The Meccano Society of Scotland

Shooting Gallery

Menstrie Challenge 2018


The challenge is to build a machine from standard and/or compatible Meccano parts that is able to propel a number of standard (3/8” or 9.5mm) Meccano Ball Bearings at a variety of targets contained in the Shooting Gallery placed on a table or tables arranged on the Menstrie Scout Hall floor. The machine should be able to impart the required velocity to the Ball Bearings using any suitable means by parts recognised as a component of the Meccano system: Spring Cord, Compression Spring(s), Tension Spring(s), Drive Band(s) or Clockwork Motor(s), etc. Gravity-propelled launchers (ramps, trebuchets and the like) may also be entered but it should be noted that the Shooting Gallery is intended to receive Ball Bearings travelling in a predominantly horizontal plane. In order to avoid potential injury to Members any machine deemed too dangerous to use will be excluded.

The Shooting Gallery will comprise of a number of “Targets” that have varying degrees of difficulty in hitting. “Easy” targets will be awarded a lower number of points than “difficult” targets. Some of the targets will also be in motion when being fired upon. The targets will be contained in a cuboid of 25 holes height, 25 holes depth and 49 holes width, elevated 25 holes above the table upon which it is placed. The Shooting Gallery will clearly indicate the number of points available for each target.

The competition will determine which machine and operator can score the greatest number of points from the discharge of 20 Ball Bearings at the Shooting Gallery from each of three distances: 48”, 72” and 96”. The shooting gallery will initially be placed at 48” from the firing line. The design of the shooting gallery favours machines with high accuracy rather than high velocity.


  1. Machine settings (aim, range, velocity, etc) may be adjusted between successive firings.
  2. The power source may be any clockwork motor, band, spring or gravity mechanism. Clockwork motors, bands & springs may be re-wound as required. No electrical apparatus is permitted.
  3. Automatic firing machines once set in motion may be adjusted during the firing cycle.
  4. Machines that irreparably damage the Shooting Gallery or the Scout Hut will be disqualified.
  5. There are no size or weight restrictions for the machine’s construction.
  6. The machine should be assembled from Meccano or Meccano compatible parts.
  7. No part of the machine may extend over the firing line.
  8. Machines may fire a broadside of up to 20 Ball Bearings simultaneously or individual Ball Bearings may be fired sequentially.
  9. Machines which become inoperable during a particular round will be withdrawn but, if successfully returned to working order, may be re-entered in any following round(s).
  10. The maximum duration for 20 shots (i.e. a round) should not exceed 3 minutes per machine.
  11. Entrants may enter more than one machine.
  12. 20 Ball Bearings per machine per round are permitted.
  13. The machine should incorporate some form of safety switch to prevent inadvertent discharge.
  14. Aiming Ball Bearings at other competitors or their machines is not permitted.
  15. Proxy entrants are welcome.
  16. To aid marshals, commentators, fielders, scorers and reporters writing up the event, the entrant’s name must be prominently displayed (e.g. a sticky label).
  17. Practice sessions using the Shooting Gallery will be allowed until the Secretary announces the competition has commenced.
  18. In the event of a dispute the Secretary will arbitrate.
  19. The winner will be the machine with the highest aggregate score for all three rounds. In the event of a draw between 2 or more machines, the winner will be determined by further round(s) with 24” additional increments from the Shooting Gallery.