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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:21 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:21 pm
Posts: 2102
Location: Greater Napanee, ON, Canada
In terms of formality, FT is about as relaxed as you will ever find in shooting sports. Some refer to it as formal and I would argue it is anything but formal. So I thought I would attempt to describe a typical FT day.

I arrive at the club at 8:00AM to open the clubhouse and equipment barn and then unload my vehicle. Usually during this process the first people start to arrive and immediately jump in to help. We have paper targets to put on the backers for the sight-in range and once that is done a tape measure is laid out in order to place targets every five yards out to 55 yards. We place two sets of these targets (22) out, one set on each side of the sight-in range. We also place spinners, knock-up knock-down targets, Parker's multi-spinner popper targets and sometimes some field targets throughout the sight-in range.

While this is going on, the five or six people who volunteer to set up lanes for the match are out in the bush doing their part to create a fun and challenging course. From what I have seen, we are quite unique, in that so many take responsibility to help set up the FT course. I feel very fortunate and grateful to FT friend who are willing to help like this. I usually set up my targets on the Friday before on the lanes just beyond the sight-in range. That way, the sight-in range can be opened while the rest of the course is being set up.

The sight-in range is usually open by or before 9:30AM and folk are free to punch paper or shoot any of the reactive targets. Many want to confirm that the scope numbers they have are correct and some actually set up their rifle on the sight-in range before the match. Shooting from sitting, standing, prone and kneeling positions takes place. We continue this until 10:45 when the shooter's meeting is called. Keep in mind that meeting new friends and catching up with old friends is ongoing throughout the entire day.

At the shooter's meeting, safety is stressed and any rules that need explanation are taken care of. The order in which targets are to be shot and procedures for protesting what you believe to be a faulty target are reviewed. When there are no more questions, experienced shooters pair up with new shooters and the rest pair up with one or two shooters to form a squad. Most do their best to make sure that they pair up with pretty well every shooter at some time during the season. At this time we pick up score cards on a clipboard and head out into the woods for the match.

Your squad walks the course until you find a lane than no one else had occupied yet and that is your starting lane. You get your equipment ready and then sit down and wait for the "Hot Line" announcement. The members of the squad determine who shoots first and if the order remains the same for the day or rotates. When the hot line is called, the first shooters steps into the shooting box and prepares to shoot the lane. Some talk the whole time they are setting up and only stop for a few seconds to break the shot while others get very quiet for the entire time they are addressing the lane. It does not take long to figure out what people like and everyone respects what the other shooter's prefer. The non-shooting partner fills in the score card for the one shooting. So we take a leisurely walk through the forest, shooting the breeze about whatever comes up and stop every 10 to 15 minutes to shoot a few targets. This continues for about two and a half to three hours. When the match phase is completed, we head back to the clubhouse, usually wondering how everyone else performed on the course and inevitably complaining about a couple of "impossible" shots on the course.

Back at the clubhouse the scores are tallied as score cards are handed in and snacks and drinks are enjoyed while everyone compares their experience on the course or just shoots the breeze. When scores are all in, we make the presentation of award, which generally brings equal portions of laughter and applause. We have many that make sure the atmosphere is always friendly and fun.

With the match and awards over, some have to leave, but many head back out onto the sight-in range for more fun and this is when a lot of gun sharing occurs. Many new shooters are blown away when someone drops a rig that would cost between four and five grand on their lap and say give this a try. You may shoot anything from a Crosman 1377 to a Steyr FT topped with a Schmidt and Bender scope. There are guns folks have modified, custom made guns like the ld/SS and home made guns like the LJFT. Normally some pistols make it out to the range as well for folks to see and try out. Many people have gained the information they needed to guide the purchase of their next air gun from these sessions.

These sessions have continued to the point where they have to be stopped so I do not end up pulling my targets from the area beyond the sight-in range in the dark. At this point people chip in to help pull all the targets from the sight-in range and also help me to get my targets taken in. Once all the equipment is stowed away in vehicles or the storage barn we make plans of where to meet for supper and you guessed it, more talk of air guns and air-gunning.

The group heads out to the chosen restaurant while I lock up and set the alarm. At the restaurant, we enjoy another hour or two of eating and visiting, prolonging the hardest part of the day when we head our separate ways. I know not everyone can make it to these get-together sessions after leaving the club, but I would encourage everyone to make at least one per season to complete the day. It just feels right to end the day like this.

So that's it, a typical FT match day. So all told, we have shot for between six and seven hours and talked visited for about five more hours. When I finally get home I am beat, but it is that satisfied kind of feeling that you want when a day has been full and rewarding. Those that have experienced it know what I am talking about and for those who have not had the chance yet, you owe yourself the opportunity to find out firsthand what all the fuss is about.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you on FT courses across Canada.

Man, now I am really itching to get out there and shoot.

CAFTA Governor

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:38 pm
Posts: 5335
Location: Southern Ontario
That sums up a typical match for sure.. Always fun and always a pleasure...
Thanks for sharing that Tim. I hope to see more folks head out and experience first hand what it's like shooting in one of these memorable FT fun events.. 8)

    Shoot Safely, Shoot Often & Share Your Sport!...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:45 pm
Posts: 998
Location: Kingston, ON
Great write-up Tim!
I look forward to getting out again too. FT is a great way to spend a day! 8)

-Canadian Plinker

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:28 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 11:03 pm
Posts: 5330
Location: home of the Marshville Festival, Ontario, Canada
Excellent summation of a typical FT match.
Now we're really itching to get out there..... :D .

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:38 pm 

Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 12:21 pm
Posts: 1099
Thanks for that Tim!! It gives me a great image of what a match day would be like. It sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to improve your shooting.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 4:01 pm
Posts: 197
Location: halton hills
Nice job on that description Mac.
You even managed to make me feel guilty about my own personal reasons for being that guy who takes off early. :roll: I swear that there is good reason, otherwise I would endeavor to help A.M.A.P. ( as much as possible )
I have been fortunate enough to be amongst those that " get where you're coming from, " & I recommend a day of Field Target shooting to anyone.

2- 8)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:27 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:14 am
Posts: 161
I missed the last field target match :( was out late doing sound at a rave, DJs went an hour late, driver was another 45 minutes late= no time to get to burlington :(

i am never again trading 9 hours of happy hardcore (its like a giant pink flowery hammer hitting you in the head at 170bpm) for a FT match :x :cry:

hopefully ill get to come out and shoot with you guys next match *sigh*

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