Cub Scout Shooting Program

This is an HTML version of my notes organizing the second annual Huntington Beach cub scout turkey shoot. I am posting it here so other people interested in instructing or organizing shooting events for school-age kids can take a look at it.
Time: Sunday, Nov 17th, 1996, 11:00AM - 4:00 PM
Facility: Huntington Beach Police Range, 18221 Gothard. Outdoors.
Staff: Paul Scholtz, scoutmaster; Dan Young, chief instructor; Bill Riddell, competition arbitrator; 9 volunteer range officers from Huntington Beach NRA
Shooters: 40 Scouts, grades 2-6, each with a parent or other adult. Each scout shoots with his/her parent; scored competition is 5 shots each.

Single-shot pellet rifles, eye protection, and pellets were donated by Marksman, Huntington Beach

NRA Competition targets were donated by the Huntington Beach NRA Member's Council.

[Equipment List] [Itinerary] [Range Officer Briefing] [Safety Orientation]

[Back to Dan Young's Firearms Page]



  • 7 Marksman single-shot break-action air rifles (Biathalon rifles)
  • At least one spare rifle
  • 2000+ Pellets in at least 7 cannisters (one for each station)
  • 150 NRA 50 foot slow-fire pistol targets
  • 7 Target Frames, including feet, posts, and cardboard backing
  • Staplegun for target frames
  • Duct tape or rope for marking firing line and spectator lines
  • Masking tape for putting up targets
  • 24 pieces protective eyewear
  • 6 pairs of goggles that will fit over prescription glasses
  • Tables on the firing line for pellets, targets, etc.
  • Shooting mats or blankets (optional)
  • Rangemaster's whistle
  • Stopwatch for timing squads
  • 7 marking pens (one at each station) for signing targets
  • Ear protection for kids who are afraid of the noise
  • Sandbags or boxes for kids who are too small to hold fore-end of rifle effectively

  • Table for instructional props and handouts
  • Dummy Rifle (made from 1x2s, plumber's tape, a cabinet door handle, and PVC)
  • Enlarged photocopied target on posterboard backing
  • Sight picture props
  • 50 Eddie Eagle Level II gun safety workbooks
  • 50 Marksman air gun safety leaflets
  • Clipboard with instructional outline

  • Nametags for staff
  • First Aid Kit
  • Drinking Water for staff
  • Emergency Cellular Phone
  • Trash bags for cleanup
  • Registration sheet
  • Scoring sheets
  • Clipboards for both of the above
  • Turkey-shoot signs indicating range entrance and parking areas
  • Camera for publicity photos
  • Prizes

  • Itinerary


    1. Get shooting stations and spectator line set up (7 stations, marked with tape, 25 ft from NRA 50 foot Slow-Fire pistol targets)

    2. Sight in all the air rifles

    3. Set up orientation area

    4. Brief range officers on responsibilities and the itinerary

    SHOOTERS ARRIVE 11:00 AM; may have early- and late-comers.

    I. ORIENTATION (approx. 30 minutes, begins approx. 11:15 AM)

    1. Rules of the Range (12 minutes)
    A. Keep rifles pointed in a safe direction at all times
    B. Keep fingers outside trigger guards until ready to shoot
    C. Check the chamber whenever you handle the gun
    2. Firearms off the range (8 minutes)
    A. Stop, Don't touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult
    B. Examples and situations
    3. Turkey-winning tips for good shooting (10 minutes)
    A. Holding the gun, shooting prone
    B. Using the sights
    C. Pulling the trigger
    D. Follow through
    4. Review of safety rules, and final range briefing


    1. Paul organizes parents and scouts into shooting teams, and determines order of shooting.

    2. Based on the number of squads, we determine how long each squad will be able to shoot.

    III. PRACTICE SHOOT (approx. 2 hours,begins shortly after noon)

    1 . Each team is paired with a range officer; they put the team's name on the target and go through procedures for checking the chamber, operating the air pump, and using the manual safety before shooting.

    2. The limit on the practice round is time. No cap on number of pellets unless we find we are coming up short.

    3. Range procedure is:

    A. RANGE IS CLEAR (all rifles unloaded and broken open at stations)

    B. SHOOTERS TO THE LINE. Teams come forward and meet range officers and immediately put on eye protection.

    C. SIGN YOUR TARGETS. ROs tape signed targets into the frames.

    D. CLEAR THE RANGE (or skip if range is clear already)




    H. LINE IS CLEAR (all rifles unloaded and broken open). RANGE OFFICERS FORWARD TO COLLECT TARGETS.


    Range Officers get to shoot for a while in front of kids. Hopefully they impress them..!

    V. TURKEY SHOOT (approx. 60 minutes, begins by 3:00 PM)

    1. Each team has five shots per shooter for a total of ten per target.

    2. No time limit unless shooters are very, very slow.

    3. After they are collected, shooters can look at their targets, but they remain in the control of the range officers. They will come back to the scorers who will enter the scores before returning the targets to the shooters.

    4. After everyone has had the chance to shoot for score once, shooters who want to stay and re-shoot can do so. Their highest-scoring target will be their overall score.


    Those who are stuck with the dirty work clean up and take down here.

    Range Officer Briefing

    Range Officers are responsible for four areas:

    1. To walk through loading, firing, and position with your shooter

    2. To monitor safety on the line

    3. To control the shots and the target in the competition shoot

    4. To coach if the shooter asks for it

    When you first get a shooter, introduce yourself. Make sure they put on eye protection, get their names on their target, and then walk through:
    1. Checking the chamber

    2. Loading the gun

    3. Operating the manual safety

    4. Remind them to keep the gun pointed downrange at all times, and to keep their finger off the trigger when handling the gun.

    When you think the shooters understand the procedures, then get them into a prone form. Ask them what they can see through the sights.

    Be aware that some kids might be afraid of shooting. Talk to your shooters so you know how they are feeling about it.

    The shooters won't know the condition of the gun; you are responsible for being aware if the gun is already loaded, or if the manual safety is off.

    Pellet guns are easy to double-load, since the pellets don't headspace, so be sure you know the condition of the gun.

    Watch for violations of any of the safety rules and gently remind the shooter when they are broken.

    Be models of safety.

    When shooting for competition, count out your shooter's pellets ahead of time so there isn't any confusion.



    Approx. 30 minutes



    My name's Dan, I'm a certified shooting instructor.

    We're going to get you out there shooting and having some fun this afternoon, but we also want to make sure nobody gets shot in the foot.

    My job is to make sure:

    1. Everyone today shoots safely

    2. You all learn a few things about handling guns.

    3. That everyone has a good time shooting.

    So I'm going to talk for about 30 minutes about safety, about what to do if you see guns when you're not with your parent, how to load and unload the rifles, how the safety works, and show you a couple of secrets for being a good shot--and maybe you will win that turkey.

    But the most important thing is safety. You can't have too much safety, but not enough safety is asking for trouble. We don't want any trouble today.

    How many people here have shot a BB or pellet gun before?

    [[[ Q & A ]]]

    Then I bet you already know some things about handling them safely. What are some good ideas you might have heard about handling guns?

    What are some smart things to keep yourself safe?

    Doesn't anybody have some ideas?

    [[[ Q & A ]]]

    All these things are good ideas. I'm going to give you three rules for shooting today:

    1. Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

    2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.

    3. Always check the gun to make sure it's unloaded.

    Ok? Let's talk about them.

    Basic Safety

    [pick up dummy rifle]


    What's a safe direction? A safe direction means pointing someplace where if the gun goes off, nobody would get hurt.

    This means you never point the rifle at ANYONE, and that means yourself, too! Ok?

    Think of it as if there was a laser beam always coming out of the end of the rifle, and whatever it's pointing at gets cooked. Even if it's just for a second, you never want to point it at anything that might get hurt.

    OK? So if I do THIS [zip across my foot] Oh no, there goes my foot. I do this [cross Bill]. Oh no, there goes my friend.

    You don't want to hurt anyone accidentally, so keep the gun pointed away from people at ALL times.

    So tell me, is [THIS] ok?

    [lean on rifle, pointing at myself]

    [lean on rifle, pointing at my foot]

    [tuck it under my arm, pointing low at someone (an adult)]

    [gesture to Bill--"Hey Bill, c'mon over here"]


    1. People on television are handling fake guns. They're props, just like my dummy rifle here.

    2. People on TV have a lot of bad habits.

    You scouts are going to walk out of here knowing more about how to handle a rifle than almost anyone you see on TV.

    Television is NOT a good place to learn about shooting or how to handle a gun. -- But you guys are smart; you probably already knew that.


    At the range, we have a backstop. [POINT]. When you are out there on the line, I want you to keep the rifle pointed downrange at ALL times.

    If a gun goes off, the pellet is going to go into the backstop. Is that clear?

    Any questions about keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction?


    Simple: off target = off trigger. The only time your finger can come up to the trigger is when you are aimed at your target. On target, on trigger; off target, off trigger.

    You know what the trigger is, right? [show it]. The trigger is what makes the gun shoot. BANG. If you keep your finger off it, if you suddenly sneeze, or get a bad case of the hiccups, or somebody slaps you on the back, or you trip and fall down, or a coconut falls on your head, the gun isn't going to go off.

    What's gonna happen if I do have my finger on the trigger [do] and I trip over my shoelaces [mime it]?

    Right, the gun could go off. BANG. Oops, sorry about that.

    [Bill says "that's ok, I didn't need that foot anyway."]

    All kinds of bad things happen because people walk around with their fingers on the trigger.

    But take a look at this. This is called the trigger guard. THIS is where your trigger finger should be. OUTSIDE this guard. It should rest right here, on the side of the rifle.

    When you get out on the line, remember to keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you're DOWN on the ground and have the target in your sights. Keep your finger off the trigger until you've clicked the safety off and you are ready to shoot.

    I'll talk more about that in a minute, but first, is everyone clear on that? Any questions?

    Pay attention to what you see on television and in the movies; you'll see people with their fingers on the trigger all the time. But you know better! You're smarter than they are--ok?

    Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.


    [pick up pellet gun, pointed in SAFE direction]

    Whenever you first pick up a gun, even if you already think it's unloaded, you need to CHECK IT AND MAKE SURE. It should be a habit, whenever you pick up a gun.

    You ever hear someone say, "I didn't know the gun was loaded?" It It happens a lot. It's a big cause of accidents. Those people didn't check the gun. Don't just think it's unloaded. Look and make sure.

    How do you check it? EVERY GUN IS DIFFERENT. If you don't know how to check a gun, ask someone who does. Don't EVER just think "oh, I'm pretty sure it's unloaded" or think you can just fiddle with it until you figure it out. BAD idea. Ask someone who knows.

    To check these rifles, you have to open them up and look inside. If it's hard to open, so you might want to have your shooting partner do it.

    Here's where the pellet goes--right here [SHOW IT AROUND]. If you can see anything down in the bore, the gun is loaded.

    When you first come up to shoot today, a range officer will show you again how to check the gun. If someone left a loaded gun on the line, the range officer can unload it, and he'll give them a nasty lecture.

    By the way, where is my trigger finger? That's right--OUTSIDE the trigger guard.

    And I keep the gun pointed in a safe direction even though I know it's unloaded.

    Just because I checked the gun doesn't mean I can ignore rules #1 and #2. ALWAYS KEEP THE GUN POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION, AND KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT.

    Any questions about that?

    Don't worry if this sounds like a lot to remember. The range officers will be there to help you. Their job is to give you a poke if they see you doing something you shouldn't be doing, as well as to help you with any other questions you have.

    Eddie Eagle Safety around Guns

    Ok, those really are all the basics of safely handling a gun on the range.

    But I want to talk for a few moments about what to do if you find a gun and you're not with your parents, or you're not on the range.

    Say like, you're at a friend's house, and you see a gun on a table. Or you see that somebody brought a gun to school, or a friend says, "Hey, I know where my dad keeps his guns, let's get them out."

    What do you do?

    Give me some ideas.

    [[[ Q & A ]]]

    Yes. Here's an easy thing to remember.

    Stop what you're doing.

    Don't touch

    Leave the area

    Tell an adult.

    Ok, that's Stop, don't touch, leave the area, and tell an adult.

    Whatever I'm doing, I stop doing it. I don't just ignore the gun.

    Don't touch-- I don't go and see if it's loaded, I don't try to hide it or move it.

    Instead, I just leave. Go away from wherever it is.

    And then I tell an adult, or I tell a police officer, or a teacher or my parents or my cub scout leader or whoever is around. Somebody needs to know about it. A GUN SHOULD NEVER BE A SECRET.

    Stop, don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult.

    Ok, so let's say you're fooling around in a friend's house and you see a rifle propped up in the corner and your friend says hey, let's check it out.

    Should you go pick it up?

    Should you just say no and keep playing?

    Should you say, "Let's go tell Joey Paloooka, he's a sixth grader and maybe he can show us how to work it"?

    Who could you tell?

    Right, you should say "no, let's tell someone about the gun", DON'T TOUCH, go somewhere else, and tell an adult.

    What if he goes and picks up the gun? Should you try to take it away from him?

    NO. Don't touch the gun, and that means don't ever try to take one away from someone. Just leave, and tell an adult.

    See this works for me, too, ok?

    [mime mowing the lawn]

    Let's say I'm in front of my house mowing my lawn, and I see my neighbor--Elmer Fudd--waving a shotgun around and yelling about some rabbit.

    Do I just keep mowing my lawn?

    Do I go over and say, "Hey Elmer, calm down" or try to take the shotgun away?


    Instead, I leave the area--I get myself into the house, where I'm safe, and call somebody. Maybe his wife, maybe the police, maybe animal control, whatever.


    Scouts--what if a friend of yours has a pellet rifle, and says come on over and shoot?

    Even if it's "just a pellet gun," stop, don't touch, go home and ask your parents. They might want to come and make sure that you have a safe backstop or there might be other safety issues.

    You need your parents' permission.

    Stop, don't touch, leave the area, and tell your parents about it.

    Any questions about what to do if you see a gun and you're not with your parents?

    I encourage you parents to pick up some of these free safety handouts; [Eddie Eagle Level III workbooks] they say exactly what I've been saying. Take one home with you.

    We also have some safety material from Marksman, grab one of those too.


    Any questions about safety so far?

    [[[ Q & A ]]]

    Shooting Basics

    Ok, then, now we're getting to the good stuff, troops. How do I shoot the rifle.

    When you get to the line, a range officer will show you how the guns work, and they can help you get set up and started shooting. They'll show you how to load the gun and work on a good shooting position. If you want to know all the bigtime olympic secrets about holding your breath and shooting between heartbeats, ask them about it.

    I'm just going to give you two secrets, two basic bits of advice, and if you can do this, you are going to be a bullseye-shooting turkey winner, I guarantee it, ok?

    Number one is: AIM THE GUN.


    That's all there is to it. I can hold the gun any way I want, I can shoot it standing on my head, but if I can get the gun aimed and hold it while I pull the trigger, I'm gonna shoot a bullseye every time.

    (Of course, I can't really do that standing on my head because it's too hard to control the gun that way)

    Well, so how do you aim the gun?

    [pick up rifle, pointed UP, clear it]

    What do I do when I first pick up a gun?

    That's right, I make sure it's unloaded.

    [clear it]

    Ok, the gun is unloaded.

    The rifle has two sights-- the rear sight HERE.

    And the front sight HERE.

    The idea is to look through the rear sight and get them lined up on the target.

    I NEED A VOLUNTEER. [get one to hold the big target]

    You wish the target was this big. I had to make this target for Paul because he's such a rotten shot.

    Ok, now when you go to shoot, you will be looking through the back sight. Don't put your eye right up against it or it will come back and smack you. If you get a good look through it, it will look something like this.

    [Show rear sight picture prop]

    Kind of fuzzy around the edges. When you get this picture, click off the safety. The Range Officers will show you about that.

    When you are settled into your shooting position you then want to bring the front sight around so that it fits right into the circle, and so that the top of the post is right on the bullseye.

    [bring in the front sight picture prop; line them up on target]

    The ball on the front post goes right here, in the bullseye.

    This is called the sight picture, if you can get it looking like this, you are going to win that turkey.

    Instead what you will probably see is the front sight moving around a little, because it's hard to keep still.

    [move it around a little]

    Just relax and get as good of a picture as you can.

    Focus on the front sight -- that little ball right there-- and put it right on the bullseye, and when you got it, hold it.

    What was the second piece of advice?

    Keep the gun aimed while you pull the trigger.

    That means when you start to pull the trigger, KEEP WATCHING THE SIGHT PICTURE, and pull as gently and as you can--real slow and easy.

    I say this because I know what a lot of you are going to do-- you're going to get the sights lined up, and then say, "Aha! Now it's time to pull the trigger." You'll forget all about watching the sights and just give the trigger a good hard yank.

    [get dummy rifle] Well, watch what happens when I yank on the trigger.

    [exaggerate trigger moving the gun off the target]

    It moves the gun. When you decide to stop watching the sights and just pull the trigger, the gun moves. Guess what? You aren't shooting at the bullseye any more. You're shooting at the backstop.

    Instead, when you decide to shoot, keep watching the front sight, and start bringing the trigger back nice and easy. Just think about putting more and more pressure on the trigger; don't worry about the gun going off, and WATCH THE SIGHT PICTURE.

    If the sight picture looks like this when the gun goes off you have a winner.

    If the front sight won't stay still, don't worry too much, get as comfy as you can and pull the trigger slowly while the sight is close around the target.

    Don't think about the trigger, think about the sights!

    And when the gun goes off, keep your eye on the sight for a little while while you relax. Don't just drop the rifle. Make every shot count.

    Questions about this?

    Safety wrap-up and final range briefing

    OK, So that's it for the orientation; let's get to shooting.

    We're going to have a practice round before shooting for the turkey. Get with your shooting partner and Paul will line you up to shoot.

    You'll have 15 minutes to shoot before the next squad comes in. Your Range Officer is there to give you a hand with anything, and answer your questions.

    On the line, everybody has to wear shooting glasses. If you have prescription glasses, we have goggles that will fit over your lenses.

    Pay attention to your range officers; do whatever they say.

    Ok, I'm going to turn this back over to Paul.

    Good luck everybody.

    Aim carefully and shoot carefully; and I'll see you on the line.

    This outline is in the public domain and is available to anyone who wants to use it. It has worked out very well in the past with approx. 80 shooters (40 scouts and 40 parents).

    You can [email me].

    Or [return to my firearms page].

    1996, Dan Young (