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British Field Target Association [BFTA]

British Field Target Association [BFTA]

Airgun Field Target shooting began in 1981 as an alternative to hunting. Targets were metal silhouettes of quarry species, such as pigeon, squirrel, rat, etc. A circular sticker was placed over the 'hit' area and a point was awarded if the sticker was hit. Because of the inconvenience of having to change the sticker for each shooter, a mechanical target was devised with a circular hole to signify the target area; this would fall flat when hit, and could be reset from the firing line. The target area was 50mm diameter and the maximum distance on a typical 20 shot course was 40-45 yards.

The type of gun used was spring powered and generally break barrel, in .22 calibre. The main reason for this was that the break barrel was the most popular type of gun on the market (with the exception of perhaps the BSA AirSporter) and at the time .22 calibre was the most accurate for outdoor shooting due to the types of pellet that were available; domed pellets such as Eley Wasp were favoured as they performed well in windy conditions. The only accurate .177 pellets available were flat heads that were designed for indoor shooting, because of their shape and light weight it proved difficult to achieve consistent results in outdoor conditions. A few multipump pneumatics such as the Sharp Innova were also used, but were not popular due to the effort required in charging the gun.

Range finding was done by eye, and individuals became expert at accurately judging target distance. Telescopic sights were used but the highest magnification was typically 9x. It was not unusual in the early days of the sport to have unlimited re-entry's for the main shoot, which meant that an individual could learn the targets distance and windage from previous attempts and therefore improve his/her score.

In 1984, the British Field Target Council was formed with the aim of promoting the sport of Field Target, and formalising basic rules of safety and conduct.

Field Target Today
Today's target still retains the silhouette shape, while the 'hit' zone has a maximum diameter of 45mm. A normal competition course consists of 40 targets set out at random ranges of between 7 metres and 50 metres. One shot per target is allowed, with one point being awarded if the target is successfully knocked over. Only one entry is allowed on the main course. Running alongside of this competition you will find various side events, such as; long range, vermin shoot with reduced hit zones, speed shoots and pistol shoots. All side shoots allow reentry. The skill in this type of shooting is in accurately judging the range of each target, and making allowances for wind and weather conditions, which can change the path of the comparatively slow and lightweight air rifle pellet.

Field target is a safe, exacting and challenging outdoor sport, which can be enjoyed by all the family. It is a target sport and does not involve the shooting of any live animals or birds. As a shooting sport, Airgun Field Target shooting is the quietest and the fastest growing - having been successfully exported to Europe and the United States of America. It is a year round sport, with clubs joining together to run winter and summer league competitions. Many open events are run all over Britain, at weekends. Shooters are normally graded at these events and therefore compete with others of similar ability, irrespective of age or sex. It is a great family sport and there is often good-natured rivalry between clubs - in the best sporting traditions.

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