First blood w/ Andy McLachlan

Jason Lockett with his .22 Anschutz – note the sensible trolley he uses for carrying all his gear

A few new names are appearing at the top of the UKAHFT leaderboard this season, and that’s healthy for the sport, asserts Andy McLachlan

The first two rounds of the 2019 UK premier national HFT event, the UKAHFT series, have already proved to be an interesting combination of some new names and faces featuring at the top of the current leaderboard.

North West shooter and regular Welsh national HFT team member Elliot Compton has so far played a blinder, recording two consecutive scores of 100%, placing him well and truly on top of the current standings.

This comes as no surprise to those of us who have been shooting in Elliot’s presence over the years, as his total dedication to the sport and his own search for equipment perfection has resulted in a run of form meaning that he is currently the man to beat.

Using his Steyr Challenge and March scope, Elliot, in addition to being a thoroughly decent and talented young man, is fully deserving of this ongoing run of strong performances.

Kieran adopts a new stance for a new target, this time steadying himself for a long-range prone shot

Elliot also managed to win the Oddball category (shooting a springer) during our own North West of England area Gauntlet series last winter against some stern opposition.

Anybody who can shoot a springer to high competition level is more than likely able to pilot a PCP to competition-winning standards, as can be seen in this case.

Elliot is closely followed on the leader placings by many seasoned campaigners who are more used to appearing at or near the top of the UK standings.

Shooters such as Charles Peal, Neil Wakelin and Greg Morss are snapping at Elliot’s heels, only a few percentage points behind in what is already proving to be an extremely close-fought contest.

Stu James gets down, but thankfully not dirty, as he wisely lies on a portable shooting mat while lining up his next shot

This is good news really, as it is less likely to result in total dominance of the sport by just a few individuals on a season by season basis, as can be the case in many other shooting disciplines.

The first-round shoot at the Misfits club, based in Rutland, East Midlands, saw both Elliot and Charles record scores of 59 a piece to stake an early claim for honours, with the Nomads team winning the team trophy and Air Arms the manufacturer’s.

After shooting in the wooded area, many competitors got caught out by failing to allow for the correct amount of wind deflection when faced with the open field area, resulting in many dropped points.

Welsh lady shot Emily Roberts takes aim with her Air Arms – note the windicator that’s attached to her filler cap

Second round honours at Cambridge went to Elliot, Joff Haigh and Tony Male, who all recorded a perfect 60 by each clearing the course. The winning team were Misfits, with the manufacturer’s trophy being taken by Steyr Sport.

Some shooters commented that they had seen harder courses at this ground previously, with lots of very high scores noticeable in the results post-shoot. However, the course-setters still made great use of the ground’s features, including some cleverly placed targets in a trailer and a new area at the bottom of the field not previously used for national competitions.

The current league table following the first two rounds for the top five is as follows:

As you can see, the top shooters remain very close. With another seven rounds to go, it will only be those with the ability to shut out nerves and concentrate on their practice that will eventually triumph from such a genuinely high-quality field.

Next venue is at the infamous Turton, Rivington Riflemen’s outdoor range, where the wind can change direction by the second. The ground will not allow shooters to remain with their crosshairs pointing inside the killzone for many of these targets. Only the brave can expect to do well here! 

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