View Full Version : Benchrest history

04-24-2009, 07:13 AM
I need help!
What and where I can read and look about a history of benchrest? Stages, important events in gunsmithing, evolution of a traditional rifles in dependent of BR evolution.
Thanks and regards!

Big Al
04-24-2009, 09:57 AM
If my purpose was to gather information on this topic, for say to write a book on the subject. I would either write a letter or call and talk to George Kelbly.

There are information scattered in many different magazines and books. Over a period of about 100 + years. The books and magazines contain bits and pieces of what you are looking for.

And overall history is unknown me. It would make a heck of a great book, no doubt it might take more than one volume to fully cover this subject, especially if you went back to the turn of the last century and covered the muzzle loading period.

Just to research the subjects involved in preparation to do a book would take many hours to get a good foundation to proceed.

It would strictly be a labor of love on the part of the author, I don't know how anyone could do it without years of study and work to cover all the points you request.

I would enjoy reading such a work.

I don't know if many of the folks that will be reading these posts, know of the plans years ago for a Bench Rest museum?

What a great subject for a book(s)!

04-24-2009, 10:44 AM
Big Al is right, I am 65, and magazine articles started my quest for accuracy rather than just game. But for boring reading and a true appreciation for the deveolpment of accuracy and ballistics, in the early 1900's, and how they were accomplished. I don't know of a better book on the subject than Hatcher' Notebook.

04-24-2009, 11:13 AM
Wikipedia doesn't offer much, and what it offers has some detail errors from what I can see.

Kelby and Hatcher, cited above, would be places to start. Then dig into the sources from these works. Go into the back and look for a bibliography. That's the obvious tactic. Also, if the book has footnotes/endnotes, look at them for additional sources.

A "close reading" of the textual narrative may turn up references to other works. If there's a name or a detail, see if you can find more information from a Google search.

In the academic research business this technique is called "strip mining." Once you find an article or reference head to its sources, notes, biblio for more sources.

Finally, from the outset . . . Set up a "bibliography" of your own. Keep a running list of the stuff you find. You want to list:



Source (publisher, publication) -- with a location, date, page numbers.

Annotation: Your comments about what you found, what's useful or not.

Once you develop a biblio, you can post it online! Also, you have a start on your own "book" -- which you can attempt yourself or maybe lure in some writer interested in the subject.


Here's a start on Hatcher's Notebook -- herein:

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
Hatcher's Notebook, J.S. Hatcher 3 rd. Ed. 1962, VG w/dustcover, $42.50 ... Precision Shooting “Benchrest Primer”, 420 pp. Soft, 180 articles, New, $19.95 ...
www.benchrest.com/shooterscorner/thelist.pdf - Similar pages


04-24-2009, 12:59 PM
If you can find a copy of this book

The Ultimate in Rifle Precision: the 1949 Yearbook of the Bench Rest Shooters' Association

there were several others published up through the 50's also - Great reads and source of information. Even has all the records, match reports, plus articles by all the oldtime big name guys.

jackie schmidt
04-24-2009, 04:47 PM
That is the title of Glenn Newick's book. It has a chapter on when, and who, extreme accuracy shooting started with.

It is not extremely detailed, but none the less gives a pleasant synopsys of the history involved........jackie

Big Al
04-24-2009, 06:11 PM
For a starting place, I would have to say it would be NED H. ROBERTS and KENNETH L. WATERS, "THE BREECH LOADING SINGLE SHOT RIFLE.

Yes I know, there are other good places to start, but this book is not hard to find. I could stumble through my library and point out many others, but I feel this would be a good foundational book for and introduction.

Books referencing H.M. POPE, are all ways good (and a few others)!

04-24-2009, 06:29 PM

Are you interested in Benchrest as we know it today?? It started in 1944. There are books that touch on all aspects but not in a lot of detail about any one. Warren Page's The Accurate Rifle is a good general source that covers Benchrest from the beginning up to 1973. There are two articles covering Benchrest cartridges that are fairly detailed, written from a collector's point-of-view. One by me and one by Ole Olsen but both are hard to get unless you buy a back issue of the magazines they were printed in


John Kielly
04-24-2009, 06:45 PM

I'm reading that again right now. Man, haven't things changed since 73?


04-24-2009, 08:00 PM
Jim Carmichel's "Book of the Rifle" covers alot of different aspects of rifles/shooting and has a chapter or two on benchrest shooting and the history of how it came about. Great read and very informative.

04-24-2009, 09:53 PM
There was a pretty comprehensive review of the development of the Eastern BR movement in the post WWII period including nice photos, all in PS magazine several years back. It's probably the best review out there of the last 50 odd years.