Fun with guns: the art of the arcade target




Little pump action arcade guns were loaded with CB or BB caps, nut much powder beyond the rim primer. They end up being air gun class both in power and noise, basically the pop of a dropped book when fired from a rifle with no need for a silencer. .22(22 caliber) CB caps are still available in the US AFAIK.


They still make them. IIRC it is just the primer, no powder. They are super quiet. My dad uses them against rabbits in his garden.


power or not, the arcade taught firearm safety. to KIDS! the horror! we need more of it.


I always wondered whether they used actual firearms, and now I know that the answer is, “Technically, yes.”


How the hell did anyone not know this?


By being born after the Nixon administration?


I was born at it’s beginning. It was a Bad Sign, like in the song.


With 22 short being some of the only rimfire ammo you can find, and computer-controlled plasma cutters showing up at nearly every makerspace, somebody needs to start distributing plans to recreate these, especially the ‘rigged’ variants!

Crosman and Champion sell some very nice airgun and rimfire targets, but nothing with this level of artistry.


No, they did not. They handed you a loaded rifle and stood to the side.

IIRC, the rifles at the arcade in Denver’s Elitch Gardens in the mid 60’s were anchored to a swivel mount that prevented the rifle from being pointed anywhere but at the targets.


The BB submachine guns at carnivals and street fairs in the 70s and 80s weren’t mounted, but they had a pair of chains preventing them from being aimed past the back of the booth. I never did manage to punch out 100% of the black star target…


The problem was that there were never enough bb’s to completely core out the star. If you wanted to cut the star out completely, you had to cut a nice clean circle out that contained the entire star. A task, which was near impossible with a full auto inaccurate BB rifle.

But hey, that’s how you make money on the game eh?


My favorite old timey shooting galleries (at Lagoon UT) use some kind of photoreceptor target system that seemed ancient (but hallowed) even when I was a kid.


My dad go some to ‘take care of them damn coyotes’…

…I’m pretty sure the 'yotes just stood there, got shot, then pulled the slug out of it’s fur like it was some kind of lame tick or a gooey chocolate chip and then just continued on with it’s night like nothing happened at all.


The point of that booth (for me at least) wasn’t about winning some dumb stuffed animal or Michelob mirror, it was just fun to shoot a full-auto anything. The star was just something to focus on.


I won a VERY nice framed metallized (rainbowy if I remember correctly) image of a unicorn rearing on it’s hind legs once with the “large circle” trick. I wonder what my sister ever did with that thing (I don’t remember it ever being displayed in her room…)[maybe it was a really sucktastic gift after all :frowning: ]


All I ever won shooting was a fine from the scout camp for exploding half a bag’s worth of clothespins :grin:
I was quite the dead-eye, back then. 50’ targets on a range about 100 feet wide, and I managed one session to explode every last clothespin holding up all the other shooter’s targets. There was a lot of groveling and empty promises the next year in order to be let back in.

Hey, I was 12 with undiagnosed ADD. Turned out sniping other people’s targets really held my attention though.

ETA: The next year they made me shoot at a dime, which was a helluva lot of fun. I eventually did put a hole in it. But there were a lot of glancing shots too.


Yeah you would want a full powered .22 for that. At least.


Ha ha! Birds of a feather! I got busted for popping the clothespins as well! :smile:

At the end of the last volley of shots, the string that was holding up all of our targets magically got cut somehow as well (that was not an easy shot even though we were only at 15 yards or so…)


Yes – at least a full powered .22 for a Coyote. 'Cause if the primer only rounds might eventually annoy the Coyote enough to the point at which he or she drops a 16-ton weight on you, or unleashes the TNT.

The TNT and weights only worked on the Road Runners about 10% of the time – the videos showing it never working and even backfiring on the Coyotes were RR war-era propaganda distributed before the Road Runners developed their deadly propane and guano bomb program.

However – humans are not nearly as fast as a Road Runner, and most of us are not as wily as a Coyote – so maybe something even bigger than a .22 would be best. And oh…don’t forget to double tap.

As for Road Runners - we’re not even on their radar…let us pray to keep it that way…