The club organizes air gun
matches every third Saturday of the month. Match venues vary with weather
conditions, holding summer matches at higher elevations around Flagstaff,
winter matches near Phoenix, with spring and fall matches in between.
Site in at a shoot near Flagstaff in June 2007
Shooters often shoot through
the course again in the afternoon, or plink and talk about air guns and other
passions for fun. Shooters who camp over-night during summer matches shoot again
on Sunday morning, filling out a week end of fun.
Shooters compete with a variety of air guns ranging from
high-end pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) to off the shelf spring-piston (SP) rifles.
The types of competition vary and have included paper, field target, and hunter
field target matches over the years. The club welcomes air guns of all makes and
models and tries to accommodate all types of matches based on club member’s
There is a modest entry fee
for each shooter to help pay for target maintenance, insurance and other club
expenses. First-timers shoot their first match free.
Lapel pins are one of the
types of awards that the club uses to recognize shooter success. In addition,
the match champion takes home a traveling trophy (provided by Daystate) until
the next match. Ties are settled by shoot off's on one of the more difficult
parts of the course.
Airgunners of Arizona has
hosted the Arizona State Field Target Championships for over 15 years. This
match has drawn shooters from several states.
State champions in the various classes for the year are named and awarded
trophies or plaques. The club also holds a raffle at the state match to raise
money to cover annual operating expenses.
The sport we compete in
The falling, re-settable
metal targets represent small game that might be hunted with an air gun; such as
squirrels, rats, frogs, fish, ground hogs, armadillos, and birds. On the face
plate of each target is a hole representing the lethal hit zone of the animal.
Hit zones vary in size from 3/8 to 1¾ inches. To knock the target down, a
pellet must cleanly pass through the hit zone. A pellet that only partially
passes through the hit zone (a split) will not knock down a target.
The shooters are also
organized into squads of two to four shooters. Each squad is assigned a
different starting lane, and from there continues to shoot the targets on
each lane. Squad members take turns shooting and keeping score.
Most FT shooters shoot
sitting on a "bum bag" with their knees supporting their rifles.
HFT shooters can use any position except for the FT position. The air gun
may only be supported by the shooter’s body in FT.
Though these are the basic
rules established by the American Airgun Field Target Association (AAFTA),
the club sometimes includes scoring variations and/or rule variations in
competitions for fun during monthly shoots.
The equipment we use
Any safe air gun that shoots
with 20 foot-pounds of energy or less may be used to compete.
There are three common
classes in the sport, based on the equipment being used:
In the Open class,
participants can use any air gun, with any open or optical sight (scope). Most
shooters use PCP guns in this class. Sights may be adjusted during the match to
compensate for distance/elevation and windage.
The Spring-Piston class is
for shooters using a SP power plant; with any open or optical sight (scope).
Sights may be adjusted during the match.
In HFT class, shooters may use any air gun, and any sight with a maximum of 12 power magnification (variable optics with greater than 12 power magnification can be used with the power adjusted down to 12X). In the HFT class, no elevation or windage adjustments may be made to the scope during the competition (shooters must hold over or under the hit zone instead of adjusting the sight).
|Some of the common airguns seen at matches include the Daystate CR-X, Mk3, and Huntsman; the Air Arms TX 200 and EV2; the USFT by Mac1 Airguns; Steyr's LG100; and the HW77 and HW97. This list is by no means comprehensive; there are many, many different airguns that can be competitive in the proper hands.|
Pellet choice is as important
as gun choice. Different pellets perform differently in different guns so it is
important to experiment with different pellets and pellet weights. Light pellets
are often used in SP guns, while heavy pellets are often used in PCP guns.