Trick Shooting

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Bill Mullins
Posts: 5185
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Trick Shooting

Postby Bill Mullins » April 21st, 2016, 10:12 pm

From the Yorkville, SC Enquirer, Feb. 4 1886.

A noted professional shot, who, with his wife traveled with a wild west show, thus explained to a party of acquaintances how the fancy rifle-shooting is done on the stage. One of the oldest is the bell trick. This is done by having a target placed on the stage with a very small quarter inch hole as a centre, through which the marksman is supposed to put his bullet. Surrounding this is a piece of black cloth, and back of the cloth a saw plate. If the marksman hits within eight or twelve inches of the centre, the bell, or rather the plate, which is set loosely, will ring, and the audience will naturally suppose the bullet or bullets penetrated the bull's-eye. This explains now stage shots placed from twenty to twenty-five shots in the bull's-eye (?) in so many seconds.

The next trick is the match trick. This is done by placing a number of parlor matches in a circle, with the heads of the same pointing inwardly. If the marksman hits, or rather puts his bullet, which is not difficult to do, any place in the circle, he must light one of the matches, and thus lighting the circle. This trick is always done at the back of the stage, and the audience cannot see any of the matches, and suppose, naturally, it is but a single match. Another is to fasten a single match on an iron plate, and if the marksman shoots any reasonable distance near it, it will light from the splash of the lead on the solid plate.

In the cigar trick, the marksman is supposed to shoot the ashes off a cigar held in the mouth of an assistant. This trick is generally a bona-fide one, but can be done by having a wire run through the cigar to the ashes, and at the report of the gun have the assistant touch the wire with his tongue, and so knock the ashes off. Shooting a silver dime from the mouth, and between the teeth, of an assistant is done by having one marked with a bullet, and showing one not marked to the audience; the assistant changes at the report of the gun and spits out the marked one and shows it to the audience.

The thimble trick is done by placing a thimble on the assistant's head with a thin string attached, and at the report of the gun it is pulled off by another assistant behind the scenes. Shooting through the ring of a watch is done by shooting over the ring, and then, before showing to the audience, placing the ring of the watch over the hole made, and on a nail placed there beforehand.

Snuffing the candle, which looks so difficult, is done by having the candle close to a solid block of wood. The concussion of the bullet hits within three inches of the candle proper. The professional gave an exhibition at one time in a Pennsylvania town where the authorities strictly forbade the firing of solid bullets, and gave as good satisfaction as though he were firing and doing the tricks bona fide. So much for stage rifle shooting.

Posts: 1
Joined: January 1st, 2016, 8:22 pm
Favorite Magician: Al Flosso

Re: Trick Shooting

Postby Jake07712 » April 24th, 2016, 8:23 am

Here's another trick shot that I fooled around with years ago:
2 cables were set up alongside each other, with about a foot of space between them
Ter. A knife was stood up in a holder, between the shooter and the candles, blade side up, sharp edge towards the shooter ,
The shooter shot at the blad, splitting the bullet, and hitting both candles.
It takes a lot of fooling around to get the distances right, and looks impressive, but I never did it in front of an audience.

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1627
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: Trick Shooting

Postby Joe Mckay » April 28th, 2016, 10:29 am

Watching a knife split a bullet is fun.

Penn & Teller featured this awhile ago.

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