You’ve set up and zeroed your scope, practiced your breathing and trigger technique and know the basics of the prone position and range finding, now would be a good time to get some competition experience under your belt.
The best practice for HFT is to actually shoot in a competition. You can’t really get a good appreciation of what the sport’s all about until you actually try it! Many novice shooters don’t know what to expect and are usually worried they’ll put in a bad score.
If it helps to set your mind at ease, although HFT is technically a competition, very few shooters take it too seriously and even the few that do are very friendly and approachable.
The basic premise of HFT is that it’s easy to get into and the scoring system is designed to encourage newcomers to the sport. Course setters very rarely set out a course of extremely difficult targets, the general rule of thumb is to set out a course that has something for everyone, so perhaps 10 easy targets, 10 medium targets and 10 difficult targets to help spread out the top scores of the day.
An HFT course will normally consist of 30 targets. The scoring is 2 points for knocking the target over, 1 point for hitting the faceplate and 0 for a complete miss. Hitting all the faceplates isn’t difficult even with a rifle that hasn’t been set up correctly beforehand and you’re bound to knock over a good percentage of the easy targets and probably some of the more difficult targets too, so a score of around 45 out of 60 should certainly be achievable with not too much effort. It’s actually surprisingly difficult to get an ‘embarrassing’ score in HFT so you really needn’t be worried about making a fool out of yourself.
Example HFT course
Below is an example HFT course. These photos were taken in 2006 at the NEFTA Hunter event at Redfearns. Course setting rules have changed since this course was set out, but not by a huge amount. The top score of the day on this example course was 56 out of 60 by Paul Wilson.