How to Choose a Smallbore Rifle for Competitive Shooting

Written by ehow sports & fitness editor
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Smallbore rifle shooting is quite a competitive sport. Like any sport, the more successful one becomes depends not only on their skill, commitment and drive but also on the quality of one's equipment. Using the correct smallbore target rifle can mean the difference between a first-place or second-place finish. It can also mean the difference between living an Olympic dream and sitting on the couch watching the Olympics on TV.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Go to a few local smallbore rifle matches. You're best bet is to simply talk to the shooters. Look for shooters at the top of the rankings, and find out what they use. You can find smallbore rifle matches in your area online. You can also stop by your local shooting range and ask for a calendar of events. They will most likely be able to tell you of any smallbore rifle events in the area.

  2. 2

    Get acquainted with the different smallbore rifle manufacturers. You can look into Winchester, Remington and Ruger, to name a few. Another popular .22 caliber rifle of choice is the Anschutz brand. The vast majority of successful competitive smallbore shooters use an Anschutz rifle.

  3. 3

    Make sure that the rifle fits into the criteria for the type of sport shooting you'll be doing. Make sure the rifle you use is a .22 caliber. Ensure that it is of the correct action type (bolt action or semi-automatic). Get the right sights for your rifle. Make sure it isn't too heavy for you. Typically, the heavier the better; but if you can't handle the physical weight, it probably won't work for you. Trigger weight is also important. You'll want a trigger that is as light as possible. A good competition trigger is measured in ounces not pounds.

  4. 4

    Adhere to the rules of the type of competitive shooting you'll be doing. For example, if you're shooting three- or four-position smallbore, you'll need peep sights and a spotting scope. Refer to the NRA Rifle Rule Book for all rules and regulations regarding authorized equipment. You can call the NRA Rifle Department at (703) 267-1475 for more information.

  5. 5

    Buy your new rifle. Take it out to the range before you enter into a shooting match. Sight it in, and get ready to have a great time.

Tips and warnings

  • You don't have to start out with the most expensive equipment to have a good time at smallbore rifle shooting. You can easily purchase a decent, used rifle through a gun store or at a gun show. When you get more experienced, trade up to a better model.
  • Standard velocity ammunition will shoot more accurately than high velocity, so don't waste your money. As you get better, you can purchase tournament quality ammunition that is suited to your rifle.
  • ALWAYS use proper hearing and eye protection whenever you're shooting.
  • ALWAYS keep the rifle pointed in a safe direction.
  • ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • ALWAYS keep the rifle unloaded until ready to use.

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