View Full Version : Bowling Pin Shoots

April 13, 2005, 09:14 AM
How do I find bowling pin shoots in New England? So far I’ve only been able to find two places open to the public in southern NH

April 13, 2005, 09:53 AM
You may check the gun shops in your area.
Ask around with the clerks and the customers. Check for fliers/posters also.

April 13, 2005, 01:35 PM
I would contact some of the IPSC and IDPA clubs since they will likely know where the matches are.

April 17, 2005, 06:54 PM
I thought that I was all alone!

I live in Lebanon, NH, and I drive a long way to shoot pins.

One is the Chester (NH) Rod & Gun Club, and the next handgun match is on Sunday, 24April2005.


Another is the Lawrence Rod & Gun Club, just across the border into MA on I-95 Exit 45.


If you are a good pin shooter (i.e. if you can knock over five pins with five shots at 50 feet) then you are going to be made to feel very unwelcome there. They have a serious case or shooter envy. Worst still is the unsafe way they conduct their matches (not making sure that handguns are unloaded before pin-setters go downrange). Overall, a very immature and amateurish operation. BUT, it is a very challenging match - pins at 50 feet instead of the national-standard 25 feet.

Another is farther south at the Mass Rifle Association in Woburn, MA (at the junction of I-93 and Rte 128). A first-class operation run by my old friend Ed Mahoney. But, they shoot pins on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights. My Sunday worship is a priority (with an occasional exception), and I live too far away for a Monday night trip.


If you have any questions about anything pin shooting, and these three events, e-mail me at:

[email protected]net

Maybe I'll meet you at Chester this Sunday!


Mitchell A. Ota

Pin Shooting - A Complete Guide

Phil 3:10

April 17, 2005, 06:59 PM
You said that you know of two places to shoot pins in NH. Which ones have you found?

April 17, 2005, 07:46 PM
Chester Rod and Gun and Country Pond Fish and Game.
However country pond seamed like not quite what I would be accustom to like at Chester, one cart for all to shoot sequentially. I believe You will figure out who I am. As I feel I’ve gotten into the money rounds with you on a number of occasions at Chester.

April 18, 2005, 08:53 PM
What’s your opinion on Chester’s Pin Shoots?
In your reply to my thread you told me of how bad things are in Lawrence, but told nothing of Chester. I’ve shot at Chester, and I feel Chester is unlike what you describe Lawrence to be.

A buddy of mine knew of the range Mass rifle, but not about pin shoots there. I checked out the web on them seams to show a lot of red tape but that’s what I get from the web. The place has history though. Have you shot there, my bet is yes.

So what’s this place like?


April 19, 2005, 11:32 AM
In response to your comment in another thread;
“What do you say we lobby for team events at Chester? I miss that special comradeship when two shooters join to kill pins! Team-against-team elimination!”

I have made a few suggestions to the guys over at Chester but have not yet received any feedback. Your suggestion has been made before, and I feel it falls on deaf ears. I responded to one of the fliers they distribute to get the word out, this is part of what I said;

“I was talking with several guys the other day about pin shoots. One came up with a great idea that might bring in the crowds. This would be the right time for it to be implemented.

The last shoot of the season could be a high stakes event for participants that have attended at least 6 (or some number) of the total number of shoots (looking at the flyer there are 7) for the entire season.
There needs to be an allowance for participants to miss one or two shoots due to sickness or vacation (the reason matters not). The prizes could be ten times (or some other factor) larger than the nominal. $100 for third $200 second, and $300 for first. Anyone that has not met the prerequisite of shoots participating in the final shoot would only get the standard prize.

Think about it, if you like it put it on the flyer and distribute. Prize Money might draw the crowd. Or at least get the regulars to be more regular. One other variation would be to have an additional event as the finale high stakes event, thus bringing the total shoots to 8. Perhaps two the same day, or the following week.”

This was more than a month ago and no reply, it will be interesting to see what if anything becomes of it.

:rolleyes: So far in my mind only have I entertained the thought of starting up a pin event at my local range. They do cowboy, clays and a few other things. The web address is; www.kinnicumfishandgame.org

I would need to present a complete action plan to the board of directors. This plan would need to encumber the rules where to get pins the tables every aspect. Let’s not forget about safety either. Additionally how it would at least break even let alone turning a profit, all that return on investment type stuff. Perhaps with a few suggestions…
The earliest I would guess that this could turn into reality would be next year.


April 19, 2005, 11:32 PM
Four years ago, there were several idle, two-tiered pin tables at the Pioneer Sportsmen Club in Dunbarton, NH.

As for any change at Chester(NH), Joe's usual reply is that he doesn't get help he needs to do it. This is understandable.

A big finale would be well-attended if we had more serious pin shooters. I would say that at least half of the Chester shooters are very casual about the sport. An examination of the guns and ammo at the events says it all. Folks shoot 9x19, .40 S&W, .38 Special, and generic .45 ACP hardball at targets that require high-powered, semiwadcutter/hollow-point bullets.

The guns and ammo common in IPSC and IDPA matches these days would fall far short in a pin match like Chester's. The PF 165 .38 Super loads in IPSC would leave lots of deadwood. IDPA guns in .45ACP or 10mm would work, with an ammo upgrade.

Several weeks ago, I sent an E-mail treatise about pin-shooting ammunition to Joe, and I asked him to forward it to all of the pin shooters on his list.

I don't want anyone to blow up their guns, but standard pn shooting requires at least +p .45 ACP power.

April 20, 2005, 08:04 PM
Would you happen to have any contact info for Pioneer?

April 20, 2005, 08:16 PM

[email protected] <[email protected]>

They have resumed Steel Challenge matches!

May 14th, 2005 SATURDAY!

April 20, 2005, 08:25 PM
I trust you have been to this place? I looked briefly on line I would have to make up some special down loaded cartridges. 160 PF! What’s the format like?

April 20, 2005, 09:42 PM

It is all holster draw, clang steel.

April 22, 2005, 06:18 AM
I just received a mass mailing Email from the folks over at Chester, it would seam my words did fall on deaf ears. It would appear that the prize format has in fact changed;

I have the trophies and they look real good! Every one will
get to see them before the shoot. Some will just get to take them home
where they will get to look at them a little bit longer
(Maybe use as range fodder.) Did I say that or did I just think it out loud?

I’m motivated by trying to get my entrance fee back from this event, not by earning a trophy that would have no place to live and would require dusting. Simple math 7 events X $25 = 175 I could buy a whole lot of trophies for that. Even if I continue to place second or third (Otasan just won't let me HAVE first :rolleyes: ) for the season that would be up to 21 little buggers to find a home for.

Where can I get information on table specifications and a good range format for setting up a regulation Pin Shoot? I have a good idea, but to have something in print to work from would be better. From today I have 10 days to get a plan to bring it up at the club meeting in June, Otherwise the next chance to get the ball rolling would be August.

Hunter Customs
April 22, 2005, 08:36 AM
Pin shooting, my first love in competition shooting. I've shot pins at Second Chance, South Connellsville PA, Topton PA but the one I miss the most is the Pin Nationals that were held at Waterloo Iowa.
I still have a regulation tiered table setting on my range, the one I practiced on to work my way up to becoming an A class pin shooter.
Here's the dimensions I have for a regulation tiered table.

Bottom Plate 5 feet across the front x 40 inches deep.
End Plates40x40 inches.
Top shelf 5 feet long x 1 foot wide.
The top of the top shelf should be located 2 feet above the top of the bottom shelf.
The pins should be set 3 feet from the rear of the table for a regulation 5 pin set, two up three down. The 9 pin set was the only set that was closer to the rear of the table I don't remember off the top of my head what the distance was from the back of the table, I'll see if I can get it for you.

When I ended my pin shooting career I was using an All Sport Forty racegun shooting 40 S&W ammo making a 210 power factor. There's a video of me using that gun at South Connellsville PA on my web site, that table was a 2.7 second run.

I went to an indoor range the other night that was having a pin shoot. They were shooting pins on a flat table about 3 feet long and 1 foot deep, the pins were set with about 2 inches between them and you did not even have to knock the pins off the table. I could not believe the comments I heard about how tough it was, I just grinned and thought to myself you boys have no ideal what real pin shooting is like. I could not make myself go back.
Bob Hunter

Hunter Customs
April 22, 2005, 09:38 AM

This picture may help some on what a regulation pin table looks like. I see if I can find a better picture of a 5 pin set.
Bob Hunter

Hunter Customs
April 22, 2005, 09:48 AM

Here's a little better picture of a 5 pin set. At the range at Waterloo Iowa where the Pin Nationals was held I hear there's 30 regulation tables setting there grown up in weeds. I don't know if the tables would be for sale but it might be worth a call. Steve Dixon owns the range, I might have a contact phone number for him if you want it.
Bob Hunter

April 22, 2005, 06:52 PM
Thank you Bob for this info.

In what state are these tables located, Iowa? I would wonder if shipping costs would outweigh scrap material cost and bit of welding. I like the looks of these tables for their ability to keep ricochets at bay. Do you recall how thick the plate is, from the photos I would guess 3/8”. Where exactly is the 25 feet measured from and to?

Why has pin shooting become a thing of the past? Pins aren’t on the endangered species list yet as far as I know. They certainly are not extinct. Why then are there not more places hosting shoots around, lack of interest? I would think that reactive targets are far more fun than making holes in paper.


April 22, 2005, 08:26 PM
Well, I enjoyed Chester Pin Shooting much more when it was all man-on-man. It was more competitive for me. Still, it is the only pin shooting in the area. They have the facilities and tables to run a really good match, but there are several strikes against this.

One is that they do not allow optics, and sometimes even compensated pistols (but mine only). This excludes most every unlimited IPSC shooter in New England.

Secondly, the nature of regulation pin shooting requires a firearm and ammuntion above and beyond what IPSC and IDPA shooters use. There are VERY FEW IDPA/IPSC shooters using iron sights coupled with a cartridges that achieve PF 210. The IPSC major power factor and IDPA's custome defensive pistol class power factor are about 75% of the minimum needed for pin shooting.

Thirdly, the target in our sport is much, much tougher than the IPSC Item target and the IDPA target. The kill zone on a bowling pin is the size of a 12-ounce soda can, while the IPSC "A" zone is easily ten times as big, and the IDPA "Zero" circle is about four times as big. IDPA and IPSC shooters can do well if they shoot fast and get most of their shots in the "A" or "Zero" zones. Pin shooters do well if they shoot fast and get ALL of their shots into a much smaller target.

If a good IPSC shooter showed up at Chester, he/she would first have to revert to iron sights. Even if the IPSC shooter managed to have the required accuracy, the power factor 165 bullets would leave lots of deadwood. IDPA shooters would have to forsake their favorite 9x19/.38 Super/.40 S&W carry pistols, and the IDPA .45 ACP shooters would have to have a serious ammo upgrade.

So Chester draws almost no shooters from other disciplines. What remains are mostly casual shooters with the usual collection of weak calibers and/or weak loads. Even after three years and dozens of matches, a middle-aged man with 1980's pistols usually wins.

I don't necessarily enjoy being the top gun at Chester. I just love the sport. If I had no arms, I would still enjoy just watching the event.

The seven + seconds to shoot four pins is way too long if one has the right firearm and ammunition. My guns and loads are no challenged by Chester the way it is now. Man-on-man is much more competitive. I mean, wouldn't the Revolver competition be much more fun to shoot OR watch? People would likely have to reload under extreme pressure!

So I'll keep coming to Chester, and I'll just shoot da pins! I agree with the idea that the trophies make good targets. I would rather earn gas money for the 180-mile round trip.

Every shot is the sound of FREEDOM!

April 23, 2005, 07:28 AM
The man on man takes so much time! :eek: We need to be done by lunch for some transparent reason. :rolleyes:

I have difficulty seeing why Chester limits the participants by restricting equipment used. It is also a bit Hippocratic of them not to allow all shooters the same level of equipment extras. If one person shows up with a compensated firearm and is allowed to use it, all shooters with compensated firearms should be allowed to use them.

As for the underpowered ammo, is not that the shooters choice? If they see what they bring to feed their firearm is anemic to get the pins off start asking questions, listening to advice given would correct this. Some do, some don’t listen, some love to pray and spray. There is this one kid with a 40 H&K that dose well in removing pins this way. But occasionally leaves one due to an empty mag.

This is pure speculation on my part but I think Chester needs to use the proceeds from events such as these to cover overhead operating costs of the club. There dues are already high and there is an air red tape bureaucracy amidst financial woes that has kept me from joining. I mention this because the dues are destine to increase to cover operating costs at Kinnicum for this very reason to cover operating cost. None of the proceeds from events are used to maintain the overhead of operation of the club. This surplus revenue is put back into the enhancement and upkeep of the equipment and supplies for the event that has eared it.

Yes, the revolver match with only seven seconds leaves a lot of pins standing overall. There is little time to get a reload in, let alone fire off a shot afterwards. I’m no Jerry Miculek who can shoot six reload and shoot another six in 3 seconds, even at that he was not shooting pins. However these seven seconds allow plenty of time to get all five if your mindset is; be the pin, see only the pin, wax the pin, next pin... I see many that rush and run out of rounds.

April 23, 2005, 08:25 AM
Otasan said "If you are a good pin shooter (i.e. if you can knock over five pins with five shots at 50 feet) then you are going to be made to feel very unwelcome there. They have a serious case or shooter envy. .....a very challenging match - pins at 50 feet instead of the national-standard 25 feet.

Yesterday I watched a guy SPEED shoot five white pins over on a sawhorse table 50 feet to his left then a dozen white pins elevated on a sawhorse table 50 feet in front of him and then took out one solitary white pin sitting behind two red pins at 65 feet to his right.

He never missed a pin on any shot and changed his 10-clip once in the middle of the shooting round and finished all in less than 20 seconds.

Amazing shot he was !!! :eek:

Number 6
April 23, 2005, 09:54 AM
go to Independent Sportsmen in Foxborough. It has a Pin & Plate shoot pretty much every month. :D

Hunter Customs
April 23, 2005, 10:29 AM
I'll try and answer your questions.
The tables I was refering to in Iowa are made of 3/8 inch steel and they are quite heavy. If one was to try and shipped them it would have to be by a truck line. It may be easier to take a truck and trailer and go get the tables, depending on how many you need. Now I'm not sure Steve will sell the tables, I was told they are still at the range all grown up in weeds.
My table in the picture is made of 1/2 inch plate and very heavy. A big 4 wheel drive tractor with a large high loader is what set it in place for me.
Depending on what steel cost and the labor for welding in your area it may be cheaper to have the tables made on location. When I had my table made the prices for material and labor were quoted at $600.00.

As for why pin shooting is a thing of the past I believe it's several reasons. I do believe pin shooting is one of the best action pistol sports going and an excellent spectator sport.
First to put a pin shoot of any size on the right way takes a lot of work and a lot of help. At all the major pin shoots your time does not stop until the last pin from the table hits the ground. To do this right you need at least three timers with stop watches per shooter to get a fair and more accurate time for the shooter. Also the timers should not be competitors. Keep in mind that at the major matches each shooter had three tables of pins (they shot twice) and some ranges could shoot 10 shooters at the same time. So finding and hiring enough help is a problem for a major match.
Lack of a good organization with set rules was another down fall of pin shooting. When I was pin shooting most of the major matches set down and agreed on shooter classifications, pin sets, equipment to be used and distance the pins were to be shot. Then one of the major matches in PA decided they were going to do things different on shooter classification and they had A class shooters competing against C class shooters. This created some bad feelings and it seems it really hurt pin shooting as a sport. Plus Steve Dixon and his brother who put on the Pin Nationals decided it was to much work and time from their schedule (which I understand their feelings) so the Pin Nationals was stopped.
Rich Davis who put on Second Chance got involved in a lawsuit so Second Chance was no longer a major match.
As for the 25 foot distance, it's measured from the front of the table.
Also with the exception of Second Chance at all the major matches, raceguns like the ones in the picture was your main gun, as the competitor shot the main event and most of their optional events using a racegun.
Good luck with your pin shooting I hope the info helps. As I used to say, keep the brass flying and the pins moving. ;)
Bob Hunter

April 23, 2005, 05:15 PM

The web site calls it .22 pistol or rifle. :(

April 23, 2005, 05:19 PM
Bigborekindaguy said, "Yesterday I watched a guy SPEED shoot five white pins over on a sawhorse table 50 feet to his left then a dozen white pins elevated on a sawhorse table 50 feet in front of him and then took out one solitary white pin sitting behind two red pins at 65 feet to his right.

He never missed a pin on any shot and changed his 10-clip once in the middle of the shooting round and finished all in less than 20 seconds.

Amazing shot he was !!!

Did the match director start giving him three extra pins? Did the other shooters start to grumble about him "prancing around?" Was he using a clip-fed handgun or a magazine-fed handgun?

Hunter Customs
April 23, 2005, 10:20 PM
One of the biggest down falls in regulation pin shooting was the way the matches were timed. People do not have the same reaction time, so if you are lucky enough to have a timer with a fast reaction time your total of your five runs could be as much as a second faster than if you had a slow timer timing you, a full second taken from a five run total could very easily win the match. This is why you need three timers per competitor thats on the line shooting at the time.
Near the end of my pin shooting career I discussed with a electronics engineer the possibility of setting the tables up where they timed the last shot that passed through them. He assured me this could be done and I believe it would be the most accurate way of timing the shooter. After all you would be timing the shooters speed (which is what the game is all about) and not the reaction of the pins. If pin shooting had not died out I was going to introduce this information to some of the larger shoots to see what they thought. I really hated to see pin shooting die, I introduced a lot of new shooters to the sport and everyone of them liked it.
It amazes me that I still get request from customers to build them a pin gun, however I build a lot more USPSA and Steel match guns nowadays.
Bob Hunter

Number 6
April 24, 2005, 10:31 AM
Our events are timed with a sound-actuated timer. The RO hits a button; the timer beeps somewhere between 1 and 3 seconds later, and the clock is running. It keeps running from shot to shot and stops when the shooting does.

There is no "reaction time" issue - other than the shooter's! ;)

Hunter Customs
April 24, 2005, 09:28 PM
Buzz timers work great if you are timing one shooter at a time. At most regulation matches you will have 5 to 10 shooters on the line shooting at the same time, buzz timers do not work well in this situation. At Second Chance and the Pin Nationals they had 30 tables and could have 10 shooters shooting at the same time. :)
Bob Hunter

Brian D.
April 25, 2005, 07:24 PM
Bob and 'Otasan', we still have a couple of small Pin matches in the SW Ohio area, but the same problem plagues them too: A lot of people like to shoot (at) bowling pins, very few like to go downrange and set them up.

Btw the monthly outdoor match is held at Miami Rifle and Pistol Club east of Cincinnati, on the 2nd Sunday of the month, 9am. There are divisions for centerfire pistol, .22 pistol (pin heads placed up front) and .22 rifle, which uses full size pins 1 foot from the back. Also a shotgun match (5 tables of 5 pins, no extra shots allowed, time penalties for misses and down-but-not-off pins.)

The indoor range in northern Ky. (Mark's Guns) shoots pins on Wed. evenings. The indoor range north of Cincy (Target World) has a slightly larger affair on Thursdays, but it doesn't start until 9pm. TW does centerfire iron sights, CF scope, and .22 pistol, using full size pins on the back edge. Now, that event pulls in some fast times!

All shooting listed above utilizes good old single tier, 4'x8' tables. Nobody around here except those of us who'd been to Second Chance, Iowa, etc. ever saw the need to build/store/carry double deckers..

April 26, 2005, 08:56 PM
over there in the Cincy/Ky area.

I think that I'll move there! :)

April 26, 2005, 11:38 PM
I'm contiplating moving for other reasons.
I have encountered a personal derailment to life as I know it upon returning home following the last shoot. I probally wont be able to focus on this or any other topic I have had involvement with on this board while I deal with my personal issues.
This does not mean I won't be back after some of the mess has been cleared from ther tracks.
To all inputting to anything I've posted, this probally will be the last post for a brief time while I get other issues in my life back on track. Please keep the momentum going, I will return soom and I will catch up. I dont have time to add this comment to all my threads right now.