Polite, respectful, humble — these were my first impressions of 17-year-old Jake Stine when we spoke about his silhouette shooting journey. Rather than talk about his accomplishments, he first talked of his friend Blaine Plummer — an eight-year-old new to Silhouette shooting. Jake has been working with Blaine, not as a coach per se, but as a friend and older brother, motivating him to challenge himself.
“When I was about 12 years old, I started this,” Jake said. “[When] I started, I was really struggling to find a gun that I could hold and this kid at 8 years old—he can hold that gun so much better than I ever could have whenever I first started. I think my first match, on the same targets that he shot, I may have got like 6 at the most. And this kid on his first match shot a 24 …it was amazing! He’s done so much better in one day than I had in probably a year.”
This isn’t to discount Jake’s own accomplishments, but to highlight his drive to support others in Silhouette, making him a great ambassador for SK Ammunition, his recent sponsor. Although he’s only competed in Silhouette for about four years, the last two have been chock-full of both travel and titles. Though a resident of Denver City, Texas, Jake was the 2022 Arizona State High Power Standard Rifle Champion, Hunter and Standard Rifle Junior State Champion and Hunter Rifle 2nd Open State Champion.
Even more impressive is the fact that though Jake has been shooting smallbore Silhouette for a few years, he’s only a few matches into his highpower Silhouette career. His first highpower match was in 2021, where he claimed the title of Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) Standard High Power Rifle Master Class Champion, as well as the high junior award for hunter rifle. (Jake was automatically put into the Master class to compete as he had no prior classification. Apparently, it didn’t hinder him!) He also was the overall highpower and overall smallbore winner at the 2022 Joy Cox Memorial Match.
His other accomplishments include being the 2021 Louisiana Target Air Rifle Silhouette State Champion, 2021 NRA National Smallbore Hunter Rifle High Intermediate Junior Champion, 2021 NRA National Smallbore Standard Rifle High Intermediate Junior Champion, 2021 Tulsa Red Castle Smallbore Standard and Hunter Rifle High Junior and 2021 Arizona State Smallbore Hunter Rifle Junior State Champion.
Jake has been shooting for as long as he can remember, but his competitive journey started when his grandfather took him to a Silhouette match when he was about 12 years old. Silhouette runs in the family: “Both my grandparents on both sides shot Silhouette.” Today, Jake competes with his father, whom he says is critical to his success as Jake’s spotter and wind caller. His mom also competes, though only in smallbore Silhouette. The Stine family has even built a Silhouette range in their backyard for practice. Referring to shooting with his family, Jake commented, “It’s just really amazing to me that I get to do that cause I know that other people don’t really get to share a sport like this with their family.”
In addition to spending time with family, shooting and being a member of Team SK has done a lot for Jake personally. “It’s been one of the biggest things that has shaped my life. Before I got into shooting, I wasn’t real athletic, and I’m still not, but this is really the only sport I’ve ever been good at and it’s really boosted my confidence.” He is classified as a Master in smallbore standard rifle, AAA class in smallbore hunter rifle and AAA in both highpower hunter and standard rifle.
How about his preferred gear? Jake competes in smallbore with Lapua Midas ammunition, and has recently began competing with an Anschutz 5418, formerly using a CZ 457. For highpower Silhouette, he uses a Remington XP-100 chambered in 6mm BR and loaded in Lapua brass with Berger bullets and Vihtavuori powders. Reloading is also a family venture—Jake’s father has always enjoyed load development and is mentoring his son in the process.
While winning is always nice, for Jake the sport is largely about personal growth and learning. “Marksmanship has not only taught me how to use a firearm properly,” he said, “but it has also taught me patience and decisiveness for other aspects of my life.” The Silhouette community, across all disciplines, is also very welcoming and supportive. There aren’t any secrets. “No one is mad if you win or lose; we are just out there to have fun and shoot,” Jake said. “Throughout the years of training for the sport I have had multiple people help me and teach me the correct techniques and training tips to become more competitive.”
Currently a junior in high school, Jake has opted for homeschool to allow for more flexibility in traveling to matches, something he recognizes he is very fortunate to be able to do. He plans to study mechanical engineering in the future and hopefully have a flexible enough schedule to be able to travel and compete in Silhouette matches.
Perhaps it is Jake’s advice for new shooters that has helped him reach such heights so quickly: “When you begin don’t compare your scores to anyone else’s scores. The only person you are trying to beat is you. If you got one more point than last time, even though you may have not won the match, you won the confidence that not only can you shoot that score again but you can also do even better next time.” No matter the discipline, this is sound advice from a talented young man who truly appreciates the opportunities he has had.