An Introduction to Full-Bore Rifle Shooting for Prospective New Members

Darwin Rifle Club Introductory Sessions to Full Bore Shooting

The Darwin Rifle Club conducts a three-week introduction to full bore rifle shooting course twice a year, generally around April and August.

Since the second half of 2020 we have trialed a new format.

The introduction sessions are conducted for four Sundays at the 300m range then those who want to continue are integrated into the Saturday afternoon competition which increases in distance by 100m each week until we reach 900m. The Sunday sessions commence at 9:00 am and are split into groups of 12-15 persons to  eliminate long waiting times. During these sessions, those who intend to continue and become club members are helped to obtain their firearm licence which is a requirement to becoming a member.

Targe rifle shooting is a precision outdoor activity which is challenging, competitive and recreational. Rifle shooting is a sport for both men and women of all ages.

equipment and safety demonstration for prospective members

By taking part in these lessons, it is presumed that you are interested in learning more about target rifle shooting as a sport.  The purpose is to broaden the awareness of full-bore rifle shooting through the provision of training in a relaxed, friendly environment for persons of variable capacities who have no knowledge or skills in the sport.

What is Full-Bore Rifle Shooting?

A variety of rifles and sighting systems may be used in competition.  The Standard Rifle is as defined in "Standard Shooting Rules".  It is a centre-fire rifle capable of safely firing one of the following cartridges: .308" Winchester; 7.62mm NATO; 5.56mm NATO; or, .223" Remington.  There are rigid restrictions on the weight of projectiles that may be used. 

Standard Rifle competitions require the use of iron peep sights or telescopic sights, although there are provisions for in-built lenses (in the iron sights) designed to correct an eyesight problem or to enlarge the sight picture using a system known as an "Eagle Eye".

In the discipline as TR (Target Rifle) each shot is taken from a prone position (unless disabled or incapacitated), shooting off the elbows, using only a sling and adjustable shooting jacket for support and padded shooting mat for comfort.   Darwin Rifle Club members participating in this discipline are graded in A, B and C categories.

The F Class category is based on the same standard centre fire rifles used in TR but other calibres up to 8mm are also allowed in the F-Class Open discipline. Telescopic sights are typically used in all F-Class disciplines with equipment weight restrictions in all disciplines. These disciplines allow the use of supports, such as sandbags, bipods, and portable stands but there are restrictions with these as well.

There is also (as of 2022) a further discipline which has been introduced  called Sporter Class. This class is for firearms which are bulk produced and can be purchased off the shelf. This discipline uses a bipod on the front end of the firearm for support, uses telescopic sights but does have restrictions with barrel length and weight. All calibres up to 8mm may be used. Muzzel brakes are also allowed with restrictions.

Australian Outback (Sierra) factory ammunition is available for Standard Rifle competition.  Many competitors choose to hand load their ammunition, principally to achieve cost savings. 

Standard Rifle  and F Class competitions are typically fired over distances ranging from 300 metres to 900 metres.  To score a central bullseye the shooter must judge the wind strength and direction, aim, and release the trigger without moving the rifle more than 0.254 mm (1/100th of an inch).

Is it Safe?

Contrary to popular belief, rifle shooting is one of the safest sports available; injuries are virtually unheard of.  Whilst a firearm used improperly can be a dangerous weapon, safety is a paramount consideration of the rifle range.  Participating in organised shooting is undoubtedly the best way to learn firearms safety.

Shooting is carried out under strict safety conditions and in accordance with a prescribed code called the "Standard Shooting Rules".  You will be instructed in the safe handling of firearms. 

taking a shot

What is the Challenge?

Most sports have a number of innate qualities that attract participants.  The desire to compete, mastery of a challenge, companionship.  Likewise with rifle shooting.  Full-Bore however offers a deeper level of involvement.  Those with a practical or mechanical bent may find an extra challenge in the maintenance and tuning of equipment, while the scientific mind may prefer experimentation and analysis of technique and psychology.  Indeed the self control and discipline required to become a marksmen differentiates Full-Bore from most other sports.  An adrenaline surge or an attach of self doubt at the wrong time can be costly!  Rifle shooting is also non-adversarial, you compete against yourself.  There is nothing you can do to influence the performance of another shooter.

Tuition, practice and dedication are required to reach a high level of proficiency.

In long distance shooting the wind, mirage and distance affect the path of the bullet to varying degrees.  This presents additional skills to be learnt so the shooter can adjust the sights to compensate for these variables.

Who Can Compete?

Rifle shooting is one of the few sports where people can compete on an even basis regardless of age, sex, fitness, or physical disability.  In open competition, shooters are graded only on ability.  In State and National teams or individual events women compete alongside men, teenagers alongside octogenarians, and perfect physical specimens alongside those who have had triple cardiac bypass surgery.  Target rifle shooting is enjoyed by both men and women from the age of 12 to some who are in their eighties.

What are my Opportunities to Compete?

Full-bore is a sport of the Commonwealth Games.  There is a gradual representative path that extends through Club and District teams, to State and National levels.

The pinnacle of the rifle shooting movement is to win a Kings Prize Competition (previously Queens Prize).  The Kings Prize is the title of various state and international events, which are held on an annual basis.  The Darwin Rifle Club is proud to have achieved three Queens Prize winners.

Full-Bore caters for individuals and teams events for open, juniors, women and veterans competitions. Competitions are open and are conducted under a grading or divisional system so that all may compete. All participants of the Darwin Rifle Club introduction to Full-Bore lessons are automatically graded into the C Grade category of the club.

The Darwin Rifle Club currently has members competing in all disciplines.  The Darwin Rifle Club has equipment available to new shooters who are interested in pursuing the sport through any discipline.

Can I become a member of the Darwin Rifle Club without having my own equipment?

Darwin Rifle Club rifles are available to new shooters, together with expert tuition from existing longstanding club members.  The calibres are 7.62mm (.308) and 5.56mm (.223).  Rifle makes are numerous using bolt actions with target quality barrels fitted with suitable sights for each discipline.  Ammunition used is the .308 Australian Outback with 155 grain Sierra projectiles. At present the cost for a bag of 24 rounds is $43.. A $5 equipment hire fee and a range fee of $5 may also be charged.

f-class instruction

What is next?

To take part in the introductory sessions, participants will be required to pay $25 per week(subject to change)  initially for the four week course, which covers range fees and ammunition used.  The club will provide all equipment for the duration.

Topics covered over the coming weeks will include safety, technique, elements (including wind and mirage), marking, scoring and rifle cleaning.  Please feel free to ask any of our volunteer club members questions at any time.

Post shoot everyone is invited back to the clubhouse for lunch to enjoy a sausage sizzle, drinks and a chat about the days activities.  A nominal fee of $1 per sausage and $1.50 for softdrinks apply.

If you decide that you would like to participate in the sport, we would ask that you become a club member and commence participating in our weekly club shoots.

The Darwin Rifle Club meets every Saturday from 1p.m. and competes at various ranges expanding from 300 metres to 900 metres, however the range actually extends to as far as 1100 meters.

Membership of the club costs $140 annual subscription and includes affiliated memberships of the Northern Territory Rifle Association as well as the National Rifle Association of Australia.

The club would be happy to provide equipment to you in the interim of you obtaining your own.  In the past the club has assisted many new shooters in obtaining their own equipment at an affordable price.

Whilst attending the range for the coming weeks, we ask you to consider becoming a member of our club.  The Darwin Rifle Club is a successful club, which promotes a meeting place for fulfilment and enjoyment to members of the sport.

Should you need to contact me away from the range, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Welcome and enjoy!