Havasu Airgunners Tries CO2 Field Target
On Saturday November 1st Havasu Airgunners held their inaugural CO2 field target shoot. This has been in the works for a long time and while the wind and a few timing issues got things off to a slow start, the day was a huge success.
Field target is an airgunning discipline that simulates typical hunting shots by placing metal targets at various angles and ranges (out to 55 yards). When the target’s “kill zone” is struck by a pellet, the target falls over and it’s registered as a hit. There are several classes, each with very specific rules and regulations (visit www.aafta.org for more information). One thing they all have in common, for the most part, is that they are all dominated by fairly expensive airguns and accessories, sometimes costing thousands of dollars. While I may be able to pull my Air Arms s510 off the shelf and be competitive (in theory at least), not everyone has an extra $2000+ (gun, scope, fill gear, etc.) to drop on an airgun to go and shoot metal targets a few times a year. CO2 field target is different.
In CO2 field target all the airguns have to be powered by CO2. Aesthetic changes are permitted, i.e. custom 22xx’s /13xx’s, etc., but power mods are not. The valves and hammer springs need to be stock parts for guns to be compliant. This keeps things even. Given their lower power output, the range is reduced to no more than 35 yards. A basic set of rules can be found by clicking here and viewing them at www.havasuairgunners.org.
Umarex USA provided 2 Fusion rifles along with the 4-12×50 AO MD IR scopes that were used by most of the participants. The Umarex Fusion is a great option for this kind of shooting as it is inexpensive, quiet, and very accurate. It takes a steady hand and the ability to read the wind to successfully take down a target at 35 yards with one of these, which keeps things VERY interesting. I had my Hammerli 850 Air Magnum .177 airgun out for the shoot and it did very well. I’d love to see how the .22 version would do. Maybe I’ll have one in time for the next shoot. Another good option may be the Crosman 2260 special edition which is only about $130 at Crosman.com. All of these CO2 powered airguns allow potential participants to be competitive for as little as 1/10th of what they may have to spend to compete in traditional field target. For those who find they love the discipline, the move to formal field target is much more clearly defined and they have a confidence that the investment will be worth it.
One of the functions that I perform at these shoots is new shooter instruction. I love teaching and this gives me the opportunity to give back to the sport that’s been so good to me. We had several families with shooters young and old, male and female, come out who had never handled an airgun or firearm. We setup a special area where they could get accustomed to shooting targets and then a Gamo Knock Down target. From there they were handed off to range coaches who could take them through the course. Everyone had a really great time.
Because it was their first shoot and many of the participants were brand new to shooting, they allowed a lot of liberty in how rifles were stabilized by the shooters as they took their shots. In an official competition, the rules will be tightly enforced. Havasu Airgunners is seeking to host at least 4 official competitions per year, but will also have test lanes setup at each of their monthly shoots for shooters to give it a try.