Air Rifle Targets

So whiling away some time during the summer, I got to watching the 10m Air Rifle Target event.  The shooting itself was inordinately boring, I’m sorry folks that love to watch it… but for me it was worse than watching someone else watching paint dry.

BUT something did pique my interest, and that was the targeting system.  I’ve spent the last month or so musing about the design and operation of the system and how the differing systems work.

In it’s simplest form, measuring equipment is used to pin-point the location of the pellet (and in full bore, round) to then translate the strike point onto an electronic graphic.

The system used in the Olympics is (I believe) manufactured by a company called iScore.  It utilises four sonic sensors.. which basically means four microphones, presumable within 2 sheets of rubber to effectively use the speed of sound to quadulate (is that a word for triangulate with 4?) the location of the pellet as it hits the target.  I’m going to take a stab in the dark that it’s not going to be a cheap unit to buy for the home user.

I set about looking for a similar scoring system, but on the cheap.  The only real things that are available at present are all draconian in technology, scoring being done with pen and paper, viewing scores using eyes (involves walking to the target!), spotting scope, but to get a marginal shot inspected involves high magnification or … walking to the target.  Spotter and radios.  We used this method at school on 100-300 yd ranges, “in the butts”.  Target was raised… shooter shot it, target lowered, scores counted and targets patched up.

None of these solutions are really lazy-friendly!!

Then I came across Bell Target shooting, once popular in pubs and clubs as a team sport – now almost exclusively restricted to South Wales/Swindon and the Midlands.

Here’s a Midlands Today news snippet from back in 2011.

Looks good right?  Yep, if you’re just after a “ding”.  But I figured what the heck, let’s look at the technology behind it and found a document that has a Bell Target Build instruction set.

Looking better, but really!  Too many manufacturing processes that I just don’t have the facilities to complete.  It was probably OK back in the early part of the 20th Century, when ever man and his ferret knew a welder / metal worker / seamstress that had the tools and access to the materials required, I however have none of those contacts.  So I could probably figure out how to DO it all myself, but then it’s a LOT of manufacturing required to complete one.  Then there’s the new / second hand market.  Again, not really a cost effective solution.

Sooooo, this brings me to the next project to grace the workshop.

An electronic scoring system that meets the following criteria;

  • Cost effective
  • Self contained
  • Modern – in other words plays nice with current technologies

Thinking of the logical approaches to it, I’m going to start with a bell target style system, then move onward and upward to a fully fledged scoring system.

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