SMALLBORE SILHOUETTE

Smallbore Silhouette uses a .22 caliber rifle with scope or iron sights, shooting small metallic targets.

**1st Saturday. Rifle Range opens at 9:00 a.m.,
first shots at 10:00 a.m.**

A metallic silhouette target is a steel profile of an animal (chicken, pig, turkey, or ram) standing on a stand or pedestal. The object of the game is to knock as many of the 10 silhouette targets off their stand or pedestals, shooting one round at each silhouette. It is a very simple competition, with very simple scoring: You get a 1 for knocking an animal off its stand, and a 0 for anything else. Although silhouette is an easy game to learn, it is not an easy game to master. The animals are rather small and the distances are rather large; you must shoot offhand (standing); a moderate breeze can move a bullet or a pellet the width of an animal; your concentration becomes more difficult to hold as you knock down five in a row, six, …. These factors make silhouette an endless challenge, but a whole lot of fun!

Silhouette shooting originated in Mexico in the late 1940s. It is now shot all over the world with everything from air pistols to black powder rifles. Silhouette sizes and distances vary according to the kind of rifle or pistol, but everything else is the same. For example, high-power rifle silhouettes are life-size, but they are shot at much longer distances than the scaled-down smallbore or air rifle silhouettes. Commands to load, fire, and cease fire are often given in Spanish, in part to honor the sport’s heritage, and in part to distinguish the silhouette shooters’ commands from those directed at other shooters sharing the range. (Non-Spanish speakers, don’t worry; Camp Sumter only uses commands in English!)

A match consists of 40, 60, or 80 shots at the same number of animals. In a 40-shot match, you shoot 10 rounds at 10 chickens, 10 rounds at 10 pigs, and the same for turkeys and rams. For smallbore silhouette at Camp Sumter, the animals are 40, 60, 77, and 100 meters distant. You shoot at the silhouettes in sets (banks) of five; you get 2-1/2 minutes per bank, which is usually plenty of time even for single-shot rifles. In a 40-shot match, there are two banks per animal (2×5=10, 10×4=40); 40. In a 40-shot match, a some shooters will score in the 10-15 range, most will shoot in the low teens and 20s and a few will break 30. Perfect scores are very rare. The highest score at Camp Sumter was a 38! Shooters are classified into handicap groups based on past performance so they can compete with others of similar ability so everyone has a chance to win a “token” and bragging rights.

But it’s not just the score that counts. Shooters who never break 20 come to match after match because toppling a silhouette is a satisfying experience that you want to do again, and because silhouette shooters are a great bunch of people to shoot, talk and laugh with, and to swap ideas and techniques.

Camp Sumter | SMALLBORE SILHOUETTE