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Rifle Shooting Merit Badge

Rifle Shooting Merit Badge Guide

Rifle Shooting Merit Badge – The shooting sports are a popular recreational activity in America. Many people enjoy hunting or sharpening their skills at a shooting range.

Tens of thousands of competitive shooters participate in shooting contests (matches), including those at the Olympic Games.

In fact, shooting is the third most popular Olympic sport when ranked by the number of participating nations. It is exceeded only by Olympic track and field events and boxing events.

One of the best ways to improve your shooting skills is to learn Rifle Shooting Merit Badge, join a local shooting club, and its junior shooting program.

Rifle Shooting Merit Badge Requirements

Teaching Kids to Shoot Guns
  1. Do the following:
    • Explain why BB and pellet air guns must always be treated with the same respect as firearms.
    • Describe how you would react if a friend visiting your home asked to see your or your family’s firearm(s).
    • Explain the need for, and use and types of, eye and hearing protection. Demonstrate their proper use.
    • Give the main points of the laws for owning and using guns in your community and state.
    • Explain how hunting is related to the wise use of renewable wildlife resources.
    • Successfully complete a state hunter education course or obtain a copy of the hunting laws for your state, then do the following:
      1. Explain the main points of hunting laws in your state and give any special laws on the use of guns and ammunition.
      2. List the kinds of wildlife that can be legally hunted in your state.
    • Identify and explain how you can join or be a part of shooting sports activities.
    • Explain to your counselor the proper hygienic guidelines used in the shooting.
    • Give your counselor a list of sources that you could contact for information on firearms and their uses.
  2. Do ONE of the following options:

Option A: Rifle Shooting (Modern cartridge type)

  1. Identify the three main parts of a rifle, and tell how they function.
  2. Identify and demonstrate the three fundamental rules for safe gun handling.
  3. Identify the two types of cartridges, their parts, and how they function.
  4. Explain to your counselor what a misfire, hangfire, and squib fire are, and explain the procedures to follow in response to each.
  5. Identify and demonstrate the five fundamentals of shooting a rifle safely.
  6. Explain to your counselor the fundamental rules for safe gun handling. Explain each rule for using and storing a gun. Identify and explain each rule for safe shooting.
  7. Explain the range of commands and range procedures.
  8. Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to safely shoot a rifle from the bench rest position or supported prone position while using the five fundamentals of rifle shooting.
  9. Identify the basic safety rules for cleaning a rifle, and identify the materials needed.
  10. Demonstrate how to clean a rifle properly and safely.
  11. Discuss what points you would consider in selecting a rifle.
  12. Using a .22 caliber rimfire rifle and shooting from a bench rest or supported prone position at 50 feet, fire five groups (three shots per group) that can be covered by a quarter. Using these targets, explain how to adjust sights to zero a rifle.
  13. Adjust sights to center the group on the target* and fire five groups (five shots per group). According to the target used, each shot in the group must meet the following minimum score: (1) A-32 targets – 9; (2) A-17 or TQ-1 targets – 7; (3) A-36 targets – 5.

Option B: Air Rifle Shooting (BB or pellet)

  1. Identify the three main parts of an air rifle, and tell how they function.
  2. Identify and demonstrate the three fundamental rules for safe gun handling.
  3. Explain the range commands and range procedures.
  4. Identify the two most common types of air rifle ammunition.
  5. Identify and demonstrate the five fundamentals of shooting a rifle safely.
  6. Identify and explain each rule for shooting an air rifle safely.
  7. Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to safely shoot a target from the benchrest position or supported prone position while using the five fundamentals of rifle shooting.
  8. Identify the basic safety rules for cleaning an air rifle, and identify the materials needed.
  9. Demonstrate how to clean an air rifle safely.
  10. Discuss what points you would consider in selecting an air rifle.
  11. Using a BB gun or pellet air rifle and shooting from a benchrest or supported prone position at 15 feet for BB guns or 33 feet for air rifles, fire five groups (three shots per group) that can be covered by a quarter.
  12. Adjust sights to center the group on the target and fire five groups (five shots per group). According to the target used, each shot in the group must meet the following minimum score: (1) BB rifle at 15 feet or 5 meters using TQ-5 targets-8; (2) pellet air rifle at 25 feet using TQ-5 targets-8, at 33 feet or 10 meters using AR-1 targets-6.

Option C: Muzzleloading Rifle Shooting

  1. Give a brief history of the development of muzzleloading rifles.
  2. Identify the principal parts of percussion rifles and discuss how they function.
  3. Demonstrate and discuss the safe handling of muzzleloading rifles.
  4. Identify the various grades of black powder and black powder substitutes and explain they’re proper use.
  5. Discuss proper safety procedures pertaining to black powder use and storage.
  6. Discuss the proper components of a load.
  7. Identify proper procedures and accessories used for loading a muzzleloading rifle.
  8. Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to safely shoot a muzzleloading rifle on a range, including range procedures. Explain what a misfire, hangfire, and squib fire are, and explain the procedures to follow in response to each.
  9. Shoot a target with a muzzleloading rifle using the five fundamentals of firing a shot.
  10. Identify the materials needed to clean a muzzleloading rifle safely. Using these materials, demonstrate how to clean a muzzleloading rifle safely.
  11. Identify the causes of a muzzleloading rifle’s failure to fire and explain or demonstrate proper correction procedures.
  12. Discuss what points you would consider in selecting a muzzleloading rifle.
  13. Using a muzzleloading rifle of .45 or .50 caliber and shooting from a bench rest or supported prone position, fire three groups (three shots per group) at 50 feet that can be covered by the base of a standard-size soft drink can.
  14. Center the group on the target and fire three groups (five shots per group). According to the target used, each shot in the group must meet the following minimum score: (1) at 25 yards using NRA A-23 or NMLRA 50-yard targets-7; (2) at 50 yards using NRA A-25 or NMLRA 100-yard targets-7.

Gun Safety

Safety Gun

In marksmanship, nothing is more important than safety. Participants in shooting sports assume a vital responsibility that affects the lives of others. It is critically important to learn and practice all of the rifle safety rules.

A Scout:
– Always follows the rules for firearms safety.
– Accepts the responsibility that goes with the use and possession of firearms.
– Follows the laws that govern the use and possession of firearms in his community.
– Practices wildlife conservation.
– Follows the spirit and the letter of the game laws.
– Is especially careful to be a true sportsman when using firearms.
The Scout Marksman’s Code

When handled correctly and used properly, a rifle is not dangerous. A rifle, like
any other precision machine, instrument, or piece of sports equipment, is manufactured to perform a specific task and can do so at no risk to the user or others.

If a rifle is handled incorrectly or recklessly, without regard for the safety rules, then accidents can happen.

Rifle safety is a simple but ongoing process. You must first acquire knowledge of how to handle rifles safely, then develop and maintain proper safe-handling skills through practice. The most important element to being safe is attitude.

Safety knowledge and skills are of little value without a determination to use them all of the time. Being safe means consciously keeping the gun under control.

Always be alert to, and conscious of, the rifle’s capabilities, and be aware of what might happen if it is used improperly. Basic gun safety rules fall into two major categories: safe gun handling and safe use and storage.

1. Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling

Three basic rules apply to handling a rifle under any circumstances.

  • ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. This is the primary rule of gun safety. “Safe direction” means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off, it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on circumstances.
  • ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. When holding a gun, rest your finger along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
  • ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. When picking up a gun, carefully point it in a safe direction. Engage safety if possible. Then, while keeping your finger off the trigger, open the action, and look inside the chamber(s), which should be clear of ammunition. (If the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and make sure it is empty.) If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.

2. Rules for Using or Storing a Gun

Rules for Using or Storing a Gun

When actually engaged in shooting whether in hunting, recreational practice, or competition always follow these rules.

  • Know your target and what is beyond. Be absolutely sure to identify the target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond the target. This means observing the prospective area of fire before shooting. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or where any other potential for mishap might exist. Think first. Shoot second.
  • Know how to use a gun safely. Before handling a gun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts and how to safely open and close the action, and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine. Remember, a gun’s mechanical safety device is never foolproof. Nothing can replace safe gun handling.
  • Be sure the gun is safe to operate. Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain in good working order. Regular cleaning and proper storage are part of the gun’s general upkeep. If there is any question about a gun’s ability to function, a gunsmith should look at it.
  • Use only the correct ammunition for the gun. Only the BBs, pellets, cartridges, or ammunition designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that gun. Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge. Do not shoot the gun without loading the proper ammunition.
  • Wear hearing and eye protection. Shots fired from guns are loud, and the noise can damage the hearing of shooters and bystanders. Firing a gun also emits debris and hot gas that can cause eye injury. For these reasons, shooters should wear shooting glasses and hearing protection.
  • Never use alcohol or drugs before or when shooting. Alcohol, or any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical functions (including prescription and nonprescription medicines), must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.
  • Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons. Deciding where and how to store guns and ammunition depends on several factors, such as security and accessibility. Safe and secure storage requires that untrained individuals (especially children) be denied access to guns and ammunition.

3. Shooting Range

The supervised shooting range is one of the safest places to enjoy shooting. The operators of most ranges use standard range commands to control shooting and to promote uniform safety practices.

Range commands and rules let everyone shoot safely. In every case, the undisputed boss is the range safety officer, who gives the commands and monitors all shooters to be sure they comply with the safety rules.

It is your responsibility as a shooter to obey and respect the range officer. The range has:

  • A range safety officer
  • A ready area
  • A firing line
  • Firing points
  • Target holders
  • A backstop

Rifle Parts

A rifle is a precision instrument, designed for precise work. It is designed to shoot a projectile (a bullet, BB, pellet, ball, etc.) to hit where the barrel is pointed. It’s helpful to learn the parts of a rifle.

Then, when you read about how to handle a gun, you’ll be able to quickly understand the information. (Note: For easy reference, terms in italics are further defined in the glossary.)

A rifle is divided into three major parts or groups:

  • The stock – The handle by which the rifle is held and which holds the other groups together.
  • The barrel – The metal tube through which the projectile passes when the rifle is fired.
  • The action – The group of moving parts that load, fire, and unload the rifle Let’s look at each of these main groups.
Major Rifle Parts

1. The Stock

Most stocks are made of wood, but today more and more stocks are made of fiberglass and other synthetic materials.

The stock has special design features to give the shooter comfort, ease of handling, and maximum shooting accuracy. The stock is divided into four basic parts: butt, comb, grip, and fore-end.

Parts of Rifle

The butt is the rear portion of the stock. It usually is contoured to fit comfortably against the shoulder. The comb is the top portion of the stock upon or against which the shooter rests his cheek.

The grip, or “small of the stock,” is the area where the firing hand grasps the stock. The fore-end is the part of the stock that extends under the barrel. This is the area where the nonshooting hand supports the rifle.

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2. The Barrel

The hollow inside the barrel the hole through which the projectile passes is called the bore. The bore is measured in fractions of an inch or in millimeters. This measurement is called the caliber of the rifle.

The larger the diameter of the bore, the larger the caliber and, therefore, the larger the size of projectile it will take. The opening through which the projectile leaves the barrel is called the muzzle.

The rear of the barrel is called the breech. The chamber is located at the breech end of the barrel. That is the portion of the barrel (bore) into which one round of ammunition (or cartridge) is placed for firing.

Chambers are shaped to exactly match the ammunition. As long as you are using the proper size ammunition, the fit should be nearly perfect.

For the remaining length of the barrel, the bore is lined with spiral grooves, somewhat like the grooves on the inside of a machine nut. The flat, raised ridges of metal standing between the grooves are called lands.

When a projectile passes through the barrel, the lands cut into the bullet to make it a spin. This spinning action makes the projectile more stable and accurate in flight toward the target.

The projectile in flight is similar to a well-thrown football. The grooves and lands inside the barrel are known as rifling, which is where the rifle got its name.

3. The Action

The action, as explained above, is the group of moving parts that allow the shooter to load, fire, and unload the rifle.

  • Loading involves opening the action, placing a cartridge in the chamber, and then closing the action with the cartridge in place. In most rifles, opening and closing the action cocks the firing pin, making the rifle ready to be fired. Some rifles must be cocked separately.
  • Firing takes place when the trigger is pulled to the rear. This action allows the firing pin to strike the cartridge and fire the gun.
  • When the action is opened after firing, the used cartridge is ejected so that a new one can be loaded.

There are several popular types of cartridge-rifle actions. To give a general idea of
how these actions operate, the following describes the loading and unloading procedures for some of the more common rifle designs:

  • Bolt, pump, lever, semiautomatic,
  • Hinge, and falling-block actions.

Be aware, however, that there are many operational variations for these as well as other types of action designs. You must thoroughly study and understand the rifle’s operation manual before using the rifle.

common types of actions
Bolt. The bolt-action rifle operates on a lift, pull, and push sequence similar to a door bolt. The bolt action is probably the most common type. Many feel that it is the strongest and most accurate of the action types. Scouts may use this type of rifle to earn this merit badge.
Lever. The action on a lever-action rifle is opened by pulling the cocking lever downward and forward away from the stock. It is closed by simply returning the lever to its original position. Lever-action rifles, like pump-action rifles, also allow rapid reloading.
Semiautomatic. These actions are sometimes called repeaters or autoloaders. Each time a semiautomatic rifle is fired, burning powder in the cartridge produces gas that provides the energy to open the action and eject the cartridge case. A spring then closes the action, reloading a new cartridge at the same time. This happens once each time the trigger is pulled.
Hinge. The hinge action opens similarly to the movement of a door hinge. When the release lever is pushed to one side, the barrel swings downward. Hinge-action rifles may have one, two, or three barrels. Double rifles are built as either an “over and under” or a “side by side,” depending on the placement of the barrels. Threebarreled guns usually have a combination of shotgun and rifle barrels and are often called drillings.
Falling Block. The falling-block action uses a block instead of a bolt to hold the cartridge in place at the breech end of the barrel. The action is opened by lowering the trigger guard or the small lever under it that causes the breechblock to fall down and away from the barrel. Raising the lever closes the action and covers the breech end of the barrel. Falling-block rifles are single-shot rifles.
Types of Actions

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4. Sights

Optical Sights

Sights help you aim the rifle. There are many different types of sights, but generally, they fall into three categories: optical, open, and aperture.

Optical sights are telescopes mounted atop the barrel or receiver (the frame for the action parts of a gun). They are good sights for new shooters because they are simple to use.

Optical sights have a crosshair or dot that acts as an aiming point. It’s important that the sights be of the right design and size for the rifle.

Optical sights should be mounted far enough forward to assure that the rifle’s recoil won’t cause the sight to strike the shooter’s eye or eyewear.

Open sights have a notch or “V” located near the rear or breech end of the rifle, and a front sight (a post or bead) located near the muzzle. To aim, the shooter aligns the front and rear sights with the target.

Open Sights

Aperture sights are often called peep sights because they have a small hole in the rear sight that the shooter looks through (or peeps through) when aiming.

The front sight is aligned in the center of the rear sight opening, making alignment of the sights much easier and more precise than with open sights.

However, peep sights aren’t as fast and easy to use as open sights when shots must be fired quickly.

Aperture rear sights, scopes, and some open sights can be precisely adjusted without special tools. This adjustment is absolutely necessary for getting shots to hit the center of the target.

Usually both elevation (up and down) and windage (left and right) adjustments can be made. The cardinal rule for adjusting sights is to move the rear sight in the same direction desired for the shots on the target or to move the rear sight to the center of the target.

(For more on adjusting the sights, see “Firing Your First Shots.”)

Aperture Sights

Care of Your Rifle

A rifle is a precision instrument. Like any other item of value, it must be cared for properly if it is to operate correctly and safely.

Unlike many other items of sports equipment, a rifle is built to last a lifetime and it will if it is cared for properly.

1. Cleaning

Make a habit of cleaning the rifle after each use. Regular cleaning will help ensure that the rifle functions properly, shoots accurately, and is reliable.

Always thoroughly clean a rifle and apply protective lubrication before storing it. Cleaning helps preserve the finish and value of a rifle.

Cleaning is also essential when a rifle has been stored for a long time or has been exposed to dirt or moisture. Be sure the rifle is cleaned thoroughly before use.

Before you begin to clean the rifle, point it in a safe direction, open the action, and be absolutely sure that the gun is empty and all ammunition is removed from the area.

To assure safety, the action should be open during cleaning. Ideally, the bolt should be removed from the rifle during cleaning.

Rifle Clening Kit

Six basic materials are needed to clean a rifle:

  1. Cleaning rod with attachment (jag tip to hold patches and a bore brush)
    • The rod must be the proper size for the bore of the rifle.
    • The use of a bore guide is recommended to help keep the rod in line with the bore.
  2. Cloth patches.
  3. Bore solvent.
  4. Gun oil.
  5. Soft cloth.
  6. Small brush.

2. Repairs

Beginning shooters should leave repairs to experts. If the rifle is not functioning properly, take it to a professional gunsmith or send it back to the manufacturer for repairs.

3. Storing Firearms

efore you decide how and where to keep your gun and ammunition, consider safety, storage conditions, access by others, and your personal needs.

Many people are naturally intrigued by guns, and the temptation to pick one up is very real for adults and children alike.

That could spell trouble if the person is too young or inexperienced to handle the gun safely. Security is another factor. Unfortunately, guns are often desirable booty for thieves.

For all of these reasons, shooting equipment must be kept in a secure location. Many manufacturers offer fine wooden cabinets to display and secure guns.

Some gun owners prefer to have their guns out of sight and out of reach. If you choose storage that requires a lock, keep the keys where casual visitors and youngsters can’t get them.

Always store guns and ammunition so that they are not accessible to untrained or unauthorized people. When removing a firearm for handling or cleaning, always remember to follow the safety rules, and double-check to ensure that the gun is unloaded.

Ammunition should be stored in a cool, dry place. Minimize the chance of an accident by storing guns and ammunition separately.

Okay, it might be enough until here our discussion about the rifle shooting merit badge. Other information you can access on the pamphlet that I have shared. 

I'm a Mechanical Engineer and lifelong Eagle Scout. My passion for scouting guides my writing, aiming to inspire fellow Scouts on their path. Thanks for reading, and best wishes on your journey to Eagle!