He’s just 16, but Brighton-based Rudy Goldslade has already amassed a rack of silverware in HFT and even gets sponsorship from his local gun shop. This young shooting star takes time out from his GCSE studies to answer our questions…
To encourage new blood into airgunning, the sport of Hunter Field Target caters for many different categories of shooter so that no participant feels disadvantaged – and for juniors, HFT has two, separate divisions: 9-13 years and 14-16 years.
Attend any UKAHFT national series event and you’re assured an encouraging sight of a hardcore of young guns, putting in the time and effort to come through the ranks. Tomorrow’s shooting generation certainly looks like being a healthy crop of talent as this new breed of determined, well-informed youngster can, on occasion, even give the top adults a run for their money!
The mini-battles taking place up and down the country makes for absorbing interest – and one such youngster experiencing the fun and adrenalin of the national competition circuit is Rudy Goldslade. He currently competes in the 14-16 Junior Class, and here’s his take on HFT through the eyes of a teenager…
AS Tell us a little about yourself, young sir…
RG Well, I’m 16, studying for GCSEs at school. My favourite subject is Design with Resistant Materials, partly because I’d like to work on my own guns in the future.
AS Sounds an interesting ambition. When did you first start shooting?
RG Fairly recently – April 2012 to be exact. I’ve also had a clay pigeon lesson at a BASC open day.
AS What airguns have you owned in that short time?
RG I started with a Weihrauch HW95 springer, which I sold to fund an Air Arms S400 Carbine because it was so easy to shoot – and I like knocking things over! This was a perfect starter gun for HFT and I added an adjustable cheekpiece and a hamster, then later swapped to a Classic cylinder to get more shots per charge. I had an Air Arms EV2 for a while before switching to an Air Arms MPR. That’s what I shoot now, though I also have an ancient Webley Mark 3 for our club open sights competitions!
AS Have you made any modifications to your MPR?
RG The action sits in CS1000 woodwork from Custom Stock in Sheffield, and the internals have been fettled by Bob Pattenden and Steve Light. I replaced the trigger blade with a trigger ball for a more positive feel, and I had the breech block, filler cap and barrel collar anodised in racing car green. A strip of skateboard tape on the bottom of the stock is there for better grip when taking positional shots. Also, I have a Rowan Engineering bolt handle, and Bob made the custom-made risers for my cheekpiece. The barrel is the original one, but has been polished by ‘Oakie’, Charles Peal.
RG Ah, yes – the Mile Oak Shooting Club, known as ‘The Oaks’, in Brighton. Being local, I’m lucky enough to shoot for them, representing Sussex in the UKAHFT Nationals.
AS What scope’s on board the MPR then?
RG A Hawke Nite-Eye 3-12×50 Digital which my local gun shop – C&H Weston’s – has very kindly lent me. They also supply me with Air Arms Diabolo Field 4.52 pellets, which is so nice of them given I don’t have an income. I really like the Hawke Digital; its reticle is great for range-finding in HFT, and I don’t suffer any parallax error.
AS Do you have a favourite accessory?
RG My AIM Drag Bag. It’s perfect for the competitions as it keeps my gun safe during transit and between the shooting lanes.
AS Despite being a relative newcomer, you have some rather impressive HFT results to your name already, don’t you?
RG I’ve won four of this year’s 14-16 Junior Classes in the national rounds, and am currently second to the renowned Alex Honeywell in the overall listings for the year. I won the Junior trophy at this year’s Air Arms Anniversary Shoot, adding to the one I won in the Sussex Inter Club League last year. I’m currently leading the class in this year’s league – and also took fifth in the Juniors at this year’s World HFT Championships.
AS Quite a haul. Is Alex your main rival on the circuit?
RG Yes; but our ding-dong battles are quite exciting. There’s Rebecca Rawlings, too. She’s right up there – and we’re all very competitive.
AS So what draws such a young talent into HFT, then?
RG I just really enjoy the competitions and the banter on the circuit. Everyone is really friendly and always very helpful when problems crop up. Of course, I enjoy the rivalry with Rebecca, Alex and others, but you’re also always shooting against yourself. You spend hours later, going over the shots you missed in your head!
AS Well, that’s a mark of your determination, Rudy! How often do you practise?
RG Whenever I can get to the club – but every Saturday for definite. More in the school holidays.
AS You’re clearly an inspiration to other youngsters coming through – so what’s the best advice you’ve been given along the way?
RG Try before you buy! Luckily, at my club, there’s always someone willing to lend you a rifle for a while to try out. But also, try competitions. You never know who you’ll be shooting alongside – a world champ or a beginner – and the course is never the same twice because of the wind or the target placement. That’s what keeps it interesting!