Smallbore Rifles & Ammo

With the popularity of smallbore .22lr hunting rifles, it was inevitable that the smallbore rifle silhouette discipline would follow high power and eventually become more popular. Similar to the “High Power Rifle discipline, there is a “Standard Rifle” and “Hunter Rifle” class Smallbore Rifle sanctioned by the NRA and the SRAC. In Mexico, there is a “Standard Rifle” class as well as a light rifle class hunter rifle with metallic leaf sights utilizing larger targets. Championship matches, such as the Lapua Monarch Cup, conducted in Mexico, the USA and Canada will utilize only Standard Rifles…..

For more information on Smallbore Rifles and Ammo, please visit our “Rifle & Sights” and “Ammo & Ballistics” Blogs within the Technical Library!

Evolution of Smallbore Silhouette Rifles


Wigger’s pillar bedding comments and carbon fiber stocks

Silhouette Smallbore Rifle Regulations

Within the USA, the NRA Silhouette Rifle Rulebook establishes uniform standards for NRA sanctioned silhouette smallbore competition. The Silhouette Rifle Association of Canada (SRAC) utilizes the NRA Silhouette Rifle Rulebook for sanctioned matches.

Edit for smallbore – The Mexico silhouette community is currently creating silhouette air rifle rules that are compatible with the USA and Canada with the ultimate goal of conducting NASSA-sanctioned matches between, Mexico, the USA and Canada.

Smallbore Silhouette Rifle:

The Smallbore Silhouette Rifle is identical to the description of the High Power Silhouette Rifle, except that the rifle shall be chambered for only factory loaded .22 caliber short, long or long rifle rimfire cartridges. Hot loads, such as “Stingers”, are not permitted.

Smallbore Hunter Silhouette Rifle:

The Smallbore Hunter Silhouette Rifle is identical to the description of the High Power Hunting Silhouette Rifle, except that (a) the rifle may be a single-loading rifle, (b) the weight may not exceed 8 1/2 pounds, (c) the rifle shall be chambered for only factory loaded .22 caliber short, long or long rifle rimfire cartridges, and (d) barrel turners or additional weights are not permitted. Tapered barrel?

NRA Silhouette Air Rifle Rules

Smallbore Rifles for Silhouette Competition


2021 NRA SB National Championship Survey – Rifle Manufacturers

Smallbore Ammunition for Competition

Lones Wigger was one of the best smallbore prone shooters in the world, winning an unprecedented 8 NRA Smallbore Prone National Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. You do not achieve this without understanding how to test and select smallbore ammunition. Lones Wigger, as a Clinic Instructor in the 1980’s for the NRA Silhouette Rifle Shooting Program, summed up his thoughts on selecting .22lr ammunition for silhouette in the quotes below. His advice is still sound in today’s competitive environment.

“Generally, the more expensive the ammunition, the better it shoots. Not always, but generally because it’s better quality. You need to test and select ammofor your particular gun. Just because a particular lot happens to shoot well in my gun does not mean it will shoot well in yours. Another lot might shoot better in yours.Choosing ammunition is something you have to do for yourself.”

“If you’re going to be competitive in this sport, or any of the smallbore games, you have to test given brands to find out which is the most accurate in your rifle. You should do your testing at 100 meters. Think about that ram; you only have about two inches of elevation to play with if you are going to hit it. If you ammunition will only shoot a two-inch group, and your wobble area is two inches, you’re not going to hit the ram very often.”

“For the silhouette game, you should looking for a rifle that shoots under an inch. If it shoots around 0.8 or 0.75 of an inch, you have an awfully good gun. If you have something that will shoot inch groups consistently, you will have a gun you can win with since that gives you an inch to play with on the animal.”


Testing .22lr Ammunition:

Comments on testing lots…..

Lapua Rimfire Performance Center – Mesa, Arizona and Marengo, Ohio……

Eley Customer Test Range – Winters, Texas……