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 Post subject: Caliber Choice for FT
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:21 pm
Posts: 2102
Location: Greater Napanee, ON, Canada
Field Target (FT) was originally, at least partially, based on small game hunting. Many take that to mean the use of .22 caliber would be the best. The game has evolved since its introduction 30 years or so ago. It still has some resemblance to hunting, but also has a new level of precision that has evolved, closer to sniper shooting. Many factors have conspired to make .177 caliber the choice for serious FT shooting.

We have a 20 ft/lb limit in open and hunter classes, under CAFTA rules. This is the highest practical limit to prevent damage to the targets. Even with this limit, a target sometimes has to be straightened and paddle repaired or replaced. Only the WFTF classes are limited to 12 ft/lb.

In FT, one of the main factors, which affects the choice of caliber is the power limit. The power limits favour the use of the pellet with the flattest trajectory. Even the .177 pellets are on a downward trajectory when they get out past 45 yards. From the pellet’s point of view, this means that they are no longer headed to a round hit zone; they are headed towards an oblong hit zone. This is not a big factor with a .177 pellet at 20 ft/lb, but it increases significantly for the 12 ft/lb classes. The .22 caliber pellet has this amplified greatly due to the reduced velocity to stay under the 20 ft/lb limit. A .25 cal pellet would essentially be headed towards a crescent moon shape at the bottom of the hit zone to take a target at 55 yards with a power under 20 ft/lb. Odds of a knockdown would be very slim at best.

In the CAFTA rifle FT rules, there is no restriction on caliber (yet) but it is obvious that anything over .22 would put a shooter at a huge disadvantage.

Another concern would be aim points. In the FT classes where scope clicking is allowed, larger calibers would require a competitor to use multiple rotations of the elevation turret to get on target at the long ranges. Sometimes keeping track of one rotation is a strain. For hunter, where mil-dots are used for aim points, I could see running out of dots for aim points at long range, even if the zero is optimized for use with all the elevation dots.

The size of the hit zone also is a factor when considering the caliber of pellet to use. The .375” hit zone is quite common in FT matches, so the larger the caliber, the smaller your margin of error becomes.

In summary, I have not seen any gun used in a FT match that uses any caliber larger than .22. I am pretty sure the WFTF limits the caliber to .22. If you are just starting out and you only have one gun shooting under 20 ft/lb that you think is suitable for FT, by all means use it. If you really like the game and want to start being competitive, you may find yourself opting for the smaller calibers.

Hope this helps and answers some questions as to which one of your guns to use for FT.

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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 3:45 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:34 pm
Posts: 516
Location: Surrey, BC
Hi
.177 is still king in the FT world. But one of my favorite calibers are still the .20, the best of both worlds, you have the advantage of shooting a bigger caliber with the speed of a .177. I like the advantage of the .20

See what you can find of the .20 pellets

You'll love it. The only problem with .20 is the pellets are becoming more and more scarce.

Enjoy

Biagio

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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:21 pm
Posts: 2102
Location: Greater Napanee, ON, Canada
I have had .20 caliber rifles and pistols and was not overly impressed with either. I think Robert Beeman had a lot to do with promoting the .20 as the best of both worlds. Of course, he was trying to sell a product.

With the limited pellet selection and questionable advantage over .22 or .177, I have sold all my .20 guns except one. I have an HW45 in .20, but I also have the other caliber barrels for it as well, so I will hang on to it.

Like I said, if a .20 is the only gun you have to compete with, by all means, use it.

This post is specifically for FT and that is my primary interest in airgunning, so the post is definitely slanted to FT rigs.

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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 5:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:55 pm
Posts: 6834
Location: Rocky Mtn Hse Alberta
Very timely post as some of us newbies prepare for FT Hanna 2013!
Might need to concentrate on one gun and get where it needs to be.

Looking forward to some fun! :-)

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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:18 pm
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Location: near Ottawa
Would anyone in the top 100 at the world championships shoot anything but .177?

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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 6:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:14 am
Posts: 1658
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Do shooters generally use a single shot rifle or a repeater?

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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:32 am
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Location: Montreal
My experience shows that most people shoot with a single round gun and it is probably because the person loading the gun can make sure the pellet is in good shape and it is seated well in the breech..

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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 7:40 pm 
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Location: Somewhere In Time
newlife wrote:
My experience shows that most people shoot with a single round gun and it is probably because the person loading the gun can make sure the pellet is in good shape and it is seated well in the breech..

Exactly...Pellet inspection is a good habit to get into, it may sound trivial, but it comes down to eliminating variables...

That being said I shot a S410 in MPR FT Stock for quite awhile with no issues, I just inspected the pellets as I loaded them into the magazines...

I plan to get a .20cal as well just try it out, but I use .177cal for everything except HFT where I normally use .22cal. The difference in trajectory between a .177 & .22 at 20FPE can be very substantial. Personally this is why I use a JSB 13.4gr .22cal pellet, helps get a better trajectory with your .22cal guns...

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