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by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: The California General Assembly requires your attention one more time. Several months ago, Senator de Leon wrote SB 798 in an attempt to make black airguns and airsoft guns illegal. All airsoft guns and BB and pellet guns would have to be clear or brightly colored. Because so many of you protested and signed Pyramyd Air’s petition, Sen. de Leon and his cohorts in the Public Safety Committee were forced to pull SB 798. Unfortunately, they’re very creative and have rewritten SB 798, and it could be even more disastrous than the original bill because it now allows any county or city to pass the exact bill they had to pull, resulting in a patchwork of legal and illegal areas around the state. Airgunners could end up being legal one moment and illegal the next. You’d never know when you’re breaking the law as you drive along a street or highway.

You can read about the rewritten bill on Pyramyd Air’s site. You’ll have an opportunity to sign a petition that Pyramyd AIR will send on your behalf and also download a letter that you can sign and send to individuals on the California General Assembly.

We won a battle on the first go-round, but the war against airguns is still raging.

Now, on to today’s blog.

Photos and all testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald

While I say this report is by me, it’s really by Mac, who’s been telling me about mini-sniping for almost a decade. It’s one of his favorite sports.

Mac and I used to compete at field target with the DIFTA club in Damascus, Maryland, back in the 1990s. We also used to shoot 10-meter pistol every Monday evening in the league we set up there. So we got to see a lot of each other, though Mac lived in Silver Spring and I lived in Ellicott City.

Mac has always been the better rifle shot of the two of us, and his love of 10-meter rifles helps fuel his constant practice. When field target grew too difficult for many reasons, not the least of which was Edith and I moving to Texas, Mac started mini-sniping with a vengeance, though he had been doing it all along for many years. He has a weekend home on Maryland’s eastern shore, where he can shoot his airguns safely on several acres without bothering the neighbors. One of his favorite sports on this property is mini-sniping.

What is mini-sniping?
Mini-sniping is a game that grew up without a governing body or rules of any kind. In its simplest form, it’s shooting very small targets at long distances with airguns. There’s no standard set of rules to follow, so what I’m about to describe is really just the essence of a sport that has no real definition.

The object is to shoot small objects that move when they are hit. You don’t keep score, unless you want to, and a hit would be a point. But the fun comes not from the score but just from the sheer fun of shooting small targets and sending them flying.

Mac and I have noticed that the way the game is played changes from shooter to shooter or from one small group of guys to another. Some shoot at small plastic Army men (can you say, Toy Story?) while others such as Mac shoot at empty cartridges. And when I say empty cartridges, I do mean just the empty brass cases. Nobody in their right mind would ever shoot at a live round of ammunition.

The cartridges can vary from the common 9mm pistol case to the unbiquitous 12-gauge shotgun case. Mac prefers the 9mm case, so that’s what he’s written about.

The guns can be anything that’s accurate, for mini-sniping is a game of accuracy. Mac chooses to use 10-meter rifles, but nothing prevents you from using a Slavia 630, an Air Venturi Bronco or even a TX200. And it shouldn’t have to be said that the guns can also be pneumatics and even powered by CO2.

For sights, you can use open sights, target sights or even optical sights. With a scope, you can stretch the distance to the target considerably, but it doesn’t have to become a chore. Mac uses ISSF-legal target sights and engages his targets out to as far as 30 yards. A 9mm case looks pretty small at 90 feet, so bear that in mind when setting up the range. Also, the choice of gun will govern how often you lose a case, because when you hit one squarely it’ll fly. Of course a hit from a TX200 will put it into orbit, while a 10-meter rifle will keep it in the same county.

Mac picks an oldie
For this report, Mac selected a Feinwerkbau 300 that was tuned by Randy Bimrose. It lacks the barrel sleeve, so it’s lighter than the typical 10-meter target rifle, though just as accurate. Mac says the action buzzes like a tuning fork after each shot, though he can’t feel it because of the sledge anti-recoil system.

Mac is sitting in the classic international sitting position for field target. He has no support for himself or the gun. Just the triangulation of his body holds the gun steady on target.

For sights, he uses the standard FWB 300 rear aperture, augmented by a Gehmann insert that magnifies the front sight element like a reading glass. The insert provides a variable aperture hole from 0.5mm to 3.0mm wide for different lighting conditions. It also magnifies the front sight 1.5 times.

The Gehmann insert (top) contains a lens that sharpens the image of the front sight element for the shooter. It replaces the standard aperture insert in the FWB 300 rear sight, as well many other 10-meter target rifle sights.

You can see the lens at the back of the Gehmann insert.

The reason he uses this insert is because in the front globe he also uses a clear plastic insert with a 2.0mm hole. That’s a smaller hole than you usually get when you buy a set of clear inserts, but the Gehmann rear insert magnifies the tiny hole so the shooter can see it better against the target. When the target is a 9mm cartridge case 90 feet away, you need all the help you can get to see it without a scope.

The front sight insert is clear and has a smaller hole than normal. Together with the rear sight insert, it makes for greater precision.

You can see the big difference between the 2mm hole in the clear insert and the standard 3.6mm hole in the black insert.

The Gehmann insert lengthens the rear sight. Even so, Mac still positioned the rear sight as far back on the gun as it would go.

Even though the Gehmann insert lengthened the rear sight, Mac still positioned the sight as far back on the rifle as it would go.

Mac suspects that the target sights are giving him less problems with holdover because they’re mounted closer to the bore than a scope would be. Given the loopy trajectory of the slow-moving .177 pellet this rifle uses, he wants all the advantages he can get.

Mac tells us that he didn’t waste any time sorting though pellets to find the best one. Instead, he went straight to the 8.4-grain JSB Exact dome that proved so accurate in his Diana model 60 target rifle that I wrote about a few weeks ago. Because all these rifles shoot premium pellets well, he knew he could count on that pellet to work well in this FWB 300, which he’s never really tested since it was repaired.

This pellet gave a velocity averaging 580 f.p.s., with a spread of just 3 f.p.s. It doesn’t get much better than that — ever!

For targets that would mean something in a print report, Mac decided to use a paper target that showed the results. Of course, in real mini-sniping the target is always an object that moves when hit. He cut a 9mm case in half lengthways and laid it on the target paper, then spray-painted black paint around it. It then appeared to him as a bright aim point (the white paper directly under the 9mm case that didn’t get painted) surrounded by dark areas. He says that’s the way a real 9mm case appears.

Mac fired two shots at the target from each distance of 10 yards, 15 yards, 20 yards and 30 yards. For all shots, he used the center of the cartridge silhouette as the aim point. What he discovered was that all pellets were in line with the target, but those fired at 20 yards and 30 yards landed below the aim point.

This one target was used at all ranges. Both the 10-yard and 15-yard pellets landed in the same place on the silhouette of the cartridge case. At 20 yards, the pellets landed a little low and at 30 yards they were about one inch low. Had Mac held his sights high to compensate for the drop, all pellets would have hit the target.

You can do this
Mini-sniping has been going on for decades, and I suspect for longer than we know. It’s really just a type of plinking where the targets are standardized instead of random. If you don’t have 9mm cases laying around, you can use clothespins or plastic caps from soda bottles. Some shooters who don’t want to have random targets laying around substitute Necco wafers as targets. These sugary candies are completely biodegradable, whether they are hit or not.

Mini-sniping is a great way to enjoy your airgun. And though the accent of this article has been on rifles, there’s no reason you can’t do the same thing with an air pistol.

I wonder how many of you readers are already doing something like this and just not calling it by this name? I would enjoy hearing from you about how you do it in your neck of the woods.

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.

74 thoughts on “Mini-sniping”

  1. B.B.,
    My thirteen year old son and I have been doing this kind of thing for about a year. We set up 40 smith, 9mm and 22 long and distances from 10-15 yards, shooting seated and offhand. It’s super fun and our somewhat rocky relationship (as improved considerably from the time spent together. Our family is relocating 600 miles to Wacky Wayne’s neck of the woods (yes!) this week end, our new house having a bit more room for the longer stuff.

  2. I became intrigued with mini sniping quite awhile back.

    The attraction was that hold was optional (no bench rest, but hugging a tree, sitting, prone, etc. was ok), punching paper for small groups was NOT the goal, hitting a small target regularly was important and having fun was paramount.

    Shooting small groups on paper inevitably lead to a anal, not fun, one shot ruined the group, unending ordeal of disappointment. Bad recipe for a group of shooters that have informally grouped to have fun.

    Our targets are paintballs seated on top of golf tees at 25 yards.

    Everyone puts $5.00 in the pot. You get 25 shots (5 shots at a time) and the person that hits the most paintballs in the 5 shot relay gets the pot. No second place. Kinda like life.

    I like mini sniping and I really like guns that are purpose built for this recreation since mini snipers are as zealous as any FT shooter they’re just not as vocal.


  3. Volvo,

    IMHO you need airgun counseling.

    You sold the .25 cal marauder before even shooting it??!!! My friend Erik’s .25 cal marauder is the most accurate, hard hitting bargain priced airgun I’ve ever shot.

    I respect your experience therefore, please help me understand this move.


  4. I just signed the petition and I almost NEVER sign those. But sheesh! My little black Gamo Delta illegal? I can’t help it’s black, frankly I’d rather it was camouflage color and I may do something about that. I need to do a trigger job on it too, it’s definitely “field” accuracy at best. Good for shooting rats at a few meters though. What about an old Webley tempest?

    And you can take a brightly colored gun and just hit it with a little semi-gloss Krylon and reverse the process.


    OK, I LOVE 10-meter guns! Someday I’ll find one at a garage sale or something. Feinwerkbau 300s = German for fineworkin’gun for assassinating 300 starlings.

    If you go to a forest or some place that’s not helped by broken up junk, consider biodegradable targets! Necco wafers are great, except the brown and black ones, you’ll miss those, no, you’l’l be forced to eat the delicious chocolate and licorice ones. And maybe the other tasty ones, orange are pretty good, and green. The rest of fair game! Animal crackers, oyster crackers, any kind of small biodegradable thing, Cheetos, your imagination is the only limit. And you won’t be leaving plastic etc junk all over the place.

  5. When I take my family out to the desert, we place shotgun shells on desert bush branches, making them look like Christmas trees. Of course, we also set up all kinds of targets at various distances, but shooting spent shotgun shells is always fun for EVERYONE.

    When I’m at the range, there are LOTS of spend center fire shells that I use to see where pellets are hitting on very windy days. Why this, over paper targets? High winds can blow the pellet clean off the paper target, or if there are already too many holes, it’s hard to tell. The desert dirt at our range is very dusty, so it’s easy to see where the pellet is hitting the ground. In any case, it’s also more fun shooting at small reactive targets than paper targets. At the range, I do all my shooting at 50 yards. As B.B. has already demonstrated, air-rifles are very accurate. When the wind dies down, they’ll hit a .308 cartridge, no problem.

    I also still have a few sets of bright orange silhouette targets that came with target traps that I’ve bought. They are of various sizes, so they provide a range of challenges. Yup, mini-sniping is fun.

  6. Perhaps Mini Ritz or Goldfish crackers. The critters can eat what’s left. When my grandson becomes old enough to learn to shoot, I will have Granny make some flour and water biscuits with food coloring. We can make whatever size we want to shoot at and leave the crumbs for the birds.

  7. Mini sniping is fun. You don’t have to be confined to someone’s rules unless you shoot with a group.
    Anything small and hard to hit will do. Any distance that makes it a challenge will do.
    There is always something cheap enough to buy, or there is often something in season. Dandelions, buckhorns, weeds of larger varieties.
    I like to find a bunch of big pokeweed and “prune” them. A .177 is more difficult to use than a .22. You can’t shoot them down with just one shot. You have to shoot a row of holes across them to get them to fall.
    Apples in trees are fun. They need to be big enough that they don’t explode with the first shot. You need to shoot a row of holes across them to knock off a piece. Now you have a smaller target to trim away. You keep at it until there is nothing left.
    Then in the fall when they are ripe and the juice is sweet, you shoot a hole in them and the yellow jackets come. Now you have live targets.

    Blades of grass or small twigs sticking up out of the snow are fun too.

    The really tiny ornamental crabapples that the starlings eat in the winter are a blast. The largest only get to .5″ across. Nick them and you knock off a small piece. Now you have a smaller target. Hit them square and they explode.

    You can simulate 9mm cases with 3/8″ dowl cut to 3/4″ lengths.

    You are only limited by your imagination and whatever may be available.


  8. BB,
    I’ve always enjoyed shooting at leaves while walking in the woods. Almost always one half inch from the stem. A nice breeze adds to the challenge. Sounds like most everyone has their own fun version of mini-sniping.
    Hank M- Nice that you found that common ground with your son and shooting.

  9. Morning B.B.,

    Mini sniping is alive and well here in Maryland and Upstate New York. My favorite here is baiting flies with drops of sugar water. Great practice for actually hunting cause you never know when the insect is going to fly away. I also like holly berries–splat and they are gone.


  10. I first heard of mini-sniping from an article in the “American Rifleman”back in the early eighties. It was written by Peter Capstick. He also wrote of shooting baited rats with his FWB 300 at his home in another article, which were reprinted in his books. Those steel 9mm cases from the cheap ,berdan primed, Bear brand Russian plinking ammo are what we use ,as they are useless for reloading. A small glob of play dough will help them stay put in the wind,which we seem to always have at my range.

    • Robert,

      So, somebody finally found a good use for those ugly steel cases. Fine! I hate them, because when I’m out at the range gathering reloadable brass, they hurt my knees.

      I just bought a brass broom from Dillon. You roll it over the ground and it picks up all the fired brass. It was designed to pick up nuts from under trees, but it works well on brass, and I absolutely cannot pass by a reloadable case these days. It’s like walking past money on the ground.


      • BB: How does the Dillon brass broom work in grass that might be say 3-4″ high? I hate losing brass, and the only thing worse than losing brass is losing arrows. It’s also way more expensive than brass.

        • I bought my first metal detector for finding my arrows in grass. Works good. You have to keep in mind what direction the arrow should be laying in the grass and look for something that is a lot longer than it is wide.
          For finding your brass you would have to shoot where nobody else does or you will be getting hits on every piece in the ground, not counting bottle caps and pull tabs.


    • Steve in MN,

      The painting of firearms to look like toy guns has already happened in California.

      Toy guns are already mandated by California law to be clear or painted in bright colors.

      Two goofball robbers painted their firearm a bright color. They were arrested before they could follow through with their plans.


    • It sounds a lot like our stupid gun registry… it seems no one realized that bad guys do not register their guns 😯
      Cops check the registry, no gun registered to the guys name, cops go in at 5am one of them gets shot and dies… the gun was registered to the supposed crooks (he was cleared of all charges) wifes name.
      How about when the cops showed up to this guy door, bang on door “police, open up” the poor young lady cop was shot thru the door with a shotgun that wasn’t registered… what a surprise.

      The painting of airguns IMHO give a false sense of security, better be prepared.


    • If anyone is interested , the Peter Capstick articles can be found in the book of his stories titled “Last Horizons” ISBN #0-312-02535-1, copyright 1988, published by St . Martins Press. In my own first edition copy, the story titled “Backyard Safari” is in chapter 20,page 225. It is a reprint of the article originally published in 1979 in “Guns and Ammo ” magazine. The other specifically on mini -sniping is in chapter 21 on page 235. As Steve notes it was first published in the October 1984 Guns and Ammo. Also, I believe the articles were reprinted and sold by Beeman , which they did with several airgun articles back in the eighties. There was hardly any information then about airguns compared to what we have now. The younger readers of this blog may not know what a gold mine of information it is. BTW,I have an extensive collection of Peter’s books and have a spare copy of the book I mention above that I would trade ,if someone was interested.

    • Kevin,

      It would appear from the pictures that he does. I know he has eye cups on some of his rifles, so it isn’t a matter of not having them. Maybe he felt the need for speed when doing this test. This was the first time he had actually shot this particular rifle, so perhaps he forgot.


  11. BB:
    SB798.Yep sounds familiar.
    Ban this,legislate that,punish the many for the actions of a few.
    It is working a treat over here.
    Large parts of London and other cities around the UK hit last night by rioting and looting.
    Pink BB guns aren’t the answer,Red backsides are.
    You step out of line son,smacked butt time.

  12. I really like mini-sniping. Besides the normal FT targets I use a plank at 20 yards with nails in it an put macaroni on them. They are cheaper than clay tubes and biodegradable.


  13. Well my wife doesn’t particularly care for me using saltine crackers in the basement range. Sheesh, I didn’t complain when she was eating them in bed when she was pregnant. Like sleeping next to a 100 lb plus mouse. Where’s the fairness, I ask?

    Fred PRoNJ

    • That reminds me of the notorious Sesame St. skit with Ernie and Bert in bed together, Ernie’s munching away on cookies muppet style (mash ’em up and spray crumbs all over the place lol) and Bert’s complaining about the crumbs.

  14. Mini-sniping? All my friends and I were doing that back in the fifties with our Daisy BB guns. We just didn’t know there was (or would be) a name for it.

    My personal favorite target was the red cardboard tube the shot came in. I had seen a pretty frightening movie about the American Civil War. The soldiers were using pre-wrapped paper cartridges that they tore open with their teeth to open. I copied this by biting the end of the BB tube to open it.
    I thought this was very cool. The cardboard tubes were made (probably on purpose) so this could be done, then resealed.

    When the tubes were emptied, they became wonderful targets. I had begun my mini-sniping by shooting old radio tubes in the garden. These ancient items exploded satisfyingly when hit, but the resulting glass shards in the garden got me in trouble with my parents.

    The BB tubes solved that. I would toss out an empty tube, and see how far I could keep hitting it. It was a special treat after a rain. The closed-up tubes floated just fine in puddles, and resulted in “Battle of Jutland” splash effects if I missed. The idea was to hole the tube so it would sink without blowing it clear of the puddle.

    Fast-forward fifty years. I am out in a desert, still shooting airguns at targets of opportunity. First came buffalo gourds. These tough, pool ball-sized spheres could soak up almost fifty pellets before becoming shattered beyond recognition. Seeking something smaller and more durable, I tried golf balls. Problems with these: my high-power airguns tore them up. My lower-powered air guns resulted in rebounding pellets. I didn’t particularly like my targets shooting back at me!

    A suggestion on this forum was that I try ping-pong balls. These make wonderful sniping targets! The only drawbacks are they will blow around in a light breeze, and they have to be purchased. But at thirty cents each, very affordable. An unexpected advantage is that they do not vanish in a cloud of shards as expected, but usually can take two or three hits before falling apart.

    I finally came up with a good improved target system. I saved my empty cat litter boxes (the ones the litter comes in, not the ones the cats use). My cat and I prefer to use the “Arm and Hammer” brand. This comes in a “suitcase” style box with a plastic handle on top.
    On the side of this box I stick on a couple “Shoot-n-See” self-adhesive reactive bulls eye targets. A couple brick-sized rocks inside the hollow box will stabilize it in a light wind. Two or three targets can be stuck on top of each other before the box gets too shot up to use. As an added advantage, the scores can be written on the boxes with a ball-point pen.


  15. Interesting — much like the type of shooting I enjoy, although I don’t use a scope or sit for this kind of shooting. We do some of the same types of things with our ML’ers on woodswalks, so here’s so more target ideas. Kevin already mentioned the paintballs — no points for destroyed tee; crossed rubber bands b/t 2 boards (make an “X” using 4 nails — you have to hit the cross and break both bands); put tacks on a square piece of cardboard divided into 6″x6″ squares; and the old favorite, card on edge. I’ve split the card twice now in 5(?) attempts, once just a week or so ago with the flintlock, but I would be much more impressed to see it done with an air rifle. Most of these targets are ~10 yards away or so, but offhand with open sights in dim light of woods, they are pretty challenging. The paintballs are the hardest. On even ground with good light,scoped and sitting, 20 or 25 yards might be more appropriate. Another one that is fun is the hanging spike, which could be duplicated for pellets with a 9mm case hanging from a string or even just a small piece of wood. My neighbor and I didn’t have a spike to hang for our mock-up of a woods walk, so we used a 1×1 piece of scrap wood hanging from a string, and that held up to several hits from .50 caliber balls, so it should last a while with pellets.

    PS. Sorry if this is more or less a repeat — it didn’t go through earlier. I’m starting to feel persecuted by this software :).

  16. I never called it mini sniping but it’s been my favorite airgun activity since I started shooting when I was 5. Plastic Army men at 10 yds. or the larger sized GI Joe at 50 yds. Just recently I had an idea to put primers (like would go in a shotgun shell or you would use in a primer pistol) on their side at 10 yds. Almost impossible to hit because they’re so small but the loud crack when you hit one is extremely rewarding! – Andrew

    ps. yesterday I ran across a program called “Hawke Chairgun” It’s used to calculate the drop and wind drift of a shot over any distance. If it’s allowed I can post a link if needed.

  17. I think that mini sniping is the main thing that draws me to airgun shooting. No need to pack up and drive to a range. Shooting cans or ‘plinking’ can easily be put into the category of mini sniping. That gets to be too easy depending on your range and the gun you are using. Almost as plentiful as aluminum cans are bottle caps. These will hang easily on nails driven into wooden posts or tree stumps. They really go flying. Lately my favorite target is dum-dum lollipops which are small, explosive, biodegradable and cheap. Neccos (New England Confectionery COmpany) are good too, but I end up eating them.

    I also bought a Remington brand Duraseal spinning target from Wallyworld. The target is a little large for scoped rifles, but presents a slight challenge with open sights at my range and poor sight.

    At work we are have an overabundance of Palmetto Bugs, otherwise known as the American Cockroach. (It was actually imported from Africa, but such is taxonomy.) They make very good reactive and unpredictable targets. My weapon of choice against this plague is a Beeman P3 or my recently acquired Beeman P17. The P17 is astonishing in its accuracy, especially considering the super low price. I really like it, but the roaches don’t. Splitting them in half is more gratifying than stomping them. I have even caught a few in a dead run!

  18. B.B.

    It seems people think the same – one of the best targets I ever shot is empty 7.62×39 case, primer towards you. Distance is somewhat 40 m, but that doesn’t matter much – pellets seem to attract to it like magnets 🙂 I think it’s a pure psychology – one feels that it’s a hard target and instinctively shoots better. When the pellet hits it – it makes a wonderful sound, some sort of clap and ding and jumps or flies forward with a whoosh.
    For a closer distance like 10 m – well, we must all thank a guy who invented .22LR, for its cases are the best for low-powered springer hunting.

    With mini-sniping I was able to see some intersting thing about wasps. It seems they emit some sort of alarm pheromones when killed. My pellet trap is mounted on a stand made of old bars, all grey but still strong. Wasps like such wood and they fly to gnaw it, to make paper for their nests. And little vermins seem to be obliged to inspect holes I make in paper targets 🙂 From time to time I spend a pellet to smash one that is especially curious about holes. Well, shooting a small-sized running target – it’s a real deal for a real sniper 😉
    Strange, but every time it happens – in a very short time there are two or three of her sisters inspecting the murder scene (and occasionally to utilize her dead body into ground meat for their larvae) and making “attack circles”. It seems to me that works as a some sort of alarm and massing system against powerful threats to their nest – if one failed, there would be three more, already heated and then as much as a nest can provide. Simple – yet effective.
    It all looks a bit robotic to me, but still very interesting.


    • I had a friend tell me that hornets “enslave” bees, so I did some looking around, on google and youtube. Wasps/hornets are nasty! The giant Japanese wasps wipe out a beehive, all bees KILLED by being snipped in half, in a matter of hours. 30 wasps vs. 30,000 bees, European honeybees don’t have a chance. Japanese honeybees will ball up around the wasp, hang on for dear life, and vibrate, raising the temperature of the “bee ball” to 117F or so, and it kills the wasp. Amazing.

      Our wasps in the US eat all kinds of bugs, honeybees but “bad” bugs too. They are helpful. But not helpful around your house! And there seems to be no shortage of ’em. So they are fun targets, because they can fight back to some degree, making it a bit more challenging. Yes they do emit pheromones that call in others, who go into attack mode.

      Bugs are proof that Nature can build better robots than we can.

      • Just make sure that you don’t make either species mad at you while shooting at them. And one thing not to try is an idea of the U.S. Army in the film, The Swarm. The army suited up guys in bee-proof suits with flamethrowers, and they annihilated bees with sheets of flame. But the bees worked their way into the suits, and in a frenzy, the soldiers begin setting fire to each other.


        • Got me laughing here! Yeah as we’ve been saying, they emit pheromones which call more of the evil little buzzing killbots in.

          It’d be funny as hell to catch one, then tie a thread around it and have it captive, and then film all of its buddies coming in to fight, and your pellets taking out the rescuers. Robert C. Heinlein would approve.

      • B.B.

        Oh, I don’t like this term. Let’s describe it as a justified surgically precise application of a limited lethal force on some irreconsilable semi-intelligent beings that have access to chemical and bladed weapons and act blindly under command of their so-called “mother” leader.


          • Yes, it’s killing an alien species for fun. An alien ORDER, order insecta I think is the name, and we’re order mammalia, but I think we’re divided at a more basic level, because mammals, lizards, etc are tetrapods and bugs are got-lots-of-pods.

            This may be a predictor of how well we do at the whole lets-make-friends thing is aliens from another planet ever visit. If they taste good they’re in trouble.

            • I wondered if anyone would get the reference. 😉

              Lately, I’ve taken to leaving my copy of “Starship Troopers” laying about in hopes that my 11 year old son would pick it up and read it. It hasn’t worked so far, but all is not lost. Our recent marathon viewing of “Band of Brothers” definitely sparked an interest in all things military. Last night he found a business that makes WWII replica Lego parts that fit on his mini-figures. Then, this morning before school, he showed me their M3 Grease Gun and made me solemnly promise to place the order after church tonight. Using his own money, BTW. 🙂

              Still, I prefer the Heinlein simply because it teaches more about why than how. Great life lessons in that book.

  19. Sounds like field target with less hassle. I was able to hit a shotgun shell case at 50 yards with my B30, and I must say that the feeling was ecstatic–one of my most memorable shots ever. In the same spirit, I also have noticed ads for self-healing yellow rubber targets that you can shoot with any caliber gun; looks like fun.

    I meant to thank PA (was it you Edith? :-)) for writing the petition for the silly California law. My only comment would be that it tends to focus on the hardships for airgunners which are probably not of any concern to those pushing the bill and to a lot of non-airgunners looking on. What about adding a statement to the effect of: “Hey police, how would you like to live in constant fear of anything that looks like an airgun since you have no idea if some criminal is disguising a real firearm with the lawful local color? The coloring scheme is virtual camouflage for criminals. All the reasons that applied to defeating the original bill apply even more to this one.”

    Wulfraed, your right angle geometry of the crow flying is certainly right in its own terms, but the same rules do not necessarily apply at the infinitesimal level. I was hoping to snatch the bait form the trap by seeing if the helix could be understood as a blending of the rotational and linear motions without any extra displacement. Probably this is not right, but one result that I expect would survive in the correct answer is that the linear component of 9 inches would far outweigh the contribution of the circular bore circumference or anything else. The sum of squares method would provide another approximation and run on a computer program as a limit calculation would be better yet, but how correct? Only one way to find out. 🙂 Besides an analytic solution would be more fun. I see that it is very difficult to calculate the arclength for most functions. BUT, the helix happens to be one of the few exceptions. The formula is

    s = integr[a^2 + b^2]t where s is the arclength, a and b are constants associated with the radius of the circle defined by the helix and the “stretching” of the helix respectively, and t is evaluated from 0 to 2pi.

    So, the sum of squares idea is in there but so are some other things. This is all figured out easily enough if you know the constants a and b. But what are they? The information is there in the form of the radius size and twist rate but how to translate these into the constant values I do not know. For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost. I’ll pass along anything I come up with. Maybe Victor can do this with his expression for the period of the helix. Victor, yes, grinding out the math is the reliable way, but the intuition is worth a try. It worked for the toilet paper model but not here apparently.

    Edith, congratulations on your dinner. Next time, you can do a bit of the Iron Chef by cooking asparagus in the lobster, then throwing away the lobster and eating the flavored asparagus for $1000.


  20. I love Mac’s shooting position, especially his feet. This is the only time I’ve seen the feet placed this way except for an old army photo. Placing the feet like this means that your abdomen doesn’t go through hell by having the feet placed flat or that your back is in agony while hunching to support yourself on crossed legs. I actually lay my supporting forearm on the lead thigh (which also enables the use of a sling) instead of using this arms folded position, but I think the positions are essentially the same. I’m encouraged.

    B.B. if you have a chance to pass on Mac’s opinion of the Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle, I would be interested to hear. He must have formed some opinion with the four that he has. 🙂


    • Matt,

      Mac has five Mosins now, but only two are sniper rifles. I think both of them are also Finnish rifles, which were the best Mosins ever made. They have heavier free-floated barrels and much better sights, though the sniper scopes sort of overcome that feature. The stocks are also beefier.

      I will ask him, but OI don’t think he has popped one cap in one of them yet, aside from the day he bought them (he shot them at a range when buying them).


  21. Uh oh, students of arclength, have we been fooled by the toilet paper roll again? Instead of using the diagonal of the flattened 9 inch barrel section to calculate angle, why not use it to calculate arclength which should be just the length of the diagonal? Using the Pythagorean Theorem, the answer is 9.03 inches–no ifs or approximations and shorter than my approximation of 9.7 inches. That is so odd since the little man of my thought experiment definitely completes one revolution around the circumference of the bore as well 9 inches in length down the axis of the barrel but his total traveled distance is shorter. Well, the math doesn’t lie.

    On another note, too bad about Diana Nyad having to stop her swim. I still like her idea that 60 is the new 40, but I don’t see why someone has to half kill themselves to celebrate being alive. I much prefer the lobster/butter approach although for myself I favor the lobster/shrimp pasta at Red Lobster. The taste of straight lobster is a little elusive for me at the price.


  22. Matt if you have an Asian market near you, you can get live lobsters for not too bad a price, $10 or so for a lb or so I believe. What you pay for at Dead Lobster their doing the cooking, dishes, and the services of your wonderful pimply-faced waiter.

  23. WEEBLES!!!! I just thought of this! In case you can’t find Weebles any more or don’t want to shoot up nice vintage toys, make some kind of targets that act like Weebles, they’ll wobble around showing your hit but then self-right.

  24. This is one of the most fun posts ever! I can hardly wait to try out some of the ideas for targets. I’m well overdue to move past my usual fare–the classic Diet Coke can–in the target department.

    I also like to shoot with a magnifying iris (like Mac’s, a vintage Gehmann), and I don’t think many shooters appreciate what a capable and versatile sighting system this is. The adjustable iris always allows you to achieve maximum depth-of-field in any light. The lens is top-quality, not only enlarging and clarifying the image, but with a tremedous range of focus (I can use it to shoot without my glasses…though i sometimes walk into the nearest door frame after I set the gun down!). Best of all, all the major brands of German sights use the same thread size, so you need only buy one of these and can easily switch it between guns.

    Thanks again to everyone for a great post and discussion!

  25. My daughter and I have a lot of fun mini-sniping ice cubes sitting in a row on a 2×6. They make a spectacular explosion when hit. During the winter, we chip away at ice blocks, though the sniping isn’t exactly mini.

  26. Hi, from Puerto Rico, the article about mini-sniping brought back some fine memories, after reading Mr. Capstick article in G+A in the 80’s my brothers, my neighbors and I started to have daily matches with our crosman 160, 766 and 622, we used animal crackers @75 to 100 feet with open sights. The animal crackers gave us that big game feeling (specially the elephants), after a while I traded an old set of golf clubs for a FW 65 and reduced the distance a little bit, yet we still had an awesome time with the FW, a Daisy 717 (specially against our neighbors who could not shoot a pistol very good). My neighbors uncle gave him a Beeman C1 with a 4x scope for his birthday and then our hunting really went long distance. Awesome Times, thanks for reminding me of them.

    Best regards,
    Mario J. Garcia

  27. Paul or Tom
     I have a Air Arms TX200 MKlll air rifle. Do you know what kind of scope and mount, you used in your Pyramid Air video, with Tom Gaylord? The episode was, Air Arms TX200, AGR Episode #20. This scope seems to fit that rifle well. I would like to purchase the same scope and mounts for my TX200.
    Thanks for your time,

    • Mike,

      I don’t think Paul ever reads this blog.

      If I remember correctly, we mounted a Leapers 4-16 X 50 AO scope on that rifle, but anything about as long would work. There wasn’t anything special about the scope we used on that rifle.


      For mounts we used the UTG Accumounts.




  28. Does the rear aperature on the FWB 300s simply unscrew? I have the FWB mini and am curious if you have to take the sight apart to add a better rear aperature.

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