Field Class Target Shooting was introduced into the NSWRA and the NRAA in 1993 as a means of possibly gaining some new members to the sport of Target Shooting.
The concept was to try to include the shooters who had a sporting type rifle which was probably only used once a year or similar into the NSWRA and NRAA. By creating a discipline in which they could be used on the Full Bore ranges it was hoped that Association membership would benefit, both from the Field Class participation and with a spin off from this to increase the Full Bore shooters numbers.
The Coffs Harbour Rifle Club played a large part in the development of the FCTS discipline as in its original form it required some changes to make it work properly. The idea quickly spread to other Clubs with dramatic results in membership increase as the Coffs and Grafton Clubs experienced.
FCTS has just completed its tenth NSWRA Queens with steadily increasing numbers of shooters in attendance. We have also attended three National Queens. The discipline is very professionally run by dedicated Range and Butts officers who attend a Range and Butts Officer Course which is very thorough in its requirements for a pass as an FCTS Range Officer. Butts and Range Officers in FCTS must know exactly where each squad is up to in each of the five sequences during the match as the Butts and Mound control orders are by memory only and both have to be on the same sequence at the same time.
Where the RO in control of the mound can use an assistant to relay his orders in the event of large fields and high winds, the Butts officer has to project his voice far enough to reach up to sixteen target markers so that all targets go up and down together with exactly the same timing.
As to the degree of difficulty for Competitors involved in Field Class, it would have to rank well up with the best with the same target used at the three distances shot, with the old Yds/Metric 400m Bullseye on a 300Yds/M Full-Bore size target and ranges shot being 100yds/m from the standing unsupported position, 200yds/m sitting position and 300yds/m prone. All positions are shot with none of the usual shooting aids allowed, such as padded coats, mitts, padded mats etc. Rifles are usually fairly light weight sporting with the usual slow twist barrels and light projectiles. Heavier projectiles are not really an option in most cases as magazines are used and the longer rounds usually won’t feed. Popular calibres are :223,.22/250,.243,.308
FCTS uses five target exposure sequences to shoot one match with all sequences timed, including the two sightseer’s not to count at twenty second target exposures with five to count at each of the other four sequences, these being forced application: (five twenty second target exposures, one shot into each) Train fire: (five shots to fire at one target exposure in sixty seconds) Rapid :(five shots to fire on one target exposure in thirty seconds) Snap: (five three second target exposures, one shot to fire at each exposure).
The quality of scores shot by competitors in FCTS can be truly amazing when the three positional aspect is taken into account, plus the time limit imposed for shooters to deliver precision aimed shots and who may also have to aim off for wind changes during the actual delivery of a timed sequence.
It is not really unusual to see five central bulls recorded in the five shot rapid match, which looks great as five spotters are displayed in each scored sequence with score boards attached to the target when it comes up for scoring showing the number of hits of each value (V,5,4,3,2,miss as for Full Bore). This also makes great spectator viewing.
Rimfire was also introduced into FCTS with a large increase in competitors taking up this section of the discipline. It became apparent that Rimfire was even more demanding than Centrefire with a very small target and a huge difference in ammo quality and rifle grouping ability plus the huge effect of wind on the little 40grn projectile which makes the 90m Rimfire match similar to what happens with a centerfire at 1000yds or more.
Ranges shot are 30m standing unsuported,60m sitting and 90m prone with the same target used at all three ranges with a 25mm central and a 50mm bullseye
No reshoots for jammed or misfired rounds
No reshoots for not firing shots in allotted time.
No bolts allowed in rifles except on ROs orders at firing point.
Rifles must be cleared by two people by looking through barrel before being allowed to leave firing mound
Matches consist of two sighter’s not to count plus four sequences of five shots at relevant ranges and firing positions
Good spectator viewing sport due to coloured spotters and score boards indicating number of hits of each value
Grading method used similar to Fullbore( A,B,C,Juniors)
Very high degree of shooting skills necessary to shoot good scores.
Very good teaching discipline for Full-bore learners.
Good flow on to Fullbore and F Class as Rimfire also has F Class Rimfire.
Economical to shoot especially Rimfire.
Ideal Rifles should be balanced with most weight between hands. Heavy barrelled rifles are harder to hold up in standing and sitting positions.
Rimfire FCTS and Rimfire F Class are probably one of cheapest of shooting sports available within NRAA rule book
Large membership gain to some Clubs Both Coffs and Grafton well over 100 members from low point of seven for Coffs before introduction of FCTS. The experiment to include FCTS into the NSWRA/NRAA calendar has proved a success and two points do stand out, it’s a lot of fun to shoot and definitely can help with Club membership.
ENQUIRIES TO: NSWRA or G.Veale 237 Harbour Drive Coffs Harbour ph / fx 66521536.