If you own an airgun there’s already a good chance you’ve heard the term Field Target, and if you haven’t, you may want to read on and see what you’re missing. Airgun clubs are all over the USA and there’s a good chance one close to you is having Field Target competitions.
Briefly, Field Target is a competition using small critter shaped steel plates having a small hole ranging from 3/8”to 1-1/2” in diameter. Shoot your pellet through the hole, the critter falls over (or on some targets a small indicator is raised instead). Score 1 point!
A Field Target coarse may have anywhere between 20 to 30 targets and depending on the coarse, you may get to shoot at each target 1 time or as many as 3 times. Targets can also be placed in lanes. A lane may have 2 or 3 targets each. You shoot the lane, mark your score and move on to the next lane. Depending on the number of shooters, you may be shooting with a buddy or two at each lane taking turns recording each others hits and misses.
Sounds simple but it gets interesting and fun. Targets can be placed as close as 10 yards or as far away as 55 yards and may be placed on the ground, on a stump or in a tree and don’t forget, that hole in those targets can range from 1-1/2” to as small as 3/8” in diameter. So what prevents the person setting up the targets from placing them all far away with tiny holes? Something called the Troyer scale. Those targets are given a rating of difficulty depending on distance and hole size. A Field Target coarse typically doesn’t exceed a level of difficulty so a far away target with a small hole would have to be offset by a couple close targets with large holes.
What do you need to get started? First an airgun (or maybe check with the club as they may have one for loan or rent) shooting under 20 Foot Pounds of Energy and either a flat cushion less than 6” inches in height or a bucket with a seat and some shooting sticks. You have to pick from one of two ways to shoot the coarse at the start. The first way is Open Class. You sit on the ground on your cushion and generally try to shoot the targets with the rifle resting off your knee. Shooting the coarse this style, you get to use any power scope as well as click the elevation turret if you don’t want to use the hold off marks on the reticle. The second way is Hunter class. Here you get to sit on your bucket and support the rifle using shooting sticks. That may sound simpler but there is one draw back. Your scope can’t exceed 12 power and no touching the elevation turret. There’s a third class as well, those guys use rifles shooting less than 12 FPE but we won’t go there in this article.
Once you shoot Field Target once or twice you’ll start to learn about other little pieces of equipment and accessories you can add to help better your score as well as some great advice. As for the competition part, don’t worry, it’s mostly a competition against your self, getting better and most important, having fun!