October’s UNSC Rifle Match

We have begun regularly attending the Upper Nisqually Sportsman’s Club monthly rifle matches.  They are a fun, safe, and challenging way to increase your skill level, compete, and get together with other shooters. I’ve decided to give a basic rundown of how these particular matches work in hopes that it helps clear up some of the cloudiness surrounding competitive shooting, and as a way to share the stage descriptions.

New shooters are expected to show up early (I believe at 8:30) to go over the specific safety rules of the range, and to make sure that you’re safe in how you handle a rifle.  That includes a briefing on safety rules, then the proficiency section, where they have you shoot 2 rounds from one position, then get up, move over several feet (being sure to keep the muzzle of the gun pointed downrange) and fire 2 more shots.  It’s pretty basic, but shows the match directors that you’re not dangerous.

The rifle club has been very receptive to the matches, and has recently granted us access to a second range, which has allowed the matches to accept more people, making it a bit more inclusive (instead of making a list on snipershide, having it fill up a few hours later, and then waitlisting people who did not find the thread in time).  Plus it brings in more money for the club, so it’s a win-win situation.  With 2 ranges, they are able to run 2 stages simultaneously.  Slightly edited stage descriptions and notes (in italics) follow.

Barricade Stage – 100 yard range  

shooting a bolt gun offhand

There will be two shooting areas.  At shoot area 1, there will be a 50% IPSC target (an IPSC target is a standardized man-shaped/sized target, smaller versions are made to imitate longer distances) at about 100 yards.  At shoot area 2, there will be a door shaped barricade.  On either side of the barricade there will be a 6″ square, and an 8″ round target (four targets at shoot area 2).

shooting a bolt gun offhand

Shooter will load with one round, and wait at low ready.  After the start signal, the shooter will fire one round only, offhand(this is code for standing unsupported) at the 50% IPSC target.  They will then move to the barricade and fire 1 round only at each of the two targets from around the right side of the prop, then fire 1 round only at the two targets from around the left side of the prop.  They will repeat this sequence so they will have fired a total of 4 rounds from each side of the prop. Shooters are required to use the barricade as cover and this will likely entail going weak side(this means shooting from your non-dominant side, which is much more difficult that it seems) on one side of the prop. Since the stage description didn’t specify how one needed to shoot the final 8 rounds of this stage, competitors had the option to shoot standing, sitting kneeling, or prone.  Since people tend to be more stable when lying on the ground, their marksmanship is better.  Some people felt that they would shoot more quickly if they remained standing or decided to shoot from a seated position, so they did that instead. 

shooting prone from behind a barricade

shooting prone from behind a barricade

Shooter’s muzzle MUST GO DOWNWARD when changing sides on the barricade.  If the shooter’s muzzle goes upward during the side to side transition, it will be a stage DQ.  (Muzzle of a loaded rifle pointing over the top of the impact area)
Each target is worth 2 points:  9 rounds/90 seconds, 18 possible points.

 Underneath – 100 yard range

stable shooting position for precision rifle


The prop for this stage is to simulate shooting underneath an obstacle like a vehicle.  There is about 10 inches between the ground, and the prop.  The prop looks similar to a 4 inch thick table about 3.5×4 feet. It was a pallet that had legs.

shooting prone under a pallet

Shooter will begin at low ready with 3 rounds loaded.  Chamber may be loaded.
After the start signal, shooter will fire one round on each target offhand, then with an empty rifle move into position to shoot from underneath the prop.  From underneath the prop, shooter will fire one round on each target moving from right to left, and one round on each target moving from left to right. I managed to pull off 9 hits in 9 shots.  Unfortunately, I started shooting left to right, not right to left, and didn’t realize it until after I had fired my first shot.  Luckily I was able to recover, and only dropped 2 points for the match.Each hit is worth two points.  9 rounds, 90 seconds.  18 points possible.

Parapet/waving arm target 6 rounds 18 points possible 45 seconds

shooting from a parapet

The waving arm target has three different target areas worth two different values.  The large IPSC center target is worth 1 point per hit and the smaller waving targets are worth 3 points per hit.  The shooter will start standing behind the parapet with the rifle loaded with up to 6 rounds and the bolt open (semi-auto on safe). Upon the start signal shooter will engage the target with 2 rounds from each of the parapet levels. The shooter may engage any of the 3 target areas they wish, but they may not engage the same target area two times in a row.


shooting from a parapet

Targets on the arms are 6-8 inch round.

6 position barricade – 6 rounds – 18 points possible – 45 seconds

shooting from a barricade

Shooters will start standing behind the barricade with 6 rounds loaded in their rifle, bolt closed, at low ready.  Upon the start signal, shooter will engage target 7 with one round from each of the 6 ports, excluding the bottom port.  Each hit is worth 3 points.


Barricade – 9 rounds – 18 points possible – 120 seconds

VTAC Barricade

Shooters will start standing behind the barricade with up to 9 rounds loaded and the bolt open (semi-auto on safe). Upon the start signal the shooter will engage targets T1-T3 from one of the top levels of the barricade.  The shooter will then move to the designated enclosed ports (NO PRONE) and engage targets T4-T9. Shooters will engage each target only once. Targets are worth 2 points each. This was the first stage that we shot, and the fog was so bad when I was shooting it that I couldn’t see past target 5 at all.  As a result, I wasn’t able to even take any additional shots, and ended up giving away a lot of points.  

Over the Barrel – 9 rounds – 18 points possible – 120 seconds

dialing for elevation


Shooters will start from the weak hand prone position from either the right or left hand side of the barrel (i.e. right handed shooter will start on the left side of the barrel).  Upon the start signal shooter will engage targets T1-T3, move to the top of the barrel to engage targets T4-T6, then move to the other end of the barrel (i.e. right hand shooter on right side of barrel), go prone and engage targets T7-T9.  While in the prone position around the ends of the barrel the shooters must use the barrel as cover (at least 80% of body).  Shooters will engage each target only once. Targets are worth 2 points each.

shooting from a barrel

shooting from a barrel

After all of the stages have been completed, people generally will tally up the scores and pick up the targets and props.  After everything is put away, they announce the top few places, and give everyone their points total.  It’s a fun way to do it, and even though I did pretty poorly (worse than I normally do), we all had fun and I didn’t make any really stupid mistakes, so nothing to beat myself up over.

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