Trick Shooting?


Porter Rockwell
February 14, 2003, 10:42 PM
Hello all, how about we fess up or brag about our Fancy Shooting skills or attempts?
I know that I wasn't the only one that headed to the sandpit after watching the first Lethal Weapon flick for some upside down prone drills!
Most times Mr Mundons TV shots are easily replicated but those dang airborne playing cards are beyond me!
What's your specialty?

If you enjoyed reading about "Trick Shooting?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
February 15, 2003, 12:45 AM
I'm a history buff. If you look at old vaudeville bills you'll notice quite a few marksmanship acts were around.

They call trick shooting--trick shooting--for a reason. There is a trick. The trick is range. It took a old vaudeville performer between two and four months to develop a marksmanship act.

Rimfire was king. (Vaudeville theaters didn't have modern HVAC systems.) They developed eye hand coordination by point shooting cans and bottles of ever decreasing size. They would start with a large can at near contact range. As they improved they extended the range usually to 10 yards (30 feet was a fairly long distance on stage, especially if you wanted the cheap seats to see you).

To differentiate between vaudeville acts and real marksmanship, a contest were held before a show where local marksman were permitted to test their skill against the exhibition shooter, typically at a county fair grounds.

This was also the birthplace of corporate sponsorship. Firearm manufacturers recognized the value of this form of advertising and provided guns, ammo, and money to the shooters.

Modern trap shooting matches were originally sponsored by manufacturers who would provide free ammo, targets, and prize money to promote their products.

A common outdoor shooting act was to trap shoot 2 inch wood blocks with a 22. This went on during an entire preformance and provided a diversion for act changes.

Porter Rockwell
February 15, 2003, 01:01 AM
That was great George!
I've got a few books and the Fast and Fancy VHS that show the interesting history, I'd go so far as to say the top IPSC shooters do their own kind of trick shooting.
It's sad that more shooters can't make a buck doing what they do, Leatham got a fat Springfield gig but shooters like Satterwhite and Shaw among many just aren'tpaid their due.
Ah well, at least there's American Shooter and Mundon.

February 15, 2003, 06:12 AM
...there is more to trick shooting than meets the eye....little known fact that many trick shooters used "shot" loaded cartridges rather than a single projectile. Annie Oakley would load up a lever action rifle that actually had a smooth bore in order to shoot glass balls from the air...I've personally seen John Saterwhite do the same thing with a .45acp. Many of these trick shooting shows couldn't very well have projectiles flying through the air for miles in populated areas.

Shots made by Munden at cards are real, but also in a controlled range setting. He has a better chance of cutting a card in two with a larger diameter bullet (.44 or .45) than with a small bore like a .22. Only has to get within about a 1/2" to still cut the paper.

The great Herb Parsons would eject empties from a .22 and shoot them with the same gun before they hit the ground....he only had to get close enough for the muzzel blast to move the hull....most thought he hit them with the bullet.

Bill Jordon use to do a little trick with a paper cup on the back of his hand, then draw and hit the cup before it hit the ground...muzzel blast actually is what moved the cup.

That isn't to take away from the accomplishments of these well known shooters, just that viewers tend to imagine one thing while something else is occuring.

I've had the privilege to work with a number of trick shooters over the years, (John Saterwhite, Kim Rhode, Joe Bowman, Bob Allan, John Kruger) some cases what I saw was not what I thought was other cases the feat would leave me speechless.

February 16, 2003, 11:29 AM
Great thread! :neener:

Entertaining and informative.

Doesn't get much better than that combination! :D

Mal H
February 16, 2003, 12:03 PM
It is a great thread, indeed. But it is more encompassing than handguns alone, so I'll move it to General Discussion.

February 16, 2003, 01:41 PM
Col. Cooper mentioned an interesting trick shot in a recent magazine article.

He practiced until he could hit a vertical line on a target consistently from a quick draw.

Then, in front of an audience, he made the shot aimed at an axe blade. The bullet hit the blade edge on, leaving lead marks on both sides of the blade and the splatter from the destroyed bullet broke two clay targets on either side of the axe.

To the audience it looked like he had split the bullet and each half had broken a clay target. Cooper said he decided not to explain the trick since it went off so well.

I've experimented with splitting pellets by shooting a utility knife blade with a pellet pistol at about 18 feet. It's difficult--mostly because the blade is very hard to see and airgun pellets are very small.

Here's one of my more successful attempts showing two shots making four holes. I moved the blade between shots.

February 16, 2003, 01:47 PM
And here are some pellet halves that I fished out of the ductseal in my target frame.

February 17, 2003, 04:01 PM
During the first year that American Shooter was on the air, they had a piece about trick shooting. It was not intended to teach trick shooting but rather to improve upland game shooting.

It was a guy and a school that taught this. I don't know who. I wonder if anyone out there remembers.

February 17, 2003, 04:10 PM
My last name is Bogardus.

Imagine a pallet of 10,000 shotgun shells. Imagine 10,000 glass balls. You've got two days to do it.

February 17, 2003, 04:48 PM
Used to be that the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyoming had some of the paraphanalia of circa 1890 trick shooting on display - glass balls, shot shells, smoothbore rifles (yes, I know it's a contradiction in terms but you get the idea). They've "improved" the museum since I started visiting in the 1960's so I can't swear they still show it all. (For example, Yellow Hand's scalp is no longer on display.)

February 18, 2003, 12:02 PM
Could someone elaborate on what happens with the "playing card trick?" I've never seen it and am very curious at this point. Sounds like it's more than just punching holes in cards.

February 18, 2003, 12:15 PM
Well, my favorite one involves cutting one in half with one shot...

I'm sorta into precision shooting...

Actually, I think I'll spill the beans here...

It's easy to do.

Say your rifle groups 1/4" - that means that all you have to do is be able to put two shots right next to each other, just barely touching at the edge. With a .243 bullet, gives you about a half-inch of area edge to edge to cut the card with. You're not worried about vertical.

With a .308, you want a rifle that'll group inside of .6" edge to edge.

February 18, 2003, 07:15 PM
I used to do the Bill Jordan cup trick using a styrofoam cup. The muzzle blast would wreck the cup nobody could pick it up later and find no bullet hole.:evil:

Porter Rockwell
February 18, 2003, 07:42 PM
I can think of several examples of using playing cards to demonstrate accurate shooting.
Bob Mundon has televised two that I recall on AS, first was the hand throwing of a playing card and then shooting for the edge to cut it in two pieces.
The second was to insert a playing card into a slot on a target, both are done with a single action Colt!
In days past, some of the more famous shooters like McGivern and Keith used playing cards attached to a target face out and flat to demonstrate group accuracy and speed.
BTW, aerial shots using bullets and not special shot loads are the "trickiest" IMO. Locating a SAFE area to practice can be difficult in some areas, clay birds and a 1911 can be very satisfying!

If you enjoyed reading about "Trick Shooting?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!