Here is the deal. We all like shooting and we all want to be better at it. There is an overabundance of volumes that have been written about shooting and marksmanship dating back to the muzzleloader cap and ball days. Now we have more videos and instructors available to you than you could possibly watch and attend classes in a lifetime. After a while you can soon reach overload on shooting technique how to on everything from stance, sight picture, trigger squeeze, eye dominance, and what is the best way to lay on the ground and shoot a rifle.
Among all the vast quagmire of the shooting and firearms world, when you boil it all down to the sticky residue in the bottom of the can and get past the inflated egos of many supposed firearmsgurus, one truth is undeniable and always shines through. We get better at shooting by doing it. Nothing takes the place of going out and burning powder, doing it over and over (correctly) only makes us more familiar with the weapon and improves our marksmanship. And here is the kicker, it needs to be fun! If the gun doesn’t fit you, the recoil is hammering you, and the report is too loud, you are not having fun. Most of us humans tend to quit doing things that are not fun and when we quit our shooting skills go out the window.
There is a remedy for all this, and it is called plinking.
So what is plinking anyway, and how do you do it? Wikipedia tells us that plinking refers to informal target shooting done for pleasure, typically at non-standard targets such as, tin cans, logs, bottles, or any other homemade or naturally occurring target. In contrast to shooting done at established target ranges, plinking is generally done at home, in an open field, or other private land for no fee. Well, that is a pretty good definition, but it leaves out a time-honored method many of us grew up with in learning to shoot firearms. We went to the local dump.
Did changes in solid waste disposal cause a decrease in our marksmanship skills? You see, back in the day solid waste disposal was a little different than it is today. In the late 50’s and through the 60’s when I was running the woods and riverbanks with a BB gun and later a .22 rifle most communities had some form of local trash dump. We don’t like to think about it todaybut years ago a town or neighborhood trash dump was commonplace.
So, what was in the dump? A bit of everything. Household trash was the most common, but usually many other items could be found. Old furniture, mattresses, tree trimmings, the odd television, (people actually worked on and repaired TV’s back then) a junk car or two was usually present, anything you wanted to get rid of went to the dump. The inclusion of food items like table scraps and other edibles brought various animals to the dump including a sometimes-thriving population of rats, more on this later.
So why am I boring you with this dissertation on the terrible practices of solid waste disposal in the past? It is simply to show you this was a place where one could go and shoot, mainly .22 rifles and pistols, and it was a target rich environment. The local dump had a couple things going for it which made it a good place to shoot and improve your marksmanship. First, as noted, there was no shortage of targets. Cans and bottles were the popular and with a semi-auto .22 you could make a Campbells soup can really dance. Next, the dump was usually located in an isolated place, away from town and houses so there was no problem with shooting too close to any inhabitants. All of this added up to a great place to burn powder.
Don’t have your own dump? No problem. So thankfully we don’t have many trash dumps still around, but you can still come up with some unusual and fun targets for plinking. Like many things in life, you are only limited by your imagination here. The standard plinking fare of pop (soda) cans is easy of course but the sky is the limit for other options. Lifesavers or other hard candy can be set up on edge or suspended with string, old golf balls make dandy targets, and you can set them up on a tee, and empty shotgun hulls are natural plinking targets. Maybe you have some eggs in the fridge that are passed the expiration date, they are fun when hit with a .22 bullet as are water bottles with a little food coloring added. How about this one? Put some jelly in the middle of a white paper plate hang it up and wait for the flies to land ‘a la Jed and Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies. For paper targets you can use anything from conventional small bore rifle targets to playing cards and pictures of game animals from a hunting magazine.
Again, you are only limited by what you may think of here as targets and maybe you are seeing that many of these targets are similar in some way to what we may have found at the trash dump.
So why the suppressor for plinking?
The SilencerCo Warlock™ 22 has an exceptional weight-to-strength ratio and is one of the lightest .22LR silencers on the market. Due to the notoriously harsh nature of rimfire ammunition (it often produces a lot of residue in barrels and suppressors), this product features CTA™ (Click Together Assembly) baffles to ensure the silencer remains easy to clean — even after long days at the range. Thanks to its high-strength baffle design and lightweight aluminum construction, the Warlock 22 weighs only 3.0oz and reduces sound to 114.6 dB.www.silencerco.com
in the early days with no or substandard hearing protection(me again) left us with hearing loss, and like your youth, when it is gone, it’s gone. There is no reason for today’s shooters to go this route. Good hearing protection is available but is often annoying to wear. The suppressor takes care of that. When you can shoot many large caliber rifles suppressed, without hearing protection shooting a .22 is no problem, and again, more fun.