September 11th, 2019

Grow the Shooting Sports Through Youth Air Rifle Programs

air rifle cmp youth training programs jrotc Civilian marksmanship

To thrive, the shooting sports need more young competitors. Let’s face it, for some disciplines the average age of competitors is getting older. To reverse this trend, we need to get young people involved at an early age. One of the best ways to train young marksmen is with air rifles. Air-powered rifles fire low-cost ammo, training can be done indoors, and air rifle programs have a great safety record.

Air rifle shooting is practiced as a sport in more than 150 countries. Target shooting helps young people develop fine motor control, coordination, and mental discipline. In the USA air rifle shooting is a popular high school and youth club sport as well as an NCAA Championship sport.

air rifle cmp youth training programs jrotc Civilian marksmanship

The largest and fastest-growing segment of junior shooting today uses a class of target air rifles called “sporter air rifles”. Sporter air rifles are characterized by their light weight (5-7 lbs.), low cost (typically $180 to $600), basic target features (adjustable sights, adjustable length stocks, adjustable sling attachments), and suitable accuracy (good sporter rifles should be capable of consistently shooting tens on standard competition targets).

air rifle cmp youth training programs jrotc Civilian marksmanship

Resources for Youth Air Rifle Programs
If you would like to start an air rifle program for your school, club, or organization, the Civilian Marksmanship Program is a good place to start. The CMP provides a variety of helpful resources, including a free Air Rifle Marksmanship For Youth Brochure (shown below):

air rifle cmp yout training programs jrotc Civilian marksmanship

Precision Air Rifles for NCAA, World Cup, and Olympic Competition

Olympic Air Rifles

While sporter air rifles are most commonly used in youth programs, elite young competitors may “graduate” to expensive precision rifles used in top-level championship programs. Air rifle shooting is an Olympic sport, with separate air rifle events for men and women. Air rifle target shooting participants fire 4.5 mm (.177 cal.) air rifles in three different shooting positions at targets 10 meters away. These precision air rifles are also used in top-level NCAA and World Cup competitions.

Air Rifle Shooting Is Very Safe
Air rifle marksmanship is one of the safest of all youth sports. The injury rate for air rifle shooting is 0.0017 per a/e (athlete exposure) per year. This ranks far below injury rates for all other youth sports for which statistics are kept. The CMP currently enrolls over 2,000 high school rifle teams and over 1,000 junior rifle clubs. More than 250,000 young people participate in these programs. Every year more than 1,500 junior air rifle competitions are conducted in the USA. In the last 10 years, these organizations and competitions reported only six minor injuries resulting from the improper handling of air rifles.

Air Rifle Ranges Can Be Created Indoors at Relatively Low Cost
Air rifle ranges are easy to build and low in cost. Air rifles used for target shooting fire small pellets at velocities of 400-600 FPS that generate just 5 ft-lbs of energy. This means a target backstop made of 1/8” sheet steel or even a box filled with several layers of cardboard or newspaper can easily capture air rifle pellets. A room that is at least 40 feet long and 20 feet or more wide, covered with ordinary wallboard or wood with no exposed windows, can serve as a range. The additional protective measures required for firearms ranges are not required for air rifle ranges.

Olympic Air Rifles

WEB RESOURCES: To learn more about air rifle marksmanship, visit these web sites:

Civilian Marksmanship Program | Nat’l Three-Position Air Rifle Council | USA Shooting

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September 11th, 2019

Mounting a Scope Properly on Your Hunting Rifle

scope alignment tactical rifle scope level

Hunting season is right around the corner. That means its time to inspect all your hunting gear, including your scope set-up. If you have a new optic, you’ll want to get it mounted correctly on your current rig. And if you have a new hunting rifle, you’ll need to mount the properly rings and install the riflescope so that you have the correct eye relief.

A proper scope installation involves more than just tensioning a set of rings — you need to consider the proper eye relief and head position, and it should be leveled correctly. This video shows a simple, quick method to mount a scope. The method assumes that the reticle (cross-hairs) are square without the turret. You’ll want to confirm that with a plumb line hanging straight down, a procedure you can do indoors.

scope alignment tactical rifle scope levelIn this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a hunting or tactical rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many hunters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.

Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.

Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)

2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.

3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.

4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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September 11th, 2019

Get Ready for Hunting Season with Game Targets

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Summer is over, so hunting season is right around the corner. Before you head out to the hunting fields, you may want to practice your shooting on specialty paper targets designed expressly for hunters. Here is a selection of game targets which can help you achieve success this hunting season.

Realistic Game Targets with Marked Vital Zones

Serious hunters may prefer to practice with photo-realistic game targets with animal profiles that look like the real thing. Champion offers realistic “X-Ray” game animal targetss. These X-Ray targets display the bone structure and heart/lung position of game animals. These are popular with hunters, as are Champion’s Critter Targets Set with 5 different realistic animals in a 10-pack. CLICK HERE to view X-Ray Animal Targets and Critter Targets.

Animal deer target Birchwood Casey realistic deer buck

Animal deer elk target Birchwood Casey realistic deer buck

Birchwood Casey offers a Realistic Deer Target that shows the vital Hit Zone. The target comes with four (4) replaceable Shoot-N-See overlays. A target twin-pack with the overlays is $7.38 at Amazon.com.

Animal deer target Birchwood Casey realistic deer buck

FREE Printable Game Targets from the NRA

To help you prepare for your fall hunts, NRABlog.com has created a set of color practice hunting targets. You can hone your skills on a trio of bucks, three gobblers, or three wild hogs. Each target features three red bullseyes, centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Click on each image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

Right-Click Each Image to Download Printable PDF File:

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

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