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View Full Version : Not rich, can I benchrest with any respectability



777funk
10-28-2013, 10:47 PM
I just bedded an old Savage 110E in 270 with a hunting taper barrel, synthetic stock, and sights and am hoping it'll perform. It's got a Centerpoint 4-16x40 scope. I have no complaints with the clarity. It's AO and is super clear and I can easily make out holes at 100 yds. I like the image and zoom better than my old Bushnell 4200 2-10x40. The AO really helps things to be in focus. I bought a Savage because I've heard they're great on the bench for the money and you can change the barrel if things aren't working out. I bought a 270 because it was actually a trade and was all that was there at the moment. Plus it seems like there's always 270 on the shelves if I am on a hunting trip and somehow forgot to bring shells.

I've been reloading for 20 years or so but not for rifle until recently. The first purchase after getting the 270 were dies and some Sierra 140 Game Kings and 130 Hornady SP (plan to use this to hunt and as a for enjoyment bench shooter). We'll see how they do with the newly bedded action.

Anyways, I have no rests etc but I do have shot bags. I shot an AR tonight at the range and found resting it was pretty difficult with the 6 position stock. I was getting 2" groups with that. I was shooting touching holes at 100 yds with the gun club treasurer's 17hmr and his sand bags.

So I guess after today's trip and watching some of the old pros shoot and seeing some of the equipment they used, my question...Can I get good groups without spending a fortune?

777funk
10-29-2013, 08:40 AM
I should add that I am not expecting that stock or inexpensive gear will work as well as say a shillen heavy target barrel with a scope that costs 3x more than the rifle. But can it be done (accuracy) without spending the big bucks.

I'd be happy with 1/2MOA or better from the bench.

82boy
10-29-2013, 10:17 AM
Well to start what is your definition of Benchrest?

This site is desiccated to competitive Benchrest shooting, dedicated to rifles that meet specific rules, not just shooting off of a bench at the local range. From the way your questions sound it sounds like your wondering if you can improve the accuracy of your rifle, and shoot under 1/2 inch groups out of your rifle from a bench, and have no intent in competitive Benchrest shooting. Would this be correct? If so I would recommend you try www.savageshooters.com and post your question there.

With that said you don't have to be rich to shoot competitive Benchrest, you can shoot club match's on a small salary. If you want to shoot Sanctioned match's it is going to take a bit more money, but it is still doable on a working mans salary. It may take a few years to get all the equipment needed to be competitive in the sport, as it can be a big investment. You can save money by networking with other shooters, and finding good deals on used equipment, or looking on line.

I hope this answers your questions.

abintx
10-29-2013, 10:17 AM
I just bedded an old Savage 110E in 270 with a hunting taper barrel, synthetic stock, and sights and am hoping it'll perform. It's got a Centerpoint 4-16x40 scope. I have no complaints with the clarity. It's AO and is super clear and I can easily make out holes at 100 yds. I like the image and zoom better than my old Bushnell 4200 2-10x40. The AO really helps things to be in focus. I bought a Savage because I've heard they're great on the bench for the money and you can change the barrel if things aren't working out. I bought a 270 because it was actually a trade and was all that was there at the moment. Plus it seems like there's always 270 on the shelves if I am on a hunting trip and somehow forgot to bring shells.

I've been reloading for 20 years or so but not for rifle until recently. The first purchase after getting the 270 were dies and some Sierra 140 Game Kings and 130 Hornady SP (plan to use this to hunt and as a for enjoyment bench shooter). We'll see how they do with the newly bedded action.

Anyways, I have no rests etc but I do have shot bags. I shot an AR tonight at the range and found resting it was pretty difficult with the 6 position stock. I was getting 2" groups with that. I was shooting touching holes at 100 yds with the gun club treasurer's 17hmr and his sand bags.

So I guess after today's trip and watching some of the old pros shoot and seeing some of the equipment they used, my question...Can I get good groups without spending a fortune?

Short answer, NO. This is not an inexpensive sport if you want to be competitive. Look at the 6PPC or 30BR if you want to compete in "short-range" BR. You can plink with anything.

777funk
10-29-2013, 12:10 PM
I think what I'm looking for is to shoot non competitively but in a bench rest format (i.e. for my own enjoyment but still by the rules). In other words, I have a respect for the BR guys but until I'm there, I don't want to jump into the ring and put on the gloves so to speak. But for that matter... I could do it on my own as a hobby for the rest of my life and be happy. I enjoy shooting as a hobby. I'm not looking to be a pro but I do want to reach a certain level of good to great.

And... I am interested in slowly building up the gear as I go. I talked to Douglas barrels today and he recommended barrelling to .243 based on what I'm wanting to do. And yes ZDog, recoil gets annoying after a while. I'm not max loading but it's still a .270. Douglas also mentioned as I've read other places... there's not a ton of selection for .270 match grade bullets. That doesn't bother me too much if I can find ONE that the barrel likes and stick with it... but that's something I'm not experienced with yet. This is part of why I asked this question (I don't know) and thanks for the replies guys!

Please go easy on the aspiring BR guy;) I guess what inspired me to come here is that met an older former BR guy at my local club yesterday who had some pointers that were very appreciated. I'm always looking to learn. Unfortunately growing up, my trips to the range were once a year to sight in my dads old Marlins for deer season. I always had a respect for the guys who ran the range. I could tell they were experienced shooters and reloaders and had the right tools to shoot well from the bench. It always caught my interest.

Charles E
10-29-2013, 01:38 PM
All this pussy-footing around. The answer to your post, looking only at the title, is NO.

Hard to find NBRSA match reports, but IBS holds a few group shoots, and you can see the results here:

http://internationalbenchrest.com/results/group/_groupindex.php

Look at the aggs. You won't see any .500 aggs, except when someone had to take a penalty (crossfire, only four shots fired, etc.)

If we look beyond your post's title, then well, it's just what you'll be happy with, & that's hard to say. If .5 MOA satisfies you, you'll be happy, if you can get it. That's also hard to say. There are individual Savage -- and Remingtons and Winchesters etc. that will shoot .5 MOA or better. Were you lucky enough to get one? If not, where do you spend your money? Suppose the problem is the barrel, not the bedding. By the time you track it down & pay a gunsmith to fix everything, you likely could have bought a used benchrest rifle that will outperform whatever you wind up with, and have a few dollars left over.

Put it this way: almost no one who shoots benchrest is stupid. If they could compete with rifles other than what they shoot -- maybe not win, but hit middle of the pack from time to time -- then that's what they would do.

No one does.

Therefore...

As for club matches, yeah, but, there will always be people shooting factory or modified rifles that want to win, and have a huge head start on your .270, sand-filled shot bags, etc. Actually, that's most of them...why they are there...

Enjoy your .270 fo what it is, and if the accuracy bug bites, don't spend anything except to travel to a few matches & talk to people. Then you can spend more wisely.

Chism G
10-29-2013, 04:22 PM
I think what I'm looking for is to shoot non competitively but in a bench rest format (i.e. for my own enjoyment but still by the rules). In other words, I have a respect for the BR guys but until I'm there, I don't want to jump into the ring and put on the gloves so to speak. But for that matter... I could do it on my own as a hobby for the rest of my life and be happy. I enjoy shooting as a hobby. I'm not looking to be a pro but I do want to reach a certain level of good to great.

And... I am interested in slowly building up the gear as I go. I talked to Douglas barrels today and he recommended barrelling to .243 based on what I'm wanting to do. And yes ZDog, recoil gets annoying after a while. I'm not max loading but it's still a .270. Douglas also mentioned as I've read other places... there's not a ton of selection for .270 match grade bullets. That doesn't bother me too much if I can find ONE that the barrel likes and stick with it... but that's something I'm not experienced with yet. This is part of why I asked this question (I don't know) and thanks for the replies guys!

Please go easy on the aspiring BR guy;) I guess what inspired me to come here is that met an older former BR guy at my local club yesterday who had some pointers that were very appreciated. I'm always looking to learn. Unfortunately growing up, my trips to the range were once a year to sight in my dads old Marlins for deer season. I always had a respect for the guys who ran the range. I could tell they were experienced shooters and reloaders and had the right tools to shoot well from the bench. It always caught my interest.



Boy I have helped make a few people rich since Iíve been hooked on Benchrest. In the beginning,my story is similar to yours,except that my favorite rifle was a Remington PSS. in .308.
Had a lot of fun shooting that rifle. Shot some really respectful groups with that rifle,considering it was a factory model. If I had kept that rifle and remained satisfied with the groups I was shooting, I would probably have more money in the Bank. If youíre interested,PM me and Iíll share my story. You spend as much or as little as you want on this hobby. You be the Judge.



Glenn

TomD
10-29-2013, 09:55 PM
You can shoot a little better than 1/2 MOA aggs with a good stock rifle. A number of years ago we had some stock rifle only competitions at our club and several of us managed 100 & 200 yard aggs in the .4's. One guy shot a very high .3 agg with a Cooper. Pretty much everyone was shooting .223.

If you are shooting .243 and you find what it likes, it won't be for long. Barrel will be gone shortly. Unless you have some form of very long range or big animal hunting in mind, I recommend a 223, you can get 10,000 rounds out of a barrel.

82boy
10-29-2013, 11:04 PM
I think what I'm looking for is to shoot non competitively but in a bench rest format (i.e. for my own enjoyment but still by the rules).
Please go easy on the aspiring BR guy;) I guess what inspired me to come here is that met an older former BR guy at my local club yesterday who had some pointers I could tell they were experienced shooters and reloaders and had the right tools to shoot well from the bench. It always caught my interest.

All I can say is
STOP!!!!!!
DO NOT BUY A THING, OR MAKE ANY DECISIONS UNTILL YOU HAVE DONE SOME RESEARCH.
The best advice I can give you is don't look for advice off of the internet, or from firearms retailers, or anyone else. Before you do a thing the best advise I can give you is go back to the range, and talk to the shooters you mention. Find out if there is any club match's in your area. Find out the rules to these match's, and what classes they offer. Your Douglass barrel your thinking about may throw you out of a class, and make it to where you are unable to shoot. First see what is offered, and match your rifle to that. Make friends with the fellows, that you talk about and have one of them mentor you. Having an mentor if far better than anything you could ever find anywhere else, especially the internet.

Last off, keep an open mind, and remember there is no universal do everything rifle. If you want to hunt, then get a rifle to hunt, if you want to shoot paper then get a gun to shoot paper. To try to accommodate both of these disciplines with one rifle is a hard chore, and is close to impossible to achieve. I would say the recommendation of a 243 Winchester would be a very poor choice, and leave you frustrated, and disappointed. Don't handicap your self starting out. If you want to shoot Benchrest, shoot a Benchrest caliber, unless you restricted by class rules. In a factory chambered gun about the best thing you could get would be a 223 Remington. Do not go out trying to re-invent the wheel, and learn when to say when. Don't dump a ton of money modifying a rifles, you will end up having as much money in it, and more, than getting a used top end custom.

Again before you do anything see what is available in your area, or to areas you are willing to travel. See what the classes are, and what the better shooters in that class are using, and follow there lead. Above all of this don't skimp on buying cheap stuff, take you time and save up and buy good name equipment. as the saying goes buy once cry once.

Delaware_Ken
10-30-2013, 04:21 AM
Good Morning,

Why not do what I did when the BR bug bit me. I found a local club that included Factory Class in their monthly shoots. I shot factory for 1 1/2 years before I built a LG BR rig, and it seemed like I learned something at every shoot. Just listening to some of the conversations that were going on, and asking questions saved me a lot of money in the long run.

I started with a 308, picked up reloading for it, and had a great time shooting in factory class. Every month my scores seemed to improve a little, and eventually I won some wood. I was fortunate in that there were a couple of other shooters that were just starting out when I did, and we pushed each other to shoot better.

Try it, you'll like it, Ken

777funk
10-30-2013, 09:09 AM
Thanks guys! Sounds like maybe trading the Savage for another like it in .223 would be a good start. I really appreciate at least turning the weather vane in the direction the wind is blowing. Sometimes ideas I have ingrained into my head about what will work aren't always reality. I appreciate the help!!!

I think I will start by picking up a good front rest (Hart, Bald Eagle, etc) and just get lots of practice with what I have.

That also makes .223 desirable since reloading .223 isn't as bank breaking as other calibers since it'll eat half the powder and bullets are cheaper.

For that matter I have a 10 yard indoor (basement range) for one of these (http://flyingdragonairrifles.org/industry_qb78.html) that will shoot through the same hole. Can't get much cheaper than that. I use a 20# tank that I share with my welder so that makes it even cheaper.

The rest will come in handy for that as well. Right now I just use a bag for the front and my hands for the rear.

82boy
10-30-2013, 10:15 AM
Thanks guys! Sounds like maybe trading the Savage for another like it in .223 would be a good start. I really appreciate at least turning the weather vane in the direction the wind is blowing. Sometimes ideas I have ingrained into my head about what will work aren't always reality. I appreciate the help!!!
I think I will start by picking up a good front rest (Hart, Bald Eagle, etc) and just get lots of practice with what I have.
That also makes .223 desirable since reloading .223 isn't as bank breaking as other calibers since it'll eat half the powder and bullets are cheaper.
.

This sounds like a step in the right direction.
As far as the savage goes, look at the Model 12 LVPV, or if you want something a bit lower cost try the Model 12 VLP. Both of these guns will work right out the box, and if you do you part should be able to shoot average .5 size 5 shoot 100 yard groups, with some occasionally better. Go with a 1 in 9 twist, and shoot 52gr match bullets. In our club match when we use to have people shooting factory class these guns dominated. Since then people have upgraded. Regardless you have a lot of options with these guns.

Something else to look into is Varmint match's. Depending where your located in the country this may be something else to shoot. Many follow rules from the Toad/Walker match's. Check you may have a Varmint Hunters Association match's near by. Check out the VHA mag web site. http://www.varminthunter.org/ Varmint shoots, are shot from benches off of rest, they shoot many different targets, and varying ranges. Some times they stretch out in distance to 500, and even further yardages. A 223 would fit well in these match's as well. Try looking up Wabash Indiana there is three match's I know of The Cannonball, VHA regional, and the Toad/Walker

Something else to consider is UBR match's, again a 223 would fit well in these match's. They offer a factory class. Again depending on where your located at, this may also be another option.

Last things is you may look into F class. many nickname this belly Benchrest. They shoot off of rest but on the ground. This is a NRA sanctioned discipline, so look on the NRA web site to see if there is some match's around you. Again a 223 would work well in this, and you could shoot 2 class FTR, and open.

Good luck.

Charles E
10-30-2013, 02:47 PM
Whoa again.

To use a metaphor, sounds like you're not looking for a wife, but a good time. And you can do that fairly cheaply, given you already have a Savage rifle. A Savage lets the user who is only moderately skilful change barrels, without much special tooling. And any special tooling you need is of the cheap variety.

From Pac-Nor, and I'd assume other barrel makers, you can get a match-grade barrel for $290 or so, and the "prefit" charge is $125. Might be less for a Savage, no shoulder to figure out & machine. (Don't forget the cost of reloading dies.) Now if forming cases is beyond your desired skills, get a 6BR. If forming cases is OK for you, get a .30BR.

Why?

At most local matches, you won't be shooting for group, but for score. And be aware that the Factory Class in Universal Benchrest (UBR) does have a weight limit. Local customs may vary.

Such a rifle as I proposed puts you into the "modified" class. So What? At the hot local matches, the "Factory" guys will be way ahead of you anyway.

Here's the real kicker:

Forget the rifle for a minute. You need rests & bags, a good scope, and a good trigger. The Front Rest you can cheat on, including building your own, but the sandbags themselves are still going to run you close to $100. The scope is going to be pretty close to $375. The trigger, $125 & up. That's $600, just to take advantage of any rifle.

I repeat: Go to a few matches. See what they shoot. Ask questions. Use your ingenuity by all means (e.g., a replacement barrel rather than a whole new rifle), but before you can apply ingenuity, you need a reasonable understanding of the game.

Otherwise it gets more expensive than you thought, real quickly.

Edit:

Here's the link for Sharp Shooters Supply, a company with a lot of Savages parts.

http://www.sharpshootersupply.com/

Nickle
10-30-2013, 05:17 PM
Can it be done? Yes, it can. How I know? Because it's been done.

That said, there's smart ways to do it, and not so smart.

Your location isn't on your profile, and that's a key part of how you do it.

My neck of the woods (northwest New England), my choices are group shooting or score shooting, but not so good for long range. So, find a close enough range, see what's on their program, and go accordingly.

If 100/200 yard score shooting, especially Hunter class and Varmint Hunter class are available, then it's fairly easy.

Effective group shooting is going to require a much heavier outlay to get "competitive".

After all, nobody is going to like being always stuck last, due to equipment shortfalls.

Another good thing to do after finding that range, is get to know the shooters, and find a mentor. He can lead you along, and save you money, by keeping you from following bad leads.

And, don't believe the folks that say you have to use a 6 PPC or 30 BR. There are many other options out there, even if few people use them.
They are out there in 222 and other calibers, and though not "cheap", not even close to the cost of a new custom rifle either.

If you do your own lather work, well, there's a means to beat a lot of cost, even if you have to learn in the process. I do my own work, have for years.

Nickle
10-30-2013, 05:21 PM
And, by the way, listen closely to what Charles is saying. I don't know him, but I can tell you what I know matches what he knows.

Remember, "cheap" is a relative term, and the definition varies from person to person.

Normmatzen
11-10-2013, 09:45 PM
Maybe this is a better way to answer your question.

First, you can buy a stock out of the box Savage 6BR bench rest gun for, I think, $1200.
A scope can be had on ebay for a modest price, maybe a 6-24 power Vortex or the like for a couple hundred.

Cadwell makes a serviceable bench rest for less than $100 and I have shot against guys using them and the limitation is the trigger puller!

You will need reloading tools. Here, I would recommend LEE equipment. They make embarrassing good stuff for a low price. Even the Lee powder dispenser and powder scale are cheap and made from plastic. The engineering is where they shine, The deficiencies of the materials are designed around for an accurate result.
I have no connection to Lee, just use their stuff. I use one of their breech lock aluminum presses, a set of the collett neck sizer/ bullet seaters, one of their powder dispensers and I follow up with a precision lab balance I bought on ebay for $130. And, I do have a micrometer bullet seating die as well as custom made full length sizing die with bushings, but mostly use the Lee Collet neck sizer.

A hundred bucks worth of Varget and Sierra SMK 105 bullets and you can learn to shoot 3" groups at 600yds.
That is, once the trigger puller gets up to speed. And, it will be a while till you get better than your equipment. Before then, you will shoot in a lot of club matches and when you feel brave, maybe a national. You will finish in the bottom end of the finishers, but I would bet you would beet a couple folks!

Check around and you will find many folks have been embarrassed by someone with a Savage out of the box 6BR bench rest gun!

Charles E
11-10-2013, 10:57 PM
Maybe this is a better way to answer your question.

First, you can buy a stock out of the box Savage 6BR bench rest gun for, I think, $1200.

It won't make weight for any short-range BR sport. According to the Savage web site, rifle is 12.75 pounds before scope. Most scope weigh about a pound....oops, a quarter pound overweight right there. And even in Factory Class, some ranges/organizations use the 13.5-pound limit.

While he didn't specifically say, appeared the original poster was looking at 100 and 200 yard benchrest.

* * *

Some of the Lee tooling is first rate. Some of it won't quite do. I do use some Lee tooling, including the classic turret press for some operations, but picking what was worth it for benchrest took about 20 years experience. Assume I'm a slow learner -- that still leave someone needing about 10 years.

Wilbur
11-13-2013, 06:45 PM
AND...didn't finish that one. Anyways, in spite of folks getting tired of my posting these "excerpts", I'll paste it below. The subject was evaluating whether competition benchrest was a suitable venture and I believe it pertinent to the discussion.

2) Do I have the money?

The purpose of this question is not to have you evaluate your relative net worth. Trust me, you have ENOUGH money. The real question is whether or not you have THE money? I talked with a spectator at a match one Sunday and he stated that he would dearly love to get into benchrest shooting but just couldn't afford it. Later, I was cleaning my rifle and saw him driving away in a brand new custom painted chrome plated pickup truck pulling a real nice trailer. There was a four wheeler in the bed of the truck and three more on the trailer. I figured the 4 wheelers were a family thing and that was how his priorities aligned. On the way home that night my Caravan shuddered past 170K and I paid the light bill plus late charge on Wednesday. It was either pay the light bill or get my wife's partial plate fixed. It all worked out well at the time because I bought a jug of powder and all we could afford was soup and mashed potatoes anyway. Money is not a show stopper either. Just give it some direct thought before you end up taking a loss on your purchases.