We are often asked what are Bell Target Competition Match Rules?


The answer can be very complicated as different leagues have developed rules to suit their circumstances.
I will start with the original match format from the Midlands area.

A team will consist of 8 shooters. Shooting at a distance of 6 yards, fee-standing, no rests or opitical aids, unless presciption glasses are worn.

Plus up to 4 reserve shooters per side. The reserves will shoot under match conditions without their score counting to the match total. All scores will count towards individual averages. Reseve shooters can not be inserted into the team in the event of no shows without the consent of the team captains. Names of reserve shooter are stated before the start of the match. They shoot at the and of the match or at the start of the second half.

Both sides will shoot on the same target.

A home shooter will shoot first, shooting all their shots in one session without moving from the target. Followed by one from the away team and so on till the match is finished.

Each shooter will have 6 scoring shots plus one optional practice shot (often called a sighter) at the start of their shooting. The marker will ask the shooter at the start of their set, if a sighter is to be used and tell the room what has been called (ie"sighter called"). Those keeping score sheets will then know if the first shot is a scoring shot or not. If a sighter is shot the marker will then call "next shot to count" after it have been shot.

There is normally a half time break after 4 shooters from each side has shot.

The target rings score 5,4,3,2,0 there is no 1 score. The mark left by the pellet is scored by how much is in the ring. The score is, which ever ring has the most in it from the centre of the mark. In the case of a exact split the higher is called. If round nosed pellets are used, these leave an impact spot in the centre making it easy to mark. The target is repainted after each shot. There has been a number of people making plates that have addded incorrectly an extra ring to score a 1.

Some variations that have developed in some leagues here are some examples.

Shooting at 7 yards not 6 yards, this happened because skittle alleys were used and they are 7 yards long.

Clean bull, ie no mark on the plate is scored at 5.1. This is used when there are several good teams to help break up the number of matches ending in a draw.

The shape of the plate can vary square and round. There is no difference as any shot outside the area is a zero.

Only the top 6 or 7 scores count towards the match total. This is often used in leagues that struggle for members. Which means a small team can be used without effecting the score.

ANO or dummy score usually 25 ( based on 6 scoring shots). This is used to replace missing shooters if a team does not have enough members to field a team. This can be lower in leagues that shoot 5 scoring shots ie 21 or as much as 29/30 in 7 scoring shot leagues.

Another way is that the lowest scoring shooter shoots again to make up the missing score.

5 scoring shots instead of 6

7 scoring shots instead of 6

10 scoring shots instead of 6

Team sizes can vary even more. There have been competitions using a team of 4, shooting twice each.
Some leagues have 10 member teams.

Alternate shooting. One shooter from the home side shoots one shot and moves away. Then one shooter from the away side takes one shot and move away. The same pair one from each side continue till all scoring shots have been shot. Then the next pair and so on.

Probe shooting, a guage of an agreed size is inserted into the bull to see if there is a mark left by the pellet that shows beyond the size of the probe. If it does then its called a 4 if not then a 5 is called. This can be useful to amend differences in targets in large competitions where there is need for mulitiple targets.

The size of the Bull or hole has varied from 8mm to just short at 9.5mm. Some times getting a 3/8inch or 9.52mm drill can be difficult.

An outer shot scores 1.

Another variation is shooting two seperate matches at the same time using 2 targets. Shooters shoot in pairs one from each team, side by side using two targets. The teams then swop over targets once each team has shot to put up scores on the other target. This means each team has put up a score on each target, with one match on each target, you then have two results. In this way no more time is taken per night and two matches are shot with each shooter being able to do more shooting.

Lord Ednam League use a concave plate as they allow rifles up to 11.4 foot pounds. The concave plate directs flatened pellets to one side.

Aberdare League have added extra 1/2 inch rings to create a 10 score system a clean bull scores 10 and clipped bull scores 9.


At the end of the day its what suits you. A 1903 Lincoln Jefferies, Springer, SSP,PCP or a modern match rilfe, Feinwekbau 700 or Anshulz 9001. Some leagues dont allow recoiless rifles. Leagues can have restrictions but as general rule the following applies. All rifles must be .177 caliber. The best power is around 5 to 7 foot pounds in power, which is the standard power at match target rifles. This keeps bounce back to a minimum. Remember you are shooting at a metal plate. Sights, well diopter (peep) sights are the main preference (not acceptable in all leagues), but open post sights will work equally as well. Scopes are a no no, over this short a distance they will not focus and are useless. There are lenses available to fit diopter sights but you will need to check with the league first. Magnification will exagerate movement and make it harder to shoot but may also correct an eye problem. At the end of the day talk to the league near you and try a few rifles first. There is no advantage for pcp rifles over springers at this short distance.


We are often asked about Air Bottle safety used with PCP Rifles and how much it costs. On average the the refilling of a bottle will cost in our experience about £3 or £4. This can vary if its a fast fill often done with bottles under water or a slow fill. But there are testing rules these can be found  HERE

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