Benchrest vs F-class and other genres of shooting Comps?

JGorski

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While back I was on Benchrest.com shooting forum and blurted out something like "don't benchrest rifles pretty much shoot by themselves?" WOW! Did I get an eye full from those guys. But after seeing these new coaxial rests and their Edgewood bags it sure looks like those type of rifles are strapped in pretty good, there's no way of the rifle twisting, just a fore and aft movement is all you get, they shoot their 5 rounds in seconds instead of mins. usually not making any adjustments to their rest if the rifle is tracking great, even when I shoot in my Slingshot rest I get done and tell my buddies i didn't that nice group, my rifle did. With other types of shooting there seems to be more shooter input, after all, most BR guys shoot free recoil, where's the shooter input there cept for aligning their rest to get the scope on target, minimal touching if none at all cept for touching off that 1.5oz trigger.
Then there's this guy I shoot along side that puts down F-class shooters because he feels they're all shooting junk, in his words.

Once read on the hide where someone said BR is all about who has the best handloads, is this pretty much the truth?
So what is your take on BR shooting vs F-class, High power or the tactical matches we have out there? And why do the BR guys get so pissed when I tell them their rifles shoot by themselves? :)
 

FatherMorpheus

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I'm most likely the least qualified to answer this, but in my eyes they are all different crafts with their own challenges. All of them require skill and a little black magic. All of them require different equipment and training.

Do what you like, brag about how well you do, put down who you want, as they will do the same. Just in the end, remember we are all in this together!
 

milanuk

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I started shooting a little bit of benchrest this past year - NBRSA Varmint-For-Score using a .30 BR, for what it's worth. So far it has been a fun and eye-opening experience. Granted, this is 'point blank' BR (100-200, occasionally 300), and score not group at that.

Yes a lot of shooters shoot free recoil... but some will 'pin' the gun by pushing hard against the fore end stop on the rest. For some it's personal preference, for others it's what it takes to get the gun to shoot how they want.

For someone used to shooting field targets, it probably does seem like the gun shoots itself; relative to the target sizes I've normally seen in 'field' matches it kind of does. Given that the goal is to hit a target considerably smaller (the 'X' @ 100 yds is 1/16" in diameter...) to someone trying to shoot BR competitively the gun most definitely does not shoot on its own - they are watching the wind flags & mirage, holding off, going back to the sighter target and generally doing everything they can to finesse that bullet into at least nicking that little dot.

Then on top of that, even one good relay isn't enough - though one bad one can kill ya - you have to do it four more times throughout the day as conditions change.

F-class is different; the shot strings are longer - statistically harder to keep it together for 20 rounds than for 5, fewer sighters - typically 2 but even on stages with unlimited sighters they are only at the beginning, no going back and forth. The time between shots is longer; shooting fast in F-class is not even close to what BR guys call 'machine-gunning'. There are far fewer wind flags in HP or F-class and no personal ones - you don't get to put your favorite little windmill right where you want it. Not sure, but I think that carries over to long range BR - too hard to locate and control the flags. In HP/F-class there is often a certain amount of moving between yard lines, scoring, marking targets, etc. Some tac matches have that; others have designated personnel for that for the same reasons as BR - to enhance the experience for the shooters, and to keep too many fingers out of the cookie jar.

In the end, in my experience having shot a little bit of HP XTC & Palma, a little bit of BR, the occasional field match and a whole lot of F-class... it's all a matter of degrees. A good shooter behind a well-tuned field rifle can shoot more than well enough to pull off a good score or three at F-Class, and likely turn in some very tiny BR-like groups. Same thing with F-class vs BR. Generally though, you'll get your head handed to you over an aggregate by the folks who specialize in that area and have the domain-specific setups/experience. Going the other way is a little more interesting. A good BR gun may or may not make a good F-class gun - depending on the caliber, and we do play out in the sun, rain and dust a bit more. Most F-class guns make lousy field rifles due to being too big and heavy, and there's even more dirt, rain, etc. More importantly, as most people become more specialized in a given discipline, they typically become less flexible otherwise.

Just my $0.02 worth.

Monte
 

Al_Ski

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And why do the BR guys get so pissed when I tell them their rifles shoot by themselves?
Because they don't...

EVERYTHING has to be perfect in Benchrest. Your reloading skills, rifle, rest and rear bag, bench set-up, shooting technique (especially trigger finger placement/trigger pull), wind reading skills, cleaning process... Any shortcoming in any of those areas will reflect badly on the target.

And then you read how someone's rifle will shoot ones or twos... "all day long".
 

damoncali

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Benchrest is a far more technical discipline. You can win all day long with a 1/2 MOA rifle in F class. You will be dead last in benchrest with that rifle. Getting a winning BR rifle shooting is a lot of work and requires a lot of technical skill (and money at the national level) - this aspect is more or less absent from high power. On top of that, a benchrest shooter must also read the wind every bit as much as a high power shooter. The impact is just as important, just harder to see because the groups are so small. So they do need to be able to shoot as well as tinker. Other than that, the main difference (aside from the bench) is that benchresters get to machine gun rounds into groups without waiting for scores, and highpower shooters have to start over with every shot. I would lose a lot of interest in F class without manual scoring. It's an important difference.

Personally, I don't want competition to be that much of an equipment race or require constant fiddling, which is what draws me to high power. I have a benchrest rig that I use for informal tinkering when I get the itch, but I don't compete with it.
 

JGorski

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When I said BR rifles shoot by themselves I'm not talking about precision loading, reading wind flags, etc etc. just the shooting part. Just saw this Norwegian shooting his Light and heavy gun and right before he took the shot he took his eye off the scope, then put his finger on the trigger and that was the only thing touching the rifle, period. To me that rifle is shooting itself, so to speak. Im not putting the BR guys down, cuz I am one myself, mainly cuz that's the only shooting Comps we have around here I just use a tactical rifle instead, figure I can get more use of it than a BR rig.
Tell me these rigs don't shoot themselves, cept for the folks pulling the trigger, yeah, and reading the wind flag.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Yv274JUfSOg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

XTR

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Bench Rest, HP, F-class, Tactical or what ever, each has it's own challenges. BR is about precision, F class is more about picking conditions or reading them for and the changes for 20 shots over a longer period of time. In F class once you put that first shot for record on paper every shot after that counts. You can't go back. If you get a change and it won't come around to where you started you have to dial or hold something and put it up there. I call those record sighters (my scorecards often prove that :( ). I think it was a former BR shooter that has come over to F class said to me that a BR shooter can shoot is just about any condition, but they don't shoot through conditions and that's the difference in F or HP and BR. I kind of see that.
 

40xs

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And remember, the easier it seems to shoot, the smaller the scoring rings are so, the demand for perfection goes up with each discipline to some degree. One of the hardest shooting sports for me was the 200 yard handgun silhouett matches in the offhand position. you had to combine enough energy and perfect shot execution to topple the heavy steel targets. Like some have said " it's all good "! and we need to support all shooting sports. But there will always be some "esprit de corps" exhibited in our own little endeavor.
 

Al_Ski

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I think it was a former BR shooter that has come over to F class said to me that a BR shooter can shoot is just about any condition, but they don't shoot through conditions and that's the difference in F or HP and BR. I kind of see that.
That depends on a lot of factors. Conditions can switch rapidly at some of the ranges where Benchrest matches are held. Small bowl type ranges that aren't open (surrounded by trees, hills) are a pain, you neeed to be prepaired to shoot in at least two different conditions during your relay. A lot of competitors are "pickers" and wait for a condition to present itself. If the dominant condition doesn't re-appear you'll be shooting in something totally different than the condition you originally started your record shots. While a Benchrest shooter can go down to the sighter target to test the new condition I've seen switches that were so fast that by the time I've gone back up to the record target the condition changed. In a score match it's more critical (as Monte has found probably out :grin:). You're attempting to hit a 1/16" dot at 100 yards. You have to move your POA between bulls, shotgunning five shots in twenty five seconds isn't going to happen. Just like F-Class you're estimating your hold off for the changing conditions unless you're lucky enough to have a constatant condition that lasts for the time of your record shots.

A lot of strategy is involved in Benchrest...
 

milanuk

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Al,

The part that gets me is the information overload from the flags... *ALL* the flags. I finally broke down and bought a set myself, mainly because someone had a used set up for sale at a good price, but I haven't really practiced over them yet. I haven't really figured out the fascination with having flags directly inline under your target, when in HP/F-Class I'm generally more worried about whats going on 'up wind'. We seem to have a pretty good bunch of guys here - several national champions and record holders, primarily in Hunter BR, one of which is my gunsmith - always trying to pick his brain for more info!

One of the peculiarities of our range is its up a canyon, so you'll 'feel' the wind on one side, and see your shots go out the other as the wind bounces off the wall between you and the target. The other major twist that I'm working on figuring out is that the backstops are tiered... i.e. the 100yd backstop is about 7-8' high... and the 200yd firing line is about 8-9 feet above that, and the 300yd targets about 6-7 feet above *that*. You start seeing a definite change in POI as you move 'up' the record target and the contact of the stock with the front bag changes every so slightly. May not be much, but when the 'X' @ 300 is still (quite a bit) smaller than a .30 cal bullet hole, its noticeable.

We do have some people with the custom actions with coned bolts, drop-port ejection and full-tilt boogie setups that can get their one or two sighters and five record shots off in well under a minute, some closer to 30 seconds. And they win a *lot*. Me, with an old Weaver T24 scope on a Savage RBLP where I have to manually fish that short fat round up in the chamber and pull the empty out of the gun... well, I've never still never ran out of time, not even close.
 

Al_Ski

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I haven't really figured out the fascination with having flags directly inline under your target
Your flag closest to the target should be visable to you through your scope. The rest of the flags are set up so that they are in the field of view of your left eye (if you're right handed). You can pick your POA with your right while watching the flags with your left. No need to lift your hear off the rifle and out of the scope while waiting to break a shot. At some ranges the targets aren't tall enough to allow you to set the flags in a straight line. Theory is to stagger them into the wind, I always stagger them to my left side. I'll watch the flags on both sides of my bench before I shoot to see the wind patterns and how they correlate to the movement of my flags. You'll see patterns of how a wave of wind moves through the range as the flags show change.
 

Rthur

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My hat is off to anyone who can hit the x 80 times on a given day off of a bipod. You don't have to use a coaxial rest to shoot fclass.YMMV


R
 

milanuk

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My hat is off to anyone who can hit the x 80 times on a given day off of a bipod.
Most of us struggle to hit the 10-ring 60 times in a given day, or 20 times in a row. If you know someone who can nail the X-ring 80 times in one match shooting F/TR... tell 'em they missed their chance @ glory last summer in Raton. ;)

Sent from my Samsung S4
 

Down South

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Most of us struggle to hit the 10-ring 60 times in a given day, or 20 times in a row. If you know someone who can nail the X-ring 80 times in one match shooting F/TR... tell 'em they missed their chance @ glory last summer in Raton. ;)

Sent from my Samsung S4
I was thinking the same thing.......lol
 

40xs

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I'm old enough to have gotten in on the ground floor of several shooting disciplines; silhouette, IPSC, f/class. and in each case it wasn't long before technology and money came into the picture to remove, to some degree, the individual demand for personal ability to compete. I'm not saying this is bad. What I am saying is in each case it was only a matter of time before I got a little turned off due to the requirements of each competitor to keep up with having to purchase this and that to add to your kit and rig to even stay somewhat competitive. today, it is hard to distinguish between an F-open gun and an F/tr gun from a few feet away. In the beginnig the F/tr rigs looked just like the military bolt guns with fold down bi-pods and solid stocks, or as we use to say, " the grab and run gun". Now, you would be hard pressed to "grab and run" with the F/tr rigs showing up at the matches. Again, I'm not saying this is a bad thing, because the scores keep going up and the winner is determined by the "X" count. "progress", I guess. This is the way of things, everyone trying to come up with an edge to raise their score. Now-a-days I long for some matches that only allow 2inch snub nosed .38's shot at 20-25 yds. this will certainly indicate a person's ability to hit what they are looking at without 50 power scopes and 60" barrels, etc. LOL. Just saying!! and Don't take me too serious as I know it is what it is.
 

Rthur

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Milanuk, I guess I should have said the 10 ring.lol
I haven't ran 20 straight yet. My 260 off of a atlas bipod sure does make it fun though.


R
 

40xs

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No, everyone doesn't shoot cleans. But someone useually does, at least the matches I shoot at. A good example; In 2007 I picked up a national record for a measley 148- 5x at 600 yds. for a 15 shot relay. Three months later I shot a 199- 9x out of 200 and was beat out. Today, scores like this can be seen at any match, even at 1000yds. This is how quick the competition progresses. Again, I'm not saying this is bad I'm just saying I'm getting tired, personnaly, of trying to keep up with the lack of availability of components, increasing costs, demand for newer more expensive equipment to continue competing. I'm trying to talk my club into starting a 200yd .22 f/class game. Maybe gear down a little and put some "fun" back into it. If it sounds like I'm getting burned out, you may be right. But this is just me. I have friends that are still fired up and I'm happy for them. They rarely miss a match. It's time for me to make room for those who still have the "fire".
 

RStewart

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In the beginnig the F/tr rigs looked just like the military bolt guns with fold down bi-pods and solid stocks, or as we use to say, " the grab and run gun". Now, you would be hard pressed to "grab and run" with the F/tr rigs showing up at the matches.
Some of us use our scopes as a rifle carry handle. If I get to where I have to treat my rig with kid gloves, it won't be fun.


And we had 6-200's shot at our last 600 yard monthly match. In windy conditions.
4 in Open. 2 by the same person. 200-16x, 200-15x, 200-9x and 200-8x

2 in FTR. Both by the same person. 200-7x and 200-11x. And he didn't win the FTR division.
 

40xs

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Thank You!! to those that doubt, this is tough competition. Who'd a thunk that scores like these would have been possible today? Looks like it's time to cut the scoring rings even smaller than they now are.
 

XTR

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Last year I cleaned 800 and 900 for 15 shots shooting F-TR (150-9x at 800). First relay and really almost no wind. I'm still looking for one at 600 and 1000, that last one may be a while. I think my best 1000 yard score for 20 shots is only a 194. My best 1000 for 15, I rarely get to shoot 15 at 1000, is a 148-6x. That one was good enough to win me a match at the Nationals in '12.
 

Denys

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You know, that's a pretty interesting thread, especially with the recent comments above about score.

I shoot F-TR exclusively and my best score at 1000 yards up until Raton was a 194-x something, 5 or 6. Then on the last day of the 2013 Nationals I shot a 199-7X. I was elated. My scorekeeper was almost dancing and laughing and I thought I had that one nailed!

However, another hoser shot a 200-something and 4 others also had 199 with a higher X count then mine. How insulting, I came in sixth for that match with a 199-7x at 1000 yards. In F-TR.

Sigh.
 
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damoncali

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You know, that's a pretty interesting thread, especially with the recent comments above about score.

I shoot F-TR exclusively and my best score at 1000 yards up until Raton was a 194-x something, 5 or 6. Then on the last day of the 2013 Nationals I shot a 199-7X. I was elated. My scorekeeper was almost dancing and laughing and I thought I had that one nailed!

However, another hoser shot a 200-something and 4 others also had 199 with a higher X count then mine. How insulting, I came in sixth for that match with a 199-7x at 1000 yards. In F-TR.

Sigh.
But it cuts both ways! I've shot dreadful stages that I was sure would put me out of it that wound up being near the top. Sucks to have a personal record not make the cut, though... That had to sting.
 

Denys

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Well, for some reason I was shooting well above my usual that week and so after the first day, I was squadded with the top F-TR shooters for the remainder of the week. After that little effort in the morning, I shot my final match in absolutely dreadful conditions. Like you said above, I thought I was screwing the pooch and I even shot my first 8 of the week followed by my only 7 for the entire match. I shot a 183-1X and I was happy to escape. I did learn some new swear words, some in foreign languages during that relay, and I ended up doing not too bad. It it had not been for that one relay, I would have shoot Master for the whole week. As it is I shot 95.7% for the week.
 

XTR

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How insulting, I came in sixth for that match with a 199-7x at 1000 yards. In F-TR.

Sigh.
That is kind of like getting 5 out of 6 on a lottery ticket. That is just brutal. A 199-7 at 1000 in FTR is good enough to win at least 99 out of 100 matched held in the US ever yr.

The day I shot clean at 800 and 900 is the same day I've posted about before where there were only 6 or 7 F class shooters there so we got Open and TR lumped together. I dropped 6 at 1000 and lost the match to an Open shooter by 3 points. Just a club match but still...

I pulled for Ronnie Ralston when he shot a 150-11 in Oak Ridge. It was a Full Bore match and not a registered match so it didn't count. I think it would have been a 150-13 if he had gone for record sooner (one of those times that convertible sighters would have been nice.
 
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Denys

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Well, the conditions were superb and I was thus able to confirm that my rifle is decent, my handloads are decent, and I can hold vertical properly for 22 rounds. I take it as an entire confirmation of everything. This of course means that any time I drop a point, I have no excuses; it's all my fault. I truly am the shortest stave in the barrel. Sob.
 

Forgetful Coyote

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I happen to be one of those guys who likes benchrest...........even though I dont own a BR rifle LOL!

I can relate though, I grew up on the drag racing scene out in the back woods, and then when I moved to a less rural area(ie more cityslickers) a lot of the punk kids that thought they were cool with their Civics and Tegs would always try to be like "drag racing takes no skill, all you do is go in straight line, drifting rulez!!!"

Well, that may be true if youre driving a auto Civic or Integra, but if youre in a real race car(ie: 3000+ hp) then it takes quite a bit of skill. You may think "drifting rulez" at 40 or 50mph, but have you ever been sideways at 180+ mph? AND brought it around and saved it? THAT is skill:

Shakedown Outlaw 10.5 AMAZING SAVE Mitrovic v TIM LYNCH Semi-Final round - YouTube

In many ways, BR is alot like the drag racing of shooting competition. Instead of making the racer be a jack-of-all-trades, the racer simply has to focus on being an expert in a certain few things(chassis tuning, ignition timing, boost control if turbo`d, TRACTION, reaction time, etc) and knowing the car well. Same thing with BR, instead of being jack-of-all-trades, they focus on being experts at a certain few things, mainly focusing on the wind during the actual shooting(ie: driving) portion. But they also must choose the best equipment, know their rifle like the back of their hand, and know how to tune the load and how to tune the barrel.


Walt Berger, the man responsible for the bullet company many use today, once said something along the lines of "you wont truly learn the wind until you use a railgun". Railgun meaning this:

Rail gun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Agree or disagree, I think its a good point. Theres no other style of shooting where the wind is just about the only thing youre focusing on during the actual shooting portion(excluding your loads, etc).



As I said, I dont own one so I dont have a dog in the fight, but I believe theres a place for all types of shooting competition. Have an open mind. Its not like BR competition is gonna make someone a worse marksman, am I right?
 

Brutalwarpig

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I realize this is a very old thread but like everyone I want to throw my 2 cents in. I'm a newb to long range rifle competition and so far the only one I've participated in is F class. One difference in these types of competitions, at least for me, is the cost and the time commitment. I shoot both open and target in F class with a Howa HCR and a Ruger Precision so there's $3000 right there. Then I have a Sightmark 10x40x60 and a Covenant Seven 5x35x56 which is another $1500. I know neither of my scopes are considered to be anything special but they both have incredible glass clarity and the covenant 7 is just unbelievable! I was considering a Athlon Helos 35 power for double the money and recently had an opportunity to compare the two side by side at my home range and the covenant 7 has substantially better clarity and a much larger field of view. The Athlon had nicer turrets but that's about it. Anyway by the time you add in ammo components and the other peripherals it cost me around $6000 to enter F class. By comparison there's an unlimited class shooter at our range who's rail gun, scope and rests are right at the $20k mark. Even the more restrictive classes have competitors running an $9k-$12k rig. The other considerations for me are practicality. I shoot for fun, almost always at paper or steel but the skills I developed in F class translate well in any real-world defensive situation or for hunting which matters to me. I'm just glad to see shooting sports growing in popularity. It helps defend 2A.