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NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Rules

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Smallbore Silhouette Rifle Rules

The following is an edited summary of the rules for rimfire silhouette competition. An unabridged copy of the rules may be obtained from NRA.

Standard Silhouette Rifle -A rifle, meeting the following specifications:

(a) Maximum weight 10 pounds, 2 ounces, including sights.

(b) Any sights, telescopic or metallic may be used. Scopes may not be more than 2 inches above the rifle as measured from the top of the receiver to the underside of the scope tube, nor may the scope be offset from the top centerline of the receiver. Any sighting device programmed to activate the firing mechanisms is prohibited.

(c) Any trigger not subject to accidental discharge. Triggers which function on release are not permitted. In the event of accidental discharge, the Range Officer shall require trigger adjustment or replacement of the rifle.

(d) Stock: The stock must be traditionally styled and may not be bent and/or twisted so as to deviate from conventional configurations such as factory rifle stocks or silhouette stocks as manufactured by Fajen, McMillan, H-S Precision, and others. The forend, including the trigger guard mounts and screws, shall not exceed 2 1/4 inches wide, and 2 1/4 inches deep measured from the centerline of the bore. Magazines do not have to conform to stock measurements but those that extend below the stock line may not be used as support. The forend shall extend a minimum of 8 inches forward of the forward edge of the receiver ring. The comb shall not extend above the centerline of the bore, but Monte Carlo roll may rise 1/2 inch on the off side. The toe of the stock including buttplate or recoil pad shall be no more than 7 inches below the centerline of the bore. Buttplate or recoil pad may not extend below the lower line of the stock.

(e) Attachments which do not cause any portion of the rifle to exceed the weight or dimensions as listed herein are permitted provided they do not extend past the end of the barrel. Sighting devices are not considered "attachments".

(f) Trigger guard must be present and may not vary from conventional configuration for the purpose of providing added thumb or palm support and shall be no deeper than 15/16 inches below the bottom line of the forend. (Note: TIC Contender Carbines and Ruger Single Shot rifles are exempt, provided the additional depth of the trigger guard is not used as palm or thumb support.) ,

(g) The barrel may be no longer than 30 inches including any sleeve or attachment, as measured from the face of the closed bolt to the end of the barrel.

(h) The rifle shall be chambered for only factory loaded .22 caliber short, long or long rifle rimfire cartridges. Hot loads, such as "Stingers", are not permitted.

Smallbore Hunting Silhouette Rifle -A hunting style rifle, having a maximum weight of 8 1/2 pounds, including sights and if applicable, an empty magazine or clip. With the exception of single shot rifles, all other types must be repeating rifles, which shall be fired by loading all cartridges from the magazine or clip into the chamber.

The intent of this rule is to describe a common hunting rifle.

(a) Caliber: The rifle may be a single-loading rifle, the weight may not exceed 8 1/2 pounds, and the rifle shall be chambered for only factory loaded .22 caliber short, long or long rifle rimfire cartridges. Hot loads, such as "Stingers", are not permitted.

(b) Sights: Any telescopic or metallic sight may be used. Scopes may not be more than 1.5 inches above the rifle, as measured from the top of the receiver to the underside of the scope tube, nor may the scope be offset from the centerline of the bore.

Exception: for rifles that eject the empty cartridge case straight up and that normally use an offset scope, the scope may be offset. Any sighting device programmed to activate the firing mechanism is prohibited.

(c) Stock: a hunting style stock. Attachments, either removable or permanent, are not permitted. Swivels and slings are permitted, but slings may not be used for arm support in shooting.

(d) Trigger: Trigger pull shall not be less than 2 pounds. In the event of an accidental discharge, range officers shall require adjustment of the trigger or replacement of the rifle. Rifles must be equipped with a functional safety. All safety features, including any manual safety, must be functional.

(e) Barrel: a hunting style tapered barrel. Bull or varmint barrels are not permitted. A factory tuner that does not act as a muzzle break is permitted. Maximum barrel length is 26 inches.

(f) Magazines: Magazines may not be loaded with more than 5 rounds. During the match, all cartridges must be loaded into the chamber from the magazine. Magazines not capable of holding 5 rounds may be reloaded as required, or for removable magazines/clips, multiple magazines may be used.

Exception: During a Shoot Off, single cartridge loading may be used, at the direction of the range Officer.

Matches are commonly fired at ranges of 40, 60, 77 and 100 meters or yards for Smallbore rifle Silhouette.

Alternate Range Distances -Where available range distances do not permit targets to be placed at their maximum specified distances, tournament sponsors must use targets scaled to proportional shorter distances.

Smallbore Rifle Competition -A sanctioned match consists of 40, 60, 80 or 120 rounds fired in the standing position on one-fifth size standard High Power Rifle Silhouette targets as follows:

(a) Ten Gallina (chicken) targets at 40 meters (or yards).

(b) Ten Javelina (pig) targets at 60 meters (or yards).

(c) Ten Guajalote (turkey) targets at 77 meters (or yards).

(d) Ten Borrego (ram) targets at 100 meters (or yards).

Computing Time -Time is not checked on each shot but is computed on the indicated allowance for each five-shot string. The Chief Range Officer may terminate any relay before completion of the full time allowance, if all competitors in that relay have completed firing.

Time Allowances:

(a) Ready time -Fifteen seconds will be allowed after the command "READY" (LISTO) is given before the command "FIRE" (FUEGO).

(b) Two and one half minutes will be allowed to fire one shot on each target of a bank of five targets-

(c) Alibis -30 seconds will be allowed for each unfired round of the series in which the alibi is allowed.

(d) Shoot-offs- 30 seconds will be allowed for each shot fired in a shoot-off of ties.

(e) A minimum of 30 seconds will be allowed between the command "CEASE FIRE" and "READY."

(f) Long Run Attempt -A competitor is allowed a 15 second ready and 2 1/2 minutes for five shots. In the event that the first shot is a sighter, the competitor is allowed a 15 second Ready and 30 seconds for the sighter shot.

Firing Line Procedures and Commands:

(a) Each competitor has a bank of 5 silhouettes at which to fire, one shot at each, left to right, in order, in the appropriate time. Hits out of sequence are scored as misses; for example, the second shot hitting the third silhouette is a miss. When a silhouette is down before a shot, a shooter will fire on the remaining ones in order, then return to the left-most target remaining in the bank and fire any unfired rounds at the remaining silhouette or silhouettes as required. If the shooter still has shots unfired and no targets remain standing on the shooters or another's bank, a range alibi will be declared. The bank will be reset, and the competitor will be allowed a "ready" period and 30 seconds for each remaining shot. Ricochet hits fired in sequence at properly designated targets count as a hit. Only hits and misses are recorded, and a silhouette must be knocked over or from its rest in order to score hit. "Turning" a silhouette on its stand does not count as a hit.

(b) If a malfunction occurs, the competitor will be allowed to use another rifle and/or cartridge, and will be given 30 seconds for each unfired round of the series. Such completion firing may be done immediately, or on a later relay, at the Range Officer's discretion, based on the length of the delay involved, such as rifle repair, substitution or other pertinent factors.

(c) Different rifles may be used during a tournament, but in each individual match the same rifle must be used for all stages in that match, except when rifle failure occurs and is certified as such by the Range Officer. Only one alibi will be allowed in a match.

Misses -Any shot which does not knock the proper silhouette over or from its stand will be scored a miss. "Turning" a silhouette on its stand will be counted as a miss. Any target that is hit, causing one or both feet to be moved off the stand or pad, and make contact with another supporting surface, but still remain upright, shall be scored as a hit. If, through the fault of the competitor, fewer than the prescribed number of shots are fired, or shots are fired on the wrong target, the competitor is scored a miss for each unfired shot or each shot fired on a wrong target.

Early or Late Shots -A competitor firing a shot from the line before "ready" (Listo) is given will be disqualified from the day's scheduled match. Shots fired upon closing of the bolt or action when on the firing line will be scored as record shots. Any shot fired after the command "Cease Fire" (Alto) will be scored as amiss.

All Shots Count -All shots fired by a competitor after taking position at the firing point will be counted in the competitor's score even if the rifle may be accidentally discharged.

Hits on Wrong Target -Hits on the wrong target are scored as misses.

Spotting Scope -The use by the coach of a telescope or other optical device to spot shots is permitted.

Clothing -Commercial type trap and skeet vests (sleeveless ) and shotgun shooting shirts are permitted as well as clothing normally suitable for existing climatic temperatures. Shooting coats, unnecessarily heavy clothing, or anything on the person that would provide artificial support such as clothing having excess padding or stiffening material or which restricts or supports the body in the shooting position may not be worn. Any dispute regarding clothing will be submitted to the Jury for decision.

Sleeveless leather, vinyl, heavy fabric or multiple layered vests that may be considered or construed to be unnecessarily heavy or to provide artificial support are permitted if they can be closed over a gauge made from 4 inch thin wall PVC pipe, not less than 30 inches in length, passed through the entire length of the vest, and opened or vented from the bottom edge to a point two inches above the crest of the hipbone.

Slings -Slings may be attached to the rifle but may not be used for support of the hand or arm.

Palm Rest -A palm rest may not be used. A palm rest is any attachment or extension below the forearm which aids the normal hand grip and support of the rifle by the forward hand/arm.

Buttplates and Cheekpieces -A butt or buttplate having a curved rear surface in which the depth of the curve exceeds 1f2 inch when measured from a straight line drawn from the top to the bottom of the buttplate is prohibited. Buttplates must be centered. Adjustable cheekpieces must be fixed and sealed in place.

Release Triggers -triggers which function on release are prohibited.

Compensators and Muzzle Brakes -The use of compensators, muzzle brakes and barrel porting is prohibited. (The adjustment holes on the Boss-CR are not considered to be compensators, muzzle brakes or barrel porting)

Eye Protection -All competitors and other personnel in the immediate vicinity of the range complex are urged to wear eye protection devices.

Ear Protection -All competitors and other personnel in the immediate vicinity of the range complex are urged to wear hearing protection devices.

Open Bolt Indicators -An Open Bolt Indicator is required in all NRA Silhouette competition to indicate the bolt is open.
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This should help answer some more basic questions.
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"...be repeating rifles, which shall be fired by loading all cartridges from the
magazine or clip into the chamber.
The intent of this rule is to describe a common hunting rifle."

Someone can pick it apart if they really wanted to.

That rule is still open to interpretation and loosely defined. They should have specified "loaded within a magazine" or "from a magazine loaded prior to insertion". (There is also no differentiation of detachable box magazines, or fixed magazines, which can have all fired rounds come from the top, one at a time. It is still "from the magazine to the chamber.")

When I drop a round on top of my magazine feed lips, and close the bolt, the round is undeniably fed "from the magazine ... into the chamber". I'm not saying it was fed from within the magazine. It isn't hand fed directly into the chamber. It isn't miraculously balanced on the ejector. It is on the magazine, from where it is chambered.

As long as all rounds fired first rest upon the magazine feed lips, vs being inserted directly into the chamber by one's fingers, it satisfies the rule.

The rule defined the necessary step of being fed from a magazine, it didn't define the exceptions. The magazine could have no spring or follower, but as long as the round was picked up or chambered by the bolt from the magazine (somehow), it looks like it technically fits through a loophole.


(This is akin to the "creativity" in car racing of old, which followed the "Ya' didn't say I couldn't" principle, which created all the "thou shall not" rules)
Thats just sad. Its people trying their hardest to skirt the rules instead of just obeying the intent of the rule that causes us to get more and more thou shalt not rules. Next competition I hope the director stands beside you and watches and if your round falls off the magazine before you close the bolt he disqualifies you.

And its not fed 'from the magazine' when you place it there, its fed from on top of the magazine. I'd DQ ya. And find a jury that would agree with me.

Next thing you are going to wear anschutz shooting boots and say they aren't shooting equipment, they are hiking boots since I hiked to the line from the car in them. :mad:
I didn't say I do it, just that the rules appear loosely written, should someone wish to seek a loophole.

The coin of intent has two sides.

Personally, I'm just out to have fun. ;)
PS: we wear rubbah slippahs (aka Flip Flops) all year round. :p
just a little bump......
Keep the rules fresh for everyone.
Does anyone have any older (pre 2000) rulebook copies in pdf? I am interested in how the equipment rules have changed over the many years.
Does the taper on a CZ452V barrel qualify it for Hunter class since it's not a bull or straight taper barrel? Same question but for the tapered aftermarket barrels that go on a 10-22.
Hi bigrob,
some where in a recent discussion it was determinedwith Sophia's helpthat the 452/453 varmint would qualify for Hunter. Sorry I can't dig it up right now. I'm having a brain lapse moment and can't remember which thread it was in.:eek:
Does the taper on a CZ452V barrel qualify it for Hunter class since it's not a bull or straight taper barrel? Same question but for the tapered aftermarket barrels that go on a 10-22.
Yes. And Yes, provided that the 10-22 stock fits with Hunter class rules.
2020 NRA Silhouette Rulebooks

The rules have been updated numerous times. Go here for the latest.
Hi all! I shot smallbore and high power silhouette back in the 90's and early 2000's. Back then there was a large uproar in the hunting rifle class. Essentially allowing "uncommon rifles" ie. custom rifles in the hunting class. This immediately priced out many new shooters or just scared them away. I see in the 2020 rule book that the rule includes the phrase "The intent of this rule is to describe a common hunting rifle." Does this mean we have eliminated the costly and highly customized rifles from hunter class? They would be by definition "uncommon"
Looking to get back into MS after these many years.
I doubt that it means that, around the period you are talking about, shooters were going to shooting one rifle for both classes and selling off their standard rifle. This caused the hunter class rifle to start really custom features to reduce the weight of the stock and very high scope mounting. I think those are still in use, but that two of the lightweight synthetic stock makers no longer make them. Going back to shooting a different rifle in each class is a good option again.
Also lever action silhouette has gained popularity,and is less equipment sensitive.

Sent from my SM-A505U using Tapatalk
Hi Thanks for the reply. I was very active from around 92 through 2005. Around 2002 plus or minus a year my wife's hunter class rifle was DQ'ed at a regional or state match. Sorry my memory doesn't recall which. A rifle that was allowed in all local matches we attended. Ruger 10/22 Wilson factory tapered barrel, Fajen Aristocrat stock, Jewel trigger set to 33 oz. Leupold 4.5x14 with added target turrets. It was ok for Silhouette rifle class though. As it was "custom". The phrase used at the time was "off the shelf factory sporter with minimal modifications". She got disgusted withdrew completely and never attended another match. A couple yrs later all kinds of custom guns were allowed. That's why I asked about the common hunting rifle language.
This all started with high power hunting rifle. The "identical to high power clause". High power started introducing rifles built from the ground up. $1500+ actions, $800 barrels with custom chambers, $800 stocks. Then this spread to rimfire. Many shooters no linger felt competitive with off the shelf rifles and left the sport. I tried for a while to keep up but eventually was priced out of the game too. Many things make a good or great shooter, and confidence in one's equipment is one. This works the other way too. Lack of confidence in one's gear can lead to discouragement and resentment. This happened I WAS THERE. I was there for the "Chin Guns" and all that drama too.
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