August 4th, 2009

NRA Smallbore Silhouette Championships Conclude Today

Roughly 130 competitors have gathered at the NRA Whittington Center for the NRA Smallbore Silhouette Championships held August 2-4. Today the final matches will be held for the Smallbore Rifle Class and Hunting Rifle Class Silhouette Championships.

This year, 13 shooters have traveled from Mexico to compete against some of the best Smallbore Silhouette shooters in the United States. Seven of these Mexican competitors made the 20-hour journey together. Surprisingly however, the Mexican contingent did NOT include Agustin Sanchez, Jr. this year. Agustin, the “Tiger Woods of Silhouette” has won the event for the past six years, but now someone else will take his title. “It’s up for grabs,” said NRA Silhouette Program Coordinator Jonathan Leighton. “There are a lot of good shooters here, so it’s anyone’s game right now.”

NRA Smallbore Silhouette

Above, Gabriel Guerra of Mexico shoots while Carlos Mercado spots for him. Guerra loves Silhouette shooting for the comradery and the challenge: “I enjoy the mental game, and it’s a very fun sport. You meet nice people, here and in Mexico. I like the friendship of the teams.”

Invented in Mexico, Adopted in America
It’s thought that silhouette shooting began in Mexico around 1914 as a marksmanship contest between Pancho Villa’s men. The sport spread throughout Mexico following the Mexican Revolution, eventually making its way to America in the 1960s. Silhouette shooting started as a centerfire sport, but over the years rimfire silhouette has become more popular. CLICK HERE to read about the history of silhouette competition.

Smallbore Silhouette

If you’re interested in getting involved in smallbore silhouette, a fun yet challenging discipline, you’ll find a Summary of Silhouette Basics in our Daily Bulletin Archives. You’ll also find more information, including current rules, on the Steelchickens.com website.

Smallbore Silhouette Course of Fire and Rifle Classes
At an official Smallbore Silhouette match, you’ll shoot at least 40 shots, ten each at four sets of 1/5th size standard High Power Rifle Silhouette targets. The smallest targets, the chickens, are set at 40 yards, Pigs are at 60 yards, Turkeys are at 77 yards, and Rams are at 100 yards. (Alternatively, metric distances are used.) Though the rams are the largest targets, hitting them is far from easy. At 100 yards, a little bit of wind will blow you off the target. Two classes of rifles are used in Rimfire Silhouette: Standard and Hunter Class. Standard rifles can weigh up to 10 pounds, 2 oz. (with sights) and have no restriction on trigger pull weight. The fore-end shall not exceed 2 1/4″ wide, and 2 1/4″ deep measured from the centerline of the bore.

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August 4th, 2009

Americans Spend More Than Ever on Guns and Hunting Gear

You’d never know it, given the way the mainstream media portrays the shooting sports, but hunting/shooting is more important, from an economic standpoint, than golf, tennis, bike-riding, or just about any recreational sport you can name. Americans spent $4.6 Billion on hunting and shooting sports equipment in 2008, a 16% rise from 2007. Yep that’s “B” for Billion.

Hunting Shooting Retail Sales 2009According to a new National Sporting Goods Association report, hunting- and firearms-related equipment was the only sporting-goods equipment category to see double-digit sales growth in 2008. Sales rose 16 percent, while overall sporting-goods equipment sales declined 1 percent compared to the previous year. Hunting- and firearms-related equipment ranked second only to exercise equipment in 2008, NSGA reports. Included in the “hunting and firearms” equipment category are rifles, handguns, shotguns, ammunition, airguns, reloading equipment, paintball and cutlery. NSGA reported sales in the hunting and firearms category were $4.6 billion in 2008, up from $3.9 billion the previous year.

In related news, Sturm Ruger & Co. announced a huge spike in its gun sales for 2009. This is probably due to the popularity of Ruger’s new compact handguns, combined with orders for its new AR15 style rifle, the Ruger SR-556 with gas-piston upper. Ruger reported Wednesday that firearms sales grew 94 percent in the second quarter of 2009, compared to the same period last year, and that sales were up 14 percent when compared to the first quarter of this year. Firearms unit production grew 63 percent from the second quarter of 2008.

Call it “panic buying” or the “Obama Effect”, but it’s ironic that the election of President Obama has ignited the greatest surge in guns and ammo sales in recent memory. One firearms marketing rep has suggested, half-seriously, that Pres. Obama should be named “Gun Salesman of the Century”.

This report courtesy NSSF.org

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