For additional information please call the
NRA High Power Rifle Dept. at (703) 267-1479
Courses of Fire
There are 4 strings of fire which are the basic building blocks of
any NRA high power rifle course of fire or tournament. These
1. Slow Fire, standing - 10 rounds at 200 yards in 10
2. Rapid Fire, sitting or kneeling - 10 rounds at 200 yards in 60
3. Rapid Fire, 10 rounds prone - 300 yards in 70 seconds.
4. Slow Fire, 10 rounds prone - 500 or 600 yards in 10 minutes.
Every NRA High Power Rifle match for which classification
records are kept is a multiple or a combination of one or more of
these strings. The popular National Match Course, for instance,
consists of 10 rounds slow fire standing; 10 rounds rapid fire
sitting or kneeling; 10 rounds rapid fire prone and 20 rounds slow
fire prone. Matches fired all at one distance and in one position
are known as "single-stage" matches and are usually 20 shot matches
(2 times one of the basic strings).
"Slow Fire" does not require much explanation. The shooter takes
his position on the firing line, assumes the prescribed position
and is allowed one minute per shot to fire the string.
"Rapid Fire," on the other hand, is more elaborate. In rapid
fire sitting or kneeling, the shooter uses a preparation period to
establish sitting or kneeling position; then comes to a standing
position and, on command, loads either 2 or 5 rounds (depending on
the firearm) into the rifle. When the targets appear or the command
to commence fire is given, the shooter gets into the firing
position, fires the rounds in the rifle, reloads with 8 or 5 more
for a total of 10 and finishes the string. The procedure for rapid
fire prone differs only in the firing position and the time
Rifle: Rifles to be used in High Power Rifle competition must be
equipped with metallic sights (Some long range, 1000-yard matches
allow the use of "any sights"), should be capable of holding at
least 5 rounds of ammunition and should be adapted to rapid
reloading. Tournament programs often group competitions into two
divisions, Service Rifle and Match Rifle. The rifles currently
defined as "Service Rifles" include the M1, M14, M16 and their
commercial equivalents. Winchester and Remington have made their
Model 70 and Model 40X rifles in "match" versions and custom
gunsmiths have made up match rifles on many military and commercial
actions. 1903 and 1903-A3 Springfield, 1917 Enfields and pre-war
Winchester Model 70 sporters in .30-06 are all equipped with clip
slots for rapid reloading. The most suitable rear sights are
aperture or "peep" with reliable, repeatable 1/2 minute (or finer)
adjustments. Front sights should be of either the post or aperture
Sling: The shooting sling is helpful in steadying the positions
and controlling recoil. The sling may be used in any position
Spotting Scope: A spotting scope or a substitute optical device
is important for scoring and observing the placement of shot
spotters on the target. The beginning shooter will benefit from the
use of about any telescope which gives an erect image. The most
suitable spotting scopes, however, have a magnification of from 20
to 25 power and an objective lens at least 50mm in diameter.
Eyepieces angled at 45 to 90 degrees are convenient for using the
scope without disturbing the shooting position.
Shooting Coat: The shooting coat is equipped with elbow,
shoulder and sling pads which contribute to the shooter's comfort.
Since there are several styles of shooting coats of varying cost,
the shooter is advised to try out several types before making an
Shooting Glove: The shooting glove's primary function is to
protect the forward hand from the pressure of the sling. Any heavy
glove will serve the purpose until the shooter makes a final choice
among several shooting gloves available.
Sight Blackener: The shooter using an exposed front sight such
as the blade found on the service rifle will require some means of
blackening the sight. A carbide lamp will do this job or a
commercial sight black sold in spray cans can be used.
Scorebook: If the shooter is to learn from experience, they
should record the conditions and circumstances involved in firing
each shot. Sight settings, sling adjustments, wind and light
conditions and ammunition used all have a place in the scorebook.
Actual shot value is the least important data recorded.
Ammunition: Most competitors eventually turn to handloads.
Careful handloading will yield ammunition less expensive and more
accurate than otherwise available. Both tracer and incendiary
ammunition are prohibited by NRA Rules and armor-piercing
ammunition may be prohibited by local range regulations.
Long Range Competition
NRA rules provide for slow fire prone competition at ranges beyond
600 yards. The Palma Match is one such event. It is conducted at
distances of 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Some of these matches permit
the use of telescopic sights.
High power rifle shooting at the full regulation distances requires
a range with firing lines at 200, 300 and 600 (or 500) yards.
Every official NRA stage or course of fire normally conducted at
200, 300, or 500 yards can be run at 100 yards on the NRA official
reduced targets. The SR-1 target simulates the 200 yard target; the
SR-21 is the 100 yard equivalent of the 300 yard target and the
MR-31 gives the same appearance at 100 yards as the normal 600 yard
target does at the full distance.
Because of their small size, the reduced targets are well
adapted to being hung on stationary frames. Because of the short
distances involved, it is practicable to walk down to the targets
after each string and remove them for scoring elsewhere or to score
them on the frames. The use of stationary target frames eliminates
the complications that sometimes arise when the number of shooters
on the line is not equal to the number of target operators in the
Reduced 300 and 600 yards targets are also available for firing at
200 yards. The NRA can provide a list of target sources, including
High Power Sporting Rifle
The High Power Sporting Rifle Rules were introduced in 1985. This
variation is fired with hunting type rifles which may be equipped
with telescopic sights. The course is fired at a single distance -
either 100 or 200 yards - and rapid fire strings are only 4 shots
to accommodate the typical hunting rifle.