An Introduction to United States Smallbore Rifle Shooting

by Hap Rocketto

Smallbore shooting, as we know it in the United States, dates from 1919. It was then that Savage and Winchester introduced specialized 22 caliber target rifles, the Model 19 NRA Match Rifle and the celebrated Model 52 respectively, for the first smallbore competition held at the National Matches. Conducted in late August, at the United States Navy’s range near Caldwell, New Jersey, the program called for a series of reentry and squadded slow, timed, and rapid-fire matches in various positions, at distances from 50 to 100 yards. Army Captain E.C. Crossman was charged with conducting what was then known as ‘miniature’ rifle shooting competition in the shadow of the service rifle matches. So popular proved smallbore that the National Rifle Association immediately appointed a committee to make recommendations for the standardization and introduction of smallbore rifle shooting into its program.

The lead editorial in the September 6, 1919 issue of Arms and The Man stated that, “The appointment of a committee to consider the standardization of the small-bore game…may be expected to result in a rapid and healthy growth in this sport in all parts of the country.” Two weeks later the magazine reported on the efforts of the committee to establish the fledgling sport. The original courses of fire were 25 yards for indoor shooting and 50, 100, and 200 for the outdoor competitions, all in the prone position.

At the time the smallbore rifle was viewed as an inexpensive method of training for center fire military competition. Consequently early smallbore target rifles were designed along military lines in regard to length, weight, and trigger pull. By 1922 the Springfield Armory had developed a smallbore rifle for training that was so like the 1903 service rifle that it had common parts. The military style stock of the time was of little concern to competitors as it was adequate for prone competition. This style of shooting would rule the United States smallbore scene for most of the next forty years during which commercial stock styles would remain virtually unchanged. Position competition would not truly come into its own in until after World War II with the United States’ reentry into international shooting competition. The NRA would give position shooting its greatest boost when the National Outdoor Smallbore Rifle Position Championship was instituted in 1957.

Of the many types of formal shooting matches in the United States conventional smallbore prone rifle shooting is, arguably, the most venerable and least changed. It is called conventional because the target, course of fire, and equipment used in its practice is particular to the United States. While the shooting world in general has adopted the metric target and courses of fire of the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) the prone community in the United States remains a bastion of tradition, clinging tenaciously to this uniquely American form of shooting.

The typical prone course of fire consists of four 40 shot matches, shot in 20 shot strings, comprising a 1600 point daily aggregate. Traditionally the first match is shot at 50 yards and the second event is 40 shots for record at 50 meters. The third match is called the Dewar, pronounced ‘Do-er’, which requires 20 shots be fired at 50 yards and a second 20 shot string shot at 100 yards. The day closes with 40 shots at 100 yards. Usually two of these 1600-point matches are fired over a weekend as a 3200-point Regional Course of Fire. The first day is fired with metallic sights and the second day allows any sights, which translates into telescopic sights for most competitors, although metallic sights are allowed. The Critchfield Course, as the 6400-point aggregate is known, follows the same format as regional matches. It is named after General Ammon Critchfield, the ‘Father of Camp Perry.”

All of the conventional prone Open National Records are perfect scores with high X counts. The oldest of them, a 400-39X in the 100-yard metallic sight match, was shot in 1972 by Tom Whitaker. Known in some circles for his Palma expertise, Whitaker is also the first person to shoot a perfect 6400. Mary Stidworthy Sparling set the most recent record in 1987 when she shot a 400-40X, with an additional 40Xs, in the anysight Dewar. This record is made all the more impressive by the fact that the rules require that a record breaking attempt at a mixed ranges directs that the additional shots must be fired at the longer distance.

National Records in aggregate matches are equally impressive. In the 160 shot metallic sight aggregate match both Pres Kendall and Gary Andrade have shot 1600-152Xs while Lones Wigger and George Stidworthy, known as the ‘1600 King’ and father of Mary Sparling, shot incredible 1600-157Xs with the scope. Bill Krilling, one of the United State’s finest riflemen and coaches, shot the first perfect score in the combined 320 shot metallic and any sight match over three decades ago when the rule required a three-pound trigger pull. The present record is held by Ernie Vande Zande’s 3200-301X. During July of 1977 Wigger pounded out the current National Record of 6400-588X for the Critchfield Course. Despite the fact that hundreds of approved and registered tournaments are fired each year the longevity of prone records indicate breaking a record is no simple task.

Recently a new form of prone shooting has begun to make itself known. Metric prone is a combination of the most interesting and comfortable features of the two styles of prone shooting, NRA and ISSF. Shot on the international target with NRA equipment it consists of a 40 shot 50-meter match, a metric Dewar, and a 40 shot 100-meter match for a 1200-point aggregate. Like its conventional counter part it is usually fired twice over two days for a 2400 aggregate and, like conventional prone, metallic sights are used on the first day with any sights being allowed for the second. The more difficult target makes up for the shorter course of fire.

The metric Dewar was adopted as the course of fire for the four man team match at The National Smallbore Rifle Prone Championships in 1989. When the course of fire was changed from the conventional Dewar the Camp Perry records were perfect, a 1600-128X for metallic sights and a 1600-149X for anysights. The current team records are 1564-71X and 1581-89X, respectively, which gives an indication of the challenging nature of the metric target.

To the uninitiated, watching a prone match must seem like watching the grass, upon which the shooters lie, grow. This is far from the truth. Prone is a discipline that requires the competitor to be near flawless in performance to even be in the running for a medal. A perfect score of 400 is usually the jumping off place for the start of the real match that will be decided by center shots, or Xs. Attention to the smallest detail in this discipline is critical. The direction and velocity of the wind, the intensity and angle of the light, the mirage, and the temperature are but a few of the considerations that must observed and to which the shooter must respond. A perfect performance is almost always required to win a prone match. The scores posted by the match winners in the 2000 National Championship at Camp Perry were perfect 400s with high X counts. The one exception is Wigger’s National Championship record score of 6399-527X, one point shy of perfection

So critical are Xs that some shooters will confirm their observations of conditions by a promiscuous use of sighting shots. Sighters are unlimited in this competition and it is not uncommon for some belly shooters to use almost as many sighters as record shots, if the conditions are not consistent. Twenty record shots and sometimes as many sighters, all in 20 minutes, places a high premium on patience, mental control, shooting mechanics, position, and physical conditioning. To the casual observer there seems to be little activity. However, the prone shooter is much like a duck out swimming on a pond. Nothing seems to be happening on the surface but the duck is paddling like crazy below the surface.

A prone shooter’s equipment is not much different than that found in high power. A rifle, mat, spotting scope, glove, sling, jacket, and eye and ear protection complete the basic gear. A brimmed hat, a few small tools, sweat shirt, bag of target clips, loading block, wind indicator, and bag in which to carry the gear round out the basic accessories. The position shooter adds shooting boots and trousers, a kneeling roll, and a shooting stand.

The rifle, sights, and ammunition are the most critical aspects of the sport. Good shooting requires that the combination be both precise and accurate. The rifle and ammunition have to be capable of precisely placing all of the shot into a tight group at 50 and 100 yards. The sights must be then be able to move that group into the X ring and make the fine adjustments necessary to keep it there.

The prone rifle has a long butt stock with either a high comb or an adjustable cheekpiece. The forestock will be broad with an accessory rail to allow the fore end stop to be finely adjusted. As good as modern ‘out of the box’ rifles are top flight shooters will often tailor it by replacing the factory barrel with a custom stainless steel, Hart or Douglas being the most popular. An after market trigger, such as one made by Kenyon, Canjar, Jewel, or Timney might be added. While it is still quite common to find a fine custom rifle built up around a Winchester 52 or a Remington Model 37 action, the European arms companies are producing the bulk of the quality match rifles used today. As a rule most position shooters use fully adjustable Anschütz, Walther, or Feinwerkbau rifles, but American manufacturers are most conspicuous by their absence.

Front sight extensions, known as a ‘bloop tubes’ because of the particular sound a rifle makes when fired with one, are often attached. Weight is less of a concern for the prone shooter but comfort and balance are important to both disciplines. The major difference between a prone and position rifle is the stock. A position shooter requires a stock that can be fully adjusted to the best fit for each position. In addition to an adjustable cheek piece and accessory rail a position shooter needs a butt plate that can be adjusted for length, vertical position, and cant.

The only restriction on the 22 caliber ammunition used in competition is that cartridge not exceed 1.1 inches in overall length and that the lead or alloy bullet not have a diameter in excess of 0.23 inch. Safety, as well as common sense, bars hollow point, tracer, incendiary, or explosive bullets from match competition. Smallbore match ammunition is also produced in two velocities, one subsonic and the other supersonic. In the 1970s European manufacturers Eley, RWS, and Lapua wrested control of the market from Winchester and Remington. Recently Federal has made great strides in returning United States to a position of prominence in the ammunition field.

Smallbore shooters have no control over the manufacture of ammunition; they can’t reload and are therefore at the mercy of the manufacturers. In order to get the best possible rifle and ammunition combination they purchase small samples of many different lots of ammunition as possible. The ammunition is then tested, usually at 100 yards, to determine the best shooting cartridge. While shooters would like to find ammunition that shoots 1/2-inch groups at 100 yards they are usually pretty happy to find 3/4-minute ammunition. The shooter will then purchase as much of this tight grouping ammunition, known colloquially as a ‘knot lot’, as the purse will allow.

Whether the sights are metallic or telescopic they must have crisp clicks, positive movement, and no backlash. Most sights are available in a range of adjustments, with 1/4 and 1/6th minute being the most common and popular. Sights with 12 or 20 clicks to the minute are commercially available for those who deal with the metric target international competition. Redfield, Anschütz, Hämmerli, Mo’s, Paramount, Gates and Elite receiver sights all meet the demands of the serious competitor who also uses adjustable front and rear apertures to obtain the clearest possible sight picture. Telescopic sights are usually found in fixed powers from 15 to 32 power. Adjustable power receiver mounted telescopes have become popular recently for both prone and position competition. Fine crosshairs, with a 1/4 minute dot, are very popular reticules for prone shooting. The dot is the same size as a 22 caliber bullet hole and allows the competitor to use Kentucky Windage with some accuracy and confidence. A slightly larger dot and coarser crosshairs do well for position where there is more observable movement. Well maintained scopes will last a life time as witnessed by the many older Lyman Super Targetspot, Unertl, and Redfield 3200 and 6400 target scopes found at matches. The newer scopes produced by Leupold, Simmons, and Mitchell are finding a loyal following.

Conventional prone is a popular form of shooting competition. It allows a shooter to remain active and competitive for decades. It is not unusual to see a seventy year old shooting next to a seventeen year old in shoulder-to-shoulder competition. It is not uncommon to see the youngster take a beating. Experience is key in this discipline and it will often offset the advantages of younger eyes and faster reflexes. Such is the beauty of prone shooting.

The most popular of the smallbore rifle disciplines is position shooting with NRA Four Position having the most classified shooters. The high participation in winter leagues and club competition is probably what gives four-position the boost in numbers, even though the National Outdoor Smallbore Rifle Position Championships are conducted over the three-position course of fire. Most of the older generation of smallbore and high power rifle shooters were raised as four position shooters and this certainly accounts for its continuing popularity. Position shooting in the United States has grown steadily since the end of World War II and the resumption of serious United States participation in the Olympics.

Position shooting requires the competitor shoot a match where each position constitutes a stage. Generally a match will start out with the prone. In four position sitting usually follows it, but in NRA three position the second stage is standing. The third stage in both is kneeling while standing position wraps up a four-position match.

Four position matches are built around stages of ten or 20 record shots with 400 or 800-point aggregates. An NRA three position match is based on 40 shot stages adding up to a 1200 point aggregate. However, 30 and 60 shot matches, called ‘quarter’ and ‘half’ courses, are quite popular. NRA Three Position is a modification of the Olympic style shooting sponsored by the ISSF. The course of fire is the same as fired in international events but NRA equipment is more liberal than ISSF standards allows in regard to the dimensions of coats, slings, and gloves.

Metallic and telescopic sights are used in NRA Three Position while the international game allows only the metallic variety. As most NRA equipment is not allowed in international competition this tends to direct highpower shooters, who use the smallbore game to keep in shape over the winter, to four position matches. In fact, it is not uncommon to find a serious highpower shooter with two identical rifles built up, one in center fire and a matching one in 22 caliber. The other major difference in the disciplines is the target. The conventional targets used in prone and four position are more forgiving than the international targets used in international competition.

Position shooting is fired in both indoors and out. Four position outdoor competition is rare because the National Outdoor Position Rifle Championships switched over to three position years ago. Therefore, outdoor match sponsors tend to run three position and conventional prone events to allow shooters to train for the Nationals.

Winter sees hundreds of leagues start up in the fall and run through spring shooting various courses of fires. The courses of fire and target combinations are only limited by imagination. For some winter gallery leagues are the extent of their shooting while others use these leagues to both keep in shape for the summer shooting season and to warm up for the major indoor matches of the year. State championships, sponsored by the state associations, and the sectionals of the National Indoor Rifle Championships sponsored by the NRA highlight the winter season and mark the high point of the indoor competitive season.

The NRA conducts indoor national championships, in both three and four position, that allow shooters who are unable to travel to Camp Perry to match themselves against the best competitors the country has to offer. Firing in sectional matches, within established geographic areas, the shooter first competes against local competition in shoulder-to-shoulder matches. The sectional scores are then submitted to the NRA and compiled into a national bulletin. The shooters, eager to see how they rank against the best in the nation and those in their class and category, anxiously await the arrival of the bulletin, in late spring.

Part of position shooting’s popularity is based on the fact that it not restricted by season or location, as is prone and high power, and most shooters are, to some degree or another, constituents. Position shooting attracts a wide variety of shooters and it is usually the avenue juniors follow to enter the world of competitive rifle shooting. Within the various rifle disciplines it is the common ground where all rifle shooters tend to meet at one time or another.

Smallbore shooting can be participated in to any extent the competitor desires from local league to international level competition. The equipment can range from the basic rig issued by the Civilian Marksmanship Program to an elaborate kit that is only restricted by the size of the shooter’s wallet. Smallbore shooting is not bound by gender or age and physical handicap places few barriers to successful participation. Because of its egalitarian nature the rewards of smallbore shooting, recreation, fellowship, and accomplishment, are within the reach of any one who wishes to practice this most American of sports.

About Hap Rocketto

Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. He was the 2002 Intermediate Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion, the 2012 Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion a member of the 2007 and 2012 National Four Position Indoor Championship team, coach and captain of the US Drew Cup Team, and adjutant of the United States 2009 Roberts and 2013 Pershing Teams. Rocketto is very active in coaching juniors. He is, along with his brother Steve, a cofounder of the Corporal Digby Hand Schützenverein. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s website, and most recently, the apogee of his literary career,
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43 Responses to An Introduction to United States Smallbore Rifle Shooting

  1. Polprav says:

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

  2. Joseph Zichichi says:

    Hap, another outstanding article.
    Thank you for your contributions to the shooting sport. Joe Zichichi

  3. Dave says:

    Hap: I was at perry in 77 when wigger shot the perfect score. when asked how he was doing as he walked down the line he said ” i’m down 3″ a pause “X’s”

  4. Dave says:

    Hap: I was at perry in 77 when wigger shot the perfect score. when asked how he was doing as he walked down the line he said ” i’m down 3″ a pause “X’s”

  5. Brian says:

    While I have participated in a small bore league, I consider myself a beginner. I don’t have a fancy Anschutz, but I am happy working with my Kimber SVT .22. I started working this rifle on the bench and mounted a Leupold 24x BR scope on top. Is this too much magnification for shooting multi-position small bore? What is your advice in this regard? Thanks!

    • Hap Rocketto says:


      From a personal view I think that a 24X scope is a bit too much for a position shooter, although I do know a few successful shooters who do use a very high power in position. It is a good choice for prone shooting.

      As a rule most position shooters will use between a 16X to 20X scope for position. Scopes magnify your movement and 24X will give you a false idea of how well you hold. I would suggest a lower power scope for position if you can find one and not break the bank. I use an old Redfield 6400 in 16X.

      Perhaps you might be able to trade your current scope in for something like a Leupold VariX III, a very popular scope with adjustable power? It is top of the line, I use one prone. It is expensive.

      Another thought is to hand on to what you have for prone and buy something like a Simmons 6.5-20×40 TruPlex Riflescope, which go for about $120.00 or a bushnell equivalent.

      The Kimber looks like a good choice for a starter rifle for you. The only concern is that they no longer make them and support becomes a problem. I suspect that, if you get seriously interested in competitive shooting, you will eventually be able to outshoot your present rifle and upgrade. There are lost of good used rifle on the market and all you will have to do is keep your eyes open. Hopefully the folks you are shooting with can give you guidance when that times comes.

      I hope I have been of some help.



      • Brian says:

        Hi Hap,

        Thank you for such a thorough response. I had a feeling 24x was too high and figured I could struggle with it while I learn, but I think my next step is to swap my current scope for something along the lines you recommended. Thanks for the help!


  6. Tim says:

    Hello, Hap. Could you please give any information on the small-bore rapid-fire matches that were held after the first world war? I understand Col. Whelen wrote of these?

    • Hap Rocketto says:


      There is not much that I could dig up about .22 rimfire rapid fire.

      Smallbore was viewed as a side line to high power and some rifles, particularly the M1 Springfield and the Winchester 52, were touted as training aids for high power riflemen.

      The Springfield was remarkably similar to its big brother the 1903 while the 52 looked a bit like the ’03 and was sold with a five round box magazine with and ten round box magazines available-I have samples of both. The only purpose I can see for that feature was to practice rapid.

      During the 1919-1922 National Matches there was a smallbore “Timed Fire Reentry” match which was ten shots in two minutes at 100 yards in either sitting or kneeling. The target had a two inch ten ring.

      The 1925 matches saw a set of novelty match where rapid fire was featured.

      In his 1927 work, Smallbore Rifle Shooting, Ned Crossman notes that NRA conditions for rapid fire are, “35 seconds for a strong of five shots.”

      I also asked Art Jackson, who was an active shooter in those days, about rapid fire but he did not recall any formal competition.

      Not much help here, I fear.

      Sorry I took so long in answering.



  7. Tim says:

    Hello, and thanks for research Hap! I have seen a video clip on you tube of British prone shooter firing rapid fire in Skirmisher match. Brits also had Alexandria rapid fire match..this was team shoot I believe. The reason I ask, I have a BSA 12/15 with a 30″ 1″ muzzle Pope brl.(April 1933) The lever has been bent to right..British shooter posted he thinks it could have been altered for ease of aquisition in these rapid-fire matches? Wish this one could talk! I don’t know if Pope made any prone rifles for Canadian or British shooters?

  8. Harry D. Harrison says:

    Hi Hap,
    I was looking for some info online about Leupold Scope for Smallbore shooting and ran across this sight. I use to shoot Smallbore extensively in the early 1980’s and I am a past member of the US Dewar Team and Distinguished in Prone. I have been out of the game for sooo long now, but wanted to get back into it with better equipment than when I left it. I am looking at purchasing a Leupold receiver mounted rifle scope to use. I would be using it mainly for Prone shooting. Out of all the scopes Leupold offers which one(s) are most of the smallbore shooters using and what recommendations can you provide to me?

  9. Harry D. Harrison says:

    Sorry about the typo’s. It’s very late and I need to get some sleep….

    • Hap says:


      Welcome back to the fold.

      The Leupold VariX III is a very popular reciever mounted scope.

      It has adjustable power, from 6.5 to 20X. It is top of the line and somewhat expensive, but you get what you pay for in optics. I use one prone and am very happy with it.



      • Justin Tracy says:

        Like Hap, I used to use the 6.5-20X. Then I realized I don’t want to be like Hap and switched to a 25X Leupold Silhouette scope for prone and kneeling. I know several others have done the same. The dot is nice and easy to see, yet does not obstruct your view. I can also still read the mirage at the sides of the 100 yard target as I shoot, which is nice. They make a 30X in the same model, but I haven’t tried that.

        For offhand I still use the 6.5-20 so I can dial it down to prevent sea sickness and now I have it mounted with a nice cant to match my rifle cant in offhand.


        • Hap says:


          Did you buy your 25X Leopold with the $700 you got from pawning that Gilkes-Ross action?

          Enquiring minds want to know.

          Unfortuntly for both of us you are like me as we both use different powers, although mine are super powers which came along with my cape. I use a 20X for prone an a 16X for position work.

          The difference is that I have a cape on and you are a capon.

          Hope the snow will melt in Rochester in time so that you can make it to Perry.



  10. Art Heyl says:

    I’m an “old shooter from the Roseland Rifle & Pistol Club days”. I’m looking for a club to resume small bore rifle shooting. Did it all from local to Camp Perry. Miss the shooting and the shooters. Any suggestions for the North Jersey area. I live in Chatham NJ but have lost touch with the shooters!
    Thanks, Art

  11. Hap Rocketto says:

    Please contact Mandy Otero at
    He is the NJ small-bore director and will help hook you up with a club.
    Good luck.

  12. bars stools says:

    Magnificent website. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks to your effort!

  13. Grosvenor Ervin Scott Wotkyns says:

    I am curious. Do you have a picture of the winner of the 1919 Camp Perry Smallbore Championship Match? Or, the medal won? The Gold Watch, won by Capt. G. L. Wotkyns, remains in Wotkyns family. As an aside, Capt. G. L. Wotkyns’ full name is: Grosvenor Liebenau Wotkyns. I am his grandson. Springfiled Armory records, American Rifleman, etc. and authors, such as yourself, Steve Gash, Robert Keen, E. B. Crossman, Joe Roberts Jr., Hervey Lovell, Adolph Neider, Jerry Gebby, Steve LaMascus, C. S. Landis, F. C. Ness, F. Seglin, L. E. Wilson, Adolph Lukes and G. L. Wotkyns, et al. have never identified the “L.” And, for the record, Capt. Grosvenor (L) Liebenau Wotkyns, USA expried on March 5, 1945 and is at rest at the San Franciso National Cemetery San Frisco, CA (the Presidio). Please advise.



    • Hap says:

      Mr. Wotkyns,

      Thank you for filling in a small historical blank in regard to the name attached to the “L” in your grandfather’s name.

      It was the practice in those days to use initials and not full names in match bulletins. I have spent many hours searching for complete names of the early shooters and have meet with some success. You have been a great help.

      I do not have any photos in my files but have a contact at the NRA and will see if he can come up with something.

      Your grandfather’s lasting fame is not in his shooting, which would be enough for most men, but in the development of the .22 Hornet cartridge while at Springfield.

      I will be in contact via this website if a picture is found. You may also contact me at if you wish.



    • Hap says:

      Mr. Wotkyns,

      I have found, and scanned, two photos of your grandfather, circa 1922, at Camp Perry.

      Please contact me at so I may forward them to you.


  14. Chris bertone says:

    I am interested in getting into smallbore competitions, I currently have a savage mark II that I love, I’ve been researching scopes around the 50-100$ range and I really fell for the p4 sniper reticle, is this my best option to vary from 50ft to 150 yards quickly without re-calibration? And any suggestions on brand and zoom?

  15. Hap says:


    The P4 sniper reticle, in my opinion, may not be the best choice for smallbore competition as it is too “busy.” By this I mean that the excessive number of stadia lines in the field of view can be distracting from viewing the target and those things around the target, such as grass, that help read wind.

    Furthermore US smallbore is shot at three known distances, 50 yards, 50 meters, and 100 yards so range finding is not necessary. The sight adjustment only needs to be in ¼ minute adjustments and must be capable of moving up at least a six minutes of angle vertically from your 50 yard setting.

    Most competitive rifleman use scopes from 16 to 20 power, which can be variable. I do not believe that you can get a scope that will be adequate for your needs in your price range.

    Your rifle will also needed to be fitted for metallic sights as 50% of smallbore competition requires them, the other half is any sights-which most take as meaning a scope. Additionally the Savage Mark II is clip fed which is not permitted in NRA competition. You can use it but you will have to single load.

    While I do not want to discourage you from using what you have you might be better served by acquiring a Civilian Marksmanship Program Kimber 82 and fit it out with metallic sights and a ‘scope. I fear that using what you have will not give you the performance that you need and would disappoint and discourage you, something I would not wish to happen.

    It is difficult to advise you via a website. The best thing to do is to find a shooting club close to you that has some competitive shooters and join up with them.

    I wish you the best of luck and hope to meet you on the range some day.


  16. Denny Kennedy says:

    Just stumbled onto your website today and am hoping you can answer a few questions for me. I own a Remington 513-T Matchmaster target rifle that my dad purchased in the early 60’s so my brother and I could participate in our local “Junior Rifle Club” which was administered by the local VFW chapter. The gun has been in storage for about 30 years but I recently had it serviced by a local gunsmith as I wish to try my hand at the 50 yard and 100 yard distances. The gun is fitted with a Redfield No. 75-RT rear peep (which still has the $11.75 price tag on the box) and a matching front hood with inserts. We only shot the standard NRA 50 ft. matches back in the 60’s and I would like to know if this sight would be functional for the 50 and 100 yard distances. Would I need to obtain different inserts for the hood? I anticipate that I will thoroughly enjoy the longer distances and may eventually buy a decent quality scope for it, as it is already drilled and tapped for scope mounts (it came equipped with a Weaver G6 which I think is a 3-power scope). Finally, I have been unable to find a local smallbore competition in the Tampa Bay area so if you are aware of anything in this area, I would appreciate the info. Thanks!

  17. Hap Rocketto says:


    The Remington 513T Matchmaster is a classic smallbore rifle manufactured from 1940 to 1968 with 137,302 manufactured. There is a sporting variation of the 513, the 513S with different stock and sights. The T suffix indicates target model and was equipped with target sights at the factory, the Redfield 75 rear and 68 globe front sight.

    It was the mainstay of the old Director of Civilian Marksmanship and countless numbers of us cut our competitive teeth with the rifle.

    The rifle is capable of shooting quite well at both 50 and 100 yards. You may need to find more apertures for the front sight depending on your eyes. They also may be hard to find. You can only determine if what you have is adequate by lying down and sighting in with appropriate targets at the appropriate distance. The front ring should be big one and half to two bull’s-eyes wide.

    If it was shot at 50 feet that sight setting will work at 50 yards and then you will have to come up about six minutes, 24 clicks on the Redfield 75, which is a quarter minute sight. The three power scope is not adequate for smallbore shooting.

    Not being from Florida I can’t speak to competitive shooting in the Tampa Bay area, although as a baseball fan I am disheartened at the lack of interest the local citizenry has in the Rays.

    My only experience in Florida has been with matches shot in the Hollywood/Miami area. You would be advised to contact the Florida Sport Shooting Association at

    Good luck and thanks for visiting



    • Denny Kennedy says:

      Thanks so much for the prompt reply and the excellent information. I will get to the range and evaluate the sights as you suggest. And I agree, the situation with the Rays is not a good one. I am not sure a new stadium on the Tampa side of the bay would make much difference. If we can’t support them, some other city will end up getting a wonderful organization and that will be the end of MLB in the Tampa Bay area.
      Good shooting and kindest regards!

      • Dennis Lindenbaum says:

        I know Tampa (born and reared).

        Check out

        Don’t be put off by the Wyoming or the antelope. They got smallbore.

        Dennis L

  18. Dave White says:


    really enjoyed your history of smallbore shooting.

    I believe there is a typo with regard to Mary Stidworthy’s record, it was 1978, not 1987.


    Dave White

  19. Hap Rocketto says:

    Thank you very much for your positive comment and sharp eye.
    We will correct the error quickly.

  20. Larry Richardson says:

    Your articles continue to amaze me with your depth of knowledge. As a dedicated smallbore shooter and (by coincedence) the editor-in-chief of the Kansas State Rifle Association quarterly newsletter, this article is right in my wheelhouse.
    I would love to have your permission to reprint it in an upcoming issue.
    By the way, I have been putting on a Kansas State Indoor Smallbore Rifle Prone Championship for the past several years at the wonderful range at St. Johns Military School in Salina, KS. It is very popular and is best known as “The Margaret Murdock Championship Match” and she, as a Kansas native and resident, thinks it’s pretty cool. So far, it is the only one of its’ kind, that I know of, in the US. The match consists of 120 shots, with 40 shots at the HUGE A-17 target followed by 80 shots on the tough little USA-50 target. So far it has been any sights, but we’re thinking of going to irons for half and any for the other half mainly because we had 5 perfect scores this year. It has been very popular to a great many with 30+ competitors each year from Kansas and surrounding states. We have petitioned the NRA to adopt an official 50 ft. indoor course of fire to no avail, but they keep registering the match and we keep shooting it anyway.
    Thanks for all of your wonderful articles.

  21. Myc says:

    Hap, thanks for boiling all of this down for a newbie to understand. I’ve saved up money for a “nice” rifle and curious on which ave to take. If half the competitions allow for use of scopes would someone using adjustable sights be at a significant disadvantage?

    I would prefer to purchase one rifle that I could use across a wide range of SB competitions but it’s looking like I would need two, scoped / sights?

  22. Hap Rocketto says:

    Your last sentence leads me to believe that you think you need a rifle for each sight configuration. That is not the case.

    Most contemporary target rifles are fully adjustable and can be used for both prone and position shooting. I am a dinosaur in that I have both a prone rifle and a position rifle but that is because when I started shooting fully adjustable rifles were not common.

    Sights are interchangeable, any rifle will accept both metallic and telescopic sights, and you just swap them out. So you only need one rifle but two sets of sights, iron and scope.

    As to any disadvantage of shooting irons across the course? For most consistent shooters the big differences is, perhaps, a point or two but many more Xs. For really good shooters it is Xs, an example being Jamie Beyerle’s National Championship prone victory in 2004 when, as a junior, she shot all four days with irons.

    I hope this answers your question, if not, feel free to contact me again.



  23. LEGOLAND says:

    The LEGOLAND Florida amusement park looks really cool for us, we really enjoy LEGOS so we are eager to visit and see all the amazing LEGO Models.

  24. salam nahdi says:

    please give reply shooting 22 rifle i am anable to fold left leg other wise i am very good in in big bore .regards salam nahdi

  25. Syd Heese says:

    Hello Hap – I am 45 years old now but shot for my High School years ago. I have always wanted to get back into small bore but I’m not certain how to start or if they let old guys shoot competitively? I live in Pennsylvania on the border of New Jersey. My prior shooting was all iron sights. I see in your article that folks use scopes as well. Are any of the matches just for iron sights? We used to shoot A-36’s and sometimes A-17’s. Any guidance to help me get reacquainted with the sport would be much appreciated.

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  29. Bill Sparling Stidworthy says:

    Oh just another thing to add, Tom Whitaker shot a 6400×574 in 1975 at the Western wildcats 6400 match at Ben Avery in Phoenix Az

  30. Charles Elias says:

    Mr. Rocketto:
    Wonderful series of posts. You brought back many memories of the ’60’s and ’70’s for me.
    I looked, but did not see any mention of the Mohegan League history. Is there one available. Thanks.

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