Most people will have visited a fairground. Played on the games and lost, and been absolutely convinced the games are cons. The truth is, the vast majority aren’t. They are set up to be difficult, and favour the operator. But they are not set up as charities, the operator needs to take more than he pays out.
Bear in mind the following;
According to the National Lottery website, the odds of winning the major prizes are: Lotto jackpot: 1 in 45,057,474. EuroMillions jackpot: 1 in 139,838,160
Yet no one considers them to be con tricks.
Before we look at shooting galleries there is one thing to understand. The size of the prize on offer is directionally proportional to the difficulty of winning it. Look, if a giant teddy costs the operator £20 wholesale, he needs to earn at least £20 to cover the cost of it. But it doesn’t stop there. There is also the costs of transporting the game to the fair, insuring it, paying for it, paying the ground rent, the diesel for the power generator, ammunition for the guns, maintenance and so on. Realistically before giving out a £20 prize, I would be looking at a minimum of £100 takings to ensure I actually earn something. So if it’s £2 per game, you would expect on average to try 50 times before winning.
Pellets Or Corks
There are two main types of shooting galleries. The traditional air rifles firing pellets, and those firing corks. When it comes to corks there isn’t much help we can offer, use the gun like a shotgun, point it in the general direction and hope for the best
. There is a reason that no army in the world uses cork shaped bullets, and it’s this, corks are not aerodynamic, they start to tumble in random directions as soon as they leave the barrel of the gun. That’s why the army uses, well, bullet shaped bullets.
Now, on the pellet shooters there are some tips that can increase your chances to win, so let’s look at some of the myths you think are stopping you winning.
The Barrel Is Bent
Erm, no it really isn’t. Contrary to popular belief a bent barrel doesn’t make the gun fire somewhere different to where it is aimed. It just doesn’t fire at all as the pellet will jam in the barrel. The gun below with a bent barrel does actually fire around corners, but it a special weapon built especially to do that.
The Sights Are Off
Again no. Well, some probably are, but here is the thing. Military snipers are some of the best marksmen in the world. They spend hour upon hour firing thousands of rounds to hone their skills. They do however tend to use a personalised weapon. When they go into battle, they use the actual gun they have been practising with all this time. The reason being that guns can have minor differences in aim caused by manufacturing tolerances, scope mounts etc. The sniper will spend time zeroing in his/her weapon to their own specifications. They also tend to be set up for a particular range. What you wouldn’t expect them to do, is pick up a totally strange weapon and fire with the same accuracy.
So to win on a funfair shooter, you are going to have to do two things. The first is have more than one attempt. You will need at least one to sort the aim out.
Another major issue is that most people don’t actually know how to use the open sights on a rifle. Sure they watched all the war movies, and in their own minds they are all Carlos Hathcock, (A top US sniper in case you didn’t know, his life story can be found in this great article), but they really don’t know how to shoot. We can usually tell if a player knows how to handle a gun from his second shot. The first one might be off, but the following shots are usually on target.
They do this by using a technique called aiming off. What you do is take a shot at the bullseye, or whatever the target is. You then pause to see where it has impacted. Lets say for a moment that the shot hit 5mm above where you aimed and 10mm to the right. What you would do on your following shots is aim off by the same amount, ie. aim 5mm lower and 10mm to the left. This should bring you back on target.
Using this will give you a reasonable amount of accuracy and vastly improve your chances of winning on shooting galleries.