Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Silhouette
The silhouette sport, which originated in Mexico in the 1950’s and came into the southwest U.S. ten years later, is presently fired in thirteen configurations.
Our variant is pigs at 307 yards and rams at 607 yards, shot in thirty minute stages consisting of unlimited sighters and twenty rounds for record, on swinging — as opposed to knockdown — black on white-backed targets.
Matches are generally shot at noon on the second Sunday of each month. The thirty minute shooting time for rams is necessarily split into two 15 minute segments because we have to close the road to accommodate heavy traffic on Sundays.
The dimensions of the targets, which are cut from one-half inch steel, are as follows: pigs 22 inches wide by 14 inches high, rams 32 inches wide by 26 high. Those dimensions include the ears, nose, legs, feet, horns, and plumbing (where applicable). The center mass of these animals is 17×8 inches pigs and 22×12 inches rams.
Any hit on the animal, inclusive of the named appendages, receives the same value as a heart shot. In order to avoid vertical misses, however, the shooter must group his rounds into 2 ½ minutes elevation for pigs and 2 minutes elevation for rams. The high power equivalent on paper targets is a 20-shot group within the nine ring at 300 yards and the ten ring at the 600. Most of our misses are either over or under center mass.
Firearms must be original or reproductions of rifles designed before 1896.
- Examples are: the 1874 Sharps, the 1862 Remington Rolling Block, the 1861 Ballard and the 1885 Winchester Highwall. A few permitted variations include the 1904 Stevens 44 ½. Calibers range from .38-55 to .45-90 or greater.
- All must be single shot with exposed hammers.
- Most have vernier rear sights with tubular insert fronts.
- Scopes having a three quarter inch tube with unlimited magnification may be used.
- Rifles intended to be used in the full course (which includes offhand chickens at 200 meters and turkeys at 385) can weigh no more than 12 pound 2 ounces, while the scoped gun can weigh up to 15 pounds, inclusive of optics.
- The rifle must be loaded with black powder or Pyrodex.
- Jacketed bullets are not permitted.
- The most common alloy is a cast or swaged bullet at 20-1 lead to tin.
- Paper patching is permitted, gas checks are not.
Scoring is done on the line by each shooter’s spotter/score keeper. While several of us occasionally clean the pig stage (20 of 20), no one has come clean on rams. The current club and range record on rams is 19 of 20. Match fees are $10. Club members are in the running for gold, silver, or bronze awards based on the highest annual averages.
While we generally adhere to NRA rules, ours is a club match. We prefer competitors, as opposed to strict adherence to the letter of the NRA laws. In short, bring what you have and, if its close, shoot with us.
Matches are usually shot the second Sunday of the month but be sure to check the calendar for schedule changes.
Match fees: $10.00