As someone who has been shooting and hunting for many years, one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon is heading out to our local gun range and getting in some practice with my rifle or handgun. More often than not, if my husband accompanies me, our competitive streaks come out and we end up seeing who can shoot the most accurately on that day. While it’s all in good fun, this underlying desire to challenge oneself to be the best shooter can also be carried over into more structured competitions.
Sponsored by Volquartsen Firearms
I’ve watched competition shooting matches with fascination over the years, but I’ve always been intimidated by the skill level, complex rules and seeming expense of this side of the firearms world. I was recently given the opportunity to spend time shooting the Volquartsen Scorpion .22 LR pistol, and it was an amazing experience. The accuracy and craftsmanship of the gun is superb, and I wasn’t at all surprised to discover that it is used by several members of Team Volquartsen in competitions across the country.
If you are also intimidated by firearm events, one type that can be a great segue into competitive shooting is the Rimfire Challenge, which is a series of matches hosted throughout the year. There is no age minimum at these matches, and families are encouraged to come and compete together. Both rifle and pistol chambered in .22 LR are the only firearms allowed, and steel targets of various shapes and sizes offer immediate feedback in a fun manner. These matches offer anyone the opportunity to try out competitive shooting without breaking the bank, as the entry fees are much lower than other events and no specialized equipment is required.
Rimfire matches were originally created by Ken Jorgensen, Michael Bane and the late Nelson Dymond and known as the Ruger Rimfire Challenge. In 2014, the National Shooting Sports Foundation took over the program and renamed it the NSSF Rimfire Challenge. Beginning in January of 2018, the program transitioned to being overseen by the Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association (RCSA). This year’s Rimfire Challenge World Championship was held in Cross Timbers, Missouri, on October 5 to 7 at the Lucas Oil Range.
I reached out to Julie Golob, multi-time world and national shooting champion and fellow Women’s Outdoor News contributor, about her experience with Rimfire Challenge matches. Julie shot her first Rimfire Challenge match at the World Championship with her daughter in 2017 in Alabama. They competed together again this year in Missouri.
“I brought my daughter with me and we shot the pistol portion only. That means we didn’t technically finish the match, but at 9-years old, my little one wasn’t comfortable or strong enough to shoot rifle. We had such an amazing time at that match hosted by Cavern Cove in Alabama that we both decided to come back again next year, and my daughter wanted to be sure to work at rifle so she could compete in the whole event. To put that into perspective, it could have gone the other way. She could have shot pistol and not come back, but she made fast friends and was so inspired she made it a point to step outside her comfort zone.”
I asked Julie what it was that drew her and her daughter back to this year’s competition.
“Most of all, we both loved how much fun it was shooting with so many families. I shoot so many competitions and sports, but this sport is one that has the most kids and families shooting together. I just love that.”
Seeing a mom-and-daughter combo competing together is an incredible representation of the growth of the female demographic within the shooting sports. To see one generation teaching and encouraging the next generation of young girls is inspiring.
While the World Championship event may be becoming more competitive, there are numerous opportunities at the state and local level to try your hand at a Rimfire Challenge match. Julie sums it up perfectly when she says, “I think the real magic of Rimfire Challenge lies at the club level and state or regional events – the best blend of experience, safe shooting and competition make this truly a wonderful, fun sport for families. I highly recommend it to those who want to enjoy a shooting sport to improve their shooting, confidence and find a way to connect with some truly wonderful people.”
Ashlee Lundvall writes a blog titled "Redefining Life," sponsored by Mace Brand, that follows her rise from a debilitating injury as a teenager to Ms. Wheelchair USA in 2013. Her first book, "A Redefined Life," was released in February of 2016, and she was recently invited to join the National Pro Staff for Mossy Oak and the NRA’s Disabled Shooting Sports committee. Ashlee is also the recipient of the 2017 SCI Foundation Pathfinder Award. Ashlee truly shines as a keynote speaker at outdoor industry and disability related events and conferences. She is passionate about mentoring newly injured patients, and loves to pass on her love for adapted outdoor recreation! View all posts by Ashlee Lundvall