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Practical Rifle is for those who want a comprehensive course in the essential elements of field rifle-craft, especially useful for hunters and those employed in pest control. Whether a novice or a shooter who wants to enhance existing skills, this course will challenge and strengthen your marksmanship where it really counts -- in the field. The class will provide a thorough understanding of exterior and terminal ballistics at ranges from 25 to 300m, and students will learn to hit quickly from standing, kneeling, squatting, sitting and prone positions. You will shoot in simulators paralleling conditions in the field, with an emphasis on quick target acquisition at extended and unknown ranges. By the end of your course, if you can see it, you should be able to hit it – on demand and under time pressure.


Practical Rifle Outline.

(This basic outline should not be considered a complete syllabus.)

Performance Objectives.

Classroom Theory understanding:

  1. Firearms development.

  2. Firearms types/actions.

  3. Firearms nomenclature.

  4. Choosing a firearm and caliber.

  5. Practical Ballistics of the rifle and cartridge.

  6. Achieving a zero with your rifle.

  7. Firearm tuning and accessories.

  8. You and the Law.

  9. The Seven Rules of Firearm Safety.

  10. Game animal anatomy and humane shot placement.

  11. Gun cleaning and maintenance.

  12. Humane livestock dispatch.

Practical Firearms handling:

  1. Range Safety Rules and Conduct.

  2. The Practical rifle mindset.

  3. Basic Marksmanship stance.

  4. Practical rifle technique.

  5. Loading / unloading firearms.

  6. The firing stroke.

  7. Achieving a Zero

  8. The snapshot

  9. Clearing malfunctions.

  10. Supported firing positions.

  11. The use of the rifle sling.

  12. Position shooting 15- 300 meters.

  13. Carry methods.

  14. Pivots and turns.

  15. Shooting with movement.


Course Length: 2 Days

Course Fee: $950 Incl gst

Ammo reqd: Minimum 200rds

Guidelines for Sparrowhawk Practical Rifle Students.



Bear in mind that this is a Practical rifle course. Most of our work will be done at 200m or less, under reasonable time pressure and using intermediate or field-expedient shooting positions. If you are a hunter or an aspiring hunter, bring the rifle you intend to carry in the field. Iron sighted or military rifles are also suitable. You are welcome to use a heavy-barrelled precision rifle, mounting a high power scope, but it won’t give you an advantage and may actually hinder some of our firing drills.

We require a sling on your rifle. A simple leather or nylon carry strap is adequate, but still better is a three point, Ching sling, or military loop sling that can also provide shooting support when properly applied.(Effective use of a shooting sling will be part of your training.)



Any centrefire calibre is acceptable, with non magnum cartridges preferred ( this saves wear and tear on both our reactive targets and your shoulder, over the period of the Course).

If you plan to supply your own ammunition, you’ll need to ensure that it feeds and fires reliably in your rifle before your arrival at Sparrowhawk. Match grade performance is not essential. We don’t allow steel cored or tracer ammunition on any of our Ranges.

You will also need the means to carry readily-accessible spare rounds, belt loops/ pouches or buttstock carriers will all suffice.





The Sparrowhawk Range Complex at Shenley Station is a registered private facility. The home of the Cave Pistol Club, recognised by the NZ Police and Pistol NZ. The facility, comprising of eight united ranges and simulators to facilitate handgun, practical rifle, sporting shotgun, assault rifle and combat shotgun and open country precision rifle.



Emphasis being on practical shooting, both paper and steel reactive targets are used.



Applicants are encouraged to provide their own firearms, their own ammunition also. . Firearms should be in a safe working condition.



If you are not supplying own ammunition we can provide an ammunition package is available by prior arrangement.

If we are notified a specific Match ammunition package can be supplied.

Reloaded ammunition policy: Dedicated home loads, developed for Precision Rifle or  fully developed reloaded ammunition is acceptable. Do not use our courses as an opportunity to test or develop your home loads.



For first time students especially, bring an open mind and a sense of humour- and be prepared for the most enjoyable and most challenging days you’ve ever spent with a firearm. 



Hearing protection, safety glasses, hat, seasonal clothing, warm clothing, Boots, Wet weather gear (we don’t stop!), water bottle, knee pads, elbow pads (optional). A pack that you can fit all this in! An ammunition carrier is a useful addition, as is a belt or pouch carrier. Flashlight, small hand held intense (60 lumen minimum) flashlight with a rear button actuation switch is desirable. Quality flashlights are available for purchase by prior arrangement.



Comfortable accommodation (Homestead style) is available by request onsite. Cottage sleeps 12 people, is fully furnished with cooking utensils and cutlery provided. Students will however need to provide their own food and bring sleeping bags or bedding.

Price: $45 pp/night

Albury Inn is located 12km from the ranges and has firearms friendly accommodation.



It is your responsibility to inform us of any of the above to facilitate the continuity of the Course for both the students and the Instructors. Shooting with movement, under stress, requires students to have a reasonable level of fitness.


Our Instructors will endeavour to provide the best firearms and practical training in their field and are invited because; of their knowledge of the doctrine and communication skills along with their standing in associations involved their discipline. We endeavour to keep a student/instructor ratio of 3:1.



It should not be necessary to point out that firearms can cause severe inadvertent damage in careless hands. There are no “accidents” with guns – only negligence. You will be carefully and forcefully instructed in the principles of safe gun handling. Any student who unsafely or negligently discharges his/her firearm on or off the range during the Course will have their tuition fee returned and be dismissed from the Course.



A Release, Discharge, Indemnity form will be required to be filled out by all applicants, any visitor, observer or other persons not actively on the Course, on entering the property and prior to the commencement of the Course. A copy of which can be found Here



Most Sparrowhawk classes are graded as a measurement technique to let students know how their learning experience fits into the wide range of performances seen at the school. These grades are reflected on your certificates at graduation. Although there will be several formal range exercises tested, the overall grading is necessarily subjective due to the specialized performance-oriented tasks encountered in the courses. The grading process is heavily weighted against your marksmanship abilities. The extensive experience of the Rangemasters and Instructors in evaluating individual skills across the spectrum of performances is used to assign grades. Several advanced level classes are not graded due to the specialized nature of their content.

No one is required to accept a graded certificate.  If you prefer not to have a grade on your certificate, let your Rangemaster know at any time during the course

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