Posts Tagged ‘Silhouette’

Your Humble Correspondent demonstrating one version of the Creedmoor position which is used in many air pistol silhouette classes.

Your Humble Correspondent demonstrating one version of the Creedmoor position which is used in many air pistol silhouette classes.

If you would like to engage in some spirited competition at a very wallet-friendly price, let me recommend air pistol silhouette. All you need is an accurate air pistol, some pellets, and a place to shoot. You can get started for a total outlay of $100-400.

Air pistol silhouette is one of those classic games that takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. You shoot at metal cutouts of chickens, pigs, turkeys, and rams at various distances. If you knock one down, you get a point. If you miss, you don’t. The person with the most points wins.

Chickens, which measure just 3/4 inch high and 1 inch wide, are shot at 10 yards, pigs at 12.5 yards, turkeys at 15 yards, and rams at 18 yards. A typical match involves shooting at 10 of each animal: 10 chickens, 10 pigs and so forth. In case of ties, additional targets are shot to determine the winner.

IHMSA – the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association  http://www.ihmsa.org/ —  began sponsoring matches for air pistols in 2001. There are six categories of IHMSA air pistol silhouette competition.

Three are generally shot from the Creedmoor position (although other positions are allowed). Creedmoor looks pretty strange: competitors typically lie on their backs and brace the pistol against their calf or thigh. Some competitors  in these classes shoot from the “flop” position, which involves lying on the ground facing forward and elevating the pistol off the ground with the hands.

Uncle Jock's well loved and well used Daisy 747 match pistol with optional wooden grips.

Uncle Jock’s well loved and well used Daisy 747 match pistol with optional wooden grips.

Creedmoor classes include: Production, for open-sight pistols costing $375 or less suggested retail price; Unlimited (open sights only), for pistols with open sights above $375 SRP; and Unlimited Any Sight, for pistols of any price using any type of optical sighting device such as a scope or red dot sight. There are also three standing classes: Standing, for $375 (or less SRP) open sight guns, Unlimited Standing for any gun with any sighting device, and Unlimited Standing Iron Sight.

Competitors shooting in the Unlimited Any Sight class tend to shoot with long-eye-relief pistol scopes from the Creedmoor position. By contrast, Unlimited Standing competitors often equip their pistols with rifle scopes, shooting the air pistol close to their faces with one hand on the pistol grip and another on top of the scope.

The Crosman 2300S is a CO2-powered production class silhouette pistol.

The Crosman 2300S is a CO2-powered production class silhouette pistol.

IHMSA’s air pistol silhouette competition is unique in that it offers a “production” class  in which the price of the air pistol cannot exceed $375 suggested retail price. (This limit was recently raised to allow the inclusion of Crosman’s 1701P precharged pneumatic silhouette pistol.) This upper price limit levels the playing field so people with less expensive pistols are not competing head-to-head against much more expensive match pistols that might cost a couple of thousand dollars. (An inexpensive pistol such as the Daisy Avanti or the Crosman 2300S is not necessarily a disadvantage. There are documented cases of shooters using these relatively inexpensive pistols to beat the high-buck pistols in the non-production classes.) At many matches, shooters are also classed based on their ability, so beginners aren’t forced to compete against experts.

The Crosman 1701P is a precharged pneumatic production class silhouette pistol.

The Crosman 1701P is a precharged pneumatic production class silhouette pistol.

I have even interviewed a shooter who participated successfully in IHMSA air pistol silhouette competition with a Crosman 1377  . the only serious disadvantage of the 1377 (besides all the pumping) is that the sights are difficult to adjust. With the right pellets, it can be wickedly accurate.

This pellet trap has silhouettes that dangle from a center rod and make a satisfying "ting" when you hit them.

This pellet trap has silhouettes that dangle from a center rod and make a satisfying “ting” when you hit them.

You can print air pistol silhouette targets off the internet, but it is also useful to have a pellet trap with silhouette targets, and I can recommend this one.

Until next time, aim true and shoot straight.

Jock Elliott


Recently, Crosman Corporation sent me a sample of its new Silhouette PCP Target Pistol (Model 1700P) for evaluation, and, to spare you any further suspense, I think it’s pretty neat.

The 1700P is a single-shot, .177 caliber precharged pneumatic air pistol that weighs 2.5 lbs and stretches 14.75 inches from end to end. The 1700P meets requirements for silhouette air pistol competition with both the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association and the National Rifle Association.

At the extreme back end of the receiver is the bolt, which comes from the factory hanging to the left so that right-handed shooters can cock and reload without taking their shooting hand off the grip, the bolt but can be switched to right hanging if the shooter prefers. Below that is a fitting at the rear of the receiver with a port through which adjustments can be made to the hammer spring and hammer stroke for velocity string tuning.

Below that is the ambidextrous pistol grip assembly with plastic grips on either side. These grips can be removed to a trigger weight adjustment (more about that later). Forward of the pistol grip is the cast metal trigger guard, inside of which is a die cast trigger that is adjustable for weight and over-travel and can accept an aftermarket trigger shoe. A push-button safety can be found between the trigger guard and the pistol grip.

Forward of the trigger guard, on the underside of the air reservoir, is a 3000 psi air gauge. At the end of the air reservoir is a snap-off plastic cap that protects a male foster fitting used to charge the 1700P. Above the snap-off cap is a black metal muzzle brake that also serves as a mount for a post-type front sight. (Originally, Crosman planned to mount a ported muzzle brake on this pistol, but the design engineers discovered this would violate IHMSA rules, so the plan was scrapped.)

Aft of that is the German-made Lothar Walter barrel which attaches to an anodized aircraft aluminum receiver that is fitted with 3/8 inch dovetails fore and aft of the breech. The breech has a .177 loading tray to make sliding pellets into the breech easier.

An important note: because silhouette shooters have so many varying preferences for sighting systems, the 1700P does not come with a rear sight or scope. Available extra-cost options include a William or LPA notch rear sight (favored by IHMSA Creedmoor style shooters) or a Williams peep sight (often used by standing silhouette shooters). In addition, this pistol may be easily fitted with a rifle scope, pistol scope, or red dot. Mine is shown below with the Williams notch rear sight.


To get the 1700P ready for shooting, charge it to 2900 psi with a high pressure tank or SCUBA tank. As it comes from the factory, the 1700P is set up to deliver 50+ shots from a fill, launching 7.9 gr. Crosman Premier pellets at 450 fps. I shot the pistol through my chronograph and found it was launching the 7.9 gr. pellets at 460 fps average. It takes about 35 pump strokes to refill the reservoir from 1700 psi to 3000 psi using a Benjamin HPP3k pump. If desired, the pistol can be tuned to shoot as fast as 550 fps, but with fewer shots per fill.

When I first tested the trigger on the 1700P, the first stage came out at1 lb 14 oz, and the second stage went off at 5 lb 13 oz, which is not so hot. So I removed the plastic pistol grips, ran the trigger weight adjustment up as high as it would go, and then dropped it back down to the lowest weight. With the next measurement, the second stage tripped and the shot went down range at a much more manageable 4 lbs.

Note: if you want to lighten the trigger by cutting coils off the trigger spring or polishing the trigger parts, you run the risk of voiding the warranty. Why? Because every air rifle and air pistol Crosman makes must pass the ASTM drop test. But if you modify the trigger in any way, it might not pass the test, and therefore Crosman accepts no responsibility.

I saved the best part for last: the accuracy of the 1700P is excellent. My pal, IHMSA champion Steve Ware is a steely-eyed pistol silhouette competitor. He clamped his 1700P into a vice and fired 5 shot groups at 18 yards. His best group, shot with H&N Finale Match pellets, measured just .071 inches ctc. No wonder Crosman claims this pistol will shoot quarter-inch groups at 30 meters.

In all, I find the Crosman 1700P to be an entirely worthy competition air pistol that delivers a whole lot of performance and accuracy at a price that is just a fraction of its high priced competitors.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott