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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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May 23rd, 2020

2020 Berger Southwest Nationals Equipment Lists

2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

The best F-Class and Sling shooters in the nation compete each year at the Berger Southwest Nationals at the Ben Avery range in Arizona. Walk down the firing line and you’ll see the absolute “best of the best” in equipment — from $3500 optics to $2000 stocks and $400 triggers. Berger SWN shooters have some of the best equipment you can buy. In this game, where just 1 or 2 points can separate first from third place (considering X-Count), it’s important to have top-flight equipment. That means a custom action, custom barrel, and high-end stock or chassis system.

Matt Schwartzkopf, a range supervisor at Ben Avery, and member of the USA F-TR Team, has collected comprehensive gear reports from the 2020 Berger SW Nationals. Matt has created charts showing competitors’ choices for Actions, Barrels, Stocks, Riflescopes and Spotting Scopes. In addition, Matt has compiled bullet choice data for all classes and Cartridge rankings for F-Open Division.

There is a discussion of the 2020 SWN Gear Selection in our Shooters’ Forum. CLICK HERE to follow that Forum thread. Many top SWN shooters, including past F-Open National Champion Larry Bartholome, have contributed to this Forum discussion about gear options.

ACTIONS Listed by Division (Sling, F-TR, F-Open)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

ACTIONS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

BARRELS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

BULLETS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

CARTRIDGE BRASS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

POWDER by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

STOCKS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

RIFLESCOPES by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

SPOTTING SCOPES Listed by Class (Sling, F-TR, F-Open)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

Cartridge Selection in F-Open Division

In addition, Matt produced an interesting listing of cartridge/caliber types for the F-Open division. This is helpful because cartridge choice is unrestricted in the F-Open class. By contrast, the F-TR division is limited to .223 Remington (5.56×45) or .308 Winchester (7.62×51). You can see that the .284 Winchester (and variants) currently dominate F-Open.

2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

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