Service Rifle and High Power Rifle
Shooting the Offhand Stage at Ben Avery
One of the most consistently popular,
prestigious and long-lasting of all the competitive shooting sports in
the US is Service Rifle.
Modern Service rifle is the direct
descendent of the course of fire, techniques and equipment used when
the Military modernized their training competitions and ranges when the
1903 springfield rifle became the US Service Rifle, teamed with the
.30-06 ammunition, it brought mid/long range capability significantly
improved over the Krag and Trap door springfield rifles of the late
Suddenly it was realistic for the
average soldier to shoot 600 yards. But engagements at half or a third
was still realistic, and 1000 yards not out of the question.
A new range at Camp Perry Ohio has
firing lines at 200, 300, 600 and 1000 yards that could be operated at
the same time.
Following the tradition that was the
reason the NRA was founded in 1871, training civilians in marksmanship
to better prepare them in the event of war, in 1903, the National Board
for the Promotion of Rifle Practice was founded to encourage civilians
to shoot the new service rifle. The NBPRP started the National Matches
at Camp Perry in 1907. It has been fired there every year since (except
for a few war years).
Over the years the course of fire has
been modified only a little, the targets just a bit and the rifles have
followed the Military lead from the 1903, to the M1, the M14 (civilian
M1A), the M16 (civilian AR15), the M4 (scoped ARs).
Today Service Rifle course of fire usually consists of 30 or 50 or 80 shots over 3 or 4 stages
The National Matches at Camp Perry are
the best attended precision shooting event in the western hemisphere
with over 1000 shooters competing side-by-side. Every one of them
shooting a Semi-automatic military style rifle.
There are also competitions with the
same course of fire using non-military rifles with aperture sights
Typically the match will begin with 10
or 20 shots slow-fire Standing (also called "offhand") at 200 yds. There
is 1 minute per shot. Some matches start with 2
sighter shots, others don't. 22 minutes doesn't sound like a lot, but
standing there, not moving one's feet in order to keep a constant
Natural Point of Aim, while carefully aiming, trying to hold steady and
firing 22 shots one at a time, requires enormous concentration. The
target is marked after each shot, so you can see where you are hitting
and correct your sights.
Our 200yd target is a 12" circle on a 6'
square piece of cardboard mounted in a movable frame to allow it to be
marked by the other relay.
In most full
distance matches, we pick up our toys and move back to the 300yd line.
We fire one or
two 10 shot strings from the prone position. Time limit is 70 seconds.
The aiming black of the target is 18" but the X, 10, 9 etc scoring
rings are the same size as at 200.
That makes it
a bit tougher to shoot a good score and you have to be more careful
A “Service Rifle” is a US Military rifle from the WWII to present era, or the civilian equivalent. So the M1 Garand and the M1A (civilian version of the M14) can be used, but are fairly rare. The AR-15 (civilian version of the M16) is by far the most popular with something like 97% of competitors choosing AR-15s. It simply is the best rifle for what is the best attended precision sport shooting competition in the western hemisphere!
The above photos show classic AR15A2
type "service" rifles with iron sights. The new rules from 2016 allow
scope sights, see my observations
from Camp Perry that year.
Shooter practicing with an M1A
A 200yd rapid
fire string scored 100-7X, yeah, an
Arizona shooter did that! At the National Championships no less!
We have 3 full-distance High power ranges in Phoenix, plus Tucson and shorter distances elsewhere. We have shoots monthly for experienced shooters as well as beginner-friendly 200yd shoots. All shoots are open to all shooters! We have Beginner’s training classes several times a year. email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Arizona is repeatedly ranked NUMBER ONE
really should strive to have a number one service rifle team at the
The CMP-run National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry
are consistently the best attended serious precision shooting event
the western hemisphere!
I have started
writing the article on loading
ammo for this sport.
There are a many
online articles and videos on this sport: