Chip here, and the video above is from my first experience in a field match. Hunting? Check. Airguns? Got it. Field competitions? Umm….. So it was with that amount of experience I happily agreed to travel to the small town of Wappingers Falls, New York to compete in the second of five scheduled competitions of the Eastern Field Target Competitors Club, home field of Ray and Hans Apelles (The “A” Team).
Shooting with The “A” Team is one thing, but traveling to their home field representing the company which they endorse, to shoot in one of their competitions puts a bit of pressure on a guy. Thankfully, Mark DeBoard, Director of Shooting Services for Crosman, was behind the wheel and kept things light. Ray and Hans joined forces with Crosman in 2008 and were very involved with the development of the Benjamin Marauder PCP rifle. The first time Ray entered it in a field competition, he cleaned the course. Shortly after, a pair of Match Stocks were provided to the two Marauders and these are the guns they use today. Ray and Hans have won regional and national championships as well as represented the U.S.A. in international competition.
Mark and I were both shooting the Benjamin Marauder .177 topped with a 3-12×44 scope from CenterPoint Hunting & Outdoors. After a thirty minute sighting-in session, we joined around 20 other shooters on the field match course.
The “A” Team’s setup included ten shooting points (stations for my fellow newbies) with two targets each. Distances ranged from 7 yards out to 55 yards, with one unique challenge set at 75 yards (this is the same target that will be used in July’s Quigley Bucket Challenge). There were divisions for every shooting preference: WFTF, PCP, Spring Gun, Junior Class, Off-Hand (Standing), Hunter and Pistol Class.
While I didn’t finish “in the money”, I had a blast – field target shooting is simply more interesting than shooting paper targets. Ray and Hans really mixed it up with varying targets: a frog 15′ up a tree, a squirrel hidden in a barrel, birds on the sides of trees and more. It reminded me of those shooting galleries you find at amusement parks and I couldn’t wait to see the next target. It didn’t take long however for the competitive juices to start flowing. Suffice to say, I have some practicing to do. And I can’t wait!