The Olympics may offer the only chance for the United States to send its 14 top marksmen to Moscow, armed to the hilt.
"No," said Kam Hayden of the National Rifle Association, the Olympic shooting team's governing body, "we don't have any trouble getting them in. Not for an event like this."
The shooting team, like most of the 1980 Olympic squads, has yet to be selected. It won't be long. U.S. championships and final trials come this summer and performances there will determine the competitors.
Hayden has high hopes for the Americans in Olympic rifle competition, slightly lower hopes in shotgun events and less still for pistol.
There are seven Olympic shooting events.
Pistol shooters pick from free pistol, which is one-handed, standing-position firing at a small target 50 yards away, and rapid-fire shooting at human silhouettes, with restrictions on length of time between shots.
Rifle shooters pick from three events:
The three-position small-bore event requires shots from standing, kneeling and prone positions at 50 meters. The United States took gold and silver medals in the event at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
The English match requires 60 shots, all from a prone position at 50 meters.
Moving targets (running game) is the only Olympic event in which telescop sights are permitted. Shooters fire at moving silhouette targets that look like wild boars.
Shotgunners compete in international skeet and clay pigeons. Skeet shooters fire at fast clay pigeons moving across their field of view. The clay pigeon or trapshooting event has the clay birds flying away from the gunner.
Hayden was buoyed by the U.S. teams's excellent showing in rifle events at the world championships in Seoul, Korea, last year, but pointed out that strong Communist bloc countries did not participate.
However, he said, this country traditionally is strong in rifle shooting, partly because international rules are quite similar to rules used in American domestic competition.
The United States took a gold in Montreal in clay pigeon. Hayden said there are strong American competitors in both shotgun events, but many are very young and "it's hard to say whether they will hold up under the pressure."
Traditional top teams in shooting vary for the different specialites. Poland, East Germany, the U.S.S.R. and Colombia have been strong in running game; Romania, Hungary and Switzerland are customarily favorites for pistol events; the Soviets and East Germans are strong competitors in rifle.
Hayden figures the U.S. will be in the running, too. "We count on something in the rifle and we could do spectacularly well in shotguns, too," he said.