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Target Pulling and Scoring

At most of our matches, we will shoot with at least three relays. This means that one relay will be shooting, another relay will be down in the pits working the targets, and the third relay will be back at the line, marking down the scores. If four relays are shooting (a rarity for us) then most likely the fourth relay will be down in the pits helping to pull targets, or maybe just goofing off.

Target Pulling

If you have never shot at a match that has pit targets, this whole business of pulling targets may be mysterious to you. Basically what this means is that the shooter fires from the firing line as usual, but the target puller stands at the target, pointing out to the shooter where he is hitting. If scoring is being done in the pits (as when there are only two relays), the target puller will also mark down the shot values on the shooter's score card. The target puller is protected by a thick berm of dirt and masonry and can lower the target into the pit for inspection. It's been done this way for over one hundred years.

There are a few things you need to take with you to the pits:

Eye protection – Sometimes wood splinters can be flying about, if someone hits a spotter or target frame.

Ear protection – It’s loud down there.

Water/snacks – You may be there for a while, and you won’t be able to leave while shooting is going on.

Jacket/rain gear – Be ready for anything. Matches are fired rain or shine.

There will be someone running the pits, so follow his instructions carefully. Also, listen to the radio if you can, and feel free to relay any messages you hear.

Pulling Targets for NRA High Power – Slow Fire

1) Before shooting begins, check the target, including non-scoring areas, for bullet holes. If you find any, put target pasters on them.

2) Put your target in "half-mast" position: where the target frame and counterweight are at about the same level. This is the signal to the pit boss and the firing line that you are ready to go.

3) When you’re told to, run the target all the way up and wait for the first shot. It is very difficult to see the bullet holes appear in the target, so watch the impact area instead.

4) When you see a shot land in your impact area, pull the target down immediately and look for the bullet hole. When you find it, put the spotting disk in it, making sure the colors contrast—black on white, and vice versa.

5) Determine the score for the shot, and put the orange scoring disk in the appropriate location on the periphery of the target frame. If you didn't find a bullet hole, mark the shot as a miss by placing the scoring disk at top center.

6) Run the target back up, and, if scoring is being done in the pits, write down the score for the shot on the scoresheet, even the sighters. Wait for the next shot, and repeat the procedure.

Suppose you are scoring target three. Here are some words you may hear:

"Mark three" - The shooter has taken his shot but the target did not go down. Usually this means he has simply missed or cross-fired, but it could also mean you didn't see the shot, so be sure to pay attention when shooting is going on. Regardless of what may have happened, pull the target down, place the spotting and scoring disks (pasting up any old bullet holes) and run the target back up. If you don't find a bullet hole, mark the shot as a miss.

"Redisk three" - This means that the shooter (or scorer, if scoring is being done at the firing line) believes that the scoring disk is in the wrong place. Possibly you forgot to move it to the correct spot since the last shot, or maybe the shooter disagrees with your call on shot value. Put the orange scoring disk in the proper location for the last shot fired, but don't move the spotter. If the shot is close to a scoring line, feel free to get others to double-check your call, and remember that if the shot touches the line AT ALL, the shooter gets the higher value.

"No shot on three" - This only applies if scoring is being done in the pits. It means you saw a shot hit your impact area and marked it, but it was not fired by your shooter. In other words, someone else cross-fired onto your shooter's target. Remove the spotter and scoring disk, put a paster over the bullet hole, and run the target back up. If you have already written it down, cross out the score for the incorrect shot.

Pulling Targets for NRA High Power -- Rapid Fire

1) Before shooting begins, check the target, including non-scoring areas, for bullet holes. If you find any, put target pasters on them.

2) Put your target in "half-mast" position. Do this ONLY when you are ready for shooting to begin.

3) On command, run the target all the way up and stand back. Count the bullets that hit in your impact area. You are looking for exactly 10 impacts.

4) On command, lower the target. If you didn't count exactly 10 impacts, tell the pit boss right away.

5) Before you put any spotters in them, count the bullet holes. If you don't have exactly 10, tell the pit boss right away. NEVER put spotters in the bullet holes unless you have EXACTLY ten. This is especially important if you have fewer than ten holes, since placing the spotters destroys any chance of finding places where two bullets may have passed through the same hole.

6) If you have 10 impacts and 10 bullet holes and/or any questions are resolved, put spotters or golf tees into the holes and write the score on the chalkboard. Hang the chalkboard on the target frame at left, and run the target up for the shooter to see.

7) If scoring is being done in the pits, write the scores on the score sheet.

Pulling Targets for Swiss Matches

Pulling for Swiss matches is fundamentally the same as for NRA matches. The only real difference is the way the scores are presented to the shooter. In NRA matches the orange scoring disk is used, while in Swiss matches the score is written on a small chalkboard permanently attached to the target frame.

When writing the score on the chalkboard, make sure the shooter can see what you have written. 300 meters is a long way.

Since Swiss rapid fire strings have so few shots, it is most expedient just to write the value of each shot explicitly. For example, if your shooter got one four, two threes, and three twos, write his score on the chalkboard this way:


3 3

2 2 2

You'll have to write smaller than you did for slow fire, but do the best you can to make the scores readable. Again, don't forget to write down the scores on the score sheet.


Scoring basically consists of nothing more than telling your shooter his shot values and writing them down on his score card. It is important that you tell the shooter his shot values so that if he disagrees with the call, you can resolve the issue right now. If you are scoring in the pits, about the only thing that can go wrong is to forget to write down the score, so don't fall asleep down there. When you are scoring, you are temporarily a match official, so you owe it to your shooter to pay close attention to what is going on, and do your best to make sure he gets the best score possible under the rules.

Most often, scoring will be done at the firing line. If you are scoring, set yourself up with a chair and spotting scope close to your shooter, but at least two paces behind the firing line. Be sure you don't get in anyone's way. During slow fire, call out your shooter's score for each shot and mark it down. During rapid fire, watch your shooter, paying particular attention to the number of shots fired and any malfunctions he may have. Your attention to detail here will be important if anything goes wrong, such as too many (or too few) hits on your shooter's target, or if he has a rifle malfunction.