With all of these targets I tried to show you what one bullet hole does for damage at a time to give you an idea how much you can shoot them up before they are going to be too shot out to keep score. With a .22 rifle offhand at even 50 feet you could go several rounds with two players on this Battleship’esque Dirty Bird game target from Birchwood Casey to more than feel like you got your money out of it. Even at the MSRP at $12.50 an 8 pack they are a pretty good buy, but as we have noted here, one of our advertisers, Midsouth Shooters Supply, has them for $6.32.
I used this Springfield Armory XD(M) 3.8 Compact in .45ACP with the two finger grip for the rest of these games. This one is called “Shotboard” and it of course resembles darts. As you can see, the divisions in the pie slices make for a lot of interesting rule variations you could come up with to keep the game interesting. For two lanes head to head on two targets at an indoor range this target is probably the most competitive. The game will heat up as one player misses key shots when the other hits. Makes for some fun shooting.
This “Saloon Shootout” is more of a fun target and less of a game than the others, but if you can agree with an opponent as to what scores and what doesn’t it could make for an interesting head to head matchup. At the very least it has several points of aim that are not too course for precision shooting, and it’s a lot more interesting than repetetive bullseyes.
Birchwood Casey Game Targets
Once upon a time paper targets were boring. Concentric circles are fun and all, but if you shoot regularly, especially with friends, finding other stuff to shoot at is always a welcome addition to our sport. Birchwood Casey has for some time been experimenting with ideas for targets that not only make hits more detectible, but also give you multiple positions on the target to shoot at.
All of the “Dirty Bird” targets, as you probably know, feature a halo effect on your shots. A white ring appears around the hole, and you can see the ring from further distances without having to use a spotting scope. Dirty Birds are a little more expensive than regular targets, but compared to what we spend on ammo these days it isn’t a huge deal.
This new game series (MSRP $12.50 for 8 targets) is a lot different than anything I have seen before. Once you get them and try them you will see that the ways you could potentially play the game are numerous, and this is what makes them a worthwhile thing to seek out. I’ll go through each one individually, though by no means should anyone consider this overview inclusive of the potential ways to play.
Battle At Sea
Of all the games in this series so far, the “Battle at Sea, ” (AKA Battleship) is the most familiar. You can’t play it like regular Battleship where you have to guess your opponent’s position. The positions are not modifiable on the target, at least in this first version. What you can do is race, shot for shot, to sink each other’s fleet. As you can see, I tested this with a .22 rifle. this Marlin isn’t particularly a tack driver, but once I figured out where it was shooting in relation to the cross hairs I was able to nab my dots pretty easy rested. Offhand would definitely be a little more challenging.
If you wanted to add rules to the game, you could go by which boats you sink first, and if the competitor sinks the bigger boats first, they could take multiple shots per turn. Depending on distance and offhand vs. rested, this could be a long lasting game with .22 pistols or rifles, and you’ll get your money out of the target in shooting time.
This one, that resembles a dart board, is a little confusing when you first look at it, because it is of course concentric circles. We generally think of a round target as “try to hit the bullseye.” This target, however, is actually a fairly complex shooting game that you can make as simple or complicated as you like. If you look around the ring, the numbers start at 15 and go to 20. If you use this as basic points, each one for their own wedge of the pie, you can then use the internal rings to create your own rules.
For instance, if the fat part of the wedge is used as a base point count for that wedge, 20 points, the thin part of the wedge could be double it. If you hit the thin bar along the middle of the wedge, you could either use that as a turn loss, or if you would prefer to aim for it, an opponent turn loss. The green dots on the edges could be used for a final bonus, or a tiebreaker, and those bottom green targets could be used for warm up, or the same tiebreaker or bonus function. The middle bullseye could be a bonus last shot or something. The possibilities on this game are really endless.
As a fan of cowboy guns, I can say that this target has six natural targets on it for a 6 shot revolver. You have the three guys, the horse’s petute, the buzzard, and the star at the top. There are also the two windows with bottles, bringing the grand total to 8 points of aim if you so choose. Scoring this target is a little tough, because of the Dirty Bird white halo on the shots, but you’d have to agree on a scoring methodology before you start shooting. There is enough room on the characters that you could do several rounds on this target before it will be shot out, and how you score it is really up to you.
Be careful if you are going to use this target to practice your draw and fire technique. “Quick draw” may sound good, but if you aren’t careful it can be very dangerous. Even a single action Colt or replica can accidentally be fired before you want it to when you go faster than your muscle memory allows. Re-holstering is also something to consider if you are shooting a striker pistol with no drop safety or de-cocker. If your focus is speed, remember that your finger still has to come off the trigger before you prepare for your next shot.
A lot of shooters are also golfers, and if you are looking for something to get your golfing buddies into shooting, these targets may be the perfect thing. The premise of this game is to shoot twice at each hole, of which there are 3. Sounds like a revolver game right? But it really could be used for anything. The black spots are your target, and the closer you get to them, the higher will be your point total.
There is enough room on these golf targets to shoot several “rounds” between at least two shooters, and if you use two targets side by side it will be even easier to count total points. For points of aim, there are several others on the target, so bonuses and tiebreakers are easy, and will give you more use of the target area.
Worth the Money?
These days it is difficult to find a public shooting range that allows you to shoot anything besides paper targets. Steel plates are sometimes ok, but they are heavy and expensive, and the club rarely provides them, so most of the time we all end up shooting paper. These targets are a welcome addition, and they are Dirty Birds, so you can actually see what you are hitting at 25 yards. I Googled around for other reviews of these targets and it seems that the biggest complaint is that they don’t offer that many shots before they are “done” as targets. I totally disagree. The number of shots per target is really up to you. Practically there are many many rounds available on all of these targets, even the Battle at Sea (hit the dots twice).
With the prices of ammo these days, these Dirty Bird Game Targets are a great buy to get much more enjoyment from your shooting. They could also engage friends who would otherwise ask “what’s the point of shooting paper.” Compared to the zombie and terrorist targets out there, I think these game targets are a much better choice, and they won’t get old in a hurry like the other theme targets. Birchwood Casey nailed it on this one. Hopefully we’ll see them for sale at the indoor ranges soon, but for now, Midsouth has them at $6.32 a pack.