Andrew Springer’s winning SUYB entry harkens back to the days when famous exhibition shooters like Ad and Plinky Topperwein would use a .22 rimfire rifle to draw pictures of Indians and Uncle Sam on a thin metal plate. When he’s not working on his sister’s ranch, Springer, 49, is a swimming pool salesman from Milano, Texas. He used a host of salvaged and recycled materials for his novel project.
“My grandpa was a tinkerer and he never threw anything away,” Springer recalled. “He had salvaged some old fluorescent lights from a garage about 30 years ago. My uncle picked up the old wood for the frame from a barn.”
According to Springer, the hardest part of the project was accurately enlarging the Buckmark. “We got it onto a phone, then put that up on a big TV screen and traced a template. We used pennies to accurately space the shot holes. I drilled the inside of the Buckmark so it would be perfect.”
The metal sheet is about four feet tall and three feet wide with a wonderful brown surface finish that is accented by the aged gray barn wood enclosure. After shooting the Buckmark outline, Springer used a mix of old coffee grounds, vinegar, red wine, salt and other materials to remove the faded white paint, and then left it out in the Central Texas weather for a month or more to promote the rusty patina. He finally added modern LED backlighting in his wife’s favorite color, bright neon pink to make the Buckmark really pop off the metal background.
Springer is an avid Browning owner, with three of the brand’s famous shotguns already in his gun rack. For dove hunting this season he selected a new Browning A5 Hunter with a 28-inch barrel and 3-inch chamber as his prize.
“We have a bunch of young hunters coming up and so we really needed another shotgun in the group,” Springer concluded. “I’m going to pass my 20 gauge BPS down to one of them and use the new A5 myself.”
When asked about his next SUYB project, Springer just laughed. “I’ve been taking to my sister, who designs furniture. She’s just itching to go herself.”
(PS: We like to think that the old exhibition shooters like Ad and Plinky would be very pleased that there are folks still making wonderful art with a rimfire rifle, like Andrew Springer down in the Lone Star State.)