Hey up James
I hope you and Frank and all the NW lads are well.
I've dibbled at FT this Winter and I shot the course at Millride and went around with Neil (OP). You'd like Neil. Decent bloke and says what he thinks. A young lad made up our trio on Sunday and it was the young lad's first FT shoot. Neil had no hesitation in lending him his Pro Target and set it up for him and advised/coached the young lad around the course.
It's probably not right me commenting on the course as it was my first FT shoot but I will comment to give you an idea of what it may have been like as an equivalent HFT course.
I like Millride. I shot there years ago with the wife on their club days when Lee H and the GML boys were there. We used to just shoot with a 3-9 and shoot all kneelers and standers. That was before HFT started. I shot Sunday with a sort of proper FT springer set up with a FT scope etc. I'm still shooting sort of hybrid HFT/FT in that I guess the range by eye first and then dial that on the scope. I tweak it into focus on the very long ones but basically leave it at the guess on the shorter ones. I then use dots to aim over and under and don't dial and shoot at 20x.
About the first 10 lanes were in a wooded area where the shooting positions were quite sheltered from the winds coming L-R but there was wind rushing through the trees and the longer targets caught a lot of wind coming down the pathway at the back of the wood. So the first 10 lanes or so ( @ 20 targets ) were in the wood. I thought they were all pretty reasonable and gettable. I couldn't buy a target for the first few lanes as I was a bit nervous it being my first FT shoot ( I missed a lollipop 40mm kill 25 yarder ).
Once out of the wood the next lane's first target was a 25 yard 15mm kill ... elevated up a tree. Now this wind ... forecast said 20 to 30mph. At this point it was rushing at you from about 10 O'Clock. The firing position was slightly up a bank and turned to the right ... so not flat and comfy. That target was a great target and would have made an excellent HFT target. The other target on that lane was about 35 or 40 yards ( can't remember ) with plenty wind L-R. I thought that was a great lane.
You then had a series of targets at distance. All around 50 and 55 yards. So you are now pretty much out in the open with 20 - 30mph wind at the target end from about 10 O'Clock. Imagine Rivi or Quarry with 20-30mph wind and having a series of 45 yarders ... now add another 10 yards.
So they were fun.
You got through those and come across a kneeling lane. Now I don't know the rules but I heard people say there's a max combined distance ( I think they mentioned 60 yards for both targets ). My scope ranges really well. I got the first one bang in between my 45 and 50 markers ( so 47.5 yards ). So you are in an open field with a decent variable wind, unsupported kneeler at 47 yards. The second kneeler on that lane I reckon was as close to my zero of 35 yards as you need worry about. If people were shooting a HFT shoot to UK rules and you came across an over range kneeler it would be measured and withdrawn. Didn't bother me really. I was just shooting for fun and I love kneelers. I'm usually pretty good at them and I'd have loved to have a go at them on a less windy day at those ranges. I normally consider a 35 yard 40mm kneeler as no great problem but I forgot we'd turned through the wind slightly so dinked them both.
Ok those out of the way. You'd turned through the wind a bit now and it was now coming at you from R-L ( shooting line was quite straight but the targets had gone from being angled to the right to angled to the left ). Time for a 41 yard 25mm kill. I think the other on that lane was @ 50 yards. A few more long ones on each lane and you finished with a lane out in the open field with the wind now coming pretty much 90 degrees R-L and it's a 50 and 55 yarder to finish.
To be honest I enjoyed it. It was tough but I knocked some down. It would be totally insensitive of me to mention that I beat a couple of top Midland's springer shooters. I wouldn't dream of mentioning that ... seeing as it was my first time out with a springer on a FT course.
( Go easy on me next time out lads ... I'm only kidding ).
So it was what it was and Neil has far more experience than me and he thought it was a tad over the top for a local series that is just getting off the ground and trying to encourage shooters of all abilities to shoot this series. Maybe he has a point?
I thanked the Millride guy who I handed my card in to and I thanked them on another thread on here as I know how much work goes into putting a shoot on. I'd go to Millride again in an instant. It's a great place to go and shoot.
I think in general there always seems to be a trend for people to want to put on the course of all courses ( FT and HFT ). No one wants people to clear their course. No one wants people saying it was too easy.
I live by the weather forecast ( sad eh ? ). These days they are pretty good for up to a week. For 48 hours they are very very good. So you know in advance what the wind is going to be like. When I've helped set courses if it's going to be a light wind then you get lots of distance in and get the positionals out to max to test everyone. Throw a few gimmes in for the lesser shooters. If it's going to be windy then bring the course in a bit.
I think that once a course gets to a point where it can become a lottery then it gets a bit of a farce. What's a lottery? We'll get people using the old phrase " more you practice the luckier you get " blah blah blah. I think once you have enough variable wind that at a certain range you could aim at exactly the same point several times and some times the target will go down and sometimes it won't ... then the skill has now been removed somewhat and it starts entering into a lottery. Two different shooters can choose exactly the same aim point and get the shot off well and one misses and one knocks it down = lottery. If you look at some of the UKAHFT scores on windy days you see an enormous gap between two excellent HFT shooters who would normally both get high 50's ( say one has got 56/60 and the other mid 40's ). There is no way on earth that one of those shooters has had that much of a better day than the other. The wind has played a part making such a big difference in those two scores.
Why not bring targets in a tad on days forecast to be windy and take a bit of the lottery out of it? It can be a long way to go some of these places to shoot 30 or 40 or 50 pellets when a fair percentage of those are shoot and hope ( especially for the lesser folk ). I know several shooters who don't go to comps anymore because they say ... " I'm just not good enough to shoot those courses and spend several hours travelling and money on fuel ". Seems a shame that.
Now the better shooters will shoot far better groups at all the ranges. So they now stand a better chance in variable and windier conditions ( Brian Samson explains this well ). I get that ... and there was a top AA pcp shooter at Millride who managed a 34/40. He's one of the top shooters in the World I believe. Looking at his average scores even he was several targets down on where he would normally be. The lesser shooters were aiming and hoping at a fair few targets..
I didn't mind like I said. I enjoyed it and the views at the top of the hill at Millride are truly worth going for. Having said that ... given the forecast of high winds ... the way the course was set out with a string line across the open area ( last 10 lanes where the shooting position was in the field with nothing in front of you for 30 yards ), that string could have been easily taken forwards by 5 or 10 yards ( probably 5-10 min job ) and all those targets along that straight line would have been more reasonable for more of the shooters. Leave that last lane of 50 and 55 in the open as a tester ( string had turned through 90 degrees at that point ).
Anyway ... only me waffling.