Got that fancy new rifle and
you think you're a helluva shot?

Take the Black-Death Challenge, and find out!

The Black Death Challenge was created by John Simeone, coach of Team Top Gun at Ft. Polk, LA, whose rules are a little more formal than we'll be concerned with here.
Nor does your rifle need to be anything quite so exotic as that $2,000+ Anschutz Model 1913 Super Match international freestyle rifle, but it would certainly help.

According to "firstshot," a promoter and devotee of the BDT, more BDT's have been maxed with a Ruger 10/22 and a CZ 452 than any other type.

"I think most people out there are average shooters like me," says firstshot, "and I definitely had to improve my shooting skills before I was able to Max the BDT. I firmly believe that for most folks just giving the BDT a serious try will make them better shots and those that stick with it long enough to actually Max the BDT will have improved their shooting skills considerably in the process.

"The target was developed to improve the shooting skills of the typical squirrel hunter using their everyday squirrel rifle. That's why the weight of the rifles is limited to 10 lbs, 2 oz."

So don't be embarrassed to haul out your old plinker and fire away.

At the heart of the game is the Black Death Target (BDT), which consists of five square black targets with a white circle and black dot in the center -- the "good shot" area.

The object of the game is the highest score you can get with five shots in the white -- 50 being the best and known as "Maxing the BDT."

The trick of the game is keeping all your shots from even touching any of the surrounding black area.

Any shot that touches the black renders that target invalid -- sudden BLACK DEATH! This applies only to that specific target, not the remaining targets on the paper. Nor, of course, does it apply to the black X-score center aim dot.

The white circles and their points per shot are:

  • 1½"
  • (  1 point )
  • 1"
  • (  3 points)
  • ¾"
  • (  5 points)
  • 5/8"
  • (  7 points)
  • ½"
  • (10 points)
    The black center dot provides an aim point.

    When you consider the diameter of a dime is ¾", it quickly becomes apparent that holding five shots entirely inside the white of the 10-point ½" target is something beyond a cakewalk.

    • Five shots total per paper. The five scoring shots can be fired one at each target, all five at one target, or any desired combination -- but only five shots total on the score target.
    • The ½" target is known as the "Max" and is worth 10 points per shot. Therefore, five good shots in it deliver a score of 50 -- and "Max the BDT."
    • Cartridge should be .22 caliber, but centerfire varmint calibers could be used for 100-yard distances.
    • Any type action or rifle may be used but to be squeaky clean on the rules should be limited to 10 lbs, 2 oz.
    • Sights can be scope, open iron, peep, laser, the Hubble telescope, whatever.
    • Positions can be prone, sitting, kneeling, offhand, benchrest, over-the-shoulder backwards, standing on your head, etc.
    • Distance can be either 50 or 25 yards.
    • Center dots are "X" shots and can be used for tie-breaking.
    • A .22 caliber RIG Eze-Scorer is almost essential for squeakers hovering against the black.
    Score classifications:
  • 0 = Black Death
  • 1-10 = Expert
  • 11-20 = Hawkeye
  • 21-30 = Sniper
  • 31-34 = Master Sniper
  • 35-45 = Black Death Master
  • 46-50 = Order of the White Feather

    the Targets:
    These are Adobe PDF files, which should print exactly to scale.
    You'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print them.

    NOTE: These targets are real ink guzzlers, so you might want to print one of each and take them to Office Depot or OfficeMax to make copies for a few cents each. That's a lot cheaper than draining ridiculously overpriced ink cartridges.
    Be sure your printer is set to "Portrait" mode. The targets should print to scale normally on 8½x11" paper.

    Black Death Challenge
    Main Target
    (File size: 69Kb)

    Black Death Max Ace Target
    (File size: 66Kb)

    24 Max Practice Targets
    (File size: 83Kb)

    48 Max Practice Targets
    (File size: 85Kb)