On another thread, IHMSA80X80 showed you some very collectable cartridges used in Handgun Silhouette competition. Some of you may wonder exactly what Handgun Silhouette shooting is so I’ve put together a brief background description for you, along with some more cartridges.
In the 1960s, shooters in the Southwestern United States became interested in a shooting discipline in Old Mexico that consisted of shooting at steel plates shaped like different animals. It was called Siluetas Metalicas, or Metallic Silhouette. The targets were Gallina, Guajalote, and Borrego, for Chicken, Turkey, and Sheep. The targets were placed at 200, 385, and 500 meters and you had but one shot at each, and the hit only counted if the target was knocked over. When the first competitions were held in Tucson they added a fourth target, the Javelina, or pig, at 300 meters. A complete course of fire was 20 of each target for a total of 80 shots. (Now you know where his moniker IHMSA80X80 comes from)
Since most rifle ranges did not have the capability to shoot much beyond 200 yards, proportionally sized and weighted targets were designed for 50, 100, 150, and 200 yards. It didn’t take the pistol shooters long to realize that 200 yards was well within their capabilities and the Handgun Silhouette craze was underway. Hitting the targets was easy. But knocking them over? There’s the rub. The first handgun cartridges were the existing magnums - 44, 41, and 357. But wildcats began cropping up all across the country. I was shooting mostly NRA Bullseye competition in those days and the pistols I was shooting were hardly adequate to knock those steel targets over. So, I built myself two Silhouette revolvers, a Ruger Blackhawk and a S&W Model 29 both chambered for my own wildcat, a hot loaded 45 Long Colt (sorry Ron) shooting 300 grain bullets at over 1100 fps. Other wildcatters were working along the same lines, but remember, there was no Internet in those days and we were mostly ignorant of what other guys were doing.
The TC Contender pistol became very popular and it started to appear in many different wildcat loadings. That was back in the quaint days when TC would sell you an unchambered barrel and you designed your own cartridge, had a reamer made, and voila, a new wildcat was born.
Both the Remington XP-100 bolt action and the Auto Mag gas operated pistol were popular. The XP-100 in wildcat chamberings and the Auto Mag in it’s original two cartridges.
Siluetas Metalicas grew like an octopus and just about everyone who owned a firearm tried it. I have shot it in the original Hi Power Rifle version along with Handgun, Black Powder, Cowboy, Cast Bullet, and 22 RF. The only one I have never tried is Air Rifle.
Many organizations grew out of those beginnings including IHMSA in 1976 with it’s entire line of cartridges. Maybe IHMSA80x80 can fill you in on what has happened in the later years. I shot my last Silhouette match in 1990.
I have a drawer full of different wildcats cartridges used by me and others and will show you a few of them here.