View Full Version : biathlon rifles

February 14, 2010, 04:21 PM
So, I flipped by the Olympics on the tube today and they are showing the biathlon. Other that being stunned that NBC would even broadcast a positive sentence about guns, I couldn't identify what the rifles they were using were...

Any links or info would be appreciated.

February 14, 2010, 06:50 PM
I think that the Anschutz biathlon rifles are the most popular for this level of competition - http://www.championshooters.com/1827-fbig.htm

There are also a few other manufacturers - e.g. http://www.altiusguns.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=37_42&osCsid=9555601a02ccf752f80be79e9119e17c

February 14, 2010, 08:17 PM
Thanks for the links....

My wife figured out why the biathlon was being broadcast.

All of the down hill skiing was canceled.

Oh well, at least I got to watch it both days...

Mark whiz
February 14, 2010, 08:45 PM
Actually, the Biathlon has been at least partially shown in the last several Winter Olympics. Even the Liberal media has to marvel at what these guys accomplish to go from flat out speed skiing to basically shooting a half dollar piece at 50 meters with open sights. After just trying to shoot some of the 10 meter air rifle competions in the summer time, what those guys do boggles the mind.

As said, the Anschultz and Hammerli rifles are the tools of choice for most of that kind of shooting.

Don Gwinn
February 14, 2010, 09:25 PM
Of course, true biathlon aficionados must be familiar with the Top Gear version, featuring Jeremy Clarkson running the biathlon in a Volvo XC90 with an MP5. (http://www.streetfire.net/video/Top-Gear-Biathlon_179403.htm)

February 14, 2010, 10:48 PM
shooting a half dollar piece at 50 meters with open sights.

It looks to me like they have aperture sights, not open sights. Open sights have a rear notch and a front blade that cannot be shaded.
I think the rules also mandate a 4 kg minimum weight.

Lawyer Daggit
February 14, 2010, 11:24 PM
I saw a Russian made biathlon rifle last year. While not up to the aesthetics of the Anschutz it was an interesting piece of kit with a straight pull bolt action that was incredibly fast to use.

February 15, 2010, 06:18 AM
the Anschultz and Hammerli rifles are the tools of choice for most of that kind of shooting.

Anschutz 1827, yes....frequently with a lighter custom stock. Hammerli, as far as I know, has not produced a Biathlon rifle.
The other popular rifle is the Russian Ishmash, also frequently custom stocked.
Both of these rifles use a straight pull bolt. The 1827 is a Fortner SPB. The Ishmash, which I have not handled, is similar and appears to be a clone.
The operation of the Fortner bolt is, indeed, very fast. One places one's thumb on the rear of the bolt, lifts the trigger finger to contact the bolt handle, rotates the hand backward at the wrist about 45 or so degrees, the bolt opens, cartridge ejects, thumb pushes the bolt close, finger drops to trigger. As fast as you can move your hand back and forth. The trigger is about two ounces. If so desired the rifles could be shot about as fast as a semi-auto.
Aperture sights - snow sights - both the rear and the front have integral flip up covers to protect the sight from falling snow. The front sight also protects the muzzle.

Lawyer Daggit
February 15, 2010, 07:02 AM
The Ishmash is reasonably priced here and I liked the action so much I would like one as a bunny rifle.

Max Power
February 18, 2010, 06:00 PM
I really want a rifle with a bolt that closes on its own like that! Yes, I am that lazy!

February 18, 2010, 06:42 PM
Max:a bolt that closes on its own like that

It just looks that way. It doesn't close on its own. It's pushed home with the thumb - as I described above.

February 18, 2010, 08:22 PM
stunned that NBC would even broadcast a positive sentence about guns

As anti-gun as they are it could be much worse. The British biathlon team trains in Scotland and their national championships are held in Germany. (Yes, I know Scotland is technically in the UK, but their legal system is different.) Even though they compete to represent their country, they're not welcome there. http://www.britishbiathlon.com/pages/about_us.htm

Ok, putting my soap box away now. Sorry to the moderator if it's too off topic, I wasn't sure. Just thought I'd share.

February 18, 2010, 09:49 PM
MT Guns carries the Izhmash biathlon rifle - http://www.mtguns.com/biathalon.htm


Lawyer Daggit
February 18, 2010, 10:05 PM
The only ski fields in the British Isles are in Scotland, so I would imagine that the Biathlon team would need to train in Scotland as the rest of the UK is really not suitable.

February 18, 2010, 10:35 PM
Here's the Larsen stocked version of the rifle pictured above:

It can be yours, race ready, for only $3200. The Anschutz will cost you $3600.

PS - One of the neat and important and unseen aspects of these rifles is guaranteed cold weather performance. The Anschutz, for instance is guaranteed to group (I forget what - but it's quite small) at -20C (4 Below zero F.)

February 21, 2010, 01:54 PM
Watching the competitors in the falling snow and rain, it appeared that none were using the covers to keep the muzzle or front sight covered. I had to wonder if that was responsible for so many first shot misses.

February 21, 2010, 05:20 PM
About using the sight covers. I'll have to look harder at the video but in the past, looking at these men and women shoot, I noted how good they are at "the drill" of taking the rifle off their back and, when done, getting it back on. Many times, the front sight/bore cover is removed in the first swing of the rifle from the back. The rear sight cover flips up with just a finger.
If you have seen them skiing with the front cover extended, that's something I have to look for.

June 11, 2010, 09:55 PM
Breathing hard is usually the reason for missing the first shot, at least in my case. I appreciate the five shots simply b/c I can rest for 30 seconds before I have to go ski again. Competitive skiers sometimes will leave their last shooting stop front cover off b/c it doesn't matter as much as getting back up to speed on the skis for the sprint to the finish.

Anschutz is the main rifle for the top tier biathletes. For normal people izmash is a moderately priced alternative. Back in the day, there were some lever-action biathlon rifles in which the hand grip was the lever. Never saw one in person. In any case, the rifle must have iron sites (aperature is the norm) and a human-powered bolt. There is a minimum weight limit of like 3.5 kg.

I bought a used Marlin 2000 and Altius helped me get get parts to fix it up to hold extra mags, etc. It's turn bolt, but my skiing is so lame that the extra 2 seconds doesn't matter.

We have about 6 races a year in Colorado. Good times whether you're a talented skier or a talented shot, or lucky enough to be both.

sorry for the bump in the middle of summer, but I can actually talk about this topic.

June 13, 2010, 07:20 PM
I appreciate the comments.


July 14, 2010, 12:01 AM
Here is an informative link: http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/snow-sports/biathlon4.htm


July 14, 2010, 01:16 PM
There is a whole section on the Russian Biathalon Basic on Rimfire Central, it is listed under Russian Rimfires and Biathalon.

Several of the members of our shooting club have them. I bought mine five years ago new for $299. Forged full floating barrel, nice trigger. They used to be imported by EAA but I am not sure who does it now. The toggle action bolt is very neat also.

July 14, 2010, 02:17 PM
Why do those rifles always have to look so funky? I'd be out there with my Wal-Mart Marlin.

July 15, 2010, 07:51 AM
Why do those rifles always have to look so funky? I'd be out there with my Wal-Mart Marlin.

Yeah. You could do that. It'd be a way for you to start. (though I don't believe that the basic bolt action Marlin meets the weight requirement.)
The "funky" rifles in question are that way for a number of reasons (and remember that funkiness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.)
The stocks allow for the gun to be custom fitted to the individual shooter's anatomy. The attachments allow it to be carried comfortably and conveniently accessible on a skier's back for many miles, mounted and dismounted with ease and speed. The sights - which alone will cost more than that Walmart Marlin - are extremely precise and durable and designed to protect the apertures from contamination by snow and ice . The action - the straight pull bolt - allows for rapid manipulation of the firing sequence without the danger of jamming that using a semi-auto would bring (remember the conditions under which these guns have to function). In addition to speed, the SPB allows the shooter to maintain position, nothing moves except the hand - keep his or her eye on the target and get the shots off faster (they are, after all, in a race).
That is at least a bit of why they look like they do. If an inexpensive firearm worked as well, competitors would be using it but they don't.
The Anschutz Biathlon rifle is shot mostly at 50 meters. At 100 - with the aperture sights, not a scope, from prone, not a bench - it will shoot one half inch ten shot groups with the right shooter and ammo.

January 5, 2011, 10:11 PM
In the 70s or 80s or so, I recall some (rimfire)rifles that had an underside lever that was located in a reliefed portion of the stock. The rifle was fired and the index finger of the hand on the forend was used to flick the vertical lever rearward to eject and reload. Does any body know what rifle that was? Was it a variant of the Browning SA22/Rem 24? Does anyone know of a book that would cover the general evolution of the rifle, as used in biathlon?


January 5, 2011, 10:15 PM
LSB you should check out the biathlon forum at targettalk.org - they'd probably know.