Hard Fort Safari

Emily Jones shows some of teh older shots how to do it

Emily Jones shows some of teh older shots how to do it - Credit: Archant

Summer HFT is beginning to hot up. Gary Chilingworth brings us all the action from the latest rounds

Fort maybe a new club, but they know how to lay out a course

Fort maybe a new club, but they know how to lay out a course - Credit: Archant

Rounds two and three of the 2013 series are the first double-header of the year. The double-headers are always a time of celebration for the UKAHFT mob, as it gives the shooters a chance to meet up for drinks in the evening and have a great social time and this is what the UKAHFT is all about. Our series is set over nine rounds; this is made up of five individual days and two weekend double-headers. At these doubles, we shoot two courses, but at the same club on both Saturday and Sunday.

A Classic Daystate is put through its paces by Jamie Houricane

A Classic Daystate is put through its paces by Jamie Houricane - Credit: Archant

In 2012, Fort Airgun Club (AGC) was the new kid on the block and they did such a good job, that this year we’re shooting it twice.

Chris Sandford strikes a classic HFT pose with his Air Arms at Safari

Chris Sandford strikes a classic HFT pose with his Air Arms at Safari - Credit: Archant

Fort is a great little club situated just outside of Chester in North Wales. It’s set atop a hill and, because of this, there’s always wind, but as we arrived on the first day, no one could have expected how windy it was going to become.

It's all about the bling and this Cambridge medal was well worth the effort

It's all about the bling and this Cambridge medal was well worth the effort - Credit: Archant

Winner Evan Grove receives a Scoprpion air rifle generously donated by BSA Guns

Winner Evan Grove receives a Scoprpion air rifle generously donated by BSA Guns - Credit: Archant

Bad Wind

In my last HFT review, I spoke about the wind at Kibworth, but compared to Fort, that was a light breeze. The wind was howling and because most of the course was out in the open there were no trees to slow it down. One of the early targets I shot was a 15mm at about 18 yards. Now, in a 10mph wind, I’ll aim about half a centimetre outside of the kill zone, but at Fort I gave this 3cm and my pellet still flew across the kill and landed about 2cm on the other side. It was then time to shoot a 40-yard target, so I aimed left, and then left, and then a bit more left and when I ran out of mil-dots and the target was hovering in the right-hand side of my scope I pulled the trigger and watched the target fall over.

The course was well laid out with a great selection of targets and target traps and I do believe that even if the wind had not blown, the course would still have been extremely challenging. The thing is though, I just couldn’t get a handle on the conditions; one second my pellet needed 5 mil-dots hold into the wind and the next it would be going straight. As I shot, I became more and more frustrated and when this happens you start making silly mistakes; before long I’d crashed and burned and my day was done.

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Not everyone, however, had a bad day and some shooters showed that they could master the wind better than most. One of these was James McLachlan, who took the open win with a 57, the top lady was Jill Cochrane, who shot a 54, top springer was Daniel Measures with a 51 and top .22 was Barry Smith with a 47. The juniors shot really well and in the 9 to 13 class Tom Willingham had a 42 and in the 14 to 16, Rudy Goldslade had a 54. The team trophy went to Rivington.

This round was sponsored by BSA and the winner of a great .177 BSA Scorpion SE was Evan Grove.

For more information visit: http://www.fortairgunclub.com/

Cambridge HFT: Summer Safari

Cambridge HFT is a cracking club; it was the place where I learned how to shoot and the welcome is always warm and friendly.

Located in deepest, darkest Cambridgeshire, Cambridge HFT has a large and loyal membership and even though quite a few of them (Martin Slane, mainly) are as mad as a box of frogs, I strongly recommend that you mark Cambridge down as a club to visit.

The thing is, though, I truly believe that there is something in the water in Cambridge that makes them go a little potty every now and then. For the past few years they’ve being having a competition like no other. The summer Safari is an experience to behold, with targets from eight metres to Lord knows how far, and 15mm kills on targets that are in the next county; it’s not for the faint-hearted.

This competition is set over two days and one evening. Day one is a 40-shot course that’s tough as nails, but is set to full UKAHFT standard. Once this has been shot and put away, however, it’s time for the evening competition to take hold. This comp is held to Cambridge rules, which means any target at any distance, and as the light starts to fade, you had better make sure your eyesight is up to muster.

Merriment

Once the shooting has finished for the day and the guns are put away, the merriment can begin and the odd glass of Chardonnay can be drunk. There is certainly no drunkenness and the rumours of Matt Rawlings allegedly wearing a Borat-style mankini while singing and performing ‘gangnam-style’, are certainly not true … allegedly.

On day two, the safari course is shot and the targets are great. There’s everything from Land Rovers to giraffes and the odd invisible rat that is hidden behind a grate. Shooting the second day is more about fun and even though we all take our shooting seriously, it’s a great time to let our hair down (for those of us who have it) and shoot with friends and newcomers alike.

There were winners, however, and on day one, Simon Vant was top score with a 74, top boinger was Paul Burt with a 63. In the .22 Wayne Pearce had a 65, top lady was Jill Cochrane with a 69 and top junior was Olly Fleet with a 62.

There were scores for the evening, but apparently these were lost, and I have been told not to ask how.

On day two, Gill Cochrane was top score with a 54, Wayne Pearce was top open with a 52, top recoiling was Kyle Hampton with a 51, Simon Jones was top .22 with a 52 and Alex Honeywell was top junior with a 53.

If you can, get along to Cambridge. It’s a great club and you will have a wonderful time. For more information visit: www.cambridgehft.co.uk