Publess HFT - the latest fun idea from Maldon & District, and Gary Chillingworth
During the winter months, it can be a real struggle to get out into the woods and shoot some HFT. The rain, wind and the cold can make old bones start to creek and groan, and before you know it, a few months have gone by and all those skills that you honed over the summer have started to disappear.
So, this is why Maldon has always been at the forefront of winter shooting, and it’s found a way to not only keep the members at the peak of their ability, but also raise some money for Richard Woods to take a nice warm holiday and get out of the cold. I will point out that Richard has always denied this and has always stated that his trips abroad have involved serious research into improving HFT for the club, but as the picture shows, I think he’s just been going on a jolly.
The M. A.D. winter series has now had three incarnations; the first was winter HFT and this was quite simply a bunch of reprobates in a field with high-power torches, shooting targets. Now, this was a lot of fun and there is no doubt that shooting at night is a real challenge, but it was so cold and because it was taking four or five days to thaw out after each shoot, winter HFT was shelved.
Then in 2015, PUB HFT was born. This was HFT, but shooting from the back door of a pub. This was a great idea; it was warm and after the shooting there was beer and food and it was oh, so civilised, but pubs are there to make money and unfortunately PUB HFT became too expensive so in 2016 our latest incarnation was born – Publess HFT. Luckily, Maldon has a very large plinking range and also a large shack to shoot from, so Richard decided to install a generator and removable floodlights and set out a course. I will point out that both the generator and the lights aren’t left at the club, so if you want to use the range at night, you will need to supply your own lighting.
You might be sitting there thinking that this is just a bit of fun, or just a gimmick, and to a certain extent, you are correct – at least about the fun part. This type of shooting is competitive, although mainly about fun, but it also has a purpose. The course uses 10 targets that are shot three times; two unsupported kneelers, two unsupported standers, two supported kneelers, two supported standers and two prone targets.
On top of this, everyone is given a copy of the ranges of all the targets, so if you miss, it’s down to lack of talent or not reading the wind correctly. Giving shooters the ranges was a stroke of genius because it enables the participants to identify their own weaknesses as a shooter.
For example, I knew that with my springer, shooting prone was easy, but what I didn’t realise was how hard I found shooting kneeling targets. As I looked at my card at the end of the shoot, I saw that I hadn’t knocked down a single kneeling shot – supported or unsupported.
MISSING THE PATTERN
If you shoot a standard course with only a few of a certain type of target, then it’s easy to miss patterns, but when you are shooting a series like this, you can’t hide from your shortcomings and if you want to be competitive, you will have to address them.
Publess HFT is more than just shooting; it costs a pound more than a normal shoot and this money is spent on Jaffa cakes, doughnuts, pizza slices and the odd piece of strudel. As people shoot, they grab a sausage roll and have a chat and it helps to bring the team together.
There is no doubt that when you shoot as a team, you will improve. You can watch each other, and shooters will help you with technique and guidance. This is why Maldon has become greater than the sum of its parts; this is the reason that we have become the most successful team in the history of the UKAHFT, because no matter what your issue, shooting or otherwise, there is someone there to help you.
I am glad to say that I have learned from the best in the country, and as we move toward the 2018 UKAHFT series, I have no doubt that team M.A.D. will fight the good fight and take on the best that the country has to offer. If you are a shooter, be it hunter, plinker or bench rest wizard, join a club and have some fun and remember – practice and Jaffa cakes are what champions are made of.
“I am glad to say that I have learned from the best in the country”
Richard on one of his HFT fact-finding missions to Magaluf
The night time- crew. The pic’s not grainy - they look like that in real life A 25mm supported stander at 35 yards is hard in the daylight!
Simon Vant uses an LED Lenser torch in the early days of night- time HFT
With some electrickery, shooting is a night- time sport
Countryman Fairs was the first sponsor of Nighttime HFT