NRA High Power Courses of Fire

In this installment in our series of posts introducing NRA High Power competition, we discuss courses of fire, specifically those shot at Palomino Valley Gun Club.

The three most common questions we receive from shooters before their first match are:

  • what distances are we shooting at?
  • how much ammo do I need?
  • how long will the match take?

These questions and more are answered by the course of fire for the match. A course of fire describes:

  • the distances that will be show from
  • how many shots will be recorded for score
  • how many sighters the shooter may take
  • the manner in which shots are made
  • whether or not coaching is allowed
  • how long the shooter has to complete their record and sighting shots

Each type of NRA High Power match is slightly different, but all are described by these criteria. Here at Palomino Valley Gun Club, we only shoot two types of High Power matches – Mid-range prone (section 7.20) and Long Range prone (section 7.17).

600 Yard Mid-range Prone Matches

  • Preparation Period: 3 minutes
  • Sighers: 2 sighting shots
  • Record Shots: 20
  • Time Limit: 22 minutes
  • Firing type: prone, slow fire, string
  • Total Strings: 3
  • Coaching: not allowed

Translated into english, this means that the shooter will take up to 2 sighting shots followed by 20 shots for score in a time limit of 22 minutes. All shooting is done from the ground in the prone position in slow fire string sequence. Slow fire string means that you take one shot at a time with each shot being marked and scored. This sequence is repeated 3 times for a total of 60 shots for score, but don’t worry! You won’t shoot 3 strings consecutively! All shooters take turns shooting, scoring other shooters and marking targets which gives you a break between shooting. Coaching refers to someone helping the shooter while taking sighting shots. Coaching is never allowed during record shots. Preparation period is the time you have before shooting begins to prepare yourself and your equipment. You are allowed to handle your rifle during the preparation period.

1000 Yard Long Matches

  • Preparation Period: 3 minutes
  • Sighers: unlimited sighting shots or 2 sighting shots (see match program)
  • Record Shots: 20
  • Time Limit: 30 minutes
  • Firing type: prone, slow fire, string
  • Total Strings: 3
  • Coaching: allowed if unlimited sighters are allowed, not allowed if only 2 sighters allowed

Long range matches are virtually identical to mid-range matches, the difference being the distance, the time limit, the number of sighting shots allowed, and whether coaching is allowed.

Finally, we’re now able to answer the questions: how much ammo do you need and how long will the match take?

For both mid-range and long range matches you need a minimum of 66 rounds, however, bring 70 to 80 to be on the safe side. Depending on the conditions, you may need to take as many as 10 or more sighting shots (if unlimited sighters allowed) or unusual circumstances may arise in which the shooter is allowed to take additional sighting shots in the middle of a string.

Depending on the number of shooters at the match and how quickly pit to line changeovers take, mid-range and long range matches are generally start at 8:30 AM and finish by 2:00 PM.