My top 5 Favorite Plinking Targets
Plinking is fun. That’s all there is to it. For all the training, competing, hunting and drilling we do, shooting “just for fun” is something that we probably don’t do often enough. Paper targets are great for honing your accuracy, exposing bad habits or sighting in a new scope. But nothing quite compares to shooting a reactive target – especially with a rimfire round like .22LR or .17HMR. Today on the Rimfire Report I’m going to list out 5 of my all-time favorite plinking targets.
Spinner targets are a middle of the road target in terms of affordability vs longevity. A simple spinner target will generally have small plates suspended from a beam that allows the target to spin around once struck. Some targets like the Caldwell brand Spinner target. Each successful hit eliminates one of the targets until all four are ready to be reset by hitting the top target. These types of targets, in particular, are great for competing against your friends to see who can get through all the targets the fastest.
For rimfire shooters, the spinner target can be one of the more fun items to shoot at. Larger steel plates don’t tend to resonate very loudly when compared to centerfire cartridges. The spinner target is not only great for fun but I find that it also helps newer shooters make quick transitions between confirmed hits on target, a necessary skill for competitions.
Empty Soda Cans
This one had to be on the list. If you are over the age of 10 and haven’t shot a soda can with a firearm then stop reading this article, go outside, grab a soda can and yeet that sucker like its giving you type II diabetes. You owe it to yourself.
Being able to shred an empty can of soda (or perhaps an adult beverage) after it’s consumed is a great way to take out the trash. Just remember to pick it up and throw it away after you’re done with it! Soda can targets hold a special place in my heart as the first thing I ever shot a rifle at.
Soda cans can either be an expensive target or a free target depending on how you want to look at it. Growing up in Oregon, collecting soda cans to recycle for 5 cents each was common practice so we always had plenty of plinking targets on hand in my house.
Shotting the soda cans while they are full is also an option and has the added bonus of a small sugary explosion upon impact. Shooting them full is also messy and will attract ants. Do you want ants? Because that is how we get ants!
Mints or Aspirin
Great if your breath smells bad or if you’ve got a headache. Also great if you want an ultra-small target that explodes into a tiny cloud of dust when you make a successful hit. A long-time favorite of those who favor accuracy over volume mints is a great way to practice your marksmanship skills.
Mints are also a popular target for YouTuber 22Plinkster. His series called Drug Abuse, 22Plinkster makes a sport of shooting these incredibly tiny targets with rimfire ammunition. So if you’re looking for a challenge, these targets might be right up your alley.
Binary Reactive Targets
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a Hollywood badass and blow something up just by shooting at, these are the targets for you. Binary Reactive Targets make use of a two-part compound that can legally be bought without any special paperwork or licenses. Best of all, the targets can now be detonated by standard velocity .22LR ammunition.
The quantity of compound used will determine the size of the explosion so your mileage per dollar may vary. Beyond plinking binary compound targets can be used to spot hits that are beyond reliable vision. However, most of us (me especially) are just looking to make a big boom sometimes.
Shotgun Shell Hulls
By far the cheapest and probably most readily available at any shooting range – the everpresent Shotgun Shell. These are left nearly everywhere so even if you’re not looking for them you’re bound to find them. In a perfect world everyone would pick up all of their brass and all of their hulls but that just ain’t reality. Lucky for us plinkers not only are these little in situ targets plentiful, but they are also insanely fun to shoot.
These targets are probably my favorite on the list for two reasons. First, they are plentiful. There has never been an outdoor public range that I have been to that doesn’t have loads of shotgun shells littering the ground. They are free targets and sometimes that’s all you need to have a good time. Lining up twenty or thirty shells and blasting away is always a good time with your favorite rimfire firearm.
Secondly, shotgun hulls are trash and there is nothing more I like than repurposing garbage into something useful. I always make a special effort to throw any shells I use just to try and leave the place cleaner than I found it.
As an added bonus, the shells are light enough that they tend to fly off in all sorts of fun directions, spinning as they do so. Just another thing to break of the monotony of your standard paper targets.
what are your favorites?
Again, I’ll turn it over to you, the readers to tell us what your favorite targets are and why. We always love to hear from our readers. I’m sure many of you have your own favorite on the fly plinking targets that are a blast to shoot. Leave your comments down below and we’ll see you next time in The Rimfire Report.
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