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What Rifles are used in Biathlon at the Winter Olympics?

The 2022 Winter Olympics are well underway in Beijing and most shooters will be particularly interested in one extreme sport - the Biathlon. The Biathlon consists of a combination of Cross-country Skiing and target shooting, where competitors ski around a challenging circuit of distances ranging from 7.5km to 20km whilst stopping at rifle ranges along the way, to take five shots at a target. It’s a captivating watch that tests everything from stamina and speed to hand-eye coordination and balance.

 

One question many people ask: What rifles are used in the Olympic Biathlon?

 

The rifles that athletes use are specially designed for biathlon but incorporate many standard rifle components. They are shot with .22LR calibre rifle ammunition and will either have a bolt action or a straight pull mechanism to reload. As the shooter will carry the rifle on their back whilst skiing there is a minimum weight limit of 3.5kg required, making the skiing sections considerably more difficult. 

 

Anschutz 1827F

Image from ahg Anschutz Handels GmbH

 

Most Olympic rifles are actually produced by famous manufacturer Anschutz, with the 1827 Fortner being the most used model. This is a straight pull .22LR rifle that weighs in at just under 4kg. It’s one of the most advanced rifles in production worldwide and estimated that there are just 3% of Olympic biathlon competitors who don’t use the Anschutz 1827F - making it the flagship rifle of the Winter Olympics. This rifle is actually used for the Summer Olympic Games too and first started being made over 30 years ago in the mid-1980s.

 

You can use the Anschutz 1827F for many target sports and you can even buy one yourself if you wanted to shoot like a biathlon pro. They don’t come cheap however - the 1827F will cost you in excess of £3,000 in most places. A great place to start looking is McAvoy Guns.

 

We hope that everyone enjoys watching the Biathlon as much as we do, and if you haven’t had the chance to see what it’s all about yet - make sure you tune in to the rest of the Games!