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Shelby County 4-H Shooting Sports Club practices the disciplines set forth by the National 4-H Shooting Sports organization and follows the rules established by the Kentucky State 4-H Shooting Sports Committee for each discipline. The following is not a comprehensive list of the rules (a link to which may be found on the Home page), but a basic, quick overview of the different disciplines. If you ever have any questions, please ask one of the coaches.

Just a quick note:  The club has limited equipment for all participating club members, although some sharing may be necessary.  Please do not feel that it is necessary for you rush out and spend hard earned money on a new rifle or bow.  We want to encourage club members to try as many disciplines as they might find interesting and will provide appropriate equipment for them.  A second consideration is that the state rules are very specific about what types of equipment are allowed.  We are fortunate to have very good equipment for the exclusive use of club members, all of which complies with state 4-H rules.  If you do become interested in obtaining personal shooting sports equipment and intend to use it for 4-H, the coaches will be happy to discuss the specifics regarding the state rules with you.


Archery – Long bow / Recurve

The Long Bow / Recurve discipline is the traditional form of archery. Most people immediately recognize these traditional archery bows.  Nonetheless, there is actually quite a lot of engineering in the design of traditional bows. Archers are only allowed to use the basic bow, without sights, stabilizers, or release aids.

Many skills from other shooting sports disciplines carry over into archery, and vice-versa. 4-H archers shoot at distances from 10 to 25 yards, depending on age.

Archery – Compound Bare Bow

The Compound Bare Bow discipline is similar to the Long Bow / Recurve discipline in that no sights, stabilizers or release aids are allowed, however the archer uses a modern type compound bow (it has wheels on both ends of the bow and a much more complex-looking stringing system).

Archery – Compound Bowhunter

In the Bowhunter discipline, archers use bows with a hunting style set-up. Any compound bow is allowed, but the sights, stabilizers, and release aides must be generally appropriate for hunting

Archery – Compound Target Bow

The key word here is “Target”.  The archery target bow discipline allows most precision target accessories and sights.  Club members participating in the Bowhunter discipline may use hunting-type sights, but in the Target discipline, they are allowed to use archery scopes, too!  Similarly, in the Bowhunter discipline, bows may have a small stabilizer on the front, but in the Target discipline, bows may have multiple stabilizers of unlimited length.

BB Rifle

Many marksmen initially honed their skills on this basic tool. We shoot BB rifle from the same three positions that we use for all other rifle disciplines, prone (laying on the ground), sitting, and standing. The official AR 4/10 targets are placed 5 meters (16 feet 4 inches) from the firing line and the bull’s-eye, for those of us who have no clue what a AR 4/10 target is, is about the same size as the tip of a ball point pen!  Each target is about as wide as the opening at the top of a fountain drink cup. This isn’t like shooting tin cans in the back yard, this is serious marksmanship and just as much fun.

In addition to being excellent practice for learning gun safety & shooting fundamentals, a light weight BB rifle is much easier for smaller stature shooters to hold and shoot well, especially in the standing position.

Although we have excellent quality Daisy target BB rifles for our youth to use, you may want to bring your own. BB rifles may have either open sights or peep sights (no scopes or laser sights), and must be a single cock, spring powered, non-pump rifle.


Air Rifle – Sport

These rifles are popularly known “pellet guns” but if you happen to be familiar with the air rifles used in the Olympics, you already know that they can be very sophisticated rifles indeed. Air rifles have rifled barrels and shoot at higher velocity than BB rifles.  The targets, at 10 meters (33 feet), are the NRA AR 5/10 targets. This is also the same type of rifles and targets that the Junior ROTC programs use at both Shelby County and Martha Layne Collins High Schools.

The Kentucky 4-H Air Rifle – Sport division allows any type .177 caliber air rifle, provided that it is loaded one shot at a time. It may be powered by a single pump, multiple pumps, CO2, or other compressed gas/air.  The rifle may have either open sights or peep sights (no scopes or laser sights).  No slings or special shooting clothing is allowed.


Air Rifle – Target

At first glance, it may be hard to understand the difference between “Sport” and “Target” air rifles. The actual rules fundamentally allow the same rifles to be used in either discipline and are much more in depth than necessary for this brief summary, so we will just focus on the basic differences. The Air Rifle-Target division allows most target rifle accessories and shooter aids, such as shooting coats, mitts or gloves, slings, and more. These accessories do actually help shooters hold the rifle steadier than is otherwise possible.


Air Pistol

Air pistols are super accurate and huge fun. All pistol disciplines shoot at targets about the size of a paper plate, 33 feet from the firing line, from the standing position. All of our 4-H Shooting Sports club members are eligible to shoot air pistol.


.22 Rifle – Sport

Many people first learn to shoot with a .22 rimfire rifle and look forward to passing that experience on to a younger generation.  A .22 rifle is an excellent training tool for youth. BB guns and air rifles are great fun but they don’t go “BANG!” and even grown up kids relish that sound as a fundamental part of the shooting experience.

The .22 Sport Rifle discipline is very similar to the Air Rifle – Sport.  The target (NRA A-32) is farther from the firing line at 50 feet and is about the size of a softball.  Shots are fired from the prone (laying down), sitting, and standing positions. The rifle, according to Kentucky 4-H rules, MUST be a bolt action (no exceptions!), preferably single shot, and have open sights. Unlike Air Rifle – Sport, peep sights are not allowed in .22 Sport Rifle.

The club is fortunate to have some very nice sport rifles and no one is required to provide their own. All members choosing to shoot one of the club’s rifles will be required to clean that rifle at the end of every practice. Learning proper care and maintenance of shooting equipment is essential to safety and a valuable part of a complete skill set regarding the safe handling and use of firearms.


.22 Rifle – Target

Much like Air Rifle – Target, this discipline allows most firearm accessories and shooting aids.  Telescopic sights are not allowed, but aperture-type peep sights are very common, as are modified stocks, shooting jackets, gloves, slings, etc. Target .22 rifle uses the NRA A-17 target at 50 feet, which are about the size of a golf ball.


.22 Pistol

Most .22 rimfire pistols are allowed in this discipline, provided the guns are in safe working order and the barrel does not exceed 10 inches in length. Club members MUST be 4-H age 12 or older to shoot .22 pistol per 4-H rules. Federal Law [18 U.S.C. 922 (X) (3) (A)] requires club members’ parent/guardian to complete a Youth Handgun Parental Permission form.  A copy of this form is kept with the club’s records and a copy MUST be in the possession of each shooter anytime they are at a 4-H event. These forms are available at practices or downloadable from the website.


Shotgun (Trap)

The Shotgun discipline shoots moving clay targets thrown into the air by a machine (trap). Shotguns, unlike rifles (BB, air, and .22), do not fire a single projectile, but instead a charge of “shot”.  The best analogy for a shot charge is to think of a small juice glass half filled with BBs.  Hold on to the glass and toss the BB’s at the target all at once.  It a shotgun shell, there is about one ounce of small soft lead pellets which constitutes the shot charge.

Kentucky 4-H rules allow club members age 9-18 to participate in shotgun, but physical stature and body mass are more of a determining factor than age. Smaller, lighter shooters may have difficulty safely and successfully handling shotguns, which tend to be larger, longer, heavier, and have much more recoil than the rifles used in 4-H.  For this reason, the coaches will decide if it is appropriate for younger club members to shoot shotgun.  The first priority is always safety and the second consideration is the likelihood of shooter success.

Anyone that wants to give shotgun a try, just ask one of your coaches.