By Kimball Vaughn
Jan 11, 2018

Program Feature for LDS Youth: Rifle Shooting

What does it take to be a great marksman? Have you ever given thought as to the many different choices of rifle shooting that are available? Did you know that rifle shooting is a recognized sport in the Olympics?

Rifle shooting offers you the ability to increase your skills and enjoy the exciting sport over a lifetime. The choices for different levels of rifle target shooting are endless. This program feature lets you and fellow young men and women learn how to become marksmen and enjoy the exciting sport of rifle shooting.

This article features the program module from Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews Volume 1. (You can also read this article for more information on how to plan using the program resources.)

First, you will need to understand the importance of how to safely handle a rifle by learning what the different parts of a rifle are and how they operate. As you master the fundamentals of shooting, your excitement will grow as your accuracy improves. Let’s get started.

Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3

Meeting Plans & Ideas: Rifle Shooting

This month’s activities should:

  • Teach Scouts how to handle guns safely.
  • Help Scouts understand the parts of a rifle and different types of ammunition.
  • Emphasize the importance of properly caring for firearms.
  • Help Scouts build their self-confidence by learning new skills.
  • Introduce Scouts to a potential lifelong hobby.

As a leadership team, you may want to discuss the following items when choosing rifle shooting as your program feature during your planning meetings.

Troop Meeting Planning Form
Click above for fillable troop meeting planning form.
  • What is our unit’s current skill level?
  • What will we do for our main event?
  • Do we know someone who is an NRA rifle instructor?
  • What are the BSA rules for handling firearms?
  • Do we have a copy of the current BSA NationalShooting Sports Manual for reference?
  • What materials, firearms, and other equipment do we need for our demonstrations?
  • What location is needed for meetings—our normal meeting place or a shooting range?
  • Is there any cost factor involved?


Preopening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

  • As Scouts arrive, have them determine their dominant eye as follows:
    1. Extend arms forward and form an opening between your hands.
    2. With both eyes open, look at a distant object through the opening.
    3. Bring hands to face while looking at the object. The opening will be aligned with your dominant eye.
  • Invite a local rifle enthusiast to set up a show-and-tell display of his equipment.
  • As Scouts arrive, show Internet videos of trick rifle shooting or Olympic rifle competition.
  • As Scouts arrive, have a gun enthusiast show rifles that have been mistreated or poorly cared for or that are otherwise unsafe to use.


Opening Ideas on Troop Program Resources



Safe Gun Handling

  • Have an NRA instructor teach the fundamentals of safe gun handling.


  • Have an NRA instructor teach about various types of ammunition, including pellets, BBs, and .22 caliber bullets.
  • Discuss the uses, advantages, and disadvantages of each type of ammunition, and discuss ammunition malfunctions

Shooting Skills

  • Have an NRA instructor do the following:
    — Briefly explain the different types of shooting positions and how and when they are used.
    — Teach the commands used by a range officer.

Gun Care

  • Have an NRA instructor discuss general principles of cleaning and properly storing firearms.


3 Categories

Safe Gun Handling

  • EssentialLearn the parts of bolt-action rifles.

  • ChallengingLearn the parts of bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles.

  • AdvancedLearn the parts of multiple-action rifles.


  • EssentialLearn how to properly load and unload a bolt-action rifle using dummy ammunition.

  • ChallengingReview how to properly load and unload two types of rifles using dummy ammunition, BBs, or pellets.

Shooting Skills

  • EssentialLearn how to properly get into the bench rest position and when to use it.
  • Learn the five fundamentals of shooting a rifle safely

  • ChallengingLearn how to properly get into the bench rest and prone positions and when to use them.
  • Learn the five fundamentals of shooting a rifle safely.

  • AdvancedLearn how to properly get into all shooting positions and when to use each.
  • Learn the five fundamentals of shooting a rifle safely.

Gun Care

  • EssentialPractice cleaning BB and pellet guns.

  • ChallengingPractice cleaning .22 rifles.

  • AdvancedPractice cleaning multiple-action rifles.



Getting Ready for the Main Event

  • Menu Planning
  • Duty Roster Planning
  • Equipment check

Preparation for the meeting’s game or challenge


Library of Games and Challenges on Troop Program Resources

  • Rifle Parts Relay
    Materials: NRA posters showing different parts of rifles for different action types or, if there is an NRA instructor available and the location permits, different rifles for the different skill levels
    – Method: Teams line up relay-style at the opposite end of the room from the posters or rifles. On a signal, the first player on each team runs forward. The instructor or leader points to a specific part of a rifle and asks the Scout to name it or tell what it is used for. After the Scout answers, he runs back and tags the next player. Continue until time is called.
    Scoring: Each correct answer is worth 1 point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
    Note: After the game, review any terms that Scouts seemed to have trouble remembering or understanding.
  • Kim’s Game, Ammunition Edition
    Materials: Fifteen to 20 pieces of ammunition (pellets, BBs, .22 caliber dummy ammunition); there can be several of each type; paper and pencil for each team.
    Method: Ahead of time, put each piece of ammunition in a paper cup and line the cups up along a table. The Scouts walk along the table in single file and try to memorize the items they see in order without speaking or taking notes. Afterward, each team meets and writes down the list of items they saw.
    Scoring: The team with the most accurate list wins.
  • Rifle Terms Matching
    Materials: For each team, two sets of 20 to 25 index cards—one set of rifle-shooting terms (one per card) and one set of definitions for those terms (one per card); see the Rifle Shooting merit badges pamphlet for possibilities.
    Method: Assign one judge to each team. Have each team shuffle all its cards together. On a signal, each team tries to sort its cards into matching term/definition pairs. When a team thinks it has succeeded, it asks its judge to check its work. The judge either confirms that the team has won or points out one (and only one) incorrect pair. Play continues until one team wins.
    – Note: The other teams can continue to work while a judge is checking his team’s work. This should discourage teams from too quickly declaring that they are finished since they will lose valuable time while their judge is checking their work.
  • Catapults
    Materials: A toy catapult, slingshot, or balloon launcher for each team or Scout; see the BSA National Shooting Sports Manual for instructions on building a simple catapult.
    Method: Set up targets and take turns aiming at the targets.
    – Scoring: Award 1 point for each target hit or give points for shooting a projectile the longest distance.
    – Notes: Do not aim any shooting device at a person. Never shoot any projectile—even if it is soft or seems to be harmless—at or near people, animals, or personal property. This includes water balloons.


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