Plinking 101

As a pellet gun enthusiast, I love plinking. It’s one of those games you can play by yourself, or with friends that is just so much fun. I remember plinking with my father some years ago in the backyard and we would spend hours not only shooting our favorite air rifles but also building our own little plinking targets.

The Rules of Plinking

Plinking is by definition a game of shooting homemade targets. Perhaps the best part about plinking is that you can always adapt the rules to suit your own environment which is a reason that plinking is such a popular past time today. The basic rules are quite simple: the shooter who hits the most targets with the most value wins!

The first thing to determine when organizing a plinking session is what exactly you are going to shoot at. It’s important to choose targets which are going to be noticeable when struck. The best way to make noticeable target is to choose something that will imitate the plinking sounds which is usually an object which is made of aluminum or some other type of metal.

Best Plinking Targets

For me, my preferred targets are either aluminum soda/beer cans or cutlery. For cutlery I like to use spoons or knives as I find these to items to differ enough to provide different difficulties of plinking and can also provide different sounds so you know which one you hit. One problem however is that cutlery typically will not be pierced by a pellet so the construction of your plinking set when using cutlery is extremely important.

Building a Plinking Set

If you are going the route of building a plinking set you want to ensure you first off have a solid backdrop which will not cause the pellet to ricochet. I typically like to use particle board of some type as the pellets will usually die off of any wooden structure.

As the video below shows, attach your targets so that when struck, it will be noticeable even if from a distance. When you are shotting from 25 meters back, it can be difficult to identify which target you hit so it’s great if you can actually make swinging targets.

Once you have your plinking set created, the rules are basically up to you. If you want to proceed by the book, you'll want to first off measure out 15 yards, 25 yards and 35 yards. The distances will ultimately depend on the strength of your air rifle as at 35 yards, some air rifles will begin to lose accuracy because of power. However, if you're using a .22 caliber, you should always be fine from a distance of 35 yards. When using .177 caliber pellets, you might find that striking targets from 35 yards will become difficult because the pellets will actually begin to fall off. If you're not sure what pellet gun to use for plinking, you can check our guide for the most accurate air rifles or best air rifles for hunting as all of the rifles will be suitable for your plinking needs.


Now that you have your targets lined up and your pellet gun chosen, you're going to want to begin shooting! The way I plink is to let all shooters have three shots at the first distance of 15 yards. If you plan to shoot from multiple distances, eliminate a player after each round of three shots. For example, if you have 4 shooters, the person who hits the least amount of targets in the first round is eliminated. Now that you have three shooters, make the same three shots from 25 yards and further eliminate another shooter. In the case of a tie, have a one-shot shoot off until some one hits the target. Continue shooting until you have one shooter remaining in which case you can crown your winner!


When shooting, it's always important to consider safety. I always recommend wearing safety glasses and using a backdrop which prevents ricochet. Also, make sure everyone using the pellet gun knows how to properly use it as getting hit with a pellet by mistake can cause injury or even worse!



Hi! I'm Dave - an air rifle enthusiast and a bit of a geek to be honest. When I'm not out at the range or on a hunting trip, I enjoy writing about different air rifle products and accessories.