Community for Kel-Tec Shooters banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

1,105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Getting started with NSSF Rimfire Challenge (Steel Challenge)
Competitions. (Formerly known as Ruger Rimfire Challenge)

Originally posted on

My name is Jake and I am the product development manager at TANDEMKROSS.
For those of you that know me you know that I love to get out into the
field and that I'm a firm believer that "the answers are not in the
building". This means that the best new ideas truly come from
experience and trying something new.

I have been eager to get into shooting competitively for a while now.
We have been making parts and accessories for Ruger pistols and KelTec
firearms for about 2 years and we have many hours on the range testing
and tweaking. However I have personally never competed in a registered
match before. This past weekend I had my chance and it was a very
educational event.

TANDEMKROSS was one of the sponsors for the NSSF rimfire challenge
worlds competition at Old Fort Gun Club in Fort Smith Arkansas. As the
product development manager I was in attendance and it was a perfect
opportunity to register as a shooter and to learn with the best.

Starting out with any shooting competition can be very intimidating.
There are a lot of rules to learn and you have to be very attentive and
safety is paramount. It can be overwhelming especially if you have
never had any experience with this type of shooting sport. I can
personally tell you that the NSSF rimfire challenge is a perfect way to
get into competitive shooting sports in a safe and non-threatening way.

Here are some observations and tips from my first attempt as shooting in
a competition. Hopefully you find them useful and I encourage you to
find a registered NSSF rimfire challenge event near you and to take the
first steps, you will enjoy it!.

The first thing that you will want to do is ensure that you read the
rules. They can be found on the NSSF website. They will explain all the
requirements for your firearms needed, the course that is being
presented and the range safety officers commands and what they mean.

For a firearms you will need a .22LR pistol AND a .22LR Rifle. The
Rimfire challenge is a course that challenges both pistol and rifles.
Many of the competitors were using a Ruger Mark III 22/45 or a standard
Mark III. These guns out of the box are good for a beginner and can be
upgraded to perform even better. A close second in popularity was the
browning buckmark pistol. These are a nice gun out of the box, but have
fewer aftermarket parts to upgrade them for speed. There were a
variety of other .22LR pistols on the course from the high end
Volquartsen models to Ruger SR22 and everything in between.

As for the rifle, the number one rifle used in the competition was
easily the Ruger 10/22. This rifle provides an enormous number of
options for customization and is incredibly reliable. There were some
Sig 522 .22LR as well as some M&P models, but hands down the
dominant rifle for the competition was the Ruger 10/22.

There are 2 main divisions called OPEN and LIMITED. In the OPEN
division your gun is allowed to have competition items such as RedDot
sights, Compensators, Barrel Weights, etc... Items that help improve
speed and accuracy. Check out TANDEMKROSS.COM for great after market
items to improve your own gun. In the LIMITED division the gun can not
have any ot these items and you will be using open sights.

An NSSF rimfire challenge match is run in a series of stages. Each
stage will consist of a different number of steel plates in different
configurations. The name of the game is speed. Shoot each plate as
quickly as possible stopping the timer once the "stop plate" is shot.
The interesting part about rimfire challenge is that every match is
different. Unlike steel challenge where each stage is consistent from
match to match... Rimfire challenge has different stages wherever you
go. This makes it a lot of fun and keeps your skills sharp.

When you register for your first event you will be placed into a squad.
A squad is a group of participants that will shoot a given stage
together. They will remain together for the duration of the event.
This allows for a large number of participants to start at different
stages in the event and cycle through the stages.

When you bring your guns to the event you will need to have them bagged
or in a hard case. You will need to carry them in this case from stage
to stage so be sure that it is a comfortable to carry case and that it
has external pouches for your magazines. Any handling of your gun at
any point away from a marked safe zone or at the firing line is grounds
for a disqualification.

Ammo requirements are different for each competition. You will want to
know the number of stages and multiply that number by 55. 55 is the
total number of bullets you are allowed to shoot at any given stage in a
standard NSSF Rimfire Challenge event. You are permitted to load your
gun with 11 rounds at the very first attempt and then 11 rounds on any
subsequent attempt. 10 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the chamber.
The TANDEMKROSS Plus1 bumper is very helpful in this situation as it
allows for 11 rounds in the magazine and makes it easy to load up that
11th round. So for a 14 stage event you would need a maximum of 55 X 14
= 770 bullets. This assumes that you use all 11 rounds in each of the 5
strings at each stage.

A stage is shot by a competitor in a series of 5 strings. Each string
allowing a maximum of 11 shots at the targets. You must strike all the
targets in the stage before hitting the "stop plate" which will be
clearly marked. Failure to strike a plate will result in a time penalty
of 2 seconds.

After you have shot all 5 of your strings the slowest time will be
thrown out and your score for that stage will be the total number of
seconds added together from your 4 fastest strings. This means that
consistent speed trumps 1 fast string. It is great to be fast, but if
you are consistent it is even better.

It is best to watch a few competitors go up to the line and shoot a few
strings first before you take your first turn. There is some etiquette
and you will learn the proper commands from the Range Officer very
quickly. If you are first on the squad order, simply let the RO know it
is your first time and they will be very helpful. The mandate for
these types of events is for safety and a positive atmosphere.

When it is your turn to approach the firing line your score keeper will
announce your name. It is here that you need to be sure that you have
your magazines already loaded and you are prepped. 5 magazines loaded
to 10 total and an extra magazine to load your 11th round or a
TANDEMKROSS Plus1 bumper will be great here. Be sure you have loaded
them before your turn! You can't waste time here and everyone expects
that you will approach with fully loaded magazines. This is why you
need to have magazines pouches on the outside of your gun bag or on a
belt pouch where they are easily accessible.

When it is your turn there will be a few things to be aware of when you
approach the line.

Layout out your magazines on the firing line table or if you have a
Magazine pouch such as the QuickGrips magazine pouch from TANDEMKROSS
you can keep them in the pouches for easy access. This is a lot easier
to manage than laying them on the table.
One of the dangers of putting magazines on the table is you could
accidentally reach in front of the gun to get a magazine and sweep
yourself with the barrel. This would be a disqualification and its
avoidable with the use of magazine pouches.

When getting ready to remove your gun from the case be 100% sure that
your pistol or rifle barrel is pointing down range while it is still in
the case or bag. It is grounds for disqualification if you take it out
of the bag with the barrel pointing the wrong way.

Once you are sure that the barrel is pointing down range, unzip your bag
and take out your gun.

You will now have a short moment to view the stage through your sights.
Take a moment to look at the plates and think about how you will play
the stage. You should also look for the aiming stake. This is
typically on the ground in front of the plates. This is where you will
aim your gun in the "Shooter ready" position once you are ready to shoot
the stage. This was something that was not clear to me until I did it
for the first time.

Once you are happy with your sight picture you are ready to load a
magazine into the gun.

Load up 11 rounds MAX and aim at the starting pin. The range officer
will Ask "Shooter Ready?" No response is an assumption of "YES" There
will then be a loud BEEP as the signal to begin the stage. This BEEP
is from the shot timer and it goes off usually 2 to 3 seconds after the
range officer announces "Shooter Ready."

Once you hear the BEEP you are on the clock. Any shots before the BEEP
will be grounds for a penalty and any accidental discharges will be
grounds for disqualification. Its imperative that you know how your gun
functions and that you are aware of your trigger position, and have
full control of the gun.

Once you have shot the stop plate the timer stops. The Range office
will announce your time and the string number... It is at this time
that you should remove the magazine and replace it with a new one
leaving a round in the chamber to again being the next string with 11
rounds. This is very important to practice because it is here that
people make mistakes.

In one of my very first strings, I was happy with my time and I was
getting ready for the next one. I forgot to replace the magazine and I
only had 4 rounds in the gun for the next string. I was unable to
strike all the plates and hit the stop plate so I had to score the
maximum of 30 seconds for the string. This is important because once
you start a string with a magazine in steel challenge it CAN NOT be
swapped for another one... Even in the event of a jam or problem with
the magazine. The string must begin and end with the same magazine.

Take care to remember to swap that magazine each and every string. This
is why you need 5 loaded magazines when you approach the line. By
leaving a round in the chamber and loading a full magazine you can
always ensure that you start each string with 11 rounds. While watching
the other competitors, this was the number 1 thing that caused
problems. If you shoot all the rounds from the magazine from the
previous round and forget to chamber a new round or if you forget to
swap a magazine it will cost you time. So practice this at the range!
We typically practice shooting a magazine until all the rounds are
expended and then replace it with a new one. This is typically not the
case in rimfire challenge. You will often remove the magazine with 4 or
more rounds still in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. Its something
to think about and practice at the range before hand.

After you have completed your 5th string for the stage, you will show
that the gun is clear and be asked to drop the hammer down. This is a
problem with guns that have a magazine safety. Its one of the reasons
that we recommend that you remove the magazine safety from the Mark III
and 22/45. It allows for the hammer to be safely dropped down and for
the gun to be considered "Safe" and properly stored between stages in
the event. I highly recommend looking at the TANDEMKROSS videos about
the hammer bushing for the Ruger Mark III and 22/45 for a full

Now you are ready to place the gun back into the case ensuring that the
barrel remains pointing down range the entire time and then move away
from the firing line.

Its now that you can move to a safe place to re-load your magazines for
the next stage. This was something that was not clear to me right away,
but you can take your magazines out and load them as long as they are
not inside the gun case. If you open the case you will be disqualified
so keep those mags in a belt pouch or in a pouch on the outside of the

Once you have completed your strings you will have plenty of time to
watch other shooters, cheer them on and learn a thing of two about how
to shoot the stages faster and more efficiently.

As you become more comfortable with your squad you will start to notice
that at the end of each shooter while they are scoring and switching out
shooters a few people on the squad will grab some spray cans and head
out to paint over the bullet strikes on the steel plates. This is a
great opportunity to get a nice up close look at the plates and to
strategize how you will shoot the string. It is both beneficial to the
squad and to yourself to help out and grab one of the spray cans between
shooters. Always be sure to listen for the commands from the Range
Officer for when it is safe to go down range and paint the steel plates.

NSSF Rimfire challenge is a lot of fun and it's a great way to get
introduced into the shooting competition sports. Its fun for all ages
and we had shooters of all ages participate. The divisions allow for
junior shooters, women and seniors alike to all have their own
competition class and be competitive.

At the end of a competition the scores will typically be posted and then
winners are allowed to go to a prize table. Some events the prize
table is completely random and some its the final order of the shooters.
In this way everyone gets an opportunity to walk the prize table and
come away with something.

All in all this was a great day and a great way to learn how to shoot in
a Rimfire Challenge event. I'm grateful to the opportunity given to me
by TANDEMKROSS for letting me go to the event and to be able to
participate in the competition. I have come away from the event with
many new ideas for the Ruger Mark III and 22/45 as well as the Buckmark
and Beretta Neos pistols. I'm ready to start on new products that will
help competitive shooters gain an edge and upgrade a favorite gun to be
more competitive and more fun.

So I say thank you! My name is Jake and this is TANDEMKROSS, Making
good guns great!


1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.