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January 8th, 2023

Sunday GunDay: New 2023 CMP Rules for Rifle Competitions

CMP marksmanship 2023 rifle marksmanship smallbore rimfire rulebook rules change

CMP 2023 Competition Rules Are Now Online

CMP Competition 2023 rulebooks are now available on the CMP Website. For each discipline, you will find links for the full rulebook as well as separate links for 2023 Rule Changes. For this Sunday Gunday article, we focus on 2023 Rule Changes for rimfire (Smallbore) rifle and centerfire (Highpower) rifle. There are rule changes for pistol disciplines also, but this article does NOT cover pistol rules. Below are links for PDF files listing the CMP’s new 2023 rules for the Highpower and Smallbore rifle categories:

CMP Highpower Rifle Competition Rules 2023 | 2023 Highpower Rule Changes

CMP Smallbore Rifle Competition Rules 2023 | 2023 Smallbore Rule Changes

CMP marksmanship 2023 rifle marksmanship smallbore rimfire rulebook rules change

CMP rulebooks are updated annually to accommodate new program developments, clarify rules issues, and incorporate recommendations from competitors, match sponsors and CMP staff. The 2023 editions of these rulebooks are now posted on the CMP website where competitors, match officials, and match sponsors can download them to read or copy. Printed versions of the rulebooks will be produced in the next two or three months and will be available for purchase after that.

CMP marksmanship 2023 rifle marksmanship smallbore rimfire rulebook rules change

The CMP advises that “The 2023 rulebooks do not have any major rules revisions, but they do have a complex variety of changes, clarification and updates”. The summaries that follow identify and discuss the changes for the rifle rulebooks. If you have questions about the 2023 CMP Competition Rulebooks, contact the CMP Competitions Department at or (419) 635-2141, ext. 714 or 729. For Smallbore Rule questions, contact (419) 635-2141, ext. 730 or

CMP marksmanship 2023 rifle marksmanship smallbore rimfire rulebook rules change


The CMP Highpower Rifle program includes: 1) Traditional Service Rifle events conducted according to National Trophy Match rules; 2) Highpower Rifle events conducted according to CMP Cup Match rules; 3) Long-Range Rifle (prone and F-class events at 800, 900, and 1000 yards); and Mid-Range Rifle (prone and F-class events at 300, 500, and 600 yards). The CMP program for Mid- and Long-Range competitions now includes: 1) Match Rifle Prone Long-Range, 2) Service Rifle Prone Long-Range, 2) F-Class Long-Range, 3) AR Tactical Long-Range, 4) Prone Mid-Range, F-Class Mid-Range 6) AR Tactical Mid-Range, and 7) Service Rifle Mid-Range events.

cmp 2023 highpower rifle changes

There are no major changes in the 2023 Highpower Rifle rules, but there are several technical changes that competitors and match sponsors will want to note:

1.5/Table 1. CMP Highpower Rifle Events. A Mid-Range 300-500-600 course of fire is added.

2.6.9. National Trophy Teams. State National Trophy Rifle Teams (6 firing members) may have a maximum of two members who are from adjoining states that do not enter teams in the competition.

2.8.1. New Shooter Definition. Civilian National Trophy Team members will now be permitted to retain new shooter eligibility for two years (formerly one year).

3.2.11. Spectators and Media. A new rule encouraging the accommodation of spectators and media at competitions was added. It spells out limitations on their actions.

3.8.1 & 3.8.2. Pre-Preparation and Preparation Periods. Rules defining current pre-prep and preparation periods are added.

3.9.3 c). Interruptions. If interruptions lead to competitors getting out of position, the CRO may authorize additional preparation time before resuming firing.

3.12.3./Table 2. Rifle Achievement Awards. Cut scores are revised, based on 2022 National Match results.

4.1.1 g). Magazines. Altering M16/AR magazines by opening the front of the magazine to accommodate slightly longer bullets is authorized.

4.1.1 j) M16/AR15 Service Rifle External Appearance. New language provides a standard for evaluating minor alterations in the “general overall external appearance” of M16/AR rifles. Minor alterations created by the installation of after-market products for these rifles that have trigger configuration and trigger guard variations or slightly different external appearances (i.e., no walk pins, etc.) will generally be approved under this revised criteria. Such minor alterations may be approved provided that they 1) do not provide an unfair advantage, 2) fulfill rifle functionality requirements and 3) generally meet M16 external dimension specifications.

4.6.2. j) & k). Targets. The new 300-500-600 Yard Mid-Range course will be fired on MR targets. Rules defining reduced MR targets for 300 and 500 yards are added.

5.2.3 c). Rapid-Fire Loading, CMP Cup Match Events. The Rapid-fire loading procedure for CMP Cup Matches is not changed, but it is clarified.

5.4. Rifle National Match Course, Table 4. This rule is rewritten so that the Highpower Rifle National Match Course can be programmed as a National Trophy, or EIC sanctioned Service Rifle Match (with no sighters and starting rapid-fire from standing) or as a CMP Cup Match (with sighters and starting rapid fire in position). Allowing the firing of this course as a CMP Cup Match is new.

5.7.4 f). Team Matches. When Long-Range team events are fired, a time limit of 47 minutes for two team members will apply. In these events, team members may pair fire or fire in succession.

5.9. Long Range Matches, Table 7. Additional details regarding the application of Palma Rules were added for events that are restricted to Palma rifles. A provision authorizing a CRO to optionally use block time that combines the preparation and firing times was added.

5.12. Mid-Range Courses, Table 8. Details regarding the new 300/500/600 Mid-Range course of fire (event) are added to the Table defining Mid-Range Courses.


CMP Games Competition Rules for Rifle and Pistol govern Vintage Military Rifle, As-Issued Pistol, and Rimfire Sporter events. The 2023 CMP Games Rules introduce three new events, including new benchrest events. There will also be an expanded version of the Special EIC Matches.

CMP Games vintage rifles M1903 enfield

Here is a list of notable changes in this rulebook for the CMP Games RIFLE Events:

1.5/Table 2, CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Events. This rule lists the different events that are recognized by the CMP as “CMP Games” events. Three new rifle events are added for 2023: Benchrest Vintage Military Rifle Match, Rimfire Sporter Dewar Match, and Rimfire Sporter Benchrest Match

1.8.11. Spectators and Media. A new rule regarding spectators and media is added. The rule encourages match sponsors to welcome and accommodate them but also places limits on what they may do.

3.3.6. Benchrest Supported Position. A definition of the benchrest firing position that will be authorized for the new VMR, and Rimfire Sporter Benchrest Matches is added. Supports under the fore-end are allowed; supports under the butt-stock are not allowed.

4.6.6. Benchrest VMR Match. Provides rules for the Benchrest VMR Match.

5.4.4 i). Rapid-Fire Loading, Springfield M1A Match. Loading procedures for the Springfield M1A Match, where competitors must start and load rapid-fire series in position, are unchanged, but clarified.

CMP games vintage sniper rifle

6.2.1 Vintage Sniper Rifle. The M1903 Springfield rifle with straight pistol grip stock and a Winchester A5 or Lyman 5A scope was added to the list of legal sniper rifle/scope combinations.

6.5.8 Interruptions in Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Matches. A provision was added that allows the firing of one additional sighting shot if there is an interruption of more than 5 minutes in 300-yard firing or 3 minutes in 600-yard firing.


Rimfire Sporter Rule Changes

8.2.2 a) Rimfire Sporter Adjustable Stocks. T and O Class rifles may have adjustable butt-plates or cheek-pieces if those features are fixed and cannot be readily changed without tools during the firing of an event.

8.3.7. Targets. Targets for the Rimfire Sporter Dewar and Benchrest events are defined.

8.6. Rimfire Sporter Dewar Course. A Dewar course of fire (20 shots prone at 50 yards and 20 shots prone at 100 yards) is added. This event was fired on an experimental basis during the 2022 National Matches.

8.7. Rimfire Sporter Benchrest Course. This is the second new Rimfire Sporter event in the 2023 rules. Competitors will fire their rifles from benchrests at 100-yard smallbore rifle targets, using a maximum of two sandbag rests (but no buttstock rest). The course of fire includes a 5-minute sighting period, followed by 40 record shots in 30 minutes.

8.8.4. Scoring Internal Crossfires. A rule change clarifies how Rimfire Sporter internal crossfires are scored.

10.3-10.5. National Records. Adds the new events to the National Records list.


CMP marksmanship 2023 rifle marksmanship smallbore rimfire rulebook rules change

The big news is that the 2023 National Matches Smallbore Rifle Championships will be conducted on electronic targets. The other big change is the addition of rules for the new F-Class Smallbore Rifle events. Provisional F-Class smallbore rifle events were held during the 2022 CMP Smallbore Prone Championship at Camp Perry. F-Class will now officially be part of the CMP Smallbore Rifle Program. Accordingly, the 2023 (5th Ed.) CMP Smallbore Rifle Competition Rules adds rules for Smallbore F-Class competition. Here are the notable changes in the 2023 CMP Smallbore Rifle Rules:

5.3. F-Class Smallbore Rifles. Two types of F-Class rifle front supports are recognized, a front rest (F-O, Open Rifle) or a bipod (F-TR, Target Rifle). Non-mechanical rear rests are authorized.

CMP marksmanship 2023 rifle marksmanship smallbore rimfire rulebook rules change

5.6.1. Ammunition. F-Class events are limited to rimfire .22 LR ammunition loaded with 40-grain bullets.

6.1.4. Supported Prone Position. Describes the firing position authorized for F-Class shooting.

6.2. 100-Yard International Target. This is the 300 Meter ISSF target, scored with an 8 mm diameter bullet, reduced for use in F-Class 100-yard events that are fired and scored with 5.56 mm bullets.

6.2.4. Target Hanging Procedures. A new rule prohibits the use of distinctive colored target clips as a means of distinguishing a target (competitors should use target numbers to identify their targets).

6.3.5. Wind Flags. Wind flag height must correspond with bullets’ flight paths.

6.4. Table 3. The three-position course of fire was changed in 2022 to be the same as the new ISSF 3×20 course of fire (formerly 3×40).

6.4. Table 5. The F-Class 160-shot course of fire includes 40 shots at 50 yards on the ISSF reduced 50m target, 40 shots at 50 m on the old A-50 metric target, a combined 50 and 100 yard 40-shot event and 40 shots at 100 yards on the 100-yard international target (see Rule 6.2).

6.4.8. F-Class Procedures. F-Class firing procedures provide for 5- or 2-min. pre-prep and 3-min. preparation periods, followed by unlimited sighting shots with each record fire stage.

7.9 and 7.10. Competition Procedures, Electronic Targets. These procedures were included in the previous edition of this rulebook, but they are highlighted here because the CMP plans to have electronic targets in place during the 2023 National Matches at Camp Perry. In prone but not three-position events, competitors will be allowed to switch back to sighting shots during record firing. 40-shot prone events can be fired without a break, but an extra five minutes is provided in the time limits (unlimited sighters and 40 record shots in 45 minutes) to allow competitors who would like to take a break during these events to do so. Target aiming masks provided for any sight stages will have an aiming mark inscribed on them.
7.12.9. Disclaimed Shot. Procedures for handling disclaimed shots are provided.

There are a series of EIC Match Credit Changes for 2023, along with revisions for the Distinguished International Shooter Badge to adapt these regulations to ISSF rule changes. Check the 2023 Smallbore Rules for details, starting at section 11.3.3.

The CMP’s Winter 2022 edition of On the Mark magazine contains “COMPETITION RULES—A Primer on Competition Rules and How to Follow Them”. This article (on pages 6-13) covers rulebook terminology, guiding principles in shooting rules, safety and safe range procedure rules, and an outline of the technical rules contained in each rulebook. CLICK HERE to download this issue of On the Mark.


The CMP Highpower Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Pistol, and Air Gun rulebooks have rules that describe the Distinguished Marksman Badge program for eligible competitors in that discipline who have physical disabilities or limitations that prevent them from complying with all rule requirements for other Distinguished Badges. To compete for a Distinguished Marksman Badge, competitors with disabilities must apply to the CMP for a “Distinguished Marksman Authorization” (contact 419-635-2141, ext. 602; Eligible competitors who fire EIC Match scores that equal or exceed EIC minimum cut scores receive EIC points that count towards the awarding of the Distinguished Marksman Badge.


The Second Edition CMP Air Rifle and Air Pistol Competitions Rules 2023 are posted on the CMP website. CLICK HERE to download those Air Rifle and Air Pistol Rules. NOTE: the CMP states that: “2022 1st Edition Rulebooks will continue to be used in 2023. If any changes are necessary during the year, an errata sheet will be printed to accompany published rulebooks.”

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January 8th, 2023

Get Reliable Loads at Hodgdon Reloading Data Center

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powderLooking for a good load for a new rifle? Or perhaps you want to try a new powder and bullet combo for an existing rig. One of the best places to start for load data is Hodgdon’s online Reloading Data Center for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders. Check out the Reloading Data Center at

In the Data Center, you’ll find thousands of load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Rifle shooters will find dozens of loads for their favorite Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders such as H4198, H4895, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is “mobile-friendly” so it works well with smartphones and tables. Navigation is easy, and you can set the search criteria easily choosing your favorite powder or bullets. After choosing a cartridge, you can pre-select specific bullet weights and powder types. That quickly delivers just the information you want and need. You won’t have to scroll through scores of entries for bullets or powders you don’t use.

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder
NOTE: This shows results for two bullet weights and two powder choices. With more powders and bullets selected you will get more results. The “BUY NOW” buttons link to the Hodgdon webstore.

Reloading Center is Smartphone-Friendly
Mobile users will notice that the current Hodgdon Reloading Center is “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use.

How to Get Started with Handloading

Getting started in Reloading? Ultimate Reloader offers a helpful introductory video that covers the basics. In addition, a recent Ultimate Reloader article reviews the types of reloading presses, plus the other gear you’ll need, from dies to powder dispensers.

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January 8th, 2023

How to Select and Set Up Decapping Dies Properly

universal Decapping die sinclair lee redding

One of our Forum members complained that he wasn’t able to set his primers flush to the rim. He tried a variety of primer tools, yet no matter what he used, the primers still didn’t seat deep enough. He measured his primers, and they were the right thickness, but it seemed like his primer pockets just weren’t deep enough. He was mystified as to the cause of the problem.

Well, our friend Boyd Allen diagnosed the problem. It was the decapping rod. If the rod is adjusted too low (screwed in too far), the base of the full-diameter rod shaft (just above the pin) will contact the inside of the case. That shaft is steel whereas your case is brass, a softer, weaker metal. So, when you run the case up into the die, the shaft can actually stretch the base of the primer pocket outward. Most presses have enough leverage to do this. If you bell the base of the primer pocket outwards, you’ve essentially ruined your case, and there is no way a primer can seat correctly.

The fix is simple. Just make sure to adjust the decapping rod so that the base of the rod shaft does NOT bottom out on the inside of the case. The pin only needs to extend through the flash hole far enough to knock the primer out. The photo shows a Lyman Universal decapping die. But the same thing can happen with any die that has a decapping rod, such as bushing neck-sizing dies, and full-length sizing dies.

Universal decapping die

Whenever you use a die with a decapping pin for the first time, OR when you move the die to a different press, make sure to check the decapping rod length. And it’s a good idea, with full-length sizing dies, to always re-check the height setting when changing presses.

There are a variety of decapping dies currently on the market, with models available from Lee, Lyman, Hornady, RCBS, Redding, and Sinclair Int’l.

Lee Universal Decapping Die Costs Just $11.69
Speaking of decapping tools, Midsouth Shooters Supply sells the Lee Universal Decapping Die for just $11.69 (item 006-90292), a very good deal. There are many situations when you may want to remove primers from fired brass as a separate operation (prior to case sizing). For example, if your rifle brass is dirty, you may want to de-cap before sizing. Or, if you load on a progressive press, things will run much more smoothly if you decap you brass first, in a separate operation.

Lee universal decapping die

Decapping Dies for Cases with Smaller Flashholes

TAKE NOTE: Some Euro Small Flash Holes are spec’d at 1.5mm or 0.059″, and max out at about .062″, so these need a smaller die pin.

The low-cost Lee Universal Decapping Die will work with cartridges from 17 Fireball all the way up to big Magnums. However, NOTE that the decapping pin supplied with this Lee die is TOO LARGE for LAPUA 220 Russian, 6mmBR, 6.5×47, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win (Palma) and Norma 6 PPC flash holes. Because the pin diameter is too large for these brass types, you must either turn down the pin, or decap with a different tool for cases with .059-.062″ flash-holes.

Sinclair Int’l offers a Stainless Decapping Die that comes with both .080 and .060 Pins. The $46.99 die ships with three decap pins for standard .080″ flash holes, and two pins for .060″ flash holes

Redding makes a Universal Decapping Die with an optional smaller-diameter decapping rod for the smaller .059-.062″ flash holes found on the BR and PPC cases. The use of this die is explained in the video below:

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