AIM – Airgun Instruction and Marksmanship

AIM - Airgun Instruction and Marksmanship


One Sunday afternoon, about two years ago (2011), Ruari Plint was doing some masonry work at the Northcliff Air Rifle Range. He had brought his children, some of their friends and an armful of air rifles along. The children soon got bored with missing the targets they were aiming at and were doing their best to distract and annoy Ruari. I laid my rifle down and started coaching the children. Before long they were hitting the targets. They only stopped shooting when it was too dark to see the targets.

That evening Ruari and I discussed the experience and Northcliff Youth Development was born. Using begged and borrowed air rifles we were able to help 15 Scouts achieve their Marksmanship badges.

Upon receiving the surprise phone call that we had been allocated a grant to further our program we soon realized that a name change was required. We appealed to the airgunning community for a new name with a shooting acronym. Hence we became Airgun Instruction and Marksmanship.


Our first event under the AIM banner was the Dullstroom Game Fair during September 2012. The concept of what we were offering was well received by the public.

October saw us at the SA Navy Sports Day at the Pretoria Naval Base. At this event we took the decision to drop the 10 metre target offering. The noise and action of a Field Target or a Silhouette being hit proved far more attractive. A result of this event is the SA Defence Force being busy evaluating a large recoiling air rifle for shooting training purposes. History returning to South Africa to repeat itself.

During November 2012 we staged a Friday night silhouette shoot for spring powered, open sight air rifles. This proved to be a very popular family event with many wives and girlfriends having a go. We eventually locked the range at 01:00 on Saturday morning. Noting constructive criticism from executive committee members of the Gauteng Metal Silhouette Shooting Association who attended the event we will have to construct more range equipment before we can offer this to the public again. Hopefully the funds will be available to do this as it is a form of shooting at which a person can be competitive with a rifle costing less than R2 000, many thousands of which are sold in South Africa every year. South Africa is also a “guinea pig” country for the International Metal Silhouette Shooting Union for this discipline. We shall revisit this when the evenings start warming.

Early December 2012 we offered an evening of Iron Plate Action Shooting (IPAS) for CO2 powered multishot air pistols. We assembled a set of targets from scrap metal. More than thirty people arrived of whom about 20 competed. This has been our most successful event to date with a Gauteng League being formed by people who participated with regular shoots being held in Johannesburg and Pretoria. We have donated an old fashioned smoothing iron as a “floating” trophy which is awarded to the winner of each league shoot. The targets have taken a hammering and will need replacing soon with more robustly constructed ones. These are in the design phase at present. At this event we also outsourced the catering to the Scout movement. They were able, after expenses, to raise about R1 800 towards a fund to sponsor less privileged scouts to competition camps.

February 2013 found us at Wonderboom High School for their shooting club’s “this is what we do” afternoon for new pupils and their families. The IPAS range proved most popular. This was the first time we had to deal with a queue. We had children, mothers and grannies rejoining the queue for another go. It required three people reloading the pistols with pellets and gas to keep up.

During June 2013 we attended a come and try shooting day at the Wonderboom Paintball Centre. This gave us the opportunity to try our newly acquired equipment. At this event we realized that we needed to design and construct pellet traps for the field Target and Silhouette ranges.

This coming weekend (9 to 11 August 2013) we shall be at the Wild Expo being held at the Tshwane Events Centre. The Expo is the largest and the first multi day event we have attended. We are planning to use this as a way of getting AIM into the minds of the general public which could lead to invitations from schools, youth groups and community based organisations.

Saturday 31 August 2013 will find us in Ventersburg inspiring people to take up shooting as a sport.


Nicolas Yale CC have donated three Bam B41 rifles to AIM. Mr Cor Swanepoel offered three ZOS 10–40×50 scopes at his landed cost. These are for awarding to less privileged young shooters subject to the following:
Must have been competing in Field Target shooting for at least a year using inferior or borrowed equipment.
Write a motivation as to why they should be awarded the equipment. This must be accompanied by two references from members of the club at which they shoot.
These documents are forwarded to the managing member of Nicolas Yale cc who is the final arbiter to the awarding of the rifle.
The successful applicant also receives an AIM branded shirt which they are expected to wear at all shooting related events.

One such rifle has been handed over thus far. Between us we were able to donate decent scope mounts and an entry level gun case. Members of the airgunning community kindly donated the conversion of the stock to left handed and the hardware to fit an adjustable cheekpiece.

The ongoing expense of supplying pellets, equipment maintenance and event entry fees needs to be budgeted for.

Once these rifles have been awarded we shall have to carefully consider the type of rifle we shall be sponsoring. A full PCP rig will cost about R14 000 at today’s prices. A spring powered set up will be about half that price enabling us to help twice as many shooters. The downside is that they will never be able to qualify for Protea colours using a spring powered rifle.


To date we have purchased 5 spring powered air rifles, 3 CO2 pistols, a box of gas cartridges and 20 tins of pellets for R17 890. 10 Field Targets, 2 sets of Silhouettes and had pellet traps manufactured for R8 150. Branding R1 290.

Future expenditure will have to include the following:
A method of tethering the weapons to the range in such a way that they are still usable.
Tables, chairs and gazebos for the efficient operation of an event out in the open.
A trailer to move our equipment to events.
Other incidentals such as flyers, business cards and red flags.


Ruari Plint has, for personal reasons, relocated to East London. This has left a gap which we have not filled as yet. He is looking to start a branch of AIM in East London.

We do know that we have an offering that people who try it enjoy. Our challenge is to get as many people as possible involved in the wonderful game of sport shooting all over this wonderful country of ours.

Adrian Smuts
+2784 012 3282 – Email
AIM – Gauteng
Igniting The Passion of Shooting