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7/26/2017 8:04 PM  #1

Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

Having just wrapped up the KY Table Shoot Championship, I looked back at last year's scores and was quite suprised to see last years winning string was .389" longer than this year's winner and .220" longer than this year's 3rd place string. That's a significant improvement in a year seems to me.

It indicates to me that there are lots of folks out there that are getting very serious about this new game. Working up new loads, working on new sights and sighters, building new guns and perhaps doing a little extra practicing to master shooting off of a somewhat wobbly table while trying to shoot a one hole group with 13 shots in it.

I know there are a lot of over the log shooters that have joined in but there are also a lot of new folks that have never shot bench before that have joined in. I know its been a real eye opener for me going from offhand shooting to bench shooting. There has been a whole lot to learn for sure but it has been a very interesting challenge for sure.

The matches seem to be more competive now and a larger percentage of the shooters present placing in more of the matches and collecting match money. Placing in the top 3 of any match is a great motivator to make you want to improve your shooting.

Just some thoughts, look forward to hearing some of your alls thoughts about this table shooting game.



7/27/2017 10:55 AM  #2

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

Always good to hear from you and hear your observations. I think you have hit a home run with your comments. It's the dedication and enthusiasm of shooters like yourself that have helped this game grow. Look forward to seeing you at Xenia.


7/28/2017 1:38 PM  #3

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.


Great observations.  I only shoot 2-3 table matches a year, but I see a bunch of strings .  I agree that the general trend is towards shorter strings for almost everyone.  Like in chunk, the ability to win each match and even best x while not shooting the shortest string keeps it interesting for everybody and offers encouragement.

One thing I find interesting though is how unique the character of every match can be and how variable individual shooters can be.  I think this is indicative of good specification for the equipment.  Sometimes, inconsistent light and even occasionally wind will appear to add an inch or more to almost everybody's string.  Other days, a top notch shooter will be plain off for no good reason and or a generally poor shooter will do well.  It is extremely fair and equal competition!  Of course, experience and practice lead to more consistent success, but it's a match not a foregone conclusion...

I am surprised that no one (to my knowledge) has broken 2".  It is a matter of time, but looks like it will be longer time than I thought. 

Overall, I'm enjoying seeing table shooting succeed, and it's bringing great people together from chunk and offhand backgrounds.


7/31/2017 1:42 PM  #4

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

One other thing that I've been thinking about is just how tricky it is to get some people started in table.  Or if they don't do as hot as they think they should on the first match, they sometimes drop out.  If one is accustomed to finishing in top places in offhand matches, it is a rude awakening to be last or middle of pack at best.

Or they say, I don't have a table gun, peep sights, etc.  Having tried both chunk and table with an offhand rifle, I found the potential is not as limited as one might think, though my specialized gun is easier and more comfortable to shoot..

I think the experienced table shooters and ones coming from chunk are naturally going to gravitate toward open class, but I wonder if hunter class distinction couldn't be integrated into the same match as open, with at least some "honorable mention", small prize, etc. of 1st place hunter class shooter or places if multiple.  Of course, I've seen the hunter class rifles in the hands of a neophyte table shooter (but experienced cross stick shooter) place very highly (at least 2nd) against open class guns, in which case, they are not eliminated from the rewards of the competition.  And as I believe the limitations of hunter class are mainly psychological and/or due to lack of experience for beginners, I don't want to either dilute the rewards for open class or over-reward the hunter class, just offer some encouragement for those who are starting out with what they think are severe disadvantages against the open class guns.

My one reservation is that this type of thing really equates hunter class with beginner, which is not accurate, but as a pragmatic thing, I'm not sure it matters.  The intent is to keep beginners interested long enough to either become good through practice or upgrade their guns to whatever they feel is required.

Any thoughts, ideas, or criticisms of what I'm thinking?



7/31/2017 7:25 PM  #5

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.


You have indeed raised some interesting points.

I know several long time offhand shooters that tried table shooting for the first time a couple of years ago and came away so frustrated they were at a loss for words. Halfway through a six shot match, they only had one or two shots on the target and none were in the black. How in the world could you shoot off of a rest, sitting at a table and not put every shot through the same hole with a rifle that would shoot 49 and 50 scores on the 25 yard offhand line?

While both offhand and bench require a lot of practice and attention to detail, I don't think most offhand shooters have a real appreciation for what must be done to turn a black powder muzzleloading rifle into a rifle that will consistantly put 10 shots in one hole that a quarter will cover.

I think most open sight hunter class rifles with some dedicated effort in determining the right  location to support the barrel,  the right powder load,the right size ball and patch thickness and the right patch lubricant and then weighing powder loads,weighing round balls to make the loads as consistent as possible can shoot well enough to be very competitive in an open class match. This will enable I think anyone to get into table or chunk shooting and then they can decide if they want to persue it at at the next level.

As far as I know there are no restrictions in the open class that would prevent one from using a hunter class rifle. The only reason there are not more hunter class matches shot is there are usually so few hunter class rifles that show up for a shoot.

If enough hunter class rifles showed up to shoot, they could shoot with everybody else at the same time and then at the end the scores could be seperated out and awards done accordingly. It would put an additional burden on those running the match and would need to be worked out ahead of the shoot.

Actually if one could come up with a hunter class rifle that was open class competitive then you would only have one rifle for both classes and that would certainly make everything so much easier. One rifle, one shooting box now that would be great.

Whether it be table shooting or chunk, open class or hunter class I think one of the most important aspects of all of this is having a sighter that you can see well cloudy or sunny consistently so that whatever sights you are using
allows you the very best sight picture each time you look down that barrel.

I've rambled enough. NEXT


     Thread Starter

7/31/2017 7:42 PM  #6

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

You have both made good points. I think the funniest thing is the reaction of an experienced shooter who thinks it's easy to shoot a one hole group at 30 yards off a bench, when he/she can't do it.


7/31/2017 8:46 PM  #7

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.


I know of one individual who was so sure that any good offhand shooter should be able to put every shot in the same hole when shooting from a bench that it literaly about drove him crazy.

It's hard to tell how many different load combinations and rifles he tried before coming to the realization after 3 years that a one hole group means 13 shots all together with no fliers.

It is far more difficult to do than it would appear and therein lies the challenge that I think makes table shooting / over the log so much fun.


     Thread Starter

7/31/2017 11:59 PM  #8

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

Thanks for your thoughts.  I do see a few people with Hunter class guns competing credibly in open class matches.  Mostly, those people have already figured it out to some extent or are working through it, but there's a whole other group who thinks that it's impossible to make a good showing without a gun that has every allowable feature of open class and doesn't even try.  I think they're missing out.  A hunter class match is the obvious solution, but I doubt the numbers support it, so I was trying to think of a way to integrate them into an open class match but also give them the "out" of being in a different class, where maybe some reduced competition might be encouraging initially...

I think there's no hope for people who aren't willing at all to work at and possibly fail at something new.  Some folks must win or be at some preconceived level of competitiveness immediately or they just quit.  Others enjoy the challenge...

On the idea of a gun that would be optimal for hunter and eligible for either class, 10# and open sights should do the trick, right?  And no Teflon.  For some, the peeps would be the deal breaker, but for others, not a big deal. 

It is indeed entertaining, unless you're the one .


8/01/2017 2:36 PM  #9

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

Ok, I'll shut up after this, but what about a novice shooter class with some simple requirement like you've never shot under 5" (any 10 shot match).  With a few exceptions, that takes people several matches to achieve from a cold start, no matter what type of rifle they have.  My opinion is that once somebody shoots in the 4's, they've in general gone so far they won't turn back.  Novices are still are eligible for full match prizes, but there would be some prizes for novice string, novice best x, etc.  Once you've shot a sub-5" string, you're left to the wolves .  That way, a first timer might spend only one match in novice class while others might spend longer, but meanwhile there's the psychological comfort of competing with a group that you can beat and simultaneously a sort of motivation to get out of the novice class.

I am not averse to the extra work and would put extra in for prizes at our matches, if people think it would be an effective recruiting tool.  I am not convinced it would, but I do feel like we're missing a good sized pool of folks simply on the basis of a misconception of the barriers to entry.  It is something that might take a full season to gauge effect, anyway.


8/01/2017 5:15 PM  #10

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.


Please don't stop.

All discussion that relates to trying to get more folks interested in table shooting is important. We certainly need some fresh ideas and input to consider as a means of getting folks interested in this "new" shooting venue.

How do we get the word out to the black powder rifle community about table shooting, how much fun it is and how easily it is to get started with the rifle you have at home.

Robin told me that a lot of new faces showed up at Friendship to check out table shooting and several mentioned the Bevel Bros. article in Muzzle Blasts that got their interest going.

Perhaps a really good article in Muzzleloader would generate some interest. Lots of pictures and interviews with both new and experienced shooters and a good explanation of the rifles and matches. Jason is always looking for good articles for the magazine.

See you Saturday at Bryan Station for some good food and a good table shoot.


     Thread Starter

8/01/2017 7:09 PM  #11

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

Robin and I had a discussion about the sport last night, Wabash valley shooting. While I am east of the Wabash valley I do remember the only match, old school that I ever saw. I was very young, my Dad had taken me to a turkey shoot near wher he was raised. Dad and uncle Warren were shooting shotguns at still board but there were some men shooting rifles resting on logs at a turkey behind a log. I have no idea about the rifles whether muzzleloaders or modern. I might have been 5-6 years old, the main thing I remember about the day was it was cold and we left because I got to cold.
This is a sport that I want to learn, my great grandfather Kramer was noted in the local turkey matches. His rifle has "dissapeared" in the family, but from what I have been told it was a half stock heavy barreled caplock and the older generation were very definate on it being a 29 caliber. I have his pouch and horn.


8/01/2017 9:54 PM  #12

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

I attend as many table matches as I can.I chunk shoot also and have asked each one of them that I'm acquainted with to try the table game.A lot of them seem interested but are hesitant to jump in and try it.If they only knew how easy and rewarding it is.I believe a hunter class gun has the potential of competing with a open gun.Especially if it is fitted with a peep sight.In my opinion peep sights should be allowed In both classes and chunk.The reason is it provides a better sight picture for the older shooter.I'm not convinced that they are more accurate or provide an unfair advantage.We have to do something to  keep people shooting or we could end up with nothing but a rule book to contest.Also, I would like to see awards of some kind given for achievements.I really enjoy  my "Archie" silver dollar.I want to keep on shooting as long as I can.GREAT PEOPLE AND LOTS OF FUN.

If you give up on the process,you are giving up on the results.

8/01/2017 11:57 PM  #13

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

See you Saturday!  I'm always full of... ideas .  I really think table matches might be a way to get/keep more people of all ages into muzzleloading, which is a good thing. 

MB article sounds great. 

A silver dollar with Archie on it would be priceless, but I know the one you are talking about, and I understand! 

I agree with what you said about peep sights, especially in table, and I really don't have any problems with them, although I prefer to use open sights until I can't.  Realistically, for table anyway, you can put on peep sights on anything and shoot anywhere in the open class, as the only place that does Hunter is friendship.


8/02/2017 10:34 PM  #14

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

I'm seriously considering trying a novice class, not next match, but soon, unless I hear strong objections.  I figure I'll firm up the specifics, compile a list of people who've told me they want to try table match for whatever reason but haven't and run the idea past them to see what it will take to make them take the plunge.  Aside from (I hope) adding a few more potential table shoot fanatics to a match, it should not affect the course of a match at all.  I however am not always good at anticipating the reaction of others, so if the idea just really offends anybody, let me have it. 

Along the same lines, I'm thinking we might should offer an "educational" match for first timers earlier in the morning before a shoot.  Set them up with a spotter, let them take 3 practice shots, and then they can do a three shot practice match with someone watching/advising.

Also, I talked to Robin this afternoon, and he mentioned he'd been following this thread with interest.  He's been too busy at work pitch in so far, but will try to get time in a day or two to contribute a few observations and ideas of his own.


8/05/2017 8:00 AM  #15

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

I've been following this thread with interest and I like the idea of a "Novice" class the problem we have at my home club is that we have three or four really good marksmen whether offhand or bench or table or whatever. It's almost guaranteed that one of those shooters is going to win the tightest X or the Match X and or the shortest string and clean out the quarter pots.There have been several club members that have ask about the Table Matches and shown a interest but never show up at a match. So maybe if we could have a Novice match and I'm thinking allow a two time try at the Novice Match and giving the shooter a break as no match fees or quarter pots just come out and shoot and try it maybe give a token prize for the tightest X and the short string in the Novice class?


One good shot doesn't make a match but one bad shot dang sure can ruin a match!

8/06/2017 9:50 AM  #16

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

Good morning everyone, a Barton said I've been kind of sitting back watching this thread with heightened interest. Work and other things have just got in the way I've barely had time to administer the websites in the board let alone say much. I see a ton of good ideas and excellent remarks in my opinion for what that's worth. The novice match most certainly is an intriguing idea. I also have a thought of kind of a crossover match to somewhat introduce people to Center X shoot I discussed it with Barton and Carl, and got some positive feedback and some excellent input.

I would like to credit everybody individually with my ideas but I found myself spending too much time flipping back and forth so if it was your idea congratulations. The only issue that I have seen so far with having classes of shooter is getting a number of Shooters. The only issue I have seen so far with breaking shoots up into classes is getting enough shooters in each class to make it worthwhile. However I think with the novice class that we need to think more along the lines of not being so much worthwhile financially for the club. As actually looking into the future if a novice class shoot broke even or even lost a little you could look into the future to try to recoup that.

After having talk to Barton and Carl about a possible new match I would think that it it may go over well I'm going to send us some draft stuff out to a few people for a new fun Style Match shot off of the table, and try together some input. That might help people transition into table shooting. As soon as three or four of us get this kind of surround of will put it up for some general discussion as usual you guys are great this thing has already expanded more than Paul and I could have ever imagined. Try to keep the string alive with all the good ideas and input that everybody's getting from it some one of us is going to hit on something that will really send this thing rocketing forward. Well I as I said before it's been pretty busy around here got to go for now I'll check in with some more later in the meantime stay safe and have fun.   

Please forgive any typos I'm doing this on my phone and fingers my size don't fit that keyboard well and the talking type likes to correct and use words that I don't even know exist have fun guys.

Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.
Theodore Roosevelt
“I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”
John Wayne

8/06/2017 3:21 PM  #17

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

That is the kind of implementation detail I haven't really worked through to my own satisfaction, but I think you are working along the same lines I had in mind, maybe just waiving the match fee entirely once for first timers.  Of course, each club may require something a little different.  The novice class is as you and Robin point out a type of "promotional" item if not a pure "loss leader", with the idea that once we get people into the sport, they will buy the "premium product" .  My thinking is that it would work best with a focused outreach to club members and others in buildup to a match, so that the novice class has enough participants to be a success on its own.

Looking at yesterday's match at our place, there were four shooters that I would have classed novice, 3 have been in that category for a while and one is a first timer who, based on his excellent offhand shooting and attitude, I feel will be right in with the big boys in a couple of matches.  He was disappointed with his string (aren't we all especially in our first match), but I told him it is like that for everyone, almost!

As far as prizes, if there are at least 3 novices in a match, I would say best string and best x for novices, not at value of full match, but enough to make it worth coming, and tokens might be a good idea.  The novices would also be served well by extending the number of places awarded in each match to 5.  If (when) I try this, I will subsidize the novice prizes and additional places so as not to reduce regular awards.

Just thinking out loud...


8/06/2017 3:48 PM  #18

Re: Table Shooting - Reflections on this renewed sport.

Enjoyed talking to you the other day.  I won't give away your secret, but I will say that you have a very good idea for a match!

One other thing that I think we don't get across as much as we should to prospects is the social aspect of the matches.  In chunk I spent at least a year where it made almost no sense to go to chunk matches on the basis of my success or progress, but I had a good time with the people and places involved and went anyway.  I know some shooting events (mostly modern) are high stress, rushed events and the gurus are taciturn, arrogant, and generally inaccessible.  With chunk (and table) nothing could be farther from the truth.  First timers and top contenders mingle over lunch and talk trash during the matches as it should be.  Also if I had to give a dollar to everyone for every time somebody helped me with something to consider on my long, ongoing struggle with mediocrity, most of the people in chunk wouldn't have to work anymore.

Anyway, that's another reason I think it is important to get people to try and to help them get over the initial awkwardness.  Once they start feeling comfortable with the shooting and get to know the community, they will be hooked.


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Three things you must remember while target shooting. (1) Align the sights carefully. (2) Squeeze the trigger. (3) Say how did it get over there.