Jim Fields of Warr Acres is a world champion shooter. His specialty is metallic silhouette shooting with a handgun.
He is a member of the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association which starting Friday through July 20 will have its world championship shoot to the Oklahoma City Gun Club, located three miles north of Arcadia on Anderson Road and Sorghum Mill Road.
More than 100 shooters from the United States, Canada, Australia and Brazil have entered. Fields is the pistol silhouette division chairman at the OKC Gun Club, one of the largest in the country with 1,800 members and almost 500 acres.
There are three disciplines of handgun metallic silhouette shooting: air guns, .22 small bore and big bore. Shooters fire at metallic silhouette animal targets from varying distances in a timed event competition.
From this point on, let me allow Jim to explain the sport. He is the expert.
“On past occasions when firing at paper targets with one of the big magnums, I’ve felt a sense of massive over-kill. Even football-sized rocks seemed like flimsy targets for the smashing thunderbolts delivered from such guns as the .44 & .357 magnums,” Fields said.
“The subject is academic now. Since 1976 there’s been an exciting game in Oklahoma City, as well as around the world, a game called handgun metallic silhouette competition – an exhilarating shooting sport that has involved big-bore handguns that fire on half-inch steel targets ranging from 50 meters out to a distance of 200 meters.
“Yes, I said 200 meters. That’s two football fields plus two end-zones with a handgun. Now for those of you who don’t like the recoil of a big-bore handgun or youngsters and ladies just starting their shooting careers, a .22 rimfire course of fire is available, and I suggest you start with this discipline before jumping into the big-bore game. We even have air handgun competitions shot in our state-of-the art clubhouse in air-conditioned comfort.
“The big-bore course of fire is ten steel chickens at 50 meters, ten steel pigs at 100 meters, ten steel turkeys at 150 meters & ten bighorn rams at 200 meters.
“The .22 rimfire course of fire is 10 chickens at 25 yards, 10 pigs at 50 yards, 10 turkeys at 75 yards & 10 big-horn rams at 100 yards. This is an excellent shooting discipline for youngsters as well as adults. Both of these disciplines, both big-bore & small-bore, are shot in a two-minute time frame.
“Even minor success the first time out will bring instant gratification. And you can hardly wait until the next match rolls around. There is something about the game that appeals to whatever latent instincts there is in a man or woman who wants action whenever the trigger is pulled.
“There is no reloading involved in .22 rimfire silhouette competition. Go to your local sporting goods store, buy a couple boxes of long-rifle ammo or take your favorite .22 handgun and head for the range. Enjoy one of the most fun-filled afternoons you’ve ever experienced.
“There are several .22 rimfire handguns on the market now that are very competitive in silhouette competition, including the TC Contender single-shot and the Browning Buckmark semi-automatic. There are several categories you can compete in with these guns.
“In the freestyle division it’s your choice. There are several positions that have been tried over the years and the most popular one would be the Credemore, which requires laying on your back and placing the handgun on the side of your leg.
“I shot in this position for more than 20 years. However around eight years ago I developed a new prone position laying on your belly and extending the handgun over your wrist. This position has become very popular among the local as well as out-of-state shooters and is known as the Fields Flop. It is very effective in both the scope category as well as the open-sight category.
“There are several different categories of competition, including scope as well as open sight. The world championships at the OKC Gun Club will be an 80-round match. In the big bore classes, shooters will be be firing 20 chicken targets at 50 meters, 20 pigs at 100 meters, 20 turkeys at 150 meters and 20 big horn rams at 200 meters. The .22 smallbore handguns are shot at shorter distances of 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards.
“Here is a taste of what silhouette competition is all about. You level down on a turkey at 150 yards. A low hit will take the leg out from under the steel bird with a gratifying CLANG! A hit high on the back of the second turkey sends it tumbling wildly end over end.
“A fore and aft hit on the next two will send them spinning wildly. You now are in the last bank of rams with no misses in the match so far. Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 go end over end. Thirty-nine targets down and one to go.
“You look over your left shoulder and 50 people are waiting for you to screw up. You look at your timer. It shows you have 30 seconds left and you look down the gun barrel at the last ram. He looks like he’s on a pogo stick. With a bang and clang, you have just shot your first perfect 40×40 score: 10 chickens, 10 pigs, 10 turkeys and 10 rams. That is metallic silhouette shooting with a handgun.”
Spectators are welcome at the IMHSA world championships. For more information, call Fields at 203-1268.