Wolfe Publishing Group

    The Quigley Bucket Challenge

    Shooters ready for the Quigley Bucket Challenge.
    Shooters ready for the Quigley Bucket Challenge.
    One of my all-time favorite movies is Quigley Down Under starring Tom Selleck. If you’re reading this magazine, there is a very good chance that you’ve seen it as well. It was Quigley that inspired so many of us to chase down our own Sharps rifle with dreams of hitting targets that seemed impossible. I guess for a lot of us we could consider Quigley Down Under a western superhero movie, only cooler. So, when a childhood friend of mine sent me a link to the Rockwall Gun Club’s Quigley Bucket Challenge, I was immediately intrigued. Not to offend anyone here in the Republic of Texas, but we are not heavily populated with black powder shooters, so this opportunity just couldn’t be passed up.

    I quickly clicked on the link to the webpage (bucket.rgcevent.site) and started reading the rules:

    • You are allowed to fire offhand with iron sights only. The target is a paper 1.75-inch bucket at 55 yards with no glass sights or anything to steady your aim. You choose your caliber.
    • Any caliber may be used (up to .50 Caliber), but no shotguns are allowed. You may use centerfire, rimfire, black powder or cartridges.
    • You must fire one shot at a time. (No automatic or burst-firing is permitted)
    • You may load up to 5 shots at one time into your weapon. You may reload the appropriate amount of rounds if a misfire or jam occurs.
    • A five-minute timer will start at the beginning of each round of shooters. You may clean, wipe, reload, re-sight or whatever you want, but you only have 5 minutes to send all of your rounds down range, even in case of
      misfire, jam or faulty ammo.
    • During Round 1, you may have a spotter indicating where your round is landing so you can adjust.
    • A bucket hit is counted only when the bullet penetrates the target in a manner where the bucket has been hit.
    • Once again, nothing but iron sights are allowed. No lasers or glass sights permitted.

    Shooters ready for the Quigley Bucket Challenge.
    Shooters ready for the Quigley Bucket Challenge.
    I must admit that I was disappointed. I thought that I was going to get to pull out my trusty Shiloh Sharps .45-90, stand toe-to-toe with some fellow Texans and shoot at buckets 550 yards away offhand. It all seemed a bit pointless to be smacking a target with a 545-grain lead bullet at 55 yards.

    Chuck Leblo of the Rockwall Gun Club giving the pre-match safety instructions.
    Chuck Leblo of the Rockwall Gun Club giving the pre-match safety instructions.
    It was about at this point that my 14-year-old daughter/shooting buddy Heather walked into the room and reminded me that she just might love to shoot this match. A few years ago, an original Winchester Low Wall in .22 was purchased from Steve Garbe for us to practice with and compete in the .22 BPCR Silhouette matches. Plus, my friend and go-to gunsmith Jimmy Sommerfield had just switched out the original trigger and installed a sweet MVA dual-trigger setup that had yet to be tested. The pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. To add another beautiful piece to the puzzle, my oldest daughter and former Texas BPCR Junior Champion Tatiana was called and asked if she’d like to shoot with us. She jumped on the idea.

    Targets were printed up of a 1.75-inch bucket silhouette and Heather and I started shooting at it. Holy smokes, that’s a small target at 55 yards! Tambi, my coworker and muzzleloading enthusiast, saw my targets and asked about the shoot. I explained the rules and she asked if she could compete with her muzzleloader. I didn’t see why not, based on the rules, but she emailed the club to verify and they told her that it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Finally, the day arrived. Unfortunately, it was threatening rain. We arrived at the club to find a very nice clubhouse with breakfast waiting for us. While eating, I was able to talk with Chuck Leblo, (the originator of the match) about the club and to go over the rules a bit to make sure there was no confusion. I asked Chuck how he came up with this idea and he told me how he was researching the type of rifle used by Quigley in the movie and discovered someone holding a bucket challenge with air rifles. Chuck changed the rules up a bit, but used their 55-yard distance and their bucket target. This was going to be their first Quigley Bucket Challenge . . .
    so everything was a bit loose as far as what we were doing and how it would be done. Safety, of course, was the primary focus.

    There were about 15 shooters in total, and about half of them were not club members; A good sign, I thought, for a new gun club. All of the shooters were men except for Tambi and my two daughters. The weapons of

    Heather Kirkland showing her offhand form.
    Heather Kirkland showing her offhand form.
    choice were very eclectic. My daughters and I were shooting the Winchester Low Wall; Tambi was shooting her custom .45-caliber roundball muzzleloader. There was a Mosin-Nagant (a military rifle with a bayonet), a variety of .22 rifles and another Russian rifle or two. This was going to be fun.

    Now let me make this very clear; this match was not run like every NRA match that I’ve competed in, and that kind of confused me at first, but we quickly adapted. As was mentioned earlier while still working out the rules, safety was never in question and I was at ease.

    The first series of relays separated everyone in the group into three classes: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Subsequent relays placed winners within each class. The guy with the Mosin-Nagant took first place in Gold, I took second place, and my muzzleloading compatriot took third place. Tatiana, Heather and about 5 or 6 guys ended up in a shoot-off to determine Bronze-class winners. My little 14-year-old, Heather, bull’s-eyed the bucket twice to win first place in Bronze.

    We all returned to the clubhouse for a quick lunch and then awarding of medals. Everyone that hit the bucket received an “I Hit the Bucket” medal.

     A serious shoot? Maybe not so much, but definitely a fun shoot! I commend Chuck for the idea. Later he informed me that they are considering making it a quarterly shoot and dividing it up into Centerfire, Rimfire, and Black Powder classes. It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to get some kids out shooting. I look forward to helping the Rockwall Gun Club create more competitions, especially for the youth!

    Wolfe Publishing Group