Precision Rifle is fast, fun, and exhilarating which is why it’s one of the fastest growing shooting sports in the world. Precision Rifle is where the competitors are trying to unite the three principles of precision, positions and speed to score as many points as possible during the given amount of time.
The courses are called stages and are shot individually by the competitors who must move and shoot from several challenging positions, fire under or over obstacles and in other situations. These stages are designed so that the competitor must be inventive, and therefore the solutions to challenges frequently vary between competitors.
There are no standard exercises or set arrangement of the steel targets which can have both known and unknown distances from 10 to over 1000 metres. However, the primary focus is on long range, therefore participants need to have a good knowledge of firearm ballistics.
Events operate under the SSAA Precision Rifle Rule Book 1, with various modifications to suit local Ranges. There is a calibre limit of .30 and a maximum muzzle velocity of 3200fps on the steel targets. These limits are intended to prolong target life.
In 2017 Precision Rifle competitions commenced in Australia. Its popularity was instant especially among younger competitors and Clubs soon formed in all States. The style of shooting is very practical in nature and mostly emulates field type hunting situations. Personal agility and the ability to quickly assess and establish stable shooting positions are some keys to this exciting discipline. On many stages competitors are allowed to use various shooting bags to assist with stability.
Bolt action 6.5mm (.26) or 6mm (.24) calibre rifles are widely used, with 6mm projectiles now the most popular. This is due to the low recoil and minimal muzzle flip which can enable shooters to observe their impact locations and make any vital adjustments if additional shots are required. Most competitors become skilful reloaders which assists to maximise their firearms ability. Rifles are normally equipped with variable-magnification, first focal plane, milliradian reticule scopes.
Precision Rifle has two Divisions, Production and Open. In either Division, Officials may request at any point during a Match that a competitor fire their rifle through a chronograph. If the bullet exceeds the 3,200fps speed limit, the shooter will receive an automatic match DQ (1% variation allowed for environmental factors and equipment discrepancies).
The Production Division is limited to a maximum value on both rifle and optic.
Open Division rifles may be customised within limits of firearms regulations.
All female shooters are eligible to compete under the Ladies Category in addition to their selected Precision Rifle division.
Anyone who is under 18 years of age at the commencement of the competition is eligible to compete in the Juniors Category in addition to their selected Precision Rifle Division.
Anyone who is over 50 years at the commencement of the competition is eligible to compete in the Seniors Category in addition to their selected Precision Rifle Division.
Both the 22LR and Military Surplus Rifle events are held to the same match rules and regulations as the centrefire Precision Rifle events, except for divisions and the non-usage of the Skills stages. Where legal, safety and range requirements are met, Handguns, Shotguns and Black powder firearms may be included in events.
These matches provide an excellent introduction to the Precision Rifle discipline, or even for those looking to use a rifle without the expense of centrefire ammunition. There is only Open Division for 22LR.
These matches are intended for the many service rifles available. This provides an opportunity for those wanting to use this type of rifle. Military Rifles must be as issued, without telescopic sights or target aperture sights, and the use of stripper clips is advised.
All stages must be safe. Prior to competitors undertaking a stage it is validated for safety and feasibility. Stages are highly practical in nature and include mid to long range targets, multiple distances, challenging shooting positions, unknown target distances, realistic field situations, and much more. It is highly encouraged that Match Directors proof their own stages, both in concept and on the range. This enables each stage to be designed well with an appropriate timing that could enable a skilled competitor to achieve a ‘clean run’. With most stages, it is difficult to obtain 100%, but not unobtainable.