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Air Rifle

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With a bull’s-eye the size of a pinhead, this is no casual “plinking” sport.



Air Rifle is shot by both men and women in competitions from club level to the Olympic Games.  All shooting is done from the standing position but Canada is starting to get involved in the 3-Position Air Rifle shooting (standing, kneeling and prone), which has become very popular in Europe and the USA.  Men and Women are placed in classes according to ability so the thrill of winning is available to all who try this fast growing sport.  This discipline first made its debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.


Alberta’s Susan Eymann competing in the Women’s 10 meter Air Rifle at the Western Canadian Air Gun Championships, Calgary, AB.

The skills required for this sport are so close to those of smallbore and fullbore shooting that many athletes use the Air Rifle as an indoor winter sport to practice for the outdoor seasons. Air Rifle is shot at 10 meters distance using a target with a 10 ring of 0.4mm (approximately the diameter of a pin head) and the 9 ring is just slightly larger than the .177″ diameter of the pellet.  Because the target is so small, only 1 shot is fired at a target during a competition.



The women shoot 40 shots (each  maximum shot value is 10.9) for total possible 436 points in 50 minutes during competitions and the men shoot 60 shots for a 654 point possible score in 1 hour and 15 minutes. The World record for women using whole scoring is 400/400 and is 600/600 for men.


Western Canadian Air Gun Championships, Calgary, AB.  October 2011

At the end of a regular match a “Finals” is shot.  In the final, each of the eight finalists (top 8 in the open event) shoot up to 24 scoring shots.  After all 8 shooters have fired their first five shots, the scores are announced to the spectators and athletes on the line.  The points achieved are subdivided into decimal tenths during the Finals.  For example, a shot that hits directly in the center of the ten ring counts as a 10.9, whereas a shot just barely touching the ten ring counts as 10.0.  This adds extra excitement (stress?) to the competition for both the athlete and the spectators.

An example of the Megalink(TM) Electronic Target & Scoring System used during Air Rifle competitions

In Alberta we typically have five Air Gun competitions annually:
1:  Western Canadians, Calgary;
2:  Memorial Match, Olds;
3:  Alberta Air Rifle Provincial Championships, moves around the province from year to year;
4:  City of Calgary, Calgary; and
5:  Maple Leaf, Leduc.

Besides Nationals, Canada has one major Air Rifle event, which is shot each spring and is now a world ranked “Air Gun Grand Prix” match with over 300 competitors taking part from all over the world.  Alberta shooters regularly take part in these competitions along with the Annual Canadian National Smallbore Rifle Championships.

If you visit most gun clubs today, you will find a group shooting air rifle at least 1 night a week.

A YouTube video example of competitive air rifle shooting at 10 meters:  ISSF Air Rifle