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August 11th, 2021

Silhouette Championship in Pennsylvania — and a Piece of History

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua

Silhouette Championship in Pennsylvania
Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK LapuaFor the past few days, the Ridgway Rifle Club in Ridgway, PA has hosted the 2021 NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Championship. Many of the nation’s top silhouette shooters attended this event. After a warm-up match on the 7th, the Championship match began on Sunday, August 8th and concluded on Tuesday, August 10th. Each match day featured a 40-round match with Standard Rifle and a 40-round match with Hunter Rifle. The High Power (centerfire) Silhouette Matches will continue later this week.

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua

Original 1950s Metal Silhouette from Mexico Donated to Ridgeway Club
There was a special dedication at the match. Ace silhouette shooter Erich Mietenkorte explained: “Most people will see this picture and just see the two of us kneeling next to a piece of steel that roughly resembles an ewe. However, in reality it represents the origin of [a sport] that has enriched my life immensely. Rifle silhouette … has added to my life an extended family of some of the nicest, most humble, and selfless people I have had the privilege to get to know[.]

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua

This silhouette was made in the 1950s for the Club De Tiro Y Caza Cananea in Sonora, Mexico and is one of the original targets that was shot at a distance of 500 meters to give birth to the sport of rifle silhouette. It is only fitting that it was presented to the Ridgway Rifle Club for its ongoing efforts in promoting the sport in the United States. Special thanks to Daniel and Carlos Salazar, and Mark Pharr for honoring our sport with this special gift. READ Letter from Club De Tiro.

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua
Here are Team Lapua, Team Berger Bullets, and Team SK members with their awards from the match. The staff of the Ridgway Rifle Club put on an outstanding event, with High Power Silhouette to follow. Excitement is growing for the inaugural Lapua Monarch Cup in 2022.

Congratulations to Luke Johnson on winning the 2021 NRA smallbore rifle silhouette championship. Luke won the overall title and also won the hunter gun championship. Luke’s team Lapua teammate Cathy Winstead-Severin won the standard rifle championship. Cathy Winstead-Severin finished 2nd followed closely by Laura Goetsch. Team SK’s Erich Mietenkorte took 4th overall. CLICK HERE for full Match Results.

Silhouette Centerfire high power history formation Mexico Ram Pig Chicken livestock

The NRA Blog ran an feature on Silhouette shooting by NRA Silhouette Program Coordinator Jonathan Leighton. Here are selections from Leighton’s story:

NRA Silhouette Shooting
The loud crack from the bullet exiting the muzzle followed by an even louder ‘clang’ as you watch your target fly off the railing is really a true addiction for most Silhouette shooters. There is nothing better than shooting a game where you actually get to see your target react to the bullet. In my opinion, this is truly what makes this game so much fun.

Metallic Silhouette — A Mexican Import
Silhouette shooting came to this country from Mexico in the 1960s. It is speculated that sport had its origins in shooting contests between Pancho Villa’s men around 1914. After the Mexican Revolution the sport spread quickly throughout Mexico. ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ uses steel silhouettes shaped like game animals. Chickens up front followed by rows of pigs, turkeys, and furthest away, rams. Being that ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ was originally a Mexican sport, it is common to hear the targets referred to by their Spanish names Gallina (chicken), Javelina (pig), Guajalote (turkey) and Borrego (ram). Depending on the discipline one is shooting, these animals are set at different distances from the firing line, but always in the same order.

Before Steel There Was… Barbeque
In the very beginnings of the sport, live farm animals were used as targets, and afterwards, the shooters would have a barbeque with all the livestock and/or game that was shot during the match. The first Silhouette match that used steel targets instead of livestock was conducted in 1948 in Mexico City, Mexico by Don Gonzalo Aguilar.

As the sport spread and gained popularity during the 1950s, shooters from the Southwestern USA started crossing the Mexican border to compete. Silhouette shooting came into the US in 1968 at the Tucson Rifle Club in Arizona. The rules have stayed pretty much the same since the sport has been shot in the US. NRA officially recognized Silhouette as a shooting discipline in 1972, and conducted its first NRA Silhouette Nationals in November of 1972.

Now There Are Multiple Disciplines
The actual sport of Silhouette is broken into several different disciplines. High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Cowboy Lever Action Rifle, Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, and Hunter’s Pistol are the basic disciplines. Black Powder Cartridge Rifle also has a ‘Scope’ class, and Hunter’s Pistol is broken into four sub-categories. Some clubs also offer Military Rifle Silhouette comps.

Where to Shoot Silhouette
NRA-Sanctioned matches are found at gun clubs nation-wide. You can find match listings on the Shooting Sports USA website or contact the NRA Silhouette Department at (703) 267-1465. For more info, visit SteelChickens.com, the #1 website dedicated to Silhouette shooting sports.

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June 9th, 2021

Iron Man Silhouette Event at Montana’s Deep Creek Range

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

Ace silhouette shooter Erich Mietenkorte (Team SK/Lapua) offers this report from Montana. Erich took top honors in Centerfire Silhouette (both standard and hunter rifle), while earning a first and second in the rimfire classes. Here is Erich’s report:

There’s a reason they call it the “Iron Man” Regional Silhouette Championship — shooting eight rifle matches over two days is no easy task! The four smallbore matches on Saturday were met with very windy conditions but I was able to shoot through it to finish 1st in standard rifle and 2nd in hunter rifle.

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep CreekGreat Conditions for Centerfire Matches
The wind died down on Sunday and we had great conditions for the High Power rifle events (bolt-action centerfire). Four matches later I finished first in both standard and hunter rifle classes. After the scores from all eight matches were totaled up, I finished first overall and won the “Iron Man” Aggregate trophy.

These results wouldn’t be possible without the amazing products from SK Ammunition, Lapua, Berger Bullets, and Vihtavuori Powders. Thank you for your support!

Thanks to all of the people who put on a great match at the beautiful Deep Creek Range in Missoula, Montana. All of your hard work is truly appreciated!

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

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August 4th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — .22 LR Rimfire Silhouette Match Rifle

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja

The Modern Smallbore Silhouette Rifle
Smallbore rifle silhouette is a shooting discipline that can really test a shooter’s ability and fundamentals. The saying in silhouette is “the bench proves the rifle, standing proves the shooter”. To be able to stand and shoot a rifle at targets ranging from 40 meters to 100 meters is no small feat, especially when the 100 meter ram target is just a little bigger than a large potato.

Of course, you need a good rifle. The CZ 455 has been at the top of the starter rifle list for a long time, however, a few newcomers such as the Tikka T1x are definitely challenging that spot. The gold standard in the silhouette discipline seems to be the venerable Anschutz 1712. With a fantastic two-stage trigger, smooth operation, great balance, and consistent accuracy it’s one of the most popular rifles, just look through the equipment survey from the U.S. Nationals and you will see what I mean. Even though the Anschutz is a great rifle, there are those competitors who want more. Enter Erich Mietenkorte, a Master silhouette shooter from Ellensburg, Washington and his P-51 Mustang-inspired .22 LR silhouette rifle.

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja
The P-51 Mustang artwork was masterfully painted by Perry Mallet of Spokane, WA from a basic theme sketched out by Erich. This is one of the coolest gunstock paint jobs we’ve ever seen. Bravo Mr. Mallet!

Erich’s Smallbore ‘Silhouette Slammer’

Report by Erich Mietenkorte
At the heart of my .22 LR “Silhouette Slammer” is a Sako P94s Finnfire action. I chose this action due to its incredibly fast lock time. Mated to that is a tight-bore Lilja 4-groove barrel finished at 24 inches. This has a Winchester 52D chamber. The barrel and chamber combination were suggested by Loren Peter of Vancouver, WA, a long time silhouette shooter and gunsmith, and it definitely works! The rifle easily and consistently shoots under one inch at 100 meters with good ammo.

Finnfire Fitted with Modified Anschutz 2-Stage Trigger
The Finnfire was originally equipped with a single-stage trigger but I decided that a two-stage works better for me. There weren’t any available options at the time so I took an Anschutz 5109 trigger from a model 1712 and machined a new sear and mated it up to the action.

CLICK to Zoom Photo
Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja
Click Image for large, full-size photo showing details of paint-work.

The rifle wears a Leupold FX-3 25-power optic, a scope favored by many silhouette shooters for its clarity, magnification, and relatively light weight. To make weight in Hunter Class, the rifle may weigh no more than 8.5 pounds total with optic! The last component that makes up this winning rifle is the amazing work of art that is the stock. All of these components rest in a custom fiberglass stock made specifically to push the limits of the NRA stock jig that all competition silhouette rifles must fit. The stock was constructed by Steve Wooster, a long-time silhouette shooter from Chehalis, WA. The P-51 Mustang artwork was masterfully painted by Perry Mallet of Spokane, WA from a sketch I did. Perry took an idea and used his artistic abilities to create a masterpiece that looks as good as it shoots.

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja

Getting Started in the Silhouette Game
Erich’s advice for anyone wanting to get started in the fun and challenging discipline of silhouette is to take any .22 LR scoped rifle you have and simply show up at a silhouette match. On many occasions Erich has helped newcomers and has even loaned out his own rifle for novices to try. “One of the best things about silhouette is the generosity and friendliness of the competitors. Silhouette is a shooting sport that you don’t have to be intimidated, all shooting abilities are welcome and everyone has an opportunity to be successful.” To learn more about silhouette shooting, or locate a silhouette match near you, visit Steelchickens.com, a popular silhouette-centric web forum.

In this Video Erich Mietenkorte Shoots Rams at 100M with his .22 LR Silhouette Rifle:

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja
Note the bullet impact locations on those 10 turkeys — that would be about a 1″ group. Great shooter with a great rifle. In Canada two weeks ago, Erich set a new Ram “long run” record, hitting 30 in a row.

The Three Amigos — Along with his P-51 paint job smallbore rifle, here are two of Erich’s centerfire silhouette rigs. Erich notes: “The green rifle is my High Power silhouette standard rifle (class weight limit 10 lbs. 2.0 oz.). This features a Defiance Machine Rebel action with a Lilja #6 Contour barrel finished at 26″. This rig is chambered in .260 Bobcat (aka 6.5×250, i.e. 250 Savage necked up to 6.5mm). This cartridge has the same energy as a .260 Remington but much less felt recoil. It is very efficient and makes a big difference when shooting a lot of rounds in a match.” Stock by Steve Wooster.

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja

The brown rifle (upper right) is a blueprinted Remington 700 action with a Lilja #5 Contour barrel finished at 26″, also chambered in .260 Bobcat. Erich tells us: “I won Second Place at the U.S. National Championships last year with this rifle. Stock made by Wooster. This rifle is for the hunting rifle category (9-lb weight limit). For Hunter rifles in smallbore and High Power the trigger must have a safety and a pull weight at least two pounds. (By contrast, a Standard rifle may have any weight trigger with/without a safety.) Because you can shoot a Hunter rifle in the Standard rifle class, I started my High Power silhouette journey with this rifle and then added the Standard rifle later. I’ll be replacing this rifle this upcoming season with a Defiance Rebel action and barrel chambered in 6mm BR.”

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja

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