Continuing with standard, or “classifier”, courses of fire for the rifle, I present to you Rifle Ten. This is another one of the Colonel’s concoctions for his 270 Rifle course, which is the gold standard of rifle training (or so I hear, never having had the opportunity to attend).
While the Rifle Bounce is short, simple, and mostly about field marksmanship, Rifle Ten brings a more physical component to the table. For Rifle Ten a single IPSC “Option” target was placed at the target line. Firing points were designated at 200, 225, 250, 275, and 300 yards. The shooter began from “clear” (there was no elaboration on what that meant exactly) of the 300 yard firing point, and at the signal moved to the 300 yard firing point. Two rounds were fired from the 300, then the shooter moved to the 275 yard firing position and fired two more rounds at the target. The shooter advanced to the 250 and fired two more rounds. The shooter moved to 225, where a two foot high obstruction kept him from shooting from prone, and he fired two rounds. He moved to 200, where a 3 foot obstruction forced him to use the standing position.
A similar problem arises as with the Rifle Bounce; the target is not readily available. In this case it is obsolete. What is quite interesting about the original IPSC targetsis that one of them, the “Item” target, essentially turned out to be the current USPSA “Metric” target. The “Option” target is very similar to the Official IDPA target.
I happened to have one used IDPA target in my vast target inventory. The “A” zone on the IDPA target is approximately 1.8” smaller than the dimensions listed for the “Option” target, but all of the modern technology that has come along in the way of precision and optical superiority since that target was used should make up for that now shouldn’t it?
One other minor clarification that needs to be made is the starting position, since the single word “clear” doesn’t lend itself to consistent execution. Let’s define that as 6 feet away from the 300 yard firing line.
The scoring system that Cooper outlined is identical to what is printed on the IDPA target. Two rounds at each firing position (five of them) for a total of 10 rounds. At five points possible per round, that makes 50 the maximum points possible. The maximum time allotted is two minutes. Cooper originally specified that the score was to be divided by the time in minutes to obtain a score. It’s easier and more common nowadays to use seconds, so that’s what we’ll do here.
What should be considered a good score? From the man himself: “Any shooter who scores more than 40 points, with half of his shots in the X-ring, in 120 seconds or less, can consider himself a good shot.” (Art of the Rifle, 96)
I took two runs at this course of fire. I had been thinking that 2 minutes is an awfully long time, so on my first run I took it a little easy. I finished at 126 seconds with a score of 44. The next time I took it a bit more seriously and took off over 20 seconds from my previous run, finishing at 103.39 seconds with 45 points. I did not start “clear” of the starting line, so I docked myself 5 seconds, which should more than cover any advantage I might have had due to starting position.
I think that the key to a good Rifle Ten is moving swiftly and smoothly between shooting positions and taking just enough time to get good hits- not a record setting benchrest group, but good hits. From analyzing my performance, I could do with a bit more efficiency in movement, and a few more of those good hits I just mentioned.
I also found that my zero was not quite where I thought it was. It was at least a minute high, which at 300 yards will put some of the rounds out of the center ring. This is a good example of why you should check your zero at 250 if you want it to be at 250. Zeroing at shorter ranges and extrapolating makes too many assumptions. I also think that my holdovers and holdunders need to be practiced more to get me right on. That makes it hard to diagnose the “group” because the vertical could be my breathing, my rifle, or my faulty elevation holds. The wind was not stiff enough to move everything so far to the left, so it looks like some fine tuning of the zero would help there as well.
The errant round to the right was the most alarming shot I fired. It was the first offhand round from the first run. I actually called it off the target to the right. All of the other shots felt like they went fairly well.
I would love it if some of you would get out the range and shoot this. If you post your score, I will update this article as a Rifle Ten database and rank them by percentage as they come in. If you film your run and post it to youtube, place the link in your comment and I will embed it in the article.
Score submission format:
Name (or pseudonym), points/ time, other pertinent info (positions, rifle, etc…)
Col. Jeff Cooper, 44/ 118 seconds, location Scandinavia, rifle unknown (Art of the Rifle, p. 97)
His hit factor is .373
Rifleslinger, 45/103.39(+5) seconds. Rifle: Sako 75, 30-06, Ching Sling, zero was high, I believe the magnification was at ~6x.
Hit factor .415
Shoot it and send in your score!!!