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300m Competition
6mm BR Leads the Way in Europe
On the Continent, 300m shooting is serious business. With iron sights, these guys are shooting 2" groups at 330 yards! Eat your heart out David Tubb. The dominant caliber in international 300m rifle competition is the 6mm BR. It offers low recoil, exceptional accuracy, and very high-quality commercially-loaded ammo from Lapua and Norma. The photo at left is from the famed Bisley rifle range in England.

Caliber of Choice: 6mm BR
In most countries, 300m rules allow a variety of calibers, yet the 6mm BR is the most popular chambering by far, with the 6x47 Swiss Match cartridge a distant second. Over 80% of the top 300m shooters use 6mm Norma BR. And the 6mm BR dominates the winners' circle at most major matches. No other round offers a better combination of high BC bullets, low recoil, and superior inherent accuracy (.3 moa with factory ammo). While many top competitors load their own cartridges, you can win with factory-loaded ammo--it's that good. Lapua loads its ammo with the accurate 105gr Scenar bullet. At the 2003 Europe Cup in Switzerland, Juha Hirvi used Lapua ammo to set a new European and World Record: 1,180 points (400+387+393). The Norma loaded ammo uses the 105gr Berger LTB ("length tolerant bullet"). The LTB gives up a little BC to the VLDs but it groups tight, works well in a variety of throat lengths, and can be loaded from a magazine. Hand loaders favor the Berger 105 VLD or the Sierra 107gr MK, pushed by Varget or Norma 203-B powders.

21st-Century Target Technology
Compared to High Power matches in the USA, 300m competition is decidely high-tech. Many shooters use metal or composite-stocked rifles fitted with elaborate adjustments for buttstock length, offset, comb height, and even trigger position and angle. The precision-engineered iron sights can run up to $1000 per set. Many of the 300m rifle ranges show a similar level of technological sophistication, using automated targets that transmit bullet impact to remote screens positioned next to the shooters. No longer do waddies have to languish in the pits pulling targets and marking hits with stickers. The targets are also wired directly to the match control center where computers plot and calculate scores instantaneously. With such "real-time" electronic scoring, 300m multi-relay matches often conclude in one-third the time of a typical NRA High Power match in the United States. Though America leads the world in rifle ownership per capita, for the most part our match scoring methods are quite primitive compared to Europe's.
Link: 300m Rifles, Accessories, and Shooting Clubs (Mostly European)

More about the rifle in the picture: Bleiker Swiss Rifles

Tack-Driving Dual-Action Rifles Built Like a Swiss Watch
In the hands of top European shooters, modern 300m rifles rival benchrest guns for pure accuracy. Germany and Switzerland produce most of the match-winning 300m rifles these days. Below, left is a 2" group shot at 300m, slinged prone with iron sights! On some of the 300m systems the stock is designed to interchange with rimfire actions, so it is possible to have one stock and two actions. This permits 300m competitors to train effectively year-round on 50m indoor rimfire ranges. The only difference is felt recoil and the size of the groups.

Bleiker convertible-action 50/300m Free Rifle

300m Competition Crosses the Atlantic
While top-level 300m competition is most popular in Europe, we are seeing the sport take hold in parts of the United States. Expect this trend to continue, particularly near urban areas, where land is too valuable to be used for 500+ yard shooting ranges. For every 1000 yard range in the United States for example, there are probably 20 ranges that can host a 300m match. Current hotbeds of 300M shooting in the US include:

1. Ft. Benning, Georgia. Not surprising, as the AMU has an active International shooting program. Targets at Benning are electronically scored, so matches go pretty quick.
2. Minneapolis, Minnesota: The Minneapolis Rifle Club range is now fully electronic with 72 degree shooting in the middle of winter with two central heating units and a 5 ton A/C unit for cooling in the summer. They using a heated, semi-enclosed firing line, with outdoor targets. Shooters fire through ports in the front of the building, and close the ports between strings of fire. Cameras monitor each target.
3. Southern Florida: A couple clubs run 300m-style matches, using 300m targets reduced for use at 300 yards.

USA Shooting is the primary sanctioning body for 300m shooting in the United States. It, like other countries' shooting organizations, operates under the umbrella of the ISSF, the International Shooting Sports Federation. Click here to view ISSF Rules for all international shooting disciplines. And right click here to download ISSF Rifle rules as an Adobe Acrobat file. (Right click and "save as".)

Learn More about 300m Competition (from British 300m Rifle Club)

Brief History of 300m Shooting, including Olympic competition.

European 300m Ranges (Nice photos. See Switzerland below.)

For more information, contact the Great Britain 300m Rifle Club, info@GB300m.com.

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