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Old July 24, 2014, 04:47 PM   #1
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Can some explain NRA High Power Rifle Competitions?

I think in the next few months I'd like to try my hand at competition shooting. I know three-gun and other tactical stuff is all the rage at the moment, but the NRA High Power Rifle competitions and/or silhouette shooting have a lot more appeal to me. However, I believe most people use scopes for silhouette shooting, and I'd rather shoot with metallic sights.

That being said, the rules for NRA High Power are a bit hard to understand. From what I've gathered, there is a service class and a match class, each allowing different rifles. Most of the videos I've seen the of the competitions seems to be of folks with M16 or AR style rifles, which they hold in a very strange way. Can any give me some basic info on how to get started with this sport? Or just give me a link that isn't just an NRA rules page, lol.

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Old July 24, 2014, 05:20 PM   #2
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I'm in the same boat, and am planning on shooting my first match next month with an AR15. If you Google "High power rifle competition", you'll get a lot of links to overviews of the sport. Below are 3 such links.

Locally, we have a venue that hosts full 80-round Across the Course (XTC) matches, which go to 600 yards, but we also have 2 other ranges that host reduced course matches (200 and 300 yards).

Others will chime in with much better info, I'm sure.
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Old July 24, 2014, 05:35 PM   #3
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NRA High Power consist of:

10 shots slow fire standing in 10 min at 200 yards, single loading
10 rounds setting rapid fire in 60 seconds, including a mag change at 200 yards.
10 rounds prone rapid fire in 70 second, including a mag change at 300 yards.
20 rounds slow fire prone in 20 min. at 600 yards, single loading.

That is considered the National Match Course. More commonly you'll fire 20 rounds slow fire standing, and two 10 shot stings in setting and prone rapid fire, and 20 rounds slow fire pone at 600 consisting of an 80 round match.

In the 80 shot course you normally have two sighters at each stage.

In standing you cant use a sling, but the sling is used for support in setting and prone positions.

Iron sights are used throughout. The most common rifle used now is the AR. The NRA and the CMP have different rules as to what rifle you can use. An example the NRA allows AR 10s. the CMP doesn't. If rules conflict the CMP ruled govern.

Min equipment is the rifle w/sling, two mags. spotting scope, mat, of some sort, shooting glove to protect the support hand from the sling. I heavy coat is used to dampen the heart beat in the arm stuck through the sling.

The best guide you can find ref. High Power shooting is the Service Rifle Guide put out by the CMP:

Best $6.95 you'll ever find, written by the best shooters in the world, the Army Marksmanship Unit. it covers everything you need to know.

In choosing your rifle I would highly recommend you use the rifle rules in the CMP rule book. Eventually if you get into high power you'll want to work toward your Distinguished Rifle Badge, that is a CMP program.

A good cheap and effective way to get started is the CMP Vintage Rifle Games. Don't let the name fool you. If covers pretty much everything you need in High Power. Only the price of the rifles and other equipment is cheaper. You only shoot at 200 yards with the same position stages as high power.

The CMP has clinics (Called Garand Clinics but cover many other rifles, the principals are the same). They are conducted all over the country by CMP Master Instructors and will go a long way in getting you started.

Check here for a Clinic in your area.

The clinics don't cost much some times are free, depending on if there is a range fee involved. I don't charge anything for the clinics I conduct.

To give you an idea of the cost difference. An NRA Match service rifle will cost in excess of $1200. You can buy a M1 Garand from the CMP for $625.

The Garand can be used in any NRA High Power or the CMP EIC matches.

The CMP games is a good place to start.

Visit for more information.

I've been shooting high power since 1977, coached the Alaska NG rifle team for years, and am currently a CMP GSM Master Instructor. Don't hesitate to PM me if you have any questions.

High Power is probably the best place to learn the pure fundamentals of rifle shooting.

Hope this helps.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
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Old July 24, 2014, 07:22 PM   #4
Bart B.
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There are several other courses of fire besides those mentioned above in high power service rifle competition. Many are typically shot with bolt action rifles which are more accurate, produce higher scores, most use aperture sights and cost less to shoot. To see all the stuff that's done and what with, download the NRA rule book then read the first 8 sections on equipment, ammo, courses of fire and targets as well as other good stuff to learn about it.

Here's a link to information on high power;

There are videos of shooting semiauto service rifles and bolt action match rifles along with other great info in this link:

It's my opinion that the greatest example of bolt action rifle marksmanship is shooting 10 shots in 60 seconds from sitting at 200 yards or prone at 300 and all shots go into a little over 3 inches on bullseye targets. Of course, it's good to lay down on the 1000-yard line with a bolt action .308 with aperture sights then put both sighters and 20 record shots inside 15 inches well centered on the bullseye when the wind is constantly changing.

For semiauto service rifles, it's shooting M1's or M14's prone rapid fire at 600 or 500 yards putting 24 shots in 50 seconds into a 12 inch area on silhouette targets. Here's a video of M16's being used at the National Trophy Infantry Team Match affectionately called "Rattle Battle:"

NRA's website also has a list of matches around the country. Find one near you that suits your desires, go to it then watch what happens and ask questions of the competitors. Bring a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope on a tripod and see what happens on the targets.

Good books on bolt action rifle competition by people I've shot with:

PM me if you want.
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master

Last edited by Bart B.; July 25, 2014 at 07:27 AM.
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Old July 25, 2014, 03:08 PM   #5
old roper
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This is some matches going on right now Camp Perry
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Vietnam 1965
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