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304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
In this second post on XFT – Extreme Field Target – Cole Reardon brings us up-to-date with the evolution of this new airgun shooting discipline. Don’t forget to read Part One of this story.
Above. That’s Colben Rearden – Cole’s 8-year old son – shooting XFT at 100 Yards. Wow!
For the first few matches, Robert Buchanan and AoA very graciously lent us the targets that they use for the EBR event.
Below. Unlike conventional Field Target, shooters are given the ranges to individual targets, as here at the Extreme Field Target event at EBR 2021.
After a few months though, Ben and Mike Smith started bouncing ideas off each other about how they could improve the targets. They were looking for a more permanent solution than borrowing the EBR targets.
What developed from that collaboration are some super heavy duty targets that are very easy to reset (for their size and weight), have swappable kill zone sizes, AND can be used for sub 20 OR high power Field Target.
These targets will be available through the XFT website when that is online (details below).
You’ll see there has been a trend of evolution through this time…
The name has changed or been modified a few times. The sub 20 Ft/Lb traditionalists didn’t like it being called “American Field Target”. They consider the sub 20 Ft/Lb variety of ft to be “American” and the sub 12 Ft/Lb to be “World” rules.
So that played into the name change. I think we have finally settled on Xtreme Field Target, or XFT.
Below Peykan Beyrami and van Tucker having fun at XFT.
It’s also been fun to see the evolution of equipment for these events. There were guys swapping guns and ammo and scopes around nearly every month last winter.
Being that this is new, I think everyone is having a hoot figuring out how best to tackle the challenge through equipment optimization, but still stay true to the rules that Ben has so carefully preserved, making most hunting PCPs legal for his events. XFT clubs have begun to spring-up across the country. However not all groups are using the same rules – (yet?).
Ron Robinson out in Texas started hosting Extreme FT events (an additional event to his benchrest matches). He calls them Textreme matches.
And the Oregon FT diehards had a big multi-day match with pretty decent prize money, and one of the events was a variety of Extreme FT (I think they were shooting a lot of steel paddles at long range).
Below. Even first time shooters can enjoy XFT – as with this father and son.
In Arizona, we’ve got a little core group of guys coming over from San Diego most months. That’s a pretty decent drive, and they’re still coming. So, they must be enjoying it as much as I do. In fact, I live about 3 hrs from the match site and make the drive because it is so fun!
Personally, the Xtreme FT power level and type of shooting is much more in line with the type of shooting that I enjoy the most. Stretching the limits of what can be done with an airgun!
I shoot a lot of prairie dogs, ground squirrels, Euro doves and starlings. For me, Xtreme FT shooting is much closer to the pesting that I so enjoy, compared to regular, sub 20 Ft/Lb Field Target.
Below. XFT targets on their “mini pallet” bases in the AZ desert.
In my opinion, regular Field Target – as fun and enjoyable as it is – has created somewhat of a negative feedback loop. Or rather a shot itself in the foot type of problem through equipment specialization.
The “price of admission” – or rather the price of the equipment necessary to be competitive – really restricts who can play the regular low-powered FT game.
For example, take “range by focus” in regular sub 20 Ft/Lbs Field Target. It takes a pretty expensive scope to really range well, with many FT competitors shooting $1000+ scopes. (sure there are the outliers that can do well in regular FT with a cheaper scope, but they’re the exception).
But Xtreme FT rules do away with the need to range by focus, so a couple hundred dollar scope will suffice. In fact, I won one of the monthly XFT matches and was second place another time or two with a $250 SWFA fixed power scope.
So, XFT equipment is much less specialized when compared to regular sub 20 Ft/Lb Field Target. This opens the gates for more people to be able to participate.
This is why I see XFT as an extremely fun competitive airgunning discipline where more people can come and play than traditional sub 20 Ft/Lb Field Target.
A person’s regular hunting PCP is perfectly suitable for XFT. If that gun’s trigger puller is up to the task, that regular hunting PCP can win!
I see big things in XFT’s future!
And HAM does too! Thanks for the information Cole. That’s a great story!
To get involved in Xtreme Field Target, contact Ben Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org. AZXFT can also help clubs set up their own ranges using XFT brand targets. The group is building a website that should be operational soon. Check it out at www.azxft.com.