AC­CU­RACY MAT­TERS

PART 2 Mark Camoc­cio is help­ing us choose the right ri­fle for HFT -

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Mark Camoc­cio’s ad­vi­sory se­ries: Part Two of how to choose the per­fect ri­fle for your own HFT.

When I started FT shoot­ing back in the ‘80s, I was al­ways told to look at which makes of gun were win­ning in com­pe­ti­tion and to stick with them, and that old adage still rings true. Many guns are ob­vi­ously, and un­der­stand­ably built down to a price, and as a be­gin­ner or bud­get model, they can do the job nicely.

Look to an HFT tar­get course, though, and the re­quire­ments are some­what dif­fer­ent. Top- class ac­cu­racy is what we need and this does slightly limit the short list for po­ten­tial can­di­dates, ca­pa­ble of in­cred­i­ble group­ings down­range. Bar­rel qual­ity stands for a lot, and this can be an area where the higher grade brands have the edge. Weihrauch are ever-pop­u­lar in HFT, whether one of their qual­ity spring- gun range, or the ever­green HW100 se­ries, which con­tin­ues to of­fer ef­fort­less per­for­mance, in slim-line, hunt­ing-style pack­ages – equally at home on the HFT course. Walther’s LGV and LGU spring-pow­ered ri­fles are great per­form­ers, and of course, the ubiq­ui­tous Air Arms TX200 se­ries reg­u­larly fea­ture in the spring- gun prizes.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Rules and reg­u­la­tions do need to be con­sid­ered, and with most shots in HFT be­ing taken from the prone po­si­tion, when the shooter is ly­ing low on the ground, the stated rule that the gun’s pis­tol grip can­not make con­tact with the ground is sig­nif­i­cant, given how proud this area can be on cer­tain mod­els.

In­evitably, the trend for a deeper fore end on the stock, is the re­sult of an evo­lu­tion of the shoot­ers ap­proach, given the de­mands of a typ­i­cal HFT course; although here, the rules again keep things in check, with a stip­u­la­tion that the dis­tance from the cen­tre of the bar­rel to the bot­tom of the deep­est sec­tion of stock, can­not ex­ceed 150mm. Like­wise, the rule that al­lows the butt to touch the ground – a bit daft in my view, since this de­tracts from proper gun con­trol – has seen the rise in su­perdeep butt hooks to take ad­van­tage. Rules do dic­tate how ex­ten­sive the hook can be, yet over­all, at the mo­ment, they seem to be about right. Hu­man na­ture means that shoot­ers will try to push rules to the limit, and in the in­ter­ests of keep­ing the spirit of the sport, rules do oc­ca­sion­ally need to be

im­ple­mented in or­der to keep things fair, but by and large, it seems to work well at present.

Ded­i­cated HFT mod­els have now fil­tered through, such as the BSA Gold­star, and Air Arms HFT500. The BSA Gold­star (£ 899), of­fers a su­per- com­pact for­mat; fully ad­justable stock, with front ham­ster, cheek piece and butt sec­tion, all po­si­tion­able to suit the user, at the twist of an Allen key. With the stock avail­able in ei­ther beech, wal­nut or lam­i­nate, there’s plenty of choice, too. The Air Arms HFT500 (£ 991), again of­fers a slick de­sign, with a fully ad­justable lam­i­nate semi-match stock, and the op­tion for the com­pany’s add- on stock fore end, raiser block. Both these mod­els have tasted suc­cess on the cir­cuit, and are se­ri­ous op­tions for any com­peti­tor.

In­creased em­pha­sis is now be­ing placed on ad­justable stock el­e­ments, and the fact that the cheek can be moved to al­low for per­fect eye scope align­ment is a fea­ture ap­pre­ci­ated by a grow­ing army of en­thu­si­asts. Adapt­abil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity are the names of the game, though, given that hunter field tar­get pro­hibits the shooter from ad­just­ing ei­ther the ri­fle or scope, once the com­pe­ti­tion has started. At a stroke, this means that the gun needs to be set up to a us­able mid-point of ad­just­ment, which won’t prove awk­ward when adopt­ing a dif­fer­ent stance – all done prior to the event – and then left alone. With shoot­ers re­quired to move from a prone shot to a stand­ing shot, and then pos­si­bly to a kneeler, all with­out mak­ing ad­just­ments, a sleeker, more stream­lined ap­proach is prefer­able, and whichever stock you use, it needs to suit you and adapt with you.

GEN­ERAL GUID­ANCE

As al­ways, per­sonal taste can play a big part in the fi­nal de­ci­sion, and this guide is in­tended as a gen­eral over­view only of what to ex­pect. With the air­gun mar­ket awash with op­tions, choos­ing a model that is right for the in­di­vid­ual has ar­guably never been more con­fus­ing. Yet, with care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion and a process of elim­i­na­tion, not to men­tion in­put from your lo­cal club mem­bers, the task gets eas­ier. Re­mem­ber, just be­cause a par­tic­u­lar model is very pop­u­lar, doesn’t mean it has to suit you. We are all dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes, and there is an el­e­ment of per­sonal taste, and just what feels right at the end of the day.

Buy­ing the most ex­pen­sive kit will not nec­es­sar­ily trans­late into sil­ver­ware, ei­ther. Fa­mil­iar­ity, prac­tice, and all-im­por­tantly en­joy­ing the process, will more likely prove favourable in the long run. So, time to get down to that club ground, and test the wa­ter, get to use a va­ri­ety of ri­fles, and lis­ten to some se­ri­ous ad­vice. You won’t re­gret it!

“re­mem­ber, just be­cause a par­tic­u­lar model is very pop­u­lar, doesn’t mean it has to suit you”

The HFT500 is an­other ded­i­cated HFT model, bristling with fea­tures

Fancy the ‘ Re­coil­ing’ class? the Walther LGU is an ideal can­di­date

The BSA Gold­star SE is a su­per- com­pact, HFT- ded­i­cated model, with full ad­just­ment

HFT at­tracts all ages and sexes, and a great chal­lenge awaits

Air Arms’ HFT500 has al­ready taken a good share of sil­ver­ware

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