At the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship, Kevin Yee flew in from California and won the Open Piston Division with a score of 100, beating the highest score posted by an Open PCP shooter. Not only is that a very impressive achievement, but Yee was one of the few shooters to demonstrate remarkable consistency, shooting the same score (a 50) on each day. I interviewed Kevin by telephone to find out what makes him so successful as a field target competitor.
JE: How did you get started in field target?
KY: When I was a kid, I went to Boy Scout camp. We shot .22s, and I liked it! When I got home, I begged my parents for a .22, I wound up with a Red Ryder BB gun. I got hooked into the Beeman airguns stuff, and eventually ended up with an FWB124. I practiced with that gun till I wore out the seal in it. I’ve shot airguns ever since then. Fast forward a few years . . . when I got a new home, we had a lot of pigeons around and that rekindled my interest in airguns. Eventually I got an Air Force Condor – a .22 shooting 50 foot-pounds – which I modified heavily and started to shoot field target with it. I noticed though that my technique was messing up some shots, so I started to shoot spring guns to improve my technique. I think PCPs are rather sterile and boring. A springer has a lot more personality and life.
JE: What’s your current competition rig?
KY: The gun I shot at NERFTC is actually my backup rig. It’s an HW97 with Maccari internals and a Maccari stock that was tuned by Jan Kraner. It shoots JSB RS pellets at 840 fps, close to 11 foot-pounds. It has a straight bar that comes out of the butt pad that functions as a butt hook, an old Premier-Leupold Mark IV scope, and a custom scope focusing knob that is about five inches in length. I like it because I can move it with my thumb when I am shooting offhand. I also have a windicator that is a piece of Mylar. That’s pretty much it.
JE: What’s your practice routine?
KY: (He laughs.) I’m actually a casual shooter. I shot the Oregon match just before I flew to New York for the NERFTC, but I hadn’t shot for 2-3 months before that. I actually don’t spend a lot of time practicing. I live in the city, and it’s impossible to shoot at my house. When I make it to the range, I’ll sit there for eight hours and shoot targets and take Vicodin later for my back. I only shoot from a sitting position at targets anywhere from 65 yards to ten yards.
JE: If you don’t practice, how come you were so consistent? Most of the shooters were telling me that reading the wind on the B course at NERFTC was really difficult.
KY: In a sense, I got lucky. The B course is very similar to where I normally shoot – with gusty, variable winds, but you tend to have a quartering tail wind, and that’s what I was seeing and feeling on the B course. Most of the time, I was sitting there trying to find a predictable wind to shoot. I rarely held on the kill zone.
JE: Do you have any advice for newbies?
KY: You don’t need a full-blown race rig; you don’t have to have all the expensive stuff. I think the springer class is the most reasonable class that a person can get into and shoot without spending high dollars. You need to practice enough so that you know your gun and how it will behave and so that getting into a good, stable field target position becomes second nature to you.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott