RIFLE Metallic Silhouette is an air, rimfire, centrefire, service and black powder rifle shooting discipline where competitors aim to knock down metal animal-shaped targets.

The targets are placed on steel stands in banks of five and set at a variety of known distances, with the competitors having a certain amount of time to knock as many down as they can. The various competitions are shot from a range of distance and positions, depending on the firearm calibre and category, but all competitions aim to improve hunting marksmanship skills under range conditions.

The sport originated in Mexico in the early 1950s, arrived in Australia in the late 1970s and is now a sanctioned and popular discipline of the SSAA. Each year, there are state and national championships, as well as postal competitions. International matches are a common event, with SSAA teams regularly competing in NRA Metallic Silhouette Championships.

Silhouette shooting continued to grow in popularity, and in 2006, the Rifle Metallic Silhouette discipline was approved to run NRA Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette as a national event, with the first National Championships held in 2008.

This match is generally conducted on existing Handgun Metallic Silhouette ranges.

Centrefire Silhouette Rifle has fairly liberal rules governing weight and dimensions and allows shooters to use custom rifles based on a wide choice of calibres, actions, barrels, triggers and stocks. The rifle is permitted to be of 6mm/.243-calibre or larger, with a maximum weight of 4.6kg including the sights. Any sights are permitted to be used, except for sighting devices programmed to activate the firing mechanism. Any functional trigger of any release weight is permitted.

Centrefire Hunting Rifle only allows for commercially available or previously commercially available sporting- and hunting-style rifles that have not been modified. Custom-made rifles are not permitted. The rifle is permitted to be of 6mm/.243-calibre or larger, with a maximum weight of 4.2kg including the sights. The trigger may be adjusted, but not replaced with a custom trigger. It is also required to have a minimum pull weight of 2lb and be equipped with a functional safety. Swivels and slings are permitted, but slings may not be used for arm support when shooting.

Rimfire Silhouette Rifle events are otherwise identical, except the rifles used may only be chambered for .22LR cartridges

Rimfire Hunting Rifle matches are identical to Centrefire Hunting Rifle, except that the rifle is to be chambered for the .22LR cartridges and has a maximum weight of 3.86kg including the sights.

Air Rifle permits the use of any air rifle of any calibre, with a maximum weight of 7kg including sights, except for sighting devices programmed to activate the firing mechanism. Any functional trigger of any release weight is permitted. Hooked buttplates are not permitted.

Service Rifle is identical to Centrefire Silhouette Rifle, except that any centrefire service rifle may be used if it is ‘as-issued’ for general service use by the armed forces of any nation. The rifle is permitted to be of 6mm/.243-calibre or larger and must be standard to that particular model of rifle. The weight, sights and stock of the rifle must be as-issued. The trigger pull must be as-issued and no less than 2lb.

Special models, limited editions, experimental models and specially modified rifles are not permitted. External modifications of the rifle are not permitted.

Black Powder Cartridge Rifle requires the use of any original or replica hunting or military-style single-shot rifle, originally made for black powder and manufactured prior to 1896. If replacement barrels, stocks or other parts are used, they must be of the original period style. Schuetzen-style rifles are not permitted. The rifle must weigh no more than 5.5kg and the sights must be any original or replica model manufactured prior to 1896. The trigger is to be in the spirit of the original design.

Scoring

Matches consist of 10 shots taken at each of the four types of targets, resulting in 40 shots overall. All Rifle Metallic Silhouette matches are shot from the standing offhand position, with no support during competition, not even a sling.

For all matches, in all classes, the time limit for firing the five shots is two and a half minutes. The sequence is repeated until the required number of shots is fired at the required number of targets. To score a hit, these armour-plated animals must be knocked off their stands in the correct order and within the time limit. Each shooter normally has a spotter/scorer recording the shots and making sure the shooter abides by the rules.

In the centrefire matches, chickens are placed at 200m, pigs at 300m, turkeys at 385m and rams at 500m. In the rimfire matches, the targets and the ranges at which they are shot are scaled down to one-fifth the size of the centrefire match, with the chickens placed at 40m, pigs at 60m, turkeys at 77m and rams at 100m. In the Air Rifle matches, the targets and the ranges at which they are shot are scaled down to one-tenth the size of the centrefire match, with the chickens placed at 20 yards (note yards and not metres this time), pigs at 30 yards, turkeys at 36 yards and rams at 45 yards.

Ammunition

The .308 Winchester has traditionally been the most popular calibre, though with the development of lighter recoiling calibres with sufficient energy, cartridges such as 7mm-08 Remington are becoming more common.

While custom silhouette rifles can use wildcat cartridges, the Hunting class only allows calibres that are commercially available for the rifle. It is worth noting the ram targets require around 1000 ft-lb of energy to remove them from their stand, so shooters need a round capable of delivering that.

Other rules

Commercial-type trap and skeet sleeveless shotgun shooting vests and shotgun shooting shirts are permitted, as is clothing suitable for the existing climatic conditions. Shooting gloves, shooting coats, unnecessarily heavy clothing and any clothing that provides artificial support is not permitted.

Spotting scopes are permitted in most Rifle Metallic Silhouette matches, except for Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette Rifle matches. Shooting mats or ground clothes are only permitted in the Black Powder Rifle Cartridge events. Slings may be attached to the rifle, but they may not be used for support of the hand or arm during competition. Palm rests are not permitted. Compensators, muzzle brakes and barrel porting are not permitted, except in Air Rifle events if factory fitted.

For more information, contact discipline chair Greg Riemer on 5486 7124 or e-mail rms@ssaaqld.org.au

Further Information

  • Discipline Chairman:
  • Greg Riemer
  • Phone:
  • 07 5486 7124

Rule Books*

* May be shot Subject to Range Approval. Approved firearms must still comply with Qld State Laws & Regulations.

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