World Championships (Palma Match)

The Trophy

The original trophy, (a replica of a Roman SPQR standard) stood at 7 foot 6 inches high, and was made of steel inlaid with gold and silver and enriched with elaborate mountings of copper. The word Palma (Latin for victory or valour) replaced the letters SPQR on the standard, and so the competition became known as the Palma Match.

This original trophy was last seen in the Pentagon in Washington DC, prior to the Second World War. A replacement trophy was presented in April 1988 by an American benefactor, Herbert Macgregor Aiken (this trophy is still large but about half the original size).

Match Background

The first recorded International Long Range Rifle match was fired on Creedmoor Range in the USA in 1873 between teams from Ireland and the USA, resulting in a win (by three points only) for the USA. The match conditions were 15 shots at each of 800 yards and 900 yards, and 20 shots at 1000 yards. A return match was held in 1874 at Dollymount Range in Ireland and again the USA won, this time by a margin of 39 points. The American team then travelled to Wimbledon, the original home of the NRA, to enter the Elcho Shield match for long range shooting, but were not allowed to enter since the match conditions at the time only allowed teams from England and Scotland.

The two matches in the USA and Ireland, and the visit of the Americans to Wimbledon, caused the (then) Board of Directors of the NRA of America in 1875 to consider putting International competition onto a “regular” footing. The records of this meeting record that “The prize will be a handsome Trophy presented by the citizens of the United States”. The match conditions were to be 30 shots at each of 800 yards, 900 yards and 1000 yards, but were to be for teams of 8 firers.

The Palma Trophy Match was first fired in 1876 between teams from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia and the USA, and was followed by a return match in 1877. For some unknown reason no teams answered the challenge in 1878, and the match lapsed until it was revived in 1901 with two teams only, from the USA and Canada, competing. The match was held a total of six times in the period leading up to the Great War, when it again lapsed. The match was held again in 1928 against a Cuban team only, and then again lapsed until 1966.

The Palma match is considered the pinnacle of fullbore team shooting around the world and is more commonly known as The World Championship for Long Range Rifle Shooting.

Match Conditions

The Palma Match is shot over 2 days, each team consisting of 16 firers and 4 coaches with a main coach. The course of fire is 2 sighters and 15 shots to count at 800, 900 and 1000 yards on each of the 2 days.

2011 saw the adoption of new a new scoring system with each bulls-eye scoring 5 points, not 10 as in previous years. The highest possible score is 7200 with 1440 v-bulls per team (450 with 90 v-bulls per person).

In 2015 Great Britain broke their own record from 2011 to score 7106 with 825 v-bulls. The highest individual score is 449 with 55 v-bulls, set by Toby Raincock of Great Britain in 2015.

In 2015 the first Arthur Clarke Memorial Medal was awarded to the highest-scoring target coach in the match. The winner was Matthew Ensor of Great Britain with a score of 1783 and 211 v-bulls (out of a maximum 1800 and 360 v-bulls).

Previous Winners

1876 United States of America 1967 Canada 1982 Canada
1877 United States of America 1968 Canada 1985 United States of America
1901 Canada 1969 United States of America 1988 Australia
1902 Great Britain 1970 Great Britain 1992 Great Britain
1907 United States of America 1971 United States of America 1995 Great Britain
1912 United States of America 1972 Canada 1999 South Africa
1913 United States of America 1973 United States of America 2003 Great Britain
1924 Canada 1974 Republic of South Africa 2007 Great Britain
1925 United States of America 1976 United States of America 2011 Great Britain
1966 United States of America 1979 Australia 2015 Great Britain