Field Target Equipment FAQ

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  1. What airguns are used for field target?
  2. What is the lowest velocity a field target gun should have?
  3. What is better - a PCP or spring gun?
  4. Can a breakbarrel be accurate for field target?
  5. What shooting positions are allowed in field target?
  6. How do FT shooters hold their guns?
  7. Why do FT shooters use high-magnification scopes?
  8. How do you rangefind with a scope?
  9. What scopes are being used for field target?
  10. How do you level a scope?
  11. How do you determine which pellet is right for FT?
  12. Which pellet weight is best for FT?
  13. How do I focus the scope reticle to my eye?
  14. What are the differences between an airgun-rated scope and firearm rifle scope?
  15. What are causes for accuracy problems in an airgun?
  16. What does the term "FAC" stand for?
  17. Why do you lubricate the pellets with pre-charged guns?


1. What airguns are used for field target?
    Just about any airgun can be used for field target. However, some guns are too powerful or too low power to be efficiently used. Most guns shooting less than 650 fps aren't used since the accuracy of such guns typically suffer at longer distances. Many guns shooting more than 20 ft. lbs. might not be eligible at many matches. A lot of matches follow the AAFTA recommended power limit of 20 ft. lbs. in their competitions. Some of the more popular spring guns include:
      Piston Rifles
Air Arms TX200 & TX200SR
Air Arms Pro Sport
Beeman HW77/97
Beeman R1 / HW80
Beeman R11 / HW98
Beeman R9 / HW95
Beeman/FWB 124
Whiscombe JW75
Whiscombe JW60
      Pre-charged Pneumatic Rifles
Air Arms RN10
Air Arms Pro Target
Air Arms NJR100
Air Arms SM100
Beeman Mako
Crosman Discovery
Daystate CR97
Daystate CR94
Daystate Huntsman
Daystate LR90
Ripley AR5
    This is not in any way a complete listing, but it gives you the general idea.
2. What is the lowest velocity a field target gun should have?
    There isn't any official low power limit specified in the AAFTA rules. Most shooters try to shoot guns that have a muzzle energy greater than 10 ft lbs. That is about 750 fps with a 7.9gr pellet. Once you drop much below 10 ft lbs, long range accuracy starts to degrade and your knock down power drops low enough that you might not have enough power to knock over a target even on a shot in the kill zone.
3. What is better - PCP or spring guns?
    Both are very good for field target. Both have advantages and disadvantages. A spring gun requires more discipline from the shooter to fire accurately on a repetitive basis. However, they can be as accurate as a PCP gun. The advantage of spring guns is that they are a lot less expensive than most PCP guns, you don't have to worry about running out of air or lubing your pellets. Most shooters will tell you it is easier to shoot a PCP gun accurately. They are more forgiving than are spring guns should you make a small error in your shooting discipline. They are easier to follow through with and they can typically be set to shoot at higher powers with almost no recoil or vibration that you would get with a spring gun. To their disadvantage is their cost, the fact you have to keep an air tank around, and to extract the most accuracy from them you almost have to lubricate your pellets.
4. Can a breakbarrel be accurate for field target?

Yes and No. A fixed barrel gun will give slightly better groups than a break barrel gun. This is because the relationship between the barrel and scope doesn't change with each shot. A break barrel moves the barrel with each shot so it isn't in the exact same place with each shot. However, today's modern break barrels are typically so well made that the differences are very small. If you have a break barrel gun, you can definitely use it for field target and do quite well.

An important issue to note is that most scopes used for FT shooting are of higher magnification. These scopes are typically much longer in length than a typical hunting style scope. Break barrel rifles will often hit the scope when they are broken open to load if they have a longer scope mounted on them. keep this in mind as you research your equipment.

5. What shooting positions are allowed in field target?
    Any shooting position is allowed in a field target match. As long as you can see the hit zone and have the gun supported only by your body, you can use any position that you are comfortable with. Most shooters use a sitting position since that offers the best stability. However, some lanes may be set up to force you to use one position over another; i.e.. a standing or kneeling shot.
6. How do FT shooters hold their guns?
    There are various holds that field target shooters use. Most shooters rest their right elbow on their right knee. The gun is then either rested on the left knee or on the left arm which is on the left knee. These are the most stable holds. Another hold is the military type hold where the left elbow rests on the left knee and the gun is held in the normal fashion.
7. Why do FT shooters use high-magnification scopes?
    The high magnification allows the shooter to use the adjustable objective to range find. Range finding is the act of determining the distance to the target. The distance can be estimated by eye but using the adjustable objective can most times estimate the distance with in a yard of the actual distance. Knowing the distance to the target is key to scoring a hit. The higher the magnification scopes give more precise range finding capabilities. The scope must have very good clarity at the higher magnification to get the best range finding capabilities.
8. How do you Range-find with a scope?
    Range finding with a scope consists of adjusting the objective on the scope until the target is in perfect focus. The distance is then read from a scale on the objective bell. (Some scopes use a side wheel for focusing -- a scale on the wheel is calibrated in distance.) Most FT shooters don't rely on the factory yardage marking on the scopes. They calibrate their scopes by actually focusing on targets at every distance and then mark that distance on the scope objective bell.
9. What scopes are being used for field target?
    There are a wide variety of scopes available today for airguns. Here is a list of some of the most common ones used today:
    Front Focus
Bushnell Trophy 6-18x, 40mm
Simmons 6-18x , 40mm
Leupold 6.5-20x, 40mm EFR
Simmons 6.5-20x, 40mm .44 Mag
Bushnell Elite 4200 6-24x, 40mm
Swift 6-24x, 50mm
Burris 8-32x, 44mm R/A
Bushnell Elite 4200 8-32x, 40mm
Swift 8-32x, 50mm
Nightforce 36x, 56mm Field Target
    Sidewheel Focus
Leupold Competition 35x, 45mm
Tasco Custom Shop 8-40x Rifle Scope
BSA 10-50x, 60mm
Nikko Stirling 10-50x, 60mm
    This is not a complete listing, but it gives you the general idea. In general, a scope for all but Hunter division will work better with at least 25X power and at least 40mm objective diameter. Focusing is essential both for eliminating parallax and for range finding.
10. How do you level a scope?

To properly level a scope you will need two things, a bubble level and a plum line. A bubble level can be bought at a local hardware store. You can find small levels with multiple bubbles in it. I like to use one bubble tube removed from the level for leveling the scope. A plum line can be made with about 4-6' of nylon cord and a 2 oz. lead sinker. Mount the plum line to a tree, post or other object so that it can swing freely.

To level your scope, first loosely mount the scope on the gun (your gun should be in a vice or on sand bags). Adjust the gun and scope so that you can see the plum line through the scope. Adjust the scope so that the vertical crosshair is about parallel to the plum line. Put the bubble level on the receiver perpendicular to the receiver and scope. Now adjust the gun so that it is level. Look through the scope and adjust it until the vertical crosshair is parallel with the plum line. Now tighten the mounts screws. Check that the vertical crosshair remains parallel with the plum line when the gun is level as you tighten the mount screws.

11. How do you determine which pellet is right for FT?
    The only way to determine which pellet is right is to shoot a variety of pellets through your airgun and see which one shoots the best. Most FT shooter use the Crosman Premiers or Beeman Kodiak Match pellets.
12. Which pellet weight is best for FT?
    Probably more important is what pellet is most accurate with your gun. In general, you want a domed pellet such as the Crosman Premier or JSB Exact. For lower-powered guns (typically, piston) you will bet better trajectories with lighter pellets such as the Crosman Premier Light or JSB Exact while higher-powered guns (most PCPs) will shoot better with heavier pellets such as the Crosman Premier Heavy or the JSB Exact Heavy. 
14. How do I focus the scope reticle to my eye?
    The objective or rear focus adjustment on a scope is much like the adjustment an eye doctor uses when they test your eyes for glasses. Turning the eye piece will strengthen or weaken the "prescription". Follow the steps below to adjust your scope. Once adjusted, the eye piece focus will not need readjustment unless your eyeglass prescription changes or your eyes change. It is not used to actually focus on the target.
Loosen the eyepiece lock ring (if applicable).
Rotate the eyepiece in the negative direction (check your scopes owners manual, typically counter clockwise).
Look Through the scope toward the sky, or at a white wall about 10’ away. Rotate the eyepiece clockwise until the reticle appears sharp and black at a quick glance . Do not look through the scope as you turn the eyepiece, as your eye will adjust to the out-of-focus condition. Glancing through the scope will immediately reveal the reticle as distinctive and black when it is properly focused.
Lock the eyepiece in place by tightening the lock ring.
15. What are the differences between an airgun scope and firearm rifle scope?
    Spring-Piston airguns generate heavy recoil and vibration in both the forward and rearward directions. Most rimfire and centerfire riflescopes are made to withstand only the rearward recoil of these types of rifles. Airgun scopes are made to withstand heavy bi-direction recoil and vibration. They typically also have parallax adjustment that allow closer focus. Typically these adjustments will allow focusing down to 10 yards. Recoil is typically not a problem with pneumatic airguns.
16. What causes accuracy problems in an airgun?
    There are many things that may cause accuracy problems with airguns. Here is a list of some typical problems:
Loose stock screws (particularly on spring guns). Clean all screws with alcohol and use a bit of Threadlocker Loctite on the threads before reinstalling. Periodically check for tightness.
Loose barrel pivot bolt. Periodically check for tightness.
Loose iron sights or scope. Periodically check for tightness.
A dirty barrel. Clean the bore periodically using a pull-through swab (never use a metal rod for cleaning airgun barrels).
Incorrect pellet type. Test several pellet types for accuracy. Use the most accurate pellet in your gun. Pellets that are too light may also be inaccurate as they may be too fast.
Poor shooting technique. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Inconsistent hold of the airgun. Practice, Practice, Practice!
17. What does the term "FAC" stand for?
    "Fire Arms Certificate". In England, if an airgun's power is greater than 12 ft. lbs. you need to have a FAC to own it.
18. Why do you lubricate the pellets with pre-charged pneumatic airguns?
    There are several reasons. The high pressure air in a PCP tends to be very dry and often contains a small amount of moisture. Lubing pellets increases accuracy, keeps the barrel lubed so it doesn't rust, and also completely eliminates leading in the barrel. The amount of lubrication used is very small -- on the order of a couple of drops for 500 pellets. Typical lubricants are Krytech and 1Lube.