Shooting at the 1896 Summer Olympics

Dates 8 – 12 April 1896
Medal Events 5

The shooting events were contested at a specially built shooting gallery at Kallithea. It was inaugurated on the morning of the opening of the shooting events, 8 April 1896 (Julian calendar: 27 March). The ceremony began with a short benefiction by Bishop Kompothekras of Cefallonia. Queen Olga of Greece arrived at the range at 1030 hours accompanied by the Princess Maria and her fiancé, Grand Duke George. A ceremony was performed, at the end of which the Queen fired a single shot from a rifle. The royal family then departed and the events began.

The most difficult thing to understand about the 1896 shooting events was the scoring system. In all the events, the competition was broken up into a four strings of 10 shots in rifle events, and five strings of six shots in pistol events. The total score for each string was calculated by multiplying the number of hits for the string times the score for the shots done in that string. This was then repeated for each string, and the final score was the total of the calculated score for each string. This severely penalized missing the target entirely, as both no score was registered, and the multiplier was decreased as well. As an example, six scoring shots, each worth one point, would normally give a total of 6 points. But this was multiplied by the six hits, to give a score of 36 points. Another shooter, only hitting the target three times, but scoring in the 4-ring each time for 12 points, would also get only 36 points, as he had only three scoring hits. This method of scoring was used in all the events.


Event Status Date Participants NOCs
Free Pistol, 30 metres, Men Olympic 11 April 1896 5 3
Military Pistol, 25 metres, Men Olympic 10 April 1896 16 4
Muzzle-Loading Pistol, 25 metres, Men Olympic 11 April 1896 4 3
Free Rifle, Any Position, 300 metres, Men Olympic 11 – 12 April 1896 20 3
Military Rifle, 200 metres, Men Olympic 8 – 9 April 1896 20 7
38 (38/0) 7 (7/0)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Free Pistol, 30 metres, Men Sumner PaineUSA Holger NielsenDEN Ioannis FrangoudisGRE
Military Pistol, 25 metres, Men John PaineUSA Sumner PaineUSA Nikolaos DorakisGRE
Muzzle-Loading Pistol, 25 metres, Men Ioannis FrangoudisGRE Georgios OrfanidisGRE Holger NielsenDEN
Free Rifle, Three Positions, 300 metres, Men Georgios OrfanidisGRE Ioannis FrangoudisGRE Viggo JensenDEN
Military Rifle, 200 metres, Men Pantelis KarasevdasGRE Pavlos PavlidisGRE Nikolaos TrikoupisGRE

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Greece GRE 3 3 3 9
United States USA 2 1 0 3
Denmark DEN 0 1 2 3