Precision Rifle Shooting (PRS) is really taking off in the UK these days and you’ll be able to view the rifles used for it at The National Shooting Show.

What is it? It is a shooting style which involves hitting metal targets in sequence at varying distances, from a supported and unsupported position. The targets are around 10-30cm in diameter and the distances around 250-900m from the firing point.

So why is PRS growing so much in popularity? I spent some time with Ryan Charlton of Highland Outdoors and asked him a few questions.

When did PRS start becoming more popular?

Precision Rifle Shooting has been happening in the UK in various guises for around five years. Its popularity really took off post-Covid when several things happened. Precision Rifle Series UK was formed, giving competitors the  opportunity to qualify for the US finale. The Great Britain Precision Rifle Association began the selection process to send a team to the World Championships in 2022, offering the chance for the UK’s best shooters to test themselves against the best from around the world. Around the same time .22 rimfire matches became commonplace, offering much greater accessibility due to the reduced cost and availability of ranges. In 2023, 180 different shooters took part in registered rimfire matches.

How do rifles for PRS differ?

Purpose-built PRS rifles are typically heavier than an equivalent hunting/tactical rifle. The main reason for this is so they balance well on barricades/props. The balance point is typically a few inches in front of the magazine well which is where the centre of the shooter’s barricade bag would be. The extra weight also helps to minimise recoil, which is important as PRS is self-spotting, making seeing where your bullet lands, on or off the target, an important skill to master. Muzzle brakes are more popular than moderators as they offer increased recoil reduction. Modular chassis are preferred to ensure that a shooter’s gun fits them correctly.

What about ammunition?

Home-loaded ammunition is most common, as shooters will tailor it to their rifles to maximise performance. For many of the more exotic calibres, such as 6mm Dasher, it’s the only way to go. However quality factory-made ammunition is available in excellent calibres such as 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Win.

Precision Rifle Shooting

Precision Rifle Shooting in action

What’s the best way to start Precision Rifle Shooting?

The best way to start is to visit The Great Britain Precision Rifle Association (GBPRA) and/or Precision Rifle Series UK and book onto a match. PRS competitors are some of the friendliest and supportive people you’ll meet.  Training courses run by the GBPRA and the NRA UK happen a few times per year and provide a taster, though there’s nothing like diving in head first and having fun.

What equipment is out there to help you?

One of the great things about PRS is how little equipment is actually needed to be very successful. You’ll need a barricade bag and ballistics solver to go with your rifle set-up of choice. A good technique is enough to win matches. However there are no restrictions on equipment in most open competitions, so expect to see binoculars and spotters so that competitors can watch what’s happening downrange, rangefinders to confirm distance and a whole host of other things that will get taken for a walk rather than actually used.

Precision Rifle Shooting

PRS competitors are friendly and supportive

Do you need to have much shooting experience to start Precision Rifle Shooting?

No, as long as you have an open mind for challenges and problem solving. The other shooters will support you as everybody wants to see targets getting hit. Less experience also means fewer bad habits to break.

What are the distances for PRS?

One of the cool things about PRS competition is that the guidelines are flexible,  so there’s no fixed minimum or maximum distances, so this is down to the venue. However expect to see targets from 300 to 1000m at full-bore matches and 20 to 300m at rimfire matches.


Many thanks to Ryan Charlton of Highland Outdoors for his valuable input into this piece on Precision Rifle Shooting. Get your tickets here (BASC members receive complimentary entry).