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Field target club course

by B.B. Pelletier

Would any of you be interested in starting a field target club in your area? Pyramyd AIR is considering hosting a 5-day course on organizing, setting up and running a field target club. This will be a hands-on course, taught in northern Ohio, on site, for five full days. This first announcement is to see if there is sufficient interest for us to proceed with this plan.

    The curriculum

  • How to recruit new members
  • How to acquire equipment and supplies, including field targets, lumber, paint, materials for reset strings
  • How to locate and set up a field target course venue
    (setting up lanes, rest areas, sight-in range, public areas, safety fans)
  • How to shoot field target using AAFTA rules
  • How to set up a match
  • Hunter class competition
  • Duties of the Match Director
  • Duties of the Safety Officer
  • Setting up a sight-in range
  • Setting up field target lanes
  • How to organize a match
    (squads, scoring, food, safety, restrooms, etc.)
  • How to identify and emplace various types of field targets
    (leveling, different target heights, lighting, terrain considerations, testing, maintenance during the match)
  • Building permanent field target emplacements
    (concrete target bases, tree platforms)
  • How to handle alibis
  • Safety during the match
  • How to set up and run a club website
  • Club finances – how to pay for the equipment

This course will be scheduled for the end of August 2008 if there is enough interest. The cost to each student will be $100, plus expenses that include travel, meals and lodging. There will be two instructors, Tom Gaylord and Earl “Mac” McDonald. Tom is one of four founders of the successful DIFTA field target club, where he served for three years as Match Director. Mac was instrumental in running the matches after he joined the club. Classes will last all day at the field target site and into the evening in the motel where we all stay.

By the end of the course, each student will be qualified to organize their own field target club. We require each student to be an associate member of AAFTA, the American Airgun Field Target Association, which costs $25 for one year. The goal is for every graduate to start a new field target club, or to team with other graduates in their area for the same purpose.

Shooting in a field target match before taking the course is not a requirement. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you’ve even seen one. You’ll learn how to shoot field target in this course. If you’re already a field target competitor, you’ll learn how to set up and run a club in your area so others can enjoy the sport you already love.

The days will be spent setting up and running field target matches. Positions of responsibility will be rotated so every student will have the opportunity to be a Match Director. Evenings will be spent in the classroom, covering those subjects that are appropriate, including equipment maintenance.

Students may bring their own air rifles to the course with the advance permission of the instructors. If they cannot or do not wish to travel with their rifles, a rifle and scope will be provided, along with pellets. Only rifles suitable for field target will be used, but that will be subject to broad interpretation, allowing basic spring rifles like Gamo breakbarrels (except those capable of 1,200 f.p.s. or more) and the CF-X, the RWS Diana 48 and similar airguns. The rifles provided by Pyramyd AIR will include PCPs and upscale spring rifles, as well as the less-expensive springers. Students may sample as many of the rifles as they wish during the course.

This course is not designed to teach how to shoot field target, though that is included. The goal of this course is for every graduate to create a new field target club in his area.

We’re very interested in your thoughts – especially if you think you might attend. We have to limit the course to 12 students. If the first one is successful, we’ll run other courses next summer.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

28 thoughts on “Field target club course”

  1. Man, this is the exact kiind of subject I was asking several months ago. I’m sorry to say I won’t make it, but if I could, you know I’d be there. I don’t know how successful an “air” club would be in my area, but I’d be willing to try though. You’ll keep us informed on the workings and further courses that might be held, right? JP

  2. Jp,

    I’ll do better than that. I will also present the classroom lessons here in the blog. The hands-on is very important, but you can get started without it, if you study the subject and read.

    “Air” clubs are highly successful everywhere they are started. From the plains of Wyoming to New York City, an airgun club has great appeal. And starting a club is what the course is all about.


  3. Eric,

    You can still use this blog and the forums to attract others who might like to help you get started. When I published The Airgun Letter, I had two guys who lived in Moscow (Russia, not Idaho) meet on our Airgun Forum.


  4. B.B.,

    You know I can’t come but if I lived close I would definately come!

    My request (or suggestion) is to have a blog series of that curriculum. I know that it is very difficult or near impossible to do that but if you take your time writing the blogs, this would be the best series of blogs ever…

    I hope these lessons work out, a lot of people will have fun there – definately!

  5. Why-o, why-o, why-o do I not live near Ohio? 🙂
    Is there anyway to put up a video feed of parts of the class? I’ve had a strong interest in trying field target for some time now, I hope that the HW 50S I just bought can be suitable for it. The sportman’s club that I belong to is pretty much shotgun only, but I was thinking of trying to introduce some field target events there.

    Al in CT

  6. BB, by the way, I wanted to thank you for giving me that link about the HW.
    The people were very friendly and helpful and I found out that my 50S was made in 1964.

    Al in CT

  7. AAFTA has a lot of information on starting an FT club as well as running matches. Goto the Education tab and you will find all this information.

    Feel free to ask for help from the webmaster there if you have any questions.

  8. B.B.

    I’m afraid that I’m not much of an administrator even if I had the time or money to travel, but I would certainly like to see all the available information. I think some sort of video or podcast of the class would be most welcome. Also, I’m telling people at my shooting club who admire my IZH 61 about PA and the blog so maybe some of them would pick up on it.

    I have found a name for a new pain, and it is that the trigger guard screw keeps dropping out of my B30. I’m guessing that the solution is Locktite. What is this stuff and how do I use it?

    On the subject of knife-sharpening, I’ve heard of an idea where one might be able to bypass the opposition between sharpness and durability and achieve a Samurai type edge that can do both. The procedure goes like this. One first uses a very small angle to achieve a super-sharp edge–this would be something like 15 degrees or less. Then, one increases the angle to around 25 degrees. What you get is a broader edge on top of a narrower one. The theory is that the new superimposed edge will be at last as sharp as the original since it further refines and cuts it. But since the second angle is relatively large, the edge will be durable too. The reporter of this, who swears by his results, used what he called state of the art sharpening equipment for $125 although he did not mention if it was the Warthog. I don’t have a machine and couldn’t discriminate angles like this by hand, but it seems worth a try.

    I’m thinking of inventing a formula whereby one can translate the distance of a shot from the center of a target to an NRA score on a regulation 10 yard target. This would be for people like me who do not have access to regulation distances but would like to see how their thousands of shots stack up against a standard. Have you heard of anything like this formula so that I’m not wasting my time? Otherwise, I’m ready to invent!


  9. The classes sound very interesting. However, with work schedules, limited vacation time, and prior commitments � attending will be tuff. That said, a DVD of the course work I would think would have wide appeal. I just sold one of your R-1 books on the internet for over $100, so I have to think people would gobble up a video of you teaching. (I had read it more than a dozen times, so nothing new in it for me) Maybe you could extend it into a series on maintenance, etc.

  10. bg_farmer, you’re like the hero of Toni Morrison’s book Beloved who can “fight raccoons with his bare-hands and win.” That’s pretty intense and dangerous too if the animal has rabies. If you’re considering another close-combat weapon besides a stick, might I suggest the sjambok by Cold Steel? Googling those terms will turn it up right away. This tool was an African whip made out of a piece of stiff hippo hide and used to kill snakes with its incredible speed and power. The South African riot police adopted a plastic version of it which I consider quite a recommendation; I figure those guys take their work pretty seriously. Although I don’t have any immediate use for one, I couldn’t help buying one myself–it’s only about $15. My only test of its power came when I was swinging the heavy handle against a concrete pillar–the handle is heavy enough to work as a club. I forgot about the polypropylene hand loop which rebounded off the concrete and raised this incredible bloody welt on my back. Reports are that the business-end of the whip will cut through denim like a razorblade and bite down to the bone.

    Wayne, my experience with the IZH 61 should be an advertisement for its durability. Once I accidentally loaded 4 pellets up the barrel and fired with no harm to the gun. There have been numbers of other cases of double-loadings. Just as bad are the many, many times I have accidentally dry-fired the gun–each the source of extreme anguish. You wouldn’t think it is that hard to count to 5, but I’ve failed any number of times although not for awhile. In my defense, I will say that with all the things to think about for a new shooter, it is not that hard to lose track of your number of shots or of whether you have cocked the gun or not. In any case, the gun has not shown any ill-effects whatsoever, and its overall construction is as solid as a rock.

    One way around the reloading problem is to get the single-shot IZH 60. However, in doing so you will give up the thrill of quick-shooting which I expect would be especially attractive to gallery shooters. One of the veterans of my shooting range told me that he bought a high-velocity airgun to try but was put-off by having to break the barrel and load each shot. You might want to think generally about multi-shot guns for this reason. I expect that the Walther lever action that B.B. recently blogged would serve well as would the Crosman 1077 repeater. RWS Hobbys are my choice of ammo for the IZH 61. I wouldn’t know if they are easy to repair, but I believe PA might be willing to repair them.

    Shooting galleries are such fun. Once I was in New Zealand amusement park trying out an airgun long before I discovered PA. I missed every single target. As soon as I was done, a large, bearded fellow took over and shot every target in rapid succession like Clint Eastwood. I figured this was the owner who was afraid that I was misrepresenting his equipment. Ha ha.


  11. Wow B.B.,
    That’s exactly what I would like to do in my area but the sad irony is that I don’t have the time or the resources. What a shame! I hope there will be many takers for this offer. It sounds great! If there was one in my area I would likely join though.

    Good luck with this project.

    Bill S.

  12. Matt,
    Trust me, I don’t take chances with the critters when there’s a choice, usually wear welding gloves when just releasing them from cage and, of course, always wear boots and jeans (all day every day)…that night I was in shorts and a t-shirt. Rabies is always an option, but the problem last summer was that our creek dried up and their water and food sources went with it. I would have felt sorry for them if they hadn’t been harassing cats and trying to get into the house all night (among other things they would run up against the doors trying to get in, which was not conducive to a relaxing sleep).

  13. BB,

    I would come to the class if my company were not moving from Denver to Wisonsin during August.

    I hope the class goes and the objective (new field taget clubs) is achieved. It sounds so inviting – being able to try out FT guns, hang out with you and others who ‘get’ air guns and get to learn the ins and outs of getting a club going, all for a hundred bucks? What a bargain.

    Keep us informed (We know you will!).

    Al Pellet

  14. Matt61,

    The full title of Locktight is Locktite Thread Blocker. The name says it all.

    It locks screws in place so they don’t vibrate loose.

    As for your formula, it sounds like an algebraic expression. It should be easy to do.


  15. I think perhaps 2 months is not enough time for some of us to plan ahead. We really need a Field Target Club on the east coast of Florida (Where the first National Championship was held I think). The hard part will always be where to hold a match and insurance. I’d love to see how you handle those subjects! I know that it will somewhat help Pyramid’s buisness however it is a great idea and very pro-active. I would like to come to next year’s school.

  16. B.B.

    DVD back. Sorry to hear the course might not make it. I live only about an hour from PA, but once again, while my wife tolerates me spending thousands on airguns, using the family vacation time would cross line. This is also why I still don’t have a CC permit.
    I hate washing my own clothes. : )

  17. DVD

    What are you thinking, the perfect vacation would be the event, right B.B.?

    Lets make it fun for the whole family…ask the local craft vendors to set up food and craft booths, ( you can get booth fees and percentages to help with the costs) that will draw in people who might not otherwise know the “new world” of air rifles.

    and, DVD, you can hire out your clothes cleaning, come by yourself if you have to…..of course there is always the nookie issue…….


  18. oh……….

    just noticed that only 12 per class……..forget the food booths…better rush to grab a spot, guys and gals………

    “Im a dreamin man, yes, thats my problem
    I cant tell when Im not being real.
    In the meadow dusk I park my aerostar
    With a loaded gun and sweet dreams of you.

    Ill always be a dreamin man
    I dont have to understand
    I know its alright.

    I see your curves and I feel your vibrations
    You dressed in black and white, you lost in the mall
    I watch you disappear past club med vacations
    Another sleepless night, a sun that wont fall.

    Ill always be a dreamin man
    I dont have to understand
    I know its alright.

    Now the night is gone, a new day is dawning
    And our homeless dreams go back to the street
    Another time or place, another civilization
    Would really make this life feel so complete.

    Ill always be a dreamin man
    I dont have to understand
    I know its alright.

    Dreamin man
    Hes got a problem
    Dreamin man
    Dreamin man
    Hes got a problem
    Dreamin man.”

    Neil Young (great song)

    I guess I like Neil because he’s from the 70’s too.


  19. Hi ,
    Reading for it, seems that there are few or none very popular airguns with efficient repeating systems, in terms of being or not pellet harmful, not affecting accuracy, and if i understand it, the bigger difficulty to makers seems to be that the pellets are likely to be damaged when sliding from the magazine to the barrel because the shape of the part wich pushes the pellet into the barrel deforms the pellet due to overtightening. Seems to me (and my question is if that´s true ) that this is not necessary considering precision pellets, like good quality wadcutters or diabolos, such as H&N and Kodiaks wich have a very small variation on measures. There is a semi-auto olympic pistol with a five in-line shots magazine, i mean, if a gun is predicted to shoot a certain label of pellets or some different labels with different shapes, but none of them being a pellet wich is hard to fit on the magazine, with no skirts very beyound the necessary barrel´s internal diameter, it should be able to fit the barrel without being deformed by the part that slides it into the barrel. I´ll try to put it more shortly, but, considering precision pellets, to feed a good pellet into a barrel should be question of the guys who make the precision airguns and make the precision pellets just to make a “precision” transfer port using the same tolerances they already uses in both for the gun to be worth having such stuff… I mean, more short, to me this is not something that can´t work, i think this could work well and even be more popular, couldn´t it? The FT, not in my country,i can´t but you know it´s a great idea, yes sir, make it happen.

  20. There are several pellet repeaters that work well, as long as the correct pellets are used. Like you said, choosing the right pellets is critical.

    You understand that, but some shooters don’t. Some shooters want to be able to load anything into their gun, and that is where repeaters cause problems. The Olympic-grade pistols are fine, but don’t try to shoot H&N Baracudas in them. (they don’t work because they are longer than the magazines allow.) You wouldn’t do that, but plenty of other people would. try.

    Some repeaters, like those from Mendoza, are so pellet-specific that only one pellet will feed through their mechanisms. That’s where the problems start.


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