Minisniping, The Classic Shooting Game
In October, 1984, Guns & Ammo magazine published an article by Peter Capstick, their African Correspondent. Over the course of ten pages, Capstick told how he and his fellow shooters had been fallen under the spell of "Minisniping," a shooting game that involved sniping at spent 9mm brass at 35 yards, from a rest, with Olympic style target air rifles. Capstick and a dozen friends were so into minisniping that they were spending eight hours a week in competition with each other.
The game, as Capstick and his pals played it, had all the hallmarks of a great game: it takes five minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Minisniping is almost Zen-like in its simplicity: get some used 9mm casings, stick them primer end down in a dab of modeling clay on a rock, a brick or a piece of wood. Then back off 35 yards and try to knock the casings down with an air rifle.
You might ask: "That's it? What's the Big Deal?" The short answer is that what makes minisniping so seductive is that it is both fun and hard. It's fun because popping away with a match air rifle is like eating salted peanuts - you really don't want to stop. And it's hard because at 35 yards the wind really plays with pellets launched from a low-powered air rifle. As a result, you repeatedly tell yourself: "On the next shot I'll get it right . . . just one more shot . . . well, maybe two more."
As a shooting sport, minisniping has a whole lot going for it. You can do it virtually anywhere you have room and where it is legal to shoot airguns (which is a lot more places than it is legal to shoot firearms). Just make sure that you shoot into a backstop that will prevent "misses" from going someplace they are not wanted. I use a silent pellet trap filled with ballistic putty. I've used this type of pellet trap for several years now and think it's terrific.
You'll also need an air rifle or air pistol. The classic FWB300s, FWB Running Boar, and Anschutz LG match rifles that Capstick used to invent the game or no longer available new (although they certainly are available used). A relatively low-cost alternative is the Beeman R7. This break-barrel spring piston air rifle shoots in 550-600 fps range, and with the right pellet can be wickedly accurate. For a minisniping pistol, the CO2-powered Crosman 2300T (for target) works quite well and can be easily scoped.
But here's the thing: you don't need to go out and buy a new air rifle to do minisniping (unless of course you were looking for an excuse to buy a new air rifle!). The point is to get out and have some fun while challenging your shooting skills. And if you don't have 9mm brass, shoot at bottle caps, animal crackers, Ritz crackers, whathaveyou . . . just make it challenging.
You can use whatever you like for a sighting system, but most minisnipers use a scope on their rifle or pistol. Be sure to lay in a generous supply of whichever pellet delivers the most accuracy out of your air rifle or air pistol. If you haven't tested a bunch of different pellets to see which works best in your air rifle or pistol, put that as Number One on your minisniping To Do list. You'll also want a rest. Some shooters get real fancy with a shooting bench and benchrest bags. I use a couple of old boat cushions resting on a WorkMate portable work bench. Use whatever works for you.
While they are not an absolute necessity, you'll probably benefit from having some wind flags. Get some three-to-four-foot, half-inch dowels, stick them in the ground at intervals on your minisniping range, and tape a streamer of toilet paper to the top of each one. They look classless, but they work well.
That's all you need: an airgun, some pellets, some challenging targets, a backstop and maybe some wind flags. Go out and give it minisniping a try. If it turns out that you can never hit anything at 35 yards, move closer. If you never miss, move back. The point is the fun, the challenge, and the ability to test the limits of your sniping ability in your own back yard.
Read more about MiniSniping and other airgun related articles in Jock's book "Elliot on Airguns" . It is a book for airgunners and shooting enthusiasts. It is available in printor on a CD. Take a look at it at http://home.nycap.rr.com/lightkeepercom/ .
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© Copyright 2007 by Brad Troyer & MiniSniping.Org