ranges. If you are looking to have a go at HFT without the possible stress of competition or low scores, I think this is the way to go.
Quick disclaimer – The photos used here are from the Derbyshire Air rifle Club website which I have linked at the bottom of the post. I also have no affiliation to the club, I just like it there.
I actually started looking for a club that I could go to for some longer range target practice and plinking. I used to have a long garden but had moved house and no longer had that luxury.
There were a few local-ish clubs but I chose to go to ‘Derbyshire Air Rifle Club’. Also known as Yeavely. I looked on the website and saw they had a plinking range so thought that would do for me.
When I turned up for my first go, there was the usual safety briefing and tour for people new to the club. Dave (safety and tour guide) showed me the plinking range, paper target area and also the 30 target HFT course set in some woods beyond the other ranges.
I started off at the paper target range so I could zero my gun after a few months without use. Then the plinking range which was how I had originally planned to spend my morning. But I kept looking over at that HFT course…
There was a rough dirt track just beyond the plinking range which lead behind the club house and into a small wooded area. A mixt of trees, some open ground, and a small stream running through the middle. For an outdoors person like myself it looked very tempting.
The targets were mostly the classic HFT knock down type. Standard crows, squirrels and rats. There were a range of kill zones, ranging from very generous (I think for beginners like myself) to tiny rat’s eyes at close range. There were also a couple of ‘lollipop’ targets. This is like it sounds, a small circular target on top of a stick. No kill zone, either hit it or miss.
If I remember right it was a bit damp that day, so I found a piece of cardboard in the back of my car and adopted the classic FT seated pose (although I didn’t know it at the time), for most targets. A couple were clearly standing only and I had a go at those too.
Once I got settled some of the closer targets started to fall over and I was hooked. I went through the course twice, making up my own rules and having multiple shots at most targets. I wasn’t used to shots past 30 yards with the gun I had at the time, so the ones at 45 felt like miles for me. I think i struggled to even plate them but it didn’t matter. I wasn’t holding anyone up, and no-one seemed to mind.
I also played with my scope a lot! If you read the previous post on HFT rules this is a big no-no. However at a practice day you can go crazy. I think if I had looked on the internet to find advice about my magnification and focus (parallax), I would have learnt a lot less than I did.
I didn’t know the rules, the ranges, how to score, or even what positions to shoot in. And I had a great time. I’ve since been back a few times, and taken some friends to try it too. The fact that all of them have continued shooting says a lot for the club and the set-up they have.
My advice, if you are completely new to HFT, is to do what I did. Don’t worry about any of the rules or keeping score. Just go round have have fun, think about the rest later on.
I found the club through the forum ‘Airgunbbs’ on the Upcoming Events page. But they also have a website (which is where I borrowed the photos from):
Unfortunately I don’t have any photo’s of my own. What I’m planning on doing is going back with a camera, and I’ll do a full review of the club from a beginner’s perspective.