Gary Chilling­worth with com­pe­ti­tion news, from Cam­bridge, and the South­ern Hunters

Air Gunner - - Contents -

The Cam­bridge round of the Na­tion­als is al­ways one of the first to sell out. Yes, it’s cer­tainly true that this pop­u­lar club has one of the largest and most con­sis­tent mem­ber­ships, but the rea­son it’s al­ways over­sub­scribed is that Cam­bridge puts on a truly test­ing course.

The club it­self is lo­cated in the small vil­lage of Shep­reth, and is set over two sep­a­rate wood­lands. How­ever, for the Na­tion­als, hav­ing peo­ple walk be­tween the two woods is not al­ways fea­si­ble, so for the Cam­bridge round, they take over part of a farmer’s field and this can cause real havoc and dis­tress to an HFT shooter.

When you are in wood­land, the trees help to break up the wind and wav­ing branches and fall­ing leaves make it much eas­ier to iden­tify which way the wind is blow­ing, but when you are in a bar­ren field with noth­ing to look at but dirt and rocks, it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to gauge wind speed or di­rec­tion. It’s like hav­ing one of you senses re­moved.


It’s amaz­ing how hard it is to judge longer dis­tances be­tween your­self and the tar­get when you have no mid­way points, and this is why Cam­bridge is al­ways an in­ter­est­ing place to shoot. For 2017, the course cer­tainly did not dis­ap­point. Half of the tar­gets were in the woods, and the other half in the field, so it was not un­com­mon to see peo­ple walk from the wood­land with a smug look on their faces and then see them an hour later as they walked from the field with a look of hor­ror and be­muse­ment. One shooter told me that they had not missed a sin­gle tar­get in the woods, but had only killed two tar­gets in the field. This is the joy of Cam­bridge and it’s why we come back year af­ter year.

I would love to sit here and tell you that I tamed this beast of a course, but I’m afraid it not only kicked my back­side, it gift wrapped it for me and handed it to me on a plat­ter. How­ever, my good friend and fel­low springer shooter, Matt Good­son, showed me how to shoot a boinger prop­erly and took top place in the Re­coil­ing class. In the Open class, Ja­son Bress­ing­ton was top dog; the Vet­eran class went to Cam­bridge mem­ber, Ron

“they take over part of a farmer’s field and this can cause real havoc and dis­tress to an HFT shooter”

Whit­ney, and the Ladies to Michelle Par­sons; the .22 went to Ja­son Lock­ett and the 9-13 Ju­niors to Megan Reed. Ethan Pantling took the Ju­nior 14-16. I must also say that we were awarded some of the nicest tro­phies of the sea­son and these were pro­duced by ACO Drainage. The round was spon­sored by Sure Shot, and He­len Kel­ley was the proud win­ner of a stun­ning Zbroia Hor­tisia 450/220 PCP Ri­fle.­bridge­ www.sureshot-air­


The win­ter and fes­tive sea­son is now ap­proach­ing and that means three things; the first is the on­slaught of Christ­mas ad­ver­tis­ing; the sec­ond is im­pend­ing glut­tony and fi­nan­cial ruin, and luck­ily, the third is the re­turn of the Air Arms South­ern Hunter se­ries, and that makes win­ter one of my favourite times of the year.

The South­ern Hunters was the first ma­jor se­ries that I ever com­peted in and it holds a spe­cial place in my heart. It is filled with a smörgås­bord of shoot­ers from the down­right batty to the hy­per- com­pet­i­tive tour­na­ment shooter. The cour­ses are still set to the same spec’ as the UKAHFT Na­tion­als and be­cause of this, it gives some per­fect prac­tice through­out the win­ter months, but the whole feel of the se­ries is dif­fer­ent.

Of course, there are some of us who take it very se­ri­ously, but the whole point of the South­erns is to have fun, and if you have ever thought about giv­ing com­pet­i­tive HFT a try, then this is the place to start. I can as­sure you that you’ll get a very warm wel­come.

Round one was held at Buxted and it would be fair to say that the vast ma­jor­ity of the shoots are held around the Sus­sex area, with the oc­ca­sional trip into Es­sex and Hert­ford­shire. Buxted is a won­der­ful place to shoot and no mat­ter how many times I go there, it is al­ways a real chal­lenge. Andy Simp­son and his team of min­ions have set the cour­ses at the HFT World cham­pi­onships for the last three years and when they are on their home turf, they set cour­ses that will chal­lenge the best shoot­ers in the world.


There are nine rounds of com­pe­ti­tion, and tro­phies in all classes, in­clud­ing; Open, Ju­nior, Re­coil­ing, .22 Ladies and Vet­er­ans, and for 2017/18 there is also the Com­bined class. This tro­phy is for peo­ple who want to shoot two rounds each of Open, Re­coil­ing and .22, and cer­tainly an­swers the ques­tion of who the best all-round shooter will be.

The round it­self is ev­ery­thing that you would ex­pect from Andy, with tough tar­gets and range traps aplenty, but this piece is not re­ally about Round One. It’s about try­ing to con­vince you to come and have a go at HFT. If you are in the south, come to the South­ern Hunters; if you hail from the Mid­lands, try the Daystate Mid­land Hunters, and if you live up north, then they have the Gaunt­let se­ries. HFT will im­prove your shoot­ing. It will make you a bet­ter hunter, and I prom­ise you, you will make lots of new friends who love to talk about guns, tea, and ba­con sand­wiches.

There were some win­ners on the day and it would be re­miss of me not to men­tion them; in the Open class, first place went to Justin Rayner; Re­coil­ing was won by Nigel Wood; 0.22 by Ja­son Lock­ett; Ju­niors Abi Maw, and Vet­er­ans, Phil Ja­cobs. I won the Air Arms goodie bag!

“Buxted is a won­der­ful place to shoot and no mat­ter how many times I go there, it is al­ways a real chal­lenge”

Farm ma­chin­ery is a great back stop

Dave Tay­lor was told to grin and bear it, he took it lit­er­ally

He­len Kelly with her new Ze­broia from Sure Shot

Oh to be young and flex­i­ble again

This is Nick, he is a SH .22 shooter, need I say more?

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