I think this is a good comment.
I always think it's a shame that chat on an internet site can't be seen as just that. Like a few blokes chatting garbage in a pub over a beer. No real harm.
I see so many threads shot down if it isn't all about praise and telling each other how wonderful their course was. May as well close the sites down because it just becomes a very predictable butt kissing contest.
The grading system ... Can't offer a lot on that so not going to comment.
Coverage and getting people into FT and the snobby comment. Rifles and scopes in both FT and HFT are probably about the same price at the top end. What does FT do different? A lot of FT guys are now shooting in Olympic style target jackets as opposed to a realtree coat ( yes I know ... Jack ). I don't think they are allowed in HFT. Angled targets countered by adjustable contraptions that resemble a Black and Decker workmate. These can be adjusted to give rediculous depths to fore end. Not allowed in HFT as no adjustment on course and limit of 150mm on depth of fore end. These things cost several hundred quid ( Rowan ). Scopes are probably no more expensive than a top end HFT scope as Berty mentioned but visually a fully rigged out FT scope with huge sidewheel and enormous top turret and maybe even electronic ranging display does look a lot more Sci Fi than a much smaller and plain looking HFT scope.
So people looking in at both sports will see the HFT gang dressed in camo coats with 'normal looking' scopes ... and they will see some FT guys in Olympic shooting jackets with monster scopes with massive sidewheels and attachments added on and mechanical wonderments hanging below the already impressive stocks. So visually it may still be giving that impression that it's a bit more ... up market or serious ... than HFT.
HFT is easier for youngsters and newbies to get a big looking score on the card. End of ... due to the marking system. I've shot HFT comps where a partner has been delighted to hit a plate the size of a shoebox at 40 yards HFT prone and score a 1. I've seriously had partners whoop outloud and say " I'm delighted with a 1 on that target ". Not sure why
... but it probably keeps some coming back.
It's what you want for the sport and a touch of be careful what you wish for. HFT have done a great job in the mags and online at selling it as a fun, family shoot where all the family can turn up with whatever you own and have fun.
One may argue that in FT ... with the intro of target jackets and all the extra add ons ... the sport has gone more professional and serious. You may not be able to do both? Or not with the present system.
I've been saying for a long time ... and it's not just criticism ... that the quality of the rifles ( incl. fit )/pellets/stances ( mainly HFT ) has meant that in both sports, but probably more so HFT ( due to it's stable prone stance ), the courses have been made tougher and tougher to stop the top lads clearing courses or lots of top end high scores leading to lots of shoot offs. This is fine for the very best shooters but it means the lowest end shooters and newbies are having to shoot very very tough courses for their ability.
These are probably extreme examples ...
Look at the last weekend in UKAHFT at MAD. On day 1 the top PCP open shooter scored 56. So maybe a shot or two down on a usual top score ( ex 60 ). There were 154 shooters ( I think max is 180 ). Out of those 154 ... 52 Open PCP shooters scored over 45/60. in addition 0 juniors 9-13, 1 junior 14-16, 0 ladies and 1 springer scored over 45. So basically 100 out of 154 shooters missed 15 or more targets out of 30. So that's over 60% of the turnout missing over half the targets ( not knocking them down ... there will be the odd doughnut for a total miss ).
I turned up for my first ever FT shoot last year and in a 20mph wind kept facing lane after lane of 50 yard plus in a pretty open field. Top score was Gilly on about -6. At the lower end of the scale it was carnage.
As I say ... extreme examples ... but it's an example of how courses are heading to try and slow down the top end shooters.
The point is it's difficult to try and attract new shooters or encourage low end shooters to keep coming back, if courses are having to be made tough for the best shooters, because it's those best shooters who are the pioneers of the sports and are driving the sports towards a more serious and professional image.
I think that's even more difficult in FT due to the reasons above.
Not exactly 'grade' talk ... but maybe somewhat related ...
One of the problems in FT is everyone shoots the same course. That's nice because everyone gets to compete against the same course and the lower shooters can judge how they did Vs the best. It does mean that you have to find a balance between a course that has enough targets to test the best ( not just a few and the others are routine ) and a course that is shootable for the newbies and weaker shooters ( and will keep them coming back ).
In some sports ( Golf ) there are handicap systems. I'm not sure anyone would want that as it would mean the weaker shooters are still shooting a course that is too tough for them but they just get an add on to their total. Pointless.
Like I said ... be careful what you wish for. Do you really want loads of newbie or weaker shooters shooting FT. Seriously ... do you. The extra income would be nice for the clubs. Do you want lanes and courses packed with shooters that may never really get much better and you have to try and make courses suitable for them to keep them coming back. Will that hold back the pioneering front end of the sport if they are all to shoot the same courses? Like I said ... maybe you can't have both. Maybe you can't have the sport going forwards as a serious target sport but be dragging along masses of family/fun shooters that will need plenty of easy targets on a course?
The only way I can see that you can try and accomodate both, and this is really in line with comments on the course distances type threads, is to have the same course for all but the higher grade shooters have to shoot more positionals.
So firstly you get a standard course layout sorted. I think that should happen anyway. So as stated above you have a skeleton course layout that has so many targets over a certain range, so many 25mm kills up to a range and so many 15mm kills up to a range etc. Then you have so many kneelers and standers for every shooter. Once shooters get to a certain grade ( say 'A' ) then all targets of a certain kill size and below a certain distance they have to take kneeling. Same with standers ... but the kills could be bigger and closer.
That way you have a pretty set standard of course ( wind is wind ... you can only suggest that local course setters be sensible and look at the forecast with a couple of days to go and try and adjust courses according to wind ). You can make that set standard course suitable for newbies and lower end shooters ( not so it's easy for them but they stand a chance of knocking a fair percentage down ). They get to shoot most of the course in freestyle, but with the odd positionals, whilst they are learning and hopefully improving. The better shooters will be challenged by far more targets as they will have to shoot them kneeling or standing. The higher grade shooter's scores may be lower ... but you are only competing against shooters in your own grade anyway.
I don't think the game would lose much by some targets being stated as below a max range ( so must be shot kneeling/standing by top end shooters ). Most scopes will be accurate ranging up to 45 yards etc.
Any shooter can choose to shoot in the higher classes ( more positionals ) and take their chances if they want to be judged against the best.
Good luck with whatever you do.
Simon ... you mentioned 600 shooters and how most of them are happy with how it is ... not broken ... don't fix etc.
Your gut feeling ... how many of those 600 are happy Vs how many of them don't really give a ****?
What traffic have you had privately from people on the subject. Loads ... or basically nowt?
If it's only an issue for a few gasbags on the internet ... then it isn't a problem to start with.