Ammunition at the Olympics?

Do we know anything about what ammunition was used at the recent Beijing Summer Olympics? It is no surprise that none of the firearm competitions were televised here in the US. Well, maybe at 2:00 AM when no one is watching!

Just curious what calibers were used and who made them. I can only assume that Eley and Lapua were present due to their reputations for accurate ammunition…


AKMS–I was watching for coverage of the shooting events, even at 2 AM, but the only ones I saw was Skeet and Womens Air Pistol.

By the way, what are the olympic shooting disciplines? Shouldn’t there be long range shooting as well and probably others?

In todays anti-gun world, shooting at the Olympics isn’t what it used to be. Here’s a link that describes most of the disciplines. - 20k


In Italy they were passed during the day,as the other sports.

I tough that only in Italy we had problems about shooting disciplines :(

Our local liberal blab carried a 4 or 5 line article on the womens air pistol event. A correspondent who shoots trap said they received word that we brought home several golds in the shotgun events.

Sorry Ray no 1000 yd events :-)


[quote=“Ray Meketa”]In todays anti-gun world, shooting at the Olympics isn’t what it used to be. Here’s a link that describes most of the disciplines. - 20k


Ray, thanks, so there is only .22 and shot gun disciplines, that is disappointing!

I’m not a big fan of the Olympics anymore, but I think the Winter games still feature the Biathlon which combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. The Biathlon has a military background so don’t expect to see it much longer. I think I heard somewhere that it is under fire (pun intended) because many feel that skiing with a rifle is unsafe and someone could get hurt. So, we may see that sport reduced to shooting air rifles also.


Here in Britain you could be forgiven for thinking there was no shooting in the Olympics so scant was the coverage. Sanitised is a word that comes to mind.
There are big issues with shooting in 2012 when the Olympics come to London regarding the fact that pistols are banned. However its not in the remit of this forum so I will leave it at that.

Sorry, to answer AKMS’s original question. Most of the events are shot with .22LR although some free pistols use .22 short. The centrefire pistol events use .32 wadcutters.
The competitors bring their own ammunition of choice. Eley Tenex is still top in rifle competion but that lead has been greatly erroded in recent years. Eley is not so popular in the pistol events.

RWS and Lapua are greatly favoured.

The air weapons are all .177

Italian shooters used Fiocchi ammo for the shotguns and Lapua/Eley for the rimfire weapons

I have one cartridge .303 (+ sectioned) witch should be used at a Olympic Shootingcontest years ago. I do not know what year. They told me that this type was the only allowed cartridge for a specific part of the contest. No other manufacturers, only this one.
Hdst KYNOCH .303 7.Z, green lacquered copper case, bullet as a aluminium tip inside

I believe that free pistol is shot with .22LR and I heard that rapid fire, long the home for .22 short, has now mandated LR as well.


Thats quite possible, for reasons beyond my control (handgun ban) my competitive pistol shooting days are over and my knowledge is becoming dated.

I have one cartridge .303 (+ sectioned) witch should be used at a Olympic Shootingcontest years ago. I do not know what year. They told me that this type was the only allowed cartridge for a specific part of the contest. No other manufacturers, only this one.
Hdst KYNOCH .303 7.Z, green lacquered copper case, bullet as a aluminium tip inside[/quote]

That sounds to me as though it was for the Queens Prize rather than the olympics. The Queens Prize is shot with “issued” ammunition and up to the 50s would have been shot with .303.

There are a couple of questions I will have to throw open. The fact that the word Kynoch is spelt out and not just a K indicates to me its civilian rather than military as does the lack of a date. The 7Z is self evident but is a military code.

Is this some kind of hybrid? or as I suspect a special loading for a competition?. If so you might have a very rare cartridge there.

I agree that the .303 in question would not have been for the Olympics. Unlike some matches, like the Palma Match, the brand of ammunition is not mandated for all shooters from all countries at the Olympics, and never has been.

Abouth the Biathalon, it used to be shot, years ago, with military weapons and military cartridges - a real military sport. In later years, like many shooting sports, it was corrupted and for a number of Olympics, has been limited to .22s with the shooters using very highly specialized .22 match rifles developed specifically for the sport, right down to the type of slings they use!

One day, I suppose, the Olympics, which was originally in ancient times solely a contest of skills suitable for a warrior, will follow the general trend and mandate of the “Blighted Nations” (oops, sorry, “United Nations” - I have to watch my sloppy typing) and end shooting as an acceptable sport for the games. It has severely reduced it over the years as it is.

Yes John, times are changing, or we are getting older, or both.

After WWII there were gunsmiths who specialized in customizing suplus military rifles specifically for Olympic shooters. The famous Redfield Olympic rear and front sights from those days are now collectors items.

Back in the 50s and 60s, after the 308 Winchester cartridge was introduced, WCC made special ammunition just for the Olympics as did the Army who always sent a team of marksmen. The ammo was identified by the primer seal color.

The Biathlon was modeled after the Norwegian Army training exercises where you had to cross-country ski carrying your rifle and ammunition, as fast as you could to a firing point, out of breath, shoot a series of targets and then ski like hell to a finish line.

Vince - I’m sure that your 303 cartridge could have been loaded especially for Olympic shooters from a country whose team used the Enfield or Smelly or whatever rifle they chose to arm their team with. And it may have been used in any number of other International shooting tournaments as well.


Ray - I still have the Redfield Olympic sights for my Model 52 Winchester that I used in High School. The rifle has Redfield Smallbore International sights now, that I replaced them with after getting out of the Army, thinking I might compete in small bore again. Never could find a range to do it at that I could get to without a car, so I have only bench-shot my 52 about once every ten years for nostalgia. I still have all my “kit” for it I used in high school except my jacket, which I could not even squeeze an arm into now (I am twice the man I was then - literally!) and my glove, which I gave one day to a young shooter at our club. I was using it with an M1 and he was practicing small bore, but didn’t have a glove - couldn’t afford it. How I knew that when I was a young shooter. I didn’t really need it so I gave it to him. Was a tiny bit big for him, but not enough he wouldn’t grow into it within a year. His dad was very grateful, but it was a nothing thing. I was using it shooting the M1 with a sling from the bench, but with the rifle unsupportedd. Don’t need a glove for that.

Hard to believe that my smallbore competition days were over 50 years ago now. I wasn’t very good, by the way. I made the team, but was usually low score on our Team. Never could master kneeling position, and it destroyed my scores.

I will make this ammo related instead of just a gabby old man’s reminiscences. We were often issued Monarch Brand .22 ammo at the cclub and in high school ROTC where I competed, and it was pretty poor ammo. The team finally chipped in for a rim-thickness gauge, as we had lots of rounds that had such over-sized rims we couldn’t close the bolts on them. In closing the bolt on one I had a “safe” AD downrange at a match and the other team coach demanded It count as my shot, until we showed him that the fired case had no firing pin mark on it. The bolt face actually squeezed off the priming compound as I closed the bolt. Scary! That’s when we bought the gauge, and check all the ammo before we went to the match.
When we could afford it, we used Winchester Match ammo. A box would last for two matches, and I could afford a box about every six matches.

About that .303, my meaning was that it would not have been required use for all the shooters of ALL NATIONS at the Olympics - they couldn’t do that! It could have been required for the British shooters by their own committee. I understand that. Poor wording on my part. Ray is correct!


Your "gabby old man’s reminiscences" sound like my biography. We have very similar shooting backgrounds and I always look forward to your posts.

I remember my shooting jacket too. One year, a long time ago, the local High School rifle team challanged us old coots to a match and I could get my jacket on but couldn’t button it up! The kids all had a good laugh but they changed their attitude in a hurry when we started beating them. They showed us up offhand but we more than made up for it at prone. Old guys always do things better laying down. :) :)

We had access to DCM 22 ammo so never had to contend with the cheap stuff. It came from your old stomping grounds at Ft Wainwright. We bought a Ransom rest and tested each lot to pick out the really good stuff. I know Rimfire Benchrest shooters today who pay more for a box of Match 22 RF ammo than I paid for my rifle.

BTW, I shot one winter at the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse. The far north equivilant of the Olympics. The young kids really taught me some humility. I thought I was good but their young eyes and quick reflexes were unbeatable. It told me it was time to retire and rest on my laurels. :)



The Monarch ammunition came from the DCM or whatever the equivilant was in the 1950s, and supplied to us through the ROTC and thru the clubs associated and aided by the Military. For anything good we had to buy our own, which I couldn’t afford most of the time.

You talk of Ft. Wainwright. You mean the one at Fairbanks? I was stationed there for a year and a half when it was Ladd AFB. We had a small contingent of Army, about 1500 men, on one side of the post, in barracks built around a little man-made lake called, as I recall, Monterey Lake. I worked in the small building at the end of the lake that was the Yukon Command USARAL headquarters. That’s after my overseas physical knocked me out of the Infantry.

Did you grow up in Alaska? If so, what a shift from there to Arizona, although the summers in Fairbanks were hot and dusty, and the mosquitos frightening in their size and ferocity. I heard that the air crews at Ladd pumped 10,000 lbs of fuel into one before they realized it wasn’t a Scorpion Jet Fighter, which is what they had at Ladd. Well, maybe thats an exaggeration they only tell to cheechakos.