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Hello. Can some of you help me out with some simple, safe shooting contests that don't involve a 2" thick book of rules, power factors etc, etc. Our old gun club used to host a balloon shoot with five balloons stapled to a PPC target back. We had about five stations on the go at a time. I can't, for the life of me, remember how it went, whether we timed the shooters or what. Can anybody help me out on this one? Any other contests that people can use ordinary long guns - rifles and/or shotguns? "Cowboy" style, but not necessarily requiring specialty equipment? I remember that we also took on the local cops on a special day - PPC style, with much "fudging" and a lot of laughter. We creamed the cops three years in a row. The balloon shoot was open to the public, two classes - big rifle, and .22. Dad's brought their kids, lots of gunfire, lots of fun. We had a weiner roast ongoing all afternoon. Thanks for your input.
 

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Creamed the cops, huh? My firearms instructor put on a show for the new recruits one day. He placed an axe, held upright about 2-3 feet high off the floor. On each side of the axe, he placed a balloon. Walked back to the firing line, about maybe 15-20 feet from the supported axe. With his back to the axe, he bent over and fired one shot looking between his legs. First shot from his 38 S&W split the bullet and popped both balloons. I was impressed. That might be a nice game to try.
 

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About a year ago Jackfish posted rules on a contest that is taken from the test for a Professional Hunter's license in one of the African "nations". It basically involved having targets set up at 10,20,and 30 yards out from the shooter. You have something like 10 seconds to fire at 1st the 30 yd. target, then the 20 , and then the 10, all the while someone is shouting in your ear from behind. This is repeated several times, and then the groups on each target are analyzed with tighter groups closer to the bull being most desirable. Shooting is done offhand and from a standing position, and I think a stop watch is also involved because speed is part of the formula. The larger the caliber, the less tight the group need be (since groups are measured on the outside, I guess). This whole process is designed to simulate shooting under pressure at charging dangerous game. I'm sure I've left something out, but ask Jackfish on the big bore part of the Marlin Talk Forum and I'm sure he'll fill in the blanks.
 

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I belonged to a small club in a rural ID community that included BP shooters (mostly shooting Civil War Military Rifles) and most of the local Sheriff's Deputies (mostly shooting their duty handguns).

One of the most fun matches involved each BP shooter teaming up with a Deputy. Each 2 person team (both people shooting at the same time) fired each stage of the match with their own firearm, then swapped and shot the same match with their team member's firearm. What a hoot!

We would shoot at water filled "beverage" cans suspended from a 2 x 4 crossbar by a 2 to 3' wire. The can had to leak to count as a hit. A center hit with a large bullet is impressive. Takes a little time afterwards to clean up the pieces of cans, but not that long.

Another was clay birds attached to a cardboard with a wire through a small hole drilled (carefully) through the center of the bird. If the wire is bent in half and a small circle twisted in it at the bend, with equal length (3" or so) legs, you can secure the clays easily by sticking the legs through the clay and spreading them in back of the cardboard. A hit was a chunk taken out of the clay. It didn't have to be blown to bits.

Balloons work too. Tied to a cardboard background, or suspended by a 2' string, depending on the wind. I've seen several with a long black streak on it where a black powder minie had creased it without breaking the balloon. Need to get the balloons up in the air so an accidental shot into the ground in front doesn't break them.

We shot at 15 yards or so. Shoot at whatever range your competitors ability will handle. 5 to 10 targets each stage and timed on how long it takes to "hit" all targets. Or allow a certain time and decide winners by how many targets are not hit. Maybe have all shoot the same caliber, or let them shoot what they want, with the larger calibers kind of "segregated" so noise isn't a disadvantage.

All of these we did outside. Hard to do on a commercial range with other shooters on the line.
 

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Bowling pins at 50 yards or so is always fun. No time limit, number of shots count. We had a guy said he never shot a handgun b4 that could hit them at 200 yards often enough to make it look easy with a S&W model 14. Any reactive target is fun.
andy
 

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I haven't tried this, but somewhere I ran across this idea:

Hang a water balloon at each end of a stick, and hang the whole works from a string around the middle of the stick (like a balance). One shooter for each balloon, the end of the stick that pops up first (when the balloon is burst) indicates who got the hit first.
 

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A couple of friends and I got an idea from 3D bowhunting tourneys we used shoot. Instead of 3D targets, we would take small ziploc bags full of flour, tie a string to them and hang them from tree limbs scatter across a large wood lot. We would have shooting stations marked by survey stakes (with the orange tips) that one foot had to be touching at the time of the shot. Of course we would hang the bag so that it dictated an unnatural shooting position (same as the bow tourney). When hit there was a nice shower of flour everywhere. Suppose it could work with milk jugs and such. The event was timed. Got to be quite a gathering, so it ended up taking a long time to complete. Make sure the previous is finished with his round before the next shooter starts, for safety reasons. We used 22 rimfires.

It was a lot of fun and we were all extremely saftey conscious. I don't think it would work with strangers or unsafe shooters. As always, make sure of your backstop and plan the range out very carefully.
 

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Contests

Anything that breaks or you can see move works well. When I was a kid, a favorite BB gun target was candy NECCO wafers setting un a crack or a grove of a board. At 10 feet, aspirns on edge make good 22 targets. Empty shotgun shells sitting on top of 2x4's at 25 yards (yellow 20's in particular make good off hand targets.) On a day with a little wind in the right direction, rolling balloons on the ground were great for starting people on shotguns and moving targets. Splitting a ball on a double bit axe head is a favorite among muzzleloaders, with a clay on each side.
Good Luck, Paul
 

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We pull a stout twine between collapsable saw horses, and hang crackers by clothes pins from the twine. The crackers are reactive, biodegradable, and feed the local critters. The saw horses erect quikly, and take little room in the truck. Just keep the targets a foot or better away from the saw horses so you don't shoot your stands.

Darrel
 
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