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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Full-bore rifle shooting

Step up your shooting skills and try some high-powered rifles.

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What to expect

Full-bore rifle shooting takes place on an authorised outdoor range. You’ll shoot at targets with high-powered rifle, over a distance somewhere between 45 and 1,100 metres.

Rifles are generally designed to be held with both hands and braced against your shoulder for stability and accuracy. The bore (or calibre) is a measure of the internal diameter of the gun’s barrel: full-bore describes anything 5.56mm or over.

What you’ll learn

First things first, you’ll need to get your head around safety rules, the law, and how to control the rifle. Once you’re ready to give it a go, you’ll need to take a deep breath and focus. Rifle shooting’s all about accuracy, which takes a lot of concentration and attention to detail.

Anyone who’s tried other shooting activities will tell you that you need to be able to stick at it too; it can be frustrating when you miss the target, but if you keep going, you’ll improve your technique and your scores.

Fun facts

  • The first identified gun is a bamboo tube that uses gunpowder to fire a spear. It’s from China and appeared around AD1000. Shooting appears lots in history, including as a sport. It was one of the nine events at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
  • The name rifle comes from the term rifling – the pattern of grooves cut into the bore wall of guns’ barrels to help improve accuracy.

Handy hints

  • Wear something comfy. You don’t need any special clothing for rifle shooting, so wear whatever makes you comfortable. You’ll be outside, so bring an extra layer in case you get chilly while you wait for your turn.
  • Protect your ears. Rifle shooting can get noisy, so pick up some ear defenders for anyone who wants them.


You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Shooting is defined in POR 9.11.5
  • Shooting at targets representing humans or animals is not permitted.
  • Consider local feelings on shooting prior to planning your activity, provide parents with detailed information about the activity and parental permission is required for members under 18 taking part.
  • Transportation, storage and use of shooting equipment is detailed in POR 9.11.5
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
  • Acceptable instructor qualifications
    • Range conducting officer - as outlined in FS120004 Shooting
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
  • The centre/instructor should hold one of these:
    • Range conducting officer - as outlined in FS120004 Shooting
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.




Full-bore rifle shooting was a chance for everyone to develop skills. What did people find most challenging? Some people may have found being accurate difficult, while others may have struggled to stay motivated. As with plenty of other sports, being successful is all about practice and trying again (and again, and again) if you don’t get it right first time.

For many people, full-bore rifle shooting was a chance to try something new. Had anyone tried anything similar? Some people may have tried laser games, paintballing, or air rifle shooting, for example. Did having experience of a similar adventure make it easier to get stuck in? What was different about shooting a higher-powered firearm?

The range could be set up anywhere from 45 to 1,100 metres, so you’ll have some control over the level of challenge. The person leading the session will probably have other ideas up their sleeve too – chat to them (and let them know how experienced everyone is) before the big day.

  • Full-bore rifle shooting can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Many outdoor centres have facilities that cater for people with additional needs and experienced instructors to help everyone achieve their goals. Get in touch with your local provider to chat through the needs of people in your group – make sure you give them plenty of notice.
  • The National Rifle Association has some information about making shooting accessible on their website.
  • Rifle shooting can be noisy. If anyone doesn’t like loud noises, chat to them (and a parent or carer) beforehand and come up with a plan to make it work. You could use ear defenders, for example, or agree a quiet space for people to take some time out.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Anyone who wants to take their rifle shooting further could find out more about the National Scout Rifle Championships. Maybe they’d even like to take part.