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CMP Rimfire Sporter Shooting
Competition for All Ages, All Skill Levels
Leaders of the shooting community, from club match directors all the way up to the President of the NRA, have been working hard to increase participation in the shooting sports. One key goal has been to get newcomers involved in shooting, particularly juniors and women. Over the past seven years, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has developed a hugely successful "Rimfire Sporter" event that attracts shooters of all ages and all skill levels. Rimfire sporter competition allows individuals to compete with inexpensive rifles in a match that emphasizes fun and good sportsmanship. The formula of low cost and high "fun factor" has proven to be a great success. The recent 7th Annual National Rimfire Sporter match, held July 20th at Camp Perry, Ohio, attracted hundreds of competitors including many lady shooters, and 60+ juniors. This is a sport all members of the family can enjoy and afford.

CMP Rimfire Sporter Match


Rimfire Sporter Competition -- The Basics

Rimfire Sporter is a new shooting sports activity that the CMP introduced in 2002 after four years of testing this concept in CMP Rimfire Sporter rifle clinics. Any gun enthusiast or hunter can shoot Rimfire Sporter because it uses smallbore sporter rifles that almost all of them already own. You do not have to buy expensive target gear to shoot Rimfire Sporter. The Rimfire Sporter course of fire is designed so that every shooter who understands basic gun safety and rifle marksmanship can shoot it. Rimfire Sporter is also uniquely challenging--it tests shooters’ skills in three different firing positions, at two different ranges, in both precision and rapid-fire shooting.

CMP rimfire sporter

Rimfire Sporter stresses fun, accessibility and practical marksmanship skills. It is a great game for shooters who want a target event that does not require expensive match-conditioned rifles or gear. It is ideal for hunters who recognize that practicing rimfire rifle shooting through the year will make them more skilled marksmen when they pursue game. Rimfire Sporter can be a great way to introduce youth and adults to the excitement and fascinating challenges of rifle target shooting. And most importantly, Rimfire Sporter is perfect for the shooter who enjoys going out to the range to have a relaxed competition with friends.

The CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle Match gives shooters a recreation-oriented competition that allows them to use their rimfire sporters (plinking and small game rifles) on the range. To shoot this match, all you need is a rifle and ammo. Special competition gear is not required or permitted. Competitors use standard, sporter-type rimfire rifles that can weigh no more than 7.5 pounds with sights.

Rifles may be manually operated or semi-automatic. Shooters with manually-operated actions are given extra time in rapid-fire. There are two classes of competition, "O-Class", where competitors use open-sighted rifles, and "T-Class", where competitors have telescopic or receiver sights on their rifles.

Rimfire Sporter firing is done at 50 and 25 yards on a specially-designed target. 50-foot Rimfire Sporter targets are also now available for indoor shooting. Like the Garand and Springfield Matches, the Rimfire Sporter Rifle course of fire is challenging, but new shooters can successfully complete it. Shooters begin at 50 yards with a ten-minute sighting or practice series. Next they shoot ten shots for record slow-fire in the prone position, followed by two five-shot rapid-fire series in prone.

CMP rimfire sporter

The prone stage is followed by ten shots slow-fire and two five-shot rapid-fire series in the sitting or kneeling position. Most shooters choose to fire this stage in the sitting position. Targets are then placed at the 25-yard line where shooters conclude with ten shots slow-fire and two five-shot rapid-fire series in the standing position as shown below. A total of 60 record shots are fired.

CMP rimfire sporter


The rules that govern Rimfire Sporter shooting are simple and easy to understand. The official rules are posted on the CMP web site or you can CLICK HERE to download a complete Rimfire Sporter Match Guide, including the rules.

Rifle Specifications -- 7.5 pounds max, with 3-pound Trigger
Rifles used in the Rimfire Sporter Rifle Match must be standard sporter-type rimfire rifles that meet the following requirements:
Overall weight of the rifle may not exceed 7.5 pounds, with sights. If a sling is used, it may be removed when the rifle is weighed. The stock may have a sling swivel, but it must be fixed in one location (rails with adjustable sling swivels are not permitted).

The trigger must be capable of lifting a 3-pound weight when cocked.

Thumbhole stocks, adjustable butt plates, adjustable cheek pieces and rails or adjustable (moveable) sling swivels are not permitted.

Ammunition -- 22 LR Ammo Only
Any safe rimfire rifle with any type of action may be used. Rifles must be chambered for the .22 long rifle rimfire cartridges. Magnum rimfire or .17 caliber rimfire rifles may not be used. Shooters in Rimfire Sporter Matches may use any .22 LR ammunition they wish. Shooters must be sure to select ammunition that not only shoots accurately, but that functions reliably when fed from a magazine during rapid-fire since there are no alibis or re-fires for malfunctions in Rimfire Sporter.

Magazines Optional -- But Detachable Mags Help in Rapid-Fire
Rifles should have a magazine capable of holding five rounds so it can be used during rapid-fire stages. Single-shot rifles are permitted, but using a single shot to fire five shots in 30 seconds in rapid-fire is difficult. Rifles with clip, box or tube-type magazines may be used, however, tube magazines are slower to load quickly during rapid-fire shooting.

Open or Telescopic Sights
Telescopic, receiver or open sights may be used. Shooters who use rifles with telescopic or receiver (aperture) sights compete in the T-Class. Scopes are limited to six power (6X). If a variable scope is used, the power adjustment may not exceed 6X and it must be taped in that location. Any rifles with receiver (aperture or ‘peep’) sights must be used in the T-Class. Shooters who use rifles with standard open sights (such as blade or buckhorn sights) compete in the O-Class.

Shooting Accessories
A standard leather or web sling no wider than 1.25 inches may be used in the prone and sitting or kneeling positions. Slings may not be used in the standing position to provide support, but the sling may remain on the rifle. At the Nationals, many shooters brought spotting scopes, but these fall into the "nice to have" but not necessary category.

National Rimfire Sporter Match At Camp Perry

CMP rimfire sporter

7th National Rimfire Sporter Match Draws Record Numbers
By Steve Cooper, CMP Writer, Photos by Christine Elder

Sun and a light breeze chased away the morning rain as a record crop of shooters stepped to the firing line at the 7th Annual CMP National Rimfire Sporter Match on Sunday, July 20, 2008. The firing line at the 7th National Rimfire Match was full as hundreds of competitors participated in the match, including more than 60 junior shooters. The record number of shooters gave testimony to the popularity of the CMP Rimfire Sporter discipline. At Camp Perry, Lapua even provided two boxes of rimfire ammo to every competitor.

CMP Rimfire SporterRimfire Sporter is an informal games match that introduces shooters to a course of fire akin to match competition yet conducted at a pace conducive to new shooters. The match is fired with off-the-rack, bolt-action or semi-automatic .22 caliber rifles (max 7.5 lbs. weight). Costs are kept low by prohibiting specialized target equipment such as heavy fluted barrels, thumbhole stocks, and expensive match-grade sights.

Divided into Open (O-Class) and Telescopic (T-Class) sight classifications, shooters of all ages compete in either or both classes in separate relays, giving participants an optimal opportunity to shoot their favorite plinking rifles for scores and medals in what has become an extremely popular CMP match.

With some shooters firing both in open and telescopic sights classification, a total of 296 scores were recorded in this year's match, the largest participation since the event's inception in 2002. A total of 114 scores were logged in O-Class and 182 in T-Class.

On Saturday, July 19, the day before the Match, the CMP's Chief Range Officer Duane Tallman conducted the Rimfire Sporter Match Clinic which covered safety and the basics of three-position shooting. CMP Director Gary Anderson taught the part of the clinic dealing with the three shooting positions (shown below) and firing techniques.

Rimfire Sporter -- A Rifle Match for All Ages and Abilities

The 2008 program brought out an increasingly broader base of younger and older shooters alike. Senior and 4-H club teams from as far away as Florida and Georgia made the trip to Camp Perry for a taste of the National Match atmosphere.

Four Generations of Shooters at Camp Perry
Junior shooter Emily Bartlett, 15, of Mason, Michigan came to Camp Perry with her 12-year-old sister Erica to shoot in Rimfire Sporter for the first time with their great-grandfather Art Bush, 77, and family friend Jack Huntoon, 73. Below, Emily and Erica pose with their great-grandfather. They are members of the Capitol City Rifle Club in Lansing.

Rimfire Sporter Nationals drew 4 generations of competitors. Here Emily and Erica pose with their great-grandfather, Art Bush.

"It's a fun and great experience," Emily said. "It's kind of cool to see all the stuff on Commercial Row and everyone is so welcoming." "Plus my great grandpa is pretty happy we're here," Emily added. An accomplished air gun silhouette shooter back in Michigan, Emily also plays soccer, basketball and likes to fish, but has plans to return to Camp Perry. "After shooting this year I definitely want to come back," she said.

Pennsylvania Youth Overcomes Disability
A southwestern Pennsylvania group brought along a very special and high-scoring shooter. Keith Stich, 17, of Portersville, Pennsylvania scored well enough to place seventh among junior shooters, but he scored even higher points in the eyes of his fellow shooters just by participating. He earned a silver achievement medal last year and again this year, scoring a 570-11X, just seven points shy of gold.

Keith is paralyzed from his chest down due to birth defect known as congenital spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal column. His disability has not dampened his sense of competition or desire to improve his shooting skills. "I love it," Keith said regarding the Camp Perry experience. "I've always liked shooting guns and I like the competition and being able to improve," he said. "Plus, up here I get to compete with the big boys," he said.

Keith has been a participant in organized shooting sports since he was a 10-year-old Cub Scout. Keith's parents, Cheryl and Rickie Stich said Keith's condition hasn't affected his desire to shoot. "His condition is very rare," Rickie said. "He's grouped with the same people who suffer from Spina Bifida, but his condition is just the opposite. With Spina Bifida, the spinal column never closes--in Keith's case, it closed too much." Rickie and Keith's brother Scott, 14, also competed in the match. Neither scored as well as Keith, but it didn't detract from the fun--they all enjoyed the match. "We shoot every Monday night as a family outing," Cheryl said. "I think the boys' self-esteem is really boosted by coming here."

Rimfire Sporter Match Lures Many Senior Shooters
Charles Fritz, 68, of Cape Coral, Florida and three of his buddies drove up from the Sunshine State to meet up with a couple of Florida "snow birds" from Pennsylvania and Ohio at Camp Perry for the Rimfire Sporter Match. Fritz was also joined by his son Charles Fritz II and grandson Dan Fritz from Cicero, New York for the match. "This is a great place," Fritz Sr. said. It's his first time shooting the Rimfire Sporter, but he said it takes him back to his days as an eight-year-old when he learned to shoot his .22 rifle in the basement of his parent's home in the 1940s. Also joining the Fritz clan from Florida were Dave Mommaerts, 49, of North Port, and Larry Teegarden, 66, of Cape Coral along with John Lerda, 65, of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and John Gibson, 63, of Brimfield, Ohio.

4-H Team from Georgia Features Female Shooters
Members of the Laurens County Georgia 4-H Club sport their pink shirts. Over 15 members and support staff made the trip to Camp Perry for the National Rimfire Match. The Laurens County Georgia 4-H Club made a colorful entrance to the match dressed in pink. Even coaches Frankie Mathis, 45, and Donnie Upshaw donned the team colors, which Mathis referred to as the "Pepto-Bismol" group.

Team member Natalie Harper, 16, even sported a pink Ruger 10-22 semiautomatic rifle for the match. Mathis and Upshaw have been coaching the Laurens County team for 15 years, staying with the group even after their own children were graduated from the program. In all, nine members of the team participated in this year's match.

Event Concludes with Awards and Cook-out
At the conclusion of the firing portion of the program, the CMP hosted a cook-out for all participants and Gary Anderson, Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program, presented achievement medals to the winners. Shooters with a thresh-hold score level were presented with a bronze, silver, or gold medal. The cut-off scores to receive medals were 520, 542 and 552 for bronze, silver and gold, respectively, in O-Class and 548, 564 and 577 in T-Class.

For complete results of the Rimfire Sporter Match Match Report Page on the CMP website, www.ODCMP.com. Many more photos of the Rimfire Sporter Nationals at Camp Perry are archived on the CMP's website. To see the complete Match Photo Gallery, CLICK THIS LINK.

On the Podium -- Class Winners at the Nationals

O-Class (Open Sights)
Robert Elka, firing a bolt-action CZ, shot an aggregate score of 582-17X out of a possible 600 in the 60-shot match to win the O-Class. Elka scored 98-4X in prone slow fire, 99-2X in prone rapid, 96-4X in sitting/kneeling slow fire, 92-3X in sitting/kneeling rapid, 98-3X in standing slow fire and 99-1X in standing rapid. Elka of Willis, MI, also won the O-Class and placed second overall in the T-Class in 2007.

O-Class Junior
High Junior O-Class shooter, Charles Opalewski, of Vicksburg, MI, fired an aggregate score of 570-16X with his CZ 452 bolt gun, based on scores of 96-2X, 91-1X, 95-1X, 93-2X, 98-6X and 97-4X in the same stages, respectively. Charles was also the high 4-H junior shooter. Opalewski, a member of the St. Joseph County 4-H Straight Shooters, also won the High Junior and High 4-H O-Class award at last year's Rimfire Sporter Nationals.

O-Class Senior
Jan Hill, of Lakewood, OH, took O-Class senior high honors with a 567-9X aggregate score using a Remington Model 597. Hill fired a 96-3X, 98-1X, 89-0X, 95-3X, 95-1X and 94-1X in the same stages, respectively.

T-Class (Scoped) Results
The winner of T-Class was Warren Westphal Jr., of Manteo, NC, who fired a 587-23X in a tie-breaker over perennial contender Ronald Springsteen, who scored a 587-20X. Westphal used a bolt-action Sako P94S Finnfire while Springsteen shot a Thompson Center Classic semi-automatic. Westphal poured seven rounds into the X-ring in prone slow fire and five more in prone rapid fire to edge Springsteen. Westphal fired a 99-7X, 97-5X, 98-3X, 98-2X, 97-3X and 98-3X, respectively, to hold off Springsteen. Springsteen's score was good enough however to win the Senior division in T-Class with his 100-6X, 98-3X, 97-4X, 96-0X, 100-4X and 96-3X, respectively.

The high Junior shooter in T-Class was Eric Curavo, of Northwood, OH, who guided his bolt-action CZ 453 to an aggregate score of 585-24X. Curavo posted a 100-6X, 98-4X, 99-4X, 97-2X, 96-3X and 95-5X, respectively to win. Colin Vander Veen fired an aggregate score of 583-20X to post the high score in 4-H Junior with a break-out of 99-4X, 98-2X, 98-2X, 95-2X 97-6X and 96-4X, respectively. Vander Veen, of Galesburg, MI, is a member of the Cooper Shooters 4-H.

How to Run a Rimfire Sporter Match at Your Club

The CMP offers a FREE, 52-page guide to Rimfire Sporter Matches, which you can download in .pdf format. The guide covers rules, equipment, course of fire, positions, shooting skills, safety procedures and match management. CLICK HERE to download Rimfire Sporter Match Guide

CMP Rimfire Sporter Match

How to Organize a Rimfire Sporter Match in Seven Basic Steps
Pages 21-27 of the CMP Rimfire Sporter Match Guide provide a comprehensive, step-by-step explanation of how to conduct a Rimfire Sporter Match. These instructions are provided for clubs or Range Officers to follow so that they can conduct safe, enjoyable Rimfire Sporter Matches. The key steps match directors need to complete, prior to match day, are as follows:

1. Identify and Locate Needed Resources (Range, Target Frames, Personnel).

2. Set Up the Competition and Appoint Match Officials.

3. Produce Match Programs and Instructions (including Schedule, Rules, Course of Fire, Entry Procedure, Awards List etc.).

4. Apply for CMP Certification (CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD APPLICATION to Conduct a CMP-Sanctioned Match or Clinic).

5. Promote Participation by publicizing the match, notifing club members, and posting notices at gun shops and gun shows.

6. Obtain Supplies (Purchase Targets and Empty Chamber Indicators from the CMP E-Store).

7. Receive and Confirm Entries.

The Rimfire Sporter Match Guide supplements these seven steps with specific, detailed recommendations on how to conduct safety clinics prior to the match and how to run the actual match. Recommended safety procedures and shooting instructions are outlined in great detail.

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