Small-bore Rifle, Air Rifle and Air Pistol Target Shooting

History of Small-bore Target Shooting

Firearms first appeared in the 13th century. Guns however did not become reliable until Reverand Forsythe produced chemical explosives which ignited when struck with a hammer and Mr Whitworth came up with a rifling system which meant bullets could travel further than a few feet.

Target shooting was needed as a means to train soldiers to shoot accurately. Using paper targets was a cheap way to test the accuracy of the soldier.

In the Boer War, many British soldiers lost their lives due to the Boer war farmers being able to shoot British soldiers from long distances. This lead to Major-General Luard and Earl Roberts recommending that working men should be able to shoot a rifle, so that Britain could defend itself against invasion. .22 rifles were chosen as it was cheap and could be shot indoors. This lead to the formation of the “Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs” (later the NSRA) with its British long range championship being known as the Earl Roberts.

In the First World War civilian rifle clubs were used to train the infantry.

These days the sport has become world wide and the association with the army has become less important. Target shooting has been an Olympic sport since 1894. During the last 6 commonwealth games British shooters have won 156 medals (45 Gold’s).

Mike Gault has won 11 medals at commonwealth games including 8 gold medals (a record number of gold’s for any one competitor at the commonwealth games).


Type of Shooting at Bedford Rifle Club

.22 Prone 25 yards Indoors 50 metre / 100 yards Outdoors 

      [Prone Indoors]            [Prone Outdoors]           [25yard Target]          [50metre Target]      [100yards Target]

Prone Indoors Prone Outdoors 100yard02
25yard 50metre03

.22 Prone 25 yards Indoors 50 metre Outdoors      

                 [Prone]                                          [Standing]                                  [Kneeling]

25yards indoor 50 metre outdoor standing
50metre outdoor kneeling

Air Pistol Indoors 10 metres / 20 yards

               [Air Pistol]                                        [10 metre card]                               [20 yard card]

DSCF0462 asads

Air Rifle Indoors 10 metres

                [Air Rifle]                                          [10 metre card]


Club members can shoot in club teams in postal league competitions, knock out competitions and shoulder to shoulder “open” competition shoots, club championships, national championship.

They can also be picked to represent, club, county, home country and British teams.

Structure of Small-bore Target Shooting