Match Rifle is a discipline of target rifle shooting with its origins in the United Kingdom in the mid-1800s, when a number of adventurous shooters decided to test to the limit and capabilities of themselves and their equipment at long-range marksmanship. It is normally shot at distances between 1000 to 1200 yards, so starts at the distance where other shooting stops.
Match Rifle offers a variety of challenges, and shooters are drawn to it for different reasons. Some enjoy experimentation with the intention of optimising their rifle and ammunition, though it is easy to start Match Rifle by attaching a telescope to a Target Rifle. Others enjoy the challenge provided by the wind at MR distances – every day is different, and sudden wind changes can be sufficient to blow shots off of a 10 foot target at 1200 yards. All who shoot it though enjoy Match Rifle for its rich tradition and the wonderfully friendly atmosphere to be found on the range (as well as in the clubhouses afterwards).
From the very beginning, experimentation and innovation have always played an important part in Match Rifle. This ethos has remained within the community from the 19th century pioneers looking to improve upon the technology of shooting through to the modern day. Indeed, as the technology and performance has developed, the standard match rifle distances have increased to continue to foster experimentation and technique to overcome long range shooting.
Although the standard competition format involves shooting at 1000, 1100 and 1200 yards, there are increasing opportunities for 1500yard shooting. Unfortunately, the majority of these occasions occur in Australia, where they are blessed with significantly more space for their ranges than here in Great Britain and Ireland. This is still someway short of the furthest distance at which Match Rifle has been shot, with records existing of shoots at ranges in excess of 2000 yards (comfortably over a mile).