Airgun Silhouette

by Brad Troyer

Specialty Air Rifle Ammunition.
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Silhouette shooting is a sport for those who like to see something happen when they shoot. This sport smacks of instant gratification. A well placed shot will result in a loud clang followed by the target jumping off of the target stand. It is also very challenging and fun.

The sport of Silhouette shooting had its origins in Mexico as a hunters sport. The sport originally used live animals which were typically placed on a ridgeline so that the shooter could see a silhouette of the animal. The shooter who killed the animal won a prize. The sport quickly evolved into using full size metal silhouette of the animals. Silhouette was originally shot with high powered rifles but it soon evolved where it can now be shot with just about any type of sporting arm. The sport of Silhouette can now be shot with centerfire rifle, black powder rifle, rimfire rifle, air rifle, centerfire pistol, rimfire pistol, and air pistol.

The originial silhouette targets consisted of life size steel plate silhouettes of a chicken, pig, turkey, and ram. Using a 1/10th scaled down versions of the silhouettes, air rifle and pistol matches can be held. In a match, these targets are arranged in banks of five animals. For air rifle silhouette, the shooters shoots the chicken at 20 yards, the pig at 30 yards, the turkey at 36 yards, and the ram at 45 yards. Air pistol silhouette shoots the same targets at 10, 12.5, 15, and 18 yards, respectively.

A typical match may consist of 40, 60, or 80 shots. For a 40 shot match, the shooter fires twice at each 5 target bank of animals. This gives your 10 shots for each of four types of animals for a total of 40 shots. For a 60 or 80 shot match your simply increase the number of times you shoot at each bank.

The silhouette targets are shot from left to right in the bank. One shot is fired at each animal. If you miss one target, you move on to the next animal. Any shot out of sequence is considered a miss. Scoring is very simple, if your shot knocks the target completely off of it's stand it is a hit. Anything else is a miss. The shooter is given 2 1/2 minutes to shoot each bank preceeded by a 15 second ready period. After the shooting period, scores are recorded and target are reset. If you don't get your 5 shots off in during the 2 1/2 minutes, the remaining shots are scored as misses. All shooting in Silhouette is performed from the standing (off hand) position. No additional slings, butt hooks, palm rests, gloves, or shooting jackets are allowed.

There are classifications for different types of guns and levels of skill. There is also a division between scoped shooters and iron site shooters. This allows beginers to compete along side seasoned vetereans. With the relatively short distances, this is a game that can enjoyed at just about any range or backyard. Give it a try and see how much fun silhouette can be.

For more information about Silhouette, get a copy of the official rules and regulations from the NRA at:


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