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September 12, 2008

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Bourjaily: Ever Shoot a Vimbar Match?

While I was waiting for the barrel of my slug gun to cool down at the range the other day, the guy at the next bench over asked me if I wanted to shoot his Mosin Nagant, which had cost him all of $100.

I said thank you very much, and soon was happily slinging 7.62 bullets downrange offhand, shooting at a stick in the backstop (it’s a very informal range. We can shoot at sticks in the backstop if we want to). I decided this Mosin was a lot of fun for a hundred bucks. Question is, other than shoot at sticks, what would I do with it?

Turns out, I could shoot Vimbar matches. “Vimbar” stands for VIntage Military Bolt Action Rifle and it’s the brainchild of Browning’s Denny Wilcox and his friend Peter Sodoma. Like me, Wilcox picked up a Mosin, shot it, and thought, “what a fun gun.” Unlike me, Wilcock has his own 1,200 yard range and, he thought further, “I need to make up a game for these rifles.” He and Sodoma came up with the rules of Vimbar and its sister event, Vimsar (VIntage Military Semi Automatic Rifle). Think “G.I. Action Shooting” and you’ve got the idea of Vimbar/Vimsar. You shoot at man-sized reactive targets from point blank out to 900 yards. In some courses you stay put, in others, you move around, shooting rifles, pistols, and sometimes even throwing dummy grenades. It seems like a hoot to me, and as long as the supply of $100 Mosins holds out, anyone can get into the game for very little money. You can learn more about it at Vimbar.com.

What do you think? Would you shoot a Vimbar match?


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Cecil in VT

That looks like a LOT of fun. Too bad it's on the other side of the country from me.

DE Curtiss

What a great idea! I like to shoot frequently and burn a lot of ammo, a habit that is getting seriously more expensive over the last couple of years. Vimbar sounds like a fine way to keep my habit alive & well.

Duck Creek Dick


The Alliance, Nebraska gun club regularly have military shoots but, to their shame, do things off a benchrest. They even have a "Siege of Stalingrad" shoot in the winter. Swiss K-31's and Swede Mausers are the preferred rifles but you might see anything from a semi-auto BAR, 1903 Springfield, SMLE, or Ljungman. Friendly crowd, too!


If they catch on and start being held closer to home I'd go!
Cross country travel for a day of shooting old rifles is a little pricey now days.

Dr. Ralph

The best thing about going to the range is the comeraderie and shooting OPG's... other people's guns.

Dr. Ralph



A couple weeks ago a friend pulled into my driveway, got out of his pickup, and handed me a long box. "Here's a little gift for you". I opened the cardboard carton to see a rifle which I recognized as a Moisin-Nagant M44. "We are going to shoot some Vimbar with these 7.62 x 59's" he stated. I had assumed that all Vimbar were endangered in Wyoming because I have never seen one in the 27 years I have lived here. I didn't have the heart to point out that the rifle fires a 7.62 x 54R out of gratitude for the gesture. "When's the season?" I asked. "Anytime" he replied. Off we went for an afternoon of enjoyable and cheap shooting. If I run out of ammo I can always stick the Vimbar with my bayonet. I wonder if there is an Ackley Improved version of the little rimmed case?

VaTx Hunter

Where can I purchace a
Mosin Nagant. Please let me know
at [email protected]


I'd only shoot VIMBAR if the grenades were real and not dummies!


Yeah, what's the fun of dummy grenades?
I want a BOOM!

I do have one I bought years ago and started sporterizing. Needs a new Firing Pin Spring and to be actually finished tho......
Cost me all of $39 if I remember right, bought a few to practice gunsmithing on. Cheap rifles!


Do Jap 7.7 Arisakas count? I'm 56 and sporterized one from the Herter's catalogue when I was 16. Bought a roughed-out stock and a bent bolt handle, a cheap trigger and had at it. Still shoot it. Came from my uncle. He pulled it from a pile in Iwo Jima. Still packed in cosmoline when he gave it to me.


VaTx Hunter,
You can purchase a Mosin Nagant, from just about any Dunhams spoting goods stores. They carry a lot of vintage rifles. Dicks Sporting goods is also another place they carry them. Both places are major chain stores found in most states.

Tom the Troll

Zermoid; I've never seen a sporterized grenade. Bet that would be a hoot.

Phil Bourjaily

Breen -- Yes, Arisakas count. So do Mausers, SMLEs, 1903 Springfields, etc. They also hold sniper events that allow the use of historically correct telescopic sights.


Last year I held a Sheutzenfest at my own little range and I got the chance to shoot a Moisin- Nagant. Damn that rifle had a stiff bolt! and boy howdy did it have a kick too. This event turned into the festival of obsolete commie block firearms as besides the Nagant, one feller brought a SKS and a Tokarev pistol and another guy brought a Makarov to shoot. Lots of fun for all!
I just had another Sheutzenfest, though this event was more focussed on black powder.We had my pair of Remington 1858 replicas as well as a Kentucky pistol, an 1820 boot pistol and my 26mm signal cannon (which does a job on a tv set!) I'll hold it every year. Bella

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