All done "prone" - lying on your stomach - and keeping very still. How many other activities classed as Sport involve nothing more than the movement of a fingertip by less than a millimetre, 10 times in 20 minutes? Being fit helps, but athleticism it ain't. Shooters lie on mats on the ground and wear special jackets to help support the weight of the rifle and to hold the body still.
The rifles have long heavy barrels (for consistent accuracy) and are masterpieces of precision engineering. Ammunition used is .22 inch long-rifle rimfire (that is, the base of the cartridge has a protruding rim within which the priming compound is placed when the cartridge is made). The firing pin of the rifle crimps this rim, and the primer, which is pressure-sensitive, ignites, and in turn sets off the tiny pinch of propellant that launches the bullet itself.
Small bore target rifle shooting in the UK is done at 25 yards. Targets have 10 different bull's eyes, one for each shot, requiring the shooter, therefore, to move aim slightly during the course of the shoot. Generally as many sighters as you like may be fired. (A sighter is a practice shot to make sure you and the sights and the target are perfectly aligned). Some competitions involve shooting against time limits but generally the emphasis is on maximum precision. The centre of each bull is no more than a quarter of an inch across and a shot must lie fully within the bull's eye to count as a 10. All our rifles are capable of sub-millimetric precision. The same can't be said of all our shooters.
Shooting takes place at 50 yards/metres and 100 yards/metres and therefore the wind and the weather must be taken into account before and during the shoot. The lightest breeze will blow your shot across the face of the target and sights will have to be adjusted accordingly and/or a judgement made as to when to shoot so as to make sure the next shot enjoys the same weather condition as the last. With only a couple of fluttering flags to guide you this can be a fiendishly difficult discipline and has been the cause of many a strong word not spoken in jest. But with experience, when you get it right it is hugely satisfying. There are lots of clubs with outdoor ranges which host “open” competitions, and SERC regularly books time at the Lord Roberts Commonwealth Games Range at Bisley.
And there is THE annual event at Bisley, the National Rifle Meeting, held over 9 days in August, when the NSRA takes over the whole of Century Range.