Thoughts on Benchrest Rifles

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Thoughts on Benchrest Rifles

    Good day all. I hope everyone is well.

    I want to thank everyone for their help with my previous benchrest questions. Now it is appearing more likely that I may take up the sport I'm looking around at the different types of rifles. I'm still a little bit confused about the difference between heavyweight and lightweight. How do you tell, and do you seriously have to weigh them?

    So back to the rifle itself. I know that the"bowling ball" behind the trigger can turn a $5000 rig into a doorstop, but given that, and given that I don't want to spend a lot of money as I'm looking at entry level, and who knows, I may not be keen on the sport(who am I kidding) I'm looking for opinions on the rifle I should be getting.
    I'd be happy with a used one in good condition, and it also seems that I'll need some good glass. Can't you shoot benchrest with sights?

    Thank you everyone for your attention.

  • #2
    hey koolman,

    with most target disciplines the weight limits are enforced more heavily at competitions at state and national level but you'de be unlucky to have a rifle weighed at club level but that's not the point. if you buy or build a rifle i suggest you go for a lightweight class of rifle, especially in rimfire where recoil is not as much of an issue. reason being is that with a light rifle you can shoot matches in both light and heavy classes enabling you to double your experience as you go along. the difference in scope magnification can be sorted by winding back your scope to 6 power for light, some clubs and matches will require you to have the scope mag adjustment taped and initialed by the RO or an official

    here's the rules relating to rimfire weights from the SSAA rulebook

    This shall be any rimfire rifle, chambered for the .22 calibre long rifle rimfire
    cartridge only, that does not have a total weight in excess of 7 pounds 12
    ounces (3.515 kg) including telescopic sight and all accessories, and the
    telescopic sight shall be restricted to 6 magnifications (variable
    magnification telescopic sights shall be set at 6 magnifications or less and
    taped) and the width of the stock shall not exceed 2.25 inches (57.15 mm)
    at any point, but otherwise meets the specifications of the Heavy
    Benchrest Rifle (Section 4.3) and shall be fired from restricted rests only.

    This shall be any rimfire rifle, chambered for the .22 calibre long rifle rimfire
    cartridge only, that does not have a total weight in excess of 14 pounds
    (6.350 kg) including telescopic sight and all accessories, but otherwise
    meets the specifications of the Heavy Benchrest Rifle (Section 4.3) and
    shall be fired from restricted rests only.

    the anschutz 54 actions seem to be the benchmark for rimfire actions, they have good triggers and are well known to be good shooters. occasionally used rifles advertised, these tend to be a good buy if you want to shoot straight away and not wait for a rifle to be built

    this one on used guns looks good, you could sell off the weaver and buy a variable scope if the rifle weighs into light class

    good luck with it and keep us informed in your progress, there are others here (me included) who would love to add another discipline (and rifle) to our sporting activities



    • moofy07
      moofy07 commented
      Editing a comment
      I definitely have to agree with Steve, go for a rim fire first. When I was first interested in rim fire bench rest I was going to use one of my CZs and get all the work done. this included stainless barrel, trigger work, stock, bedding and all the little extras that was going to be needed. I also checked the prices on the used gun sites. As I am not financially endowed I looked at other ways to begin the discipline. In the end I looked at the Anschutz 1903 and being a lefty the Anschutz came in left handed.
      I then took the plunge and bought the 1903 Anschutz, these are the 64 action and the later ones are now made with a thicker action (1mm thicker). I have pillar bedded the action and wound the trigger down and it has served me well for the past 2 years.
      I have been told on many occasions that I should have waited and paid the extra for a 54 action but in my position I just could not justify the extra $2000. The Anschutz has served me well and it has constantly beaten many 54 actions in the competitions it has been entered. It does not win all the time but it has given a good account of itself.
      So basically I was able to end up not having to convert the Cz and I ended up with 2 rifles. Also when I bought the Anschutz they were less than $1300, now I think you might have to add a couple of hundred more, but shop around, you will be surprised on the difference in pricing. :P
      I use a Sightron S11 Big Sky 36x scope. Don't let people say the Sightron is not that good the Big Sky uses the same glass as the S111 but in a 1 inch tube whereas the S111 uses a 30mm tube.
      I hope this helps.

  • #3
    Gidday koolman, all good advice here above, I never bothered with light rifle I bought a very old Anschutz 54 super match, about $1,000 and dropped a weaver T36 on top about $450-$500 the front stock was round so I fitted a block to it that was 3" wide this gave me a level platform until I could afford a decent BR stock, I managed to pick one up eventually and I bedded the girl into the new stock. It dents shoot any better in the new stock it is just easier to operate. I reckon the Anschutz 54 is the best value for money competitive rifle and the T36 is the best value for money scope, many many guys at a very high level still use the Weaver. The Annie that Steven shared the link to is a good buy, it would cost at least $2500 to build and it look like a heavy 3" stock.


    • #4
      Just show up and shoot what you have. There is an entry level class at Brisbane SSAA and they let you shoot what you have ,we shoot every second tuesday night.
      Its all pretty well run and having fun while chasing accuracy is the goal theres a great friendly bunch of guys and girls. If you go to your local range am sure there will be a club there as well. You will need a front rest and a Cadwell rock br is a fairly decent one to start with I reckon about half the guys at Benchrest have one of these also get a good rear bag Protecta from and your set. Fill sand bag with sand blasting sand that you can get probably for free from whoever does blasting in your area .I don't think anyone will worry what scope you have at first so it may be a good idea to just shoot what you have and you will learn as you go.
      The weaver 36t is probably one of the best bang for buck scopes for benchrest shooting as it is really hard the be accurate at 100m if you cant see what your shooting at.
      Remember at night its a bit harder as lights arent as good as daylight. Also one more thing make sure you get some standard velocity ammo as the first night I showed up with the golden bucket of bullets high velocity stuff and machine gunned the target.
      Hope you have a lot of fun I know that I have and meet some pretty decent people as well.
      Kind regards Ben
      a guy at our club shoot 300.11 at of a possible 300.30 on tuesday night with a sporter 1712 Anshultz now thats shooting.


      • #5
        The 1712 is a peach, 54 action and 2 stage trigger, the roll over comb timberwork is reason why they wouldn't shoot. Get me one of them one day.. ;0)


        • #6

          Our Club is NOT an SSAA Club and as such is independant HOWEVER we do use the SSAA rules.

          The weight of the rifle and the power of the scope is the two variables between the two classes of shooting. Open Class and Hunter Class. Tha has been very well addressed here.

          For the person stepping into Bench rest shooting at .22 cal its not hard. There is a nice little varmint barreled Savage out there that with a large variable scope will meet the specifications. I wish I could understand the way that Savage number there models. It has a nice adjustable trigger as well. A new member who hasnt really shot bench before managed to get 238/250 at 50 in the Club champs...cant remember what his 100 was.

          Nope...its not a dear sport to start with but after a while you may want to step up a notch.....depends if you want fun or sheep stations.



          • #7
            Yes it is great fun all right. The real issue is "accuracy " and that is a relative thing.
            When you start out if you can hit a bullseye or two you are over the moon, then as you get better at it , your targets just keep getting smaller (IR and you start to "expect" to hit the bullseye more than not.
            At this point you go looking for a more accurate rifle, ammunition ,rest,Stock and bedding etc etc.
            Its a bug that bites hard but the really decent people that are associated with the sport keep you coming back to try and push your own personal limits .
            This requires practice,practice and more practice . Learning how to read the wind and conditions and having the patience to hold sometimes and get the shots in when all is good. I am not sure if the original poster KOOLMAN has taken up the challenge yet but I recommend this sport to anyone that enjoys shooting. Just shoot what you have and you will learn what you need to progress further if thats what you decide thats what you want to do, no one will make fun of anyone for having a go thats for sure.
            Worst that can happen is you can learn a couple of things you didnt already know and have some fun.


            • danandria
              danandria commented
              Editing a comment
              well said Jet.

            • Guest's Avatar
              Guest commented
              Editing a comment
              The Jet,

              Good advice.