Target Shooting

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Target Shooting


in the broad sense, the firing of rifles, pistols, air guns, and shotguns for sport, together with sports archery; in sports terminology, riflery and pistol shooting. Target shooting derives from shooting competitions with bows and arbalests.

Rifle and pistol shooting. Rifle and pistol shooting involve marksmanship with rifles, pistols, and air guns. Modern matches include slow fire (1–3 min per round) at targets with ten concentric circles and a black center (bull’s eye) and rapid fire (3 sec/round or a series of five rounds at times of 20,10, 8, 6, and 4 sec) at fixed silhouette targets and at running-boar targets, moving at speeds of 2 and 4 m/sec (normal run and fast run). The number of scored rounds per exercise ranges from 40 to 120.

The first rifle shooting matches were held in Switzerland in 1824. Since the second half of the 19th century, rifle shooting has spread to the majority of countries and has been included in the Olympic Games, with the exception of the 1904 and 1928 games. World championships have been held since 1897 (once every four years since 1954).

In Russia the first rifle matches were held in Khabarovsk in 1898. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Russian championships and army matches have been held each year. The champions in pistol snooting were M. V. Semichov (1904–05) and N“. A. Panin-Kolomenkin (1906–17); rifle champions were F. N. Lebe-dev, E. E. Teviashov, O. A. Shmunk, V. A. Luchinskii, and A. A. Smirnskii. Russian marksmen at the 1912 Olympic Games, in Stockholm, took second and fourth places in team pistol shooting.

In the USSR, all-Union rifle and pistol matches have been held annually since 1923. Rifle and pistol shooting were included in the program of the All-Union Spartakiad in 1928. The First All-Union Komsomol Target Shooting Competition was held in 1934, and the Shooting Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR in 1938. The badges Voroshilov Marksman First and Second Class were established in 1923, which contributed to the development of rifle and pistol shooting. The insignia were awarded to sportsmen for meeting standards in shooting small-bore or service rifles. As early as the 1930’s and 1940’s, such Soviet marksmen as M. D. Volkova, D. P. Ivanov, I. K. Andreev, P. D. Dolgoboro-dov, B. V. Andreev, M. A. Itkis, and B. P. Pereberin had broken official world records; these marksmen successfully participated in international postal matches. In the 1950’s, the present-day system of annual matches on a varying scale was developed; the program is similar to that of the European and world championships. In addition to the championships, the following competitions are held: annual USSR junior championships (since 1969), youth championships based on the Olympics program (once every four years since 1973), and interdepartmental team championships for air guns (since 1970; for the USSR Cup, since 1973). Rifle and pistol snooting have been included in the Uniform All-Union Sports Classification since 1949 and in the Ready for Labor and Defense (GTO) physical fitness program.

Soviet marksmen have participated in the Olympic Games and the world and European championships since 1952. The Sports Shooting Federation of the USSR was established in 1959 on the basis of a section that had existed since 1924. Since 1952 the federation has been a member of the International Shooting Union (founded 1921; included 98 national federations in 1975) and the European Shooting Confederation (founded 1969; included 31 national federations in 1973). European championships are held every two years.

Individual and team world records are based on the results of the Olympic Games and the world and various continent championships; a total of 48 records exist in 13 men’s and 5 women’s programs. As of Jan. 1, 1976, Soviet marksmen held nine individual and 12 team world records. Olympic champions included A. I. Bogdanov, V. F. Borisov, V. P. Romanenko, A. I. Gush-chin, V. M. Shamburkin, G. G. Kosykh, and Ia. I. Zhelezniak. Important marksmen in the development of rifle and pistol shooting have included I. K. Andreev, A. A. Vasil’ev, L. M. Vainsh-tein, I. G. Voiniunskii, O. M. Zhgutov, V. V. Iodko, I. R. Io-khel’son, V. A. Kaveshnikov, G. G. Kozlov, R. A. Minin, E. P. Sentiurina, A. A. Smirnskii, P. D. Ponomarev, E. L. Khaidurov, P. G. Shugaev, I. M. Esel’son, A. A. Iur’ev, B. V. Andreev, and V. A. Gaage.

Between 1965 and 1975,1,978 masters of sport and 179 masters of sport of the international class were trained. The title of Honored Master of Sport was conferred on 76 people, and the title of Honored Coach of the USSR on 36 people.

Abroad, rifle and pistol shooting have undergone the greatest development in the USA, the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, and the Scandinavian countries.

Rifle shooting has been included in military patrol cross-country ski races, the biathlon, and the naval all-round events; pistol shooting has been included in the modern pentathlon and military-practical all-round events.

Wing shooting. Wing shooting is shooting with shotguns and shot at flying disks made of clay or asphalt (trapshooting) or live pigeons. The modern program of trapshooting competition was introduced in 1880, when clay pigeons were first used in place of glass balls filled with smoke or feathers. Trapshooting is conducted

Table 1. USSR and world records in shooting (as of Jan. 1, 1976)
Distance (m)Weapon exercise, number of rounds, and targetIndividualTeam
1Record held jointly
2People’s Democratic Republic of Korea
3Established by a woman
4Established in 1963; the majority of the other all-Union and world records were established Between 1969 and 1975
300Total 3 × 20571V. P. Avilov575D. Kimes
L. Wigger1
300Total 3 × 40
prone 40
standing 40
kneeling 40
L. K. Lustberg
A. S. Aleksandrenok
S. S. Ermilov
S. S. Ermilov,
V. M. Kornev1
G. Anderson
R. J. Pojer
L. Wigger
V. M. Kornev
50Total 3 × 40
prone 40
standing 40
kneeling 40
V. M. Danil’chenko
V. M. Parkhimovich
V. M. Agishev
G. G. Lushchikov
L. Wigger
J. Kurka,
J. Waibel1
M. Murdock
B. Klingner
50Total 3 × 20586L. K. Lustberg579J. WriterUSA2,3052,297USSR
50prone 60600V. M. Parkhimovich599Ho Jim Li,
K. Bulan1
50Running boar
30 + 30
589I. P. Zernov577H. Bellingrodt,
V. I. Postoianov1
50Running boar
(combined) 40
392Ia. I. Zhelezniak385V. I. PostoianovUSSR1,5331,533USSR
10Standing 40
3913B. V. Zarinia393O. VasquezMexico1,5421,529Poland
25Circle and silhouette
30 + 30
594R. V. Suleimanov597T. SmithUSA2,3552,353USA
50Circle 60573G. G. Kosykh572G. G. KosykhUSSR2,2562,244USSR
2 × 30
599M. V. Ziubko598G. LiverzaniItaly2,3732,370Rumania
20 + 20 + 20
581V. V.Torshin582L. FaltaCzechoslovakia2,3032,303USSR
10Circle 40
593A. V. Snezhko392G. G. Kosykh
50Total 3 × 20585B. V. Zarinia580A. PelovaBulgaria1,7301,717USSR
50prone 605994E. A. Donskaia598E. Rolihska,
M. Murdock1
10standing 40
391B. V. Zarinia391B. V. ZariniaUSSR1,1501,150USSR
25Circle and
30 + 30
592E. L. Semenenko587N. A. StoliarovaUSSR1,7551,752USSR
10Circle 40389N. L Kalinina387N. A. StoliarovaUSSR1,1471,147USSR

on a field with a line of five stands; the gunner, in preparing to shoot at the released target, holds the shotgun against his shoulder. In skeet, the competitor shoots from one of eight stands arranged on a segment of a circle; he holds the shotgun at his hip and fires quickly when the target is released.

Wing shooting arose in England in the Middle Ages. It has undergone the greatest development in France, Italy, the USSR, Spain, Canada, the USA, Rumania, Poland, the German Democratic Republic, and the Federal Republic of Germany.

In Russia, the first competitions in wing shooting with birds as targets were held in 1737. Firing at artificial flying targets has existed as a sport since the turn of the 20th century. Trapshooting has been included in the Olympic Games since 1900, with the exception of the 1904 and 1936 games; modern rules, specifying 200 targets, have been followed since 1952. Skeet has been included in the Olympic Games since 1968. Individual and team world championships have been held since 1935 for trapshooting and since 1947 for skeet; women’s championships (individual only) in both sports have been held since 1962. There have been European championships for men since 1955 and for women since 1964.

In the USSR, all-Union trapshooting competitions have been conducted since 1934 and skeet competitions since 1948; the competitions are held annually, and the program is similar to that used in rifle and pistol matches. In addition, trapshooting includes handicap rounds, and skeet rounds may feature double targets released simultaneously. Wing shooting also includes sports hunting, but not commercial hunting.

Shooting at pigeons released from traps (hence the term “trap-shooting”) has survived only in Spain, Italy, Egypt, Monaco, Belgium, and France. Championships are held by the Federation Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse, a European federation, and representatives of the aristocracy usually participate.

The Clay Pigeon Shooting Federation of the USSR was established in 1959 on the basis of a section that had existed since 1934. The federation has belonged to the International Shooting Union since 1952 and the European Shooting Confederation since 1969.

Soviet trapshooters participated in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1952, in the world championships in 1954, and in the first European championships in 1955.

USSR records in trapshooting as of Jan. 1, 1976, were held by A. Alipov (men’s), with a score of 195, and Iu. Sidorova (women’s), with a score of 179; the record team score was 380 out of 400. USSR records in skeet were held by E. A. Petrov, Iu. F. Tsuranov, and T. V. Zhgenti (men’s), with identical scores of 200, and by L. S. Gurvich (women’s), with a score of 196 (not registered as a world record); the record team score was 388.

World records in trapshooting as of Jan. 1, 1976, were held by A. Scalzone of Italy (men’s), with a score of 199, and S. Nattrass of Canada (women’s), with a score of 188; the record team score was 591 out of 600 (USA). In skeet, world records were held by Petrov, Tsuranov, and Zhgenti of the USSR, H. Rasmussen of Denmark and W. Gawlikowski of Poland (men’s), with scores of 200 each, and L. S. Gurvich of the USSR (women’s), with a score of 191; the record team score was 391 (Sweden). The Olympic champion was E. A. Petrov.

Outstanding Soviet clay-pigeon shooters and coaches include A. A. Burdenko, N. A. Burdenko, E. M. Glinternik, B. A. Kreitser, V. M. Kapalkin, K. E. Rachinskii, V. V. Makeev, N. D. Pokrovskii, F. K. Prudnikov, and B. N. Svintitskii.

Archery. Archery matches originated in Switzerland and have been held in Europe since the 15th century. They were included in the second, fourth and seventh Olympic Games. The modern program includes FITA Rounds, conducted over a two-day period, with shooting at ranges of 90, 70, 50, and 30 m for men and 70, 60, 50, and 30 m for women, with 36 shots fired from each distance; and double FITA Rounds, conducted over a four-day period, with 72 shots fired from each distance.

In the USSR, sports archery has developed since 1957. The first official matches were held in 1958, and championships have been held since 1963; the programs are similar to those of rifle and pistol competitions.

The Archery Committee of the Sports Shooting Federation of the USSR, was founded in 1959 and was reorganized as a federation in 1970. In 1967, Soviet archers joined the International Archery Federation (FITA), which was founded in 1931 and in 1975 included 50 national federations.

Once every 2 years the FITA holds world championships (annually from 1931 through 1959) and European championships (since 1968), as well as regional and international tournaments. The world individual champion (since 1957) and the European individual champion are determined by the first-place scores from 72 or 36 shots at each distance and by the overall total of points at the four distances. The team champion is determined from the results of three of the four archers shooting. In the Olympic Games (since 1972), the champion is determined only by the total points scored at all four distances (288 shots). Soviet archers have participated in the European championships since 1968 and in the world championships since 1969. Archery has developed into a popular sport in the USA, Great Britain, Belgium, Canada, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and especially the Scandinavian countries.

The USSR records in the M-l competition as of Jan. 1, 1976, were held by A. I. Panzhin (men’s), with a score of 1,256, and E. V. Gapchenko (women’s), with a score of 1,245; the men’s record team score was 3,683, and the women’s record team score was 3,670 (USSR and world record). The USSR records in the M-2 competition were held by I. A. Fainshtein (men’s), with a score of 2,473, and Z. S. Rustamova (women’s), with a score of 2,478; the men’s record team score was 7,290, and the women’s record team score was 7,252 (USSR and world record).

World records in the M-l competition as of Jan. 1, 1976, were held by D. Pace of the USA (men’s), with a score of 1,316, and I. Lorensen of the USA (women’s), with a score of 1,256; the men’s record team score was 3,757 (USA). World records in the M-2 competition were held by D. Pace of the USA (men’s), with a score of 2,548, and Z. S. Rustamova (USSR), with a score of 2,465; the men’s record team score was 7,444 (USA). Overall world champions have included E. V. Gapchenko (1971), V. V. Sidoruk (1973), and Z. S. Rustamova (1975).

Famous coaches and organizers are B. V. Bol’berg, G. A. Gordienko, A. A. Gerbko, L. V. Makarov, A. I. Bogdanov, M. P. Boldure, N. A. Kalinichenko, M. K. Khuskivadze, A. Sh. Balov, and V. I. Polukhin.


Kreitser, B. A. Sportivnaia strel’ba na slende. Moscow, 1940.
Minin, R. A. Strel’ba iz avtomalieheskikh pistoletov. Moscow, 1959.
Esel’son, I. M. Strelkovyisport v SSSR. Moscow, 1959.
Vainshtein, L. M. Osnovy strelkovogo masterstva. Moscow, 1960.
Iur’ev, A. A. Pulevaia sportivnaia strel’ba. Moscow, 1973.
Zimenko, V. V. Misheni v riebe. Moscow, 1975.
Colby, C. B. Pervaia strela. Moscow, 1974. (Translated from English.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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