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Old February 3, 2012, 06:37 PM   #1
smenkhare
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biathlon rifle

What would be a good rifle for getting started in biathlon? I'm looking at a savage mk 2 at the moment. Any other suggestions?
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Old February 3, 2012, 07:33 PM   #2
gringojosh
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If you're talking skiing and shooting, lots of people go with Anschutz. However, they can be expensive. You might be able to find a good one used.
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Old February 3, 2012, 07:54 PM   #3
Bigfatts
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Izhmash Biathlon Basic. If you can find one they are superb rifles. Toggle action too.
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Old February 3, 2012, 07:57 PM   #4
mikejonestkd
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Anschutz is the standard for biathalon rifles. There are several other manufacturers out there but Anschutz is still the dominant rifle in the sport.
You are going to want to find an Anshutz 1827.
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Old February 3, 2012, 08:09 PM   #5
mr.t7024
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Biathlon

For starters good rifle, if you really get to like the sport, the Anschutz is the standard!Cliff
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Old February 4, 2012, 01:50 AM   #6
smenkhare
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Hi.
I realise that anschutz are THE rifle, but is there anything a bit lower down that doesn't cost $4,000 second hand?
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Old February 4, 2012, 08:42 AM   #7
Nathan
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Personally, I would start with a cheaper basic 22 which meets the rules where you will start competing. Will a 10/22 with a heavy barrel be allowed?
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Old February 4, 2012, 08:48 AM   #8
langloisandy
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Rifles for Biathlon

It's been a few years since I did this, ok...MANY years. Back in the day the Anshutz and Krico were the best rifles. Yeah, all are many thousands of $. Marlin made a good attempt at a bolt action Biathlon rifle, but it was VERY slow compared to the toggle actions. Sights were mediocre at best. Savage did the same, an ok gun, slow to shoot, sights were decent but not up to snuff for biathlon.

You really do get what you pay for with the higher end rifles. Superb toggle actions, moderately rugged sights and rifles that are incredibly accurate.

Biathlon is an enormous investment, skis, gear, rifle, ammo, then travel to where you use all this fun stuff.

As a side note, some of the biathloners are really NOT into guns, it's just a tool to win medals, seriously..... I have seen some of the most rusty non-maintained firearms at biathlons! They might run a patch down the bore after, but the outside is wet/icy and they show a ton of wear and tear.

Andy
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Old February 4, 2012, 09:40 AM   #9
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Does anyone know a good source for the Izmash?

I'm in the same boat, just started biathlon this year, and am currently eyeballing a CZ 452.... it seems to meet all the specs except weight, and that shouldn't be too hard adjust.

I've used (borrowed) the Marlin version - while its clearly a couple steps below the Anschutz and similar... it was a still a fun rifle to shoot, the sights were acceptable, and if you can find one for a decent price I'd say go for it - just can't seem to find one. IMO, Andy's points above aren't invalid - it IS slower, the sights aren't as high-quality as the normal biathlon rifle's (though I wouldn't necessarily agree with "inferior" - I was able to knock down targets with them, no problem), and for a serious biathlete, it would probably be frustrating to use. But for an entry level biathlon rifle that would allow me to compete with me own equipment and I could take to the range and shoot along with my other 22s... I'd buy it if I could find it.

As expressed in my first paragraph, the biggest issue I've found is locating the rifles to buy.

Sorry I got long-winded, but that's my two cents.
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Old February 4, 2012, 09:52 AM   #10
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When I was younger I tried to get into and find some biathlon events here in Texas, but couldn't find any.
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Old February 4, 2012, 11:06 AM   #11
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Best I can tell you about finding one of the Izmash "Biathlon Basic" rifles which used to be imported by EAA would be look around on Gun Broker, Guns America and the other auction sites. They still show up now and again, albeit in a variety of conditions and asking prices.

Another idea might be to place a "Want to Buy" ad in the classifieds at Rimfire Central and the like and see what turns up.

Hope this is of some help.
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Old February 4, 2012, 12:14 PM   #12
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Try "RUSSIAN AMERICAN ARMORY" they were carrying the biathalon rifles. Several rimfire models and 2 centerfirre models and the prices were very nice and affordable.

V/R
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Old February 4, 2012, 05:44 PM   #13
doofus47
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My experiences with biathlon rifles (this will be long).

Anschutz biathlon rifles are top of the line. They are also the most expensive, running about US$2K.
I haven't seen a Krico in years.
Izmash 7-4 are the second tier but still very solid. Their 7-3 model is smaller. These also have the straight-pull, Fortner bolt. They run around US$1,100 or 1,300. Do NOT buy a biathlon basic Izmash. They are nice rifles with a straight-pull bolt, but biathlon rules specify that you must use iron sights. I've not seen a Biathlon Basic that comes with any sights; ergo, you will be paying more to add them. Also, the basic doesn't have a magazine caddy to store extra magazines, so that's another expense. Nor mounting hardware for a biathlon harness.

I have a Lakefield/Savage B90. It's a standard turn bolt. They come with a basic snow cap, harness mount and a 4 magazine carrier built into a solid (but easily marked) wooden stock. They were made for about 10 mins back in the 90s. Hence they aren't easy to find. They are entry level, but they are very well made and very accurate. $400 to $500. I traded an XDM for mine.

When I started biathlon, I couldn't ski well (still can't) and didn't have a rifle, so buying an Izmash or Anschutz made no sense when seconds weren't going to matter. I like diy gun projects so I decided to build my first. It was tougher than I thought.

Some people buy surplus .22 training rifles and do custom wood work to mount the magazine carrier and harness mounts. I don't have those talents.

First, I bought a Winchester 69a--it was a fine and accurate rifle, but it didn't weigh enough. Biathlon rifles are supposed to be 7.5 lbs minimum.

I also bought a Savage Mark2, hoping to find a Lakefield B90 stock, so I could carry my extra mags while skiing. Great trigger, but I never found a stock. You might be more lucky or find a custom stock maker.

I found a Marlin 2000 with 5 mags for $300. Marlin 2ks are nice b/c the graphite stock is solid which allows for drilling and mounting (it's not honeycombed). Plus, the stock is puke blue, so you don't feel bad about defacing it. I started here.

I contacted Marc Sheppard at Altius firearms up in West Yellowstone, MT.
http://altiusguns.com/ to ask what I would need to complete my project. Mark was brilliant in his advice. Bonus, he seems like a really nice guy.
He sold me an Altius carrying strap (solid, but don't cost too much) and its mount as well as an Anschutz 4-mag holder for my Marlin-shaped magazines. (Be careful here if you buy a magazine caddy separately: Marlin mags are straight. Savage/Lakefield are curved and wouldn't fit this particular model of magazine carrier. Marc helped me find the right caddy straight away.) A quick trip to the local hardware store and I was built. Another local (colorado springs) gun store sold me a snow cap for an Anschutz 54 and with a little filing at the inside, it matched up to the Marlin barrel.

If you are thinking of doing summer biathlon involving running or biking, you don't have to sweat the harness, b/c you won't usually be running or riding with your rifle. You will leave it in a rack at the range while you are running/riding your laps. If you are doing a roller-ski biathlon, you will be toting your rifle.

My advice would be:
1. Find out if your local biathlon group has extra rifles that you can borrow for races. There's no sense in waiting to play the game. It's fun and infuriating.
2. Ask if you can borrow someone's Izmash/Anschutz/whatever while on a training race. Most people will let you. It will give you an idea of what works for you.
3. Prepare for a long search. I used to troll the gunbroker.com site regularly when I was looking. There are other sites, but that is where I had my best luck. Search for both "biathlon" and "biathalon". I guarantee that you will find items under both. I found the Marlin under "biathalon" and was pretty much the only bidder. I also overshot the mark by buying 3 rifles to broaden my chances of completing my rifle in three different ways. My buddy only looked for a lakefield B90. He found it one summer day on an online auction site when biathletes are generally thinking of other things. Apparently, he leads a cleaner life than I do; you might also be that lucky.

Hope this helps a bit. Good luck with the biathloning.
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Old February 4, 2012, 09:59 PM   #14
phil mcwilliam
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Since your from Sydney Australia, I'm interested as to where you will train. The ski resorts that are in your state are all located within National Parks & therefore do not allow firearms. Perisher has just opened a Biathlon training area, but it is only for electronic rifles, firing lasers onto targets. Mount Hotham in Victoria has traditional small-bore biathlon training, but your looking at a 9 hour one way drive for your training.
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Old February 4, 2012, 11:41 PM   #15
Don H
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There's a variation of biathlon that combines running with marksmanship called summer biathlon. Perhaps that's what the OP is participating in.
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Old February 4, 2012, 11:46 PM   #16
smenkhare
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Phil that's an awesome question.
I'm going to do what most people do and do the shooting part at a regular range and ski separately in winter.

doofus that is some great advice.
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Old February 10, 2013, 03:26 PM   #17
DaveSmith
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I'm also interested in a lower priced entry level biathlon rifle package for myself and my wife. As previously posted Altiusguns.com has been very impressive when it comes to top of the line Anschutz and Izhmash rifles. If you email them they will send you prices and help you work through a build. It basically comes down to $1760 for an entry level 20 deg F plus race ready Izhmash 7-3, $2,800 for the Altius-Izhmash 7-3 upgrade, $3,160 for the Larsen 7-3 upgrade. The Anshutz package is pretty much top of the line and has a top of the line price of $3,900.

Eastern Sierra Armory out in CA sells a Savage MK II biathlon rifle package for about $1,500 (http://www.easternsierraarmory.com/blog/).

So for around $1,500 - $1,760 which seems like the low end of the biathlon rifle package the only choices that I have found are the Savage MK II and the Izhmash 7-3. It seems like the package deals are the best for cutting costs as the snow sites, covers, hand stops, harness, rails all add up quick.

I wish I could find someone that has shot the Savage MK II at sub 15 deg F temps. I hear the accuracy of the Savage and Izhmash both drop below 15 deg F. When I was in CA where the temps never really got below the 20's (at least on the days I was out shooting) my scoped Savage MK II TRR-SR (worked over by a military sniper friend) from a benchrest held sub MOA out to 100yds and would have no problem in competition. We consistently could hit 6" steel gongs at 200yds. Out here in upper MN where I am now the temps stay around 5 deg F and are often 15 below at the range. The Savage with Wolf Match has had below standard performance. The bolt sticks, the magazines don't feed consistently and the shots are nowhere near 1 MOA. I will run some Lapua biathlon rounds through it and post the results asap as I'm sure the Wolf match is the biggest source of error at such low temps.

I would love to avoid having to drop $4,000 on a sub 15 deg F competition rifle if at all possible.

If you know anyone with a Sierra Armory Savage MK II biathlon set up please have them post a review.
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Old February 10, 2013, 05:22 PM   #18
tobnpr
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Quote:
I'm going to do what most people do and do the shooting part at a regular range and ski separately in winter.
So how do you re-create the cardio stress one would be under during cross-country skiing- while shooting; to "just" shooting at the range?

Just seems to me that whether it's skiing, or a cross-country run, not creating the same conditions of physical stress would be a waste of time. Just sayin... I can hit a minute of angle target at 600 yards when I'm prefectly controlling my hearbeat and breathing. If I went out, ran five miles then took that shot- I'm sure I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

Maybe a treadmill at the range...
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Old February 12, 2013, 01:05 AM   #19
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Another option you might consider is the Summit T3 from Primary Weapons Systems, either complete rifle or parts. Biathlon style toggle action, allowing the use of 10/22 aftermarket parts. Very smooth action!

http://primaryweapons.com/store/pc/v...?idCategory=35
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Old February 12, 2013, 04:06 PM   #20
Romeo 33 Delta
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Here's my Izhmash 7-2 Basic set up with an iron sights kit from MT Guns, below my 7-4 as it came... out of the box.

Both nice little rifles.
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Old February 12, 2013, 11:38 PM   #21
doofus47
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Quote:
So how do you re-create the cardio stress one would be under during cross-country skiing
I had a buddy that would set up his station at the 50 yard range, then run a quarter mile out and back, do 25 or 50 pushups, then fire a group.

lather,
rinse,
repeat.

It's not perfect, but it beats shooting from on top of an anthill.

Nice rifles, Romeo33
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Old February 13, 2013, 09:58 PM   #22
tobnpr
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Yup. Not unlike the military "top sniper" competitions.
I can't begin to imagine how those guys do it when their heart rate is well into triple digits.
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Old February 14, 2013, 07:36 PM   #23
darkgael
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Anschutz

The 1827:

My retirement present to myself. I could afford it ten years ago. I use it for small bore prone. Comes with five magazines. And the trigger....oh, the trigger....has to be used to believe.
About $2K, yes, in 2002. Today?..nah....about $3k nowadays (Champions Choice). And that is with no rear sight (+$315.00), no Harness (+$236.00) and no sling and hand stop (+$172.00).
Worth every penny.

Ishmash with custom stock..

Don't know the cost.
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Old February 14, 2013, 10:12 PM   #24
chadio
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Biathlon rifles are the coolest looking ....
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