I have been off the grid for a little more than a week due to a computer virus. And while it is extremely frustrating, I have tried to make good use of my “time off.” My loading press has gotten quite a workout, as has my casting furnace. I’ve even been able to get some shooting in.
A week ago our local gun club had its annual range maintenance day. This means that a handful of members showed up to fix up and tidy up the range and its facilities. We were done about noon, and after a lunch of pizza and pop, several of us ventured to the pistol range. The local bowling alley had a change in management, and the new management has done a thorough rehabilitation and remodel of the facilities. One of its “problems” was how to get rid of a few hundred of its worn-out bowling pins. The gun club bought them for less than a couple of dollars each, solving two problems: Spent pin storage and some much needed cash for the new management of the bowling alley. We—the gun club—benefitted because we now have some pretty cool targets to reduce to splinters.
Pin shooting started in the 1980s when Richard Davis was promoting one of the first Kevlar vests for police officers. Davis would travel around the country demonstrating the effectiveness of his Second Chance bulletproof vests with a Colt Diamondback, some 125-grain +P hollowpoints and a handful of bowling pins. With the vest in place, he would load the Colt, spin the cylinder and close it. He would then shoot one round into his belly that was protected by the vest then turn the revolver toward the table and clean it of bowling pins. It was an effective demonstration, and eventually it gave birth to a shooting competition, called by chance, pin shooting.
Competitors jettisoned the shooting of one’s self in the abdomen part and simply put a half dozen pins on a table a few yards downrange. The object of the game was to clear the table in the shortest amount of time. It was basically a “shoot what ya brung” event, although some guys would get their 1911s tuned up specifically for this game. Another cadre of pin shooters doted on the Smith & Wesson Model 29, since the pins had to clear the table completely.
Out here in Wyoming we don’t always go in for a lot of pomp and circumstance. Besides, this day was a day for fun, not competition (which, undoubtedly will come later—after all, we are Americans). So we set them up on a piece of OSB on some sawhorses and just sort of had at it. The club president brought his 11-year-old grandson, and the young man was pretty effective with grandpa’s Ruger single action .357 loaded with .38 Specials. Kahlen Sapp is a bit small for his age, so the 1911s were a bit challenging, but we may have a new cowboy action shooter in our midst. There were Glocks and revolvers present, and for a couple of hours we had a ball popping bowling pins. I don’t know that there will be much of a revival of organized pin shooting, but it sure beat sitting at home staring at a blank space where my computer should be. Oh well…back to work!