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Let's have a discussion about AAFTA Divisions/Classes!

August 7 2017 at 1:47 AM
JimC  (Login 22Jim)
YF

It's been kind of quiet here lately so lets get a party started.

Scott Hull started a thread on the Freestyle Class and made a compelling case that we ought to have an AAFTA sanctioned "trial" class based on the participation of shooters in that class at matches where it was offered. I agree with him assuming that no changes to other class rules are made. Scott and I are good friends and have have many conversations over the last couple of years on this class and AAFTA classes in general. One of the topics we disagree on is should we create more classes for shooters to accommodate varying shooting styles and equipment or should we open up the existing classes to allow for more options in shooting style and equipment. Scott in more of a proponent of the former, me the latter.

Here are some numbers from AAFTA GP matches over the last 3 years and from the recent Crosman All American match this past month.


Participation by Division   
AAFTA Grand Prix Matches   
PCP201520162017
Hunter 10010451
Open638742
WFTF365832
    
Piston   
Hunter 253614
WFTF172715
Open1031
    
Crosman All American 2017   
DivisionPCPPiston% of field
Hunter 32853
Open13118
WFTF7921
Freestyle608


What is extremely obvious is that hunter class is now the largest class at AAFTA matches and it continues to grow at a faster rate than other classes. The top Hunter class shooters now compete with the top Open and WFTF shooters at most matches. This should be good for the sport, however it creates a dilemma for the AAFTA BOG. Hunter Class was created as an intro class to the sport of Field Target. It was the class where the poor, down trodden and hungry could come and taste the elixir of field target and with time and effort maybe someday scale the heights and participate in the Open or WFTF classes. Well what happened was the people shooting hunter class liked it just fine and had no desire to move "UP" to Open and WFTF class. Eventually they began to ask for some of the same tools that Open and WFTF shooters have access to. Here in lies the dilemma, how can you have a beginners class where the participants challenge the best shooters in the Open and WFTF classes using the same level of equipment that the Premier classes do?

So we come to where we are today, should we create a Freestyle class which would effectively be the true Open Class of FT, in which the only rule would be a 20fpe power limit. Or should we make a tweak to the current Open Class rules and allow a bucket and sticks to shoot against harnesses, straps, jackets and gloves. Do we want to dilute the competition and create more classes with fewer shooters or do we want to create a super class where the most skilled shooters compete against each other, head to head?

Here are my thoughts and I ask for yours, in a civil discussion about how to best grow the sport of field target that we know and love.

There should be 3 divisions in AAFTA Field Target
...Open -(which would allow the inclusion of the existing hunter class rules with high power scopes)
...WFTF - World Field Target class, following the rules of the international sanctioning body
...Hunter/Intro class - same rules as Hunter Class today.

I think under this structure you would see 30-50 percent of the current Hunter Class shooters migrate to the Open class. This would make Open the dominate class (as it should be) and create some exciting matches. The majority of us love to compete on a big stage and creating a true open class would be exciting. The other benefit would be that the Hunter class would again become the home for new shooters and those that just enjoy participating.

In my honest opinion we do not have enough people competing at the national level to keep adding new classes. When we get several hundred shooters competing at the Nationals with a minimum of 20-30 shooters in a class, then we can think about more classes. My greatest concern is we will end up like Cowboy Action Pistol Shooters where you will have a match with 300 participants and as many as 15 classes with 5 or less shooters, not very exciting for me.

I think the next step we need to consider is creating Piston only matches. As Scott has proven with his CA State Piston Championship, create a unique venue and they will come. But this is a topic for another thread.

So what do you think?

Jim in Sacramento

 
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AuthorReply
Larry Pirrone
(Login LPIRRONE)
YF

I feel like a dinosaur

August 7 2017, 2:18 AM 

shooting open piston. At 72 it is too hard for me to shoot wftf. Not sure what my point is. Just griping I guess.

We have had some dedicated piston matches at Heavens Ranch this season and had some good participation by piston shooters. Sadly we will shoot our last match at Heavens Ranch in september and all matches after that will be held at the Angeles Shooting Ranges and I doubt that we will be having dedicated springer matches there. The death of open springer is here.

Well, would "open" allow straps so some of us can still shoot that way or would I have to get a bypod?

 
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Phil
(Login Ldog1012)
YF12

Open class

August 7 2017, 5:18 AM 

"Open Class" could mean open. High mag scopes, clicking, hold over,bum bag, shooting jacket, harness, bucket & sticks. This would allow shooters who have been in open , but whom for what ever reason( medical,age) can't get on a bum bag,continue to shoot, with out having to learn how to re-range with 12 power scope.Some shooters find the 12X scope and using hold over frustrating(which is why they started freestyle)

I shoot "hunter", I like hunter! Not sure how many hunters would jump to open class, but I would not. Started field target in hunter, so never had the pleasure ranging at 50 power & clicking. I don't care what the shooters score is in open or WFTF. Different disciplines, so not a issue.

 
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Mark Kauffman
(Login Mark_in_AZ)
YF12

I feel for you, Larry

August 8 2017, 12:42 AM 

I too enjoy shooting open piston. My eyes won't let me clearly range with the lesser power scopes past 35 yards (everyone's dilemma), but with a 24X scope and so long as I can get into a harness on a bum bag, I am good to go for open piston. Besides, I LIKE shooting piston.

Don't get me wrong, I like shooting PCP also. I cannot attain the WFTF position unless I lose a few pounds....well, maybe more than a few. Thankfully, I have the services of a good chiropractor who is doing wonders for my back, but still have to lose a few pounds.

I am doing the best that I can to promote piston shooting in our club, and it seems to be gaining a better foothold, but time will tell.

Yeah, I think we are both dinosaurs.

 
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Bill Day
(Login dayjd2)
YF12

For at least 3 years now .......................

August 7 2017, 8:07 AM 

The Open Piston class has been clinically dead. The way I see it we should be asking what can we do to revive it? If we are beyond revival then how can we benefit Field Target with a replacement class to get us back up to six participating classes. That will work for a game that seems to attract primarily a aging demographic.

 
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Chip ex-Crosmanite
(Login Doubletough)
YF

K.I.S.S.

August 7 2017, 8:55 AM 

Base the classes on dollars. You want an entry level? Cap the equipment MSRP total at $1,000. Equipment includes gun+shooting accessories (optics, bipod, bucket, etc, EXCEPT ammunition). If a guy buys a used gun, no matter, still based off MSRP. If a guy sends it out for a $$$ tune job, still based on MSRP.

Pro class is unlimited spend.

ch


 
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dan_house
(Login dan_house)
YC

Chip's got a point, but

August 7 2017, 4:27 PM 

I think AAFTA would need to publish a list of rifles in those price ranges, and where to get them

Having that agreed on list would go a long way to ending many of these arguments.....

 
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HookEm
(Login HookEm)
YF

Just an observation,

August 7 2017, 9:27 AM 

I hear you saying that Hunter has done a great job of attracting & keeping shooters... Which begs the question: If it ain't broke, I fix it?

That is, your logic leads to Hunter shooters (at least the bulk of them) being happy right where they are. And the class continues to grow & bring in new shooters.

Granted, you and few others want to change the Open rules (allowing buckets, etc), yet the feedback we get is that Open shooters do not want their rules to be changed!... They're saying: We're not asking for changes, so please don't mess with us.

Just a bit of feedback to add to the conversation.
HookEm

 
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Paul Porch
(Login paulporch)
YF12

WOW! WE NEED THE OPEN SHOOTERS TO COMMENT HERE!

August 7 2017, 9:56 AM 

Jim, this issue does not look like a participation issue, but looks like the same old story TO ME, IMHO (NOTE I SAID TO ME)

For several years on this forum the hunter class has had complaints on their equipment restrictions ongoing. .i.e. (low power scopes, range finders, attached bi pods, etc)

The unlimited class was tried at most clubs and gained support locally where it was accepted in most cases.
Now it is suggested to dilute the second most participated class with hunter aids…? Why? How many open or WFTF class shooters have complained about their class restrictions on equipment or rules on this forum? I don’t remember seeing any in the past several years myself…!

What’s next? Do we include harness and 20 FPE in WFTF class? I thought the classes where to assure that a competitor is shooting against another, with the same set of rules and restrictions to allow a fair competition.

OK, I am actually in agreement with the hunter class folks in their quest to allow higher power scopes and other aids, just to make it a true hunter class. I have been hunting most of my life and will use whatever I need to make a clean humane kill. Range finders, attached bi pod, etc.
True the animals we shoot have a fairly long-life span, but it is supposed to be field hunting… So, go ahead and suggest to make the AAFTA hunter class merge with unlimited to make a true hunter class.

You noted in your post;

"Hunter Class was created as an intro class to the sport of Field Target. It was the class where the poor, down trodden and hungry could come and taste the elixir of field target and with time and effort maybe someday scale the heights and participate in the Open or WFTF classes. Well what happened was the people shooting hunter class liked it just fine and had no desire to move "UP" to Open and WFTF class. Eventually they began to ask for some of the same tools that Open and WFTF shooters have access to. Here in lies the dilemma, how can you have a beginners class where the participants challenge the best shooters in the Open and WFTF classes using the same level of equipment that the Premier classes do"?

Why?
The beginner comes to most matches with a Gamo or other box store rifle that will not compete with the premier rifles and shooters. Hell, we always talk about getting new young blood into the sport.

Well lumping a new shooter in with guys shooting for years and sporting Steyrs, Raws and the like has no chance and is discouraged! This is not brain surgery here.

I suggested a year ago, with the newbie discussion on how to keep them, by making a club level novice class. No rifles costing over $300 or something like that. Even a PCP and piston sub class, as the Crosman Maximum is in the price range.. At least something where they have a chance to hit targets. (Shorter range, full size KZ , etc) THAT’S more like an actually entry level for most starting out.

We tested umlimited/freestyle why not work on a REAL novice class?

The suggestion of changing a non-contested, recognized AAFTA class seems counter intuitive to me. Yes, I shoot open in the GPs. However, I tried to shed the harness at the beginning of this season. I even Bought a 12 FPE rifel. However, after laying off practice for a while, my back would hurt halfway through a match. Well it was back to the harness and open class. I did not complain about why can’t I use the harness and 12 FPE in WFTF. It is not allowed in the AFTF rules and I just went back to my old class. Old man crap and it is my problem not AFFTA’s..

I was under the impression, the purpose of the class and the rule and restrictions, where so that a competitor was shooting against another on an equal footing. No advantages that the other is getting over the other.

If a person could not, for medical reasons, or just decided not to sit on a bum bag, could shoot in another class with others using the same rules.

Open and WFTF have set rules and we shoot by them. I myself hated hunter, as I am less steady with the bucket and bi pod. My choice was to go open with those rules and restrictions. Bending into a pretzel is easier for me. No complaints.

I am all for the hunter class to use high power scopes and other restricted aids, and have stated it before here on this forum. It’s is a benefit to them, not me, as I don’t shoot in that class.

Diluting an already established AAFTA class with the second highest participation at GPs, does not make sense to me. The simpler solution to me is to take the non-recognized unlimited class, and merge it with hunter, allowing all the benefits of unlimited.

Changing the rules for the class that desperately wants it and a class that wants to be recognized by the BOG, appears IMHO to be a simple solution. better than disrupting an established AFFTA class and opening a whole new can of worms.

I can’t speak for the piston folks as I have no skin in that game…Yet! I am working toward it too, but willing to adhere to their rules and any new class changes if I do.

I hope to here from other open and WFTF shooters….. Remember, at the club level it is anything the local match director and club members decide to do with classes etc. But at AAFTA sanctioned Grand Prix's, this class discussion it important!

My comments here are not directed you Jim, or anyone else. It is Just my opinion that you solicited in the post.

 
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Larry Pirrone
(Login LPIRRONE)
YF

you have good arguments

August 7 2017, 11:10 AM 

As far as I know Jim C has never been in the open class or maybe early on. As long as I have known him he has shot hunter. Please Jim, don't "huntercate" on the open class. We who shoot it like it just fine. Do what ever you want to your hunter class. When I can't shoot open any more I can always move classes. I am just disappointed that open piston has died, but I still have a PCP.

BTW, I still like you Jim. You are a fine fellow.

 
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Paul Porch
(Login paulporch)
YF12

One more thing

August 7 2017, 11:43 AM 

Do away with the overall top shooter award!!

It only promotes the "Well if I had a more powerful scope, a jacket, etc, I could have gotten that overall trophy"!

Overall in your class is all we need. The overall at a GP should just be bragging rights when back home...

Being the top shooter against the others in you class, is an impressive achievement the be proud of.

 
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HookEm
(Login HookEm)
YF

+1 /nt

August 7 2017, 12:15 PM 

.

 
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Phil
(Login Ldog1012)
YF12

+2/nt

August 7 2017, 7:29 PM 


 
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dan_house
(Login dan_house)
YC

Changes to open?

August 7 2017, 3:20 PM 

As an open shooter, I dont have an issue with allowing buckets and sticks. BUT if thats allowed, It hunk you should give something up.

IE, if you shoot off a bucket and sticks in open, you cant use a harness or jacket....... one or the other, not both.



 
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Scott Hull
(Login Scotchmo1957)
YF

Re: Changes to open?

August 7 2017, 3:27 PM 

If I don't use a bucket or sticks or jacket or harness, what class should I be shooting in? I always have trouble deciding.

 
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dan_house
(Login dan_house)
YC

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

August 7 2017, 3:41 PM 

Yer funny, given your skill set happy.gif

No where in any class does it say you MUST use the allowed gear.

 
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Tom Holland
(Login xbowsniper)
YF12

Re: WOW! WE NEED THE OPEN SHOOTERS TO COMMENT HERE!

August 9 2017, 10:28 PM 

Paul,

I get most of what you have said, and agree....to the most part. In my opinion, and this is my opinion, because none of this affects me, is Hunter class should be left alone, and not merged with Unlimited. If you did that, you actually would be making a new class, in effect. I would leave both divisions separate, and if changes in the rules of each respective class need to be changed or tweaked, they can do so. What NEEDS to happen is simple....take a poll of all the Hunter division guys, that have shot at least 1 Grand Prix match in the course of a year. Have them all vote on some of the issues that have come up on the forum. Simple. If the masses want it, let them. If they don't, then it stays the way it is. I say people that have shot Grand Prix matches, because the average guy on the club level, that only goes to a couple of matches a year, and really does not want to "compete ", don't care. Whatever the rules are, they are, and they go with it. It only seems that the veteran shooters are the ones that want this change, and there is nothing wrong with that.
As purely a WFTF PCP competitor, I would have NO desire to try to change any WFTF rules, here in the USA. Simply because it's NOT our place to change them.
The international WFTF class was implemented in the 80's in the UK, because they can only shoot 12 ft lbs. legally, just as many other countries in Europe. They made the rules.
I stay in this class, hoping my skill level will grow, so, that one day, I might be worthy to one day be a team member on the US team, in the WFTF division. Open class is not even officially offered at the World Championships. You wanna shoot the World Championships, you better learn to shoot 12 ft. lbs. There is no Open class at the World Championships. Period.
Just my take on things.

Tom Holland
Assistant Match Director Eastern Suffolk Competitve Airgunners Association
(ESCAA)
Long Island NY

 
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Héctor Medina
(Login HectorMedina)
YF

Re: "super class where the most skilled shooters "

August 7 2017, 10:03 AM 

Dear Jim, et al,

We seem to have a completely different definition of skill here.

In MY book, the more aids you allow in a class, the less you promote and reward skill, and the more you allow the competition to become an arms race.

I also think that the main problem is that AAFTA's BOG refuses to recognize that we have a two dimensional problem and wants to solve everything using only the linear structure of "divisions" and "classes".

On one hand we do have a hard nucleus of shooters that are extremely competitive (in all classes), though small in numbers, they are the "not so silent minority" that has driven most decisions as pertains rules and guidelines. The smallness of these groups means that, as far as technological development and economic pull, they do not count for much.

On the other hand we have the larger groups of shooters in all divisions that shoot mainly for the experience, fun, and extremely high level of camaraderie that THE SHOOTERS have managed to keep in the sport, sometimes IN SPITE of AAFTA's BOG.
Now, if you ask ANY supplier which section they want to capture, they will tell you that numbers matter most.
Sure all manufacturers recognize the importance of having "flagship" products, but those do not pay the payroll, nor the R&D, nor the rent or capital expense of machinery.

So, the "Sport/Athlete" shooters AND AAFTA, need the "Fun/Hobby" shooters. They just don't want to admit it.

It is in the "Fun/Hobby" section where growth lies and where the secret of the future success of FT lies.
And no one is paying attention to those shooters.

The PAC started something very important; probably its greatest seminal idea, which was to split the WHOLE field into "Amateur" and "Pro" sections. Perhaps the names chosen were not the best, but the general idea of having the Field split into "Hobby" and "Athlete" shooters has some merit and should receive a long, hard, analysis.

By splitting the Field it would be clear that the competition STYLE would be totally different.
Prizes, awards, and incentives could also be different, but above all, an ORDERLY PATH to growth would be laid out for the future.

Just to make myself clear, though I think it's obvious, the "Fun/Hobby" section would allow all kinds of aids. The "Sport/Athlete" section would, above all, promote true shooting skills.

My father used to say that "the happiest man is not the one who has the most, but the one that needs the least"
In the same sense, the most skilled shooter is not the one that reaches high scores with high power or a bunch of aids. It's the one that does it with the simplest of equipments.

JMHO


HM

 
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Wayne Burns
(Login WayneBurns)
YF12

Pistols - PCP - Piston. Keep it simple. Hector and Paul sound right to me, and I'll add

August 7 2017, 11:42 AM 

that it's easy to step into that "starter class" if the club also shoots pistol. The pistol course is where entry level equipment and shooters play.

The Basic Break Barrel class on a PCP pistol course... works really well for new and old shooters, shooting on the same course with similar equipment. You need the mix of skill sets to keep the "camradire" in the game... which I agree is the main reason for most of us.

All piston shooters should be in one class... there is just not enough of them to have so many classes. AND, there is really no advantage to aids with a piston gun... higher power is harder to shoot straight.. shooting off your arm or knee with a low power gun is the most accurate way to shoot a piston gun... right? so... one class for piston... Freestyle.

and I'm really fine with that in PCP too.. but I don't care much if that doesn't happen... enough folks shoot PCP that we have plenty for all the PCP classes. In that way I would vote to allow freestyle into open or hunter.

Wayne Burns,
Match Director,
Ashland Air Rifle Range


 
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dan_house
(Login dan_house)
YC

I like that idea, but....

August 7 2017, 3:47 PM 

that means you have to set two separate courses, and shoot two matches that day....

Or have an extra target only shot by the break barrel folks during the course of match......

 
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