Are You Ready for Some Pin Shoots?
Kelvin scoring, "Evil Al" and Dennis "Wheel-gunning" some pins at a CWSA pin shoot.
This coming Saturday, March 11th., will be a banner day for pin shooting in the Pacific Northwest. No matter where you are along the Pacific Coast, from mid-Oregon up to the Canadian border, you are only a few hours' drive from a bowling pin shoot!
Custer Sportsman's Club will be shooting what they call "Minor Caliber" (.38 super and below, I think) at full size pins, and rimfire at pin tops at their pin range in Custer, Washington, not far from the Canadian border.
Central Whidbey sportsman's Association in Coupeville, Washington will be shooting all caliber handguns and revolvers above .22 at full size pins, and two classes of rimfire at pin tops.
Douglas Ridge Rifle club in Boring, Oregon, several miles North and East of Portland, Oregon will be hosting their first "Speed Pins" bowling pin shoot for all caliber handguns, both semi-auto and revolver, all classes shooting at full size pins.
I wish I could be at all three, but this Saturday I'll be at the Douglas Ridge pin shoot, not only shooting, but also coordinating the match.
Here's a set of basic rules for pinshooting, based primarily on Custer's and CWSA's rules, if you want to get a general idea on how the shoots are conducted. Each club has it's own variations.
If you have never shot in a pin shoot, this is the weekend to give it a try, as there should be a good turn-out of new shooters also trying it for the first time. All of the clubs will bend over backwards to give new shooters a hand, so come on out!
If this is your first time at a pin shoot, here's a few pointers for you.
Plan on shooting more than one class. Both CWSA and Douglas Ridge are single elimination format, so one half of the shooters are knocked out in the first round. Both CWSA and Douglas Ridge will match you up in the first round with another shooter similar in speed with you, so you will have a good chance right from the start. Even if you mostly shoot centerfire, bring along your .22 plinker, there is usually an "Iron Sight" rimfire class, and it's always a lot of fun.
Bring plenty of ammo for each gun. 150 or 200 rounds is not too much. Although you probably won't need that much, it's better to have it and not need it, rather than the other way around....
Bring several magazines. You can get by with two, three is better, and four is better yet. It will save you from having to reload magazines between rounds when you are up at the firing line. A plastic box with a lid, large enough to hold your ammo and magazines, is handy for carrying everything up to the firing line.
Verify that your handguns are clean and functioning properly before you get to the match. There usually isn't much chance to "Check 'er out" once you get there.
Good eye and ear protection is a must, and don't let yourself get so wrapped up in the match that you get lax on range safety. Safety is paramount!
It's easy to become too concerned about shooting fast and ignoring accuracy. Even though pin shoots are decided on time, you will usually see that the shooters that get the most pins with the fewest shots come out on top. Five slow and accurate shots usually beats eight or ten fast ones, particularly if the fast shooter has to reload. There is no prize for being the first to run out of ammo with pins still standing!
The key to a good round is the first pin. Even if you have to slow down a little bit for the first pin, be sure to get it. Everything else follows from there.
Probably the most important piece of advice I can give a pin shooter is to have fun at it! Don't take it too seriously! psyching out your buddy is part of the fun! Once he gets up to the firing line you should leave him alone, but until then, enjoy yourselves! As I said, pin shoots are supposed to be fun!
This Saturday I'll be at the Douglas Ridge shoot, so come on down! I'll post more info on the specifics for that shoot in a day or so. If you are closer to CWSA or Custer, drop by and give it a try!
It's a blast!