Have you got what it takes? Introducing the “Uncle Jock” Air Pistol Challenge!

Monday, June 30, 2008

If you want to blame someone for what follows, let’s start with Roger Clouser. He writes from time to time for Precision Shooting magazine. A few years ago, he wrote an article about 1,000-yard pistol shooting. No, that’s not a typo – one thousand yards with a pistol. He was shooting at a big mesquite stump or something, but he was hitting it, at least some of the time with (if I remember correctly) a Freedom Arms .44.

When I first read the article, I thought “That’s just plain crazy,” but it got me to thinking . . . just how far could you really shoot with an air pistol and actually hit something? It’s an interesting question that I turned over in my mind for a while and then told the guys in the back room of my brain to work on quietly until they had something to show me.

About three weeks ago, I was taking a shower when one of the back room guys knocked on the door of my consciousness with an idea that walks the line between backyard plinking and high accuracy shooting.

I call it the Uncle Jock Air Pistol Challenge – or UJ for short – and it should prove to be both challenging and fun.

Here’s what you need:

· An air pistol
· Some pellets
· A 12-oz beverage can
· 50 yards of space

The rest is dead easy: set up the beverage can (or download the paper target below) at 50 yards, try to hit it with your air pistol, and report your results here with full details.

Frankly, I don’t know how this will develop – because I haven’t tried it yet – but here are some that I think are likely to happen. The guys who have one of those cool, scoped, precharged pistols like the FX Ranchero are going to find this pretty easy: figure out the trajectory, rest the pistol, put the crosshairs on the target, and punch holes in the can. The folks who are shooting air pistols used often in IHMSA silhouette – like the IZH 46M or the Crosman 2300S – are going to have a more challenging time.

I suspect that the shooters who will really go nuts are the ones that take on the UJ with low-powered but accurate air pistols like the Daisy 747 or the Gamo Compact. They’re going to need optimal conditions to make the shot, I think. Finally, it’s my belief that the shooters with spring-piston air pistols such as the RWS P5 or the Beeman P1 or P11 will have the toughest time of all. But still, there are a few shooters out there who are geniuses at managing the recoil from these pistols, and they might do very well.

Oh yeah, one other thing: you’re not restricted to your shooting position. You can shoot from a rest, from Creedmoor position, standing, sitting . . . whatever floats your boat. Just be sure to make a note of what position you shot from.

The bottom line is that nobody knows how the UJ will turn out. It might be incredibly fun. It could be incredibly challenging. With a little bit of luck, it will be both.

Now take your air pistol and go shoot this target at 50 yards.

Oh, yeah — if you’d prefer to shoot at paper, you can download the official UJ Challenge target right here: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/photos/SodaChallenge.pdf

Give it a try, and report back here . . . I look forward to your results.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.


  1. Vin Rigby says:

    Looks like I’ll have to try this one out at the club range (Anston FTC UK)certainly my Falcon FN8 is pretty serious at 30yds but 50!!!

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Enjoy and be sure to report your results here.

      Good luck!

      1. Vin Rigby says:

        Hiya Jock, shot the paper target this morning, biggest problem was working out where the initial pellets were landing. Eventually showed hits aiming 26 to 30 inches above the can and about 8 to 12 inches left for wind. Out of 15 shots(benchrested)with red dot sight 4 hits on can with one 10!!!! and 2 hits on the A4 sheet. These were shot with the single shot Brocock Atomic(short barrel)as I had forgotten to fill the Falcon at home:(
        Best regards

      2. Jock Elliott says:


        Nice work! I hope you enjoyed it.

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