We receive many questions regarding what the Precision Rifle Series is, the various divisions, categories, classifications, memberships, match formats, and match levels. It is easy to simply point the interested individual to the PRS Website here and say “if you have any questions after reading, let me know”. But while the PRS site contains a wealth of knowledge on everything related to the organization, and their staff are quick to answer questions, we would like to provide a sort of short-cut to get the basics answered quickly, and support our shooters directly.
The Precision Rifle Series is the preeminent rifle organization in the world, structuring a yearly points race for both the PRS Pro Bolt Gun Series and the PRS Regional Series. The PRS Championship Shooting Series is synonymous with precision rifle shooting. The PRS is home to countless competitors including 6,000 active PRS shooters with scores being tracked. The PRS unites the 40 most renowned national pro series precision rifle competitions and continues to expand the PRS Regional Series, which hosts hundreds of one day matches from coast to coast. The International PRS Series is advancing in South Africa and Australia to name a few. The influence of the PRS, with more than 1000 professional level competitors and growing global presence, extends in every conceivable direction inspiring the precision rifle community at its grassroots, hometown level.
Born out of Military, Law Enforcement and Hunting scenarios, the practical application of the precision rifle is the underlying theme for PRS.
Precision Rifle Steel Challenge is simply a multi-state, multi-club cooperative, who coordinate match schedules to minimize conflict with share shooters, team up to support each other with sponsor recruitment, and assist in match planning and execution. Clubs represented are:
Wisconsin Precision Rifle Steel Challenge (WPRSC)
Michigan Precision Rifle Steel Challenge (MPRSC)
Indiana Precision Rifle Challenge (INPRC)
Illinois Practical Precision Rifle (ILPPR)
MPRSC and WPRSC extensively cooperate on match planning, particularly in regard to our Pro-Series matches, and our club finales. All four clubs have come together to coordinate the Great Lakes Shootout; a four state grudge match to see who has the best shooters.
These are not your typical “lay on your belly and shoot at paper” matches. You will be shooting a variety of targets (usually armor plate steel of some sort) at differing ranges, from countless props and positions, with a maximum allotted time to complete each stage.
Targets may range in size from 1moa up to 5moa depending on the stage; most will fall between 2-3moa, at ranges from 50-1000 yards. Occasionally, matches will have a few targets extending out to 1500 yards, but these ranges are rather uncommon.
Matches are broken down into a number of stages; each having it’s own description, target layout, round count, restrictions, positions and props. Most stages are limited to 8-10 rounds, but they may go as low as one round, up to an unlimited number of rounds. Most matches will have 8-12 stages for each day of competition.
Typically, shooters will rotate to stages with a squad; a group of shooters, either self assigned, or assigned by the match director, who shoot all stages together. This brings order and efficiency to a match. Squads also help assure that shooters should never have to shoot two stages in a row without a break. A shooter will usually have 30 minutes to 1 hour between when they have to shoot. This time goes quickly as you’re getting yourself ready to shoot, watching other shooters, and planning how to best shoot the stage.
These matches are intended to ensure a more level field of competition. They are selected from some of the more difficult matches, and their lower numbers are intended to ensure high turn-out of competitive shooters. The scores from these matches are going to be more hard-won.
The Regional Series and Pro-Series both have qualifier matches. The AG Cup Series does not, as each match in that series is itself a qualifier for the Armageddon Gear Cup. However, AG Cup Qualifier matches are also Pro-Series Qualifiers.
Scoring is very straight forward; one point per impact. There are no targets of different values, or variable point scoring zones on targets.
A shooter’s match score is calculated as a percentage (rounded to the nearest hundredth) of their points against the division winner’s points. For example, if the winner of your division has 87 points, and you have 76, your match score is calculated as follows: 76 / 87 x 100 = 87.36
There isn’t much by way of required equipment. At the most basic level, you will need a rifle and bipod, with a scope having externally adjustable target/tactical turrets, and ideally, a reticle designed for measured, accurate holds. Good drop and wind data is required, and you’ll also need 90-230 rounds of ammunition depending on the particular match you are shooting.
There are a variety of shooting accessories that you’ll see at a match such as different shooting bags, tripods, complex bipods, spotting scopes, binoculars, wind meters, and various other electronics and gadgets. These are all extras, and most all of them can be borrowed from your fellow shooters, where they will usually be more than happy to give you some tips on how to employ the equipment as well. We suggest you wait to purchase these extra items until after you’ve borrowed a number of them from fellow shooters to see what works best for you.
Aside from restrictions to the specific divisions, the only limitations are on cartridge/caliber and velocity. PRS rules state the rifle must be .30cal or less, with a velocity of 3200fps or less. Velocity may be tested at any point during a match; there is a 32fps allowance for atmospheric and chronograph variances. Some matches may set more restrictive limitations such as a slightly lower velocity, or specifying .300 Win Mag as the most powerful cartridge permitted.
When you’re just starting off in shooting matches, if you have a set-up that will meet the minimum requirements, then yes- it is all good enough. You need to be able to accurately engage targets out to 1000 yards; to do that, you only need a reasonably accurate rifle and ammunition, and a scope with target / tactical turrets, in just about any modern centerfire rifle cartridge.
The primary issue that could make a set-up which otherwise falls into those minimum requirements problematic is lack of a detachable magazine.
You can absolutely shoot a match with an internal magazine, but it will quickly become a point of annoyance since nearly ever stage will exceed your magazine capacity. Ideally, you arrive to a match with at least two 10 round capacity magazines. Lower capacity magazines are fine, but you’ll need spares.
You may outgrow what you have now, but that does not mean what you have now will not serve the purpose while you’re starting out.
If you do not have a rifle or optic, and are looking at buying either/both, be aware that there may be better options in your price range than you would think, from great brands you’ve either never heard of, or never knew were producing precision rifles. Feel free to inquire on the WPRSC and/or MPRSC Facebook groups, and check out “What the joe’s use”:
Rifle Actions: https://precisionriflecomponents.com/what-the-joes-use-top-prs-actions-of-2019/
WPRSC and MPRSC also each have a custom demo rifle available to new shooters, if available it may serve to highlight options worth considering on your next rifle.
Series and Membership
The Regional Series is the base of the PRS competition pyramid; it is the club series of PRS. These are one day matches that often happen on a monthly basis at the same location. Though there are a fair number of shooters who do take these matches very seriously, the majority are there with very little aspirations to win any significant titles. These are your grassroots matches with grassroots shooters; getting together for the purpose of improving and completing against themselves, while enjoying time with friends.
Being one day matches, the Regional Series is economical to participate in. Most matches will be 9-10 stages, with a round count of 110 or less, and entry fees range from $25 to $75. Often, you may live close enough to a regional series where you can leave early in the morning, shoot the match, and be home by dinner. It may be advisable to plan lodging for an evening prior arrival if you live more than an hour or two away; this ensures you’re well rested and can fully enjoy the match.
WPRSC, MPRSC, INPRC and ILPPR are all Regional Series clubs, from the Mid-West region.
The Pro-Series is the middle-upper segment of the pyramid; these are two day matches, where a majority of shooters are seriously competing for placement. That does not mean competitors cannot attend simply for fun; many do. But you will find while everyone is still enjoying themselves, they are approaching the match with a view to win, or place highly rather than just spending time with their friends. These matches, being much larger, are far fewer, and dispersed throughout the country.
Pro-Series matches are much more costly to participate in. Entry fees range from $225-$300, with a round count from 190-230. Being two days, lodging is required unless you’re fortunate enough to live in close proximity to the match in question. It is advised a competitor arrive Friday afternoon to sign in, zero their rifle, and if they wish, and it is offered, verify their data out to distance. Once entry fee, ammunition, food, travel and lodging costs are added up, Pro-Series matches can be pretty costly, especially in comparison to the Regional Series matches.
The title “Pro-Series” can be a bit misleading; anyone may sign up to shoot a Pro-Series match. No prior match experience is required.
The Wisconsin Barrel Maker Classic and Great Lakes PRC are both Pro-Series matches.
Armageddon Gear has teamed up with PRS to bring about a more advanced series, nested into the Pro-Series. There are eight AG Cup “qualifier” designated matches within the Pro-Series.
To participate in the AG Cup Series, a competitor must purchase both a Pro-Series membership, and an AG Cup Series membership. The competitor will then pay an additional $500 entry fee for the AG Cup qualifier match they wish to shoot. This additional fee goes toward a cash payout for those shooters who bought up when registering for the match. It should be noted that shooters DO NOT have to “buy up” to the AG Cup qualifier to shoot the match. These are standard Pro-Series matches, that have an OPTION to also compete as an AG Cup Qualifier.
Scores taken from the AG Cup series are used to determine who will be invited to the final match in the AG Cup Series- the Armageddon Gear Cup. This match is by invitation only, and entirely cash payout, with tens of thousands of dollars on the line.
The Wisconsin Barrel Maker Classic is an AG Cup Series Qualifier match.
The Precision Rifle Series has the option for shooters to purchase memberships for the different series; this includes the Regional Series, Pro-Series, and AG Cup Series. When a shooter purchases a membership, they are then in competition for an invitation to the finale for the specific series which they are a member. For example, if a shooter purchases a PRS Regional Series Membership, their scores will be tracked against other shooters in their region, which will give them a regional placement. The placement is used to determine who will be invited to the finale. Scores are taken from the three highest matches, one of which must be a qualifier match.
In addition to score tracking, and being a requirement to shoot the PRS Series Finales, a membership will also get shooters exclusive discounts with companies in the firearms industry.
Don’t confuse PRS Memberships with memberships for individual clubs. WPRSC and MPRSC each have the option of purchasing a membership, which along with shooting a minimum of two regular season matches, is a requirement to shoot the WPRSC or MPRSC finales. For both clubs, a membership includes a T-Shirt, and exclusive discounts with industry companies.
No equipment restrictions except the over-all .30cal and 3200fps limits.
Price is limited to $2500 MPRSC for rifle and $2000 MSRP for optic. Rifle is not permitted to be significantly modified, which means it must not have been worked over by a gunsmith, must have the original trigger, stock/chassis, barrel, and all other major parts. Grips, brakes, bottom metal and other accessories are not restricted. For more information, see PRS rules section 3.2 (https://www.precisionrifleseries.com/static/media/uploads/2020_prs_rulebook.pdf)
Restricted to the long standing military and law enforcement cartridges:
.223/5.56mm with projectile weight of 77gr or less and velocity of 3000fps or less ( 30fps environmental consideration).
.308/7.62×51 with a projectile weight of 178gr or less, and velocity of 2800fps or less (28fps environmental & equipment consideration).
Identical to Open division, except limited to semi-auto rifles only.
NOTE: A shooter with a semi-auto rifle may choose to compete in any of the bolt gun divisions instead of the Gas Gun Division, so long as they are otherwise qualified for that division. However, a shooter cannot compete in more than one division in a single match.
Any shooter who is a full time Active Duty Service Member or Full Time LEO is eligible to shoot in the Mil/LE Category in addition to their PRS Division. Full and/or part time National Guard/Reserve competitive shooting teams that are sanctioned by their respective military branches qualify to compete under the MIL/LE PRS Category.
Contractor, civilian or specialty type employment for both MIL/LE will not qualify a shooter in the category.
National Guard and Reserves, not on full-time active duty orders (title 10 / title 32), and not on a sanctioned shooting team do not qualify for Mil/LE category. Neither do veterans or retirees.
All female shooters are eligible to shoot in the Ladies Category in addition to their PRS Division.
Anyone over the age of 55 is eligible to shoot in the Seniors Category in addition to their PRS Division.
Anyone 18 years old or younger at the start of the season is eligible to shoot in the Juniors Category in addition to their PRS Division.
Any international shooter (not a resident of the US) that chooses to compete in the US/CA PRS Pro-Series. Not to be confused with the International Series, but a shooter may participate in both.
Note: Qualification for this category is based upon residency, NOT citizenship. If you have residency in the US, regardless of citizenship, you do not qualify to compete in the International Category.
At the individual club level of the Regional series, specific categories may not receive club specific tracking and acknowledgement. This is most often due to low turn-out in many of the categories. These categories are still tracked and reported to PRS to use on the Regional Series level, for proper recognition in Region wide performance.
At the end of each season, shooters classes will be recalculated according to the classification bracket percentages based on their end of season pre-finale series score. The shooter will retain this classification for the entire next season and compete within this classification at the Pro Series Finale (if qualified).
PRS competitors can achieve a classification of either Pro, Semi-Pro, Marksman, or Amateur.
Each class consists of a percentage of the total number of affiliated shooters, based on the end of season standings not including the finale. Pro shooters, for example, will be classified as the top 20% of competitors according to the standings after the last Pro Series match of the season. Competitors within the top 55 -79.9% of shooters, based on these standings will be classified as Semi-Pro and so on.
Professional – First 20%
Semi-Professional – Next 25%
Marksman – Next 25%
Amateur – Remaining shooters (approx. 30%)
Percentages are broken down from the total number of shooters, based on yearly standings.
The number of shooters included in each class will be rounded up or down to the nearest whole number. Tied shooters who fall into 2 separate classes based on the percentages will be classed up into the higher class. The “classed up shooters” former positions will remain unfilled in the lower class.
Shooters with no previous year end of season series score will be titled “unclassed” (UNC) for the current season. These “unclassed” shooters will receive a classification prior to finale based on the current season series scores and maybe eligible for entry into the finale.
Virtually anyone. Matches will have different requirements when it comes to minors competing, but otherwise the only real requirement is a minimum of proficiency in which to engage targets at distance, safely.
Regional Series matches vary by club, but they must be open to registration at least 30 days prior, but no early than 120 days. Check with the club you are interested in competing at for details.
Pro-Series matches open for registration 120 days prior to the match beginning.
Absolutely! This is a highly welcoming sport, and we love to have people come check it out who are considering getting involved! You might even find yourself behind someone else’s rifle trying out a stage!
It is suggested you contact the Match Director for the event you’d like to spectate so you can get specific instructions on when to arrive, and who to see to sign liability releases upon your arrival.