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The Palma Match

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 Palma 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).

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.

Original Palma Logo

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 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).