Good Starter gun for FT?

Forums FT, Benchrest & Target Shooting Good Starter gun for FT?

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    Bam86
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    I am really wanting to get a PCP.  Main purpose would be plinking and some FT.  Have been saving for years, but seems like life always has other things that sap the piggy bank.  I was always thinking about a Marauder in either 22 or 177.  Looks like for FT the 177 is the better choice.  For plinking it doesn't matter much.  A buddy has a 22 and I do like it.  It is quiet for plinking so that is a plus.  Realizing the Marauder is not regulated so that appears to be a negative.  I am a lefty, so if I got one, I would make sure it was converted to Left handed when I purchase it.  Seems like the cost is always a bit out of reach though.  Whenever I get close the money just seems to need to go elsewhere.

    I have been looking at the Gauntlet as a slightly cheaper alternative.  It is regulated, and seems to get pretty good shot count.  I have watched quite a few of the Hajimoto videos, and feel pretty confident tinkering with it.  Bolt is on wrong side though, but after so many years in a right handed world, I can adapt.  I have read most people claim the Gauntlet is accurate.  (subjective definition though). 

    I would be interested in hearing the opinions of the FT shooters for help with this decision. 

    As far as a scope for either rifle, I am thinking of a UTG 3-12 bugbuster or UTG 3-12 SWAT. 

    Thanks for your opinions.

     

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    Hynzie
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    if you go maurader use the crosman 25%off ,,,,,free friday shipping a reg can be added 

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    davecole
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    I started shooting FT a few years back. Mostly local and some travel. I'd like to do more but I have a life, a wife and two college age kids. I could afford to go "top shelf" but I've elected to stay simple and fun. I don't want my hobby to own me.

    But I digress….

    For starters, you will need to pick a class. My suggestion is to consider Hunter class.. It's an affordable beginner class where you can learn, have fun, be successful and not have to take out a second mortgage. WFTF Open IMHO is the money class. You need the best money can buy to be competitive (skill is on you) 

    As for what gun, I'm fairly sure, well, almost positive, the following brands will be recommended; 

    Steyr

    RAW

    FX

    Daystate

    Air Arms

    Thomas

    (did I leave any  >$2000.00 guns out??)

    You had mentioned the Marauder and the fact it's not regulated. You can get it regulated in the Field and Target model. Or you can install a Huma or equal regulator for about $100 plus about 15 minutes of your time. The bolt is reversible and I too am left handed but have left the bolt on the right-hand side. The only thing I have done to mine is to turn the velocity screw in 1/4 turn to bring it below the 20FPE rule. And in doing so, I get almost 40 shots without hardly any drop in POI at 45 yards. You don't have to go the whole match without having to put additional air in the gun. I carry a 90ci pony tank and bump the pressure back up at about half way though a 60 shot match. 

    The Marauder has a superior trigger to the Gauntlet out of the box. As for caliber, I've shot both and it does seem the .177 has a flatter trajectory with less hold over/under throughout the target distances. 

    As for the optics, the UTG 3-12 I don't think it is the best magnification nor reticle. Great scopes just not a FT scope.

    I have those scopes on other guns and for one, the mildots are just too big to be practical shooting at say a 2" KZ at 55 yards. You really need a much thinner reticle (etched is strongly recommended) and the max allowed magnification is now 16 power. Personally I have a Hawke Sidewinder 1/2 mildot 6.5-20 (the half mildots are a nice feature) I bought used. A scope with a large sidewheel will be a huge plus so you can mark up a yardage tape for range finding (don't rely on the factory yardage on the sidewheel) This really helps with determining correct hold over/under. But there are plenty other scopes to choose from. Let your AmEx be your guide.

    Best of luck, keep us up to date on your decision and experiences.  

     

     

     

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    rich177
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    You will get many many opinions on what to get.  get the best rifle you can afford and remember that in FT the scope is just as important as the rifle.  The scope depends on what division you are shooting in however, check the rules on AAFTA.org.  Rifle must be capable of shooting into a 1.5 inch kill zone at a maximum of 55 yds.

    .177 is the best caliber for FT and the bigger ones are better for hunting and killing stuff.  My guns are all regulated but don't get hung up on that as lots of guys shoot great scores with unregulated pcp rifles and with springers as well.  Don't get hung up on power either but you do need a gun that shoots with at least 11+ fpe.

    I suggest you go to a few matches and see what is being used and talk to the shooters as well.  Great sport, good luck.

    Rick B.

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    spysir
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    Just do it.

    Owned both, I've shot FT before and understand getting started.

    Grab one. Doesnt matter ,tho a regulator makes things easier you can get by either way.

    A well experienced trigger snob type ( no offence intended) will often choose the marauder a true 2 stage that will go down in the ounces. Gauntlet is a single stage that will go down in the ounces. 

    Balance/stability in the seated FT position goes to the Gauntlet.

    Shot count, naturally gauntlet.

    Groups – seen over 20 marauders but only 2 .177 gauntlets , accuracy of poor sampling goes to Gauntlet. Gauntlet uses many many pellets well, Crosman is said to have a redesigned ( new tooling run ? ) barrel I haven't tried.

    Ergonomics Gauntlet. 

    The only reason "I" would choose a marauder over a gauntlet is weight , too many broken vertebra . Hopefully youn dont have that problem and weight is steady.  Gauntlet will just be more enjoyable and it's a dollar cheaper.

     

     What club are you shooting at?

     

    John.

     

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    shutik
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    Regulated marauder is very good starting choice.

    Reach out to match director, they might have loaner rifles for you to try.

    You can find pretty good deal on used Marauder already with regulator set up for FT if you are patient.

    Also I have spare 20% off coupon from crosman custom shop. PM me if you decide to order custom shop regulated.

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    Exitpupil
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    Go to a match and observe or shoot a club loaner gun. Ask around at the match,  sometimes club members have an extra FT gun you will never see advertised that they might part with for a song to a new competitor. 

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    Bam86
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    Thanks everyone for all the good input.  As I expected, there really isn't any true BEST choice.  The limited funds are my biggest problem.  I keep adding it up, and no matter how I look at it, the unregulated Marauder is always about $200 more than the Gauntlet.  Then if I wanted to add the regulator to the Marauder another $115.

    I am really leaning to the Gauntlet.  I almost have enough saved up for it now.  Maybe I will just buy it, and wait another 6-8 months to get a scope.  Then another year for the hand pump.  Geez, I will be an old man at that rate. 

    I really like the look of the Marauder with the wood stock.  It is a good looking gun.  The Gauntlet is just Ugly, no matter how you look at it.  Of course if I am waiting for a scope and pump, that would give me some time to make my own custom wood stock.  I have a decent slab of Cherry in the basement that would be ideal.  Or I saw a farmer cutting down a big cedar tree today.  Maybe I can get a decent chunk of wood out of that and make a really unique stock.

    As far as going to a FT match, that is another issue.  I am in West Central Indiana.  Not much FT action around here.  I saw where IndianaAirguns had a match in Anderson a few weeks ago, but couldn't get away from the wife for a day just to "fool around with BB guns" as she puts it.  The local shooting club here used to hold matches about 10 years ago.  They still have all the targets in the basement of the clubhouse.  A couple of other guys claim to be interested in shooting it occasionally, but no one wants to run a match.  That doesn't bother me too much, as I have been reading the rules on line.  Sounds pretty simple.  I figure if I have a gun to shoot, I will try to set up a course and put the word out and MAYBE draw a few folks that actually know what they are doing that can give me a few pointers. 

    I really appreciate all the opinions on the two guns.  I didn't see a whole lot about scopes.  With my limited budget, I really can't justify spending more than $200 MAX on a scope.  Whatever I end up getting it will be something with a sidewheel, and Yes, I realize that it will need to be calibrated to my eyes for the range markings.  Thanks for the reminder.   

    Thanks Everyone.  Definitely a great group of folks here at Airgun Nation.

    Bam86

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    Brazos
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    Find a used Marauder and roll with it.  Marauders are so simple.  A few o-rings will keep the rifle going for a lifetime.  A used Marauder is not an issue.  You can replace every wear part for less than $15.  The only wear parts are Home Depot o-rings and a couple springs.  The main thing is to get a rifle and get started.  Dam straight there are great rifles and scopes that cost a bunch that will help your score.  Right now your score is zero because you aren't shooting FT.  Find a used Marauder, Discovery, Maximus, etc.  Stick a 4-16x UTG side focus scope on it and roll.  Keep putting some money a side and later after you have been shooting you have a wad of cash saved up to throw down on a deal that comes along.  By then you will know more about what you want.

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    npetro
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    I have the Daystate Huntsman Regal in .177 non regulated.  VERY good rifle and very consistent.  They have a regulated model that just came out as well.  

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    Bam86
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    Oh yeah, the Huntsman is on my wish list.  But don't think that will ever be a reality, Unless I get all 6 numbers correct on the LOTTO…

    Well tried to purchase a Gauntlet from Utah Airguns.  When I called it went right to voice mail, so I hung up.  Was a little disappointed they just upped their price $30 as well.  Later in the evening I ran across an add for a used, tuned Marauder, with UTG 4-16 side focus, hand pump, and case.  About 40% off new price.  Woo Hoo!  I really wanted a Marauder anyway.  It isn't regulated, but seller says tune makes it pretty consistent anyway.

    I have an old friend making a Face to Face transaction, and then shipping it my way.  Oh boy.  I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve!

    Made quick purchase of pellet samplers from PA tonight.  Now waiting for the little brown truck.

    Thanks everyone for your opinions.

    Bam86

     

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    HWWAA
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    It might take a couple hours but is worth the drive to SMGC airgun club in Kalamazoo Michigan. I drive from N.E. Indiana, great place to shoot.

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    Brazos
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    Good job.  Your post said you were looking for a good starting FT rifle.  Finding a used Marauder is your best bet.  It will take you far.  They are very reliable but so cheap and easy to work on if you develop a leak or something.  Be sure to get a single shot load tray if it did not come with one.  My experience with a handful of Marauders is they shoot more accurate with the single shot tray.  At some point when you get you feet wet and think you want to put a regulator, Walther barrel, etc. on your Marauder I encourage you to pause and figure out what the cost will be vs. what you can sell your Marauder for vs. what a new rifle would cost the has a reg and Walther barrel.  

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