Bowling Pin Rules and Information

Rules for the Bowling Pin Matches.


Shooters are allowed 15 seconds to knock a string bowling pins off of an 8 foot table located 25 feet downrange.  The range officer begins each string of fire by starting a timer.  Each shooter has a scorer-timer who starts a stopwatch when the string begins and stops it when the last pin clears the table. The timer sounds a second tone after 15 seconds. If a shooter knocks a pin off the table after the cease-fire tone, it does not count.    If any pins are left at the end of 15 seconds, a 10 second penalty per pin is added to the score.  Each 15-second interval is called a string.  Shooters fire four strings back to back to make up a relay.  We add up the time from those four strings to get the relay time.  The lowest relay time wins. Time permitting, shooters may re-enter a class for practice, but the first relay is the only one counted for score.


We commonly shoot five classes of competition, Major, Minor, Carbine, Rimfire (sub), and Revolver.  The match director can, at his option, add other classes on the day of the shoot.  Classes are NO LONGER caliber specific. The recommendations below are based on the typical performance curves shooters can expect with factory ammunition For example, if you want to contend with the recoil and capacity limitations of a 45ACP to shoot the Minor classification, feel free to do so.

Major Semiautomatic handguns chambered in .40 caliber and higher compete in this classification.  There are 5 pins are set 1 foot from the front edge of the table.

Minor  Semiautomatic centerfire handguns chambered less than .40 caliber compete in this classification.  There are 8 pins are set 1 foot from the rear edge of the table.

Sub  Rimfire handguns compete in this classification.  There are 5 pin tops (pins cut down about 4 inches from the top) are set 1 foot from the front edge of the table.

Revolver  All revolvers compete in this classification.  Semi-autos are not allowed for this class. There are 5 pins are set 1 foot from the rear edge of the table. Revolver shooters are only allowed one gun and may use speedloaders.

Carbine Shoulder stocked firearms using straight walled pistol cartridges. This includes .30 Carbine. There are 5 pins are set 1 foot from the front edge of the table. We are not able to allow bottleneck rifle cartridges for carbine because these high velocity rounds tend to knock the pins down but not off the table. Our experience with these rounds is that shooters have a tendency to saw our pin tables in half trying to clear the downed targets.

Shotgun  We don’t hold shotgun competitions very often because we use wooden tables.  Shotguns tend to chew them up pretty quickly.  When we do, the pins are set 1 foot from the front edge of the table.  Shotgun participants must use #4 buckshot or larger.


Safety  As with all events at the Airfield Shooting Club, eye and ear protection is mandatory at all times on the range.  The range safety officer calling the match will inspect the line prior to allowing anyone downrange to reset pins.  All actions must be locked open and all magazines out of the guns.  Each shooter is required to have an open barrel indicator (we supply weedeater line for this purpose). Once the line is called cold, noone may touch any firearm under any circumstance.  The line must be called hot to remove a gun from the line.  ALWAYS PRACTIC PROPER MUZZLE CONTROL.  Anyone violating safety rules will be asked to leave, they will be disqualified from the match, and their money will not be refunded.

Reloading Magazines  Shooters are encouraged to reload magazines and speed loaders while the range is cold to speed the progression of the match.  Obviously, you cannot handle or load firearms while the range is cold.

Capacity Restrictions  There are no capacity restrictions for semi-automatics or revolvers.  Extra magazines and speedloaders are permitted. You may reload during a string.

Alibi Strings  Alibi strings are only reshot for range failures.  If your table collapses during the string or there is a timer failure you may reshoot the string.  Reliability of your firearm is part of the game and there are no reshoots for guns that jam or fail.  You may change guns between strings as long as the gun you use conforms to the category you began the relay with.

Starting Position   Once the range is called hot, shooters may load rounds into chambers and cock hammers.  Shooters start from a 45-degree angle to their body.

Fees & Prizes  The match entrance fee is $5.00 for ASC members and $10.00 for the general public.  Your fee covers one relay.  Each additional relay is $2.   There are no prizes for winning the match other than the adoration of your shooting buddies.

Time Commitment  We start shooting at 10 AM. We can really use your help at 9:30 to set the match up. We will do our best to be finished by 1 PM. Once again, the breakdown goes much faster if you can stick around to help us pack everything away after the match.

Last Updated on 3 months by Webmaster (Jon Welters)

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