Smallbore Silhouette Shooting Matches are an arcade-like rifle shooting event using a scoped (usually) .22lr rifle. There are 4 different animal shaped targets, each at their own, known distance – i.e. Chickens at 40 meters or nearly 44 yards; Pigs at 60 meters or nearly 66 yards; Turkeys at 77 meters or 84 yards and Rams at 100 meters or 109 yards.
There are 10 of each animal, but they are shot in groups of 5. For each group, the shooter is given 2 minutes and 30 seconds to shoot at the animals – in order, one shot per animal. So each animal is either a hit – if you knock it off its stand – or a miss; then move to the next animal. After the first 5 targets are attempted, the shooter places the gun down for a pause between each set of 5 (typical pause is for 30 seconds – to reload the magazine or relax, etc.). The second set of 5 is then attempted in another 2 minute 30 second time period. Total animal count is 40, which would be a perfect score if all are knocked down!
Competitors will generally change the elevation setting on their scopes as the distance to the animal targets change so that the bullet will hit “point-of-aim” at each distance. We all know the bullet begins to drop as soon as it leaves the barrel, so the shooter must aim higher to hit the further targets. This adjustment is really not that difficult, because the distances are known and time is given before each match to determine (and record) the scope settings for each set of animals.
So, if the distances are fixed and known, a scope can be used for aiming accuracy, there is no recoil from the little .22lr cartridge, what makes this so sport fun yet challenging? It must be done while standing and unsupported!!! That’s right; the hard part is trying to keep everything “still” enough to hit the targets while the scope’s crosshairs are on them! Oh, and did I mention, the animals are kinda small? The chicken is about the size of a golf ball, the pig’s body is the size of a business card and the Ram is about the size of an average man’s hand!
I know what you are thinking “I could never do that – standing (sometimes called Offhand) is waaaaay to difficult.” In reality it does take a little bit of time to begin making your “wobble zone” smaller, but no one starts any skilled activity at the top. To help out shooters of varying skill, shooters are put into different Classes based upon how many targets they shoot. That way, beginners – usually in “B” Class only shoot against other B Class shooters. If you hit more targets than others in your Class, you win the prize for that Class. Higher classified competitors may hit more than you, but they are in a different class competing against others in their class. Besides, most folks are trying to get better themselves and shooting more than other folks is just icing on the cake! Shooters are divided into 5 different classes: B, A, AA, AAA, and Master (lowest to highest). It’s not always the Master Class shooter that gets the highest score!!! Sometimes an AAA or even AA breaks out to get the top score!
To encourage shooters to keep moving up in the ranks, shooting scores above you current classification moves you up into the next higher class, bringing new competition with it!
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