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Running target

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we start, I’m getting lots of questions about shimming breech seals for breakbarrels. One of you should write a guest blog about it.

There’s also a new article on the Pyramyd AIR website.

I promised this post to Derrick several months ago. Today’s the day!

History – Running Stag, Running Deer
Running Stag dates back at least to the mid-19th century, when the target was a wooden stag (a male chamois) with a target attached in the place where the stag’s heart would normally be. The stag was mounted on wheels and pulled along a track.

The setting was outdoors, and the track was positioned between two dense bushes. The stag was pulled along the track as fast as a normal stag might run and the goal was to put a bullet in the animal’s heart as he passed in view. The standards for this sport seem variable, but there was a special venue in Munich, where it was practiced in the 1860s, so at least the course of fire was always the same.

In England, the sport was called Running Deer, and it was practiced with pretty much the same rules at the same time. The sport was still a local or possibly regional one at this time.

History – Running Boar
Running Boar came much later, probably from Prussia, and the target was a two-headed boar that had a set of scoring rings printed over a colorful lithographed paper or painted wooden target. The target was shot as it passed by in both directions – left to right and right to left. The target went both slow and fast. Men got 30 shots (15 in each direction) at the slow target and 30 at the fast target, for a total of 60 shots. Women got 20 slow and 20 fast.

This is half of a Running Boar target. This would be the half you shoot at when the target crosses from right to left. This is a modern American target printed on target paper. The vintage Running Boar targets were boars on brightly lithographed colored cardboard game scenes or brightly painted wooden targets.

Running Boar has been shot with centerfire rifles as well as with .22 rimfires. The trend in modern times is toward the rimfires because the required range facilities are smaller and the range safety fan is reduced. I believe there was even a scaled-down running boar target for air rifles, but there’s an even better event now: running target!

Thie full-sized Running Boar target looks like this

Running Boar has been shot with centerfire rifles as well as .22 rimfires. The trend in modern times is toward the rimfires because the required range facilities are smaller and the range safety fan is reduced. I believe there was even a scaled-down Running Boar target for air rifles, but there is an even better event now – Running Target!

Running Boar requires a range setup that is fairly permanent, so if a facility has invested in one, they tend to leave it up and running. As a result, the sport tends to weather long periods of low popularity. Similarly the rifles are specialized equipment and are not well-suited to other sports or general use. So if one owns a Running Bore rifle and has access to a working raqnge, one tends to stay with the sport.

Running Target
Running Target is strictly an air rifle sport. It made it into the 1992 Olympic Games, but was dropped after 2004. It’s still a World Cup event. Without the Olympics as a goal, the luster is off the sport. There is a world championship title, however.

The target is just that – a normal bullseye target. Two bullseyes are printed on a page with an aimpoint between them. This allows passes in both directions. The old sport of shooting at a moving target didn’t change, but the target did, and now there’s a specific aimpoint. The number of shots and the fast and slow presentations remain the same as for Running Boar: 60 shots for men, 40 for women.

The AR-6 Running Target looks like this. It’s two 10-meter bulls with an aimpoint in the middle. The target passes just like the Running Boar.

The Running Target carrier is still a mechanical system that presets the target across a two-meter gap at 10 meters. It runs in both directions at two different speeds. The target is visible for 5 or 2.5 seconds, respectively. The mechanism is very expensive, so not many clubs or individuals will buy them. This has limited the sport to some extent.

Want to try it?
The Gamo MTS 1000 Moving Target System lets you shoot at moving targets with airguns. The deer target has two heads that reset appropriately, depending on the direction the deer is moving. The system is made from light-gauge metal, so it’s most appropriate for airguns of lower velocity – not unlike 10-meter target guns. A Daisy 953 would be ideal with this target. It wouldn’t be exactly like Running Target because there’s no scoring target, but you would get the same kind of training.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

21 thoughts on “Running target”

  1. You mentioned that running target guns were different from others; how?

    What kind of sights are used in running target? Open sights? Red dots? (I assume peep sights would be tough to use).

    The Gamo system is cheap enough that it might be fun to give it a try.

  2. B.B.

    This looks like so much fun. The facilities are kind of a hassle and certainly will not fit indoors, but this is something to keep in mind.

    Is there a version with shotguns? I was watching a documentary of modern European royalty, and in addition to skeet shooting, they were doing some event that looked like running target (this is how they seemed to spend most of their time). It looked like the King of Greece ejected two shells from a side-by-side gun after shooting.


  3. BB,

    As Vince said yesterday the SS-1000 seems to be an AR-1000 variant. I found another link with better photos of an AR-1000 seal and trigger mechanism, plus a few other things that you may find useful.


  4. TC,

    Thank you. I really don’t want to take this gun apart. My interest is what does the buyer get and how does he live with it. The rifle either works as is or not.

    I know I do tune a lot of airguns, but I don’t have the time top tune them all, and the SS1000H isn’t one I would pick. It’s not easy or straightforward to disassemble.

    The AR 1000s that I have shot are all fine guns just as they are. They don’t need tuning.


  5. BB, it would be interesting to see a comparison to the Mendoza-built dual-cal rifle. I had one a little while back and it definitely had its good points and bad points… especially with the barrel change mechanism.

    Still, with the plethora of reasonably priced airguns out there I’m wondering about the practicality of dual-caliber. For maybe – what, $100 more? – one could get a comparable rifle in both calibers, and not have to worry about re-zeroing the scope or open sight every time you wanted a different caliber.

  6. Hi B.B. Great article on PA’s websight. Folks if you have any questions about the weird stuff that sometime affects your scopes this article is a must read. When your scope mounts are available for my RWS 350 Magnum and Model 35 I will optically center both of their Leapers scopes as part of that project. Thanks. Is there any information about using different rates of rifling twists for various weight pellets in different calibers? A change in topic I know, but might be interesting to evaluate.

  7. Bruce,

    There is very little difference in rifling twist rates among airguns. They are mostly 1-15″

    Twist rate doesn’t affect accuracy much when a diabolo pellet is used.

    There are a few guns with different rates, but the reason nobody advertises it is because it doesn’t seem to matter.


  8. B.B.

    Yes, that sporting clay event is exactly what it was.

    What is this AR 1000 that I keep hearing about? It’s not on the PA website. Who is the maker?


  9. Hi B.B.
    Here another off-topic question…
    I’m looking for a .22 air rifle to use for hunting small game (mainly rabbits and birds). What rifle for $200-$300 would you recommend for this, I’ve browsed your blog for day/weeks now (which is great, I keep learning new stuff but I’m getting kinda eager to get out in the field now). I own a Benjamin Super streak which I think is great but it’s a .177 so I’m looking into the .22 for some more “knock-down” power. I read you review about the modified 392 but it didn’t quite make me want to run out and buy it although the on-line spec’s look quite good for that price….
    Anyway, thanks a billion for a great blog definitely one of the most informative ones out there!

  10. With your budget, I recommend the RWS Diana 34 Panther. It has the power you need and will accept a scope. Buy the rifle by itself for now and get the scope later. Get used to the gun first before you scope it.

    Read my report on the Panther in .177:


    The new scope base is less than a month away, so wait for it. It will take low Weaver rings.


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