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Old April 11, 2001, 09:41 PM   #1
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Just got some used pins from a local alley. I've never shot pins before and thought it might be fun, but I have some general questions:

1. I've heard that .45 is the best caliber to use, that 9mm does not reliably remove the pins from the table. Is this true? What about .357/.38spl? I would like to use my HK USP Tactical and P7M8, possibly also a *&* 686.

2. Also heard that HP's are the best to use, and that FMJ sometimes bounces off without knocking the pin down. FMJ would be a lot cheaper to shoot than HP, and I don't like shooting lead through my HK's ( I know some people say don't worry, but I don't like it).

3. Assuming that I will use .45 HP, how many hits can a pin typically take before it is rendered unusable?

4. What distance do they usually shoot from? Do they put them to the front of a table or the rear?

5. Is there a web site that talks about scoring and such?

Thanks for your indulgence.
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Old April 12, 2001, 06:06 AM   #2
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Old April 12, 2001, 01:52 PM   #3
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About 2 weeks ago I shot bowling pins for the first time. While the FAL could let 'em fly every single time I was really surprised when I knocked one down with a .22!
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Old April 12, 2001, 02:21 PM   #4
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Go to the following website. Under "Action Pistol", go to "Other". Alot of pin shooting conversation there. They should be able to answer any questions you have.

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Old April 12, 2001, 07:56 PM   #5
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Old April 13, 2001, 05:02 AM   #6
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I've had plenty of fun and success using 22lr in a Mark II. It's surprising how the small calibers can knock the pins down. (It's a lot more economical too.)

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Old April 13, 2001, 08:13 AM   #7
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I shoot pins fairly regularly at the club I belong to. We shoot at 7 yards with 5 pins set 1 foot back from the edge of a 4 foot table top.

Scoring is by time based on the sound of the shot. Ie if you hit the last pin and it's spinning towards the edge of the table, there is some strategy as to whether to shoot again or hope it spins off. The pins have to hit the ground, or you add 1 second for each pin left on the table. We have guys than can take the 5 pins off in under 4 seconds even having missed a pin!!!

Popular calibers are .45, 9mm, .40, .44, and the occasional .357 and .38 super.

There is a disadvantge with 9MM, but it is not as great as some folks make out. It depends if you are shooting to have fun, or shooting to win. Since my club doesn't seperate by category of gun (ie. stock Glock, etc. against a ported red dot equipped race gun), I am just shooting for fun. Most of the top guys shoot 1911 based race guns.

Most times we have about 12-15 shooters each shooting 4 strings. We replace pins as needed, but its hard to guess at a round count. Even if the pin holds together well, a lot of times they get so heavy from collected lead, we'll toss 'em. Other times a pin will get hit in the base and won't stand up, so you end up tossing it with just a few rounds in it.

Round nose bullets work fine. If you can shoot lead there is a bit of an advantage as IMHO they "stick" better that jacketed bullets. I'm not saying there is much of a difference but if you get an offcenter hit I think you're better off getting it with lead vs jacketed.

Also, I think it would be a waste of money to shoot HP's unless you just want to. I'm not sure how great they'll expand when plugged with that tough plastic and hard wood. Then if they do expand, they'll shorten the life of your pins. I don't see too many (anybody) shooting them at our matches.

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Old April 14, 2001, 04:30 PM   #8
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Where we shoot, the 5 pins are on the front of the table. 3 are on the lower level and 2 on the upper level. The buzzer goes and you have 15 seconds to clear the table. We use a person with a stopwatch as the timer. The timer stops when the last pin hits the floor (must be cleared off of the table) or 15 second elapses. We shoot 6 tables this way and then add up the score of the best 5 for the match score. My best is 25 seconds (for a 5 table total) using a box stock Les Baer PII.

1. 45 is the most popular. Have seen .357 revos, 10mm guns and quite a few 40s&w, but 90% of the guns are .45. Smaller calibers can knock the pins over but it takes a dead center hit for these calibers to take the pin off of the table. Many times even a direct hit won't take it off with a smaller caliber.

2. No need to use hollowpoints, as ball does work. However, a flatpoint bullet seems to "bite" more on the pin so that even off center hits are taken off of the table a little better.

3. If the pins aren't cold, you will be surprised as to how much punishment one will take. If it is cold, it will fall apart much faster.

4. 25 feet, front of the table. The only time we move the pins to the back of the table is when we do a 38 snubbie shoot. Three pins at the back of the table with 5 shots to take them off. When we do the .22 shoot, the 5 pins are set up just like the regular shoot. The only difference is that the pins only need to be knocked over, not off of the table. The guys with the race guns put up scores in the low 3 second range for the .22 shoots.

Good luck, it really is a blast

Old April 15, 2001, 06:45 PM   #9
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Great info, thanks.
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Old April 25, 2001, 05:57 PM   #10
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All you ever wanted to know about pin shooting.
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Old April 28, 2001, 09:16 AM   #11
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I find that the 9 mm Parabellum does quite well when loaded with a 147 grain Hornady XTP JHP, 5.6 grains of Alliant Power Pistol, COAL 1.14".

This load does about 1100 fps from my Glock 17.
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