Precision Rifle Series, an IPSC for Long Range Competition?

If I were to mention a long range shooting competition, what would come to mind? A firing line of proned out shooters, underneath a hot sun, with all sorts of specialist equipment like stiff shooting jackets, odd eye pieces, strange rests for rifles, thick gloves for the non shooting hand. All this for hitting targets that are being operated by a pit crew downrange, probably at 400, 500, or 600 meters. This is the stuff of long range competition lore, the Camp Perry matches, the NRA F Class series, the 1000 yard range at the Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. It has been going on since the 1800s, and is still strongly going today. However, just as more relevant and advanced forms of competition have touched other areas of the shooting community, such as 3 Gun, IPSC, and IDPA, it appears that this has finally come to the long range competition game.

Meet the regulatory competition body of Precision Rifle Series (although the above video is not related to PRS, it features many of the same techniques/concepts). Much like any other federation such as IPSC or IDPA, this group has been in existence for the past several years and is slowly gaining traction among the long range competition crowd out there, that want something more relevant than the traditional long range competition shooting. They want something that is dynamic, creative, and tests their skills when it comes to shooting from different types of positions and structures. All while under the stress of time, and pushing through other obstacles such as dragging weight, physical exertion, etc… Targets are mostly contraptions of steel in various forms, from human sized targets, to simply hard profiles, to golfballs and movers. Some of the videos show the incorporation of helicopters to bring shooters from station to station.

It was recently pointed out to me, that red dot sights are a direct result of the handgun competition world. Now they are being used by some of the world’s most elite forces. Competition breeds performance and better design of equipment and firearms. I hope that this sport will soon bring us a variety of products and rifles, that can leak their way into the rest of the community, giving us better techniques and gear, but most importantly it would be very beneficial if these additions worked their way into the military long gun game, like the red dot sight. I’m already seeing things like the development of sand socks, and soft rests that shooters are using to stabilize their positions. Who knows where this sport will take the long range world in the future?

Another interesting point about PRS, is that there doesn’t appear to be a male versus female distinction when it comes to the score card. Plus one for gender equality in my opinion.

I will say one thing though, I’m seeing alot of no eye protection among alot of these competitors. Now I know that not wearing eye protection commonly done when it comes to long range shooting. Rifles are usually extremely well built, and have a much lesser chance of a catastrophic malfunction than say for example a handgun or submachine gun. Also the brass usually isn’t raining down like Seattle on a good day, so there is less of a chance for hot brass to end up in a shooters eye. Also, however good a pair of lenses are, there is also a chance of distorting the reticle image and target that a long range shooter so depends on when aiming in. At several hundred meters, the difference between a mil, and a mil and a half, can easily mean the target being completely missed. So in essence, I get the reasoning why, but I am curious as to what sort of liability these competitions entail, what happens if a shooter has a bad handload, it blows up in their face and they lose an eye? Who is liable for this? Not being picky, just pointing out a possible point of friction. As compared to many other competitions which are very strict on eye pro usage.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

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  • Blake

    Glad you pointed out the eye-pro issue…

    • Bill

      There are plenty of eye hazards around any range – helicopters were mentioned and having rotorwash pitch dust in your eye will be deleterious to your score. Even if eye pro is lifted up when you’re behind the scope, no one’s ever been hurt wearing it around a range.

      • Jwedel1231

        As someone who has worn contacts since 6th grade, I am extremely aware of blowing dust and debris. I would be keeping eye pro (or sunglasses) on at all times.

        • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          Except while on the scope

    • Paul Joly

      Eye relief guys…
      Shush, she doesn’t know.
      Nice trick, this is how you release funds for new optics.
      Are you happy now?

    • KestrelBike

      hah, can you imagine Queen hillary deigning to do this?

  • mikee

    Who knows where this sport will take the long range world in the future? – the answer is F- Open and FTR.

    Regarding handloading etc., Do what the handloading manuals say. Only a fool would push the envelope beyond the limits. No second chances!

    • Will P.

      There is always the possibility for a bad load. I have seen even experienced handloaders that have been reloading longer than I’ve been alive end up with squib loads or hot loads by accident(mostly pistol though). Granted I know most long range reloaders are very meticulous with thier reloads, as there are so many factors that go into having consistentsy at +400yrds. But all it takes is a bad piece of brass or bad primer to ruin your day. Though to blow up a modern bolt action would really take some work.

      • mikee

        I can attest to that. Three decades in the fullbore/FTR/F- Open game I have experienced split stocks, worn out triggers, broken firing pins, blown primers etc., all through wear and tear but when it comes to loading your own, I have never had a problem with overloads. This is due to following strict loading procedures. Actions – especially metalurgy, barrels, powder, projectiles, primers have improved tremendously in the past twenty years and as consequence the safety aspect has also improved. Just like Formula 1 race cars (which our competition rifles can be compared to), there will be occasional equipment failure. So, stay within the cartridge boundaries and the chances that anything will happen are greatly reduced.

        • iksnilol

          + if it does blow up, most bolt actions are made to blow up safely (those holes on top of the receiver aren’t for show).

          • mikee

            Yes, how true!

  • “So in essence, I get the reasoning why, but I am curious as to what sort
    of liability these competitions entail, what happens if a shooter has a
    bad handload, it blows up in their face and they lose an eye? Who is
    liable for this?”

    The shooter or the loader if they are different. The range/competition only has liability for things that they can control.

  • Full Name

    Now if only there were PRS-style competitions closer than a day’s drive from my house…

  • TC

    The eye pro issue is one that long range shooters understand & accept. Not much use in looking through a $2500-4000 scope if you’re filtering the image through even a quality pair of safety glasses.

  • iksnilol

    Meh, I find eye pro messes with my precision.

    Ideally there should be nothing between my eye and the scope/sights.

    That, and those bolt actions are less of an eye hazard than semi autos with cheap ammo.

  • kyphe

    Personal choice, personal risk