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How hard is it to get into smallbore rifle?

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Post by CO1Mtn on 8/17/2019, 1:55 am

Does anyone here shoot smallbore? Or is it called rimfire sporter? I've been thinking about this for a while. How to break into the smallbore rifle sport...
I have a hardback cordura shooting coat but after reading the smallbore rulebook, it looks like that isn't allowed. Hmm. I guess I'd have to buy a basic shooting coat. 
How expensive would a good smallbore rifle be? I don't want to spend a whole lot of money if I don't have to, but I see photos on the internet of people shooting what look like $3000 Anschutz rifles. Do I need something high-end like that or can I get away with a cheap $200 rifle?
Do they have the system where you get leg points, as they do in service rifle? If I win, do I get something cool I can put in my shadow box?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.
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Post by TonyH on 8/17/2019, 6:16 am

Smallbore Rifle and Rimfire Sporter are two (three?) different sports, the first governed by the NRA and the CMP (independent of each other) and the latter by the CMP. If budget is an issue, then I would think that CMP Rimfire Sporter would be a lot cheaper to get into (both rifle and equipment) than Smallbore Rifle. Here is the link to the CMP website:
Rimfire Sporter
Download the Guide to CMP Rimfire Shooting from that page and it will provide you with a lot of the information you need to get started. The CMP forum is here: CMP Forum
The CMP has a much more robust awards program (pins, medals etc.) than the NRA and is managed better in my opinion. They at least keep up with it much better than the NRA....but I digress. Get started and have fun!
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Post by james r chapman on 8/17/2019, 7:00 am

Older .22s shoot just fine also.
Just be careful what scope bases they use.
A nice Anshutz mod.54 for $600 might require a $900 Unertl scope!
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Post by CrankyThunder on 8/17/2019, 7:15 am

I shoot 4 position competitively and have assisted quite a number of new shooters in the sport.  While the cost of equipment can be intimidating, realistically, all you really need is a rifle and a sling to get into the sport. 

The rifle:

Yes there are $3,000.00 anschutzs on the firing line and no question about  it, they are gorgeous! but take heart, there are a number of rifles available that are a lot more economical that will get you started in the sport.  

Before you get a rifle, it would be best to determine the weight you want your rifle to be.  Unfortunately, this is a chicken and egg whereas you cannot figure out how heavy a rifle you want until you shoot it and if you cannot borrow a rifle, you cannot shoot it until you purchase it.  Generally speaking, the more you shoot your rifle, the heavier you are going to want it to be.  Also, you are going to need to determine if you are going to shoot iron sights or use a scope.  

Some excellent rifles to consider:

Savage has a very cheap economical iron peep sighted rifle for under 300 dollars that is the primary arm at competition ranges where they loan out competition guns.  It has a synthetic stock and I have been beaten by shooters using this rifle.  It is a good rifle to start with.  

CZ:  CZ has a number of rifles that are good competition rifles.  If you are shooting irons, you will need to upgrade the sights to a peep sight they have decent triggers and the accuracy is good enough for a beginner.  If you are going with irons, get the ultralux for its long 26 inch (plus or minus) barrel.  

Ruger 10-22:  Yes, the good old ruger will work if you are allowed to use a semi auto.  It is accurate enough to get you started and every body has one of these things in the gun safe.  See if you can grab one to get started.  

Reminton 513t.   I own one of these and it is the rifle I started with way back in high school.  A little bit light for my tastes but these can be found used on gunbroker and at gun shows for a decent price.  They weigh about 5 or six pounds and as a position rifle, I would classify them as a lightweight (not as light as a cz but still a lightweight).  

Kimber 82g:  These are excellent rifles and I obtained three of them when the CMP was selling them off.  One with irons and two with scopes.  They weight about 9 or ten pounds, a middle weight, and accurate enough for all but the top notch shooters.  you can find one for about six hundred in shooting condition.  

H&R Model 12.  a good alternative, a touch more heavier then a Kimber, a nice rifle as well.  I do not own one of these but have shot them, I like the kimbers better.  


For what it is worth, my main competition gun is a Winchester 52C with Roy Dunlop stock and Al Freeland hardware.  it comes in at over 16 pounds.  

Once you get the gun, then you will need a sling and I would recommend one of the leather house brand from either Champions Choice in Tennessee or Champion Shooters Supply in Ohio.  

HOpe this helps you out!

Regards, 
Crankster
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Post by CO1Mtn on 8/17/2019, 10:31 am

Wow, thank you for all the info! I think I would want to get into rimfire sporter since it seems to be a bit more organized.

I started to get into high power rifle, but I didn't like how it's so expensive to get into. And I'm on a limited budget. I met a man who has a $1000 spotting scope for HPR, and that's when I began to realize that it's expensive! And I wanted to compete without having to reload. I enjoy reloading and I've done it for HPR, but I work 50 hours/week, so I don't have time. I also like how rimfire barrels never wear out.
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Post by bgw45 on 8/17/2019, 10:58 am

When I started shooting rimfire Benchrest I had the best custom rifle built by an excellent smith. Where I stumbled was rimfire ammo. The "master" class shooters had relationships with ammo venders and would get selections of as many offerings as they had substantial stock. After finding which round was most accurate they would order as much as could be purchased.

Since I was used to controlling every aspect of my loading process I found that process (although effective) to be less than desirable. Sold my national match winning rifle to a gentleman that understood and enjoyed the process. He was very successful in the effort.

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Post by L Valdez on 8/17/2019, 11:38 am

I shot in an indoor winter league for a few years. It was NRA smallbore, not International. Most shooters used a hardback shooting jacket, and we shot at 50 feet. I used a Winchester 52C and shot iron sights. Cost of the rifle, sling, shooting jacket, shooting mat, shooting glove, spotting scope(20 power Bushnell) with stand, was under $1,200.00.

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Post by CO1Mtn on 8/17/2019, 1:28 pm

Yes, it seems that the total cost is a lot cheaper. I have a jacket already, but according to the rules I just read, rimfire sporter doesn't allow shooting jackets, whereas smallbore does. And apparently for smallbore, the rifle must be single-load only, whereas in rimfire sporter it can have a magazine or tube.
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Post by CO1Mtn on 8/17/2019, 2:07 pm

Thanks again for providing advice about this. I still think HPR is a great sport, but I'm hoping R.S. is more laid back. I want to have more time to meet people and talk to them. In HPR everyone is in a rush to go back and forth and get set up, and they're exhausted from shooting prone with a jacket on, and carrying all that gear around.
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Post by NuJudge on 8/17/2019, 4:05 pm

Getting into Smallbore can be as easy or as complicated as you choose.  Mostly, let your wallet be your guide.  

There are two types of smallbore competition you have mentioned, some with multiple sanctioning and ranking systems.  

Civilian Marksmanship Program has its .22 Sporter competition, the rules of which are drawn to discourage high dollar rifles and other equipment.  A manually operated .22 LR rifle with standard velocity ammo will typically shoot a good score.  Fancy (and expensive) coats and other equipment are for the most part banned or severely discouraged.  It is possible to take a semi-auto such as a Ruger 10/22, modify it various ways, and have a rule beater.  CMP set the match up around 25/50 yard 3-position shooting, but they make available targets so you can shoot it on 50ft ranges.  http://thecmp.org/competitions/club-sanctioned-events/rimfire-sporter/

25/50yd full size target:  https://estore.thecmp.org/Catalog/Item/049
Reduced target for 50ft range, simulating 50 yards, for prone & sitting:  https://estore.thecmp.org/Catalog/Item/10512RF
Reduced target for 50ft range, simulating 25 yds for standing:  https://estore.thecmp.org/Catalog/Item/1321RF

Things get more complicated for traditional 4-position Smallbore.  NRA has its rules, which allow more supportive coats, such as you see in High-power matches, and allows me 2 ankle rolls for kneeling.  CMP has its own rules.  There are also International rules, which are in many ways different.  In terms of Classifications, NRA has two different systems, one it worked out with Winchester where you mostly shoot on your own, and another based on scores you've shot in matches sanctioned by NRA.  CMP is apparently working up a system based on scores shot in their matches.  The International body has its own system of classification.  

US Army's guide to shooting under International rules:  https://estore.thecmp.org/Catalog/Item/777
The International Rules:  https://www.issf-sports.org/documents/rules/2017/ISSFRuleBook2017-2ndPrintV1.1-ENG.pdf
The USA affiliate of the International sanctioning body:  https://www.usashooting.org/7-events/usasrules
CMP Smallbore rules:  https://estore.thecmp.org/Catalog/Item/754  
http://thecmp.org/wp-content/uploads/SmallboreRulebook.pdf?vers=020519
NRA/Winchester have a series of qualification programs, for the most part shoot on your own, with lots of ribbons and medals for accomplishments:  http://trapleague.org/qualbook.pdf

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Post by CO1Mtn on 8/17/2019, 8:16 pm

I looked at the CMP competition tracker, and it doesn't look like there are very many rimfire sporter events as there are EIC matches.
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Post by NuJudge on 8/18/2019, 4:59 am

I have the strong impression a lot of local clubs, for whatever reason, don't bother to tell CMP they are holding a .22 Sporter match, so they don't show up on the Competition Tracker.  

Most of the .22 Sporter I shoot, I shoot by myself, or with one friend, on a 50 ft range.  Most of the 4-Position I shoot, I shoot in a local club League, or by myself.  This winter, I plan on seeing how high I can place on the NRA/Winchester Smallbore qualification system.

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Post by Wobbley on 8/18/2019, 9:43 am

I’d ask myself what smallbore competition is in my area. Florida used to be a big NRA smallbore venue. But today NRA smallbore isn’t much healthier than NRA Bullseye. Buying equipment that is seldom used may not be a good choice.

As for Highpower, used equipment is all over the place. You already have the jacket. So buy an upper set up for match shooting. A White Oak Armament barrelled upper will do well with an inexpensive scope, you’d be all set for less than a grand. Ammo can be had from Highpower reloaders like Loader Monkey LLC. He sells his 77 grain OTC for around $400 per 500.

Good luck with whatever decision you make.
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Post by tovaert on 8/18/2019, 10:04 am

Rimfire Sporter is more laid back and cheaper than HP or SB. No shooting jackets allowed, no shooting glove. You have three different categories (open sights, scope/aperture sights, or tactical class (open/optic)). Matches are fired at 25 and 50 yards, and rarely last more than 1.5 hrs. We usually shoot two matches back-to-back. Rifles can get expensive with optics, improved aftermarket triggers/parts, etc., but rarely get above $750. BTW...your hardback is legal for NRA and CMP smallbore, but not ISSF legal.

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