Saturday at the Movies: Silhouette Shooting Showcase By: Editor


November 5th, 2022

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Saturday at the Movies: Silhouette Shooting Showcase

silhouette shooting benchrest steel targets video showcase Erich Mietenkorte

Shooting steel silhouettes is fun. For many of us, the “instant gratification” of knocking down steel is more fun than shooting paper. In fact, this very website came into being because the founder enjoyed shooting 600-yard steel silhouette matches in Southern California. That lead him to building a 6mmBR rifle and starting which evolved to become

Today’s video showcase covers a variety of metallic silhouette shooting disciplines. There are the classic smallbore and centerfire silhouette formats, shot from a standing position. One of the world’s top silhouette shooters, Eric Mietenkorte, shows how to shoot silhouette standing. But we also show varmint silhouette matches shot from prone position and from the bench. The Editor’s 600-yard silhouette matches were initially shot from prone (F-class style), and then later from a bench. Both formats were fun.

We also feature a cool video from New Zealand, showing handgun silhouette matches hosted at a beautiful, verdant range in Kiwi country. The handgun shooters use a reclined, foot-forward prone position.

So, whether you shoot prone, sitting, or standing, shooting metallic silhouettes is fun and challenging. Hearing the clang of steel and seeing a metal silhouette tip over is true “instant gratification”.

silhouette shooting benchrest steel targets video showcase Erich Mietenkorte
Photo from 2022 Spindeltop Smallbore Silhouette Championship, Golden Triangle Gun Club, Beaumont, TX.

Metallic Silhouette — A Mexican Import
Silhouette shooting came to this country from Mexico in the 1960s. It is speculated that sport had its origins in shooting contests between Pancho Villa’s men around 1914. After the Mexican Revolution the sport spread quickly throughout Mexico. ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ uses steel silhouettes shaped like game animals. Chickens up front followed by rows of pigs, turkeys, and furthest away, rams. Being that ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ was originally a Mexican sport, it is common to hear the targets called by Spanish names Gallina (chicken), Javelina (pig), Guajalote (turkey) and Borrego (ram). Depending on the discipline one is shooting, these animals are set at different distances from the firing line, but always in the same order. CLICK HERE for NRA Rifle Silhouette Rules.

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silhouette shooting benchrest steel targets video showcase Erich Mietenkorte
Photo from 2022 Spindeltop Smallbore Silhouette Championship.

Silhouette Champion Shares His Skills

Erich Meitenkorte smallbore silhouette

In this next video, silhouette champion Eric Mietenkorte talks about proper hold: “Consistency is key! Form a solid stance that is repeatable and allows you to have a natural point of aim. If you don’t come down on target adjust your feet, don’t rotate your body with your torso muscles.”

Erich explains his aiming method: “Pick a spot on the target and shoot for that. Try not to hesitate, if you’re on target, take the shot. It’s easy to get locked up by trying to make a great shot better. Make sure to follow through, keep that trigger pulled back. Don’t forget to have fun!”

See other videos on The Rifle Silhouette Channel.

Beautiful Rosebud Silhouette Range in Alberta, Canada

silhouette shooting benchrest steel targets video showcase Erich Mietenkorte

This video was created at the scenic Rosebud Silhouette and Benchrest Club in Alberta, Canada. The video offers an introduction to both centerfire (High Power) and smallbore Metallic Silhouette Rifle disciplines, including equipment and match format. These fun and challenging sports can be shot year-round, as you can see in the video below, which includes winter sequences.

Texas Varmint Benchrest Silhouette

If you like accurate rifles and reactive targets, you’ll enjoy this 48-minute video from Shooting USA TV, which features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas, the Lone Star State. We have participated in these kind of matches on the West Coast — they are definitely a ton of fun. The sport combines the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond.

In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. He found that 1-MOA Coyotes offered plenty of challenge at 385 meters! Most shooters at this Texas match use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests.

Varmint Silhouette

A similar Varmint Silhouette bench/prone match is held monthly at the Pala Range in Southern California. Prone shooters compete side-by-side with bench shooters. Ten steel “critter” targets are set at each of five yardages: 200m – Field Mice (“pikas”); 300m – Crows; 385m – Ground Squirrels; 500m – Jack Rabbits; 600 yards – Prairie Dogs. Competitors shoot 50 targets, 10 each at five different yardages, alternating among the five distances. So you might start at 500m then do 200m next, then do 600 yards etc. — the target distances are in mixed order to enhance the challenge.

Rimfire Speed Silhouette from the Bench

Fast and full of action, the Speed Silhouette competition is an exciting event shot on the clock. Competitors take 16 shots from 30 to 60 yards. The event is timed and the timer stops whenever the shooter finishes their final target by knocking it down. This event is a blast to shoot, and may even be more fun to watch live, as the results unfold within seconds of each relay start.

New Zealand Handgun Metallic Silhouette

silhouette shooting benchrest steel targets video showcase Erich Mietenkorte

New Zealand is one of the world’s most beautiful island nations, so we can’t think of a better venue for a silhouette match. This video features a handgun silhouette match with targets at multiple distances. The competitors use a special reclining position on the ground, with the handguns (mostly revolvers) aligned on the side of the leg.

Silhouette Shooting Scoring Procedures

This video from the Metallic Silhouette Shooters Society (MSSS) covers the basic rules of rimfire and centerfire silhouette matches. And then the video explains how the shooting strings during silhouette matches are scored. Yes the system is binary (knock-down vs. miss), but there are details, such as when a plate is hit but doesn’t fall. CLICK HERE for a second MSSS video that explains how to get started in silhouette shooting and lists the equipment you’ll need.

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Tags: Benchrest Silhouette, Erich Mietenkorte, Metallic Silhouette, MSSS, Rosebud Range, Smallbore Silhouette, Varmint Silhouette