Posted by Josh Botha on 2023 May 11th
Running a Precision Rifle Match: Location - Inside MDT
I started running precision rifle matches in October 2018. The first time I ran a match, I had no idea what I was in for, so I tested the waters with a very accommodating range and 20 of our local shooters. Five years and 70 matches later, we have expanded our little league into a full-scale operation and have had the pleasure of working with the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), National Rifle League (NRL) as well as the International Precision Rifle Federation (IPRF) to help grow the sport in our little corner of South Western Canada. We are nowhere near the level of some of the venues, leagues, and match directors our Southern neighbors enjoy; however, the passion and commitment to growing the sport is always something that shines through in this community, and our match directors and shooters display it in droves!
More: Practical Considerations Of Competitive Shooting
With all that being said, the purpose of this article series is to provide the framework and foundation concepts for what it takes to run a successful and fun precision rifle match that the shooters will enjoy (and want to shoot more of) as well as benefiting the match director, club/landowner and ultimately the sport!
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
If you've made it this far, it would be logical to assume that you either have an interest in running a precision rifle match or are at least interested in learning more about it! The biggest issue that most match directors (MDs) face is finding the right venue. I will admit that at first, this was the biggest reason that I didn't want to run a match, especially after shooting at amazing locations such as Rock Lake Rifle Range or Blue Ridge Ranch, both of which are located in North Eastern Washington State and offer shooters seemingly unlimited distance and freedom for target placement as well as things to shoot off of.
You don’t need a big range to host a fun match!
After seeing those locations (and more), I thought, "Wow! There is NOTHING like this up near where I live. How am I supposed to run a match?". Understandably, finding the right venue can be tricky. However, we have run some of our most successful matches at a 200-yard range, 15 minutes from my house. If your local rifle range only has 100 yards, consider a course of fire put out by organizations such as the National Rifle League 22 (NRL22) and Canadian Rimfire Precision Series (CRPS).
If you have access to a range certified for Centrefire, but you can only reach out 500 yards, that is also manageable, and you could run a precision rimfire or Centerfire there; you just need to be creative with stage design. We have also run some incredibly fun centrefire matches at a range that tops out at 470 yards. However, the MD likes to throw in pistol components to his stages (engage 10x shots with a pistol before shooting your precision rifle) and what I like to call "target chaos."
Ultimately, if shooters in your region want to shoot and compete in a fun and exciting atmosphere, it is your duty as a match director to give the people what they want and run a match with the venue you have at your disposal.
Once you've selected a venue, some of the hardest work is done, with your next steps being straightforward. You have to ask yourself the following questions, which will help determine what kind of match you are going to run:
- What kind of distances do I have available?
- Do I have any natural terrain to work with, or am I constricted to a static firing line in a shooting bay?
- Is this match part of a larger league, or am I going alone and making this an "outlaw" event?
- What do I think would be the most fun match to shoot?
If you honestly answer those questions and think about the matches you have had the most fun at, I can guarantee you will run a great precision rifle match. In the next article, we'll cover the basics of stage design and some tips and tricks!
COMPETITION RESOURCES FROM MDT
- Mastering The Mental Game Of PRS: An Easy Way To Achieve A Higher Score
- A Shooter's Checklist - Delivering The Perfect Shot
- Beginners Gear Guide for Precision Rifle Competition
- Expert Gear Guide for Precision Rifle Competition
- How Professional Shooter Allison Zane Sets Up Her Rifle
- How To Shoot PRS: Stage Breakdown With PRS Top Lady
- Dry Fire Drills With Pro Shooter Allison Zane
- How I Got Into Precision Rifle Competition - PART 1 and PART 2
- How To Optimize Your Rifle For Positional Shooting
- Maximize Performance with Mental Imagery
- Confidence Kills
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Botha is an Engineering Team Lead for MDT Sporting Goods and works in the headquarters in Chilliwack, BC, Canada. Josh and his family immigrated from South Africa and England in 2006. Josh enjoys competitive shooting disciplines and can often be found after work at his home range in BC. You can find Josh on Instagram @jbotha_ or somewhere out at a match.