Take your precision rifle training to a new level scaling down to a precision rimfire.
Rimfire trainers are all the rage right now. A lot of people are buzzing about the growth of precision rifle shooting, not only in the United States, but also overseas. We see a lot of precision rifle-based series expand around the globe. However, none has the impact of the National Rifle League NRL22.
Not too long ago, elements within the Precision Rifle Series broke off and created the National Rifle League (NRL). This division was seen as a West Coast series. One of the first things the series did to separate itself was to add a .22 league—the NRL22. This series flourished immediately and spread across the country.
Shortly after, Vudu .22 rifles started to hit the market. These rimfire rifles mimic our centerfire counterparts. A Vudu .22 will fit into a Remington 700 footprint chassis system or stock and will accept Accuracy International AICS-style magazines, which were adapted to hold .22s. It was groundbreaking for the precision rifle community: We could practice and scale our .22 trainers to operate the same way as our full-sized guns.
As far as competition goes, you only need a single 100-yard bay to host an NRL22 event. Most precision rifle events take up a lot of space. This is not an NRA range with paper targets; rather, it’s a more practical type of competition shot across a vast landscape. With a rimfire, whole families can enjoy the sport of precision rifle shooting without going out of their way.
Today, one-day matches can be found in just about every state. They’re inexpensive to shoot. The course of fire is announced ahead of time, and the NRL supports these matches across the United States. We even see .22 ELR (extended long-range) events, during which shots are taken to 400 yards with a subsonic .22 round.
To highlight the benefits, the community has created scale factors to replicate long-range shooting with a shorter range. My 6.5 Creedmoor uses 7.2 Mils here, in Colorado, to hit a 1,000-yard target. My Vudu .22 takes 7.2 Mils to impact a 200-yard target, and the wind drift is very similar. It’s an excellent way to practice without spending over a $1 for a single bullet.
For me, the most significant benefit is the ability to invite children into the sport. Shooting sports without a defined path for growth will not survive. Children are the future, so it makes perfect sense to include rifles such as the Ruger 10/22 in the equation. Throw on a Victor Company 10/22 Stock upgrade, and you have a similar feel to a modern tactical stock. There are also some accuracy benefits because of the ability to adjust the action within the Victor Company stock (a fine-tuning adjustment in the rear tang area).
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We know there’s a lot of cheap—or, should I say, inexpensive—rimfire ammunition on the market. For the higher-level competitions, I suggest sticking with quality subsonic variants. Lapua, SK and Prime are the kings of the sport. Subsonic ammunition works wonderfully out to distance.
The design of the .22 bullet doesn’t allow for a good transition from supersonic to subsonic. Because of this, you need to keep them moving at subsonic speeds. A subsonic .22 is accurate beyond 200 yards.
Don’t Skimp on the Scope
We use our expensive scopes for these rifles. I’ve mounted an EOTech Vudu 5-25x optic on my Vudu .22.
Why so much optic? Well, we need the elevation. Because we’re scaled-down inside 100 yards, you need a scope that acts as if it’s shooting at 1,000 yards. Shooters are investing as much with their rimfires as they are with their full-sized precision rifle rigs … but don’t let that fool you either. You want magnification, because a lot of the targets are small. We also need to focus in close with scopes that can manage 10 yards. With higher-magnification scopes, you can power down and focus in on the target. A fine reticle is a big plus too.
A Plethora of Match Positions
You don’t shoot prone for many of these matches; you shoot a variety of off-hand positions that mimic an actual PRS/NRL event stage.
Practice is key to understanding the positions employed: You might shoot off a ladder for one stage and a plastic barrel for another (it’s a carnival-like atmosphere and a ton of fun!). My “Everyday Sniper” podcast co-host, Mike, recently shot a local 250-yard .22 match not very far from downtown Denver. He claimed it was one of the most fun events he has shot in a long time.
Having a creative match director helps: One of the props used was a target on a spring. Once hit, it bounced around like crazy and had to be hit multiple times. It’s a .22 a bunch of fun; there’s no downside.
If you’ve watched the videos, read the articles and thought, Wow, these precision rifle guys have a ton of fun but spend way too much money! I won’t fault you in that observation. We do, indeed, spend a lot of money.
But the growth and expansion of the rimfire industry have changed all that. So, if you want to bond with your children and still enjoy the sport of shooting, get a rimfire. Several companies are now following Vudu’s lead in offering a semi-custom version that uses the same stocks as any other rifle.
And there goes every excuse, right out the window. Get out and shoot!
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
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