Rules for Scoring Rifle Targets

Competitive rifle shooting uses a standardized method of scoring in order to evaluate a shooter's overall performance. Using this method as a base table, shooters can compete against each other in a group or in one-on-one competitions. Some shooting contests are judged on a composite of group competition and one-on-one matches.

General Target Scoring

Standard target scoring is based on a circular target divided into various scoring zones. The center ring, or bulls-eye, is generally equal to 10 points. Successive rings outside the bulls-eye at equal interval distances are worth nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and one point, respectively. The higher the value, the smaller the space it takes up on the target. Shots that are directly on a line between values are counted as the higher of the two values.

Distance Variation

The exact size of the targets depends on the distance of the shot. For longer distances, the targets are larger; for shorter distances, the targets are smaller. Each of the 10 rings is adjusted accordingly. The target sizes are not necessarily directly proportional to the distance, however. Longer shots are more difficult than shorter shots, even in proportion, due to the exponential nature of wind interference and other factors.


Matches usually consist of three rounds of 20 shots per shooter, after which the results are evaluated on a group basis. For these first rounds, each shooter is allowed a standardized amount of time, usually 30 minutes for 20 shots. In later rounds, the competition changes form to one-on-one matches in which each shooter has 45 seconds for each shot, alternating with his opponent.