High Power Rifle
In the State of Montana, there are several types of high power rifle matches. The rifle matches are either three position matches or prone matches. National Match rifle competitions are commonly called "Across The Course" (XTC) matches and include NRA and Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) matches. Both XTC and Vintage Rifle matches are "three position" matches, where firing takes place standing, sitting and prone at distances from 100yds up to 600yds.
Mid Range, Palma, Long Range, Fullbore and F-Class matches are all prone matches, and can be fired at distances from 300yds up to 1000yds. All prone matches have a division for F-Class, where F-class (scope and bipod) shooters compete side by side with shooters using slings and iron sights.
Matches are open to all responsible citizens in support of the Second Amendment. New shooters are always welcome, and should contact the match director for information in advance of the match. Often times, gear, rifles and sometimes ammunition can be supplied to new shooters, so they can easily give competitive shooting a try. The rifles/gear/ammo are subject to availability and juniors are given priority. Contact the Match Director prior to the match for more info about the use of loaner gear.
High Power Match and Equipment Information
Across The Course (XTC, EIC "Leg") Matches
In NRA Across the Course (XTC) Highpower Rifle Competition, shooters compete with either a Service Rifle or a Match Rifle. The Service Rifle division is limited to either the M1, M14, M16, M110 or their commercial equivalents such as an AR15, AR10 or M1A. Match Rifles typically are of custom make, conforming to the desires of the shooter. They are more free of regulations than are the Service Rifles. Shooting is typically done with metallic aperture, or peep, sights. New NRA rules allow the use of optics in NRA XTC matches. Match Rifles need to have either an internal magazine or external magazine capable of reloading 5 rounds quickly. CMP Excellence in Competition (EIC) matches (AKA "Leg" matches) require the use of the United States Service Rifle (M1, M14, M16, or commercial equivalents) with standard iron sights. Shooters competing XTC, usually fire at distances of 200, 300, and 600 yards (exception in Montana is Anaconda, where all firing is done at 200yds using reduced targets). In a typical 800 point aggregate match, the course of fire is a total of 88 shots. Twenty record shots are fired in each stage, plus two sighting shots. Each shot is worth a maximum of ten points, with the entire match being worth a total of 800 points. Stages include off-hand (standing), sitting rapid fire, prone rapid fire and prone slow fire.
- The first stage of fire consists of two sighting shots and 20 shots for record in 20 minutes. These shots are fired at a distance of 200 yards in the standing/offhand position. The target used has a 3 inch X-ring, a 7 inch ten-ring. Each succeeding scoring ring is three inches wide. The aiming black is 13 inches wide, consisting of the 9,10, and X rings. The lowest value ring is the 5-ring. X's are scored a value of ten and are used for tie breaking purposes.
- The second stage of fire consists of two ten-shot strings fired rapid fire from the sitting position with a time limit of 60 seconds for each string. This string is also done at 200 yards using the same target as was used for offhand. The string can start with the shooter either in the standing or sitting position. Once the clock starts, the shooter gets into position and shoots the 10 shots. If the shooter is using a semi-automatic rifle, 2 shots are fired then a magazine change is required and the remaining 8 shots are fired. If the shooter is using an NRA type rifle, 5 shots are fired then a re-load is performed and the remaining 5 shots are fired.
- The third stage of fire is rapid-fire prone (lying down) at 300 yards. Each of two ten-shot strings are fired in a time limit of 70 seconds. The dimensions of the target are the same as the 200 yard target, with the exception of an additional ring of black to facilitate aiming.The string can start with the shooter either in the standing or prone position. Once the clock starts, the shooter gets into position and shoots the 10 record shots. The shooter uses the same re-load procedure as with the 200 yard rapid sitting.
- The final stage is fired at a distance of 600 yards. Twenty shots for record are fired slow-fire from the prone position in 20 minutes. The target used has a 6 inch X-ring, and 12 inch 10-ring. The 9 and 8 rings are each three inches wider. Each ring of value below that is six inches wider. The aiming black consists of the 7, 8, 9, 10, and X rings, which constitutes a 36 inch aiming black. (Some info courtesy of Mark Havlik, Minnesota Rifle and Revolver Association)
Prone Matches - Mid Range, Palma, Long Range, F-Class and Fullbore
Prone matches are fired slow fire - one shot at a time, with the target marked between shots. Prone matches include Mid Range (300-500-600yds), Palma (800-900-1000yds), Long Range (1000yds) and Fullbore (300-1000yds). Prone matches are typically broken into a few basic divisions, which are Service Rifle, Sling and F-Class. Service Rifle distinctions are noted above, while "sling" is a term often used to note match and Palma rifles that are fired using a sling for support and often iron sights. Some matches allow the use of "any-sights" on sling rifles, and shooters can then use optics if they so choose. F-Class consists of two sub divisions: F-Open and F-TR. The basic difference is that F-TR is more restrictive as the rifles need to be .308 Winchester or .223 Remington. They are also required to use a bipod and have a lower weight limit than their F-Open counterparts. F-Open allows a heavier rifle and the use of front and rear bench rest type rests. There is also no specification on caliber other than it needs to be smaller than .35 caliber.
High Power Equipment
Highpower shooters are known for the large amount of equipment that they haul out onto the range. Below is the basic equipment used along with a description of its use. All though each of these items are generally necessary, it isn't necessary to go out and buy all new equipment. In getting started, it's generally best to ask other shooters opinions about equipment. It's also much cheaper to buy used equipment rather than new.
- Rifle- Shooters preference as to Service Rifle or Match Rifle (NRA)
- Sling- For the Service Rifle, the sling must be of military style. For the Match Rifle, adjustable slings with arm cuffs and buckle adjustments are the norm.
- Shooting jacket- The purpose of the jacket is to provide support, and to pad the shooter to minimize the effect of pulse and recoil. The best coats are the NRA-style of either heavy Cordura or leather make. They are used by sling shooters and are not typically used in F-Class.
- Glove- The glove is necessary to pad the hand from the pressures of the rifle. They come as either mits or gloves. This is a personal preference. As with shooting coats, they are not typically used in F-Class.
- Shooting Mat- The shooting mat is used to provide some padding between the shooter and the ground.
- Spotting Scope and Stand- The spotting scope allows you to see the spotters and scoring disk in your target. They are also often used to locate shot holes during the rapid fire stages. More importantly, when shooting long range, they allow you to judge the wind by watching the mirage. Scopes vary in power and objective diameter. The power used should be between 25 - 60X. Diameters should preferably be 50mm or larger. A scope stand that allows you to adjust the scope so that it can be viewed in all positions is necessary.
- Lastly, if you are intersted in attending a match, inform the Match Director and speak with him regarding equipment needs. Often there is loaner equipment that can be lent out. This allows you to try competitive shooting with out diving into all the purchases of equipment. It is also a good chance to see what you do and do not like about certian pieces of equipment. (Mark Havlik, Minnesota Rifle and Revolver Association)