What is the Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association?

Would you like to get started in shooting competitions, either to have fun with your family or just want to get more comfortable shooting a pistol and rifle? Then, the Rimfire challenge is perfect for you. The Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association (RCSA) is a.22LR rifle and pistol program created to introduce new people to the shooting sports and provide a pathway to shooting competition. This shooting competition quality match gives both new and experienced shooters the ability to excel at the shooting sport by shooting steel targets using .22LR pistols and rifles. Isn’t that awesome for a new firearm owner? What is more: Rimfire challenge experienced shooters are very willing to help new shooters out no matter what your level of experience is.

Down Memory Lane

In 2008, Rimfire Challenge was created by Ken Jorgensen, Sturm Ruger, and co., alongside Michael Bane and the late Nelson Dymond. At the time, it was known as the Ruger Rimfire Challenge. Later in the year 2014, the National Association for the Firearms Industry assumed administration of the Rimfire Challenge Program changing the name to the NSSF Rimfire Challenge. They announced a couple of years later that the NSSF Rimfire challenge will be transitioned into a brand new organization. About two (2) years ago, precisely January 2018, the transition took place, and it has since then adopted the name: The Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association (RCSA).

The Rimfire Challenge Design

The RCSA’s Rimfire competitions are designed to be fun and safe shooting matches for the entire family. It incorporates both .22LR pistols and rifles. Courses of fire are created with safety as the top priority but feature with fun scenarios that meet any shooter’s skill level. Just like it was stated in the general rules of Rimfire: “ If you can’t have fun, you are in the wrong place”. Shooters are required to compete using rifles and handguns from any manufacturer in .22Long Rifle Caliber. The targets to be shot at, are steel plates that are set in a course of fire that is no less than 5 plates and no more than 7 plates.

Courses of Fire

The course of fire is also known as a string of fire or stage. Unlike steel challenge where each stage is consistent from match to match; Rimfire challenge has different stages regardless of the club you join. A Rimfire challenge match is run in a series of stages; each stage consists of a different number of steel plates in different configurations. You have to shoot each plate as quickly as possible, stopping the timer once the “stop plate” is shot.

In the Rimfire Challenge, competitors shoot each stage from one shooting position, and each stage consists of five (5) to seven (7) steel targets set at a minimum of seven (7) yards from the shooting-box, a maximum of twenty (20) yards for a pistol shot, and sixty (60) yards for a rifle shot. However, there’s always an anomalous in case those maximum distances seem a bit daunting, the Rimfire challenge shooting Association rule book suggests that “90% of shooters should be able to hit 90% of the target 90% of the time”.

Scoring in Rimfire Challenge

Just like we have in steel challenge: your time is your score. Each course of fire is shot five (5) times and your score is the time it takes you to shoot the stage five (5) times, plus any penalties for missed shots, engaging targets from outside the shooting area, and other infractions. The scores for each course of fire/string/stage are totaled up and the winner of the match is the person with the lowest overall score.


  • 2 seconds penalty for missed plate
  • 30 seconds penalty for missing stop plate
  • 2 seconds penalty for foot fault or false shot
  • Worst string for each stage is dropped
  • Maximum time per string is 30 seconds

Rimfire Challenge Division

There are two main divisions in the Rimfire challenge – open and limited. The open division allows any firearm (pistol or revolver in handgun class) with scopes, optical sights, light gathering scopes, battery powered optics, reflex optics or lasers. The limited division, on the other hand, allows any firearm (pistol or revolver in handgun class) with iron sights, adjustable sights, fiber optics, and compensators – no electronic sights or optics are allowed in the Limited division. Asides these two (2) divisions in the Rimfire challenge, there are special recognition categories which must have at least three participants for such a category to be recognized by RCSA. The special recognitions are:

  • Cowboy/cowgirl – this requires single-action revolvers and period lever-action or pump-action rifles with iron sights. All participants in this category must wear a cowboy hat in competition.
  • Lady – female participants of any age
  • Youth – both male and female participants age 12 and under
  • Junior – both male and female participants age 13-17
  • Senior – both male and female participants age 55-64
  • Super senior – both male and female participants age 65 and older

Required Equipment and Ammunition

In the Rimfire challenge, you must compete with both a rifle and a handgun chambered in .22 Long Rifles (.22LR) to qualify for match completion. The only thing that could exempt you is if local laws have age restrictions that prevent you from shooting a handgun. So, you will need:

  • .22LR pistol; semi-auto or revolver with 5 magazines or speed loaders
  • 22LR rifle; semi-auto, lever, or pump with 5 magazines or tube loader.
  • Magazines; try to have at least 5 loaded magazines or speed loaders for each firearm prior to starting the stage for match efficiency. In case, you don’t have 5 loaded magazines, contact the match director to see if they can loan you more or let the squad safety officer know and someone will reload for you when that is up.
  • Ammo; you should have up to 11 rounds per string or approximately 400 round max.

The Range Commands

The commands utilized by the Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association are the same as the Steel Challenge Shooting Association’s range commands. You can read my write-up on the steel challenge.

Safety Rules

Handling firearms in The Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association is like handling firearms everywhere. The safety rules for handling firearms are practically the same.

Wrapping Up

With all these, you will agree that this challenge is designed to introduce new shooters to the shooting sports in an exciting, family-friendly format. Their matches are open to shooters of all ages and shooting experience levels. All in all, The Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association is a feeder into the more intense shooting sports because it will take you as a new shooter and teaches you how to safely manipulate your new firearms, as well as how to shoot on a clock. Hence, it’s safe to say being a new firearms owner with little or no experience with competitive shooting doesn’t stop you from shooting The Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association – because its courses of fire are designed to be completed by even the most inexperienced shooter using one 10-round magazine without the need to reload “on the clock”. I highly recommend you check it out.

Thanks for reading what I hope is an informative article and I hope it gives you all the information you need. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions Please leave them below.

Have a Great Day!five-charlie-bullet






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