Action targets throughout history

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Bleed, break or fall
  • History
  • Live animals
  • Ad Topperwein
  • Shooting was king!
  • End of the Civil War
  • Early mechanical target
  • Quackenbush bell and mechanical targets
  • Targets 2, 3 and 4
  • Target 3
  • Target 4
  • Quackenbush targets 5 and 6
  • Targets 7 and 8
  • One more galley target
  • Summary

Bleed, break or fall

“Airgun targets have to bleed, break or fall.” said Leigh Wilcox of the now-defunct Airgun Express, many years ago. Leigh was one of many who felt that punching paper was like watching paint dry. A lot of you readers feel the same, as we have seen in this blog recently. Today’s report was requested by reader GunFun1, but I know that a lot of you are looking forward to it.

History

I will get back to airgun targets in a bit, but first let’s travel back in time to see where action targets began. For that we need to go to Europe around the year 1300, when shooting events lasted for many days and took on a carnival atmosphere.

The Bogenschuetzen-Gesellschaft (Society of Bowmen or Archers) of Dresden dates from 1286, though there must have been activity prior to that time or else why would the Society form? These were persons of royal lineage (about 400) who gathered annually at a festival to see who was to be the King of the Crossbowmen. The town granted them land, money and special honors because when trouble came, they were the town’s first and best defense.

The royal Saxony family were members who often competed and even won the event. In fact, they traditionally shot the first shot to open the competition. In 1676 the Crown Prince of Saxony won the match and became the king of the crossbowmen that year. A large gold medal weighing 46 ducats of gold was struck and after that time the winner of the match wore it at the banquet and ball that followed.

The target was a wooden bird placed atop a tall pole in the middle of the Vogelwiese or bird field (bird meadow). The pole was on a pivot with ropes that could lower it to the ground for scoring. This is probably not the first action target, but it certainly one of the most famous!

bird target
An engraving of the 1612 crossbow match in Dresden. From The Crossbow, by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey.

In 1702 the English ambassador in Dresden made the “Konigschuss” or king’s shot, winning the match. Queen Anne of England had a gold medal with the value of 20 ducats coined to commemorate the win.

Live animals

Until the middle of the 20 century live animals were used in target competitions. I won’t go into too much description, but know that turkey shoots in the 19th century in the Appalachian Mountains were at live animals that were tethered behind large logs. The animals could hide behind the logs and the shooters had to find ways to coax them out to take a shot. Often, just the head was presented.

The clay pigeon was developed to replace live birds that were released from hidden cages on the shooting field. Before the clay pigeon was developed, balls made of glass and hardened pitch were used. They stopped using both because broken glass shards were dangerous and the balls often broke during handling and launching. Clay pigeons still break in handling and launching, but they are more reliable, plus they fit together and can be stored in a smaller space.

glass ball launcher
A glass or pitch ball launcher for shotguns and rifles.

clay pigeon
The clay pigeon has been standardized for convenience and to fit all launchers.

Now, I am aware that GunFun1 didn’t ask about all action targets. He is interested in shooting gallery targets, and I am coming to that, but knowing the history of older action targets tells us a lot about the targets that evolved later.

Ad Topperwein

Adolph Topperwein was a poor crockery worker in San Antonio, but from December 13 to December 22, 1907, he shot at 72,500 2-1/4-inch pine blocks that were thrown in the air by 3 young men. In all he missed just 9 of the targets — setting an action target shooting record that stood for almost a century.

Topperwein
Ad Topperwein sits atop the mountain of 72,491 wooden target blocks he hit in 1907.

Shooting was king!

In the days I have bracketed in history — 1300-1900, shooting was considered the king of sports. Shooters were revered and most people looked at shooting like they look at archery or darts today — a demonstration of one’s accuracy.

End of the Civil War

The American Civil War taught the government that it had better do something about the marksmanship of its young men, because many showed up for basic training with no knowledge of how a firearm works. The South, in sharp contrast, drew on a population of young men that was fascinated with shooting and knew very well how to do it. The difference was survival. In the South people had to shoot for their food and they were interested in what kept them fed. In the North big cities had removed the necessity of shooting and many young men had never fired even one shot.

General Phil Sheridan decided that had to change for the best interests of the nation, and he was instrumental in forming the National Rifle Association in 1873. Also, he helped some companies promote their airguns as a means of getting a way to target practice at home into the hands of Americans.

At the same time, the shooting gallery came into existence, or moved forward in the public eye. Many feel it was the Civil War that spawned an interest in guns among North American men, but the development of the gallery gun (AKA Flobert) and the .22 Short cartridge had something to do with it. This made the time ripe for the home gallery target —and they abounded!

Early mechanical target

The Dodo mechanical target was one of the earliest and also the most prolific, but could I find a picture of one to show you? It took me 30 minutes of searching to find something close, and they had it listed as a “squirrel” target. What is shown below is a take on the famous Dodo — or at least a very close copy.

Dodo
Okay, these are ducks, not “Dodos.” The Dodo target was just two humps of metal with a reset paddle beneath.

In my search I stumbled across another old gallery type target that someone had shot up with a high-powered rifle. But enough was left and it was so attractive that I placed a bid on it. And, I’m the “Great Enabler?”

chicken target
While researching this report I found this vintage gallery target and placed a bid.

Quackenbush bell and mechanical targets

This is the target that GunFun1 saw in the blog that sparked his interest. Of all old mechanical airgun targets, the Quackenbush targets are perhaps the best-known. They came in 4 variations. The Number 1 is simplest one. It was just a bell target with no other mechanism. It rang when you shot the bell through the center hole. The target is very large (14 inches wide — I have never seen one) and made of wood with a rubber centerpiece that was knocked out with the shot. It is for low-powered airguns firing darts, only. Because they are wood, I imagine they are extremely rare today. They originally sold for $1.50

Targets 2, 3 and 4

These are the metal bell targets that GunFun1 saw. The metal face of Number 2 is 12 inches in diameter and, when you ring the bell, a spring-loaded bird pops up above the face. I have seen one for sale at an airgun show and several online. Antique dealers seem to ask $1,400 for these today. They were $2.00 when new.

Qbush 2 tyarget
This target was offered for sale at the Toys The Shoot airgun show several years ago.

Target 3

Target 3 has a steel face, and is 15 inches in diameter. It weighs 14 lbs. and also has the spring-loaded bird that pops up. That one is rated for rimfire cartridges, though I imagine they were thinking blackpowder rounds at less than 50 foot pounds. I have seen this one for sale at around $1,200 at some airgun shows. They were $5 when new.

Target 4

Target 4 was the same as target 3 but without the mechanism. It’s just a bell target. I’ve never seen one. They were $3.00 new.

Quackenbush targets 5 and 6

These are very strange mechanical airgun targets. The Number 5 target is self-painting when the shooter desires a fresh target. He pulls on a string and a roller repaints the face of the target. That is — if it works. Because they are very complex and contain liquid paint, they got out of order easily. Less than a thousand were made and they must be extremely rare today.

Target Number 6 is a pop-up skull target that works like Targets 2 and 3, only a skull pops up instead of a bird.

Target 6
Quackenbush Target Number 6. From Quackenbush Guns, by John Groenewold.

Targets 7 and 8

Target 7 has 4 small targets that fall when hit. A pull on a string resets them.

Target 8 is the most rugged of the bunch, and intended for .22 Short rounds. Its square face has three bulls of differing size that — (left to right) — ring a gong, raise a bird and ring a bell. The holes are (left to right) 3/4-inch, 1-1/4-inches and 3/8-inches. Who said field target was a new sport?

Target 8
Quackenbush Target 8 was made for .22 short rounds. Remember, Quackenbush made many different .22 rimfire rifles — including one that was both pellet and rimfire! From Quackenbush Guns, by John Groenewold.

I must give a lot of credit to John Groenewold’s excellent book, Quackenbush Guns, copyright 2000. Any airgunner needs a copy of this in his library. Contact John at John Groenewold, PO Box 830, Mundelein, IL 60060-0830, (847) 566-2365 http://www.jgairguns.biz

One more galley target

This one is vintage, but much more recent. In 1954 Crosman brought out their 150 pistol, which was the first to use 12-gram CO2 cartridges instead of bulk CO2. The shooting kit was a metal box that held the pistol in one compartment while the other side of the box lid was reinforced with steel plate to be used as a target holder. Talk about ingenious!

Crosman 150
A Crosman 150 pellet pistol came in this metal box. The left side was reinforced to act as a target trap.

Daisy also sold metal bell targets with several of their rifles, though nobody advises using steel BBs with them. And I have already shown you the target galleries that came with the Bulls Eye and Sharpshooter catapult guns.

Summary

Shooting galleries have been with us for a very long time. We have seen the ingenuity of several of our readers in past reports, and today we looked at what was available in the marketplace.

169 thoughts on “Action targets throughout history

  1. Very cool, I use a form of the number 8, only metal plates fall down behind the holes, and pull a string for the reset.

    On the crosman 150target, I see an old KCS (Kansas City Southern) metal first aid kit being repurposed into one for my 1950’s Benjamin 252 that uses 8 gram cartridges.

    Can’t wait for the airgun show Saturday.

    Ian.


    • Wasn’t sure I was going to make it this year due to work but I finished about noon today. We just got in our hotel room.

      See you all tomorrow at the show.

      Jim



  2. Two of my favourite shooting gallery targets are the Chinaman , made from cast iron, shoot the pom-pom on his hat
    and his head folds back, shoot the center of the flower on his chest and the head reappears.
    The other is the Skeleton in a coffin, shoot the disk at the end of the coffin and the skeleton pops out the coffin.
    I was not aware that Quackenbush made such interesting targets.


  3. BB
    Thank you much for this report. I enjoyed reading the whole report.

    And yep these targets do interest me. And 45Bravo summed it up pretty good. I want to see something happen when I shoot at a target. I don’t just want to see a hole in the paper.

    And wow the wood block record. That’s something else. And only a few misses. Again cool report.


  4. B.B.,

    Quite a nice article. Old time advertising and the artwork that often accompanies it is always interesting. I had to laugh at some of the weights you mentioned. No one can say that they did not overbuild something back then. 🙂

    Thanks for the historical lesson and a furthering of my appreciation for the shooting hobby.

    Good Day to you and to all,….. Chris


  5. BB,

    Although I do like to punch paper, most especially at long ranges, when the old gals come out I am usually using my action targets. I have spinners I set up at 10 yards that range in size from 2 inches down to 3/4 inch. For longer ranges I will hang up feral soda cans. They scream and dance when you smack them with a pellet.


  6. BB,

    I forgot to mention that a friend of mine recently gave me a box of old paint balls. Now that I have some golf tees, I will have to set up a shooting gallery of these.



      • GF1,

        They are .68 inch in diameter. These particular ones are brown and yellow striped almost like carpenter bees and about the same size. When you bust them open they spray neon green “blood” everywhere.

        At the GTA Fun Shoot they have contests shooting paintballs; 25 yards for sproingers, 50 yards for gassers and 100 yards for big belchers.


        • RR
          So you have seen them burst I guess then.

          Wonder what would happen if you freezed them. Maybe they would explode and shatter?

          And how about that. Your friend must know you well. Look like and are about the size of carpenter bee’s. How about that. 🙂


          • GF1,

            I am certain that the appearance is coincidental. They were old ones he had. If you froze them I am certain they would do as you suggest, but it is more enjoyable to see a bright green mist spray through the air from a good hit.

            A target that small is very challenging at any range. The reaction of a solid hit is rewarding. they are also biodegradable so I do not have to worry about cleanup. You should pick you up a pack and give them a try.


            • RR
              I will get some I think.

              I guess they are safe if animals were to eat them? We got alot of wildlife and plus my rat terrier. I’m sure he would try to mess with them.


              • GF1,

                I too had concerns with the affect on the local flora and fauna, including my dog. In talking to my friend he said the marker is a thick gelatin capsule and the fluid is vegetable oil. I shot a few a couple of weeks ago and there is not a trace of them left.




  7. GF1,
    Balls are about 11/16″ diameter. I have no paint guns so cannot tell you the actual bore diameter. From my experience (20 FPE max), shooting paint balls is disappointing. I had an unrealistic expectation of a pink mist on impact.Their response is closer to bleeding than exploding. YMMV.

    Jumpin


    • Jumping
      Thanks for the info about the paint balls.

      But I wonder if the bleed would turn into a burst instead with a 70 fpe .25 caliber air gun. Well and I guess distance would matter also.

      I was hoping for a burst instead of a bleed



  8. B.B.

    What is a ducat?

    A guy I used to go shooting with had all the local bars deliver him their empty beer bottles. We would set these up on 2 benches, one 45 yards away the other 55 yards away. This was on his uncles private land. What fun it was to see the reactive targets go poof. What an environmental disaster it left!
    We put one rum bottle on a stick at 95 yards. Even it you hit it with a .25 Marauder it would not break, just spin around.
    We made the PCP guys do most of the beer bottle set-up since they were the ones that broke the most bottles…

    -Y


  9. B.B.,

    In Bell Target shooting is there a standard set of rules that one follows? Size of the target’s hole? distance of shooter to target?

    Siraniko

    PS: Section End of the Civil War
    First sentence: The American Civil War taught the goverment (government) that it had better do something about the marksmanship pf (of) it’s young men, because many showed up for basic training with no knowledge of how a firearm works.
    Last paragraph: Many feel it was the Civil War that spawned an interest in guns among North American men, but the development of the galley (gallery?) gun (AKA Flobert) and the .22 Short cartridge had something to do with it. This made the time rip (ripe) for the home gallery target —and they abounded!

    Section: Targets 7 and 8
    Target 7 has 4 small targets that fall when hit. A pull on a string resent (reset) them.








    • Carl,

      Well, well, well. The “Big Time” eh? 😉 I could be there in a little over an hour,… but DESPISE city driving. I may have to give it some very (serious, hard) thought though. It looks like a good show and shoot. Are you planning on hanging out the entire weekend? If I recall, show on Sat. and shooting on Sunday? I only gave the show a quick scan. Maybe shooting both days, I do not recall right now without looking again.

      The lag and bare spinner sounds like a real winner! Brilliant idea! What is the price on that going to be? I hope you have arranged to get some set up at the shooting club site. Plus, you will be making some good contacts. Most totally awesome dude!!!! 😉

      Oh yea,… have you sent any out to air gun reviewers yet,.. or is this your first big step into the in person marketing end of things?


    • Coduece
      Cool on the new targets. How about some pictures here after you release them.

      And you keeping your eye open for a left hand stock FWB 300? Maybe there will be one there at the show.



  10. B.B.,

    Great collection of action targets with some fantastic historic background and photographs.
    Although “punching” paper has never lost its luster after 60+ years I never miss a chance to plink at a shooting gallery at county fairs and ammusment parks. Even with the typically miserable shooters they provide I wish more of them were still in operation. You could shoot a few and usually make corrections for the poor sight in…or maybe in some cases intentional aim errors

    Tom I hope the show goes spectacularly!
    I’m going to make it one of these years.

    shootski


  11. Today I took the em ge to my buddy’s shop where I measured the muzzle with precision pin gauges. I was able to get a .178 pin about an inch into the barrel before it snugged up .179 was nogo .177 dropped through. Is .001 larger at the muzzle significant?
    Carl


  12. I Have lots of good memories from when I used to compete in IHMSA 200 meter, and NRA Hunter Pistol matches. These were both handgun only. IHMSA was open sights only, NRA matches allowed scopes on the pistols. IHMSA had a production class, with the only mod allowed was a trigger job, and an unlimited class, where the sky was the limit. Also a revolver class, as the revolvers would be tough to compete with Contenders etc..Also a standing class. Other classes allowed you to use the “creedmore” position. This was great fun shooting 50 meter chickens, 100 meter pigs, 150 meter turkeys and 200 meter rams. The rams weighed around 55-60 pounds, and only knockdowns counted. My “money gun” gun was my production class TC Contender in 30-30. I shot 147 grain jacketed bullets over a stout charge of Accuarate Arms 5744 powder. Great accuracy, and good power too. Only one ram, with a low hit, didn’t topple over in all the matches I entered.

    Hunter Pistol was a blast also. Again, a Contender, but in .357 magnum. I found an unbeatable handload using Federal .38 special brass, Winchester 110 grain JHP’s, and a middle load of Bullseye powder. Why .38 special brass? Because when I tested that load against all the othres, including magnum brass, that load won. That load and gun, with an early model Aimpoint, won me a lot of money at the unsanctioned matches at the Tacoma Sportsman Club.

    The other reactive targets I have experience with is shooting in bowling pin matches. I only took home the money one time, and was one of the few to use a revolver. It was a stainless Smith and Wesson in .38 special, can’t remember the model number. These matches were at night at the Paul Buntan Club near Puyallup, Washington, and were a total hoot! I think there should be CO2 pistol matches in a similar format, but moved way closer, of course.

    I do have a shrunken down set of 5 each, metal chicken, pig, turkey and ram targets I break out now and then.

    Oh, and my latest diversion, to take my mind off of my health problems, is slingshots! But, I started off as a rank amateur, and very rank at that. I”m getting better though!



    • Birdmove,

      A Contender was on the top of my list for years, the twists and turns of life did not lead me there. The 30-30 was getting good reviews. Glad you enjoyed one. I would still like a Contender or Encore. One gun that can do it all, well except rapid fire. I think they were bought out by Marlin or Savage, hope they keep up the quality. I shot a T/C Hawkins .50 caliber in a club in the 70’s a great gun.

      Do



  13. Folks

    I have hunted and plinked with BB guns and most other kinds of guns for nearly 80 years. This report is a good one. I find that shooting paper targets, measuring, recording 10 shot group scores, comparing past scores, comparing one gun vs another, comparing different pellets, comparing me vs me from day to day so boring that I shoot 365 days every year weather permitting. I have so many hobbies I don’t have time for. Isn’t it grand that we individuals are so different?

    Decksniper


    • Decksniper
      You know my saying. You don’t really know till you get it on paper. Yep paper punching is definitely important too.

      I mentioned this just recently. I have been starting each days shooting session with a 10 shot group just to see how the gun (and how I’m doing) that day.

      Then it’s fun time after that. And I keep finding myself here lately trying to come up with different targets to shoot at.

      One thing I have found to be fun lately is shooting good ole feral cans (and ilk) on a windy day. They are light enough that when you hit the can on the hard rim of the top of the can or just right on the side to bottom of the can. The wind will catch the can and sometimes send the can flying 4 feet in the air and land about 10 yards over. That’s the kind of things I like to see when I shoot. And you don’t necessarily need a high powered air gun to do it. It’s more about the right hit on the can.

      And yep guess that’s the thing about different people. How’s that saying go. Different strokes for different folks.



    • Mike
      Thank you much for the link. It was great.

      And the xylophone is cool also. A video of some one shooting a semi-auto pcp at it playing a song would be great. Or how about two of the xylophone and some one playing dualing guitairs. Or should I say dualing air guns. 🙂



      • Gunfun1

        Don’t know what kind of sound you would get out of a wrench xylophone but it might be fun to try, 2 guys with WildFires one plays the first 12 notes the other plays the next 12 while the first shooter reloads and on and on. We need a shooter and musician, where is Ted Nugent?

        On the target link wow some of those would probably cost a lot. On the other hand they provided enough pictures that if you were so inclined you could make them yourself.

        Also Jonah above posted his yellow bell target, noticed you asked about it, I think he is using a circular saw blade as the bell. I think that that type of blade would make an excellent gong.

        Mike


        • Mike
          I think your right about Jonah’s target with the saw blade. And yep agree with using it as a gong.

          And yep I would not shoot at them targets on your link if I was lucky enough to own one. Some pretty amazing targets. Now making some could be doable. The auto feed target and like BB posted above about the auto paint target. Those would be a bit of a challenge to get worked out to make them reliable.

          And that coffin Skeleton target is to die for. 😉


        • Mike
          Oh and yes if it was going to be someone to try thier hand at musical gun targets it would be good ole Teddy. He has definitely done some shooting related stuff.

          And who would of thought back when I was a teen that Mr.Teddy with his Cat scratch fever and strangle hold would be one of my favorite gun shows to watch. 🙂


    • Mike,

      While looking around on the link you provided I came across a gun I have been thinking about for a long time but never heard of, a Kurbelspanner. It is a spring piston airgun that is cocked with a crank and gears. I thought a screw would be better. It is under unmarked airguns.

      forum.vintageairgunsgallery.com/unk

      The web information on airguns has sure expanded and improved in the last couple of years.

      Thanks for the link.

      Don


  14. BB and Fellow Airgunners
    What a delightful blog for the weekend, BB. I began shooting reactive targets almost exclusively about 5 years ago, and now shoot paper targets only to sight in an airgun, or changing an airgun/scope combination. Once zeroed in, I switch over to resettable steel spinners, and my two steel Remington rabbits with different sized holes. All targets are marked at 25 meters, the maximum my outdoor range will allow. The Quackenbush number 6 steel target is especially appealing, and is a real work of art. 45Bravo was on the money when he said … “It needs to ring, ding, or swing”. In fact, the meter is close enough to fit that old bebop standard, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that [ring, ding] or swing”.
    I also like the idea of shooting at paintballs. It would be interesting to see what kind of abstract designs one might achieve with different coloured paintballs set up on some type of home built easel. Move on over Andy Warhol.
    Ciao
    Titus


  15. Regarding the firearms traditions of North and South in the Civil War, I’ve heard that the distinction between the cities of the North and the country culture of the South may be a little exaggerated and the result of propaganda. The Northerners were portrayed as “greasy mechanics” and “mudsills” to contrast them to a feudal image of knightly Southerners. Actually industrialization was so limited that most of the Northern soldiers were rural as well. We know this because of the epidemics that raged through the Northern army, taking out country boys who did not have the immunity of city dwellers. Still, it is probably true that the South took more pride in firearms and the military. A complicated subject.

    Today’s blog could not be more timely. There is, in fact, one kind of action target that surpasses all others: live human beings. This is not the statement of a psychopath but a paraphrase of Chuck Mawhinney, the second highest scoring sniper of the Vietnam War, on the realities of sniping. As a serious hunter, himself, he said sniping took this experience to a completely different level. Anyway, the subject at hand is not Chuck but ultimate female sniper of all time, Major Lyudmilla Pavlichenko of the Soviet Union, whose autobiography was recently published in English for the first time which I am reading. Wow. Edith got annoyed at me once for mentioning the use of nuclear weapons in the movie Pacific Rim and blowing it for future viewers, so I won’t give away any spoilers.

    But here are some points which will do no harm, and if they encourage anyone to read the book that is all to the good. Let there be no doubt that women can make combat soldiers. Not all of them (also true of men), but certain individuals. This one was a naturally gifted soldier who spent her early teenage years, leading a teenage gang of boys, outrunning, outswimming, and outfighting them. But she was also all-woman as you might say. In her words, her first bout of schoolgirl love at age 15 resulted in a child by a man who subsequently abandoned her. Bouncing back from that, she got work at age 16 in a Soviet factory. She took naturally to the work and describes quite lyrically how her lathe for making gears out of shafts of steel would peel off the metal in a way that was beautiful to her. She was very mechanically inclined and came to have a deep technical knowledge of the weapons she used.

    Her first introduction to guns came in a factory shooting club in the form of single shot rimfire rifle. The name escapes me, but it was produced in large numbers for Soviet youth shooting clubs and she was quite fond of it. I once read an account of someone who touched a handgun for the first time and said that the cold dead weight of it repelled her. Lyudmilla found the chilly sensation of the receiver metal to be pleasant. Maybe this is something innate. Her shooting ability was evident right away. Skipping ahead, I read her account of the SVT Tokarev semiauto sniper rifle. While praising its firepower in the face of mass attacks she was critical of the weapons reliability with what she described as its 143 extremely fine parts. I believe that the FN FAL was largely based on the Tokarev design, and that may explain why the Israelis discarded it.

    Due to her unfortunate early experience of love, she exercised a strict policy of no fraternization. But at the height of the Battle of Sevastopol, she threw it all away to marry a fellow officer. The message, gents, is that the ultimate prize may be within your grasp. As the Special Air Services (SAS) motto says: Who dares wins. However, the new husband was killed within a matter of weeks, and Lyudmilla was severely wounded with mortar fire. On account of her achievements, Stalin personally withdrew her from combat and sent her on a goodwill tour of the United States where she can be seen on video smiling and capturing the crowds with her speeches and no sign of her recent trauma. Tough!?! Anyway, I am convinced this is one of the great books of shooting literature, and I would recommend it. It is called Lady Death. Between her shooting skills and mechanical knowledge, I have no doubt that Lyudmilla would have made a great blog reader.

    Matt61


    • Matt61
      Thanks for that. Sounds like a interesting book.

      And I think that falls back to that saying that some people are just natural at what they do. They got it programed into thier dna and there’s no way to get it out. Maybe I should say they have a passion for what they do. That’s usually when you see some interesting things come about that other people would say no way will that work. And that’s exactly what I’m talking about as to walking to a different beet. Sometimes you have to step out of the box and try something different to see what happens. Open minded is the word. Yep open minded. Passion and open minded. And now there’s a heck of a combination to have. 🙂


    • Matt 61,

      If you haven’t read it, On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is a book I highly recommend his book to anyone who has an even passing interest or thought about the ultimate reactive target.

      shootski


      • Sounds scary. I’m more interested in just the shooting. Still, this sounds educational and nothing I ever expect to experience personally. Thanks.

        Matt61


  16. Chrony result discovery,..

    My recent new toy came with chrony results but they were a bit perplexing at first glance. Why?

    There is the shot # (1,2,3 tec.) and then to the left of that is a fps # and to the right is a fps #. Why both? What is what?

    I was told that the # to the left was the pellet going over the (first chrony eye),… and the # to the right was the pellet going over the (second chrony eye).

    On average there was a 4-7 fps (increase) in fps the further the pellet got from the barrel. I found that interesting and do not recall it ever being discussed. Obviously the better professional chrony’s have that 2 reading feature.

    The question is now,… how long does that increase in fps continue,… before starting to decrease?


    • Chris
      That is the question. For how long does the pellet accelerate after the shot goes off.

      That may very well be why I get higher fps readings than you or Buldawg has got. I chrony between a 1 and 2 feet from the chrony.

      Then the next question is does a lighter pellet get to speed sooner than a heavier pellet. I would think so.

      But yep kind of interesting.

      Oh and what pellets did they use? And what have you tryed?


      • GF1,

        That could be. Mine is no more than 12″ usually. Seller, 25.39, 926-931. Daystate, 31.0. 849-857.

        I hate to run, but will be back in a few. Change cloths and mow grass. A break in the rain so I want to get it done so I can focus on more research Sun. and the rest of today.

        Me tried? Ha-ha! I am still reading over stuff, doing research (that would have normally been done prior) and in general,… taking my time. I had to move quick (too quick for my taste) on the buy. Normally I would spend 1-2 months researching something like this. I’ll bet I was researching the M-rod for at least a month.

        Back in a few.


        • Chris
          Just got done with my grass cutting too. Same here been raining off and on for a couple days.

          Did they send any targets with your Daystate? The FX Monsoons came with chrony and targets.


          • GF1,

            Daystate had chrony results, full spread, but no target, A of A did both, but the target is a photo, which I will presume is sized to real. If it is,… 5 shots at 20 yards in less than 1/4″ C to C. It spread inside 1 ring of a/the target. Sorry, that is all I got.

            Many reports of 1/2″ at 50 yards being no problem.

            About 30 mins. on the mow. That is about all of the cardio I want! I push. As in,… not ride, not walk behind. That was at a fair clip and about a 90% mow as some areas could wait another week.


            • Chris
              I know they say the Daystates are very accurate.

              It takes me close to 2 hrs. to cut my grass and that’s on a lawn tractor. I don’t think I would survive if I had to push mow my grass.


    • Chris,

      I do not think it is possible for the pellet velocity to increase at more than one inch from the barrel. Do you have any idea how far away the measurements are fro the muzzel?

      You bring up an interesting quandary.

      Don



        • Once the pellet leaves the barrel for the pellet to have acceleration the air behind the pellet has to be moving faster than the pellet to give it a push. Once the pellet leaves the barrel the compressed air is free to exit so it will be going faster than the pellet. It just does not seem like the blast or air could maintain a high velociy for very long, unless there is a vortex.

          I will watch the video Chris linked to and check it out.

          Don



            • Remember a body in motion will remain in that motion (momentum) unless acted on by a force.

              It takes a force to accelerate (change velocity) a pellet.

              So if the pellet is going faster past the barrel then the air has to be going faster than the pellet out further than I expected.


              • Don
                But your forgetting about induced drag when in the barrel. No drag when the pellet exits the barrel. Or should I say not the same drag the pellet had in the barrel.


              • Don,

                I suppose that I think of it as this,….the pellet is being held back the contact with barrel. Once it clears the barrel,…. it is saying,.. “I am FREE!!!”,… and picks up speed. Without thinking too hard,… it makes sense to me.

                We need someone to “step up to the plate” for definitive testing! One pellet, one gun,… nothing else.


                • Chris U, and GF1,

                  I am trying to come up with a good analogy. I can’t sorry.

                  Here is Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of motion 1687.

                  An object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.

                  Maybe someone else can explain it better.

                  Don



          • Don
            But here’s something else to think about.

            The pellet is accelerating in the barrel but the pellet runs out of barrel. It keeps accelerating. Or does it instantly loose it’s momentum. Look at a pistol with a 3″ barrel verses a 6″ barrel. How much velocity difference is there?

            And another thing to think about. Now all of a sudden the pellet looses it’s drag of the rifling when it leav s the barrel. So now the pellets free to accelerate with no drag. What do you think about that?




          • Don,

            Most sorry about that. Go to that company “out west” site and click on Videos. I think it is the first one. No registering. Again,… sorry about that. It must be sign up/e-mail address sensitive?



              • Don,

                Too close,.. as I am sure that you are aware of,… can result it in errors. (muzzle/air blast) For a mass testing set up,…. 3 feet seems like it would cover all levels of air guns and result in the least amount of error readings.


        • Chris
          Does your gun look like the one in the video? And is yours .25 caliber? I thought you said it was.

          But good look’n gun. Always have loved laminated stocks.


          • GF1,

            Everything you see and all you will see,… it is just that. Yes,.. same. While it may look heavy,… it is not. The weight must be well rearward as it feels like the Maximus on pointing. I do suppose that (might) be a good point on heavy bull pups. They may rate/weigh heavy,… but you do not feel it once you shoulder one.



            • Chris
              No what you mean on the weight. The bottled Gauntlet and QB79 is like that also. All the weight is back so the gun feels light when shouldered.

              And cool glad you got the high power in .25 caliber. What for is yours making and with what pellet. Or do you know yet.




                • Chris
                  Ya know what. I have kept my old phones and the rest of the families old phones throughout time.

                  When I get me a worthy semi-auto pellet gun that can do some destruction out at 50 yards. I’ll put my iScope smart phone adapter on it and make a video waisting all of them.

                  How does that sound? And I’m serious. 🙂


                  • GF1,

                    Works for me! All I am saying is that IF I spelled/said something correctly,.. and the phone spit out something totally different,… then I would not be a happy camper.


          • GF1,

            I am pretty sure we are about to run out of room on this thread. At any rate,… I have (not) shot it yet. I have chrony results from 2 sources, so I am not worried about that. I listed that (prior) when you asked about it.

            Like I said before,… “I am taking my time”. Plus,.. I have scoping considerations,… to consider. Still doing research on the gun and what will go upon it. Plus,.. bags/adj. rest? Air dryer? Adjustable rings? Etc., etc…


            • Chris
              I guess that high tech scope that Ton uses on his Texan SS is too much for you at this point in your air gun endeavors.

              I know I seem to push it sometimes. But that scope is the stuff. A HD (high definition) scope that you can see at night. It’s like the ultimate set up.

              I’m thinking about selling guns to get one. Well I could of already done it but the wife and kids want another 4 wheeler so we all can ride at the same time.

              Got to make the family happy first if you know what I mean. 🙂


              • GF1,

                I have yet to look (seriously) into scopes. That one will be a consideration. First,.. I will look into what each maker has to offer,.. then,.. see (where) it is offered. I am seeing (as I said before) a lot of firearm scopes offered. The parallax adjustment may not go down to air gun (PCP) levels though. (25-50,… less) A lot to consider. Reviews are always suspect. Hear the same thing enough though,… well then,.. at least you know that you (may) be on the right path. Maybe?

                😉 Chris


                • Chris
                  I will not say it again. I promise. Well scratch that.

                  Seriously. Check out the video’s on that link I posted the other day. It displays everything you need to know in the scope view in real time.

                  It even has a ballistic caculater and other attachments.

                  Some of those video’s ar out at almost 300 yards and it’s like your at 50 yards away.

                  It’s like having Chairgun in your scope view. Plus how well of definition your scope view is of the target and surroundings.

                  I’m sure Ton from AirForce guns chose that scope for a reason.


    • Chris USA,

      I’m not certain since I haven’t seen the velocity reports from the chronographing but will suggest some possibilities for clarification of what they povided you. First off it takes both sets of eyes to give velocity reading (FPS) since a chronograph is nothing more than a timing trap just like in drag racing. In order to provide a true Muzzle Velocity (MV) they would have measured the distance from the muzzle to the chronograph and applied a formula or from a balistic calculator entry to establish the MV of your rifle. The calculated MV will invariably be faster than the chronograph measured velocity.
      See if there is some heading(s) on the colums of FPS that might play well with my attempted explanation above.

      Without the paperwork all I’m giving you is a different take on what might be going on!

      My personal opinion is that there can be no acceleration once a round leaves a barrel; in fact if drag in the barrel overcomes the pressure of gases (however created) in the barrel the round will start deceleration while still inside the barrel.

      Hopefully I’m not completely misundertanding your conundrum!

      Most importantly shoot that beauty with any sighting system you have on hand that works until it is broken in and then worry about all the rest like perfect pellet, perfect scope and perfect target.

      shootski


      • Shootski,

        Thank you for your thoughts on the matter. No special info. is given other than A of A uses a Oehler 35P chronograph.

        Either way,.. or whatever,… it would appear that the second eye (is) seeing a higher fps,… and then as with most chronographs,.. the 2 are averaged into one #. The fact that the 2nd eye saw higher fps every time, supports the theory that acceleration is occurring. We just never see it because our simple home units just use and averaged program. Yes,.. a measured repeatable set up every time would be key to the most accurate data collection.

        I just found it to be interesting and figured that I would bring it up. I would research more, but I am busy with other research at this time. I have nothing worthy to mount on the new toy at this time. The M-rod is the closest, but I do not want to un-scope it as is set up nice now. I will get there,… all in good time! 😉

        Thanks again,…. Chris


        • Chris USA,

          One final try to clear up a conversation/blog thread that has been derailed by pure speculation.
          NIST in this case is the USA’s measurement and standards stting organization. If you read it:

          https://ws680.nist.gov>get_pdf

          you will know more than 98.5% of shooters about what a shooting chronograph actually does…and how!

          shootski’s believe it or not, Lol!


        • Chris USA,

          One final try to clear up a conversation/blog thread that has been derailed by pure speculation.
          NIST in this case is the USA’s measurement and standards stting organization. If you read it and the link below it:

          https://ws680.nist.gov>get_pdf

          http://www.exteriorballistics.com/ebexplained/4th/66.cfm

          you will know more than 98.5% of shooters about what a shooting chronograph actually does…and how!

          shootski’s believe it or not, Lol!


          • Shootski,

            Thank you. I must admit that the math is way above me though. I did see in the wordage that the calculation for bullet drop/speed? is always (negative) in relation to the bore.

            We need someone to do a 6″, 12″, 24″ and 36″ test with an air gun to verify. For now though,.. you seem to have offered the most definitive information. (I did save the site) for future
            reference,…. and if it involves more math like that,… future confusion! LOL 😉

            Chris


  17. So, if the pellet increases in fps as it leaves the barrel, and then reaches a terminal velocity, I’m thinking an interesting experiment would be to mount the chrony on a sliding rail that could be moved forward and back to find the point where the first reading is equal to the second. I suppose this could be used to calculate a pellets coeficient?
    Larry in Algona



    • Larry,

      Yes,… that would be the same as setting up one at the target,… but,… you are trying to find where that magic drop off point is in closer.

      Hey,… we had better keep this on the “down low” as all of the whammy blaster manufactures will be moving their chrony’s out further in order to post a higher fps on the box!

      SHhhhhhhh,……. 😉



        • Gf1,

          That would vary with pellet weight too,… I am sure. The heavier pellets would retain fps longer as they retain fpe longer/higher at target,…. OR,…. would they? 😉


          • Chris
            From what I have seen by shooting at a phone book and at a 2×4 out at 100 yards. And both was tied to a tree. So they was mounted solid.

            I shot at those targets with one of my first .25 caliber Marauder’s I had that had the double air resivoir and a 2240 pistol grip assembly and one of Dave’s RAI adapters and AR butt stock. It was moded pretty heavy and making around 62 to 68 fpe depending on the pellet used.

            I shot 27 grain Benjamin pellets. JSB 25 grain and 33.95 grain pellets and the 31.02 grain H&N Baracudas. The h avier pellet always penatrated more.

            And remember me talking accuracy getting better farther out on certain guns. Well there we go. Maybe there is something there to do with the velocity increasing farther out and getting the pellet to be more stable.

            And then as I say. Even more reason to get it in paper. Shoot and see what happens. But on the other hand at my other house I did use 2×4’s to hold my target paper at different distances. I made the wood into a (T) shape. I layed it down so the vertical line of the (T) was away from me with the top facing me. So the target was pretty stable. But I could see in the wood after u removed the target paper that at certian distances the pellet penatrated deeper.

            I have even thought that when I have shot my steel spinners that at certian distances inbetween 15-50 yards that the pellet would spin the spinner harder at farther distances than closer distances.

            But there is ways to see without a chrony.


  18. And I thought I should mention this.

    The other day I said I was going to take the peep sight off of my HW30s like I did my FWB 300 because it was hard to see birds in trees and uncut grass when pesting.

    Well I picked up the HW30s with the Gehmann/Williams peep sight set up on it and shot at some feral aluminum cans today after the grass cutting got done. I put 5 cans out at 10, 20 30, 40 and 50 yards then shot. Absalutly no misses.

    I can not take the peep of this gun. It’s just hits to easy. Matter of fact I just put the peep back on the FWB 300. And proceeded to get some feral cans with it too after the sight in was done.

    I’m just going to have to dedicate my scoped Maximus to my pesting gun. Well and my Gauntlet too.

    Anyway I just saw some tin ilk make thier way out to the yard. So what gun do I use this time? Decisions, decisions. 🙂


  19. I just received the new valve for my WildFire. It looks the same as the old one. I did not take it apart. The exhaust valve spring seems to be the same as the original 5 lbs 4 oz to compress. I put it in and shot 12 shots seems to be working no leaks right off. I will check it tomorrow.

    The acceleration of the pellet after it leaves the barrel is a part of transitional ballistics and is a bit controversial. Do a search on transitional ballistics and there are all sorts of theories.

    Don



    • Don
      I do see that stabilizing could affect accuracy at different distances after I read a few things about transitional ballistics.

      And all I can say about velocity is that someone needs to set up some chronys at different distances and shoot and see.

      That’s the only way to know right now that I can tell.

      And again. It boils down to shooting and seeing results. Instead of getting it on paper this time. We want to get it on the chrony digital read out.

      Really that’s the measuring tool that everyone believes now days.


  20. Gunfun1
    I see Mike In Atl posted a link that gives photos of the cast iron Chinaman target.
    The Skeleton in a box is similar only the one I saw was a metal silhouette in black
    with white skelton painted on, also the coffin was metal and when you hit the release disk
    it made a sound. My DIY version of the Chinaman target
    John


    • John
      Thanks for the picture of your target. That’s pretty cool. And there was some interesting targets in that link Mike posted.

      On your target it looks like there is two paddles. One yellow and the other red. Does the yellow one make the head fall back and the red one used to reset it?


  21. Since the weekend topic is pretty much about plinking, I thought I might add a bit.

    Plinking is fun and helps sharpen your shooting skills . There are so many kinds of plinking targets that cost little or nothing.

    You only need something that you can shoot at a distance that is reasonable for you and your rifle. You don’t want it to be too easy or too hard.

    Seasonal targets could be berries, nuts, weeds, blades of grass , small twigs. You could think of others .

    Paint balls, airsoft balls, map pins, tacks, breakfast cerial, cat or dog food , beads . Anything you can find in a store in quantity for cheap.

    Have yourself some fun .

    tt


  22. This weekend I have been reading quite a bit about transitional ballistics. That is the short distance from the barrel/muzzle where the projectile is transitioning from the confinement of the barrel to a free trajectory. The transitional zone is also where escaping gas is moving faster than the projectile and can affect its stability. I am sure B.B. has had a good laugh at us chasing our tail the last couple of days. He answered the distance question quite a while ago.

    https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2006/06/interesting-ballistics/

    In 10 meter competition transitional ballistics is thought to be important and encompasses quite a few factors.

    On another subject I have been shooting my WildFire this morning in 100+ degree F heat wave. It has performed flawlessly so far Yippee. I have been filling to 2000 psi and no leaks while shooting or sitting overnight. The accuracy is not quite what it was but that is something I like tinkering with. So far it is liking Air Arms Falcons the best.

    Don


    • Don,

      I read the whole article. Very nice. So,.. there it be.

      Good comment on B.B. laughing at us chasing out tail though. Well,… at least we are a well behaved bunch while the teacher is out and about,… ehh?

      Still,… that does not explain why the second eye of a chrony seems to be seeing a higher fps. Or,… so it was told anyways.

      Thanks,… Chris



      • Chris U,

        Not disputing what you have on paper. I do not know what is going on with the chronograph results. From all I have read, quite a bit this weekend, especially on an airgun the velocity cannot increase past a couple inches.

        The difference is about 0.5% my guess that is as good as it gets. The industry standard is around 4%.

        In any case you have a beautiful gun I bet she will teach you some dance steps you did not know was possible. Can’t wait till you turn her loose.

        Don


        • Don,

          I appreciate (admire) your efforts to get educated on the topic. That is more than what I have done.

          I merely brought it up as a curiosity. If we can all learn something,.. or discover something new,.. then that is a good thing in the end.

          I do not think that for one second that I have stumbled upon something new that other’s have discovered long ago and devoted their entire lives into getting the answers to.

          Yup,… looking forwards to it too!

          Chris


    • Don
      I would still like to see a chrony set up at different distances.

      Say like 5 yards then 15, 25, 35 and 50 yards. And record some 5-10 shot strings at each distance.

      I still say that just might be a eye opening test.


  23. Wednesday, my friend Jerome had his emotional support dog die from his heart murmur. I learned of it this afternoon. We are greatly saddened by such as I understand. I have one of my own and the loss of such will have a strong impact on me. They are our children. We will morn the passage of this dog.



    • RR,

      Sorry to hear of Jerome’s dog passing. We get so attached to our animals, dogs or cats, that when they pass it is heart wrenching. We lost our Boston Terrier at 14 years of age. The pain of loosing her caused me to not want to have another dog. The pain was just too much to bare. Dogs only live from about 12 to 15 years. I had a beagle mix that lived to be 16. After loosing my beagle, Spike, I lost all interest in ever hunting again. My daughter has two labs and they are her world. I can already anticipate the pain she is going to endure when they pass. They are with us such a relatively short time and the end comes way too soon.





  24. Because the topic of the blog this weekend is reactive targets. I have just tried a set of ‘bag o ballons’. They fit the bill of reactive target. They are quite a good time. You fill a bunch all at once to about 2 to 3 inch diameter. Set some out to shoot. You can put them farther away if you want to be more challenged.
    Gerald


    • Gerald
      I know what your talking about. I saw them advertised on TV. I have thought about getting some to try. Only thing is I didn’t see how much they cost.


      • GF1,
        Target stores has the 100 pack on sale for $7 this week. Inside is 3 bunches of 34. While that is not penny cheap, it will not break the bank to do them once in a while.
        Gerald


  25. Gunfun1
    The original Chinaman target had a flower on its tummy which you shot to reset the head, The yellow dot is only paint on my target. Here is a side photo which shows the head reset cam.
    John


    • John
      Ok so on your target you shoot at the red dot on the hat to knock the head over. Then shoot the red paddle on the bottom to reset.

      I like it. Did you make it?





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