NOTE: It does not take an expensive rifle to try this sport. Some compete here regularly with an average .22 rimfire rifle. If you have a .22 rimfire rifle with a scope that adjusts properly, you can try this sport to see if you like it. In the beginning skill is much more important than equipment.
NOTE: Being based directly on the competitor’s best scores, Rifle Silhouette has one of the fairest Handicap Systems. See "Classification-Handicap"
If you are in the Phoenix area and enjoy a rifle shooting challenge, the Hassayampa Rod and Gun Club allows you to shoot at a reduced rate in an actual match to see if you like one of the toughest rifle shooting sports there is, High Power Rifle Silhouette or Smallbore Rifle Silhouette. See the club website for time, date and location of their matches.
You must shoot from a standing position with no support, no slings, no heavy leather shooting gloves or shooting jackets are allowed.
The average score for a first time shooter is 13 of the steel targets knocked down out of 60 total targets (based on 120 known first-time scores).
The average score for a Smallbore Rifle Silhouette match in Phoenix match is 29 of the steel targets knocked down out of 60 total targets (based on 20 consecutive 60 target matches I had data for).
In other words... It is possible for everyone who has the determination to continue with the sport of Rifle Silhouette to improve their rifle shooting skills by 100%.
87% of the first time shooters hit less than 1/3 of the steel targets (based on 120 known first-time scores).
Listen to the shot to hit time on the Chickens and compare it to the Rams. It takes 1/4 of a second to hit the Chicken, 2-1/2 times longer to hit the Ram.
A 10 mph crosswind will blow the bullet about 4.5 inches by the time it gets to the steel Ram target at 100 meter range in Smallbore Rifle Silhouette.
A 10 mph crosswind will blow the bullet over 2 feet by the time it gets to the steel Ram target at 500 meter range in High Power Rifle Silhouette.
You must be able to read the wind correctly while you are shooting and the wind is pushing your body around.
Even though Smallbore Rifle Silhouette is exactly 1/5th the scale, High Power Rifle Silhouette is much more difficult.
There are no sighting shots after the match starts as in benchrest. When the match is underway you better know your sight settings because every shot counts.
Because the skill level is more important than the equipment, it only takes a basic .22 rimfire rifle with a scope to try out the sport.
Because of its difficulty, it is designed for the person with a marksman/hunter type of mentality.
The easiest steel target to shoot, the metallic silhouette of a Pig, is like attempting to shoot a standard business card from a range of 50 yards.
The hardest steel target to shoot, the metallic silhouette of a Turkey, is like trying to shoot a baseball from a range of 100 yards.
The steel targets for the High Power Rifle Silhouette Turkey is only 18 yards short of a quarter of a mile.
The steel targets for the High Power Rifle Silhouette Ram is 107 yards longer than a quarter of a mile.
The handicap system, the 5 different NRA Classifications, really balances out he competitors so that each person is competing against others with the same skill level.
Only 10% of the first time shooters will knock down 23 or more of the 60 steel targets (based on 120 known first-time scores).
Only 9 people shooting the High Power Hunting Rifle have an NRA Grand Slam Award - see awards.
There are not a lot of female competitors but... the average experienced female competitor will score better than the average experienced male competitor.
It's a fun arcade style game just to shoot the steel targets and watch them fly off the stand.