With several rimfire related reviews coming up in the near weeks, I thought I’d throw out a few thoughts about the fast dying art of “PLINKING.” The word “plinking” is often (or WAS often) used in shooting circles to describe a practice most often done with rimfire guns. When I was growing up with a .22 or often times an air rifle or pistol in my hand, I would set out with a pocket full of ammo and “plink” to my heart’s delight. If you’r ever in a gun shop and hear someone use a phrase like “It’s a fun little plinker” they’re most likely talking about their favorite rimfire used for the practice of plinking.
The word plinking as I understand originally came about because it described the sound a bullet made (onomatopoeia I think?) when it was tumbling a tin can across the ground… “plink, plink, plink!” And that’s almost the definition by itself… take some tin cans out or some other object that gave the shooter a bit of satisfaction when they would strike their target. Not to mention you could shoot, and shoot and shoot without growing weary. It wasn’t destructive, and it would keep shooters coming back for more. The practice of plinking itself has a deep rooted history in the outdoors and a growing love of firearms. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the midwestern backwoods, but for many “city kids” (as we called them) didn’t have the place or the chance to just step outside the back door and let-r-rip.
For me plinking was a way to continue sharpening my skills as I would make my own plinking challenges more difficult as I grew. What else would I shoot at? Anything I could find that wouldn’t get me in trouble for putting a hole in: tin cans, golf balls (kudos to Dustin Ellermann), even rotten fruit, acorns and hickory nuts. To make things more exciting at the range I’ll introduce plinking in different ways via frozen milk jugs, exploding targets, bowling pins and anything to get a reaction to help make things a bit more exciting.
Today, because of the growing love for marksmanship in so many ways, even kids who grow up in populated areas can embark on a plinking adventure by tossing rocks or marbles at tin cans in the back yards. Don’t think it works? We just saw evidence of how this type of marksmanship can help a young person develop an eye for shooting as we saw Chris Cheng defeat Gregory Littlejohn in the Top Shot 4 finale. Chris told me with his own two lips!