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A collection of comments and articles on the many aspects of bullet casting by various cast bullet shooters
Cast Bullets For Beginner And Expert
SECOND EDITION, 2007 - Joe Brennan
Chapter 8.2 Introduction To Schuetzen Rifle Shooting

The Rifles

The Schuetzen Rifle shooters keep alive a German Schuetzen tradition going back to before the Civil War.

While this style of shooting started with muzzle loading caplock rifles, the rifles used today are the single shot cartridge rifles made from about 1865 to 1915; modern reproductions of those rifles, original German and Swiss schuetzen rifles and newly-designed rifles.

In competition only single shot non-bolt-action rifles are allowed. 

The original rifles include the Remington Rolling Block and Hepburn, Stevens 44 1/2 and 44, Ballard, Sharps original falling block and Borchardt, 1885 Winchester "Low Wall" and "High Wall"; and that wonderful triumph of engineering and rifle-makers skill-the Maynard.

Reproductions of most of these original rifles have been made in the past or are being made now, here in the USA or abroad. The Italian makers produce some quite nice rifles.

The original German schuetzen rifles are primarily rifles brought back to the USA by soldiers after the Second war. These are frequently elaborately carved and finished rifles with big stocks.

The Swiss rifles include the USA 1930 Hammerli 30/06 "Team Rifles" and other rifles of that general design.

Newly-designed rifles include the Ruger No. 1 or No. 3, Peregrine, Hoch, deHaas-Miller and New England Firearms/H&R rifles.

The deHaas-Miller action was designed by Frank deHaas, author of "Single Shot Rifles And Actions" and other books. The design was perfected and put into production by Dean Miller. The design and or tooling has now been sold to Dakota Arms. The deHaas-Miller actioned rifles own the benchrest single shot game today, 2006.

The New England Firearms/H&R rifles.are inexpensive but well made and very accurate modifications of an original single shot break open shotgun design. These guns are marvelous and allow shooters to get started in the single shot game without having to sell any cattle.

Cartridges start with the 32/40, the most popular chambering for the old-time rifles. Then there are the 38/55, 33/40, 28/30 and 25/20 to round out the most often seen original American cartridges. The German Schuetzen rifles are predominantly chambered for the 8.15 X 46R. Modern cartridges include the 32 Miller Short and it's brethren, small cartridge cases made from the 357 Magnum or Maximum.

Bullets are lead alloy with plain bases-no gas checks are allowed in competition.

The Associations

There are two national associations, the ASSRA = American Single Shot Rifle Association and the ISSA = International Single Shot Association. The ASSRA is sort of the eastern organization, with the home range at Etna Green/Warsaw Indiana. The ISSA is sort of the western organization, with the big-time matches held at the NRA Whittington Center range

 in Raton NM. The ISSA matches at Raton are a continuation of the Coors matches held in Golden, Colorado starting in 1982.

The Wyoming Scheutzen Union (WSU) is another association that centers more on black powder and traditional rifles.

There are also many local associations such as the Western New York Schuetzen Society and the Massachusetts Schuetzen Society, founded by Don Spalding as I watched.

The Matches

Matches vary from range to range, association to association. There are offhand = standing up matches and benchrest matches, shot at 200 yards or 100 yards or 50 or 25 yards for rimfire rifles,one or three or five or ten or twenty or one hundred shots, re-entry = buy another target and try again, and again, and again; or single entry. Some shooters take hours to shoot one five or ten shot target-waiting out the conditions.

There are centerfire and rimfire matches, cross sticks with a buffalo rifle matches, matches where you shoot at a lovely wooden eagle target. You name it, somewhere they shoot it.

There was a guy at the Fairfax club who shot 200 yard 22 rimfire groups that were truly amazing.

The local associations run matches as they see fit. The Florida matches have only one re-entry; best-of-two-targets-count.

Offhand and benchrest-for-score matches are shot on the German Ring Target-see the picture courtesy of  Chris Jens. The 200 yard version of this target has a 25 ring 1.5" in diameter. The 24 ring is 3" diameter, 23 ring 4.5" diameter, and so on. Offhand and benchrest-for-score targets for other ranges are scaled proportionately. There are targets printed in black, others in red-the red makes it easier to see the holes. Either black or red, the German Ring Target is very "busy", with lots of numbers printed on it.

The ASSRA matches are pretty laid back. Shooters come early to a typical Saturday and Sunday match, stake a claim to a bench, set up their equipment, and begin to schmooze. There's a lot of talking and visiting and buying and selling going on. Most of the shooters are older guys who shoot bench rest only-offhand shooters are in the minority. Many shooters will work on a few re-entry matches for the two days, paying for and shooting a lot of targets; waiting for the magic to happen.

There's little or no pressure, plenty of help if you need it (or even if you don't), and more advice than you can imagine.

The visiting adviser often starts the conversation with: I see that you are using the thus-and-such rifle (or sight or powder or bullet or bench rest or primer or shoes or...). I suppose that it is possible to shoot well with the thus-and-such, however nobody has ever done so to my knowledge.

This is intended to boost your confidence and make you comfortable at the match.

I don't know how the ISSA matches work, but suspect that they are a bit more formal. Assigned benches/positions, certain matches starting at a certain time, and so on. That's how it was at Coors in 1983 and 1984.

I'm sure that there's plenty of advice available at the ISSA matches.

Go to a match and you will be welcomed and made to feel at home. You'll like it.

 

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Warning: All technical data mentioned, especially handloading and bullet casting, reflect the limited experience of individuals using specific tools, products, equipment and components under specific conditions and circumstances not necessarily reported in the article or on this web site and over which The Los Angeles Silhouette Club (LASC), this web site or the author has no control. The above has no control over the condition of your firearms or your methods, components, tools, techniques or circumstances and disclaims all and any responsibility for any person using any data mentioned.

Always consult recognized reloading manuals.

 

The Los Angeles Handgun, Rifle, Air Pistol, Hunter/Field Pistol Silhouette Club