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Thread: Hi, from St. Louis

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Hi, from St. Louis

    I'm a long time marksman/hand loader/gun collector/hunter/2ndA advocate/veteran, etc. I've done quite a bit of long range shooting with heavy barrel .220 Swift and .300 Win Mag, but never running the kinds of handmade precision rifles in the bench rest community. I've never invested the time in case prep (or fabrication) that you all do as a matter of course. Till two years ago a minute of deer or man was acceptable to me. Even working up ideal loads I could out shoot all my rifles with a suitable optic.

    Then I consulted with an aerospace company that has a small arms division and was introduced to a sub-moa rifle. I've been bitten pretty badly. Tiny groups are highly satisfying and completely addictive. I'm thinking heroin as a hobby may be cheaper...

    I am very interested in purchasing a bench rest rifle, and expanding my hand loading equipment for these interesting cartridges, but that's nearly impossible in my ignorant state. I've looked at the few used ones available on line (some offered with the associated dies and tools), but it only serves to drive my ignorance home. I don't even recognize some of the terminology you're using. Rather than coming in so ignorant and blind and pumping you all for beginner information (I don't even know the right questions to ask),...would you be so kind as to recommend a good book so I can at least approach with a base level of knowledge? Given the unusual cost of this shooting sport I would prefer not to make many mistakes, and get a good rifle and the right equipment the first time out.

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    5
    I would think going to the BR Club during a major competition would be the worst possible time to ask serious people a bunch of rookie questions. I have a cabin pretty close to there and I have thought about going out some week day when things are slow and a graybeard has time to talk to me, but I thought it might be better to do some reading first. I know it's Bench Rest, but it's still guns, and given the subject matter there is probably more bad information out there than good. I have met a few BR Club members because of Graf's, but don't "know" anyone. I think you have to be invited to join. I suppose I could go that rout. I do have a few bottles of Jefferson's Reserve and some bottles named after small towns in Scotland to ease my way into their confidence if necessary. "The island of Manhattan for these beads? Here's some whisky. Think about it."

    I'm all for trial and error, just not when we're talking a $2k-$3k+ initial investment. In that case my proclivities include due diligence. A major competition is probably a good time to buy a rifle, but I have no idea what that should be, and I'm inclined to do some homework and research before dropping serious cash just because it is advertised as "a good starter rifle" by the seller... I suppose I could go to one of the builders and have them tell me what I should purchase, but I would prefer to start with a used one and have an inkling of what I'm doing before deciding to allocate funds.

    I just don't want an "internet education". I like to approach things a little more methodically.

    Lots of views and no suggestions. I went ahead and ordered these:

    "Handloading for Competition" - Glen D. Zediker

    "Modern Accuracy In Bench Rest Shooting" - Wallack, L. R.

    They seem to be somewhat regarded. Thoughts? Anyone?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    no.il.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozeanjaeger View Post
    I would think going to the BR Club during a major competition would be the worst possible time to ask serious people a bunch of rookie questions. I have a cabin pretty close to there and I have thought about going out some week day when things are slow and a graybeard has time to talk to me, but I thought it might be better to do some reading first. I know it's Bench Rest, but it's still guns, and given the subject matter there is probably more bad information out there than good. I have met a few BR Club members because of Graf's, but don't "know" anyone. I think you have to be invited to join. I suppose I could go that rout. I do have a few bottles of Jefferson's Reserve and some bottles named after small towns in Scotland to ease my way into their confidence if necessary. "The island of Manhattan for these beads? Here's some whisky. Think about it."

    I'm all for trial and error, just not when we're talking a $2k-$3k+ initial investment. In that case my proclivities include due diligence. A major competition is probably a good time to buy a rifle, but I have no idea what that should be, and I'm inclined to do some homework and research before dropping serious cash just because it is advertised as "a good starter rifle" by the seller... I suppose I could go to one of the builders and have them tell me what I should purchase, but I would prefer to start with a used one and have an inkling of what I'm doing before deciding to allocate funds.

    I just don't want an "internet education". I like to approach things a little more methodically.

    Lots of views and no suggestions. I went ahead and ordered these:

    "Handloading for Competition" - Glen D. Zediker

    "Modern Accuracy In Bench Rest Shooting" - Wallack, L. R.

    They seem to be somewhat regarded. Thoughts? Anyone?

    If you are interested and can go as an observer to any match... large or small... GO... by all means......take your spotting scope...look learn listen....you`ll learn more by watching than reading....there is plenty of time before,during and after the match to talk.....also...lots of stuff for sale.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
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    5,281
    Benchrest competition is not as difficult as it may seem. It's just coming up with a rifle that shoots well enough to win using the same parts that the fellow beside you uses.

    GET IN THE CAR AND DRIVE TO THE NATIONALS!

    There won't be anybody there come Monday!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    909

    Best Books

    The two best books on Bench rest shooting are these two:

    "The Book Of Rifle Accuracy" by Tony Boyer

    "Extreme Rifle Accuracy" by Mike Ratigan

    Both these books are the bench mark on this subject. The are written by bench rest shooters that are champions in the game and are still shooting and winning. Both are available on Amazon.

    Oh, and the advise to attend a bench rest match in Wright City is excellent. You may even find a great used rifle for sale.

    Good luck,

    Virg in Austin, Tx.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    West Central Illinois
    Posts
    214
    The definitive short range BR book:

    "The Book of Rifle Accuracy" by Tony Boyer, 2010.

    Written by the winning-est short range BR shooter in history. This book is the how to shoot short range BR bible, from equipment to loading to bench setup to reading the wind.

    Jerry

    P.S. - Do yourself a huge favor and go to Wright City and at least look around. You'll get to see what equipment is competitive and how the match is run.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    5
    Thank you very much. I've placed the order for the books.

    I'm a long way from wanting to compete with anyone. Right now all I really want to do is make small holes in paper that are VERY close together, or overlapping preferably. I will try to make it out there this weekend.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    CA
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    It finishes Saturday around noon. After that they will be scattering like a gypsy camp. Nothing left to see by 2:00 PM except for the guys that are staying on for the World Championships that start a week later.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2003
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    Tennessee
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    This is not a very long learning process. If your rifle will shoot five shots/five times in a small hole you win - if it won't, you don't win. About the only thing to learn is to let a good rifle alone - let it win. Conversely, if a rifle won't win you can either work on it or sell it to somebody that doesn't understand this concept. You won't have much trouble finding somebody...

    Yes, it's that simple. Expensive, but simple!

    I also know that these words will go in the pile with the rest of the stuff I wrote on the subject but that's OK. Seems I have to write it!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    5
    From what little I do know that seems to be 95% of it. However, covering that last five percent seems like it requires significant amount of knowledge. Case neck turning, annealing, uniforming the flash holes, neck tension, altering standard cartridges into wildcats makes me feel like I've been pretty lax and complacent about hand loading for about 40 years now. I really didn't know any of that mattered so much. It's nothing new to you, but most of this is new to me, and I've been hand loading a long time, almost exactly like my father did it, almost exactly like his father did it.

    I'm used to working up loads for certain bullets to run right/best in my rifles...done. Now it seems like there are five more things to rework after just finding the right charge for that bullet. This was my last step, but it's only the first for you guys, and that's kind of exciting in a very nerdy, engineer sort of way.

    Even in my acurized varmint and hunting rifles I already feel like if I apply some of these techniques I can shave off some MOA. Little is more frustrating to me than a rifle that I know I can outshoot.

    I'm not interested in the rail guns. That, to me, is like a computer playing chess. I'm a marksman, not a machinist. I get the attraction, and I'm not knocking it, but I want a human element (my element) in it. I still want to be shouldering and aiming my rifle so that I, not it, am hitting my mark. Maybe if I'm grabbed by this that will change, but that's how I feel as a beginner.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
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    Yes, I understand!

    What you will learn, if you don't try to make it difficult, is that some rifles are winners and some rifles are not. That's all I'm saying here. You can try to "engineer" a lousy rifle into a good shooter if you wish but I think it's been tried and tried. I have an example (personal experience) of a lousy rifle barrel that turned into a winner by loading a fat bullet so it can be done. The barrel was screwed onto a good rifle so half the battle was already won.

    I also believe that your thoughts of railguns is a little off. Once you have a good rifle, the whole game becomes a matter of "reading" the wind. With a railgun, reading the wind is all there is to it. Sure, a railgun adds more expense but it turns out to be well spent money. If there are no 10 shot matches where you plan to shoot, don't bother with the railgun.

    All you really need is a competitive rifle and some Wilson dies....bullets, powder and primers of course. A small press will keep your hands from getting sore and a powder drop will save time.

    You can spend a lot of money on "stuff" and your groups won't get smaller. Until you can see that, try to stay on the cheaper side of the game. When you buy a gadget, and everybody does, make sure the gadget is the last one you'll need for whatever the gadget does.

    Benchrest competition has little to do with skill. For now...that's a true statement.

  12. #12
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    Feb 2003
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    Reading flags is not a skill?

  13. #13
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    Jun 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilbur View Post
    Yes, I understand!

    All you really need is a competitive rifle and some Wilson dies....bullets, powder and primers of course. A small press will keep your hands from getting sore and a powder drop will save time.

    .................................................. .................................................. ........................

    Benchrest competition has little to do with skill. For now...that's a true statement.
    I'm thinking this doesn't really mean what it looks like. Wilbur, do you think you might elucidate on this?

    Rick

  14. #14
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    Yes, I can see that I wrote poorly. I was just trying to say what you needed to win rather than just attend. Hope y'all agree that there are rifles that will shoot threes all day whether you watch flags or not....which lends to misinformed thoughts. Having/watching wind flags does not improve the rifle's ability.

    You can't beat a better rifle.

  15. #15
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    Jun 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilbur View Post
    Yes, I can see that I wrote poorly. I was just trying to say what you needed to win rather than just attend. Hope y'all agree that there are rifles that will shoot threes all day whether you watch flags or not....which lends to misinformed thoughts. Having/watching wind flags does not improve the rifle's ability.

    You can't beat a better rifle.
    Thanks Wilbur, I think I get it now.
    Sometimes I get confused looking at some of these posts and maybe it's because I shoot score rather than group. I know that even though I have a rifle capable of winning (and has won quite a bit) I still have days when I just can't figure it out. I read guys that talk about loads that won't shoot at this or that time and I wonder if they never just have a day or time of day when they just can't shoot. Maybe it's different shooting group, but I know for a fact that it takes more than an accurate rifle to win score matches. You can't spend enough $$ to buy wins. You have to know how to read wind as well and a mediocre rifle in the hands off an expert wind reader can beat a superior rifle in the hands of an inferior shooter.
    Yes, you can ask me how I know. It's not enough to buy the tools, you also have to know how to use them.

    Rick

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