Thursday, May 27, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Reactive Target Shooting

By John Simeone

“Always quit on a good shot.”.....Dave Miller

It can be anything from plinking in a dirt pit to formal metallic silhouette shooting, but when you get to whack something with your rifle or pistol and you see the results it makes for a better shooter. Why? Because its fun.

Now this has been around a long time, while only the imagination and safety should dictate the target. I see many Dad's at the range training their kids on a simple paper target. Sure its fun but it gets old after a while for a new young shooter. My job at the Ft Polk Shooting Range is to make the shooting sports fun for the whole family. So periodically Aunt Sandy and I head to the range just to draw a crowd, and have some fun.

The first rifle out of the truck was Aunt Sandy's Marlin Model 60 P, in Pink Camo, with the Redfield Scope. I fired a couple of test shots, and swung over to the Birchwood Casey sight and glow target about two inches in diameter. The first shot cut the tiny Red dot in the middle and glowed back at us instantly. No reason to shoot anymore, it was Sandy's rifle so I turned the show over to her.

In rapid fire she shot the center out of the target for all to see, put the gun on safe and said with that cute little lisp of hers, “I need some more bullets,” the Range Mother had arrived.\

The next fun shot was to zero the Pink Tiger, sure enough all the women came down to see if a woman could really shoot the powerful 44 Magnum rifle. Of course the truth is you can hardly feel it kick. A pinwheel shot on the tiny sight and glow target confirmed her zero for all to see. Next was the real fun shot, the water filled plastic milk jugs. I lectured that the rifle displays excellent accuracy so now watch what it will do when it hits. The Water filled jug is a good representation of what the 225 grain Hornady Flextip bullet will do when it strikes a game target. You get what we call DRT, (dead right there.)

This was one of those perfectly timed photographs, as the gun and the camera went off at the same time, showing the perfect hit as water sprayed in all directions. This reactive target demonstration left no question in the minds of the onlookers what the Pink Tiger was all about. Then we showed everyone how to make one for less than $250.

Some of the more learned shooters were interested in my CZ-452 in 22 long rifle. I demonstrated the usage of two bullet brands that I have been using for years. I fired 5 shots on one target with CCI Blazer which is our standard Practice and Metallic Silhouette round, and then 5 shots with the Wolf Match Extra that is our top target round. Although both groups were superior, the Wolf ammo showed amazing results, the kinds that win world class matches. All of this could be seen by the spectators without going down range.

The reactionary targets can be a real time saver when you are a long range shooter and need to test ammunition and make scope adjustment without going down range. The talented sharpshooter Adam Rubin showed us the magnificent accuracy of the Remington 700 XCR compact tactical rifle, with a Nightforce 12X42X56 bench rest scope. It was a. .223 Remington shooting Fiocchi 69 grain Sierra Matchking BTHP. He recorded a 1 and 1/8 inch, 5 shot group at 300 yards. That means Adam can whack a golf ball any time he wants to at that range.

Aunt Sandy felt it was time to give me a challenge and got out the playing cards as I uncased the Marlin 1897 Cowboy, my long-barreled iron sighted 22 demo gun. “You can't do it in 5,” she said.

I announced, “I’m a fixin to do me some shootin.” Then I surprised myself as much as everyone else by splitting the card with the first try with an offhand 20 yard shot. Rapid Fire Sandy then took out the other two cards shooting from double tapping from the bench, “Hey that ain't right.” For the record this in not an impossible shot, it is a highly difficult shot anyway you try it, that when accomplished gives the shooter some real bragging rights.

The rest of the day was spent shooting old shotgun hulls all the way out to 100 yards. This is about as cheap a target as it gets for the “Aim Small Miss Small” 22 shooters. I use this reactionary target instead of digging out the small bore metallic silhouettes, noting if you can hit a 12 gauge shell at 100 yards off hand with the 22, a small bore Ram target is not a problem. Anyway good practice.

Being spoiled rotten for reactionary targets our pistol range has a full complement of steel plate and gong targets for the handgun shooter. Lou Ellison's, “Flyswatter Target” is for the close rage 22 shooter with a scope. You can see the bullet hit each fly at 25 yards making this a real challenge.

Jim Callaway came up with a devise for Black Powder shooters that lets you split a musket ball on an ax blade and hit two targets on either side. Then we have our long range gong targets at 500 yards. The ultimate 500 yard target is “Skeet Shooting”that's right, our long range shooters, readily pick of clay pigeon on the berm, using everything from elaborate sniper and long range hunting rigs to WWII M1 Garands with iron sights. The tiny orange dots just disappear in a dust cloud when the Ft Polk Sharpshooters decide to go for the long shot.

So it is moor than just punching a hole in a piece of paper and making a sight adjustment. Reactive Target shooting brings out that special inner ego and personal satisfaction that makes the shooter whatever the discipline, just plain better. So now you know what it is all about, imagination and setup. The next time you go to your own range have a little fun on reactionary targets and remember Dave Miller's words, “Always quit on a good shot.” Pass it on.

Read More About Guns And Ammunition for Hunting


T Russell said...

Good post! Will definitely recommend.
American Firearms Academy

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