When you check out the History Channel or the Outdoor Channel, sometimes you see a show on extreme sharp shooting.
People like Tom Knapp will shoot nine hand tossed clay pigeons in the air with a shotgun, while Byron Ferguson will attempt to shoot an aspirin in midair with a bow and arrow.
They always tell you not to try this trick at home for safety reason, which is a good idea.
However, I have a “Fancy Shooting” technique everybody can try and will increase the marksmanship of anyone who attempts it. You just get yourself a deck of cards and shoot them. And there are many ways to check yourself on your shooting skills, while having a lot of family fun.
All the family can shoot at the Aces and then carry the card around as a trophy to show your friends. Shooting at the card's face is great with .22 rifles and pistols, as you learn to “aim small, miss small.”
Put a playing card at 40 yards and it becomes the perfect turkey gun testing target. See how many #4 shot you can put on the card, so far the record is 19.
Cowboy action shooters like to take cards and speed shoot them at close range with their single action Colts. A combat pistol shooter could do this with a police weapon and get in some great practice. And still you have the instant show off trophy you can carry in your wallet.
A deer hunter could put a playing card on a target frame and shoot a group at 100 yards, and of course, you have instant bragging rights if you can keep your shot group on the Ace of Spades at that distance. You say not likely for most, and this is true, but it gets even more difficult and better.
To me, the two most difficult targets to hit without going into aerial shooting is the Black Death Challenge target, exclusively done with a very accurate .22 rifle at 25 and 50 yards, and splitting a playing card edgewise with a bullet or arrow.
Depending on the range and method you use, this would denote a master shooter no matter how you look at it. Only 82 people in the world have officially maxed out the Black Death Challenge target with a .22, but card splitting is something anybody can try with just about any single projectile weapon.
I first did the split with a Smith and Wesson model 41 target pistol in .22 caliber. The distance was 20 yards, and after the first time, I found I could do the shot one in three tries, not bad.
With the CZ-452 .22 rifle, I could do the shot just about every time at 25 yards. After showing some top gun shooters how to do it, an unidentified young lady made the shot at 100 yards with a Remington M700 in .223 at 100 yards, the longest range card split I have ever seen.
My longest card split was only 30 yards, but I did it this week with a Horton HD-175 Crossbow. The first attempt was at 20 yards and it took four tries, shooting standing up across the tailgate of my pickup. Not quite, a bench rest and not quite off hand, but difficult enough.
At 30 yards, things got interesting. There was a slight wind at Pecan Acres RV Park in Rosepine, just enough, that when I shot, I could see the arrow headed right and true and then ever slightly pulled to the right by the wind.
So I kept trying learning more about the crossbow and how it works with each shot, my worst shot would have heart shot a deer with no problem.
Then on about the sixth try, I cut the Ace of Spades with the little titanium fixed blade broad head and a custom bolt from Star Gun and Archery.
It doesn’t take much to see the potential in this kind of shooting practice, not to mention the fun. Dan Hendricks, president of the American Crossbow Federation, said I was the first person to make a shot like that with a crossbow.
But I bet there will be a lot more in the near future.
Pass it on.

John Simeone is an outdoors writer for Louisiana Road Trips Magazine, along with being a member of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association. He can be reached by e-mail at fptopgun@bellsouth.net.