The Rimfire Report: The Summer Olympic Rimfire Sports

    Olympic Rimfire

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    Previously on The Rimfire Report, we briefly went over a shooting sport conducted during the winter Olympics – The Biathlon. However, the summer Olympics has its own set of shooting sports which include both rimfire rifles and pistols. Today we’ll briefly go over some of the rules, equipment, and disciplines involved in the Shooting Sports for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics being hosted at the Asaka Shooting range in Japan.

    25 Meter Rapid Fire Pistol

    As the name implies, this competition involves shooting at a 25-meter distance with a pistol, specifically a rimfire pistol. The 25 Meter Rapid Fire Pistol event is derived from the ISSF (International Sport Shooting Federation). The ISSF also recognizes several other Olympic shooting sports including events involving Shotguns.

    This 25-meter Rapid Fire Pistol event is always shot with .22 LR pistols. Competitors will use their highly specialized pistols to engage a target with 5 shots. Each set of 5 shots constitutes a string and is graded by accuracy. Each target must be engaged using only one hand, making the shots incredibly difficult to master.

    Competitors start from a “low and ready” position that is 45 degrees down from their starting position. There are three different time limits for the series: 8 seconds, 6 seconds, and 4 seconds. A stage consists of two series of each type, and a full course of fire comprises two such stages or a total of 60 shots. Since the targets are divided into concentric score zones with 10 being the most central part, the total maximum score is 600.

    25 Meter Rapid Fire Pistol History

    25 Meter Rapid Fire Pistol has been a part of the Olympic games as far back as 1896. The Rules changed significantly over time, especially before WWII. Some of the changes came at the expense of performance however as in 2005 new rules were put in place that restricted the types of grips and trigger pull weights that were legal to use. In 1989 the sport also banned the use of .22 Short cartridges under the blanket rule change of limiting the competition to “Sport Pistols” only.

    This series of rule changes saw companies like Walther making bids to design completely new pistols to conform to the requirements of the Olympic sport and ISSF. One such pistol – the Walther SSP is an extremely odd-looking pistol. The SSP replaced the OSP which was rendered obsolete by the rule changes in 2005.

    Olympic Rimfire

    Olympic Rimfire Sports

    The Walther SSP makes use of detachable 5 round magazines, weighs 34 oz, has a 6-inch barrel and features an extremely light 2.2 lb (or 1000 gram) trigger pull. If you’re looking to get into Olympic pistol competitions, one of these pistols will set you back $2095.00 just to start, and this doesn’t include years of training or magazines – and all that ammo you’ll be practicing with.

    50 MEter Rifle Three Positions

    This three-position competition involves shooting from a standing, kneeling and prone position during the course of fire. During the event, each competitor must complete the course of fire within a limited time frame of 2 hours and 45 minutes.

    The target used is a 6 inch black and white target with several rings used for grading the accuracy of the shooter. The target is placed at a fixed height above the floor of the shooting range at .75 meters or just under 2.5 feet.

    Olympic Rimfire

    Olympic Rimfire – James Huckle of the UK participates in Three Positions 50 M Rifle

    Until recently, men and women competed by different standards with women’s competitions tending to be shorter and with shorter courses of fire. Each course of fire follows in the following order: Kneeling – 40 shots, Prone – 40 shots and Standing – 40 shots. This is considered a qualification course of fire. Following the qualification round, the top 8 shooters will fire an additional 10 shots one at a time in the standing position. The winner of the match is the shooter with the highest score from both the qualification and final rounds.

    Rifles used in the 50 meter three position

    Rifles used in the three-position target match tend to be made by three competing companies. Anschutz makes many rifles used in this competition as well as the Biathlon. Feinwrkbau and Walther also make rifles in the rimfire target category and it goes without saying that all three options cost quite a bit even at their base price.

    Olympic Rimfire

    Olympic Rimfire – An example of an Anschutz 50 M 3 Positions rifle. A simple Bolt Action is used to load and unload the single-shot rifle

    Where in biathlon competitions you are striving for the lightest rig possible for skiing, in the 50 Meter Three-position weight is not as much of issue whereas accuracy and consistency are. All rifles used in the 50-meter competition are bolt action single shot .22 LR rifles. Materials and trigger tuning will vary greatly depending on the preferences of the shooter with Walnut and synthetic stocks being common sights along with adjustable cheekpieces on the competitor’s stock.

    Summer Olympics 2020

    The Summer Olympic Games are a great opportunities for all participating countries to showcase their best athletes. I am glad that we live in an age and time that allows for everyone to participate in this sport – even countries that have heavier restrictions on firearms than the United States.

    So if you find time this coming Summer, check out the Shooting Sports that are showcased. A couple others not mentioned in this article are the 50 Meter Prone shooting which also uses .22 rimfire rifles. There is also an extremely exciting Olympic Trapshooting competition as well. Thanks again for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report. What are some shooting sports around the world you’re looking forward to? Let us know down in the comments.

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