Do I have to be a member to shoot?

You do not need to be a member to shoot a match. What you do need is a basic understanding of firearm safety, the match fee and some shooting equipment. If you don't have any equipment, you may borrow from a friend or another member. Transferring a firearm between shooters is allowed when it is done properly in a Safe Area (see below) or under the supervision of a Range Officer.


If you're not sure your gear is appropriate understand we do not recommend that you buy equipment before attending a match. This will prevent you from buying gear that is not the most appropriate. If you already own at least a handgun, holster and belt or a rimfire handgun, rimfire rifle or pistol caliber rifle and associated ammunition we encourage you to come and shoot a match. If you have questions regarding your equipment please use the contacts page. Our members can often provide equipment for your use during the match. If you're not comfortable shooting a match but would like to see what a match is about before shooting one, please come on out to watch and ask questions. After the match has concluded, you are welcome to stay and "chew the fat" with the members. Experienced shooters are always enthusiastic about discussing match procedures, techniques and equipment. 99% of the time, a polite request will get you the opportunity to handle a firearm under supervision and to try some of our steel and cardboard targets.

Is Shooting a Safe Sport?

If carelessly handled, any firearm can be unsafe. When firearms are properly handled under supervision, shooting is a safe and rewarding sport. At Wheel Burners, ensuring range safety is our most important task. No exceptions to our basic rules will be allowed! We have never had a firearm-related injury and we intend to keep that record intact. Eye protection (safety glasses or goggles) and hearing protection (muffs or earplugs) are absolutely required by both shooters and observers when shooting is in progress. Eye protection is recommended at all times, as debris from adjacent stages may occasionally fall onto the stage.

We operate a "cold" range during the match. ALL FIREARMS WILL REMAIN UNLOADED WHEN NOT UNDER THE DIRECT CONTROL OF THE RANGE OFFICER. Handling a loaded firearm when not under the direct control of the Range Officer will result in a match disqualification and expulsion from the range for that match day. Firearms may only be handled under the direction of the Range Officer or at a Safe Area (special table provided at each stage). AMMUNITION MAY NOT BE HANDLED AT THE SAFE AREA! From the time the Range Officer gives the command to "Load and Make Ready" until the firearm is holstered or placed back in a bag, the firearm muzzle must not break the “180”, an imaginary line perpendicular to the length of the stage range (meaning always keep the muzzle pointed down range). The Range Officer (RO) is in charge of the stage range and all in attendance will follow his instructions immediately and without question. Failure to follow the RO commands will result in disqualification from the match and expulsion from the range.

Do I need a special gun?

Absolutely not. An "out of the box" gun is perfectly fine. For scoring purposes, firearms (both handguns and rifles) are categorized as either "Limited" or "Open". A Limited firearm may have some trigger or action work to smooth it out. Special grips are also allowed as are replacement iron or fiber optic iron sights. An Open firearm is allowed to have any conceivable modification. Typically, Open firearms have some kind of red dot sight or scope, special barrels and recoil reducing ports or "compensators" at the end of the barrel. Limited and Open are scored as separate divisions so you are not at a disadvantage if shooting a Limited firearm.

What kind of ammunition do I need?

Either factory loaded or reloaded ammunition is fine for our ICORE match and Hosefest match. Magnum ammunition is not allowed as it can damage our steel targets. "Gun Show" reloaded ammunition is not always reliable and we don't recommend it.

At a rimfire match, only factory ammunition is used. We have no restrictions for velocity or type of bullet (roundnose or hollowpoint). If it runs in your gun, then it's fine with us.

I'm not yet 18. Is that ok?

Shooters under 18 years old can and do shoot Wheel Burners matches but they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. To encourage the next generation of shooters, ICORE, RCSA and Wheel Burners all recognize the "Junior" category. At a Wheel Burner match, Juniors pay reduced match fees.

What happens at a Wheel Burners match?

This section is a quick primer on the day's events at a Wheel Burners Match. It is intended to give new shooters an idea of how a match proceeds and introduce them to range commands. It is not intended to be a review of match regulations. For the authoritative source please see the ICORE RULEBOOK or the RCSA RULEBOOK for the match you are attending. These are the rules followed at Wheel Burners events.

The day begins with the Match Director and one or two others showing up at 7:00AM to begin setup. As other shooters arrive, they pitch in. Around 8:30 setup is complete and the shooters form up in line to enter their names on the shooters list. At around 9:00AM the shooters' meeting starts with a general discussion of events, news, or club business. The Match Director then describes the courses of fire, covering stage rules, starting positions and other pertinent information. The shooters then divide up into squads of roughly 6 to 8 shooters, with each squad starting at a different stage.

When the squad reaches a stage, the description is reviewed to be certain all shooters understand the course of fire. A "walk through" time is allowed for shooters to look at the course and determine the movement and reloading points they will use. Shooters names are shuffled to determine the stage shooting order (new shooters are usually placed last so that they can observe) and the first shooter is asked by the Range Officer (R.O.) to approach the starting area. The R.O. will closely accompany the shooter throughout the stage. All other shooters must remain well behind the shooter. At the starting area the R.O. will ask the shooter "Do you understand the course of fire?" After any questions are answered and the shooter gives the affirmative, the R.O. will say "make ready". After this command, the shooter is free to take sight pictures, practice draw, etc. and, when ready to begin, load the handgun and holster it, and/or assume the start position. The R.O. will then ask the shooter "Are you ready?" If given no response or the affirmative, the R.O. will shortly thereafter initiate the timer which emits a beep signaling the shooter to begin. The shooter then shoots the stage. When it appears that the shooter is done, the R.O. will command "If you are finished, unload and show clear." If the shooter is done, then he/she unloads the handgun and shows the empty cylinder/chamber to the R.O. When the gun is empty, the R.O. will say "Gun clear, close cylinder (or slide forward and pull the trigger) and holster (or bag)." The shooter closes the cylinder (or runs the slide forward and pulls the trigger) and places the gun back in the holster or into the shooting bag. Once the gun is secured, the R.O. will say "Range is clear." That command allows the squad to move forward and begin scoring and taping the targets. When scoring is done, the shooter may review the score, thus completing the stage. When all shooters in the squad have completed the stage, the squad moves to the next stage. Each squad rotates through all the stages. When the match is complete shooters assist in tearing down the match and stowing the targets and stands. When the match is done, shooters may practice or do some informal shooting.

What's a "Stage"?

A "stage" is a single course of timed fire that may have paper or steel targets or a combination of each. A stage may have multiple "strings" in which each string is separately timed and the string times combined for an overall score. To see photos of some typical match stages, click here. You can also see diagrams of stages with the associated course descriptions on the "Tools" page in the "Stage Design Archive".


This page was last modified on 17 Oct 20