National Rifle League .22LR Match at WSSC (September 2017)

This week we participated in the first National Rifle League 22 match at the Westside Sportsman’s Club in Evansville, IN, sponsored by Red Ghost Gun Shop.

The NRL22 matches are an exciting new format that allows shooters to try their hand at precision rifle stages that would normally not be possible on a 100 yard range.

Each month the National Rifle League will post a course of fire on their website. Match directors across the country can download the PDF file and then setup the stages for their local club. The stages are all restricted to 100 yards or less and the steel target package to setup all five stages is a mere $250 on the NRL Website. This makes the NRL22 matches highly acessible for clubs that would normally not have a precision rifle option.

Rifles are divided into two classes. Base class is for .22LR rifles with a MSRP of $350 or less and scopes with an MSRP of $700 or less. Open class covers all other .22LR rifles. Equipment is limited to a bipod, one support bag and a sling.

There is one huge loophole in the Base Class requirements. The rules state that if one rifle in the model line is under the $350 cutoff, then ALL models in the line are acceptable for base class. This means that since the Ruger 10/22 Carbine is under the Base Class price limit, the 10/22 Target Model ($650) is also allowed. The same is true for the Savage MkII as well as several other models. Shooters who wish to have the greatest advantage in Base Class should be aware of this.Most experienced shooters will likely opt for the Open Class where any modification to any .22LR is allowed. Here is where the “race guns” will play. Personally, I can’t help but modify my firearms to my preference. Open class is where I will spend most of my time.

The format of the NRL22 matches is very welcoming to the new shooter. The match starts off with an hour of zero confirmation and data gathering. At our local club match, shooters had the opportunity to shoot at 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards on paper and record their dope. This made it very easy for someone to show up with a rifle they have no data on and still compete.

The standard NRL22 match will consist of five stages of fire. These will be scored for national ranking. The NRL does encourage local clubs to expand the match to include more stages, but those would only count for local competition. While five stages with targets under 100 yards may seem fairly easy, even experienced shooters will find some stages challenging. I expect them to become more challenging as the months continue.

After shooting my first NRL22 match, I was hooked. When I returned home, I immediately registered for a membership. I am looking forward to the next month’s match and I am really excited to see where the NRL22 is headed. My fondest shooting memories as a boy were with a .22 rifle in my hands. I am happy to see a competition that can get those old .22 rifles back out to the range in a social environment. I am even more excited about getting my two sons out to the NRL22 matches.

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