A BRIEF GUIDE TO THE SPORT OF PINSHOOTING
Bowling pin shoots have their origin in a early 1970's demonstration by Richard Davis (Founder and President of Second Chance Body Armor, Inc.). Davis demonstrated that if someone shot you while wearing one of his vests, you not only survived the shot but were fully able to return fire. The shock of being shot while wearing body armor was bearable. His video showed Davis shooting himself in the chest while wearing body armor then quickly turning and shooting three bowling pins off a piece of plywood.
For the history and lots of details about the sport, I refer you to two excellent books about pinshooting.
This guide is intended to acquaint you with the sport. Listed are sources for further information. However, as is true with many things, experience is the best teacher. Good Luck & enjoy!
This is usually a best 5 out of 6 tables event. Five pins are placed 3 feet from the back of the table. The pins are counted when they hit the ground. This is also known as the Big Bore event because the power factor (weight of bullet in grains x velocity in f/s/1000) required to compete in the main events is 200 or more. The typical "formula" is a 220-260 grain bullet going 850 f/s or more. The advantage of using a higher power factor is you are less likely to leave "deadwood" ie downed pins still on the table. The advantage of using a lower power factor is that the recovery time between shots is faster. Those shooting with compensated guns often prefer a higher velocity, lower bullet weight combination for the same level power factor because the compensators work more efficiently at higher velocities. You CAN use 200 grain or lighter bullets at high velocities but the likelihood of deadwood goes up. You CAN use really heavy bullets at low speeds but this is discouraged be- cause the heavies poking along in the low 800's are much more likely to bounce off the pins instead of penetrating them. Bounce back can present a hazard to unprotected shooters and spectators; it is a good idea to require a minimum velocity of 850 f/s.
There are typically three Main Events: Revolver, Stock, Pin.
Revolver is shot using about any legal revolver. The weight limit is the Redhawk w/ 7 1/2" barrel. Usually the Bauman conversion of the S&W N frame is considered stock - 7 shooter. Now, Taurus and Smith & Wesson make factory 7 shooters. No "external" compensators are allowed; hybrids and factory comps are OK. Some matches allow optics (usually red dot scopes) for the revolver event.
Stock is shot with any stock gun. If shot with a semi-auto you can have 8 rounds in the gun. There is a more stringent weight limit for semi-autos to be stock - typically 40 ounces unloaded. Thus, a Desert Eagle .44 magnum is NOT considered a stock gun. Often shooters compete in this class with the same revolver they use in the revolver class.
Pin guns are the race guns; most matches allow optics, added weights, compensators and gizmos of all sorts to be included. Full auto is NOT allowed. There is no weight limit or barrel length limit. The capacity limit is 8. Most of the fastest Pin guns are semi-autos. However, many shooters use revolvers in this class and compete very effectively. There are only a handful of shooters in the world that are faster than the best revolver shooters. In fact, the record time on a flat table (no longer used in major pin meets) is held by a revolver shooter. Yes, you can use your Desert Eagle in this class.
This event is shot by a semi-auto in the 9mm/.38 super/light .45 ACP category. Nine pins are placed one foot from the back of the table. This event has no capacity limits. This event is a best single time event. Therefore, shooters in this event push the limits of how fast they can point & shoot. You'll see lots of fast misses in this event.
This event has 8 pins set on a two-tiered table 4 up/4 down. This event is shot by revolvers only with a mandatory reload. Many 8 pin shooters use S&W .45 ACP revolvers with full moon clips; others rely on Safariland Comp II or III speedloaders. Watching this event dispells the notion that a practiced revolver shooter is limited by having only 6 in the gun at a time.
This event is the reload event for semi-auto shooters.
This event has 8 pins (4 up/ 4 down) and is shot with a high ca- pacity shotgun - either semi-auto or pump. The pumps usually get a 0.7 or 0.8 second handicap. Watch this event if you want to see pins leave the table quickly. Match directors usually use only very "experienced" pins for this event. The loads used for this event are buckshot (from 000 buck to #4 buck allowed); smaller shot tends to bounce back. Women get a 1.0 second handicap.
This event uses the five pin setup. Either the pins are placed at the back of the table OR pin tops are placed in the regular set. Red dot semi-autos rule this event though matches can be modified locally restricting optics or allowing a 0.5 second edge for sixguns.
This event is 18-22 pins shot by a team. With an 8 round start limit a reload is required.
This event is 18-22 pins shot by a handgun, one pump shotgun, one semiauto shotgun; if there is a woman shooting, two semiauto shotguns are permitted. Three women on the team get a 1.0 second handicap. All the events except the Main Events are single best time events. People keep re-entering the event until they get a good time or run out of money & ammo!