ABOUT AIRGUN SHOOTING
There are many different types of airgun shooting to offer to you choices for the one that is most interesting to you. There several types of airgun shooting categories: 10 meter Olympic, 3-Position, Silhouette, and Field Target. The Airgun Committee conducts championships in international Olympic air rifle and air pistol and 3-position air rifle, all of which involve shooting at targets that are 10 meters downrange using .177 caliber pellets.
The Silhouette Committee conducts airgun championships firing at four types of animal shaped metal silhouette targets placed various distances out to a range of 45 yards.
There are four major airgun championships the Airgun Committee conducts:
1. International Air Pistol
2. International Air Rifle
3. 3-Position Precision and Sporter Air Rifle
4. 3-Position Precision and Sporter Air Rifle Junior Olympics
One major advantage of using airguns is that you can safely construct a range at home and practice regularly without ever having to travel to a public shooting facility, a private range, or in the forests. Also, you can practice regardless of what the weather is outside. A proper backstop can be fabricated with readily available materials. Also there are a number of economical pellet traps to use, some even come with knock down and spinning targets to test your skill.
Safely shooting airguns at your home range also provides an excellent opportunity to practice and instill the proper range safety practices, safe gun handling practices, and develop and hone proper shooting fundamentals without having to deal with the confusion caused by having other people around as would be typical at an indoor/outdoor public range and the loud noise of firearm discharges. Once trained these habits easily carry over to the use of firearms later.
Airguns have been around and in use for hundreds of years. In fact, Lewis and Clark carried at least one large caliber air rifle on their expedition of discovery starting in the western US and ending in the Northwestern Territories during the early 1800s.
The basic principle of operation is similar for all airguns. The major mechanism for propulsion in the airgun is the release of compressed air (or carbon dioxide) into the firing chamber to propel the pellet forward. The air source can be from a reservoir of compressed air, liquefied carbon dioxide, or a mechanical piston that rapidly pushes a column of air. Pellet sizes range in caliber from .177 to over .45. However, the size of the pellet used in these competitions is restricted to .177.
Airguns, whether rifle or pistol, come in a variety of styles, which are designed for specific types of shooting activities, and can range in price from very inexpensive ($200-$300) to very expensive (up to $3000).
The ammunition for airguns is relative inexpensive, especially compared to the cost of firearm ammunition. Pellets, made from lead and weighing between 5 to 30 grains (7000 grains equal one pound) typically come in circular tins containing 500 pellets ranging in cost from $5 to $20 per tin, depending on the style and precision of the pellet.
Air rifle shooting is especially popular in high schools and colleges. Talented junior shooters in high school are recruited by colleges and can receive sports scholarships. National championships are held annually where the top individual shooters or teams compete. Shooting success can lead to becoming part of the US National team or Olympic team to compete worldwide.
International Air Rifle and Air Pistol (Olympic events)
Air Pistol: This is a sixty record shot match shot on the B-40 target at a distance of 10-meters loading and firing each shot with a pistol held in one hand from the standing position. Pistols used in this competition can range in cost from a few hundred dollars to around $2000 for Olympic level equipment. Competitors wear street clothes and have 105 minutes to fire their sighter shots and complete their 60 record shots for a possible maximum score of 600, with the 10-ring being a bit smaller than the size of a dime. Air pistols must conform to size, weight, and trigger pull limits to be considered legal to be used in the competition.
Air Rifle: This rules and course of fire in this event are very similar to those in the air pistol match except the 10-ring on the AR-1 target is just a little bit larger than the period at the end of this sentence. Competitors can wear specialized shooting suits and shoes designed to minimize body movement.
3-Position Air Rifle
The two championships the CRPA conducts are identical in equipment, course of fire, targets, etc. except the Junior Olympics is only open to juniors. Two classes of air rifles exist: sporter, which use the less expensive ($200-$400) air rifles and where competitors must wear street clothes, and precision, where the equipment is identical to that used for international air rifle. Competitors fire sighters and then 20 record shots, one record shot on each scoring bullseye, from different three positions, first prone, then standing, and finally kneeling. The target is the same AR-1 bullseye only with 10 record bullseyes and two sighter bullseyes on a single sheet of paper. Two target sheets are hung for each position fired. The time limits for each position are prone 30 minutes, standing 40 minutes, and kneeling 30 minutes, with 5-10 minutes allowed for changeover from one position to the next.
For more details about these competitions, click on the following links to view the rulebooks and regulations:
International Shooting Sport federation (ISSF)
National Rifle Association
Civilian Marksmanship Program
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
For details regarding the California Rifle and Pistol Association State Championships, Junior Marksmanship Programs or general information relating to the Airgun discipline, please contact: