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Gary Chillingworth explains how the UKAHFT national shooting series works, how to get involved, and where/when the 2023 events will be running!
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This is the year! Yes, this is the year when you will grab your rifle, weigh your pellets and take part in the greatest shooting series the world has ever seen! OK, maybe that’s a little bit over the top, but trust me, grab your gun and come and have a go.
For those of you who have never taken part in an HFT competition, then the UKAHFT’s National series may seem a little daunting. You might have images of very serious people shooting targets and not speaking to each other, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The Nationals are more about fun and frivolity and if you meet the crew from Misfits, it’s mainly about ending up in the pub after the shoot and not getting home until 3am, smelling of cheap beer and telling tales of being fondled by Greg Hensman – and that’s only the men.
The UKAHFT is a series of 9 shoots of 30 targets We travel all over the country, from Maldon in Essex, to Redfearns up north, to Furnace Mill – which is over to the left – and a place called ‘Throckmorton’ which is somewhere between Hogwarts and Mordor.
Each event is split into two sessions, am and pm, and as a general rule, the PCP shooters who take things a bit more seriously shoot in the morning and in the afternoon we have more families, springers, .22, sticks and everyone else.
However, if you have a boinger or a .22 and want to shoot in the morning, this can always be accommodated, but if it’s your first time, the afternoon session is always filled with great people who will help you along.
Targets are from 8 to 45 yards, scoring 1 point for a plate, 2 for a kill, and 0 for a total miss. Most are shot prone, but we also have a free-kneeler and free-stander out to 35 yards, and four supported shots.
Classes include; Open (PCP), Ladies, .22, Recoiling, Jnrs, and for 2023, the Stick class, so no matter what sort of gun you have, as long as it’s sub-12 ft.lbs., then there will be a class for you.
As stated, we do have a Ladies class, but all ladies can shoot in any class and most do because, to be honest, most of them are better than the blokes.
So, 2023 should be a great series, starting off at Meon Valley on April 23rd, then heading for Misfits on May 21st, then Throckmorton on the 18th of June. Then it’s the first of the double-headers (Saturday and Sunday shoot) at Furnace Mill on July the 22nd and 23rd; party time at Maldon on August 19th and 20th for the next double-header, and then the HFT World Championships in September on the 16th and 17th.
If you want to shoot the Worlds, get in quick here! Booking opened on March 1st and it sells out quickly. The final two rounds are at Emley Moor and Redfearns on the 21st and 22nd of October. For those who qualify, there is the gathering in November, and this is when all the trophies are awarded and the champions are crowned.
Shooting a National is a great way to meet new people and visit new venues. Many of us can get caught in the habit of only ever shooting at our home clubs, and even though this is great, travelling around the country with friends brings the community closer together.
Most of the shoots are sponsored, and in the past we have given away rifles from Air Arms, Weihrauch, FX, Steyr, and BSA; scopes from Optisan, Vortex, Hawke and MTC.
We are supported by organisations like BASC, who sponsor the trophies; Solware, who pay for the winners’ jackets; Derwent, the AirGun Centre, and so many other organisations who I will mention in future articles.
I have spoken to so many people who want to take part, but are nervous of coming along. If it’s your first time then let the UKAHFT know and they will put you with an experienced shooter who can show you the ropes. It doesn’t matter how good you are as long as you are safe and if you make a mistake, you will not be shouted at by a marshal, but you might be required to buy someone tea as a penance.
What we are trying to do is promote the sport of shooting, if you are a hunter and just want to go for a day’s shooting, destroying tin chickens, then come along. If you are an FT shooter who can’t sit on a cushion for some reason or another, then come along and roll in the mud.
We don’t care if you have a Gamo springer with a 30x30 scope, or an XTI-50 from Air Arms, no one will judge you. Actually, scratch that – if you have an XTI-50 and a £2,000 March scope, and you get beaten by someone with a Gamo springer – you will get some ribbing, but it will be done with love.
Please come and have a go.
I look forward to seeing you soon – Gary
We join Rich Saunders on a grey squirrel hunt using ambush tactics, before Mat Manning reviews the JTS Airacuda Max, a PCP boasting affordable performance.
Mark Camoccio reviews the Hawke Vantage 8x42, and discovers a great all-round pair of binoculars that are an absolute steal at less than £150!
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