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Precision rifle gear – The Rifle

If you’ve read one of our earlier articles on getting started in PRS-style shooting, or you’ve attended a match or two, you might be considering what rifle you could compete with. I’m hoping to do a few posts on different gear considerations, but this first one will focus around the core of your system – the rifle.

Run what you brung

Don’t correct my grammar, I know “brung” isn’t a word. It just rhymes better. If you are not jumping into your local match because you don’t think you have the right gear, you may be missing an opportunity. If you have a rifle from a different shooting discipline, or even your mountain gun or bush-stalking rifle, bring it along and have a go. As long as your rifle meets the requirement of the shoot (i.e. within any calibre / speed restrictions) and is safe, there are a few reasons you should run it before investing in a new gun.

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know. Once you’ve experienced a few comps or handled and seen other competitors’ rifles, you’ll be able to make a much more informed decision on your first precision rifle purchase – this could save you thousands of dollars, or many hours of heartache and searching the internet for unavailable parts and conversion kits
  2. The sooner you start shooting this style of competition, the sooner you will learn and become more proficient
  3. If you somehow find out this sport isn’t for you (highly unlikely), you won’t have invested time and money in a rifle you won’t use again

So, get stuck in, get to your local match, and start sending rounds down range. Accept the fact that you won’t be as competitive with what you are running (or maybe you will be in a different class / division), and set yourself a goal to learn something from each stage.

Entry level – mid-range

An entry-level rifle is not only a time and money-saver when you get started, but with modern rifles and ammunition standards, might be all you need to be competitive for quite a few years. Climbing the ranks as a shooter is not a gear race (for the most part), and you will find that investment in training, quality ammunition / components, and time behind the trigger, will get you further much faster than buying a gun and scope combo that is more expensive than your car.

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced rifle, the common names in shooting are a good place to start. They have a lot of aftermarket support, which means you will be able to make changes and modifications as you go, such as buying a chassis or finding the right scope base. Generally speaking, you would be looking at Howa (Weatherby Vanguard), Tikka, Ruger, Remington, Bergara or Savage.

Rifles like the Winchester M70, Browning X-Bolt, Mossberg Patriot, Ruger M77 MkII, Ruger American or Savage Axis might all be great platforms to modify, but only to a point. If you have your heart set on one of these for whatever reason, do some research to see if there are sufficient aftermarket offerings to explore down the road. Primarily, this will be around the availability of suitable chassis systems or stocks, scope bases with a bit of cant built in (20 MOA rails, etc), and potentially the ease of changing barrels if you decide you want to rebarrel once you’ve worn out the factory barrel or want to make a change.

Whatever rifle and chassis / stock combo you go with, make sure to consider your magazine system. Having the ability to run 5 or 10 round AICS pattern magazines is almost a requirement for the sport, as you need reliability and (sometimes) a lot of rounds down range really fast. For long action chamberings, your AICS pattern mags will be limited to 3, 5 or 7 rounds in most instances. Generally speaking for practical or precision rifle sports, you want a short action cartridge based on a .308 case.

Back to the rifles we mentioned as good starters, here are some pros and cons:

The Howa 1500 is an absolute workhorse and makes a great practical match rifle with its heavy varmint barrel. Photo credit: Simon Gillice / Gillice Practical Rifle Events

Howa 1500 Short Action


  • Can be purchased as a barreled action without stock, saving on cost of parts you don’t need
  • Match rifle variants come with a very suitable heavy barrel profile, threaded muzzle and threaded bolt handle with oversized bolt knob
  • Great aftermarket support from the likes of MDT, KRG, etc
  • Weight adjustable two-stage trigger
  • Reliable function in adverse shooting conditions
  • Best value for money by far


  • AICS compatibility can be limited to certain mags (although this is easily remedied with notching out ahead of the feed ramp – best done by a gunsmith)
  • Aftermarket options are good, but not as universally supported as the likes of Tikka and Rem 700 actions (e.g. might be harder to find the trigger you want)


Tikka T3x / TAC A1 / CTR


  • Extremely slick action due to tight tolerances, polished finish and unique bolt lug design
  • Universal action length means changing cartridges down the road is relatively easy, even from short action to long action, etc.
  • The action is an excellent basis for a semi-custom rifle
  • TAC A1 comes with a fairly good factory chassis
  • Excellent aftermarket support by most major brands
  • TAC A1 and CTR magazines are fantastic in function, reliability and have a short height for a 10 round mag
  • The T1x 22LR is somewhat compatible with T3x parts and stocks, so a trainer set up replicating your main gun can be achieved


  • With the correct bolt stop, the Tikka is an excellent short or medium length action. If you want to change to a long action or magnum action cartridge in the future (e.g. 300 PRC), the action length can be limiting

    Tom S shooting as part of Team Gun Rack at the Tarata Teams Shoot 2022. The Tikka T3x is a slick action and a great basis for a semi-custom gun
  • TAC A1 and CTR mags are stupid expensive
  • T3x variants have very good barrels, but not usually of a profile sufficiently heavy for long strings of fire
  • Tikka barrels can be hard work to remove, but a good gunsmith will help with this
  • TAC A1 scope bases are supplied in 0 MOA and are high above the action, so you will want to change this if you change stocks. They are also somewhat difficult to remove (otherwise a good quality!)
  • A bit on the spendy side

Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) Short Action


  • An affordable package rifle ready to go (when you compare to adding a chassis to standard rifle)
  • Later generations keep modernising, e.g. replacing Keymod forends with M-LOK
  • Limited chamberings, but relevant options for our sport (6.5mm Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor, and 308 Win if you don’t like winning)
  • Accepts a wider variety of magazines than most
  • Similarly to the Tikka TAC A1, features a variety of AR15 style controls and components


  • Not as refined as the Tikka TAC A1, which is probably the most directly comparable option, but reflective of the price point at 3/4 the street price of the Tikka
  • You will likely want to replace included items like the grip and muzzle brake

Remington 700 Short Action


  • The “standard” action shape and footprint, due to its prolific nature and saturation of the US market – the best aftermarket options
  • Most custom actions utilise a Rem 700 footprint,  so accessories and stocks can generally be re-used as you upgrade
  • Training rifles in 22LR such as the Vudoo or Bergara B14R can be equipped with the same accessories and parts to create true trainer systems
  • System is so well known that there is an endless font of knowledge on trouble shooting or improvement
  • Lots of “off the shelf” options suitable for precision rifle shooting


  • Varying degrees of quality control and materials / manufacturing over the years, as Remington has had several bankruptcies and new owners. The good ones are good, but it can be hard to know before you spend the money
Bergara is the newest manufacturer on this list, but taps into the existing market presence of the Remington 700 footprint

Bergara B14 HMR Short Action


  • A clone of the Remington 700, but generally higher quality – all of the pros and none of the cons mentioned above
  • Factory stock is suitable for field style shooting and is a good compromise / cross-over option when considering precision shooting and hunting


  • A bit more expensive – you’re spending Tikka money here

Savage 110 Short Action


  • Very accurate rifles at a good price point
  • Good chassis options from the factory, made for Savage by MDT
  • Barrel nut design makes for easy barrel changes in the future – lots of pre-fit barrel options make this a good basis for a semi-custom gun


  • Several variations in bolt release over the years – make sure your action is compatible with aftermarket stocks
  • Mag release, bolt release and trigger mechanisms can be a bit “fiddly” (might be personal taste, and my bias here)
  • Aftermarket support is good, but probably not as well supported in the precision rifle game compared to other options on this list

Custom guns

Guns NZ team shooter Graeme running his Curtis Custom Axiom in an MPA set up. Image credit: Dylan Ackley

If you’re looking at the high end of the precision rifle spectrum, you’re likely looking at a “custom” action. Either, you have been in the sport for a while and have a good idea of what you want, or potentially you’re new to the sport, but money is no object and you want the perfect rifle from the outset.

I don’t have much experience with these actions myself, but generally speaking you are buying a Rem 700 SA clone (or variation thereof) which is compatible with Rem 700 accessories and stocks.  The action is going to cost around the price of a whole gun from the previous section, and then you have a choice of barrels. Barrel selection in New Zealand is improving dramatically, but prices are still a bit painful, especially if you are shooting a “barrel burner” of a cartridge.

Typical actions in this category would be:

  • Impact Precision
  • Lone Peak Arms
  • Defiance
  • Big Horn
  • Curtis Custom
  • Surgeon
  • BAT
  • Barnard (NZ)
  • Hardy Rifle Engineering (NZ)

Pair your action with a barrel – it’s helpful for getting bullets down range. You’ll probably encounter these names in barrel manufacturers:

  • Proof Research
  • Krieger
  • Bartlein
  • Criterion
  • Hawk Hill Custom
  • Benchmark
  • True-Flite (NZ)
  • Hardy Rifle Engineering (NZ)
  • Vulcan Barrels (NZ)


For most of us shooting precision rifle sports in New Zealand, gear selection is a bit of a journey, and it kind of follows the sequence listed above; start with the whatever you have, then get a dedicated precision gun at an affordable price point, and eventually spend all the money. If you aren’t sure what is right for you, hop in a comment section on Facebook, it’s always full of helpful information. Kidding! Go to a match – see what there is, talk to people, and see what makes sense for you.

You can always contact us for advice on where to purchase gear. We stock some of the above brands ourselves, or can point you in the right direction.

How to find PRS / Field Shooting matches in NZ

If you’re new to the precision rifle sports, or maybe you just read our recent article on what PRS and Field Shooting are, next steps are probably to find out how to get involved and where matches are held. This article will list out all of the current organisations which hold these kinds of matches – if we do miss any, feel free to drop us a message on Facebook and we’ll make sure to add it.

Speaking of Facebook, the bulk of info on matches, entries, updates, etc., is done through Facebook and Facebook Messenger. If you don’t like social media, or you’ve just never got around to it, it would be worthwhile creating a profile just so you can interact with these organisations.

A rare non-natural prop at a TLRS event. Featured shooter Mizz Gunrack

North Island

Gillice Practical Rifle Events

The original and the best! Simon has been running shoots for longer than most of us have been in the sport, and his events inspire and inform a lot of the other matches held across the country. You can follow GPRE on their Facebook or Instagram pages. Regular matches held by GPRE include the Pre-Roar Eye Opener (Mar), Desert Duel teams match (May), Speed vs Precision 22LR Match (Nov) and Tarata Practical Rifle Match (Nov).

As and when other properties / locations have been available, Simon has held other medium range and long range matches, as well as frequent 22LR shoots. Keep an eye on their social media for events not listed above. GPRE events are mostly held in the Central North Island, around Taranaki and Waiouru / Taihape.

Taranaki Long Range Shooting

TLRS, run by Graeme (and his loyal crew of volunteers), largely follows the format established by GPRE, adding its own flair and personality. Having started off as some social gong shoots a few years ago, the organisation and matches have evolved significantly to be some of the best precision matches in the country.

Surplus Steel is an awesome Service Rifle / Field Shooting crossover event that is a highlight of the shooting calendar

Regular events for TLRS include Surplus Steel (Jan), Ahititi Long Range Challenge (Feb) and Winter Blast (Jun / Jul). Other matches have included Bowers Valley Brawl (a dedicated long range / magnum event), and some 22LR matches. The Ahititi Long Range Challenge is the biggest event in the precision sports calendar, with the 2022 match consisting of 3 days of shooting, each day being a separate event. TLRS operates mostly in Ahititi (Taranaki), and other Central NI locations, up to Waitomo District.

TLRS and GPRE have collaborated in 2022 to run the SPARC 22LR series, four matches with distinct flavours, different match directors and locations, culminating in an upcoming series final.

To follow TLRS, you can check out their Facebook or Instagram pages. Graeme also runs Bolt Action Media, and co-hosts the Precision Unloaded Podcast with Mark (land owner / match director / podcast host extraordinaire).

The Gun Rack

Yes, that’s us! We’ve run a grand total of two 22LR events in the northern Waikato region (out towards Port Waikato) over the course of 2022, and hope to do more in the future. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for more updates.

Our aim is to provide matches that the other regular match directors/ hosts can participate in (as they’re always doing the hard work), as well as holding events closer to Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland. This means a little bit less driving for those of us up this way, and also means we can attract new shooters to the sport.

Rifle being made safe at the end of a stage. We shoot in any conditions, so long as we can see the targets.

Precision Rifle Series New Zealand

PRS NZ are the official PRS affiliated organisation in New Zealand, and run matches in the Waiouru / Taihape area. It seems to be the aim of the organisation to get other match directors / locations involved and part of the series in due course, as well as qualifiying shooters to compete in the PRS USA Finale.

You can find them on Facebook. PRS NZ is also supported by Long Range Academy, and you can find out more at their website.

Central North Island Gun Club

CNIGC are primarily a Service Rifle club, and they host a few really cool events every year (along with all their club shoots). If I’m not shooting a precision or practical rifle match on the same day, I’ll try and be at their ANZAC shoot, Rapids, etc.

A couple years ago CNIGC worked with Simon from GPRE to run their first 22LR precision match. As far as I know, they have held more matches since then and have gone from strength to strength. Some of the CNIGC members have become familiar faces at other North Island matches, so it’s good to see the sport spreading to shooters from other disciplines.

CNIGC have a website where you can get in touch or find out more.

Auckland Shooting Club

Auckland Shooting Club are based in Makarau, about 45 mins north of Auckland central. They host 22LR precision club matches, amongst lots of other shooting disciplines. It’s not clear if this is restricted to members only, so get in touch, I’m sure they’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Auckland Shooting Club have a Facebook page and a website for contact details.

The dreaded camo net is a prop that features at GPRE shoots every now and then – gear management is essential.

South Island

Now, I have very limited knowledge of the precision rifle scene down South, so Mainlanders, please excuse the brevity of this section.

Section 22 is a great resource for our Mainland friends looking to get into precision shooting. Blair also imports some essential gear for the sport

Section 22

Section 22 is run by Blair, and hosts a bunch of 22LR matches in the North Otago region. Blair also imports a bunch of shooting gear, including tripods, ammo pouches, Wiebad bags, etc. Section 22 is run as a private group on Facebook, so have a look for them there.

Sparrowhawk NZ

Sparrowhawk NZ has been around for a minute or two. These guys have their own range in South Canterbury and run regular shooter education and training courses. They also host matches at their range. You can find them on Facebook or at their website.

Boundary Creek

Another venue down South which frequently hosts precision style matches, the range is just outside of Oamaru. A private group on Facebook contains info on upcoming matches, so search for them on there.

Hokonui Precision Rifle Matches

22LR is a great way to get into precision shooting, yet is still a highly competitive and fun subsection of the sport when you’re fully into it.

Another private Facebook group for you to search and apply to. A great resource for matches being held in the South Island.

Alpine Long Range

Alpine Long Range hosts matches in the Canterbury region, not too far from Christchurch. You can follow them on Facebook to keep an eye out for upcoming matches.

Peak View Range

PVR operate an established range with targets available for plinking or practice at distances from 100m – 1000m. They also run competitions and have a shop to buy gear you might need. If you or your significant other need extra motivation to get out there, they also operate Peak View Retreat.

Peak View Range can be found in Nelson, on Facebook or their website.

New Zealand Mountain Challenge

The Vortex NZ Mountain Challenge has been running since 2015, and is a world class long range event. The most recent event had a 3-day format, with a 1000 yard shoot off, the main mountain challenge match, and a precision rifle match on the third day.

You can find more info on the Mountain Challenge on their Facebook page. The match is sold out fairly quickly from what I hear, so make sure to keep an eye on it if it interests you. The Mountain Challenge is an annual event in Wanaka.

Field Shooting and PRS in New Zealand

If you’re interested in competitive or long range shooting, you’ve probably heard the term “PRS” or noticed the preponderance of new shooting gear aimed at the “precision shooting” market. If you want to understand a bit more about what this is all about, and how you might be able to get involved, this article is a short primer on what is available and happening in New Zealand. We’ll do some follow up articles on what gear you need, basic skills to practice, etc., so keep an eye out for those.

What is PRS?

Precision or practical rifle competitions are not all “PRS Matches”. The PRS (Precision Rifle Series) is a trademarked, sanctioned series of matches in the USA, in which some of the best precision shooters in the world compete. It has developed over the years, and the level of competition and the equipment used has changed dramatically. There are PRS affiliated organisations around the world, notably Australia, South Africa and recently New Zealand.

In a PRS or PRS-style match, you would expect to have around  8 – 10 stages (small courses of fire within the overall match) in a one day match, with varying challenges to test different aspects of your shooting ability. Two day matches are more prevalent overseas and will probably feature more and more in the NZ scene. Two-day matches that have been run locally tend to be the same overall match course of fire, but day two might be .223 only, or some other variation.

Each stage will have a description which will tell you what targets you need to engage, and how you need to engage them – you don’t need to know this stuff in advance. You will also be given a time limit for each stage. If you’re new to the game, concentrate on making good hits instead of trying to be fast. You’ll have more fun if you hit steel, and it will be easier to operate safely and smoothly if you take your time.

What kind of shooting should you expect?

Precision shooting has developed largely around “square ranges”, which lends itself to man-made props, rather than using natural terrain or obstacles

Generally speaking, you would be engaging steel plate targets from 200m out to 700 / 800m, with the occasional long range stage over the 1000m mark. Some dedicated long range events stretch this out further.

Your shooting position is usually built around using a prop or obstacle for support, and you might have to “build and break” several positions on the same prop or multiple props and engage a single target or multiple targets.

There are occasionally prone stages, which would usually be long range stages or stages with a complex order of fire. Some match directors do offer a more prone focused match, whereas others might be more heavy on the positional / prop side of things. Unsupported positional shooting is not very common, but can be expected.

Does this sound like a bit much? Don’t worry. At every match in New Zealand you will find that you will be put in a squad with experienced competitors who are happy to help you out, guide you through the day, and probably even lend you a bit of gear if you need it.

What is Field Shooting?

Field shooting is similar in ways to PRS-style matches, but has distinct differences and challenges different aspects of your shooting, gear management, admin and stage management. For an international comparison, it might be considered to be closer to the NRL Hunter series in the USA.

The Precision Rifle Series has largely developed using “flat ranges” or “square ranges”, with a perpendicular firing line, berms and often fixed target distances. This has lent itself to a lot of standardisation of types of props and stages you might encounter, including several “PRS Skills Stages”, which are the same at every match. Given the sheltered and somewhat artificial environment these kinds of ranges have, the sport has revolved around small targets and tight time limits.

Field matches often take advantage of natural terrain or props. Photo credit Dylan Ackley, featured shooter Kassie Phillips

Now, to be fair, not all PRS matches are like this, and depending on the geographical location in the USA, you might have a much more “field style” match. New Zealand matches are trying to emulate the US and Australian matches, but we are generally shooting on farms, not fixed ranges, so our PRS-style matches might favour the field shooting side of things overall.

So, what is field shooting? How is it different? Field shooting is based around the “practical” side of competitive shooting, rather than the “precision” side. Now, just as precision matches might have the occasional field flavour, the same is true in reverse, and depending on location and match director, you might find a lot of props, small targets and tight time frames.

When we say “practical”, we mean using shooting skills that are beneficial in practical scenarios. For most of us this means hunting or pest control. For our military and law enforcement friends, their skills might be deployed in a more “tactical” scenario when they’re on the job.

Loopholes and obscured targets are not uncommon, nor is unsupported positional shooting

In field shooting the target sizes and time limits are generally a bit more generous, but the shooting positions are often uncomfortable, improvised, unstable or offer limited visibility of the target(s). This forces you to think on your feet and approach each stage differently, developing a broad set of shooting skills. Precision matches, on the other hand, tend to offer stable props, familiar positions, and somewhat standardised courses of fire, which means you are focusing on a narrower set of skills, but you might become much more proficient at them over time.

There is a lot of crossover between these two styles of shooting, and you’ll often find the same competitors at both types of events. If you start investing in rifles and gear for one, you’ll be able to shoot the other as well. A lot of the same sills will translate across both sports equally well, such as focusing on your natural point of aim, building a solid position, squaring up to your rifle, etc.

If you’re keen on getting into this game, you will shoot in interesting conditions, see some gorgeous country, develop great friendships, and ultimately become a better shooter.

In the next article we’ll talk about how to find local matches and who to follow in NZ for updates on the sport and related content.

*Featured image credit: Gillice Practical Rifle Events*

Free Boyds gunstock this Christmas

So, it’s been an awesome year, both personally, and for The Gun Rack. Having recently started importing Boyds gunstocks, it’s been great to bring Kiwis (and the occasional Aussie) a product they haven’t been able to have for a long time (certainly not at a decent price, anyway).

To celebrate the end of an awesome year, I’m giving away one free stock to one of you lucky buggers. If you buy a stock in our next order, you will have a 1 in 10 chance of having the full cost of your stock refunded to you, including the GST and shipping costs.

Lots of pepper in this @boydsgunstocks order! #boyds #wood #gunstock #rifle #pewpewpew #accessorize #laminate

A post shared by The Gun Rack (@gunracknz) on

How will it work?

This is the last order for the year, and I already have 2 out of 10 spots filled (those 2 guys will qualify too). For the next 8 people who jump onto this order, simply:

  • Head on over to the Boyds website and find the stock and upgrade options you want
  • Send me an email with the stock details to get a quote
  • Place your order (this includes payment upfront, as usual)
  • Wait for your awesome stock to arrive, and hopefully for some cash to hit your bank account too!

If you want to read more about the ordering process, head over here, or email me. Unfortunately the stock won’t arrive before Christmas, as it takes a while to manufacture, ship, get through customs, courier, etc. However, if you are the lucky winner, you will get your money back as soon as the order is complete (which will hopefully be before Christmas!).

The winner will be chosen using a random draw method of some description. The decision will be random, and it will also be final (And no correspondence will be entered into, etc, etc,. Basically, I’m giving away something free, don’t be a douche if you don’t win).

Merry Christmas everyone, and thanks for being part of The Gun Rack community and our journey importing Boyds gunstocks into NZ (and AU). I’m hoping in the new year to be bringing in some other cool bits and pieces – will keep you updated on that.

PSNZ22 – Practical rimfire shooting event

Firstly, where the hell did March go? Between shooting events, reloading, work, and an overseas holiday, I can’t say there’s been very much time to write anything. However, I did make time to attend Precision Shooter’s inaugural PSNZ22 practical rimfire shooting event.

Remember that horrendous rain and flooding we had a few weeks ago? Yes, we were shooting in that. I have never shot in such wet and miserable conditions in my life – and it was great fun! Being RO for our detail of 6 also presented its own challenges in the rain (i.e. keeping scorecards dry – which didn’t happen).

The test shoot

I was lucky enough to be invited by Kerry Adams to the test shoot a month prior, where we shot the course and provided feedback for the competition proper. It couldn’t have been in more different conditions. I walked away dripping in sweat, and completely sun burnt, but having had a great time.

I shot the test shoot with my bolt action Norinco JW-15 in a Boyds Pro Varmint stock, topped with a 6.5-20 x 44mm Weaver 40/44. The stock was great, and I was glad I had a bipod, as I used this to lean on fences and obstacles (even when folded), which avoided damage to my rifle. I also used one leg folded out as a foregrip on the tank trap and barricade obstacles with great success.

Chris takes alternating left- and right-handed shots at the practice shoot, with the entire detail watching, Kerry videoing, and me taking photos. No pressure.
Chris takes alternating left- and right-handed shots at the practice shoot, with the entire detail watching, Kerry videoing, and me taking photos. No pressure.

The scope was an interesting choice – but the only one I had on hand at the time. The course was not designed for taking wind and dialing elevation – it was designed for holding over and snap decisions. With a duplex reticle and capped turrets, I was going to have a hard time.

So, what I did was sight in at the range  the day before at 75 metres, and figure out my drop to known ranges of 50, 75, 100 and 150 metres. I did this by firing a group at a target at the known distance, and then using the magnification to zoom in or out, until one of the posts lined up with the group. I then tested the holdover and it worked fine.

This was far from ideal as I shot 50 m targets at 20x and 150 m targets at 6.5x. The latter is fine, but shooting close targets at high magnification while moving around is pretty difficult.

If you have a FFP scope, or a reticle with drops that you know at each magnification setting, then a magnification range like this is not the worst idea.

The test shoot was a success, and we provided Kerry with our feedback, which we were happy to see was integrated into the final course. The feedback was around timing, clarity of course of fire, etc. In other words, exactly why you have a test run.


The day of the shoot we all came prepared with wet weather gear, wondering if it would be called off. Spoiler: it wasn’t.

Although it absolutely bucketed down, we never got to a point where it would have been unsafe to continue. The only thing the rain affected was how we carried and covered our equipment and rifles, and again, the score sheets got soaked, but each team came up with a way to keep track of their scores.

I was highly impressed with my equipment. I shot with a different set up this time around. I had an HK 416 D145RS .22LR, topped with a Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24mm with AR BDC reticle. The HK, manufactured under licence by Carl Walther, stood up to some serious abuse. I had only shot it once prior, which was the day before, when I tested ammo and sighted in. After chowing through 300 odd rounds of eight different types of rimfire ammo, I found CCI Standard to shoot very well and Winchester Target 22 shot almost as well. Hey, if the best ammo happens to be the cheapest one tested too, who am I to complain?

Both of the above brands shot less than an inch at 50 yards, off a bipod, with the butt stock unsupported. The CCI was closer to 0.8 inches.

The eight types of ammo tested in the HK 416 .22LR, with CCI standard coming in tops, and Stingers throwing the worst groups.
The eight types of ammo tested in the HK 416 .22LR, with CCI standard coming in tops, and Stingers throwing the worst groups.

I didn’t clean the rifle thoroughly after testing, but ran a bore snake through twice, with a few drops of Hoppes No. 9. Generally speaking I leave a rimfire rifle for 500 – 1000 rounds before cleaning the barrel (or as soon as I notice accuracy starting to drop off). However, with a brand new rifle I didn’t want to take the chance.

I missed my cold bore shot on the first target, which was extremely disappointing, as it was worth 5 normal shots. The gun walked on to target within 5 rounds as the match grade barrel liner leaded up nicely. I shouldn’t have run the damn boresnake through. The course was roughly 90 rounds over about 4 – 5 hours, and even though the rifle was exposed to pouring rain almost the entire time, it never jammed once. The blowback mechanism did a fine job, and the magazines held up well, feeding reliably, and remaining super easy to load, thanks to the tabs on the side which hold down the spring and follower.

The scope performed beautifully. The AR BDC reticle is designed primarily for .223 Rem ballistics, and lines up nicely with average loads. It’s also pretty good with a .308 as well. To use the .22LR I used the Vortex LRBC to enter the data for CCI Standard ammo.

I did a different reticle print out for each magnification setting, and confirmed these at the range the day before. For some shots I used the full 6x magnification, but for most I used the 4x, as with a zero at 50 metres, I had convenient holdovers at each hashmark that approximated 75, 100, 130 and 170 metres.

This scope was way easier to use, but again highlights the need to either know your magnification, ranges and subtensions, or use an FFP scope for field shooting.

The only equipment failure I had was when my rail-to-stud adapter crapped itself, and my bipod fell off on the tank trap stage. I was annoyed, but it didn’t slow me down too much, and really, the rest of the shoot went fine. I went into Serious Shooters the other day to get a replacement (turns out the hole in the stud was a bit low, and the radius on the stud a bit high/wonky). They sorted me out with another stud, so that’s all good for next time.

Thanks Auckland Isuzu for thinking of us poor shooters out there in the wet, and providing brollies to keep us dry (...ish). Image credit: Precision Shooter
Thanks Auckland Isuzu for thinking of us poor shooters out there in the wet, and providing brollies to keep us dry (…ish). Image credit: Precision Shooter

The course was innovative and challenging, and kept everyone moving along at a reasonable pace. Some of the running stages highlighted how unfit we were, while the fine wording of the Course of Fire was tested by some of the more competitively natured among us. The obstacles and shooting parameters were a good test of skill, as shown by the vast range in scores at the end of the day. My advice – slow down. Finishing a stage with 15 seconds to spare doesn’t mean squat if you miss 4 or 5 shots (yes, that was me…).

The wet weather slowed us down a bit, but we reached the end of the course eventually. I came in around the middle of the field, which I was okay with, with a new rifle and a different style of shooting. As the scores were being tallied, the prize draws began.

Ridgeline had already provided every single shooter with a pack of goodies, including bright orange blaze gear for the ROs. In addition to these packs, they provided some awesome prizes too. The real draw card of the day was a Lithgow LA101 Crossover, which was done as a random draw. After the main event, shooters raided the table for swag from Ridgeline, Auckland Isuzu and Gun City (including $50 vouchers – thanks!). The Gun Rack proudly supplied some ammo as a prize.

The top shooters on the day were Hennie, Shane and Simon Gillice, with a tied first place, and only one shot making the difference between tied first and coming in third. If I recall correctly, all placing shooters used a bolt action rifle (I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure!).

There were some pretty interesting rifles there on the day.
There were some pretty interesting rifles there on the day. Image credit: Precision Shooter

The day was a great success, and Kerry and the team who put it on deserve all the thanks and congratulations they received. It was an excellent time, ringing steel in the rain with inexpensive ammo and lots of good banter. The pub afterwards was full of stories from the day, as well as general shooting chatter and hunting stories, as you’d expect.

Hopefully the next one is not too far away, so keep an eye out on The Gearlocker website, and subscribe to their newsletter for regular updates!

Feature image credit: Precision Shooter

Eight Gun Competition

Just prior to Christmas I was lucky enough to get a call from a friend who told me he was helping out with an 8 gun competition shoot the following day, and would I be interested in entering.

I had no idea what an 8 gun shoot was exactly, but hearing there would be shooting out to about 800m involved, I was in! (Those sorts of distances don’t come up too often living in the city).

There was a reasonable entry fee, but I was also told I didn’t need to bring any ammo or guns as it was all covered in the entry fee. I was given directions to a private farm about an hour north of Auckland and told to arrive before 9am.

Ammo include, and trying out some new toys? Why wouldn't you?
Ammo included, and trying out some new toys? Why wouldn’t you?

Arriving bright and early in the morning I was guided by a person in Hi Viz to a carpark area and told someone would be along to collect me shortly, after a few introductions with others in the carpark area, we all jumped in various 4wds and were driven to the staging area.

Still not really knowing what I was in for, the organiser Shawn gathered us all around and explained we would all be given a scorecard to carry with us at all times, as we rotated through 8 shooting stations throughout the day and would be scored by the range officer at each station.

A good result after a great day of shooting.
A good result after a great day of shooting.

The stations were:

  • Shooting spinning targets at about 25m meters with a .22LR
  • Shooting a lever action .45 at falling steel plates
  • An AR15 chambered in .223 at a set of bowling pins
  • An AK-47 in 7.62×39 at a set of bowling pins
  • 20g shotgun with a series of flying clays
  • .300 Win Mag at 350m
  • .338 Lapua at a series of distances out to just shy of 800m, and;
  • A 50BMG with incendiary rounds at an engine block at 300m

Each shooting station had a “range officer” in Hi Viz who explained the course of fire, helped where required, and scored each shooter.

With some 30-odd competitors, experience was varied from people who had never shot before, to those with substantial experience. This event catered for all. Even the locals from neighbouring properties were invited along and it was great to see them coming over and showing their support for such a great event. Some of the young ones also got a chance to have a shoot with the smaller calibres under supervision.

After a great day’s shooting and meeting some like-minded people, we were invited back to the house for a BBQ and informal prize giving.

The only thing better after a great days shooting than a cold beer and a BBQ was the awesome trophy I managed to score, winning the event!

Over all it was a great day out, and I would highly recommend it to shooters of all levels.

If you’re interested in attending the next one (planned for March 2017), contact Shawn at or 021 180 3823 to register your interest.

Pretty cool trophy!
Pretty cool trophy!