Rifle Metallic Silhouette

Rifle Metallic Silhouette is an air, rimfire, centrefire, service and black powder rifle shooting discipline where competitors aim to knock down metal animal-shaped targets. The targets are placed on steel stands in banks of five and set at a variety of known distances, with the competitors having a certain amount of time to knock as many down as they can. The various competitions are shot from a range of distance and positions, depending on the firearm calibre and category, but all competitions aim to improve hunting marksmanship skills under range conditions.

History

Rifle Metallic Silhouette is a sport in which rifles are used to knock down metal targets at a variety of distances. The sport originated in Mexico in the early 1950s, arrived in Australia in the late 1970s and is now a sanctioned and popular discipline of the SSAA. Each year, there are state and national championships, as well as postal competitions. International matches are a common event, with SSAA teams regularly competing in NRA Metallic Silhouette Championships.

Silhouette shooting continued to grow in popularity, and in 2006, the Rifle Metallic Silhouette discipline was approved to run NRA Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette as a national event, with the first National Championships held in 2008. This match is conducted on existing Handgun Metallic Silhouette ranges and opens up Rifle Metallic Silhouette shooting to a larger number of shooters who wouldn’t usually have access to a 500m range. Also, because the cartridges used for Cowboy Lever Action hit the targets with less energy than the handguns used in Handgun Metallic Silhouette, target damage and fall-out zones are greatly reduced.

Firearms and Classes

Rifle Metallic Silhouette usually caters for centrefire and rimfire rifles, air rifles, service rifles and black powder cartridge rifles. The range is set up with the targets at their appropriate distances from a common firing point. Most SSAA branches can accommodate the 100m range required for the Rimfire matches. However, 500m Centrefire ranges are not as common because of the large amount of land required to contain both the range and safety zone.

Centrefire Silhouette Rifle

Centrefire Silhouette Rifle has fairly liberal rules governing weight and dimensions and allows shooters to use custom rifles based on a wide choice of calibres, actions, barrels, triggers and stocks. The rifle is permitted to be of 6mm/.243-calibre or larger, with a maximum weight of 4.6kg including the sights. Any sights are permitted to be used, except for sighting devices programmed to activate the firing mechanism. Any functional trigger of any release weight is permitted.

Centrefire Hunting Rifle

Centrefire Hunting Rifle only allows for commercially available or previously commercially available sporting- and hunting-style rifles that have not been modified. Custom-made rifles are not permitted. The rifle is permitted to be of 6mm/.243-calibre or larger, with a maximum weight of 4.2kg including the sights. The trigger may be adjusted, but not replaced with a custom trigger. It is also required to have a minimum pull weight of 2lb and be equipped with a functional safety. Swivels and slings are permitted, but slings may not be used for arm support when shooting.

Rimfire Silhouette Rifle

Rimfire Silhouette Rifle is identical to Centrefire Silhouette Rifle, except that the rifle is to be chambered for the .22-calibre Short, Long or Long Rifle cartridge only.

Rimfire Hunting Rifle

Rimfire Hunting Rifle is identical to Centrefire Hunting Rifle, except that the rifle is to be chambered for the .22-calibre Short, Long or Long Rifle cartridge only and has a maximum weight of 3.86kg including the sights.

Air Rifle

Air Rifle permits the use of any air rifle of any calibre, with a maximum weight of 7kg including sights, except for sighting devices programmed to activate the firing mechanism. Any functional trigger of any release weight is permitted. Hooked buttplates are not permitted.

Service Rifle

Service Rifle is identical to Centrefire Silhouette Rifle, except that any centrefire service rifle may be used if it is ‘as-issued’ for general service use by the armed forces of any nation. The rifle is permitted to be of 6mm/.243-calibre or larger and must be standard to that particular model of rifle. The weight, sights and stock of the rifle must be as-issued. The trigger pull must be as-issued and no less than 2lb. Special models, limited editions, experimental models and specially modified rifles are not permitted. External modifications of the rifle are not permitted.

Black Powder Cartridge Rifle

Black Powder Cartridge Rifle requires the use of any original or replica hunting or military-style single-shot rifle, originally made for black powder and manufactured prior to 1896. If replacement barrels, stocks or other parts are used, they must be of the original period style. Schuetzen-style rifles are not permitted. The rifle must weigh no more than 5.5kg and the sights must be any original or replica model manufactured prior to 1896. The trigger is to be in the spirit of the original design.

Targets, Scoring and Ammunition

Targets and scoring

The targets are metallic cut-outs in the shape of chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams, which are of varying thicknesses and placed at varying distances, depending on the calibre of the rifle being used. A steel stand is set into the ground and the targets are placed on it. There are 10 targets placed at each distance, set out in two banks of five targets.

Matches consist of 10 shots taken at each of the four types of targets, resulting in 40 shots overall. All Rifle Metallic Silhouette matches are shot from the standing offhand position, with no support during competition, not even a sling.

For all matches, in all classes, the time limit for firing the five shots is two and a half minutes. The sequence is repeated until the required number of shots is fired at the required number of targets. To score a hit, these armour-plated animals must be knocked off their stands in the correct order and within the time limit. Each shooter normally has a spotter/scorer recording the shots and making sure the shooter abides by the rules.

In the Centrefire matches, chickens are placed at 200m, pigs at 300m, turkeys at 385m and rams at 500m. In the Rimfire matches, the targets and the ranges at which they are shot are scaled down to one-fifth the size of the Centrefire match, with the chickens placed at 40m, pigs at 60m, turkeys at 77m and rams at 100m. In the Air Rifle matches, the targets and the ranges at which they are shot are scaled down to one-tenth the size of the Centrefire match, with the chickens placed at 20 yards (note yards and not metres this time), pigs at 30 yards, turkeys at 36 yards and rams at 45 yards.

Ammunition

The .308 Winchester has traditionally been the most popular calibre, though the development of lighter recoiling calibres with sufficient energy is becoming more common. The 7mm-08 Remington appears to meet the requirements of high energy and low recoil.

While custom silhouette rifles can use wildcat cartridges, the Hunting class only allows calibres that are commercially available for the rifle. Fortunately, a number of manufacturers are producing hunting rifles in a 7mm-08 Remington version. Of course, there are many lighter calibres suitable for Rifle Metallic Silhouette, including any of the 6.5mm variants. Because the ram targets require around 1000 ft-lb of energy to remove them from their stand, their load needs to be hotter and have a heavier projectile to guarantee knockdown.

Silhouette shooters tend to load their own ammo for the Centrefire matches. Apart from financial benefits, it provides a choice of loads for different ranges. Silhouette Rimfire ammunition must be of standard velocity to reduce damage to the targets. .22 Magnum and hot loads such as ‘stingers’ are not permitted.

Other rules

Commercial-type Trap and Skeet sleeveless shotgun shooting vests and shotgun shooting shirts are permitted, as is clothing suitable for the existing climatic conditions. Shooting gloves, shooting coats, unnecessarily heavy clothing and any clothing that provides artificial support is not permitted.

Spotting scopes are permitted in most Rifle Metallic Silhouette matches, except for Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle matches. Shooting mats or ground clothes are only permitted in the Black Powder Rifle Cartridge events. Slings may be attached to the rifle, but they may not be used for support of the hand or arm during competition. Palm rests are not permitted. Compensators, muzzle brakes and barrel porting is not permitted, except in Air Rifle events if factory fitted.

Subdisciplines

Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle

Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle matches follow NRA rules, which creates opportunities for shooters to compete internationally. There are three classes of rifles used: Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette, Pistol Cartridge Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette and Smallbore Cowboy Rifle Silhouette. These classes establish a match for common hunting carbines and other lever-action rifles, with the match catering to shooters who enjoy shooting hunting arms, but do not necessarily want to make the investment required of other specialised types of shooting competitions.

Depending on the match, the calibres shot range from the .22LR up to larger centrefire calibres, including pistol cartridges. Ammunition may be loaded with smokeless or black powder, using jacketed or cast bullets, with or without gas checks. All bullets must be flat-nose or round-nose, suitable for tubular magazine use. Any cartridge causing target damage or deemed unsafe may be prohibited.

In Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle matches, the Big Bore Pistol targets are shot at 50, 100, 150 and 200m, while the Field Pistol targets and Smallbore Pistol targets are both shot at 40, 50, 75 and 100m.

Rifle Metallic Silhouette International Team Selection Criteria

Selection Policy

There are two selection methods for SSAA International teams: 

  •  Invitational Team:

The National Board or President may appoint and approve an Invitational or Presidents Team. The selection of this team may be done with advice from the National Coaching and Discipline Supervisor and National Discipline Chairman.   

  • Selection Criteria:

The National Discipline Chairman submits a Team selected according to the Selection Criteria to the National Board for approval. The selection is based on merit and must be approved by the National Board.   

To qualify for a SSAA International Team a person

  • must be a current financial member of SSAA
  • must be eligible for, or, hold a valid Australian passport or have an exemption from the SSAA Inc on our Australian nationality requirement.   

See other details in the document “SSAA Inc Information and General Requirement for SSAA Team Members” as approved by the SSAA Inc Board.

Discipline Selection Criteria

Selection will be based on a disciplines Annual National Championship, with competitors from a minimum of two SSAA State and Territory Associations.

Selection will be based on the top ten placings at a disciplines Annual National Championship in the core match or matches and/or the match or matches relevant to the international competition to be contested.

The core match or matches and/or match or matches relevant to the international competition will be determined for each Discipline. Contact the National Discipline Chairman for this information.

Any Annual National Championships may be used as a selection shoot. If a disciplines Annual National Championship is held six months before the scheduled date of an international event, that National Championship will be used as the selection shoot. If a disciplines Annual National Championship is held less than six months before the scheduled date of an international event, the National Championship of the previous year may, with approval, be used as the selection shoot.  Any variation to this requires approval by the National Coaching and Discipline Supervisor or National President or Board.

There is no guarantee that a SSAA Team will be sent to an international event.

All SSAA International Teams are subject to the approval by the National President or Board and discipline funding. 

A competitor can notify the National Discipline Chairman if they wish to be considered for selection as soon as possible and no later than two weeks after the finish of the National Championships. If notification wasn’t given a competitor must indicate their acceptance or rejection of their team position within two weeks of being officially informed of their eligibility by the National Discipline Chairman.  Any variation to this requires approval by the National Coaching and Discipline Supervisor or National President or Board

The Team Selections should be completed by the relevant National Discipline Chairman as soon as possible after their Annual National Championship and submitted to the National Board for approval. 

All Team Members selected according to the Discipline Selection Criteria must be approved by the SSAA National Board before the selection process is complete.

Approved by the SSAA National Board on 18 November 2018, for implementation on 1 January 2019

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Upcoming Events
May 15-16, 2021 | Wanneroo Shooting Complex, WA
SSAA (WA) Rifle Metallic Silhouette State Championships 2021
12-14 June 2021 | SSAA ACT Inc
Snowball Shoot 2021
19-20 June 2021 | Monarto Shooting Complex 52 Rifle Rd Monarto South SA
SSAA SA Rifle Metallic Silhouette State Titles 2021
28-31 October 2021 | SSAA ACT Inc
SSAA Lever Action Silhouette Nationals 2021
Competition results
October 3-4, 2020 | Perth Rifle Metallic Silhouette Club (PRMSC – W30)
SSAA (WA) Rifle Metallic Silhouette State Championship 2020
November 12th 2018 | Tokoroa, New Zealand
The 2018 New Zealand Rifle Silhouette Championships
31st August 2018 | Postal Shoot
2018 RMS Rimfire Postal Shoot
30 April – 2 May 2016 | 30 April – 2 May 2016
2016 SSAA Qld Rifle Metallic Silhouette State Championships
11-13 March 2017 | SSAA Blue Hills
SSAA Tasmania Rifle Metallic Silhouette State Titles
12-15 July 2016 | Raton, New Mexico
NRA Cowboy Rifle Silhouette National Championships
6-8 June 2015 | SSAA Fraser Coast Branch
SSAA Queenland Rifle Metallic Silhouette State Championships
2-3 May 2015 | SSAA Fraser Coast Branch
SSAA Queensland Cowboy Lever Action State Championships
14-15 March 2015 | Westbury Pistol Club
SSAA Tasmania Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle State Titles
28 February – 1 March 2015 | SSAA Para
SSAA SA Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle State Titles
7-16 November 2014 | SSAA ACT Shooting Complex
5th Pacific Regional Shooting Championships Rifle Metallic Silhouette
1-2 November 2014 | SSAA Batemans Bay
SSAA NSW Rifle Metallic Silhouette State Titles
7-9 June 2014 | SSAA Fraser Coast Branch
SSAA Queensland State Rifle Metallic Silhouette Championships
24-25 May, 30-31 August 2014 | SSAA Moonta Branch
SSAA SA Rifle Metallic Silhouette State Titles