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Another Geezer Opinion

August 8 2017 at 4:03 AM
JimC  (Login 22Jim)

Response to Old Geezer with an opinion (always)

Lets clear up a few things here. We have this continuous discussion about whether Hunter is considered a novice/beginner division or an old geezer division. The fact of the matter is it is neither. Hunter division defines the shooting position and aids that can be used to participate in that division, just like Open and WFTF divisions.

Novice/beginner is a skill or experience level, old geezer is a victim of the aging process, they can both be found in all divisions. Why do the majority of shooters coming into field target today start in Hunter Class? Could it be that it is the most comfortable position to shoot from for most shooters. How many shooters decide to leave Hunter division to pursue the riches in Open and WFTF, almost none that I can identify. Maybe the original hunter class was intended to be an intro class, but that idea was forgotten many years ago, only a few still cling to the hope that it will be the “safe space” for new shooters.

Now lets talk about the Hunter division arms race, building the mother ship, that evil undercurrent that drives new shooters away from Field Target. I went back and looked at the top 3 shooters for last 5 years in the Hunter division national championship match. Much to my surprise, the most exotic and expensive shooting system that placed was a TM1000 with an SWFA 3-15 FFP scope (approx $2700 retail) shot by none other than Mr. Neanderthal himself, our own Ron Robinson.

If we want to fear the arms race than we need to look elsewhere. How about Benjamin Marauders and Evanix Rainstorms which took 3 of the last 5 championships and 6 of the 15 top places. Next we have no longer manufactured Theoben Rapids and Daystate CRX's which took 4 of the top 15 finishes. How about exotic optics, well how about Hawke scopes which were atop 3 of the 4 winners (2014 did not list equipment so I made an educated guess on the rifles, but did not on the scopes). Hawke Scopes were on 6 of the top 12 shooters, only Weaver with 2 had more than one.

So it appears that some pretty basic and inexpensive rigs can be quite competitive. Why continue to belittle people who enjoy fine rifles. Shooting a Steyr or a RAW and finishing mid-pack doesn't bother the owners, why should it bother you?

The fact of the matter is, as Raymond said, being a successful FT shooter is hard. It requires practice and a dedication to the sport. Does everyone aspire to be a top level shooter? NO, and it is these people that we must try to attract and keep. How do we do that, we will discuss that shortly. But one thing I can tell you that will not keep them, dumbing down the hunter class. Keep it up and you will have a group of shooters who shoot 20-40% every match, how long do you think they will stay around?

In order to attract and keep new shooters we must create an environment that is fun and allows participants to achieve a reasonable level of success. Shooting hunter class at 8x with 2 minutes to make 4 shots doesn't sound like a recipe for success to me.

Jim in Sacramento

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