At some point you may be interested in competitive air rifle shooting, and you will need to know how to get started. If you want to enter into the exciting world of Olympic shooting, there are a few facts and rules that you will need to consider. The first one being that you need to find an Olympic air rifle. While the average air rifle is fine for local target shooting events and practicing in your backyard, when you move into Olympic-styled competitions, your air rifle has to meet all of the rules and regulations. To help you get started for your first competition, we have put together this brief beginner’s guide that also includes links for the complete list of rules.
Rifle Dimensions and Scopes
There is a long list of rifle dimensions that have to be met before you can enter into an Olympic shooting competition that also completely change the look of your air rifle. Everything from stock plates to barrel weights must be in compliance, along with a long list of other guidelines that must be followed. We highly recommend that you view the complete list of Olympic air rifle guidelines before you purchase the particular pneumatic firearm you are planning to use.
On the other hand, there are no restrictions on the type of scopes or sights you are allowed to use, which gives you the perfect opportunity to try out a variety of different ones. While the scope must be removable, you can hang blinders from the air rifle’s rear sight. Left hand shooters will also appreciate being able to use a mirror to help them align their rifle’s sights.
Triggers and Blinders
Along with being able to customize your rifle scope, you can also experiment with different types of triggers and blinders. You already know that you need excellent trigger control, especially when you are trying to hit a target in an Olympic shooting competition. One competition expert recommends placing your finger in different positions on the trigger. You want to find the position that feels natural, while also giving you complete control over the air rifle’s firing.
A blinder can make it easier to line up your sights, and makes it unnecessary to squint or close one eye. The blinder cannot measure more than 1.18″ from the top of your rear sight, and the length cannot be over 3.94″. Using a blinder not only helps with alignment, but it can also prevent your facial muscles from becoming tired. The constant squinting can also cause you to lose concentration, which will affect your ability to shoot consistently.
You might also want to consider wearing special clothing when you are participating in an Olympic shooting competition. You want the clothes you wear to be comfortable and not restrict your movements. You also want to make sure that you aren’t wearing shirts or pants that are too lose. Bulky sleeves can get in the way, and nothing can make you lose your concentration faster than worrying about your pants falling down. You will also want to experiment with different pellets and also practice with a wide variety of different targets.
Once you have outfitted your Olympic air rifle and practiced your aim and accuracy, you are ready to sign up for a shooting competition. Members of USAS can enroll in the official competitions, and information can be found on the organization’s official website. Most competitive air rifle shooters actually begin at local shooting events. Your local gun range will be able to answer any of your additional questions and help you get started in competitive air rifle shooting.
On a side note, competitive air pistols also differ from standard pneumatic firearms and information on this can also be found on the USAS website.