All About Guns Gear & Stuff Gun Fearing Wussies



Dave likes targets which immediately show where bullets impact,
even at a distance. In this test several years ago of a Ruger semi-auto,
he was shooting low, but that group isn’t too bad for a test pistol fired offhand at 25 yards.


From the moment Birchwood Casey introduced its line of Shoot-N-C targets, gun people were in big trouble, because this is a target that simply cannot tell a lie and won’t allow the user to stretch the truth even a little bit.

It ain’t fair! No more tales from Uncle Ned about shooting sub-MOA groups from his vintage Model 94 .30-30 at 100 yards using iron sights. Your best buddy “Dead-eye” suddenly became kind of scarce at the range every Saturday morning.

Then along came Champion’s VisiShot targets, also capable of showing bullet impact spots. The deck is stacked against braggarts.

This is why I loved such targets from the get-go. From the shooting bench, one needs only to view the target through a spotting scope or binoculars and viola!, there is no need for guesswork about where to shift one’s sights, or how many clicks need to be applied, either up or down, right or left.

Dave shot this group at 100 yards using his .308 Winchester. What’s next? Three clicks to the left will put his rounds 2 inches high, but dead on in terms of windage, so using his particular loads puts him on the bull’s eye, or in the vitals, at 200 yards.

I’ve used these targets almost exclusively over the past few decades to illustrate various gun reviews, because they don’t lie. They’re great teaching tools as well as a means to keep everybody honest about their shooting abilities.

Now and then, I may substitute a tin can or a playing card for a change of pace, but at the end of the day, these high-visibility targets, which consist of a couple of layers of material that instantly show bullet strikes, are tough to beat. I wish I’d have invented the things.

Several years ago, I drove to a meadow just east of Snoqualmie Pass with my pal Brian Lull a week before the deer season opener to check the zero on our rifles. With the targets set approximately 120 yards away and slightly uphill, we both confirmed where our rifles put bullets, out of cold barrels. As I recall, I was shooting 180-grain Nosler AccuBonds ahead of a full dose of H110 through my .30-06, and my bullets were striking about 2 inches high and were spot-on in terms of windage. The following weekend, we both notched tags on Snake River mule deer bucks at better than 200 yards.


There are so many variations of these targets it is impossible to list them all. You’ll find traditional round targets with bull’s eyes, 12×18-inch silhouettes, 7- and 9-inch oval silhouettes, square 8-inch sight-in targets with a grid of 1-inch squares, and so on, and so on.


The Ruger Blackhawk can be a very accurate sixgun, and Dave
has packed his along on fishing treks or just strolls off the
pavement. He’s anchored two deer with this revolver, and the
target illustrates how this was possible.


In my work, they make for some great photos. I’ve used them with different handguns to illustrate how accurate they might be with different loads, and on occasion with different rifles I may be shooting in preparation for a hunt.

Trust me, if you’re shooting poorly, these targets will shame you into additional practice!

The only downside I’ve experienced is that they sometimes seem prone to not sticking to the target backing as well as I might like. I’ve taken to stapling them down on cardboard after pressing them down. Thus anchored, they stay put through multiple hits.

VisiShot targets I’ve used don’t have the adhesive, so I simply stapled them to cardboard. In terms of performance, they did the same thing; each time a bullet punched through, a bright yellow or orange spot appeared, depending upon the target brand.

In the Cards

I mentioned playing cards before. Sure, I’ve used them as targets and so have many other people, for a variety of reasons in the beginning, but when the smoke clears, we all ended up with conversation pieces.

Playing cards make good alternative targets.
Can you do this at, say, 7 or 10 yards?

Of course, aces are the most popular cards, followed by the various face cards including Jokers, and then you work down the numbers. I saw an image of an Ace of Spades apparently punctured by Elmer Keith, using a .44-caliber revolver, and the body of the spade was pretty near shot completely out.

If you’re shooting a .22-caliber rifle or pistol, try a business card. They’re smaller and more challenging, and anybody who can consistently punch holes through one at 25 yards is one dead-eye sonofagun! Sometime between now and this fall’s grouse and cottontail rabbit seasons, I will have been to the range with my RugerMKIV pistol and 10/22 rifle brushing up my skills.

Be prepared to go through several decks of cards once you get into the habit. It really is addictive, and if you do it right — that is, concentrate on trigger squeeze, sight alignment and your breathing — by the time you’ve gone through the first deck, your marksmanship will definitely be improved. If not, well, there’s always Friday night bowling.

The importance of these exercises cannot be overstated. One never knows when an opportunity or emergency will arise, and you will need to shoot accurately, and maybe fast. (See below!)

Albuquerque ‘Crack Down’

Following a fatal triple homicide (“mass shooting”) in Farmington, New Mexico, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller announced this summer his administration will be “cracking down on guns.”

He said so in his “State of the City” address, according to KOB News.

“We are going to triangulate existing restrictions around schools to aggressively target any crime with a gun anywhere in downtown Albuquerque,” Keller, a Democrat, stated.

This could be interesting, because New Mexico has a state constitutional provision which says the following: “No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”

This is what we call a preemption law, but unlike other states, New Mexico’s provision is part of the state constitution. It is supposed to prevent politicians like Keller from doing what he’s just announced he will be doing. He may, or may not, be challenged, but the bottom line here is whether anything Albuquerque does this summer will have any effect on the violent crime rate.

Crime in Albuquerque is already down this year, according to KRQE News. Mayor Keller noted in his address that violent crime is down 8% from last year and property crime is down a whopping 140%. Over the previous 17 months, he said last month, 170 murder suspects had been arrested, which is a promising revelation. No rational person likes violent crime, particularly if he or she is a gun owner, since ultimately, it is gun owners who somehow wind up being penalized.

Keep Your Wits

Who’s heard a witty saying worth sharing? Wyatt Earp reportedly said, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is final,” along with “You must learn to be slow in a hurry.”

Dave never expected to use this Model 57 on game when he bought it
about 7 years ago. But as bad luck would have it, he had to finish off a
wounded, moving buck with this handgun, and he had to do it quickly.
The gun needed to shoot accurately, and it was definitely final.

There was a line of dialogue in an old Kirk Douglas western many years ago which has always made sense to me: “Get it out fast, and put it away slow.” People who disagree, or simply laugh at the concept, have probably never encountered a bear on the trail.

“Never holster an empty gun” was a tidbit that got my attention somewhere way back in the last century. Ever try to shoot small game only to hear an embarrassing “click?” It only needs to happen once. It’s a lesson that stays with you.

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