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Shooting Competition Overview – Part 2; Long Range Benchrest, Practical & Cowboy Action & More

This is part two in our series on shooting competitions. If you missed part one, check it out here!

Long Range Benchrest

The matches run from 100 yards to 600 yards and out to 1,000 yards. Equipment and shooter have to be top notch and wind doping a necessary talent. Handloading is an essential adjutant to bench rest competition. Small bore; usually 6mm are used for the short range classes. For the 600 yard ranges the 6mm BR Norma and the wildcat 6mm Dasher are dominate. But at a 1000 yards the calibers run up to .338 magnums. The 30 caliber cartridges are popular with the 300 Winchester Magnums having a share of adherents. Calibers are dominate popular performers, but many a match has been successfully contested using everything from 22 centerfire to the 338’s. At a thousand yard shooting requires that wind flags are placed at regular intervals indicating direction and speed of the wind to aid the shooter in doping or estimating the wind and its effect down range. It takes a bullet nearly two seconds to transition down range, with the accumulating wind forces significantly altering the bullet’s path. The ability to estimate wind direction and speed is a premium skill mastered by the best shooters, and it takes practice. Scores are on group size (precision) and distance from the center bull ring (accuracy).

Cowboy Action Shooting Competition

Action Shooting includes two different forms; Practical Shooting and Cowboy Action. The Cowboy Action guys and gals are in it for fun. They assume a period alias and dress and arm themselves accordingly. Shooting under the two umbrella organizations NCOWS and SASS some even have a notebook documenting the authenticity of their outfits. Everything must authentic to the period. Shooting includes handgun stages, with only five rounds as the traditional carry for safety was the hammer down over an empty cylinder, pistol caliber rifle with the 1873 Winchester or modern reproductions dominating and shotguns have some restrictions as to types. There are competitions for the 22 rimfire, usually youth classes, gunslinger class using the low drop holster as seen in the movies and other classes to accommodate the post civil war period. All weapons have to be original or faithful reproductions of the period firearms. Of course the reproductions predominate. Targets can be bullseye paper to steel plate. No jacket ammo, all have to be lead. Some classes require black powder cartridges. There are classes for the cap and ball crowd as well.

Practical Shooting Competitions

Practical shooting as its name implies was intended to match shooting scenarios the parallel real combat. Various classes allow varying equipment and have class restrictions. Heavy metal requires handgun caliber of at least 45 caliber, 30 caliber rifles and 12 gauge pump shotguns and only iron sights. Other classes allow for optical or electronic sights, 20 gauge to 12 gauge auto-loading or pump guns. Tactical class is usually a MSR (modern sporting rifle, i.e. AR-15 platforms) in 223, 20 or 12 gauge shot guns, can be semi-autos or pump, and 9mm handguns on up. Unlimited classes us exotic pistols, holsters and optical or electronic sights. Action sports require a level of fitness as the person has to run to various stages, then fire. Also there is a minimum power factor related to bullet weight and velocity, with minimums for each class and bonus conditions for the higher powered loads and calibers. But the level of competition is fierce and the courses of fire challenging. There are restrictions on gear and clothing; the practical shooting organizations want to avoid the police tactical unit or military dress association.

Other Types of Shooting Competitions

From paper punching to dinging steel there is a sport for handgun aficionados, clay busters to the long range precision shooter. There are sporting matches from period black powder to modern long range high tech equipment. Various activities like Rendezvous are period meeting events catering to the flintlock and early cap and ball shooters. A dress-up the attendees are in period clothing of the 18th century and indulge in muzzle loading, knife and axe throwing and other period competitions. Shooting Sports offers a variety of options for participation. Find one that appeals to you, or two or more if inclined. Whichever you choose, practice and training are obviously key to making you a better shooter. Shooting Range Industries designs and fabricates custom portable shooting ranges for the most convenient shooting ranges situated on your own property. Contact us to learn more!