What is a RCSA Rimfire Challenge match?

The Rimfire Challenge event is basically a speed shooting sport at several different stages of metal targets using 22 caliber rifles and pistols. This event started a few years back as the Ruger Rimfire Challenge and was designed to bring entire families into the shooting sports arena.

Later, governing of the events and rules were taken over by the the NSSF and in 2018 the lead was taken by the RCSA which stands for the Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association. The organization is relatively new but the people and the purpose are not.

The goal is to continue to support the format established by Ruger Rimfire and continued by the NSSF Rimfire Challenge. The Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association will be a clearinghouse for participants and scheduled matches, provide the framework for events through the RCSA rule-book, promote Rimfire competition to interested individuals and organizations, support the efforts of beginning competitors and clubs, and solicit support for Rimfire events from organizations and industry interested in sustaining a shooting sport that provides opportunities for participants of all skill levels.

Their vision is to grow Rimfire Challenge to be the premier .22 rimfire sport by providing a shooting experience that engages new competitors and challenges experienced competitors. The RCSA Rimfire Challenge introduces participants to the fun and excitement of competitive shooting in a safe, low-pressure, family-friendly format.

All levels of target shooters—new, novice and experienced—are welcome to compete. Each will find a challenge appropriate to his or her level of marksmanship.

What to expect at a Rimfire Challenge match

The Rimfire Challenge was developed with safety in mind. Shooters are required to compete using a rifle and handgun from any manufacturer in .22 Long Rifle caliber. The targets are steel plates that are set in a course of fire that is no less than 5 plates and no more than 7 plates that are no smaller than 8″.

The course of fire is designed to be completed by even the most inexperienced shooter using one 10-round magazine without the need to reload “on the clock.” Steel plates were chosen as the targets because they are easy to buy or build, and because this type of target provides the shooter with immediate visual and audio feedback.

The initial investment required to participate in the RCSA Rimfire Challenge is low compared to other shooting sports. Since .22-caliber ammunition is very affordable, a whole family can shoot without breaking the bank. The guns that work well for Rimfire Challenge are some of America’s most popular firearms, like the Ruger 10/22 and Mossberg Plinkster rifles, along with semi-automatic .22 LR pistols such as the Browning Buckmark, Smith & Wesson Victory and the Ruger Mk IV.

There are two main divisions in Rimfire Challenge: Open, which allows for the use of red dot sights and other optics on your rifle and pistol, and Limited, which requires iron sights to be used on both guns. All RCSA Rimfire Challenge competitions must include stages for both handgun and rifle chambered for .22 Long Rifle only.

Competition is open to all safe and responsible individuals who can legally own or handle a firearm in the jurisdiction of the competition. Match Directors are free to create their own courses of fire for each stage according the guidelines in the rule book for the sport.

Competitors shoot each stage from one shooting position, and consist of five to seven steel targets set at a minimum of seven yards from the shooting box, and a maximum of 20 yards for a pistol shot and 60 yards for a rifle shot. Here is a match application that must be completed and submitted at least 60 days before the scheduled event. Below are a few great videos to give some insight into the match experience.

For any clubs who are interested in contacting the RCSA for more information about conducting matches at their venue, here is the organizations contact information.

Below are FAQs from the website that might answer some of your questions before you call.

  • Q. We are an indoor range with two bays that are 15 yards long by 9.6 yards wide. Does this space seem large enough to accommodate a Rimfire Challenge Course of Fire (COF)?A. Yes, the minimum safe distance for shooting steel is 7 yards. The Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association (RCSA RC) rules limit the distance of pistol targets to 20 yards and rifle targets to 35 yards. There is no rule regarding the width of a COF.
  • Q. Is there a minimum number of COF’s that a match must provide?A. There is no specified minimum or maximum number of COF’s for regularly scheduled or monthly matches. The minimum number of COF’s for a Registered match is three, each COF is shot with a pistol and a rifle yielding six stages.
  • Q. Could we run a handgun course from one bay and a rifle course simultaneously from another bay using only one COF per bay?A. Yes, if you have an adequate number of bays and quantity of steel.
  • Q. What kind of targets are used in Rimfire Challenge?A. Steel targets of various shapes and sizes, round, square and rectangular targets are preferred with a minimum size of 8”.
  • Q. Are we required to use 3/8” AR500 steel for our targets or can we use ¼” AR500 steel?A. ¼” AR500 steel is acceptable and safe to use for Rimfire Challenge however, 3/8” AR500 steel is preferred because it can also be used for centerfire calibers.
  • Q. My club already has steel that we use for other disciplines (Cowboy, USPSA, 3 Gun, etc..), do we have to buy steel just for RCSA RC?A. No, RCSA RC allows the use of existing steel targets as long as they meet the minimum size of 8″.
  • Q. Can I use reactive or frangible targets in my Rimfire Challenge match?A. No, frangible targets are not allowed in RCSA RC competition but reactive targets may be used if they are set to a static condition. Reactive targets do not perform reliably with .22 caliber ammunition and can be very frustrating to new and inexperienced shooters.
  • Q. Are any of your events held in an indoor range? If so, what targets are used?A. There are many indoor ranges that host RCSA RC matches. Standard steel targets are used.
  • Q. We are interested in being a host range for the RCSA Rimfire Challenge. Can you help us with the next steps?A. Go to www.rimfirechallenge.org for more information.
  • Q. Are the NSSF Rimfire Challenge and the RCSA Rimfire Challenge the same thing?A. The Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association assumed administrative control of the National Shooting Sports Foundation Rimfire Challenge on January 1, 2018 and the program is now the RCSA Rimfire Challenge.
  • Q. Is there a minimum age to participate in the RCSA RC program?A. No, there is no minimum age for participation in the RCSA RC program, young people mature at different rates and the only program requirement is that the participant be familiar with the firearms and trained in their safe handling.
  • Q. How do I find a range near me that hosts a Rimfire Challenge match?A. Go to www.rimfirechallenge.org and click on the Monthly Matches tab.
  • Q. Can I use a magazine with a capacity of greater than 11 rounds?A. Yes, but the 11 shot rule still applies. If more than 11 rounds are fired in a single string the shooter will be given a 30 second string time.
  • Q. Do I need any special equipment besides a Rimfire rifle and pistol?A. All that is required to participate are a rifle and pistol chambered in .22lr and 5 magazines for each. You must also be able to handle those firearms safely.
  • Q. Do I need to be an experienced competitor to participate in an RCSA Registered or World match?A. No you don’t need to be an experienced competitor to participate in these events, but you must be able to handle and manipulate your firearms safely.
  • Q. Can I shoot my .22 WMR guns in a Rimfire Challenge match?A. No, only firearms chambered in .22lr caliber may be used in RCSA RC events.
  • Q. Can I really be competitive using my “out of the box” guns?A. Yes, a large percentage of our participants use unmodified equipment.Q. How much does it cost to shoot a match?A. Match fees are set by the Host Club and vary from match to match.
  • Q. Do the same ranges host the state and world matches every year?A. No, any club can host an event as long as they have a facility and personnel to support that event. Although we do have many ranges and clubs that host events month after month or year after year.
  • Q. Are the targets expensive to purchase?A. Quality steel targets are not cheap, but considering how long they last if they are properly used and maintained they are worth the cost.
  • Q. Can I shoot just my pistol in a match?A. No, RCSA RC is a two gun (rifle and pistol) competition.
  • Q. Do I have to be an RCSA member to participate in RCSA RC events?A. No, RCSA RC competition is open to everyone.
  • Q. Can a competitor use a second 6 shot revolver for a reload when shooting Cowboy/Cowgirl Special Recognition Category?A. If the revolvers are 6 shot the competitor can use two but can’t fire more than 11 rounds in one string. If the revolver is 10 shot the competitor is limited to one gun.
  • Q. The rule book states that each stage consists of five (5) to seven (7) targets, hereafter referred to as plates, that are shot five (5) times, each of the five times is referred to as a String of Fire or String. Does this mean that a participant would shoot the same COF 5 separate times? Or that they would shoot 5 individual COF?A. The competitor will shoot each COF 5 times and the worst (longest) time is discarded and the 4 best (fastest) times are added together for the Stage time.


As already stated above, the Rimfire Challenge game has been around for some time. It has lasted because people have fun competing in it. If you are a member of a club who is interested in pursuing this type of match at your venue, all of the information to get started is supplied above. I highly recommend it.