Smallbore Rifle

NOTE: There are no smallbore events scheduled at Zia at this time. The NRA defines a Smallbore Rifle in Rule 3.1 as “the .22 caliber rimfire chambered for cartridges commercially catalogued as the “.22 Short,” “.22 Long,” or “.22 Long Rifle” cartridges.” There are no restriction on barrel length, nor on the weight of the rifle and its accessories. Trigger pull weight must be a minimum of 3 pounds. Typical rifles used would include those made by Anschuetz, Feinwerkbau, along with a few models from Remington, Winchester, Mossberg, and others. Prices will vary considerably, from $200-300 on up to the $2000 range. For the Iron Sights stages metallic sights are required. They may contain, according to Rule 3.7a, “color filters” or “a lens or system of lenses, not containing an aiming reference or reticule at the focal plane”. In other words, diopters are legal for sight picture improvement, but that’s about it. Aperture front and rear sights are typical, though not required. I can tell you from experience that blade and post sights, such as on a Ruger 10/22 and the like, are going to make your life difficult, but if that’s what you’ve got come out and give it a try! You might get hooked like me. Telescopic sights are allowed for the Any Sights stages, but you might be surprised how accurate good metallic sights are. If you can’t shoot a good score with iron sights you probably won’t be able to do so with a scope either. The scope may help with sight alignment, but it can’t help with trigger control and a good hold! All shooting for these activities is done from the prone position (laying out essentially flat on your front, facing the target). A sling to help steady the rifle is strongly suggested, though not required. It’s obviously not needed to help tame recoil, but it makes for a much steadier hold. As mentioned above, ammunition is .22 rimfire. For all practical purposes we’re talking .22 Long Rifle. Target ammunition is not required, but in an accurate rifle I’ve seen an amazing difference between bulk ammo and target ammo. The various levels of Federal Gold Medal, RWS, Eley, and other brands will be seen, with prices varying from $2 to $15 per box of 50 rounds. I’ve not seen anyone happy with target ammo from Remington or CCI, though Winchester has some new ammo that I’m not yet familiar with. Higher velocity ammo such as “Stingers” and such are not allowed, nor are hollow points. We shoot 80 or 100 shots for record each day, plus you’ll want a minimum of 20 rounds extra for sighters. I’d recommend at least having at least 200 rounds on hand, because the last thing you want to do is run out of ammo. All firing is done slow-fire, meaning loading one round at a time. Each stage is 20 rounds for records, plus unlimited sighting shots, within a 20 minute time period. There’s no disadvantage to having a single-shot bolt-action rifle for this type of shooting, and there may well be accuracy advantages. A spotting scope is very useful, though you may get by with a set of binoculars. We’re shooting at 50 and 100 yards, so you’ll have to have really good eyes to see the holes in the target at those ranges. These scopes range in price from $50 to however much you care to spend. Decent optics can be found well below the stratospheric prices of brands like Kowa. You’ll want some kind of mat to lay on. We shoot on an intermediate berm on the highpower range, so if you’re familiar with that area you know it means laying in the dirt and sand, out in the sun. If you don’t have a shooting mat (which has non-slip pads and such niceties) a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet would work nicely. Something that is a little grippy will work best. Most shooters will wear a shooting coat, again with non-slip pads and such, but it’s not required by any means. You may want a long-sleeve shirt or sweatshirt to give yourself a little protection from the sling if you don’t have a jacket. And yes, we broil in these jackets when it’s hot out! Eye and ear protection are strongly recommended. A few other things, like a pen, sunscreen, and such will have you set.

There are not a lot of places to buy target shooting equipment in Albuquerque unfortunately. Ron Peterson’s seems to have the best selection of used target rifles, or at least they did when I went looking a year ago. Call around and keep an eye on the club newsletter. The rest of the equipment can be bought mail order, though you may find some spotting scopes and such around town. You may find one of the other shooters looking to move up, too.