Let the hard work begin... Crosman just announced that registration is open for their 2018 CAAFTC event. I'm a bit biased, but this is an awesome event. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes getting the woods, fields, and pistol course ready but it's all worth it in the end.
Crosman typically offers great deals on a lot of their products so it's a great time for making an airgun purchase. In the past they have had 40% discounts.
Can't wait to see you there... Register Here
Once you get into field target, and you must be because you are reading this, you then need to plan out your season. I'm pretty lucky because I put on our monthly shoot and I then have the option of going to other matches that are within driving distance (2-6 hours). And then there are the bigger ones, like the Canadian Nationals, Pyramyd Air Cup, the U.S. Nationals (12 hours), and this year the Spring Cajun Classic in Baton Rouge (22 hours). Once you start going to these you look forward to the matches and thus you need to plan your season and time away from family.
Personally, I throw them all up on my electronic calendar and see what sticks and what doesn't. At least I have them all mapped out so I can look ahead to the next weekend and quickly determine if I'm able to go or not and plan for the other day to work on jobs at home. When I first started traveling I also put the travel time, when the match starts, cost, etc with each one so that I could make a choice about whether I'm up for going or not. It also helps to have a partner in crime. One or many people that can push/pull you a bit -- trust me, it makes a big difference.
Branching out to different matches will also help you improve because of the different course setups, different weather, and different competitors. Make sure to take some pictures. I say this but I'm usually the one who, at the moment, is more concerned with shooting than pulling out my camera. So this is something I plan on working on. It's nice to look back at the smiling faces that shot the same match with you. And if you do well, why that's just icing on the cake.
Here in the Northeast our season doesn't get started until April. March is just too crazy to plan anything outdoors. We joke about having all 4 season's in a week and it's true. Even April is a bit iffy, but we are typically all getting stir crazy for some outdoor fun, so if things look good we will start our season in April.
I ran into one fellow in Canada and his wife was getting a bit upset at how much time he was spending away. So, always willing to help an addict, I provided some advice. The winter is the time to put money into the bank, the love bank. And the spring, summer, and fall is when you start making withdrawals. And if, during the season, things get a bit tense then it's time to put some money in the bank again by spending a weekend at home. But also explain that there are worse things that you could be doing. Come on, spending a weekend having clean, outdoor fun...? Or better yet, invite her and the family along! If you're lucky they might join in and then you have your shooting buddy! Just hope that she isn't as good as Betsy, though. Doug is still second guessing that move every time Betsy beats him! Hang in there pal.
Side wheels for your AO knob in field target are marked with yardages. Essentially when you get the 20 yard target in focus you put a mark on your side wheel. Then, in the future, when you don't have the yardages and you focus on the target you look to your left at the wheel and read the mark indicating the distance.
Side wheels come in many sizes of round as well as comma styles. Small wheels are often not very useful at distances between 40 and 55 because the focus change becomes very small at that distance. A large wheel alleviate's this problem because a small movement of the AO produces a large amount of movement on a large wheel. The down side is that large wheels are prone to put stress on your scope. A "Comma" wheel may be the best of both worlds as the diameter for distance is small where it needs to be, from 10-30 and then starts increasing from 30-40 and from 40-55 it's large.
One method of figuring out what is best for you is to get a piece of rigid foam from your big box store and start playing around with small, large and comma wheels. The foam is very easy to cut and will stay put relatively well on your side AO, enough for you to play around and see if ordering an expensive one is worth it.
I can't recall meeting anyone at this point who shoots field target and doesn't love it, but I've seen the posts that seem to indicate they are out there. I definitely get the impression that the "mean drunks" of the field target world are around and all I can say is "Relax...it's just a game".
If you no longer love what you are doing or the environment that you are doing it in then maybe it's time to change something -- you, your environment, or even your sport. I see my son playing XBOX and yelling at the screen a lot and I keep saying to him "it's just a game", the program doesn't know how to cheat, relax... And if he keeps it up much longer after that I tell him to take a break.
Some people try and tell me that the older you are the more set in your ways and I say B.S. You are never too old to try something new or to make a life change. You don't have to be the person that everyone hates to shoot with or can't stand to talk to because it always ends in an argument or tirade or just unpleasant conversation. Each of us can control only 1 person, and that is ourselves. You make the choice to be an enjoyable person to be around or not. No-one else can make that decision for you and you also have the ability to react or not react to what happens around you.
I get it, it's tough to step back. I find myself having to "get back from the ledge" at times. At one point in my career I was talking to a co-worker about an incident that really set me off. What left me speechless was "why did that upset you?" I opened my mouth to say something but I couldn't figure out why it upset me. I had reacted first without any real reason to be upset. Sounds stupid, right? Next time you find yourself getting upset ask yourself "Why did that upset you?" If you're honest with yourself you might find that there isn't any reason at all to be upset.
So, to all the "mean drunks" of the field target world, or elsewhere, I say to you "Relax...it's just a game"
So my original purchase of string winders has worked really well over the last 2 years but I'm starting to see that they do break rather easily so I'm always keeping an eye out for other options.
Recently I saw that some chalk reels had a 3:1 rewind ratio and so I started playing with one of the ones at home depot. It looked to be durable, had a button to push so you could pull on it to disperse the line without the handle killing your fingers. I was able to put 65+ yards of line on this one and still have room left for more if I wanted.
Here is the non-gear portion showing the 3 screw locations, two at the mouth and one at the opposite end. I'm also showing you where I chose to drill the two holes for the cleat that I'm adding.
The cleat will be used after you have brought this back to the line and will tie off the string so that someone doesn't inadvertently pull on the line and strip the gears (which SOMEONE did to me when I showed this to them the first time).
Here is the front also showing where the cleat will eventually be.
I've put the cleat on and have added the two screws
The opposite side with the lock nuts added and tightened down.
Now it's time to remove the string from the spool. Cut the end, pull the spool out and start taking off the line. (You could do this prior to taking it apart to make things easier)
Here are all the pieces ready to be put back together. Not a lot to it.
The cap where the string comes out of has a felt piece in there that is normally used to keep the chalk in. It's cut on one side so you can easily get the thread to the center when you put things back together.
So, what I do is pull the felt insert out of the tip. Then I insert the end of the string through the tip, into the felt, through the rubber "gasket", through the metal "eye" and then attach it to the reel. Hopefully you can see the wandering string in this picture.
Here is the back all put together with a quick detach key ring attached. On our targets we leave the female end on the target and detach the line by simply pulling on the release that separates the two halves of the key ring. We make sure that all of our targets have the female end on the targets so we don't have to worry about string placement.
I was talking to my daughter the other day about college and how it was going, she was doing OK but it scared me that she didn't show any passion about what she was studying. Then in the next sentence her face lit up when she started talking about teaching kids to swim at her job. I realized right then that I had to talk to her and to follow what she is passionate about.
I think the same goes for whatever shooting sport you are involved in. If you are passionate about it then find ways to spread your passion and get other people involved. At some point I would hope that your passion expands to starting a club or bringing new people to the sport or traveling to new matches to share your passion for your sport. Most times it's a thankless task, but a very rewarding one.
I started my club in 2016 because of my passion for the sport. I spent the prior year (2015) talking to people and trying to figure out where I could hold my matches, and even trying to figure out who would attend such a thing. It was frustrating, and still is, but eventually I came to the right location and they agreed to allow the matches to take place on their property. It's definitely been a labor of love. I had a lot of support from several field target friends and even Crosman who is close by. I started paying close attention to all of the matches I was going to, seeing what they did and how they did it, looking at the equipment they used (targets, strings, reels, attachment points, etc) and how they set up their courses. I still look at ways to improve my process and spend my own money to do so. There have been times where I think of calling it quits but I get off the ledge and move on with the support of several close friends in this sport.