That's actually quite a grenade you've lobbed in there fella.
These are only my thoughts ... Sparky would be the best guy to ask.
Basically a bunch of guys, who were mainly hunters, fancied a go at this getting together on a Sunday morning and supping tea, eating bacon butties, taking the p155 ... and shooting at targets ... in a comp like.
Their kit was, at that time, more akin to hunting, with 0.22 rifles and low mag scopes ( 3-9, 4-12 etc ).
Sure these guys could go to a FT club and have a go at FT ... but FT was all the way out to 55 yards, and that looked a long way off on 9x. The FT guys, who had basically started with similar 'hunting' kit years earlier, had by now evolved into using almost exclusively 0.177 PCPs. The PCP's would have had regs fitted ( or regged as standard ) and would be fitted in deep and heavy customised FT style stocks ... and most importantly, the scopes being used were very high mag ( 40 or 50x ). At that mag the scope can be used to focus on the target and then a scale, that had been written on the scope ( front focus or side focus ), would tell you the range. The FT lads would then dial the vertical turret to match that range and aim bang on the kill ( vertically ).
So these second bunch of blokes didn't want to have to cough up for a 0.177 PCP in a fancy FT stock ... and then have to splash out several hundred quid on a high mag FT style scope. They also didn't quite fancy taking most shots sitting on a bag with arms folded over knees etc. Just didn't seem the way that they did most of their shooting when out popping rabbits or crows etc.
So they decided to start having their own meets and comps. Same sort of targets put out in woods and fields etc. However, they would try and make it so it was more capable of being shot with basic kit and low mag 'hunting' scopes. So they wanted some main differences between this new target sport and the already well developed FT.
So first off ... no sitting on bean bags. There would be no sitting allowed. This led to the most stable alternative position ... which was probably used by a lot of 'hunters' ... to be prone. So prone was the main position.
Max distance ... well 55 yards is a long way on low mag ... so max that out at 45 yards.
Scopes ... well if there is no adjustment of the scopes, whilst shooting targets from 8 to 45 yards then that will basically enforce low mag. It will also mean that you can't use the scope to range the target ( I know it's panto time and there are now folk shouting ... " Oh yes you can " ... that crept in a bit later. In the beginning the idea was probably to get the shooter to guess by eye ).
The targets, especially in the very early days, wanted being placed in 'interesting' positions that would make it difficult for the shooter to get at. So hidden behind trees etc. In FT you have a 'gate'. Two points where you have to take your shot in between those two points. In HFT if you placed a target behind a tree trunk but had a 'gate' then the shooter could just move to the side of the gate and easily see the target. So a peg was placed in the ground. The shooter had to touch the peg. So now with a target placed behind a tree the shooter had to take the shot from one place ( the peg ). So it was now easy to place targets where the shooter had to get in all sorts of strange positions ( lying sideways etc ). It's not as bizarre as it used to be.
The peg could also be used as a support for prone shots, which would give youngsters, new and lower skilled shooters a better chance.
Positionals ... Ok so add in some kneelers and standers ... but these guys did a lot of hunting and when out hunting they would use fence posts and trees etc to rest on to help steady the shot. So 2/3 of the positionals allowed 'supports'.
Scoring ... again to help encourage new shooters and give everyone a chance of a decent score it would be 1 for the plate and 2 for a knockdown.
Now this is where some contraversy creeps in. There needs to be a name for this new target sport. Well, it seems to be a sport that is going to make it more accessible for hunters with hunting style kit to shoot targets on a Sunday morning.
That's it then ... Hunter Field Target.
Now people often quote that it's Hunter FT so it is a simulation of hunting? The arguament is that it is not a simulation of hunting ... there will be shots in HFT that hunters would never take. The name, for me, came from the fact that people with 'hunting' style basic kit could come and do well at this sport. THAT IS STILL THE CASE.
The new sport started to gain great interest. Many in the FT world said that it was just FT2 and it would go the same way as FT and become a kit race and would just end up blending into the main FT.
Well the kit race did happen, and continues to happen, and that, and a number of FT guys, and other quality shooters, shooting HFT has meant that kill zones have got smaller and courses much tougher.
However, 14 years or so later, and it's still it's own sport, with it's own very healthy following. It has it's own National series and it has it's own World Championships. All of which are very well attended and almost always a sell out.
The basic rules haven't changed ... 45 yards max, no adjustments on the course, no sitting. So it did not just blend into FT2.
Did it go kit mad. Yeah I think it did ... but I gave up banging that drum years ago. Blokes go to work and if they want to splash out thousands on kit that they will get enjoyment out of ... then let them get on with it. We are all kit freaks aren't we ... HiFi, cars, bikes, mobile phones, clothes, cameras etc.
Will buying the very best kit help you? The standard answer is alway no. The standard answer is always ... the best shooters that put the time in practising will always get the best scores. I basically agree with that. I do think that buying a top end target rifle that you can fully adjust to fit you will help your scores. I definitely think that the way scopes have gone, with top end glass in small objective lens format, then that will give you an advantage on the odd target.
All this though will only help improve you by a small percentage. It may steal you an extra target over a shoot or even a season. That can be important for the very best shooters where 1 target can split an entire season.
I also have absolutely no doubt though, that a decent rifle with cheap additions to make it fit properly ( Hamster etc ), and a decent scope ( under 200 quid ), in the right hands is definitley capable of winning any HFT shoot. This has happened on numerous occasions.
So do you need 3 Grands worth of rifle/scope to do well at modern day HFT? Do you bollox. I'll repeat that ... Do you bollox.
Give a bloke who can shoot and knows his kit and puts in the practice, an AA400 with a hamster and a 150 quid scope and he'll thrash a lesser shooter with 3 Grands worth of kit every day of the week.
I don't thnk the OP is a troll. He joined here in 2009 and he posted back then saying that he had bought a Mk4 to shoot HFT.
I think he's made the mistake of popping back into the scene several years later ... and he's seen kit has moved on ... and he's convinced himself that you basically have to have the very best kit to stand a chance in, or to be able to enjoy, HFT. He's made his initial post at the start of the thread and it's received the understandable " Stick poking an Ant's nest " response from guys who love their HFT.
Fella ... it's been said loads of times in this thread ... just get out there and enjoy the tea, the banter and knocking down some targets. The kit you mention will clear HFT courses if you can.
( ... and I know I haven't shot any Nationals for a year or so ... but I've shot HFT as often as I can over the last 14 years and loved it ).