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Small Bore Metallic Silhouette

About the Game

A silhouette is a steel profile of an animal (chicken, pig, turkey, or ram) The object of the game is to knock as many silhouettes as possible off their stands, shooting one round at each silhouette. 
It is a very simple competition, with very simple scoring: You get a 1 for knocking an animal off its stand, a 0 for anything else. Although silhouette is an easy game to learn, it is not an easy game to master. The animals are small and the distances large. You must shoot offhand (standing) without a sling and a moderate breeze can move a bullet the width of an animal. Your concentration and physical "fatigue" become more difficult to hold as you knock down five in a row, six, .... These factors make silhouette an endless challenge.


For smallbore silhouette, you can use most any .22 rifle and standard velocity ammunition. (High velocity ammunition is prohibited because it can damage the targets.) In practice, most people shoot bolt-action rifles with scopes of 16-24 power. However, there is no reason you should not come out with your semi-automatic and 8-power scope, or even iron sights if you can holdover at four different ranges. You'll see how much fun the game is, what the people are like, and what rifles and scopes the veteran shooters are using. If you ask politely, you'll probably be able to shoot any rifle that's there.

To get a little more technical, there are two smallbore rifle classes (for details, buy a copy of the NRA Rifle Silhouette Rules from the NRA):


Hunter class: A hunting-style rifle, maximum weight 8-1/2 lbs. including scope and empty magazine, minimum trigger pull 2 lbs. Popular choices include (in order of increasing price) NS-522, CZ 452, Sako Finnfire, Anschutz 1710D, plus all sorts of Rugers, Savages, Remingtons, Winchesters, Kimbers, etc.

Silhouette class: Typically a purpose-built silhouette rifle, maximum weight 10 lbs. 2 oz. including scope and empty magazine. The most popular choices are Anschutz 54.18 MSR (metallic silhouette repeater) and custom rifles built on Anschutz or Remington actions.


Other Gear

  • You must wear eye and ear protection. Here are some additional items you may find useful:

  • Pen or pencil and 6" x 9" clipboard: for scoring

  • Countdown timer: to see how much of the 2-1/2 minute shooting period remains

  • Three or four magazines: so you don't have to reload between banks

  • Shooting vest: the one article of special clothing permitted by the rules; the pockets are handy for holding your gear

  • Hiking boots: provide a stable and comfortable platform

Getting Ready
If you want to have a good time at your first silhouette match, you should do two things in advance:

  1. Find out which ammunition your rifle shoots most accurately and is consistent with your budget.

  2. Establish your scope elevation and focus settings for the silhouette distances:


Smallbore: 40, 60, 77, 100 meters


Shooting Offhand
Silhouette is shot from the offhand position. This means that you shoot standing and you support the rifle entirely with your body. No part of your body except your feet can touch anything.  Silhouette's roots are in hunting, and becoming a better silhouette shooter can make you shoot better in the field as well.

Currently the Silhouette section @ Courtenay and District Fish and Game is looking for more interested members as we build this fun sport. To get on the mailing list to receive information about upcoming matches or to answer any questions that you have, please email

Many members shoot the matches at the different clubs on Vancouver Island. Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association runs a small bore match each month and Port Alberni Fish and Game Club runs both large bore and small bore matches. There is also a Facebook Group and Island Silhouette mailing list that lets folks know when all the matches are each month. 


Small Bore Silhouette Vancouver Island
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