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Across the Course Shooting

Hello Fellow Shooters,

I sometimes talk to shooters about “across the course” shooting and I take for granted that everybody know what this type of shooting is. I was asked to write a few lines and give those of you not familiar with it a crash course in “across the course” shooting.

Other names for “across the course” shooting are NRA High Power, National Match course, and Regional match course.

Conventional High Power is a match as follows:

1st course of fire - 200 yards offhand or standing with 2 sighters and 20 shots for record. Single shot loading is utilized. Time allowed is 22 minutes. Total points possible are 200-20X.

2nd course of fire - 200 yard rapid fire sitting with 2 sighters and 2 separate strings of 10 shots. Time allowed is 60 seconds for each 10 shot string. Fired from the sitting position. There are a total of 20 rounds shot for record. Match rifles load 5 rounds and require a reload of 5 rounds in each string. Service Rifles are loaded with 2 rounds in the first magazine and require a magazine change with 8 rounds in the second magazine. Total points possible are 200-20X. Scores are presented to the shooter after each string of 10.

3rd course of fire - 300 yards rapid prone with 2 sighters and 20 shots for record (2 strings of 10). You are allowed 70 seconds for each 10-shot string. This course is shot from the prone position but the procedures are the same as in rapid sitting. Again, total points possible are 200-20X.
(There was a rule change last year that allows you to remain in position after your sighter shots – you used to have to return to a standing position prior to the start of rapid fire.

4th course of fire - 600 yards slow fire prone with 2 sighters and 20 rounds for record. Time allowed is 22 minutes with 200-20X maximum total points. Scoring and shot location is done after each shot.

This type of shooting is done at rifle ranges which have target carriers that allow the target to be raised and lowered by other shooters protected behind a berm (referred to as the “pits”). During slow fire courses the targets are lowered, scored with shot position marked, and raised after each shot. The same procedure is provided for sighters. During rapid fire courses the target is raised to start the time and then pulled or lowered at the completion of the allowed time period. Scores are sent up after each string.

Many ranges around the country may not have a 600 yard range and may only have a 100 or maximum of 200 yards. Reduced targets are used on these ranges with the aiming black and scoring rings reduced in size proportionally for the 200, 300,& 600 yard courses of fire. This compensates for the reduction in firing distance.

Another part of High Power Competitions can include Mid-Range Prone matches.

These can be shot at 300 yards, 500 yards, & 600 yards. The matches are 2 sighters and 15 rounds for record in 17 min or 2 sighters and 20 shots for record in 22 min. All of these matches are shot from the prone position using iron sights. Some ranges will hold 3 matches that are all at 600 yards and open the field to allow F-Class shooters to participate.

I hope this helps other shooters understand “across the course” or High Power competition if they weren’t already familiar with it. This is a very simplistic explantation. If you want more information, I recommend you get a copy of the NRA Rule Book that explains all the rules including the courses of fire, scoring, and firearm requirements. It also explains the different classifications that shooters hold – Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, Master, and High Master.

I originally began High Power with the hopes it would help me shoot better in the field. I enjoy varmint and big game hunting and learning to shoot from different positions was a big help.

Ron Dague

Reloading Technician
Sinclair International