Bowling pin gun


March 3, 2010, 10:31 PM
What would you suggest for make and caliber? Looking to spend 600 for such a fire arm.

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March 3, 2010, 10:39 PM
I have a few ---- I would say either a .45acp or a 10mm;

Jim Clark PinMaster .45acp;

McArthur 10mm Delta Elite;

Good luck on the $600 ---- you Might find a old used .45acp IPSC gun with a compinsator etc.

March 3, 2010, 10:40 PM
OOPS --- VERY SORRY , thought we were in the semi-auto forum !!!!!

March 3, 2010, 10:44 PM
BUT I still say a S&W 625 .45acp or a S&W 610 in 10mm.
I have both and find I like the 10mm better --- I also have used a S&W 29 .44mag with the 8 3/8" brl.

S&W 610 with 5"brl. 10mm , custom DA only;

My old S&W 29 .44Mag;

March 3, 2010, 10:49 PM
I did my best bowling pin shooting with a custom .45 ACP Para/Caspian with the Hybrid porting system. Cost was a bit more than you want to spend. At the old Second Chance Bowling Pin Shoot the custom Para/Caspian was called a stock gun because it would fit a regular holster.

A good, reliable .45 ACP is still the best place to start for pins IMO. My son would say Springfield is the best choice. I might look for a used Colt. If the matches you'd shoot allow big mags, fully loaded then a Para Ordnance might be the way to go.

I saw people do pretty well with .40 S&W pistols, but 9mms were generally a disappointment. Heavy bullets are what is needed for pins. I shot 230 grain bullets almost exclusively in the .45. My handloads used Unique and moved the bullets out at around 910fps.

The revolver I liked best for pins was a six-inch Smith M57. My .41 Magnum reloads used 210, 215 or 225 grain LSWCs at around 1,000 fps. Pins hit with them left the table right quick, and in a shower of splinters. Some used .41s can be found for just under $600 if you look in the right places.

March 3, 2010, 10:50 PM
If you are shooting "regulation" Bowling Pin matches ---- the Pins are set at the very front edge of a 4x8 foot board , you need to knock the pin almost 4 feet back off the table. To do this , you need MASS , a heavy bullet at AT LEAST 800-1000 FPS.

With the S&W 610 and 625 , you will be useing "full moon" clips and able to load faster, IMHO , then a 44mag or .357mag with speedloaders.

Another option is the newer S&Ws in.357 that are 8 shots ---- some pin clubs will only let you load 6 rds. in them as they think it is "unfair"to the other revolver shooters with 6 rd. guns.

March 4, 2010, 03:30 AM
BTW --- the very best book to read about Bowling Pin shooting was written by Massad F. Ayoob around 1982 called " Hit the White Part" ---- both and both show they still have it in stock .

It would never hurt to check at a local public library for it --- I order firearms and shooting books from my local library all the time -- if they don't have it , they will do a computer search of all the US libraries and then have the book sent to yours for you to pick up -- you can then check it out for around 3 weeks , return it to your library and they send it back where they got it. ------- Nice to see our Tax Dollars at work for a change !!!!

Mr. Ayoob's book has info on guns, loads , equipment to bring , and lots of other tips. But be WARNED ---- pin shooting gets additive fast !!!

EDIT --- IIRC ----- Mas Ayoob is a member here at THR , hopefully he will see this post and reply to it with a short history of Pin Shooting and 2nd Chance Matches.

March 4, 2010, 04:30 PM
I must say as for me, The very best pin gun is a S&W 586, with a 4 inch barrel that has been magna ported. With a trigger job as a bonus.
As far as needing heavy bullets to move a pin that is not true, 158grain at around 1300 fps will get a pin to fly. You can do just fine with a good wheel gun.:neener:

March 4, 2010, 05:17 PM
Smith and wesson 610 or 625

March 4, 2010, 06:48 PM
As far as needing heavy bullets to move a pin that is not true, 158grain at around 1300 fps will get a pin to fly.

And 158gr. is on the "heavy" side in a .357mag ----- I have used 200gr. Speer TMJs in my S&W 28 for shooting Pins but I do like my 610 & 625 Smiths better.

massad ayoob
March 4, 2010, 10:13 PM
Lots of good advice here. Anyone who thinks you can't do well on pins with a wheelgun never saw Jerry Miculek or Addison Clark at Second Chance.

The "Hit the White Part" book is, I believe, still available from Police Bookshelf, PO Box 122, Concord, NH 03302. Mitch Ota, a Second Chance regular and Master Blaster, wrote a very informative book about pin shooting. Title escapes me at the moment but Google search should turn it up, and Amazon or Ebay may well have it. (Neither book is recent, but bowling pins ain't changed much...and neither have revolvers.:D)

I did most of my pin shooting with 1911s, usually .45 but sometimes 10mm, and both worked fine for me. Still, my two "personal best" scores were with a 4" S&W Model 625 revolver, tuned for me by Al Greco, also a top pin shooter and Master Blaster. I got excellent performance with .45 ACP JHP 200 grain at 1050 fps or 230 grain at 880 to 950 fps. Al himself was partial to a Model 25-2 .45 ACP refitted with an 8 3/8" .45 Long Colt barrel from a 25-5.

Pin shooting is big fun. I shot Second Chance for 24 straight years, and still miss it to pieces.

If shooting matches were rock concerts, Second Chance would have been Woodstock.

March 4, 2010, 11:53 PM
I went on a real shoot last weekend for the first time and had a blast. Most of the shooters were old SW junkies but fast as lighting with any pistol. I shot everything from full sti race gun to a carbine match. I feel a good 686 wheel gun would be a good start with 180 grain handloads. That day I shot my dan wesson but the smooth SW DA triggers were smoother.

March 4, 2010, 11:55 PM
glock 21

March 5, 2010, 10:27 AM
all of my pin shooting was with a 1911, i prefered a SWC or flat point bullet. I found that a heavy bullet really helps especially if you don't hit dead center. It can get frustrating when you have a lead filled lumpy pin on its side and you just keep spinning it on the table.

Has anyone ever tried a 45 colt? Maybe a Redhawk with some heavy 255+ bullets? That should get the pins moving.

March 5, 2010, 11:25 AM
Dan Wesson in .357 with an 8" barrel. Should be easy to find and well under your price range.

March 5, 2010, 05:52 PM
I have a 6 inch Dan wesson with wolf reduced power spring. I would like to keep the stock gun price down so that i have room for trigger work and sights.

The 8 inch idea is good and i am starting to lean in that direction..

March 5, 2010, 05:53 PM
The revolver on the bottom is a S&W 25-7, a .45 Colt with a 5 inch barrel. I used one like it with great success years ago against bowling pins. The combination of the .45 Colt, and a 5 inch barrel, made fast shots and superior knockdown easy. These now out-of-production 25-7's are extremely accurate. S&W should give the Model 25 another go around with a 5 inch barrel. Any S&W 25 of late production ought to be as accurate.

March 5, 2010, 05:57 PM
Both books are in the mail...

March 5, 2010, 07:14 PM
Taurus PT 1911 Can't beat em for the money. About 600.00

March 5, 2010, 09:33 PM
I have a 6 inch Dan wesson with wolf reduced power spring. I would like to keep the stock gun price down so that i have room for trigger work and sights.

The 8 inch idea is good and i am starting to lean in that direction..
You can ask around the Dan Wesson forums if they've got one, or check gun broker.

CZ-USA has one for $300, so there's a start. (

Gunbroker has one for $189 (

March 8, 2010, 11:22 PM
Mas --------- thanks for your reply to this bowling pin post ---- AND ---
If shooting matches were rock concerts, Second Chance would have been Woodstock.

And I will add ---- If 2nd Chance was the Bowling Pin Woodstock , Mas Ayoob would have been the Jimi Hendrix !!!!!

March 9, 2010, 12:45 AM
The guys at our club think I'm cheating with a 1.5" guarantee Les Baer PII. 230 gr ball over Universal @800 fps.

I'm going to take my new revolver out this year. S&W 25 Classic 45 Colt 6.5" barrel.

massad ayoob
March 9, 2010, 10:49 AM
The archived edition of American Handgunner from 30 years ago ( has a piece on Second Chance's fifth year. Noted that about 90% of the serious shooters used .45 autos, the rest revolvers. Photo of a fella named Davis (not host Richard Davis) with a humongous custom-barreled Colt New Service in .45 Colt. Good ol' days...

March 9, 2010, 03:24 PM
Here is the other Pin Shooting book that Mr. Ayoob posted about by Mitch Ota;

Pinshooting - a Complete Guide, Mitchell Ota, Wolfe Publishing (602) 445-7810 Prescott, AZ

I may be mistaken but I think those are the only two books ever written on the subject of Bowling Pin Shooting.

March 9, 2010, 03:33 PM
And { drum roll please } here is a link to the Father of Pin Shooting and Founder of 2nd Chance { both the Pin Shoots and Protective vests } --- Mr. Richard Davis.

Mr. Davis thought up the idea to shoot bowling pin matches after SHOOTING HIMSELF with a .44mag to demo his vests to Law Enforcement Agencies around the world.

Talk about a guy with COMPLETE FAITH in his products !!!


massad ayoob
March 9, 2010, 04:51 PM
True dat.

Rich Davis gave a whole new meaning to the phrase, "He stands behind his product."

March 9, 2010, 07:53 PM
Most pin shoots, when you can find them, have separate revolver and auto classes. Unlimited (open class) usually mix revolvers and autos together. This is because if you need more ammo than what was in the gun to start you are behind the curve.

massad ayoob, I've read your articles. Always informative.

March 9, 2010, 09:11 PM
My Redhawk in .44 magnum with 300 grain Hornadys works wonders on bowling pins! :evil:

March 9, 2010, 11:02 PM
Hey Plymouth --- with that combo , a few hits and you turn those Pins into chopsticks and toothpicks:neener:

May 11, 2010, 10:41 PM
Came to this thread late but there's a lot of good information.

Our local gun club is having its first bowling pin shoot next month. I figured to use the Ruger Mk II heavy barrel for the rimfire phase. For the centerfire, I thought to use a S&W model 29 with 6" barrel loaded with 44 specials, 240 gr. LSWC. I would have to check my notes for the load but it clocked at about 900 FPS. It's comfortable and pretty accurate in the model 29.

Any idea if this would do the job on the pins (assuming I do my part)?

My other 40 caliber handguns are all single action revolvers, so they are out from a time point of view.

Another possibility: I have a Ruger Redhawk in 357 mag. with the 7.5 inch barrel. Would a 158 gr hard cast SWC be adequate, say at 1,100 fps?


May 12, 2010, 11:28 PM
That 240@900fps load is plenty for pins. That is a 216 power factor. That is my general pin load also. Tonight I used a 240@1050 fps load for a local pin match.

July 24, 2012, 11:59 PM
Smith and Wesson Model 610 ,10mm, 6" barrel.
Worked for me at second chance in the Winchester shoot off in 1998, last year of second chance. Won 3 rd place and $1000 and a winchester hat. I had to borrow a buddies gun as the firing pin broke off my 610 in a early round causing a loss. you had to loose 2 rounds to be eliminated in the man on manshoot-off. That was 14 years ago.Use 180 grain hollow points at 1200 fps, a 216 power factor. Massad Ayoob actually wrote a magazine article on the 10 mm is it dead? He mentioned me in the article as I beat a number of guys shooting semi auto guns, pretty cool, I'll never forget those days. I shot 10,000 rounds in 3 months time getting ready and shooting second chance. All the big name shooters were there too, Jerry Miculik, Jerry Barnhart, Massad Ayoob, even Ted Nugent was there one of the days. the shoot was like a week long up in Central Lake Michigan. Also there were not 5 pins lined up in a row, we shot 2 tier tables, one pin in upper left corner on the top tier, 3 across the bottom tier, and the fifth on the upper tier right hand corner so you kind of shot in a U type movement. Saw Jerry Miculik do 8 pins with the 6 shot 625 in about 6.5 seconds , with a reload of course.What a blast, miss those days

July 25, 2012, 12:21 AM
Another vote for Dan Wesson in .357 and have a barrel/shroud set ported for fun.

July 25, 2012, 02:28 PM
Way back when we used to shoot pins and I used a Smith M57 6" .41 Mag., heavy cast lead bullets at 1000fps, give or take. I still have it, and a couple other 57s.

Not the most competitive gun, but it worked. Cleared the pins off the table cleanly and rarely split them - our rule was that if it split, you had to clear the biggest piece from the table!

5 pins, 6 rounds. Be accurate. Hurry. Sure was fun.

July 27, 2012, 01:07 AM
I'd go with a used S&W 629. Plenty on the used market and with the right reload it will work just fine.
A action job would help and it won't break the bank.

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