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TFB WINTER GAMES: A Look At The Biathlon Event

This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com

With the closing ceremonies only a few days away, the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea is drawing to a end. Unfortunately, for those who don’t run in specific snow-shooting-sports circles, the Winter Games that come around every four years is our only chance to watch the Biathlon – a cross country skiing event featuring rimfire rifle target shooting on special closed courses.

Part of our coverage of the 2018 Olympic Biathlon is going to center on building a “civilian” version of a biathlon rifle – a straight pull rimfire setup that is functional, practical and fun. We are running a bit behind schedule, so you are going to have to extend your Olympic excitement for a week or two. However, the build has begun and will also be a part of the Mod Minute collaboration with Brownells.

Also, below you will find a brief overview of the sport with rules, equipment choices and events.


If you are interested in following along with what I’m dubbing the ‘Practical Biathlon’ build (in reality, it’s a lightweight, Straight Pull 1022 chassis with a low magnification optic), here’s a list of our parts and suppliers:

PWS Summit Receiver (Now manufactured by Volquartsen): https://volquartsen.com/inventory_configurations/1378

Build your own bolt action tackdriver with our new Summit receiver and bolt. 

Product Number: VCB‑LRA‑B

MSRP: $550


BROWNELLS 100-007-120WB: PWS T3 TENSION BARREL: https://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts/barrel-parts/rifle-barrels/ruger-10-22-t3-tension-barrel-prod42983.aspx

Lightweight Yet Rigid For Superb Accuracy

Sleeved barrel saves weight while providing exceptional rigidity for superb accuracy. Internal barrel is turned from a 1″ diameter chrome-moly steel blank to an ultra-lightweight contour, then surrounded by a tensioned external carbon fiber sleeve. The match-grade chamber is precisely cut to ensure reliable feeding with all ammunition types except – do not use CCI Stinger ammo. Muzzle has ½”-28 tpi threads to accept popular brakes and flash suppressors. Includes threaded muzzle cap for a finished look with no accessory installed. Big Book Catalog, Issue:70, Page:167

MSRP: $235.99


Victor Company Titan 1022 Stock: http://victorcompanyusa.com/titan-1022.html

Designed for the Ruger® 10/22® semi-automatic rifle, the TITAN 1022 is the luxury precision solution for your 10/22®. Featuring the “Anchor Lock System”, the Titan secures the 10/22® receiver to aircraft-grade hardened aluminum bedding in the front and rear of the action for maximum accuracy.

MSRP: $189.99 – Titan Stock bundle


Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7×33 Rimfire Scope – https://www.leupold.com/scopes/rifle-scopes/vx-freedom-rimfire-2-7×33

A new generation of shooters deserves a new riflescope. With the VX®-Freedom™ you get best-in-class optics and unbeatable accuracy. It’s also everything you expect from a Leupold: designed, machined, and assembled in our Oregon factory, tested to the same ruggedness standards as our top-tier riflescopes, and guaranteed for a lifetime of performance.

MSRP: $234.99


Lapua Polar Biathlo .22LR Ammunition – http://www.lapua.com/en/ammunition/calibers/polar-biathlon

Polar Biathlon has been behind most biathlon medals worldwide for years. Ideal performance under all conditions with best possible results.

@ Brownells for $17.99/50 (749-058-165WB)



Olympic Biathalon Results and schedule

https://www.olympic.org/biathlon

ROOTS IN SURVIVAL

The word biathlon stems from the Greek word for two contests, and is today seen as the joining of two sports; skiing and shooting. Biathlon has its roots in survival skills practised in the snow-covered forests of Scandinavia, where people hunted on skis with rifles slung over their shoulders.


Biathlon – Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biathlon

A biathlon competition consists of a race in which contestants ski through a cross-country trail system whose total distance is divided into either two or four shooting rounds, half in prone position, the other half standing. Depending on the shooting performance, extra distance or time is added to the contestant’s total running distance/time. The contestant with the shortest total time wins.

Equipment:

Mauser or Fortner bolt action rimfire rifles.

Examples:

ANSCHÜTZ 64 Biathlon Sprint – Entry Level

  • Optimal entry-level Model, based on Model 1827 F proven reliable technique.
  • Excellent price/performance ratio.
  • Cold-tested special nitrided precision target steel barrel for long service life.
  • Very reliable Match 64 based action.
  • Unique butt plate and cheek piece adjustment.
  • Light weight special walnut stock.
  • Rail for harness and target sling.
  • Even faster exchange of the magazines.
  • Special front sight with snow cover.
  • Included accessories
  • Biathlon front sight 6865, four 5-shot magazines, tools and manual with original test target.

ANSCHÜTZ 1827 F

From 1979 the rules required a small bore rifle with rim cartridge primer in cal. .22 l.r. (5.6 mm) for biathlon shooting. This caliber, next to air rifle shooting, is used exclusively for the Olympic Summer Games for rifles disciplines. These small bore rifles are relatively heavy, up to 7.5 kg and have a cylinder action with lateral bolt handle which is lifted and pulled back for loading to feed the cartridge in by hand. Subsequently the action is pulled forward and locked by the lateral bolt handle which is turned downwards. When the biathletes turned to small bore rifles the cylinder action of J.G. ANSCHÜTZ GmbH & Co. KG was equipped with a repeater device and a 5-shot magazine and the weight of the rifle was reduced to 4.5 kg. With the extremely light firing pin with only 4 mm travel this rifle got an extremely short locktime of 4 m/s, i. e. that the bullet left the barrel after 4 m/s after the shot had been released by the trigger. It is of utmost importance for the shooter that the bullet leaves the barrel as fast as possible after shot release to reduce aiming mistakes.

Delivered with:

Biathlon front sight 6865, five 5-shot magazines, extra firing pin, adapter for dry firing, 2 raiser blocks, screw driver, Allan key and manual with original test target.


LARSEN CARRYING HARNESS

A rigid, two-strap harness that holds the rifle more securely under intense skiing over a traditional sling.

LARSEN harness, a natural choice for many of the world’s best biathletes. The harness is used by the Norwegian, Swedish and French national teams.

The special design of Larsen harness provides minimal wind resistance while shooting.
The harness fits body well. Padded layer makes the harness comfortable for body and ensures free work of arms while skiing. Shoulder padding ensures comfort between harness and the athelte’s back.
Braced schoulderstraps ensures that the harness will keeps the shape and make shooting drill faster and easy. The length of the fixing bolt ensures a good distance between the barrel and athlete’s nape.

LARSEN harness has undergone several changes:

  • reduced size
  • better fit
  • enhanced attachment of rifle
  • reinforced bracket in harness

Included into the set:

  • tightening wrench for mounting bolt
  • bracket and screws to attach the elastic straps to the buttstock
  • Materials: leather, elastic straps, metal, plastic

Sights:

Special Biathlon front sight 6865 adjustable in height incl. rear sight elevation 8 mm and snow cap.


Shooting and targets:

The target range shooting distance is 50 metres (160 ft). There are five circular targets to be hit in each shooting round. When shooting in the prone position, the target diameter is 45 millimetres (1.8 in); when shooting in the standing position, the target diameter is 115 millimetres (4.5 in). On all modern biathlon ranges, the targets are self-indicating, in that they flip from black to white when hit, giving the biathlete, as well as the spectators, instant visual feedback for each shot fired.

For each shooting round, the biathlete must hit five targets and receives a penalty for each missed target, which varies according to the competition rules, as follows:*

  • Skiing around a 150-metre (490 ft) penalty loop—typically taking 20–30 seconds for elite biathletes to complete, depending on weather and snow conditions.
  • Adding one minute to the skier’s total time.
  • Use of an extra cartridge (placed at the shooting range) to hit the target; only three such extras are available for each round, and a penalty loop must be done for each target left standing.

* IBU Congress (2014), IBU Event and Competition Rules


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