High power rifle

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Shooting in standing position at 500 yards (457.2 meters) at the 2006 Fleet Forces Command (Pacific) Rifle and Pistol Championships, where U.S. Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians competed in team and individual divisions during an annual marksmanship competition.

High Power Rifle, also called XTC from "Across the Course",[citation needed] is a shooting sport using fullbore target rifles which is arranged in the United States by the National Rifle Association of America.[1] The sport is divided into classes by equipment, and popular types of matches include Service Rifle (a service firearm competition), Open, Axis and Allies and metallic silhouette.[citation needed] The term High Power Rifle sometimes also includes the international shooting disciplines of Palma and F-Class by the International Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations (ICFRA) which are represented by the NRA in the United States.

Match format[edit]

The standard course of fire for a service rifle match has four (4) individual stages that comprise an aggregate match:

  1. Stage 1: Slow fire (10 shots in 10 minutes), standing at 200 yards
  2. Stage 2: Rapid fire (10 shots in 60 seconds with reload), sitting or kneeling, at 200 yards
  3. Stage 3: Rapid fire (10 shots in 70 seconds with reload), prone, at 300 yards
  4. Stage 4: Slow fire (20 shots in 20 minutes), prone, at 600 yards


Scoring combines from a total aggregate of 50 shots worth 500 points. In addition to points, "X" counts are also used to rank shooters in a match. In the center of each target (within the ten ring) is an "X" ring. If a competitor shoots within this ring they receive the ten points for shooting a ten, but also receive an additional "X" which serves as a tie breaker, if needed. For example, if one competitor ends a match with 487-14X (meaning 487 points with 14 X's) and another shooter ends with 487-20X, then the one that shot 20 X's will finish ahead of the one which only shot 14 X's.

Equipment classes[edit]

Service Rifle[edit]

In service rifle matches, a competitor may only use an M1 Garand style rifle, an M1A (M14) style rifle, an SR-25 (M110) style rifle, or an AR-15 (M16) style rifle. A post front sight is required for the service rifle category.

Starting in 2009, Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Matches also require a shooter to begin in the standing position before moving into the sitting, kneeling, or prone positions to start their rapid fire. NRA competitions do not require a competitor to begin in the standing position.

In the 2016 revision of the Civilian Marksmanship Program's "Competition Rules for Service Rifle and Pistol", use of a magnification optic has been authorized, intended to represent the use of the Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) on today's M-16 and M-4 service rifles. Magnified optics are limited to a maximum 4.5x power, and can be of the fixed magnification or variable-zoom type. These optics will also be allowed during the National Matches, hosted in Camp Perry, Ohio. Use of collapsible buttstocks has also been allowed in the 2016 revision.


In addition to service rifle matches, there are also other types of matches that are typically included in High Power Rifle shooting. In so-called open matches, almost any rifle may be used, including civilian hunting rifles as well as foreign military rifles.

Axis and Allies[edit]

A U.S. M1 Garand, a Soviet PPsh-41 and a German Sturmgewehr 44.

Another style of popular matches is called Axis and Allies. Such matches permit both US service rifles as well as foreign military rifles (e.g., Lee–Enfield, Dragunov, SKS, Arisaka, etc.). These matches are governed by rules and scoring methods that are very similar to U.S. service rifle matches.


M1 Garand rifle

Traditional High Power Rifle shooting is most commonly done using a rifle with a military web or leather sling attached, with the shooter using a shooting mat, wearing a shooting jacket, and using a specialized glove that is worn on the support hand. The shooting is done at fixed, specific distances from the target line. Both loop slings, affixed at only the front end of the rifle stock, as well as hasty-slings, affixed at both the front and rear of the rifle stock, are also often used.

Some High Power Rifle matches are shot only at 200 yards, such as sometimes seen during specific M1 Garand matches, and Axis and Allies matches, although they are still shot from various positions (standing, sitting/kneeling, prone).


An F-Class Standard rifle with a scope and bipod.

Those matches involving F-Class shooting add additional options, permitting use of a bipod, as well as joystick-equipped rests similar to those used in bench rest shooting.


Popular calibers often seen in High Power Rifle matches include 5.56 (.223), as well as various 30 caliber rounds (.30-06, .308, .303 British, 7.62×39mm, 7.62×54mmR, etc.) In F-Class shooting, calibers even up to .35 are permitted.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]