ALL ON A PLATE

Gary Chilling­worth takes on a tough new course with ‘in­ter­est­ing’ re­sults

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Gary Chilling­worth with all the win­ners of Round I of the Na­tion­als, from Mis­fits

H appy days! It’s that time of year when Pete Sparkes, the head hon­cho of UKAHFT, is re­moved from cold stor­age and the UKAHFT Na­tion­als se­ries be­gins a year- long march to­ward ‘The Gath­er­ing’ and the crown­ing of a new Na­tional Cham­pion. The Na­tion­als is not just about com­pe­ti­tion at the high­est level, it’s also about pro­mot­ing the sport of air­gun­ning and bring­ing new shoot­ers into the world of com­pet­i­tive HFT.

For 2018, we ap­pear to have a record num­ber of new shoot­ers join­ing the se­ries, and they range in abil­ity from to­tal new­bies to ex­pe­ri­enced hunters who just want to hone their skills, and spend a pleas­ant Sun­day shoot­ing tin chick­ens and drink­ing tea.

Our com­peti­tors for 2018 range from young­sters, nine and up­wards, to a few oc­to­ge­nar­i­ans who are com­pet­ing in the Veter­ans class. In fact, we have seven main in­di­vid­ual classes; Ju­niors 9-13 and 14-16, Ladies, .22 and Re­coil­ing, Veter­ans and the Open class for PCPs.

NOT TOO SE­RI­OUS

At each round there are two ses­sions; the first is where most of the big guns hang out and is still friendly, but slightly more se­ri­ous. The af­ter­noon ses­sion is much more re­laxed and for the new shooter, this is where I would rec­om­mend you start.

Round one of nine was at a new club for the UKAHFT. Mis­fits is at a new venue lo­cated just a few miles from Leicester. Set par­tially in wood­land and on the side of a fe­ro­cious hill, I have a sneak­ing sus­pi­cion that this ground is go­ing to be­come a firm favourite in the world of com­pet­i­tive HFT. Mis­fits is the home of Greg Hens­man and his team of course- set­ting repro­bates. Greg is not a new­bie to the run­ning of HFT events and has been the guid­ing light be­hind the Daystate Mid­land Hunter se­ries for many years. He and his team have also been one of the course- set­ting teams be­hind the HFT World Cham­pi­onships for the last four to five years, so with this pedi­gree, there is no doubt that this event was go­ing to be chal­leng­ing.

WAIT­ING YOUR TURN

I shoot in the Re­coil­ing class, so I was placed into the sec­ond

ses­sion and as I sat there wait­ing to shoot and eat­ing a very nice ba­con sand­wich, I watched the ses­sion one bods start to walk off the course after they had shot. There were a few smil­ing faces, but the vast ma­jor­ity looked be­wil­dered, and on fur­ther ques­tion­ing, they all ad­mit­ted that the course had beaten them – the com­ments con­tained much bad lan­guage, but the gist was, it was a bril­liant course that had every­one dazed and con­fused.

When it was my time to shoot, I walked out look­ing for­ward to the start of the sea­son, and started to shoot well, but I was miss­ing shot after shot. I was look­ing at a tar­get and in my mind I knew the range, but my pel­lets were hit­ting high and low. I knew there was noth­ing wrong with my ri­fle, I was just mis-rang­ing ev­ery­thing and that was down to clever use of the tun­nel ef­fect – place a tar­get in a tun­nel of trees and it looks fur­ther away then it re­ally is – and a mix­ture of odd-sized face­plates.

Then we ar­rived on the field sec­tion and things went from bad to ‘I want my mummy’. Not only was it al­most im­pos­si­ble to rangefind, but the wind was rolling down the hill from the top to the bot­tom, grab­bing the pel­lets and toss­ing them to­ward the hori­zon. I think by this point you might have worked out that I didn’t do very well.

The Mis­fits ground is great; it’s pic­turesque, tough to shoot and the peo­ple and ba­con rolls were great. For round one of the Na­tion­als, it set a stan­dard that will be very hard to beat.

LO­CAL KNOWL­EDGE

There was one chap who did very well and that was the afore­men­tioned Greg Hens­man, who only missed a sin­gle tar­get and took the Open class with his Daystate Tsar; in the Ladies, Sarah Pantling was vic­to­ri­ous; in .22, Ja­son Lock­ett was again the win­ner, and the Re­coil­ing went to Steve Whit­ing. I pointed out to him that his scope was bro­ken be­fore the event, and he then used his back- up gun and beat me. Yes, I’m an id­iot.

The Veter­ans was taken by Geoff Ry­der, and the Ju­niors 9-13 win­ner was Myla Par­sons-Smith; 14-16 was taken by Me­gan Reed. The club event went to Mis­fits and the Sol­ware man­u­fac­turer’s tro­phy was taken by Walther.

The round was spon­sored by Daystate and they pre­sented a stun­ning Hunts­man Re­gal ri­fle. The Re­gal is bril­liant for both HFT and hunt­ing, with both multi- and sin­gle- shot ca­pac­ity, a new larger air cylin­der and ti­ta­nium valv­ing. The Re­gal is both re­li­able and con­sis­tent and a plea­sure to shoot, and the lucky win­ner was Ethan Pantling.

Well done, Mis­fits, and roll on round two!

The chrono­graph (sup­plied by BAR) is an im­por­tant part of the week­end

FAR LEFT: Graeme Car­gan with an Alutec TX200 (Yes, a TX200 in a metal stock)

LEFT: Ethan Pantling re­ceives his raf­fle prize from Joff Haigh of Daystate

LEFT: Abi Maw on her way to a stun­ning 2nd place with her HFT-500

LEFT: Greg Hens­man was the over­all win­ner with his Daystate Tsar

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