View Full Version : Need help starting off

01-10-2008, 04:08 AM
Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Matt, I am in my 5th year of my Pharmacy program at the University of Toledo. I work part time at a hunting store and while they sell a lot of guns, ammo, and accessories nothing carries over to rimfire BR shooting other than the occasional BR gun will come through the store. Being in college I don't have a lot of money. I know this isn't a cheap hobby and that ammo costs quickly out pace initial equipment costs. That said between my part time job and my loving parents who are yet to cut off the gravy train I do have a bit of cash I can get to for hobbies. I used to drink a lot of this money away but have drastically cut that bad habit/hobby out and seem to find the bank account has more room to play with now than ever. I also seem to be getting through schooling fine and hear the real world pays enough to not worry about penny pinching now.

Well the bug has bit and I'm in hook line and sinker. I don't know much about anything beyond I want to play the BR game. I have been toying around on low end rimfire guns for a while and while they are plenty good for casual target shooting I can't do anything more than that with them.

So it is time to step to a real benchrest setup. I basically have nothing to start with when it comes to BR quality. I have a cheap rest and bags, have used cheap scopes on the cheap CZ rifles I shoot. Nothing I have is something I would put on a BR setup though a lot of it could be used until I can afford to buy everything. One thing I don't have that I know I need are wind flags.

Right now I have a few questions, some as to what is quality and what isn't and others as to what to do first.

Lets start with the rifle. I don't know what action names to trust to be a good starting point.

I have always heard Anschutz makes great rifles, more so in their 54 series, but even that the 64 series can be a good start to have fun on. Other articles lead me to think the 64 series is just a polished and refined version of my CZ models I have and that I would be far from happy spending my money on one compared to what else is out there.

From there I see a lot on the Remington 40x, Suhl grade 10s, and Winchester 52 actions. Are these actions that are capable of shooting with the competition? I had always heard if it was a factory action, as nice as it may be, it will still never group like a custom action. I know stiffness plays a big role here and precision is another biggie. If I went with one of these actions what can I expect the rifle to peak at compared to a custom action? I see these for sale in the classified section and it seems that, while not inexpensive compared to my previous firearm purchases, they aren't astronomical. $1000 for the rifle doesn't seem like something I couldn't swing and going the used route seems like I could pick up a real 'bargain'.

Then comes the custom actions. Is there a good starter custom action or are they all top of the line (performance and price)? Are any exceptionally good or bad? I guess Im just looking for some insider info as to if there is any clear cut advantage to go with or if there is some commonly known wrong product to avoid. I doubt I go this route as the custom actions seem a bit more expensive and to start I know I won't be able to get near the most out of my gun. As such that last little drip of performance (and large amount of money) isn't going to be something I can justify now. If one pops up though and looks to be a deal I was hoping to know enough to either correctly pass on it or to not hesitate and take it while it is there without making a bad decision.

I have read a bit on triggers and Jewel seems to be what I read about the most. Im sure though that if I found a rifle the trigger is something that can be fixed/replaced with a BR quality trigger on any of the previously mentioned actions.

Barrels....Where do I start. There seems to be so much here I am a bit overwhelmed. I know a great barrel starts with a consistent hunk of metal and then turned into a consistent blank. I know the reamer used and the person using the reamer make a huge difference though again I have no idea on how to tell quality from junk. I know a correct crown is important though I don't know what to look for to tell this. I have heard the lighter barrels work better with tuners though I don't know the actual weight that works best. It seems everyone has their favorite twist rate, length, and brand so again I really am only looking for a common knowledge answer on any gems out there for their price or anything to really avoid.

BR stocks seem to be something that is all over the place. I know a lot here and also with barrel contour/length depend on the type of BR shooting you do. I don't know what class I want to fit in. The local rimfire shoots I would attend are all unlimited this side of a rail gun. Beyond shooting there I really don't have a clue what is popular, what is easy to start in, what is local (though it seems I am finding that ARA matches are held within an hours drive but the rules for that seem to be any .22lr with any rest. I hear of 10.5 pound guns, 13.5lb, sporter, and a bunch of others. I need direction here. I know everyone has their own favorite style. I don't want to spend a bunch of money on a setup style that nobody shoots. If I can't shoot in a sporter class anywhere with 3 hours drive it doesn't make sense to build a sporter gun. I guess I need to do some research on what events are around the Toledo area.

As for the stock itself I have played with pillar and epoxy bedding (though not gluing the action to the stock) the rimfires I have. They all seemed to improve group sizes but I'm sure the job I can do and the job many of the BR builders out there do are in two different leagues.

I think that covers the rifle itself.

The scope. I have read a bit and think I will start with a Weaver 36x or a Sightron 36x. At under $400 each they seem well within my budget and as low end as most people go in the BR world. It isn't anything in stone just what seemed to be the best bang for the buck in the BR world.

I know nice rings and mounts are needed. What seems to be everyone's favorite way to mount a scope? I assume some sort of weaver base and ring? Are there nice rings that are the go to ring and same with bases? I would hate to spend all this on a quality setup and have the rings or bases be the problem on why I don't get the groups I should.

I think that covers everything that would go on the rifle itself though if I missed anything shout.

I don't know a thing about the differences in the rests out there beyond you pay for precision and windage adjustable tops add to the cost. This is an area where I would need a bit of direction. I don't think I am looking for a one piece rest as I know a few of the local shoots won't allow a one piece rest along with some of the postal matches I want to play in though again if there is something that is a clear winner I would love to hear about it.

Ammo, well I think I understand the idea here. Try the quality stuff, find the one that shoots the best, then buy everything from that lot you can find. Simple enough. There are only so many quality options.

Tuners. They seem to be mandatory. I have read a bit from Mr Calfee as to what a tuner does and how it works. I have read a bit on how to get the tuner to tune. From here I just don't know who to go with or who to avoid. There seem to be a couple popular options and I didn't know if one was of higher quality for the money or if one was a bit less expensive for an equal product.

Where are the good online places to look for BR quality equipment? Beyond the classifieds here and on RFC.com I don't know many places to look. I never know what to trust on a gunbroker type site and again didn't know if there was a 'gold mine' out there for used BR equipment.

From there I guess my last real question is what order would you buy things in? If a great deal pops up it should get pushed to the top of the list but beyond that what would order would you start to buy things in. The initial gut feeling was buy the rifle first but I don't have any reasoning behind this beyond it is always fun to buy another rifle. If anyone has any comments on what they think would have helped them in purchasing order I would love to hear it.

Im sure I am forgetting a lot when it comes to starting up on the rimfire game but Ill ask that when it comes. I know I have already gone on for far too long for a single post so I'll just end here. Any help on any and all questions I have is greatly appreciated.


01-10-2008, 06:23 AM
wow! alot of questions I live in Ohio also give me a call and I will try to help you out all I can Jerry 740-357-4377

01-10-2008, 10:58 AM
I think your best bet would be to go to a few matches, nose around and look and see what kind of equipment is on the benches and ask a lot of questions. You will probably find that most Rimfire folks are willing and eager to share the kind of information you are looking for.

Geaux Tigers!!!

01-10-2008, 02:04 PM

Give Jerry a call. He'll set you straight, well, maybe not straight, but he'll give you good information. I'm sure he will invite you to a match, be sure to go!


01-10-2008, 03:59 PM
Looks like you've done your homework. One recommendation is to take each of your questions and do a search on this board.

Another good source is the ARA site (http://ara.benchrest.net/). Take a look at the equipment lists for the Nationals and Winter Indoor Nationals.


David Schliem
01-10-2008, 09:06 PM
Matt, you can't go wrong checking with Jerry. I bought my first serious BR rifle from him and have never been dissatisfied with the decision. Go to one of his matches for a good hands on experience. Jerry let me shoot his favorite rifle and that really got me started. As far as Smiths are concerned, he has one of the best in the country living near him by the name of Gene Davis :) Hope this will help.....Slim

01-10-2008, 09:07 PM
Toledo......enemy of Ball State! Just kidding! Hillsdale Rifle Club should not be too far from you to visit. I think they start in April. They have not set a schedule as of yet but they will soon. It would be good for you to venture there and examine the guns that are being used before any decision because if you are truly interested you will see what IS being used. You could possibly find a used rifle, and who knows maybe find a rifle there that is for sale and be able to shoot it. Look at the ARA website under Clubs to find info and then e-mail the match directors for a proposed schedule. Best of luck.


01-10-2008, 09:23 PM
Matt, talk to everybody that will talk to you. Before you spend a dime go to a couple matches, I'll bet you'll get to try 1 or 2 rigs, let the "red mist" die down a bit, there's lots of ways to go wrong here.