British Field Target Championship 1983:

This photograph taken on a cold October day in 1983 at Hippencombe Farm where I was competing in the British Championship for Field Target Shooting organised by the National Air Rifle and Pistol Association Field Target Section It was published in the 'Airgun World' magazine. The rifle I am holding was originally a long-barrelled Webley 'Osprey' of .177 calibre. I had the gun tuned to produce 12 foot pounds of muzzle energy (the legal limit) and at the same time had the barrel cut down and threaded for a silencer. The work was carried out by the renown air-gunsmith Ian Bowkett.

Field target shooting is the 'practical' aspect of air rifle shooting. Instead of shooting at paper targets, field target shooting involved life size metal 'knock-down' targets of rabbits, rats, squirrels and pigeons set out at various ranges in woodland. You first had to find your target before you could shoot it!

Despite the increase in muzzle energy, the .177 calibre was not suited to field target shooting and was replaced with a Diana 'Original 45' - a .22 calibre break-barrel rifle which chronographed at a consistent 660fps with Ely Wasp pellets.  I calculated this as 14 foot pounds - 2 foot pounds over the legal limit!

Webley later  produced the 'Tracker', based on the 'Osprey' but with a short 'carbine' barrel.