Larry Case hearkens back to his childhood days of plinking. Then, he shifts fast forward about 60 years, still plinking like a kid, but adding the SilencerCo Warlock 22 to the set-up. Find out more.
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Here is the deal. We all like shooting and we all want to be better at it. There is an abundance 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. You can soon reach overload on shooting technique – on everything from stance, sight picture, trigger squeeze, eye dominance, and what is the best way to lie 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, 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 again and again (correctly) only makes us more familiar with a 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/or 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 shooting, those 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, (usually with a .22 rimfire firearm) 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. Although a good definition, it leaves out a time-honored method many of us grew up with in learning to shoot firearms. We went to the local trash 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. 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 today, but 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 TVs back then) a junk car or two, anything you wanted to get rid of went to the dump.
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 choice and with a semi-auto .22 you could make a Campbell’s 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.
Now folks I am not advocating for a return to local trash dumps. When I look back on it, it seems ironic as a DNR Conservation Officer I would be enforcing litter and solid waste laws to clean up the dumps where I had shot as a kid. Life is funny like that sometimes, I guess.
Don’t have your own dump? No problem.
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 (Necco Wafers are great for this) 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. Also, empty shotgun hulls become 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 bottes with a little food coloring added.
How about this one? Put some jelly in the middle of a white paper plate, then, 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. There also is a wide variety of commercially available plinking targets; metal animal silhouettes and spinner-type targets are a lot of fun and will add to the competition on your plinking range.
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 use a suppressor for plinking?
I used the SilencerCo Warlock 22 suppressor on different rifles for this article and had no problems switching from one gun to the next. The Warlock is very lightweight, you will not notice it is on the gun, and comes with a low profile that does not require the rifle to have raised sights. The 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 ounces and reduces sound to 114.6 dB.
So I think you get the idea. You can make plinking a very entertaining form of shooting. New shooters young and old will love it and even the old hands will join in to plink cans and pick off peppermint candy and metallic hogs. All of this will lead to improved shooting skills. Adding the SilencerCo Warlock 22 suppressor is the icing on the cake for a fun day at the range.
Larry Case lives in the mountains of West Virginia and has been a hunter, shooter and outdoorsman his entire life. Larry served for 36 years as a DNR Law Enforcement Officer, (Game Warden) and retired as a District Captain. Larry now writes articles for the country’s finest gun and hunting related magazines and websites. He also pens a newspaper column that appears weekly in 8 newspapers in 5 states. Larry will admit to being somewhat addicted to turkey and squirrel hunting, but refuses any treatment. He blogs at “Guns and Cornbread.” He also can play “Tequila” on a duck call.