Bowling Pin Shooting’s High-Powered Renaissance

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If you expect to rudely shove a bowling pin 15 feet to the rear, you’d better be bringing some serious horsepower to the task. The .460 S&W Magnum, in a .460 XVR, can do that.

If you enjoy pure, unadulterated handgun power then Big Push Bowling Pin Shooting is your game.

Bowling pin shooting went through an almost 20-year hiatus. When it came back, some of the events were left almost unchanged, some were changed quite a bit, and some new ones got added (there are several different bowling pin categories or events you can enter—kind of like stages in a match—but each event is scored separately and has its own prize table).

One of the new ones is “The Big Push.” In regular pin shooting, you have to knock the pins, five to eight of them, off of a flat, but sided, table. These are the major-power events, and they require pushing the pin back 3 feet. The minor-power events simply call for tipping them over.

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The Big Push involves only three pins. However, the table is a trough … and the trough is 14.5 feet long. No, that isn’t a typo: You have to push the pins almost the length of a Toyota Corolla. A full-house .44 Magnum gets them halfway there. A .454 Casull gets them to the back, and often off, but not quickly. If you want to broom the trio of pins off—and immediately—you’d better be using something like, or exactly like, the .460 S&W magnum with full-power ammunition.

While watching competitors lined up to shoot, a friend of mine once remarked, “Half of the .460 and .500 S&W ammunition shot each year is probably shot right here, this week.” OK, this was a slight exaggeration, but not much.

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This event has been held for three years now, and it’s always entertaining. When a full-house S&W (.460 or .500) hits a pin solidly, that pin is gone! Edge hits cause chips and splinters to fly, and the pin spins madly—sometimes walking itself off of the table just through high-rpm rotation. Then, there’s the inevitable disappointment of those who have ammo that’s “almost,” but not quite, up to the task.

If you like shooting the heavy-hitters—if you like shooting fast double-action, or if you just like having fun shooting—this event should be on your list (it takes place in northern Michigan, near Traverse City, June 6–12, 2020.

Just listen for the shooting and cheering … or visit the website:

The article originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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