If you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics over the past week and a half, you may have come across the sport of biathlon. Essentially a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, this physically grueling event is not for the faint of heart. It is described on the PyeongChang 2018 website as such:

Athletes strap the guns on their backs, ski for a certain distance, and then stop to shoot at a designated target. For the shooting, there are two types of the shooting positions. One of these is shooting while lying face down, and the other is shooting while standing up. The final ranking is decided according to the skiing time and the accuracy of the shooting. In the Winter Olympics, a total of 11 events are contended, including 5 for men, 5 for women, and 1 mixed.

Fox News recently released a fascinating video giving an overview of the rifle used in a biathlon. According to the clip above, the rifle is chambered in .22 LR and features snow covers on the front and rear sights (which aren’t magnified); two-stage trigger; five-round magazine; Fortner bolt; specialized grip and a harness so biathletes can carry the rifle on their back.

The New York Times says the rifle must weigh at least 3.5 kilograms, or about 8 pounds.

According to Sports Illustrated, biathletes shoot targets from a distance of 50m away. In standing position, the targets are 4.5 inches wide. In prone, the targets are 1.8 inches wide. If you miss a target in an Individual event, you get one minute added to your overall time. If you miss in the Pursuit, Relay or Mass Start events, you’re required to take a lap around the 150m penalty loop before you can continue with your race.

A quick search reveals that Germany-based Anschütz is the most popular maker of biathlon rifles. Here’s a specs breakdown on the company’s 1827F rifle. Below that, check out a few more videos on Biathlon rifles as you gear up for the final week of the Winter Olympics.

Anschütz 1827F Winter Olympics Biathlon Rifle Specs

  • Total length (cm): 104
  • Total weight (kg): 3.7

Barreled Action

  • Bolt throw: Straight pull
  • Locking: 7 hardened steel balls
  • Finish: blued


  • Trigger Type: Two stage trigger 5020
  • Version: right
  • Tilting range (mm): 11
  • Adjustment of the trigger shoe (mm): 23
  • Trigger blade: 008541
  • Color of the trigger shoe: Black
  • Safety: Sliding safety catch
  • Trigger weight, adjusted (g): 550
  • Adjustment of the trigger weight (mm): 90-650


  • Material: Steel
  • Finish: Nitrided
  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Length of twist (mm): 420
  • Number of grooves: 8
  • Rifling (mm): 534
  • Barrel version: Sprint
  • Muzzle diameter (mm): 19
  • Barrel length (mm): 550


  • Aluminum grooved rail on the side: yes
  • Aluminum grooved rail on the lower side: yes
  • Stippled checkering: yes
  • Length of stock (mm): 670
  • Clamping piece at the cheek: yes
  • Butt plate: yes
  • Butt plate: Biathlon butt plate
  • Material: Walnut
  • Stock finish: laquered
  • Length of pull (mm): 320-375

Butt Plate

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Adjustable (mm): 25
  • Weight (g): 115


  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 5


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