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First Year Shooter with an Opinion

August 7 2017 at 10:30 PM
Raymond Hawkins  (Select Login rhawk1)
YF12


What could be worse.

I'm fine with the numbers trending toward the hunter class. However there's a reason for that which no one seems to want to talk about. As a group we're trending in the wrong direction.

In the beginning the hunter class was created to accommodate the beginning shooter giving him/her a place to compete with basic retail equipment the typical novice would usually have starting out. A shallow place to start and test the waters as they say. From there they were or should have been encouraged to learn and grow in the sport. The real problem came when the beginners grew up but not out. Now you have some very talented, well equipped hunter class shooters dominating a class that was actually created for the beginners or those in decline. This is why the Hunter class is showing unrealistic growth while the open classes are going in the other direction. Now I read where there are some wanting to further contribute to the destruction of FT by considering a change to the rules that would allow this group to become even more comfortable by allowing them more and bigger toys to tinker with.

By the way, Stop trying to sugar coat things for the beginner and tell it like it is. Its a tuff sport but can be great fun and rewarding if a shooter has the right mindset and willing to work at it.

The open classes should be every shooters goal where everyone stretches a bit to improve. When you show up for a match, you bring your best and expect the best from everyone else. While I'm stepping on toes let me conclude by saying the Nationals should be contested by only open class shooters. This may send a message and begin to reverse the current trend.

Thanks,
Raymond Hawkins

 
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AuthorReply
Ron Robinson
(Login compressive)
YC

Old Geezer with an opinion (always)

August 7 2017, 11:52 PM 

First, welcome Raymond! You are obviously a bright and well-spoken enough guy to contribute valuable opinions from a relatively newbie point of view. Thank you for that.

I chime in here because my attraction to Hunter Class is and always has been what I see as more "practical" equipment; that being not necessarily SUCH competition-specific equipment as to have little utility outside the field(s) of competition. And as the Hunter Class goal-posts have moved and continue to move ever closer to competition-specific equipment, I've always used what I consider practical, field-worthy equipment; to such an extent as to be considered somewhere between throw-back and Neanderthal.

My opinion is that a great shot who knows his game and equipment intimately can win the day as often as his most well-equipped competitor. Were it up to me, Hunter Class equipment would actually regress.

My point is that though some see Hunter primarily as a gateway class, I may not be the only Hunter to consider it a welcome and comfortable refuge from what I consider superfluous shooting gadgetry used in other classes. I LOVE shooting, but am not interested in piloting a mothership.

Thanks again for your contribution, Bud.

 
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JimC
(Login 22Jim)
YF

Another Geezer Opinion

August 8 2017, 4:03 AM 


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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Bill Day
(Login dayjd2)
YF12

Excellent Summation Jim ...................

August 8 2017, 4:26 PM 

Glad to see someone as your self picking up the Torch! Great Job!!!

 
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Scott Hull
(Login Scotchmo1957)
YF

Re: First Year Shooter with an Opinion

August 8 2017, 12:40 AM 

In IHMSA Hunter classes, they take away your bipod if you're ready to "graduate". Your score determines when.

I'm not advocating it for field target as we have no standard of scoring. I just think it's interesting.

 
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Paul Porch
(Login paulporch)
YF12

Ray has a valid point but I believe we need to

August 8 2017, 8:24 AM 

look at something that is blaring us in the face!

What would the sport be is we did not have a hunter class? I doubt we would have a US field target organization at all! The hunter class is the largest in the sport and a vital part of US based field target.

Novice entry class..? Could be, but as Ray pointed out, hunter class is populated with some of the best equipment, and I say, shooters in the country. So, a good place for the novice to start and learn from the “big guys”.

I do believe we need to stop the statements seen on this forum of the hunter class aspiring to reach the elite open and WFTF classes!

There are some hunter class shooters that are certainly capable of shooting side by side with some of the best open and WFTF shooters. They just cannot physically get on a bum bag for medical reasons and the like. So, would this be a reason to restrict the class from competing at a national’s level?
Of course not. That is the reason I disagree on open classes only at a national.

If we were a European based organization, then their rules are finite and all would shoot the same class. So, no issue then.

Being one of the “elite” class shooters I can tell you I and certainly not elite! LOL

I am a fairly good shooter but definitely not among any elite shooters… I am fortunate enough to be able to get into the pretzel position, and there, be steadier than with bi pod and bucket. As a bonus, I get to use high mag scopes and click elevations…. Great for a guy at 65 and just starting a scant 2 years ago.

The hunter class has an advantage for the beginning shooter, as they can start with lower priced equipment and have plenty of advisers to shoot with. They can decide to go up in equipment and shoot whatever position they want Hunter or open. So again, hunter class is vital.

I still think that the hunter class, should be the deciding vote on what they want to do, to further their interest in competing in the sport. Ron mentioned going less in aids and enhancements to bring it back to a simpler time. Others want to go into the future more with high power mag and such. I would love to see the BOG allow the hunter class throughout AAFTA, to decide on which way to go or stay as is.

But please do something!

We spend an inordinate amount of time reading and commenting on the same old story with hunter class. I, for one, am looking forward to the day it is settled.

Remember I, an open shooter, believe that the hunter class is the most vital class we have! (There I said it out loud)! I started there and I would believe that almost all of you did too…Except maybe those elite supernatural shooters we have in all classes…. LOL

Thanks Ray for your comments, and I’ll see you at one of our club matches…..

 
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Raymond Hawkins
(Select Login rhawk1)
YF12

Best Said

August 8 2017, 11:05 AM 

Paul.
Thank you for correcting me. I regret saying what I did about our nationals or leaving out the average hunter class shooter wanting to go and compete. I wish classification cards could be awarded. Then a competitor could choose their class but would only be competing against those within the same classification. That would take a lot of work and maturity.

Thanks
Raymond Hawkins

 
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Paul Porch
(Login paulporch)
YF12

Ray,No correction ment... only wanted to explain why I would disagree

August 8 2017, 11:23 AM 


 
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Bob D.
(Login MB-BOB)
YF

Why is it...

August 8 2017, 10:23 AM 

Why is it that Hunter Class is considered a "beginner's" class, when 9 out of ten people who show up for their first match bring a SPRING PISTON airgun?

As Dallas FT Club MD, I'll state for the record because I have seen it with my own eyes... Virtually all the new shooters show up with a spring piston rifle, mostly some break-barrel type, occasionally a fixed-barrel. I maintain the email list for the club, numbering 106 addresses. At least 60% of them are people who shoot a springer when (if) they show up at the FT range.

We have an unofficial "Fun Rifle" category for them to compete it... Might as well call it "Beginner" Class. Even though I have seen a few who insist on shooting "Open" Class with their BBB rifle.

(I've seen one or two Marauders among first timers (never a Disco). But PCP shooters are rare among "beginners" IMO.)

Hunter Class MAY be a logical transition for springer folk who seriously stick with FT. But AAFTA recognizes an entire Division (with three classes) devoted to Piston equipment, which matches the interest level of most truly "beginning" shooters.

Why piston shooters "transition" to the other divisions over time is open to 1000 opinions. But if they move from piston into Hunter PCP as a logical choice, it still means that Hunter PCP is not an entry level class.
[linked image]
www.DallasFTclub.org


    
This message has been edited by MB-BOB on Aug 8, 2017 10:36 AM


 
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Larry Pirrone
(Login LPIRRONE)
YF

If I go back about 6 or 7 years

August 8 2017, 11:25 AM 

even back to when I started with CASA virtually everyone shot open in both pcp and springer. No one was shooting hunter. Most everyone here knows LD. He was shooting open when I came aboard. IN fact he was my first shooting partner. He worked pretty hard at it and made some interesting pieces of (legal) support equipment so he was pretty dedicated to open class. One day he showed up with "simple simon" (pre curser to USFT) and shot hunter and pretty much stayed there till now. Certainly no beginner. He did well and I have to say mastered the class winning many matches including state. Around that time there was a lot of discussion on this forum about how to attract and KEEP new shooters. The mindset then was to use hunter class. More guys started but it was not dominant for a long time. It's dominance became a self fulfilling prophecy in that we as mentors to new shooters steered them in that direction because it was easy for them to shoot. Easier than open. Then lots of old timers went that way. New shooters come to see a match and what do they see? Old guys sitting on buckets. So the new guys asks, "what do i need". the answer is "get yourself a bucked and a bipod and a 12 power scope". WE have created this monster.

So, they show up with their springers and shoot aand they can't help but compare themselves to the hunter class guys shooting PCP. They THINK their lower score will disappear if they just shoot a pcp. Or, they get frustrated because springers are the Jaguar of guns and they are intimidated by all the mechanical issues and think pcp is going to make that go away. And it does to a degree.

If we went back 5-7 years and instead of steering them to hunter we insisted that they go to open we would have lost many of them. We would be having 5 guys showing up to a match instead of 10-15 (when the weather is nice).

To make a long story short, yes hunter IS the entry level class but that is because WE steered it that way along time ago. Very few new shooters start in open or wftf but lots start in hunter.

 
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JimC
(Login 22Jim)
YF

Well said Larry, a couple of points

August 8 2017, 12:27 PM 

Your point that Hunter is the entry level class is correct if your premise is that it is the class where almost all beginners start. However a true entry level class is usually a stepping stone on the way to more competitive class, this is not the case with our hunter division. Not only do shooters stay in class, we attract many from the other two divisions. You are correct about steering new shooters to the class, without hunter the growth of the sport would be a tiny fraction (if any) of what it has been in the last 5-7 years. Hunter class is successful because of one reason, it is comfortable for just about anyone to shoot. If it were not for hunter class I would not be shooting field target today, and if we screw up the class by trying to neuter it, I would give up the sport, just like I did when (in my opinion) we screwed up Pistol FT. You said you created the Monster hunter class, I would say you created the savior of Field Target in the USA.

Your observations on piston shooters are very similar to mine. The vast majority of new shooters we get show up with piston rifles. They shoot a match and score 10 to 20% and decide one of two things. First they had a great time and decide this would be a fun sport to participate in and they will have to upgrade their equipment. Or they decide they had a great time but are not in a position to upgrade equipment or they didn't care for the match format and don't return.

Shooting piston air rifles is HARD, I am preparing for the CA State Match next week and I am going through my annual self torture exercise. Why, because I love field target and most importantly Scott has put together a match that is fun to shoot with a Piston rifle. Open piston class died because the majority of the people shooting the class got tired of shooting mediocre scores on courses that are designed to challenge the top PCP shooters. The same challenge that new field target shooters face.

Jim in Sacramento

 
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Larry Pirrone
(Login LPIRRONE)
YF

Good points Jim

August 8 2017, 3:33 PM 

and certainly valid. BTW, we as match directors ALL created that monster.


I wish I was going to the springer match. It is very hard for me to travel right now. Anita is kind of frail and I am uncomfortable leaving her home alone and I can't take her with me. It is what it is. Good luck.What gun are you shooting.

 
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JimC
(Login 22Jim)
YF

We will miss you in Morro Bay

August 8 2017, 11:13 PM 

I hope all of you guys down south can successfully work out life's bumps in the road that are plaguing many of you now. We miss you, Art, Kelly, Rick and LD. We hope to see you all soon.

I'm shooting a TX200 that I purchased form my good friend Scott. He seriously regrets selling me the rifle, especially when he has to shoot against it. I'm looking forward to a really fun match, Scott always puts on a great time.

The Best,
Jim in Sacrmento

 
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Raymond Hawkins
(Select Login rhawk1)
YF12

The Perception

August 8 2017, 12:39 PM 

Bob,
A great case for the argument of what most beginners have and bring to their first match. It's what they have. Can they compete at your level no. at least not right away.

The perception about hunter class being a place to start is more than just a perception. Research the subject of FT and you'll see where my comments come from. I think its great that you have a separate class for new shooters but most don't. I for one don't really need separation but hear from others the class has gotten out of hand. We both know there are many hunter class shooters that could go head to head with the best open shooters out there. I've had the pleasure of shooting with such. The experience left me wanting to become more like this shooter and I went to work. Perhaps its time to start rethinking some things about the different divisions but don't believe more is the answer.

Thanks
Raymond Hawkins

 
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Raymond Hawkins
(Select Login rhawk1)
YF12

More

August 8 2017, 10:44 AM 

This post was intended to be part of the bigger discussion from below. Didn't mean to high jack a great conversation. So for that I oppoligise.

I'm only new to air rifles and Field Target. I've been shooting competitively most all my life but just getting started in this sport. In fact this is probably a good time to say I've yet to shoot a match in the open class. I've signed up and plan on getting that done this weekend. I've shot in the hunter division twice and the unlimited once. I'm also an old, out of shape geezer that could stand to loose a few pounds.

Choosing hunter class for my first match was more of an expectation than a knowledgeable choice. It's where new shooters go and are encouraged to start.

Believe me I have nothing against the hunter class or those that choose to shoot it. I certainty have nothing against wonderfully crafted high end accurate rifles. I have a gun room full of them. All my powder burning pistols and long range rifles are all custom built. The truth is the only way to achieve a master or high master classification in any type of precision shooting sport is to buy custom from the best smiths. Then comes the hard work and determination it takes to get to what ever level you're interested in.

Personally I believe there should be a class where any shooter has options with his or her comfort but also believe in limiting the equipment to a certain level of factory based equipment. Once that threshold is crossed the shooter is automatically advanced to the next upward classification. This would go along way in leveling the current playing field for the new shooter with limited equipment and all who choose to stay in and enjoy the hunter division.

I'm not at all against the class but I am against the guy that chooses this class and is spending the most on equipment and winning month after month after month. If this is you then shame on you. I'd say you need a greater challenge and should want to move up. However creating a new class is not the answer. Fix the broken and adjust what's not.

Raymond Hawkins

 
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JimC
(Login 22Jim)
YF

More misconceptions

August 8 2017, 1:11 PM 

First Ray let me say welcome to the Field Target Sport we are seeing more and more new shooters with competitive powder burner experience. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to meeting you in Phoenix. Also we appreciate your comments as a truly new shooter (2 matches!!)

It is clear you have read too many posts on this forum and have developed a distorted view of the Hunter Division. The most ridiculous perspective is that the rich are taking over the class and winning all the matches by buying accuracy. If you read my response above "Another Geezer Opinion" you will see the truth is significantly different. The majority of the recent national championship wins in Hunter division have been won with what most would consider entry level PCP equipment. Scott Hull won the 2014 National Championship and National GP Series with a rifle and scope that I don't think he had $500 invested in.

I can see your concern coming from a powder burner background where the equipment used was everything. Not so in Air Rifle Field Target, you do not have to spend large amounts of money to get great accuracy and be able to compete at the highest level. There are many shooters who can afford and enjoy shooting finely made air rifles, but there is nothing in our history that indicates they have any advantage over shooters shooting several entry level rifles. In Field Target Hunter class it is still the Indian that prevails over the arrow.

Also your comment "some wanting to further contribute to the destruction of FT by considering a change to the rules that would allow this group to become even more comfortable by allowing them more and bigger toys to tinker with" puzzles me. If the desire to increase the arbitrary 12x maximum scope power limit in Hunter Division to 16 or 24x will lead to the destruction of FT as we know it, then the sport as we know it is in far worse shape then we realize. What I believe will lead to the destruction of Field Target is trying to make Hunter Division something that it is not, a beginners division!

Jim in Sacramento

 
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Paul Porch
(Login paulporch)
YF12

Ray and Bob are at the place where I posted a year ago with

August 8 2017, 12:05 PM 

Saying we need a true novice class at the clubs. Not one where other shooters are using rifles costing in the thousands and super accurate. In my opinion, we need a true beginners class, that limits the cost of the rifles and scopes. This would be reasonable for the “Newbie” looking to put a toe in the field target game waters.

There, they see the other classes and the expense, time, and effort involved to gain a good foothold shooting in those AAFTA classes.
That is the next thing. I am not saying to add a new AAFTA class here. This is only a class that is used at the individual club level. It would be posted on the leader board just like the approved classes and a certificate given for whatever you think good for the number of competitors. 1st 2nd 3rd, etc

This adds nothing to the cost of a match except a piece of paper! In fact, I would suggest that the very first time that a person shoots, that there is no charge. The second time you can elect to charge full like the other classes, or keep it at half price or whatever. That is more productive to keep beginners coming in my opinion, than having them shoot hunter at full price against the odds.

Am I being naive here?

Face it, like Bob said in this post, most new shooters come with a Gamo, Ruger, or other piston rifle to try. And as Will Piatt said of our own club in another post where I brought this up:

There really is not enough participation for a novice class. It is pretty rare to have enough new shooters at a match to make up a class. Of those testing the waters of FT cross overs from other shooting disciplines seems to be the folks most likely to "get the bug" and stick with it. Maybe the solution might be in the way the course is set? The top tier competitive shooters seldom miss the close shots so why not go bigger on the KZ for many of the close to medium range targets and not worry about what equipment a new guy brings to get started. This also gives the junior youngsters a satisfying experience of making targets fall. More hits will be their reward and if they are a genuine candidate for FT they will quickly buy or borrow better equipment and move up the ranks. Make the long shots high Troyer and let that sort out the rankings.

Will makes good point here. But that may be true for our club but others around the country may see more people trying. The cost restrictions for the guns can encompass the $600 Marauders and the like too. But just break the novice class into PCP and pistons. Only an additional piece of paper for the certificate!

See where I am going here? The hunter class is no longer a novice or entry level class. Let’s stop calling it that! It is insulting to the fine shooters and equipment they use.

Place the beginner banner where it belongs…At the club level where the members can help these new folks to get to level that they want to go or not. I will say that when I was a new guy, I wanted to do well and place to get that silly piece of paper. It showed that I accomplished my goal. The goal was to become more proficient in the game. A small thing, but still important to me at the time.

Remember, the new shooter can always choose to go into Hunter, Open, Piston, or whatever other class they want to try. So, I personally see no harm in taking that “beginner” moniker out of hunter and make it a separate club level class. The details of what makes it a novice class can be debated among the clubs.

Using the thought of hunter class being the place for beginners, is outdated to say the least. If we remove that term from hunter, then maybe the hunters can finally lobby for what they want in equipment, with less drag from being considered the place for newbies to start from.?

As usual I preface this post as being only my opinion, and as the statement goes. Opinions are like……Well you know the rest..!


 
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K
(Login Knobs)
YC

I think a noob class is a pipe dream

August 8 2017, 4:22 PM 

Once a guy decides to stay in FT the wallet comes out.

Forget about FT for the homeless huddled masses. It ain't gonna happen.

K

 
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Tom Holland
(Login xbowsniper)
YF12

Then you have dopes like me

August 8 2017, 12:37 PM 

I compete in WFTF PCP class. This is one of those divisions that has become an arms race, and, I'll be the first one to be guilty of that. Yes, I do own a fully tricked out TM 1000. And a pimped Steyr LG 110 FT, with all the bling.
But, within the last year or so, I've shot an unbelievably accurate rifle. Puts the above 2 rigs to SHAME.....
What is it?.....A "lowly" Benjamin Marauder. Yes, I said it....Marauder. Within the upcoming weeks before the Pyramyd Air Cup, I WILL get the Marauder to outshoot the 2 above guns, it's kind of a thickheaded mission that I have embarked on. I'm hoping that it will pan out, because I KNOW the Marauder can, and will outshoot the above 2 guns that I own. If all works out, hopefully it will beat out everyone else's TM's and Steyrs as well. You do NOT need to have the most expensive rig out there, in order to be competitive.
If everything goes well, hopefully I will prove that again.

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

 
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JimC
(Login 22Jim)
YF

Just the facts sir

August 8 2017, 1:22 PM 


Tom you have discovered what many hunter class shooters have discovered, the lowly Marauder can be one of the most accurate rifles you can compete with. My friend and assistant match director Scott has a Marauder (by no means stock) that is one of the most accurate air rifles I have ever shot.

Being the owner of a Steyr and A RAW you know that there is more to enjoying a rifle then just its accuracy. The Steyr is a rifle that is just pleasurable to shoot and as you know it does not give you a ticket to success.

Jim in Sacramento


 
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