Do you ever wonder where some of the cool new inventions for hunting and shooting come from? Many of the advancements in hunting rifles and ammunition have been developed and tested for competitive shooting. Competitive shooting is a huge umbrella term; meaning there are many different types of Competitive shooting. Benchrest is one of those types. This is a short synopsis of Short Range Benchrest.
There are two main organizations for Short Range Benchrest. NBRSA (National BenchRest Shooting Association) and IBS (International Benchrest Shooting). In both of those organizations there are two main types of short-range Benchrest; group and score.
Group shooting is all about precision. The shooter wants to see how closely they can put their shots together at 100, 200 and sometimes 300 yards. The shooter is not really concerned with where their rounds hit on the paper, as long as they are “close” to one another, or in other words, their group is small. Most of the time it is five rounds, although sometimes they may shoot up to ten record shots. The shooter will shoot five groups at each yardage. The winner will be determined by averaging all five groups.
Dust and debris can damage your action and trigger. When you’re out in the field, you need fast protection against the elements.
Score shooting is all about accuracy. The shooter is trying to hit a very small dot, commonly called an X, at 100, 200 or 300 yards. At 100 yards the dot (X) is 1/16”. At 200 the dot is 1/8” and at 300 it is 3/16”. The scoring rings get progressively bigger as you move out from the dot. The shooter will shoot at five targets per match and five matches per yardage. That will be a total of 25 record shots for every yardage. The winner is determined with the highest score and ties are broken with X count.
Virtually every shooter hand loads his/her ammunition. The rifle, although it somewhat resembles a hunting rifle, is custom made to meet the requirements in the rule book(s). This custom made rifle sits on a front rest and a backrest. The shooter sits on a stool at a concrete bench and aims the rifle by turning knobs or moving the joystick attached to the front rest and/or by squeezing the rear bag to adjust elevation.
Obviously, there is a lot more that goes into it, but if Benchrest sparks your interest visit the IBS and/or the NBRSA websites to learn more. Better yet, attend a match near your home. While you will find the competition is fierce, the comradery is the real reason most people show up. I hope to see you at a match sometime.
Jason is a father, husband, avid outdoorsman, Benchrest shooter, and science teacher. Jason is our go-to for learning about Benchrest Shooting, loading techniques, and hunting. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, and if you like this post make sure you hit the like button.