My wife, in an act of kindness, ruined me. One day she returned from a trip to Walmart and handed me a videocassette of the movie “Quigley Down Under.” “I thought you might like it,” she said. Little did she know.
It’s the story of Matthew Quigley, a Wyoming rifleman who answers a newspaper ad from an Australian rancher for “The World’s Best Long Distance Marksman.” Quigley shows up down under with a Sharps 45-110 with an extra-long barrel and a tang vernier sight. In his first interview with his would-be employer, Quigley hits a bucket repeatedly at a distance of several hundred yards, shooting offhand with iron sights.
When I saw that scene, something inside me responded: “That’s soooo cool; I wish I could do that.” Then another inner voice chimed in: “Maybe you can.” That, in a nutshell, is when I got ruined.
Roger Clouser, writing in Precision Shooting magazine, figured that Quigley was shooting at a 17.5 inch bucket at a distance of 550 yards. Not having a Sharps 45-110 or, in fact, any place where I might shoot one, I decided to duplicate Quigley’s marksmanship on an airgun scale; that is, shooting at a 1.75 inch bucket at 55 yards. Eventually I managed it with a .22 Career. Now it’s your turn.
Here’s what you need to participate in the Uncle Jock (UJ for short) Quigley Bucket Challenge:
· An air rifle or air pistol with NON-glass sights
· Some pellets
· The official UJ Quigley Bucket Challenge target (click to download)
· 55 yards of space
The rest is obvious: set up the target at 55 yards, try to hit it with three consecutive shots with your air rifle or air pistol, and report your results here with full details.
Some notes: First, this is for non-glass sights only. Sure, you can shoot at the target with your scoped rifle, but it won’t count for bragging rights in the UJ Quigley Bucket Challenge. After all, part of the challenge is an optical one; the target is going to look small compared to your front sight.
Second, I realize that some iron-sighted airguns won’t have the necessary accuracy. For example, I tried to hit the bucket at 55 yards with my Sheridan, but couldn’t get it done. If that is the case, try moving the bucket closer in small increments until you can hit it three times in a row. Frankly, I would love to hear from someone the maximum distance they were able to hit the bucket with a Sheridan or a Benji. Or try it with your match rifle, or your springer, or a Daisy Red Ryder. The point is to have fun and make like Matthew Quigley.
And if it turns out that hitting the bucket is just way too easy for you at 55 yards, feel free to move it back and amaze all of us with your skill.
Third, I will accept any shooter-supported position. True, in the movie, Quigley shot the bucket offhand, but later he shot from other positions, so I will allow prone, sitting and offhand. No benchrests, though.
Give it a try, and report back here. I look forward to your results. When you give an account of your efforts, I’d like to know: gun, ammo, distance, and position.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott