Moving out West has given me a renewed appreciation for the simple sport of plinking because you can safely shoot just about anywhere, and no one gives a second thought to hearing a rifle crack in the desert. When I lived on the East Coast, however, finding a place where you could safely and legally take a crack at a dirt clod or pinecone almost didn’t exist, and all of the ranges were strict about paper targets only.
BB guns and air rifles were effective work-arounds “Back East” because we could safely plink with them in our own yard. When the kids were really little, I’d set out extra large dime-store plastic dinosaurs and we’d go “dinosaur hunting” with a Daisy Red Rider. When one of my kids scored a dinosaur, he or she put it in their backpack, and we went back to the hunt.
The kids are a little older now and have graduated up to centerfires and .22s and we’ve recently discovered the western sport of rock shooting. To shoot rocks, we find a nice arroyo where we can sit on one side and shoot across to the other so the bullets safely bury into the far side. The ideal rock is smaller than a tennis ball not only because of the challenge, but also so you don’t get ricochets.
Plinking gives you the opportunity to practice from different field positions and off-hand (which many ranges don’t allow), and also quickly teaches range estimation and holdover for various guns and loads. Best of all, it’s a hell of a lot of fun—especially when kids are involved.
Note: When plinking, remember SAFETY FIRST. Always be aware of where you are shooting and where your bullets will go, and always wear eye and ear protection.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun
In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.