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Local Shooting Competition

As we outdoor enthusiasts move into the hot mid-summer days, we may still be doing some fishing, but it’s not likely that shooting a rifle is high on our list of activities.

Sure, as we move into the fall months, the deer rifles come out, and we head for the target range to make sure we’re ready for the first day of buck season.

In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, Dave Gardner, I became aware of some competitive rifle shooting activities available throughout the summer months.

The competitive shooting I’m referring to is taking place at the Lycoming Consolidated Sportsman’s grounds about five miles up Route 87 north of Montoursville. The shooting events are actually administered by the American Rimfire Association (ARA).

The ARA was started in 1998 by a group of 22 long rifle shooters who wanted an organization for a competitive 22lr bench rest competition. The ARA is the sanctioning body for 22lr bench rest competitions. The ARA has clubs all across the U.S. offering matches and tournaments to anyone interested in precision 22lr bench rest shooting. The competition involves two classes-Unlimited and Factory Class rifles. Each class has about 30 minutes to shoot a 25-bull target for a maximum score of 2500.

The Consolidated Sportsman’s organization has been involved with the ARA events for the past couple of months. Dave Gardner, the Assistant Director, helped kick it off and has been serving in an advisory capacity for some time. Mel Hoover serves as the Match Director.

The 22lr shooting events take place the first Saturday of every month up until November; the events kick off again when spring rolls around. To participate, you must be a member of the ARA, and you can sign up when you attend the event. There is no cost to the participant.

Dave tells me that the shooting event is growing in popularity each time they gather. The participants can be as young as ten years old, and some shooters are in their 80s.

The young participants must be accompanied by adults, who monitor them carefully.

Dave also told me the number of women has also increased with each event.

Of those involved in the competition, the majority are enrolled in the Factory category — basically the average store-bought rifle.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month, and shooting begins around 9 a.m. There are usually signs posted along Route 87. The event usually wraps up around 3:30 or 4:00. The public is welcome to come and watch the shooting event, and there are also food vendors on sight.

To learn more about the ARA, you can go to, or to check up on shooting events, go to Rimfire Accuracy, and at the bottom of that page, you will find a list of all the ARA Rimfire matches.

What a great way to sharpen your own shooting skills. It might also be a great way to get younger people involved in a sanctioned and carefully controlled shooting competition.