Picking the perfect plinking pistol

My pick - the Umarex Browning Buckmark URX

My pick - the Umarex Browning Buckmark URX - Credit: Archant

Tim Finley gives us his view on perfection in a plinker

The Umarex Browning Buckmark URX, here fitted with a smalled, red-dot sight

The Umarex Browning Buckmark URX, here fitted with a smalled, red-dot sight - Credit: Archant

What makes the perfect plinking pistol? As we all know, plinking is informal target shooting with the emphasis on safety and fun. First, you may ask, why a pistol? Short-range plinking is lots of fun; you can see the targets clearly, how they react, and you can use smaller targets so you need a smaller space for them – ‘short’ being the operative word; you do not need a massive space to make a range.

Pistols are also easy to store safely and securely, as the law requires these days, and all of these factors make them ideal for back garden, or even indoor fun. I have a plinking range in the loft of my house and it’s only six yards long, but is ideal for when the need arises. I’ll cover making backstops next month, but for now let’s home in on the perfect plinking pistol.

Power source

Silver is a rare colour for CO2 guns now

Silver is a rare colour for CO2 guns now - Credit: Archant

The power plant for your pistol is a good starting point, and to help you to come to a decision on that, here’s a table: FFFF stands for ‘Fast-Fire Fun Factor’. The prices are an average, after studying the models that I would buy myself, but you can buy the cheaper end or the more expensive, depending upon the size of your wallet.

You have a choice these days, of CO2, spring-power, or even pre-charged pneumatic. It does get a bit more complex because PCP has it’s own variations – single-stroke pneumatic, or compressed air cylinder – which splits down to air tank or manual pump. You must be clear on what you want out of your informal target shooting, and if fast fire fun is your bag, then a CO2 is your only option, but you have the choice of pure BB shooter, pellet shooter and then blow-back or non-blow-back.

Going on the FFFF, a BB blow-back pistol gives the most pleasure. You can choose in that group also, making sure that you go for a full-size magazine, for realism and not a pencil-thin one . I wish manufacturers would include two magazines as standard.

The over-the-top action of a Weblet Tempest, a true icon

The over-the-top action of a Weblet Tempest, a true icon - Credit: Archant

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If you want more of a challenge, single-shot accuracy can be just as rewarding as blasting away as fast as you can – well, it is in my book. Plastic soldiers are a tough target with a BB gun, but a pellet gun makes it easier. I was plinking well before we were allowed CO2-powered pistols in the UK, so that’s possibly why I think that way. I wore out a single-shot, Gamo under-lever, I used it so much, but that’s not to say I am not a CO2 fan. I bought one of the very first CP88s to come into the country. Also, I own a Steyr LP50 PCP, the most accurate air pistol I have ever seen – you can take out 45-yard FT targets with it no bother – so I am not averse to a PCP in any shape or form.

Facts and opinion

It’s all very clinical, looking at tables and cold hard facts, but I have an opinion on the matter. As a die-hard plinker with access to hundreds of guns over the years,

I have found my own perfect plinker pistol. It’s only 80 quid, and then costs nothing else to run it other than ammunition. The Umarex Browning Buckmark URX is modelled to look like a real firearm but is spring-powered and the design of it means that it is very quick to cock and load and it’s my PPP. Fitted with a small, red-dot sight it is very accurate and the cocking effort is low so you don’t get fatigued.

The eyes have it

Go with your heart and as with all short-range plinking, always wear EN166 rated, wrap-around shooting glasses. I’ll show you how I built a portable garden backstop next time.