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Old 08-21-2010, 07:51 PM   #11
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The IBS has am AR class this year but it is pretty limited and probably won't last. I know this for a fact as it is the class I shoot.

For the OP, you don't need a $1000 rest to shoot. My rest is an old cast aluminum piece with no fancy adjustments or nifty levers.

As far as gear goes, if you show up they will get you shooting. Factory class or some other fitting place. Don't worry about the fancy gear and super setup. The game is won and lost by reading conditions.

Some classes only shoot a 6x scope, and none of that 6mm PPC stuff. Hunter class requires a case capable of holding 41 grains of water. You'll see a lot of 30x47 and 30 Aardvark in the hunter class.

I've been around the IBS for quite a few years, my father-in-law was a rifle builder and long time competitor. They are always looking for new people. Go to a shoot, tell them you are interested and if they don't loan you a gun that day they will get you set up with either a rest and some other basic stuff and shoot your own rifle or you can try one of theirs.

You can probably get a used gun, with dies and some brass for less than $2000. It may or may not have a scope depending on a lot of other factors.

Bottom line, take a rifle, take some ammo, and go to a shoot. The first one is free.

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Old 08-24-2010, 06:14 PM   #12
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Default Alternative Benchrest Levels

These guys are all absolutely correct about equipment and cost if you are interested only in moving in the high levels of benchrest competition; however, there are clubs and matches that are considerably less costly.

The U.S. Benchrest Assoc., for example, has graded classifications for rimfire and centerfire rifles, starting with .22s retailing for less than $200 and going up to the very expensive unlimited guns mentioned in this thread. The lowest centerfire class is stock guns costing less than $500. At least three of the USBR classes allow you to compete with factory rifles or rifles only slightly altered.

It usually takes a high power scope to do well, even at the 50 yard range for rimfire competition, but some of the rimfire classes are limited to 9X or under, which is what a lot of hunters have. We see a lot of hunting guns in our USBR sanctioned matches, as well as older target rifles such as Remington 40Xs and Winchester 52s with Nikons, Sightrons, or Weaver target or varmint scopes than run to the hundreds. I can't afford good glass, but I do OK with Truglo 6-24X scopes that cost me less than $70, beleive it or not. They give me a sight picture with very thin target crosshairs, target turrets, and adjustable objectives--that's all you need.

There are some competitors who have completely custom centerfire guns valued in the many thousands of dollars and really expensive Leupold scopes, but I shoot a single-shot .223 varmint gun that cost me less than $250 new. I shoot in a lower class, but it's still a lot of fun.

We have a few people with expensive front rests, but others shoot off of inexpensive Caldwell or Stoney Point rests, and some of our highest scores came from guns with hunting bipods or one guy who shoots off his range bag.

In short, you should look around your area and see if there is someplace that has classes that suit your equipment. Look for USBR or IR50/50 matches.

Benchrest is really challenging at any level and a whale of a lot of fun.

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Old 08-24-2010, 08:04 PM   #13
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Thanks Purchalk,
Your reply was very helpful. I have put my name on the waiting list for a N. Texas Gun Club that holds bench rest event. I am looking forward to learning and hopefully getting my son involved in the competition too.

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Old 08-24-2010, 08:18 PM   #14
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ive always been impressed with the groups the bench shooters shoot but to watch them is like watching paint dry. there is a group of guys here in jackson that shoot and one of them builds his own scopes because the cross hairs are to thick for for him.

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Old 08-24-2010, 08:18 PM   #15
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Sounds good. We have teenage shooters at all our matches, and they seem to enjoy it a lot. We even had one 9 year old with his father in close supervision.

By the way, we have found that even with our less expensive and less specialized guns we have to use the best ammo we can find that shoots well in our particular weapons. No one goes for the hideously expensive Tenex stuff, but we all use Wolf Match or an equivalent.

Good luck and shoot all 10Xs.

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Old 08-24-2010, 08:20 PM   #16
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Joshfireart:

Well, we shoot only for score, which is less exacting and less boring (or so I think) than shooting for groups. We have a great time socially talking about guns, ammo, and other great topics. Wouldn't miss a match for the world, unless there's some family emergency.

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Old 08-24-2010, 08:25 PM   #17
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Default thnx

Is the 22LR the best start for kids? Bolt action? I am a big Nikon fan because of their quality and reputation so I want to stick with them for a scope.
Thanks for steering me in the right direction. I must say I was a bit bewildered thinking I'd have to drop big $ just to see if it something that my son and I would like to do together.
What power and objective scope do you suggest?
Make of rifle?

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Old 08-25-2010, 02:52 AM   #18
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bman940:

Yes to .22lr and bolt action. The Savage MkII series with Accutriggers are great starters and great guns. I'm looking at a wholesale cataloge that lists the most basic model at $200 wholesale. The fancier ones for example with thumbhole laminated stocks and stainless steel go up to over $350 wholesale, including two full-out target-stocked guns. All have heavy target barrels. Not much money for accurate rimfire benchrest guns out of the box.

You can get a decent front rest without all the precision and windage adjustments for around $70 (Caldwell Rock, for example) or even go for a good sand bag rest like a Big Buddy that will scandalize the hardcore benchresters, but they work. I use a Caldwell Tackdriver as a front rest. Back "bunny ear" rests are around $20.

You need at least a 24X scope of some kind--36X is better--,and they have to have thin target crosshairs, usually with a very small dot in the middle, target turrets, and adjustable objectives ("AO"). Get sunshades if you can. You can get made in China scopes with 24X for under $100 from Natchez Shooting Supply. To begin, I'd get a Truglo or a Tasco (or a BSA 36X if your eyes are better than mine). If you like benchrest matches and you have the money, the next step for most people is a Weaver T-36 for $350 to $375 or a Sightron Big Sky 36X for $500 or so. I'm not certain what Nikon makes in target scopes. Most of theirs are hunting scopes.

If you shoot at the green USBR target (http://www.southpondcottages.com/metaleer/10Joe-.pdf) with a 1/10th of an inch ten ring, you might expect to shoot around 200 points on a 25 target match in your first month or so. It usually takes more sophisticated equipment to get higher than the 220s.

As you can tell, I'm a real enthusiast and I became a match director just to get matches going at my club.

Hope you can try it--good luck and have fun!

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Old 08-25-2010, 03:44 AM   #19
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What a great amount of information. I never even thought to ask about ther distances for the 22Lr BR shoots.
I telling my son about thi and he is excited to give it a try.
I told him it's not like going up there with his heavy barr. 10-22.
He has shot a bolt action Marlin just to get used to the patience to make accurate shots and use a scope properly.
Thank you again for all the info.

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Old 08-25-2010, 11:01 AM   #20
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Glad to be of help. Others undoubtedly know more about all this than I do, but I'm happy to share what I have learned. I also find it reassuring to know you don't need to try to break in at the top of the benchrest world if you want to start slow. I have so much fun at this that I like to encourage others to try it.

A "heavy" barreled 10/22 will work also, but it is likely to be not quite so accurate as a target-barreled, Accutriggered Savage. I have a re-barreled 10/22 with a target hammer (that lightens the trigger pull a lot) that I shoot benchrest with. But you're right, it's hard to be deliberate and careful for each shot with a semi-auto.

It might be a good idea to start practicing at 25 yards, which will give you an idea of what kind of shooting is required. Then move to 50 yards, which is a whale of a lot more difficult. I can clean a target at 25--most people can--but I can just barely make 90% scores at 50.

This discipline really teaches you how to use a scope much more precisely than plinking or hunting does, but it has a good carry-over. No squirrel is safe after you learn to shoot benchrest!

By the way, you can also shoot .17 cal. in USBR matches and .22 mags, although it is hard to find a really accurate .22 mag. I have a Marlin 982 that does reasonably well at benchrest but it's a good day when I break 200 with it.

In addition to this forum, you should look at RimfireCentral.com - Rimfire Community!. They run monthly internet benchrest contests with a lot of categories of guns, including both 25 and 50 yard matches. You shoot four targets and submit your best score. I find that a lot of fun, although it's hard competition, because it gives me a reason to concentrate instead of just practicing.

You can also trot out your centerfire guns. We shoot centerfire contests here at 100 yards with ten bulls. A good hunting gun in .223, .22-250, or .243 with a high-power scope can do OK, but you can really see the difference when someone brings out a custom-made benchrest rifle in 6mmBR or .37-40. Those guns (with really expensive glass) are really in another league. Most of our hunters like this kind of centerfire shooting if they are into antelope or varmint hunting, because the skills really transfer. Many of them have really nice Sakos, Rem. 700s, Tikkas, tuned ARs, etc. I bought a very old fashioned H&R varmint gun in .223 just to get to shoot in the centerfire matches. It has a shockingly good barrel on it and can do less than MOA at 100 yards, but it's no competition for the really accurate guns.

Anyway, good shooting to you--I tend to run on and on about this topic.

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