Biathalon?

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Tycer
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Biathalon?

#1 Post by Tycer » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:45 pm

My son and his GF are Nordic skiers. They’re interested in biathlon. Neither are shooters. He has shot. I can give them solid lessons with a world class trigger this month.

Christmas gifts?
Kind regards,
Tycer
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wm
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Re: Biathalon?

#2 Post by wm » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:53 pm

There is no such thing as an inexpensive biathlon rifle. IIRC they start at $1300 and climb rapidly.

However you could get them a decent supply of match grade ammo for a few hundred dollars. My suggestion would be to buy a few hundred of this type and a few hundred of this, and a few hundred of that. A variety pack so to speak. That way they can see what their rifle really likes.

When I shot 4 position small bore my Win 52 really liked Federal Match and Eley Club. But I used Remington Standard velocity match for practice because of economics.

Wm.

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Re: Biathalon?

#3 Post by Twodot » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:27 pm

Why does a guy who is not a shooter and is only expressing an "interest" in biathlon need a rifle costing $1300?
..

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Re: Biathalon?

#4 Post by 2ndovc » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:37 pm

One of the new Browning T-Bolts would do just fine for a start. Wanna add some class? Get a Marlin 39 from the '50s and it will shoot just as accurately.
Or a CZ 452. The Deadliest .22lr I've ever owned!!

jb 8)
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Re: Biathalon?

#5 Post by campsalot » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:13 am

Hi,

I rarely post but I'll chime in on this one. Forgive me if I say something you already know Nordic skiing is a big subject with a lot of variations. Also, I don't mean to offend anyone but shooters get excited about the shooting side of biathlon but it's the skiing that matters most. If one isn't a fast skater it doesn't matter how well one shoots.

I used to race biathlon and did other types of Nordic skiing as well (classic, back country etc.). I've also spent a fair amount of time teaching marksmanship skills to young people.

Do you guys live someplace where there is an active biathlon club? I haven't checked in years but in my state most of the races were held at one Nordic center with a few races held once a year at 2 or 3 other locations. Just because there's Nordic skiing doesn't mean there's much biathlon going on. If one happens to live someplace like Lake Placid, Brainerd, MN or West Yellowstone or somewhere similar things get a lot easier.

Do your son and his girl friend skate? Biathlon is freestyle but everyone who is competitive skates. If they don't, skating skis and lessons might be a good starting place. If they don't skate now, maybe skating lessons to see if they even like that kind of Nordic skiing would be a good place to start.

How old are your son and his girlfriend? I haven't checked in years but the last I knew kids under a certain age shot racked air rifles at air rifle targets - they didn't carry them, they skied in and the air rifles were in racks by those targets (shorter range, of course). Kids who were a bit older shot racked 22s at the same targets as everyone else. Young people who were above a certain age (I think it was 16) could ski with the rifle provided they had taken the safety class and had the little safety book with their certification in it.

People made rifle suggestions - I don't believe anything but a magazine fed bolt action is allowed. A Canadian company called Lakefield (I think) which may be owned by Savage used to make an entry level biathlon rifle. I don't think they do anymore. I have seen some homemade rigs based off of other bolt action 22s. A skilled person can make a decent backpack sling and a mount for the magazines on the side of the rifle. The rifle is carried empty and the magazine is inserted on the firing line - 10k uses 2 - 5 round magazines, 20K uses 4 -5 round magazines etc. One needs a decent click adjustable peep sight. Pretty much everyone I knew also had a globe front sight with an aperture in it - that way all you are doing is lining up circles. When I used to do biathlon, beyond the beginner stage, everyone shot one of two or three models of rifle brand that started with A and ended with a z. Now, I think there might be some other choices but I think they are fairly expensive too.

I don't know how things are now but it used to be that they would let someone who was old enough but hadn't passed the safety test race with their rifle in the rack at the firing line (ski without carrying the rifle). If they still let people do that then doing a 10 k race with a decent bolt action 22 with a couple of spare magazines in the rack might be a way to try things out. At locations like West Yellowstone and Lake Placid (maybe a few other places too) they may have "try it" classes.

Hope that helps some.

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Re: Biathalon?

#6 Post by campsalot » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:31 am

Forgot to mention - Biathlon requires a shooting sling too but it's different than a lot of shooting slings. You wear a cuff on your upper arm with a ring or something similar on it - as I recall, the "ring" on mine was triangular. The shooting sling on the rifle is a strap with a hook on it. You adjust it the way you want so that when you ski in and take the rifle off your back all you need to do is slip the hook into the ring - it's way faster to get in and out of than a traditional shooting sling.

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Re: Biathalon?

#7 Post by gamekeeper » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:07 am

Campsalot, thanks for posting that info, I have often watched Biathlon but never really knew much about it, interesting.... :wink:
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Re: Biathalon?

#8 Post by Griff » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:23 am

gamekeeper wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:07 am
Campsalot, thanks for posting that info, I have often watched Biathlon but never really knew much about it, interesting.... :wink:
Ditto. Although, like most things "Winter"... it's best viewed thru glass, from inside where it's toasty warm... :P Even when I off-roaded during the winter, I preferred being inside, heater on medium high. My winter camping requires a propane heater inside the tent... strapping sticks on my feet, and trying to ice skate around a uneven track, stopping to shoot every time I feel winded seems like an exercise doomed to end my life far earlier than I'd prefer. Watching other people do it... causes wonder and amazement. :P
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Re: Biathalon?

#9 Post by Tycer » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:29 pm

campsalot wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:13 am
Hi,

I rarely post but I'll chime in on this one. Forgive me if I say something you already know Nordic skiing is a big subject with a lot of variations. Also, I don't mean to offend anyone but shooters get excited about the shooting side of biathlon but it's the skiing that matters most. If one isn't a fast skater it doesn't matter how well one shoots.

I used to race biathlon and did other types of Nordic skiing as well (classic, back country etc.). I've also spent a fair amount of time teaching marksmanship skills to young people.

Do you guys live someplace where there is an active biathlon club? I haven't checked in years but in my state most of the races were held at one Nordic center with a few races held once a year at 2 or 3 other locations. Just because there's Nordic skiing doesn't mean there's much biathlon going on. If one happens to live someplace like Lake Placid, Brainerd, MN or West Yellowstone or somewhere similar things get a lot easier.

Do your son and his girl friend skate? Biathlon is freestyle but everyone who is competitive skates. If they don't, skating skis and lessons might be a good starting place. If they don't skate now, maybe skating lessons to see if they even like that kind of Nordic skiing would be a good place to start.

How old are your son and his girlfriend? I haven't checked in years but the last I knew kids under a certain age shot racked air rifles at air rifle targets - they didn't carry them, they skied in and the air rifles were in racks by those targets (shorter range, of course). Kids who were a bit older shot racked 22s at the same targets as everyone else. Young people who were above a certain age (I think it was 16) could ski with the rifle provided they had taken the safety class and had the little safety book with their certification in it.

People made rifle suggestions - I don't believe anything but a magazine fed bolt action is allowed. A Canadian company called Lakefield (I think) which may be owned by Savage used to make an entry level biathlon rifle. I don't think they do anymore. I have seen some homemade rigs based off of other bolt action 22s. A skilled person can make a decent backpack sling and a mount for the magazines on the side of the rifle. The rifle is carried empty and the magazine is inserted on the firing line - 10k uses 2 - 5 round magazines, 20K uses 4 -5 round magazines etc. One needs a decent click adjustable peep sight. Pretty much everyone I knew also had a globe front sight with an aperture in it - that way all you are doing is lining up circles. When I used to do biathlon, beyond the beginner stage, everyone shot one of two or three models of rifle brand that started with A and ended with a z. Now, I think there might be some other choices but I think they are fairly expensive too.

I don't know how things are now but it used to be that they would let someone who was old enough but hadn't passed the safety test race with their rifle in the rack at the firing line (ski without carrying the rifle). If they still let people do that then doing a 10 k race with a decent bolt action 22 with a couple of spare magazines in the rack might be a way to try things out. At locations like West Yellowstone and Lake Placid (maybe a few other places too) they may have "try it" classes.

Hope that helps some.
Excellent stuff! They’re late 20’s elite athletes. Skate, backcountry.... They’re in Boulder and Nordic ski up near where the CBC has its competitions in Winter Park. Looking at the CBC website make it look like beginners are welcome and taken care of with loaners and ammo available there.
Maybe I’ll get them USBC and CBC memberships and safety cert courses.
I used the New Position Shooting book to teach myself offhand and prone. Is that still a valid book?
Kind regards,
Tycer
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Re: Biathalon?

#10 Post by campsalot » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:00 pm

Excellent!

You didn't say where they were in your post and neither did I.

When I did this the CBC held most of their races in Tabernash at Snow Mountain Ranch (most people would call that Winter Park but it's actually beyond Frasier) with maybe one a race a year in Frisco, Durango and maybe Steamboat. The CBC used to keep a biathlon practice course at Eldora. It wasn't big enough for competition but there was a practice loop with a one target range.

Unless one lives someplace like Lake Placid or West Yellowstone, no one has biathlon on their door step, but if the roads were good and the traffic was is ok I could get to Snow Mountain ranch from downtown Denver or the west side of the metro area in like an hour and a half. Boulder is similar and might be a bit faster and a number of CBC members used to live in Boulder. Weather and downhill skier traffic can slow things up a lot but one can time things to miss a lot of the traffic especially on the days one is only practicing.

I haven't belonged in years but the CBC used to be a great bunch and they definitely wanted more people in the sport. The top people used to go to nationals and even Olympic trials but if you had a decent sense of humor and were crazy enough to get in there and do it with them, they liked you.

I'm not familiar with that book. I was a position shooter but biathlon is a little different because you have skis on. Technically, one is shooting standing (which is a supported position with the arm tucked against the body) not offhand which is unsupported. As far as prone goes, I haven't kept up. For a very long time we (meaning most shooters) used a prone where one's body was at an angle to the target. As I recall, for Biathlon, it was easier to shoot Olympic style prone where one leg is pulled up but we had shooters that just splayed their feet out too. Prone shooters started angling their bodies because (as someone like McBride would say) laying straight on to a Trapdoor Springfield hurts more. People shooting smallbore used the same position as people who shot centerfire rifles. 223/5.56 doesn't recoil much and in some disciplines shooters are laying straight on to the rifle and calling it "new prone". New prone was around in the late 1800s but it hurts more when one is shooting a 45-70 or a 30-40 Krag or a 30-06. I haven't watched lately but it wouldn't shock me if the competitors are laying straight on to the target. I haven't tried to look but there has to be video.

Anyhow, Boulder is a good place to live if one is interested in Biathlon.

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Re: Biathalon?

#11 Post by jeepnik » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:05 pm

I can't speak to the skiing side of Biathalon. But I have participated (yea it's been a few years) in a mud biathalon. Think running and shooting with lots of mud, sand and hills. With that in mind, the two most important things are physical conditioning and learning to control ones breathing, when your heart is blowing out of your chest, so you can hit a target. Other than the breathing the shooting isn't all that hard.

So my suggestion would be to give them a gym membership and have them work out hard for several hours daily.
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Re: Biathalon?

#12 Post by Tycer » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:37 pm

campsalot wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:00 pm
Excellent!

You didn't say where they were in your post and neither did I.

When I did this the CBC held most of their races in Tabernash at Snow Mountain Ranch (most people would call that Winter Park but it's actually beyond Frasier) with maybe one a race a year in Frisco, Durango and maybe Steamboat. The CBC used to keep a biathlon practice course at Eldora. It wasn't big enough for competition but there was a practice loop with a one target range.

Unless one lives someplace like Lake Placid or West Yellowstone, no one has biathlon on their door step, but if the roads were good and the traffic was is ok I could get to Snow Mountain ranch from downtown Denver or the west side of the metro area in like an hour and a half. Boulder is similar and might be a bit faster and a number of CBC members used to live in Boulder. Weather and downhill skier traffic can slow things up a lot but one can time things to miss a lot of the traffic especially on the days one is only practicing.

I haven't belonged in years but the CBC used to be a great bunch and they definitely wanted more people in the sport. The top people used to go to nationals and even Olympic trials but if you had a decent sense of humor and were crazy enough to get in there and do it with them, they liked you.

I'm not familiar with that book. I was a position shooter but biathlon is a little different because you have skis on. Technically, one is shooting standing (which is a supported position with the arm tucked against the body) not offhand which is unsupported. As far as prone goes, I haven't kept up. For a very long time we (meaning most shooters) used a prone where one's body was at an angle to the target. As I recall, for Biathlon, it was easier to shoot Olympic style prone where one leg is pulled up but we had shooters that just splayed their feet out too. Prone shooters started angling their bodies because (as someone like McBride would say) laying straight on to a Trapdoor Springfield hurts more. People shooting smallbore used the same position as people who shot centerfire rifles. 223/5.56 doesn't recoil much and in some disciplines shooters are laying straight on to the rifle and calling it "new prone". New prone was around in the late 1800s but it hurts more when one is shooting a 45-70 or a 30-40 Krag or a 30-06. I haven't watched lately but it wouldn't shock me if the competitors are laying straight on to the target. I haven't tried to look but there has to be video.

Anyhow, Boulder is a good place to live if one is interested in Biathlon.
We were at Devils Thumb Ranch Saturday. They skied and we spa’d.
Kind regards,
Tycer
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Re: Biathalon?

#13 Post by campsalot » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:51 pm

jeepnik wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:05 pm
I can't speak to the skiing side of Biathalon. But I have participated (yea it's been a few years) in a mud biathalon. Think running and shooting with lots of mud, sand and hills. With that in mind, the two most important things are physical conditioning and learning to control ones breathing, when your heart is blowing out of your chest, so you can hit a target. Other than the breathing the shooting isn't all that hard.

So my suggestion would be to give them a gym membership and have them work out hard for several hours daily.
Cross country skiing works both upper and lower body so the right workouts in a gym can be good. I think the best training for cross country skiing is cross country skiing but unless one is very fortunate it's hard to do that several times a week (even in the snow season). A lot of cross country skiers cross train by running, biking, roller blading and roller skiing - often some combination of several of those activities. Roller blading and roller skiing don't exactly mimic what you are doing cross country skiing but they are similar and some people roller blade with ski poles which works the whole body.

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Re: Biathalon?

#14 Post by campsalot » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:55 pm

Tycer wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:37 pm
campsalot wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:00 pm
Excellent!

You didn't say where they were in your post and neither did I.

When I did this the CBC held most of their races in Tabernash at Snow Mountain Ranch (most people would call that Winter Park but it's actually beyond Frasier) with maybe one a race a year in Frisco, Durango and maybe Steamboat. The CBC used to keep a biathlon practice course at Eldora. It wasn't big enough for competition but there was a practice loop with a one target range.

Unless one lives someplace like Lake Placid or West Yellowstone, no one has biathlon on their door step, but if the roads were good and the traffic was is ok I could get to Snow Mountain ranch from downtown Denver or the west side of the metro area in like an hour and a half. Boulder is similar and might be a bit faster and a number of CBC members used to live in Boulder. Weather and downhill skier traffic can slow things up a lot but one can time things to miss a lot of the traffic especially on the days one is only practicing.

I haven't belonged in years but the CBC used to be a great bunch and they definitely wanted more people in the sport. The top people used to go to nationals and even Olympic trials but if you had a decent sense of humor and were crazy enough to get in there and do it with them, they liked you.

I'm not familiar with that book. I was a position shooter but biathlon is a little different because you have skis on. Technically, one is shooting standing (which is a supported position with the arm tucked against the body) not offhand which is unsupported. As far as prone goes, I haven't kept up. For a very long time we (meaning most shooters) used a prone where one's body was at an angle to the target. As I recall, for Biathlon, it was easier to shoot Olympic style prone where one leg is pulled up but we had shooters that just splayed their feet out too. Prone shooters started angling their bodies because (as someone like McBride would say) laying straight on to a Trapdoor Springfield hurts more. People shooting smallbore used the same position as people who shot centerfire rifles. 223/5.56 doesn't recoil much and in some disciplines shooters are laying straight on to the rifle and calling it "new prone". New prone was around in the late 1800s but it hurts more when one is shooting a 45-70 or a 30-40 Krag or a 30-06. I haven't watched lately but it wouldn't shock me if the competitors are laying straight on to the target. I haven't tried to look but there has to be video.

Anyhow, Boulder is a good place to live if one is interested in Biathlon.
We were at Devils Thumb Ranch Saturday. They skied and we spa’d.
I'm cheap. I used to get a season pass at Snow Mountain and then because I had it I didn't want to pay trail fees anywhere else. I've been to Devil's Thumb but maybe only once.

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Re: Biathalon?

#15 Post by Old No7 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:13 am

Here's an option...

Get them wood/rawhide snowshoes and inexpensive Hawken blackpowder rifles, teach them how to load and shoot well; then they can "run" (not ski) in a Primitive Biathlon up in VT this winter (a Google search will tell you when & where). This way they can see if they enjoy being out in the woods, getting exercise, running against the clock, and then stopping while you're winded and your heart is pounding to engage small steel hanging targets at 3 or 4 stations along a hilly course that winds through the woods. For <$300 to $400 they could give this a try and see if they really want to step up to the modern Nordic Biathlon.

I also recall many years ago a buddy having a Russian-made straight-pull 22 rifle that I believe was an entry level "Biathlon" trainer, which was sold under that name too; you might want to Google that.

Old No7

( Google image )
Prim Biathlon 01.jpg

( also a Google Image, but that's my twin on the left at Smuggler's Notch in VT )
Prim Biathlon 02.jpg
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Re: Biathalon?

#16 Post by Pete44ru » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:39 am

Twodot wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:27 pm

Why does a guy who is not a shooter and is only expressing an "interest" in biathlon need a rifle costing $1300?

Biathlon isn't a sport like bowling, where a bowler can use bowling alley balls instead of buying their own; or like racing the family car at Indy.

Anyone who wants to do a competitive biathlon positively needs a specialized (and costly) rifle or target bow, and training/practice, to remain competitive.

If someone just wants to X-country ski & shoot privately, a personal biathlon if you will - they can use just about any rifle or bow they want or have on hand.

Biathlon accessories might be an option for a Christmas gift: http://targetshootingproducts.com/index ... 8aac0dd79a


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