Following heavy losses to enemy sniper fire during the second Boer war. The call went out for British civilians to learn to shoot to defend their country should the need ever arise.

At that time, there were few rifle ranges in the UK and the costs of traveling and large caliber ammunition meant few could realistically afford to shoot on a regular basis. Smaller caliber .22 'miniature' rifles, were far more readily available and the ammunition much cheaper. 'The Society of Working Mens Rifle Clubs' was born. With the name subsequently changed to 'The Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs' and finally to the 'National Smallbore Rifle Association' or NSRA as we know and love it today.

Smallbore rifle shooting using the .22 Long Rifle caliber bullet is now an Olympic event and is shot in many different forms. For the purposes of this article, I shall concentrate only on the disciplines available to Watford & District Rifle Club.

At WDRC we shoot Smallbore rifle in the 'prone' position, that is lying down on your front, holding the rifle in your hands with the elbows on the floor. This is much the position that you might imagine a sniper to use. We shoot at three different ranges 25yds, 50mtrs and 100yds.


Safety is by far the most importantly aspect of any kind of shooting and certain rules must be observed at all times. Although Smallbore rifles do not have nearly as much power as their Fullbore cousins, they are still deadly and have a range of over a mile.

There are obviously many other rules pertaining to safety that individual clubs may enforce in their own way.


Although they differ in size for the different ranges, all targets are black circles with white lines depicting the different scoring rings. The piece of paper with the target printed on it is known as a 'card'. The actual black circle is known an aiming mark or more correctly a 'diagram'.

At 25yds, the card has ten diagrams and with the score normally being out of 100, the competitor will fire one shot on each diagram.

At 50mtrs, the score is normally out of 200. Each card has two diagrams and the competitor fires five shots on each diagram of two cards.

At 100yds, the score is also normally out of 200. In this case each card has only one diagram at which 10 shots are fired on each of two cards