The Northern Ireland .22LR Precision Rifle Scene

The Northern Ireland .22LR Precision Rifle Scene

The Rimfire Precision Rifle (PR) scene has come on leaps and bounds since a small number of members from Creggagh Field Target club got together with Keith from Team Jackal at the club deep in the Sperrin Mountains.  

It was a cold ,wet day which doesn’t narrow the time of year down in NI but this was in the middle of January 2022.  Keith has been competing in centre fire PR competitions for a couple of years now and was hooked from day 1.  

Competing for Keith mainly involves leaving home on a Thursday night, getting the overnight sailing to Liverpool and traveling down to a range in Wales for an event Saturday and Sunday.  Shorter trips involve shooting at competitions in Scotland at events run by Gardiner’s gun club, where Keith has been known to get the 0230 boat to Cairnryan and drive straight to the meeting point for 0800 before returning from that event on the last sailing back to Belfast.

The banter, camaraderie and the great craic makes the trips worthwhile. Keith has met some great characters in the short time he has been shooting PRS and although going through a bad patch in terms of results he makes it very clear that he has enjoyed almost every minute of it.  Keith has a clear goal of introducing 22 PR matches to shooters in N Ireland and does not try to hide that this is driven by a selfish motive, to shoot more without buying shares in Stenaline.  The support from members of Creggagh has been phenomenal and more than Keith could ever have hoped for from the outset.

The facilities at Creggagh Field Target club are ideal for .22 PR events and allow for enjoyable and challenging course of fires.  Targets regularly range out to over 230M which is on the limit for most of the rifles used in the event without creeping into more than 20 MOA rails etc.  The shoots have welcomed a mix of shooters from seasoned hunters, target shooters new to positional shooting , novice shooters along with some seasoned and successful PR competitors from Southern Ireland and GB.

Keith has mentioned on more than one occasion up to 4 shooters would be sharing his Bergara B14R rifle and kit as the goal is to get people to come along and have a go.  It is a sport where the amount of gear used by competitors can get out of hand quickly but it doesn’t have to. The must have in Keith’s eyes are a good consistent rifle with 2 x 10 round magazines, a FFP scope in MRAD with a MRAD reticle such as a Vortex Diamondback tactical or Vortex Strike Eagle.  An ARCA rail and ARCA compatible Bipod are a massive help but not critical to an enjoyable day shooting PR.  A decent barricade bag is a must but it is worth trying as many as possible before committing to a particular bag.  

One thing you will encounter, is no shortage of shooters offering the use of their kit at a PR shoot so please don’t feel you need to splash out. 

Creggagh aims to host a .22 PR shoot every 4-6 weeks culminating in a 2 day event scheduled for 14/15th September 2023. The intention of the 2 day event in September is to make this an annual competition in memory of Martin McNichol who passed suddenly in 2022. Martin was one of the biggest supporters of the 22 PRS events and his enthusiasm and professionalism will be greatly missed. The Vortex Razor spotting scope that is used at every event we run was kindly donated by Martins Family.

April 2023 will see a massive step forward in the 22 PR Scene in Ireland as a whole with matches scheduled at Ballymena Rifle and Pistol club 15/4, good work from Aaron Rainey for arranging the shoot at Ballymena and for his continued support with the wider 22 PR scene in N Ireland. Another shout out goes to Paul Dowling who has been a massive supporter of all the events that Keith has put on at Creggagh , in fact it is not uncommon for Paul to be one of the first on site after traveling over 3 hours to the venue. Paul has worked hard to introduce the sport to clubs south of the border with a workshop arranged 15/4 at Harbour House sports club which again has fantastic facilities on offer to shooters. Creggagh Field Target Club would like to extend a massive thanks to Paul and Element optics for the very kind donation of a Element Optics scope to be used on the club rifle , this will allow shooters to compete with the club rifle fitted with a scope fit for purpose.  Paul hosted a 22 PR comp 22/4 and the goal for the later part of 2023 is to run a mini 22 PR League at Creggagh Field Target club, Ballymena Rifle and Pistol Club and Harbour House sports club.

Watch this space and anyone looking to shoot the southern events make sure you get you visitors permit application underway.

Interested in getting into Precision Rifle shooting but don't know where to start? Drop us a line and one of the team will be happy to talk you through the kit you need, where to shoot and anything else we can assist with to get you on the road.


Article credit: Keith Bradley - Team Jackal NI 

Follow Keith here -

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published