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Alabamabill
12-12-2008, 06:37 PM
This is a story about my introduction into the sport of Benchrest shooting. It didn’t take me long to figure out I didn’t have a clue as to what equipment to buy, what gear I needed and even how to go about getting started!

About two months ago, I went to a match at Gene’s Range in central Alabama to see what it was all about. I was pleasantly surprised to find a great group of guys and gals who took time to listen to my questions and to help me understand the basics of this sport. It became obvious to me that the rifles they were using were not “off the shelf” rifles! I asked about how one went about obtaining a rifle and I was overwhelmed with the complex process of trying to get one built up – of course, one could always buy a used one, but I wanted to go through the process of having one made for me!

Fortunately for me, I met a young guy named Dan Killough who seemed to be very knowledgeable and interested in helping me get started. Others also took time to discuss actions, barrels, stocks, triggers, and then I really got confused! After a few days I decided to call Dan Killough. Dan owns a company that pretty much caters to the Benchrest crowd and I figured he might be able to help me get started. Dan said he would work with me and guide me along the process of having a rifle made. We talked a few times and eventually, after I did some research as well, I was gaining enough knowledge to appreciate that Dan knew exactly what I needed. We discussed the options for an action, stock, barrel, and other components needed to build up a rifle. He spent a lot of time trying to find just the right stock – the stock was the one component that took some looking for! Dan kept in close touch with me via Email to let me know what he had found and soon we were getting close to having all the components in place.

Dan made arrangements with Billy Russell to “Bed” the action and then send it on to the Gunsmith, Richard Gorham. Dan took charge of the entire operation, coordinating all the components and getting things to the right people at the right time! This service provided by Dan is one that is not very common in today’s world! I just simply sat back and watched the process unfold!

One aspect of this operation was the fantastic communications that took place between Billy Russell, Dan, Richard Gorham and me. Each of these guys kept me fully informed of when they received components, when they were doing the work, when they shipped, when they received. There is no substitute for this kind of service. I felt like I was a major part of the process and I appreciated the fact they knew how important this was to me. I wanted to feel like I was part of this project, and I did!

Here is a list of the components that were used to build this rifle:

Firearm Turbo .22lr action Mk I
Shilen .22lr Barrel Select Match 1:16 twist 4 Groove Ratchet
McMillan Edge Gun Stock
Jewell 2 oz BR Trigger
Harrell's Muzzle Tuner Black
Weaver T36 Scope
Scope Rings Kelbly Rings

In conclusion, as a new guy entering the sport of Benchrest shooting, one can easily become frustrated and lose interest unless one has a mentor or someone like Dan Killough to lead the way and provide information to help make the process less confusing. The service he provided is invaluable and I highly recommend Dan to anyone needing a source of information and a source to procure the components and guide the processes of building up a new rifle.

Following is information on those who took part in this project:

Dan Killough
http://www.killoughshootingsports.com

dan@killoughshootingsports.com

Phone: 325-212-0807

Billy Russell – Billy did the bedding work.
Phone: 254-865-9158

Richard Gorham – Gunsmith Work – Barrel work, Final assembly and testing
rgorham@baldor.com

The rifle is being shipped to me in a week or so – I’ll take some pictures and follow up here with how it shoots. Now, let me see, hmmmmm, I guess I’ll just need:

Match Grade Ammo
A rest
A stool to sit on
Wind flags
Wind speed indicator

Oh well, it’s no more expensive than playing golf!

Hope to see you all at some matches next year.

Bill Haycock
Huntsville, AL

DonMatzeder
12-12-2008, 06:46 PM
Bill, If Richard tuned the gun before he shipped it to you, write the number down on a piece of paper and don't let it get away. You will be tempted to adjust it and others will also try to help you. They mean well but when it just don't seem to be working any more, get the piece of paper out and put it back where Richard had it.

Alabamabill
12-12-2008, 06:50 PM
Don,

Funny you should suggest that!! Richard told me the exact same thing! He said, write down what I have and then feel free to experiment - but, be sure you know where to come back to! Thanks for the suggestion - you two must think alike.

Bill

DonMatzeder
12-12-2008, 06:51 PM
I just know Richard tunes good and it takes a few years to figure it out for yourself.

tim
12-12-2008, 10:13 PM
Bill, I gotta say, that's probably the best approach I've heard of for getting the right start with equipment. I bet you will find it also probably cost effective in the long run without the need to try and then sell 3-4 rigs before having a contender from the get go. Looking forward to the pics.

Alabamabill
12-13-2008, 09:21 AM
Tim,

I agree with your comments on "The Approach!" I am the kind that does a lot of research and gathering of information. I have made the mistake over the years of not getting the right stuff the first time around - you should see my photography gear - really trial and error!

What impressed me about Dan Killough was his willingness to offer alternatives and to spend time discussing different components. I did research after we talked and generally came up with my own choices that usually matched his recommendations. This process also gave me a lot of knowledge of the sport and I think will make for a better competitor.

As far as cost goes, I think it was very cost effective to deal through Dan. His prices were the same as any retail source and I didn't have to deal with shipping things from place to place - Dan gathered all the components and I was free of that effort.

But, the single most important consideration is the invaluable knowledge that Dan has - to me, that was very important - trust and rapport make for a smooth and easy project!

There are a number of others out there that are probably good choices - I just felt Dan was my choice.

Bottom line, when one is not sure of things - go to the experts!

It is cold here in North Alabama now, but I plan on shooting the new rifle through the Winter and hopefully will be ready to shoot some matches starting this Spring.

Have a great Holiday.

Bill



Bill, I gotta say, that's probably the best approach I've heard of for getting the right start with equipment. I bet you will find it also probably cost effective in the long run without the need to try and then sell 3-4 rigs before having a contender from the get go. Looking forward to the pics.

hg shelton
12-13-2008, 08:43 PM
You got a good man helping you Dan will get you started out the right way.
Gary Shelton

STxShooter
12-17-2008, 09:37 PM
Bill,

I just recently purchased a Weatherby Mark XXII .22LR because I wanted an accurate rifle to shoot rabbits and varmints out at the ranch. While researching the rifle I started reading posts about benchrest shooting and competition. Needless to say, I am getting an itch to check out this great hobby.

I am impressed with the depth of dedication that I have read about when it comes to finding/building a high quality bench shooter. Your post definitely puts things into perspective for newbies like myself. I was wondering what the true cost of a very high quality benchrest .22 rifle would run. I am guessing that the cost for a new build would be somewhere between around $3,000 and $4,000. Am I in the general ballpark with this range?

Thanks for your great post....I'm certainly getting interested in this hobby.

hi2utoo
12-18-2008, 10:01 AM
Bill,

Your estimate of 3-4 grand is a good ball park figure for a new build. It really depends on the smith and the components used. e.g. Recently Dan K. had two Spec rifles listed for Bill Myers and the price was $5000 and $3800 each.
I believe the determining factor was the stocks used. Very fancy wood products. This coming spring when the shooting season starts you should come up to some of the ARA matches around San Antonio and visit plus it will give you a idea of what it's all about. Let me warn you though I was just looking around on the internet and found the ARA site last spring and before you knew it I was loaded up with gear and driving all over the state going to matches on the weekend. It's very addicting :)

Alabamabill
12-18-2008, 03:41 PM
STxShooter,

hi2utoo made some good points about the building of a rifle. I went to a few ARA matches and was hooked! I did as much research as I could and talked with a number of guys and then I met Dan Killough and felt he was the one to lead me through a first rifle. Dan lives in Texas, not sure how far from you, but, you might want to talk with him and see what he comes up with.

I would not presume to discuss the different gunsmiths as I just don't have the knowledge or experience to recommend one over the other. Dan uses Richard Gorham - Richard is a highly rated competitor and I have to feel he knows what he is doing. The components I went with are as follows:

Firearm Turbo .22lr action Mk I
Shilen .22lr Barrel Select Match 1:16 twist 4 Groove Ratchet
McMillan Edge Gun Stock
Jewell 2 oz BR Trigger
Harrell's Muzzle Tuner Black
Weaver T36 Scope
Scope Rings Kelbly Rings

Now, the components I chose were based on Dan's recommendations and some research on my part. Take a look at the 2008 equipment list for the ARA nationals and you will see a pattern! :rolleyes:

http://ara.benchrest.net/2008/2008_Nationals%20Equipment.htm

The scope is one I was already using. I have about $2,400.00 (more or less) invested in this rifle (not counting the scope) to date. Then one must add things like shipping and FFL fees (the action must be shipped to a FFL and then picked up by you and shipped back for bedding.)

After you get into the thing you find other things you need:

A good solid case for the rifle (I bought a "Storm" case from Dan)
Scope (I use a Weaver T36 - already had this and shipped it to Richard.)
Cleaning rod and cleaning things
a rest - can cost $700.00 to $1,000! Yep :eek: That's what I said!
A chair - gee - but, gotta have a chair! :rolleyes:
Wind flags - Very important! For real!
and on, and on, and on! :o

And, I haven't even mentioned ammo! No sense in having a fine rifle and not shoot the best ammo! A brick of 500 rounds of Ely Match = $100.00.

hi2utoo hit it on the head! It is addictive - But, think about this - it is still cheaper then golf! :eek:

My rifle is just about ready - Richard called me last night and he is working on it now. When I get it I will practice until Spring and then start going to matches close by here (Alabama).

Here is a map of some locations that are near you:

http://ara.benchrest.net/Google_Map.htm

Hope this helps - if you have more questions or want to email me direct I am at:

bill@billhaycock.net

Good luck! It is fun!!

Bill



Bill,

I just recently purchased a Weatherby Mark XXII .22LR because I wanted an accurate rifle to shoot rabbits and varmints out at the ranch. While researching the rifle I started reading posts about benchrest shooting and competition. Needless to say, I am getting an itch to check out this great hobby.

I am impressed with the depth of dedication that I have read about when it comes to finding/building a high quality bench shooter. Your post definitely puts things into perspective for newbies like myself. I was wondering what the true cost of a very high quality benchrest .22 rifle would run. I am guessing that the cost for a new build would be somewhere between around $3,000 and $4,000. Am I in the general ballpark with this range?

Thanks for your great post....I'm certainly getting interested in this hobby.

STxShooter
12-18-2008, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the info.
What is the timeframe that it usually takes to get a rifle custom built from start to finish? (Not that I'm in a hurry)

If I decide to get a rifle built, it may not be until sometime in the first quarter of 2009.

Alabamabill
12-19-2008, 09:32 AM
Again, I just don't have the knowledge to really give you a good answer - I think others here probably can. My experience when I first started considering getting into the sport was "where do I buy a rifle?" But, as I described in my original post, this is not easy for a new guy! There are a number of people who build up a rifle - some are in high demand, a few of them have a waiting list of months! Sometimes a particular component will be hard to find - the stock was hard to find in my case.

I went with Dan Killough because I was fortunate enough to meet him in person. Others recommended Dan to me as well. He was able to gather all the components up - look at difference sources for the stock, and he arranged the work to be done.

There are a number of people advertised on the Benchrest Central site that will do the same thing - most want you to buy the components and then send everything to them - there are different cost estimates from each individual.

My best guess in reply to your question is about one month to six months (or longer) to have a rifle built up. In my case, it took about a month - much of the time spent mailing the action to a FFL and then my having to mail the Action back to the bedder!

Hope this helps.

Bill



Thanks for the info.
What is the timeframe that it usually takes to get a rifle custom built from start to finish? (Not that I'm in a hurry)

If I decide to get a rifle built, it may not be until sometime in the first quarter of 2009.