Author Topic: Target Shooting  (Read 1736 times)

Offline Novagun

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Target Shooting
« on: July 07, 2013, 10:02:58 AM »
There is not much point shooting an air rifle without a target to aim at. Even hunting small animals is shooting at a target but the term Target Shooting, by convention, means shooting at inanimate objects. A simple target can be just a cross drawn on a piece of paper and then there are the competition targets that make precise aiming and scoring possible and there are the novelty targets limited only by imagination.

Backyard plinking.

 Of all the air rifle shooting this is probably the most common. Just shooting  in the garden using a tin can or a stick to shoot at. Not a demanding discipline but good fun and available when the whim strikes. No travel, no set up time and can be as short or long a session as you feel like. Just be aware of the safety of the pursuit as set out in the seven rules and remember bottles are not good targets.
The American airgunners, or some of them have a saying; "I plink therefore I am!"
Indoor 10 & 25 meter Rifle.

This type of shooting ususally takes place on a small bore range and really requires membership of a small bore rifle club that will accommodate air rifles. The shooting can be from the four positions:  prone, sitting, kneeling or standing and can and result in some very accurate shot fall.  Some clubs shoot powder burner .22 and air rifles side by side and the air rifles sometimes compete against the .22 target rifles.

The most demanding indoor shooting is the 10 metre rifle used in the Olympic matches. Serious competition requires a very high quality expensive rifle together with proper clothing to help with the standing shots. It is not easy shooting.

That does not eliminate good competition at a lesser level using a cheap Daisy 953 rifle or a standard sporting air rifle. The 10 metre target even at that short distance is small enough and the ten point ring is a real challenge when shooting Olympic style; unsupported from a standing position. The same can be said for 25 metre shooting.

Indoor 25 yard target.

 This is the standard small bore target and is shot at 25 yards not 25 metres. It is usually shot from the prone position but any position can be used.

Field Target / Hunter Field Target. 

These two outdoor disciplines are similar but Hunter Field Target rules do not allow adjustment of the scope after the competition starts and any natural rest or aiming aid such as a tree or post can be used  as long as part of the shooter is touching the target lane marker post.
Field Target allows scope adjustment and range finding using the adjustable objective lens but does not allow independant range finding devices.
Both use the same steel knock down imitation animal target and both run different classes according to the rifle used.
12 foot pound springer and Open springer. (Any power)
Precharged pneumatic 12 foot pound and open.
Any rifle can be used but the results favour the better quality rifles and PCP are the best for accuracy.
The top shooters use very expensive equipment but a lot of satisfaction can had shooting at a lesser standard with a sporting springer.
There has to be a practical power limit to Field Target rifles because the high power PCP rifles producing forty and even up to ninety foot pounds will badly damage a target with one shot.

One club has introduced a 650 production class to promote shooting with budget rifles. This is limited to a rifle costing no more than $650 retail and using a scope set at no more than 9 power magnification. The same Field Target course is shot but the Pro class shoot the close targets twice and ignore the longer range target in each lane. Beginners with better rifles can start off in this class but get sent up as soon as they gain skill.
Some countries have special limits to power and limit air rifles to 12 or even 6 foot pounds without a firearms licence.

Silhouettes/ Spinners.

Silhouettes are small steel cutouts of animals. They are shot at from various ranges and come under the heading of novelty targets. Spinners are exactly described as a hit on a target paddle sends the target spining. When it comes to rest it can be shot again without any need stand the target upright.


Benchrest shooting is a type of shooting that seeks extreme accuracy. The shooter sits at a table resting the rifle on sandbags, one for the fore end and one for the butt, or a specially constructed adjustable rest. The table can be a simple affair or a specially constructed one but should be stout so that it does not wobble and the rifle with the rest is held motionless. Targets can be at any range.

The same rests can be used in the prone position but that is not bench rest. The rest shown can be used on a table or from the prone position. It is home made and the cost was very little but it is a fine steady rest that works well with a PCP

The rifle sitting in the rest.

It is worth mentioning that a fully rested hold is not always the best for an air rifle. It is fine for a recoiless PCP or a pump pneumatic but for a spring powered rifle accuracy can be lost especially with a harsh shooting one. A springer often will jump about on the fore rest as the spring expands and the rest does not have the cushioning effect that is available by resting the rifle across the hand. However the hand can be made very steady by lying on the rest with the rifle atop. 

Long range.

Long range air rifle shooting begs the question - what is long range? To a Field Target shooter forty to fifty metres is a long shot To some hunters that is not so far. It is known that one hunter regularly takes starlings at 100 metres and his longest successful shot at the bird is 143 metres. At that distance most people would not notice a starling. Other hunters take rabbits at 80 to 100 metres but for shots of that distance an air rifle of better capability than even a good sporting gun must be used and by a marksman.

There are some shooters that shoot targets, the paper kind at 100 metres but with the low velocity and power of most air rifles the point of aim has to be considerably higher than the point of impact to allow for the big drop of the pellet. One shooter recalls using a modest powered springer and having to aim about 5 feet high to hit the target. With a PCP rifle on a high power setting the elevation would  not be so high.

There is no harm trying out a target at 100 metres but that is extreme range for most air rifles and the effect of wind and air density will be hard to cope with.

Field Target.

This is an outdoor shooting event where shooters shoot at a life sized silhouette of a small animal. within the target outline is a hole through which the pellet must pass to strike a paddle that causes the target to fall over. That constitutes a "kill." The holes are 15 20 and 40 mms in diameter and are set up at ranges to 55yards.

The shooter has to contend with terrain, wind, changing light conditions and the weather. Competitions are shot whatever it may be.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 10:50:31 PM by Novagun »