(Rifle - Pistol - Black Powder - Air gun)
For additional information please call the
NRA Silhouette Dept. at (703) 267-1474
NRA rules define the rifles and pistols allowed in silhouette
shooting. The rules define the most liberal allowable dimensions
and weights. Any rifle or pistol which falls within these
limitations can be used.
The items of equipment listed below are used in silhouette
competition. The best part is that there is very little expense
associated with silhouette shooting.
Spotting Scope - The use by the coach of a telescope or other
optical device to spot shots is permitted.
A Shooting Mat or ground cloth is permissible in Black Powder
Cartridge Rifle competition and Long Range Pistol/Smallbore Pistol
Gloves may be worn on either or both hands in pistol competition
as long as they don't afford artificial support. In rifle, they may
be worn only for warmth.
Clothing - Commercial type trap and skeet vests and shotgun
shooting shirts are permitted as well as clothing normally suitable
for existing climatic temperatures. Shooting coats, unnecessarily
heavy clothing, or anything on the person that would provide
artificial support, such as clothing having excess padding or
stiffening material, or clothing which restricts or supports the
body in the shooting position may not be worn.
High Power Rifles for Silhouette
Big game rifles as well as varmint rifles have proved to be quite
satisfactory for this kind of competition, and a number of rifles
have been specially built. The use of a specially built rifle does
not automatically guarantee a winning score. Since coaching is
allowed, the presence of a good coach can make a great deal of
difference although the individual shooter still has to perform to
his best ability in order to win.
While there is no limitation on the magnification allowed in
scopes, shooters now tend to use a scope that is twenty power or
higher, although many still use a lower power.
While 6mm is the smallest caliber allowed in High Power
competition, it is well known that a 6mm bullet will not knock the
sheep target off its stand reliably. For that reason, most
silhouette shooters use larger calibers. The most popular one seems
to be the .308 Winchester.
Smallbore Rifles in Silhouette
Since Smallbore Rifle silhouette is simply a miniature of the High
Power Rifle game, the rifle allowed is defined as being identical
to the High Power Rifle. Rifles may be chambered only for the
unmodified .22 caliber rimfire short, long, or long rifle. No
special hot loads, such as "stingers" may be used. Except for the
caliber restriction, all other equipment requirements are the
High Power and Smallbore Rifle silhouette both have a Hunter
Rifle class where only hunting style rifles may be used. These
rifles are lighter in weight and very few modifications are
Black Powder Cartridge Rifles in Silhouette
Almost any pre-1896 American manufactured single shot hunting or
military style rifle with an exposed hammer can be used. The course
of fire is the same as High Power Rifle except that only iron
sights can be used and the pigs, turkeys and rams can be shot using
cross-sticks. The most popular caliber used is .45 70.
Pistols For Use in Silhouette competition
Pistols allowed for Long Range Pistol silhouette are defined in the
NRA rules and follow very closely the rules established by the
International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association (IHMSA). NRA
Long Range Pistol silhouette has two basic pistol definitions and
forms of competition: 1.) Conventional, which permits minor
modifications, and 2.) Unlimited, which allows almost anything that
can be done to a pistol within the limits of a 15 inch barrel and
an 8 pound weight limit. Also associated with Long Range Pistol is
a .22 caliber version called Smallbore Pistol that closely follows
the Long Range Pistol courses.
NRA Hunter's Pistol competition is one of the most popular of
the NRA silhouette games. Since it is intended as a sport for
distances up to 100 meters, only certain calibers are specified as
allowable in the rules. The definition is very similar to that of
Conventional Long Range Pistol, except that the barrel length is
limited to 12 inches and the weight to 5 pounds. Scopes are allowed
as well as open sights.
NRA Smallbore Hunter's Pistol is fired with .22 caliber short,
long or long rifle cartridges at the same distance and the same
size targets as in Hunter's Pistol. The targets are thinner
material to permit reliable knockdown by the .22.
Air Guns In Silhouette Competition
Any air rifle weighing no more than 16 lbs. may be used in the Open
Air Rifle class. Any unaltered factory target air rifle may be used
in the Target Air Rifle class. The Sporter Air Rifle class includes
any unaltered factory air rifle weighing less than 11 lbs.,
complete. Any caliber may be used in Air Pistol and Air Rifle
Silhouette competition up to .22 caliber, and may be fired indoors
as well as outdoors.
Silhouette Range Facilities
Any silhouette range will have the same basic requirement:
provisions for the four difference types of targets, and a single
Silhouette Targets and Target Stands
Silhouette targets can be cut from various types of steel. It has
been found that low strength steels and some high strength steels
are not satisfactory, because of the extreme damage done to them by
high velocity bullets. For High Power Rifle, Black Powder Cartridge
Rifle and Long Range Pistol targets, abrasion resistant alloy
steels should be used. For Smallbore Rifle it is not necessary to
use the harder steels. For Hunter's Pistol, it is suggested that
the harder steels be used for the closer targets. T-1 steel is
required for Hunter's Pistol chickens. The "feet" upon which the
silhouettes rest should be of the same type of steel as the rest of
the target. Silhouettes are set on stands which should be, if
possible, two to three feet from the ground so that they can fall
free of the stand when hit. Silhouette need not be painted black if
another color makes them more visible. On some of the Eastern
ranges, targets are painted white or even blaze orange.
NRA rules allow for reduced distance firing provided the targets
are reduced proportionately to the distances used. This provision
was put into the rules in order to allow those clubs which cannot
attain the longer distances to have a silhouette program. If
desired, all targets can be set at one minimum distance, such as
200 yards in High Power Rifle. The minimum allowed distances at
which reduced courses can be fired are; High Power and Black Powder
Cartridge Rifle, 200 yards; Long Range Pistol, 50 yards; Hunter's
Pistol, 40 yards, and Smallbore Rifle, 40 yards.