Most of us grew up shooting, or at least had an interest for some time before actually purchasing a rifle and heading to the range. At said range, you likely spent countless hours slinging countless rounds through your rifle until you nearly perfected the bench-rest shot. Then, you did the same in the prone position, freehand, kneeling, etc. Perhaps you became disinterested or bored in the same ol’ thing and wanted to try something new. That’s when you read about shooting competitions that are guaranteed to put your skills to the test. If you are looking to get into competition rifle shooting, here are five things you need to know.
Read the Rules
Seems obvious, right? It never hurts to watch a couple matches once you’ve read the book from cover to cover. Speak with some of the competitors and ask questions. Some leagues require that classes be taken before shooting your first match, so once you’ve done these things, you’ll have a much better understanding of how competition rifle shooting works.
Skills Don’t (Really) Matter
What we mean here is if you’re not a great shooter, you can still compete. Obviously you won’t shoot in some of the more complex matches, but that doesn’t matter. These competitions are about increasing your skill set and promoting the shooting sports. If you know the rules and own the equipment you need to compete, then by all means have at it.
Getting into competition rifle shooting, such as the F-Class, will encourage you to become proficient from the prone position.
Know Your Gear
Your gear, no matter how much or how little you own, should always be 100 percent reliable. This means cleaning your rifle, scope and accessories after each time you shoot. Go into the competition with the gear you’ve been practicing with. Using unproven equipment is a huge no-no. Even if a title sponsor asks you to try out a new magazine they’re getting ready to release, respectfully decline.
Ask for Help
Asking for help is tough for everybody. You think it might make you look or feel inferior. This is a notion that you need to get over. Most individuals that are experienced in competition rifle shooting are more than happy to help out. This isn’t a cut-throat beauty pageant. Don’t be afraid to seek out the advice of those who’ve shot in several matches.
In competition, you’re on the move - bouncing from station to station, lugging your rifle and equipment. All physical activities are influenced by mental capacity. Finding the target, slowly exhaling and squeezing the trigger are much easier when your heart isn’t trying to beat out your chest and eyeballs. If your training involves a solid endurance program, you’ll be ahead of many in the field going into the match.