Sorry for this delayed answer and i hope your desire for joining HFT has not dissipated. The 953 is a great gun to practice HFT especially at that range you are correct, they are about 4.5 fpe guns but they should knock the target down at 30 yards without a snag (unless you split the pellet of course). Most targets when they are well mantained should go down with 1 fpe, and if chairgun pro is correct, my 953 with crosman prems 7.9 at 477 fps (4 fpe) will still have 1 fpe at 130 yards! ( the drop will be ridiculous, but it will have 2.5 fpe at 45 yards, the max distance at HFT).So setting the target at 30 yards should give you decent practice. Get a decent scope (12x max, remember the rules) with a clear reticle and mil dots. I would also place cards at 8, 10 12,15, 20 and 25 yards. make small circles about nickel sized and learn your hold over. The x53 rifles are very consistent in velocity so the drop should be very predictable. Then just practice your form. I have shot a 10M rifle for both HFT and FT open class. My FWB300 is set to shoot 8 fpe and it will knock down a 55 yarder if hit correctly. But i have practiced with my 753 and 953 out to 50 yards and it can reach out there... but is not a reliable knock down beast. on paper thou? its a completely different story PS you should also google "minisniping"... you will see 10M guns in a completely new light.