SilhouetteThe National Silhouette Association Ireland

                                    Calendar 2003

Mexican Silhoutte Shooting

Origin of the Sport

Silhouette Metalicas, in which steel silhouette shaped like game animals and birds are used as targets, was introduced into the United States from Mexico in the 1960's. The sport came into being in Mexico during the 1950's evolving from the old "shootin match" of pioneer times. Originally fired only with the Highpower Rifle in the USA. The sport has evolved from its relatively simple beginning in Mexico to include the use of pistols, air guns, smallbore rifles and black powder cartridge rifles. Today, the Spanish derived name "Siluetas Metalicas" applies only to the Highpower game. The more familiar French-derived "Silhouette" is used as a generic term, which takes in all shooting using targets of metal shaped like game animals. The introduction of Smallbore Mexican Silhouette shooting to Ireland was in 1979, by the Fassaroe Sporting Club.

The Mexicans had worked out a set of regulations for conducting Mexican Silhouette competition to achieve uniformity of conditions in their various range locations. The size of the silhouettes types and size of stands, range distances, shooting equipment allowed and match operation procedures, were all spelled out before any match was shot in the USA. When Silhouette shooting started in the USA, the Mexican rules were adopted with very few changes. Probably the most significant change was to add horns to the sheep target to give it the appearance of a Rocky Mountain Sheep. The rules used in Ireland are those of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA). The official NRA rules were adopted in Ireland in May 1992. The National Silhouette Association of Ireland was formed in July 1994.

As the Highpower Rifle game increased in popularity, pistol and Smallbore rifle shooters became interested too. Pistol shooters began to hold matches and develop their own rules. Pistol Silhouette shooters adopted the rifle rules, using the standard Highpower Rifle targets, set at distances from 50 meters to 200 meters. Pistol silhouette shooting has become almost as popular and widespread as the Highpower rifle game in the USA.

The use of smallbore .22 rifles in Silhouette shooting was achieved by basically making a scaled down version of the Highpower Rifle game. It is fired at one-fifth scale targets and one-fifth the distances of Highpower Rifle.
Smallbore rifle Silhouette shooting uses rifles chambered for .22 rimfire only. It is fired at one-fifth scale targets (NRA regulation size targets) at distances from 20 to 100 metres.

Mexican Smallbore shooting has been enjoyed for many years here in Ireland, the attraction and spectator appeal of the sport is very evident at matches. Unlike conventional and international disciplines fired under strict rules and regulations, Silhouette competition, while following their own rules and regulations, is a comparatively informal sport. Families and friends of shooters attend and applaud as the targets fall to the ground. It is a sport where women can compete on the same level as men.

Shooting Equipment

The sport is designed to facilitate as many shooters as possible. No specialist equipment such as jackets or slings are necessary. Any individual having a .22 rimfire rifle may participate, however only .22 standard velocity ammunition may be used. Open sights or telescopic sights are allowed with no restriction on the magnification of the scope. Silhouette shooting with pistols is very popular worldwide, however under current Irish firearms policy we are denied access to pistols and the sport.

Silhouette Range Facilities.

There are four 100 metre Smallbore Rifle Silhouette ranges in Ireland located at the outdoor ranges of The Fassaroe Sporting Club (Monastery House, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow), BRC Shooting Club (Bohernabreena, Dublin), Fermoy Rifle club (Fermoy, Co. Cork) and the Kerry Rifle Club (Knockeen, Castleisland, Co. Kerry Tel 066-26644).

Metal targets of chickens are placed at 40 metres, pigs at 60 metres, turkeys at 77 metres and rams at 100 metres. The present FSC range layout boasts five bays of each, allowing five shooters to compete at any one time (FSC information 01-6241885)

Course of Fire and Range Commands.

The normal match consists of each competitor firing 40 rounds, 10 each at the chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams. Time allowed is two and a half minutes for five targets, with a ready period of 15 seconds. Shooting is from the standing position with no support allowed. "Ready" command calls the relay to the line. "Fire" is given at the start of the firing period. "Cease Fire" is given at the end of the timed firing period. On this command all guns must be unloaded and placed on the bench or gun rack and not be handled again until called to the line by the Range Officer.

How to Get Started.

The National Silhouette Association was formed in July 1994 after two successful years operation of the National Silhouette Committee. This committee was formed in May 1992 under the directions of the National Association of Sporting Rifle Clubs. The purpose of the Committee was to organise and promote Silhouette shooting in Ireland. Information on all aspects of silhouette shooting including setting up a silhouette range can be obtained by writing to the following address:

Declan Keogh (Chairman)
National Silhouette Association,  
P.O.Box 9,
Co. Dublin,


Phone No.

Fassaroe Sporting Club

Hugh Daly


Fermoy Rifle Club

Kieran Barry


BRC Shooting Club



Kerry R&P Target Club

Tim Landers


West Donegal R&P Club

Jimmy Brogan


The current calendar for Mexican Silhouette Shooting is also available from the above on request. Please feel free to attend any of the meetings to see what Mexican Silhouette shooting is all about.


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