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Can Open and WFTF shooters understand the 12x Hunter problem?

May 16 2017 at 10:42 AM

Bob D.  (Login MB-BOB)

The absence of scope restrictions in the rules for Open Division and WFTF Division, means that scope use has evolved into a focus range-finding game in those divisions.

Accordingly, one can’t be faulted for thinking that Hunter Division is reasonably intended to be a focus range-finding game, too, on equal par with the other divisions. However, this has not proven to be so, due to limitations imposed by the rules. Instead, Hunter scope use has evolved into a combination of scope techniques. Among them is optical comparative range-finding, known as “bracketing.”

So, you don’t care… you shoot in Open or WFTF...

Using a scope to range-find by optical “bracketing” (rather than focusing) is not necessary in Open or WFTF Div, but almost required in Hunter. And because the method is so different from Open and WFTF techniques, some within those divisions even disdain bracketing, as if it is somehow devious or less than honest (it isn’t). Are you one of them?

I know how to acquire range by optical bracketing. I use it occasionally, as a backup method to arrive at a consensus confirmation of range via the primary method… focus range-finding.

However, after years doing so, I’ve come to the opinion that bracketing is merely a band-aid solution, an artificial crutch to make up for a basic (Hunter) rules problem that does not allow scopes fundamentally scaled to the parameters of the game itself (10-55yds).

So, you don’t care… you shoot in Open or WFTF...

Let’s state this another way so you will understand… If WFTF and Open Class shooters were limited by rule to use equipment (say a knee riser or a wind indicator, straps or jacket) only to 40 yds… but not beyond, I guarantee there would be an uproar. Yet Hunter shooters are told to be satisfied with this strapping scope limitation, and instead must find “other means” to shoot beyond 40 yards. Got your attention, now?

It is a bit disingenuous to teach newbies that FT is a focus range-finding game, when that applies only to 2 of its 3 divisions. A 12x scope can only be used to focus range-find for the first 75% of the game’s distance. Various made-up, band-aid solutions are then required to guesstimate ranges beyond (roughly 40-55 yards). Try to explain that to a new shooter trying to decide which division to pick.

After several years of experience, the inescapable conclusion is that 12x doesn’t satisfy the stated intent or spirit of the game beyond 40yards. The question then becomes what scope magnification is minimally needed to permit hunter shooters to focus range as intended by the spirit of the rules… out to the full 55 yards...

So, you don’t care… you shoot in Open or WFTF... But can we Hunter shooters be treated the same as you Open/WFTF shooters, please?

I’m not suggesting that Hunter shooters be given what they WANT. Nor am I suggesting that scopes be “unlimited” for Hunter. Nor does it matter much to me personally, as I seem to perform well enough with 12x on some (but not all) occasions. I’m thinking about want works for others… to grow the game.

I am suggesting that it should be reasonable to provide rules that make the game plausible throughout its entire range, granting what is NEEDED to play the game across all three divisions on a similar basis. Without it, Hunter shooters are left to feel like a green-haired half-brothers among their Open/WFTF friends.

12x is a good accommodation for Pistol Field Target, as that magnification can reasonably be used through that game’s range (10-35yds). Shoot both games and you will see the stark contrast of the problem… and how the 10-55yd RIFLE game is inadequately served at 12x.

When the Hunter rules were codified many years ago, 12x was an arbitrary choice. Had to start somewhere. Now that we know through experience that 12x is insufficiently scaled to the game, another arbitrary choice should be made.

But you still don’t care… you shoot in Open or WFTF...

If Open and WFTF Division shooters say that 30x is "adequate," then one can make an equally arbitrary choice to cut that by half, to 16x, for Hunter. Still less than Open/WFTF "adequate," but it is a progressive accommodation that still keeps the games separate, yet similar in focus range-finding spirit. 4-16x is a very common spec, and one can buy a CenterPoint 4-16x 42mm scope for under $80 at any Walmart in the US.

If incremental change is a prudent way to go, then arbitrarily pick 16x, and let’s see how that goes for a couple years. Who knows, it might quell some of the clamoring for "Unlimited" classes, and a retention of shooters in Hunter.
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This message has been edited by MB-BOB on May 16, 2017 10:47 AM

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