Air Guns are Fun! SoCal Regional Air Rifle Benchrest Match
Open Grove Range in Southern California recently hosted an air rifle benchrest match. The Open Grove (SoCal) Regional was conducted in conjunction with the World Postal Championship and U.S. Air Rifle Benchrest nationwide standings, under World Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Federation (WRABF) rules. All shooters competed for individual placements and SoCal Regional standings for this one event. In addition, three SoCal team members, Linzie Boise, Jim Herrick, and John Carter, would have their combined three-person match scores entered into World Postal Match team competition standings. It sounds more complicated than it really was. For most of the shooters this match was all about having fun with good friends. The cost was low, the fun factor was high, and, at the end of the day, everyone left with a big smile. CLICK HERE to View Match Photo Gallery (170 hi-rez pictures).
WATCH Match Video with Shooter Interviews
There were two competition classes: Light Varmint (LV) and Heavy Varmint (HV). Light Varmint class is for rifles weighing no more than 10.5 pounds, with a power limit of 12 foot-lbs-energy (FPE) max power. The Heavy Varmint class allows 15 pounds max weight, with a max power limit of 20 FPE. Any scope magnification is allowed. Unlike ARA rimfire benchrest, you can’t use a one-piece rest; a two-piece set-up (with front rest and rear bag) is required. For more information on Air Rifle Benchrest rules and classifications visit www.wrabf.com and usairriflebenchrest.com.
Hardware and Course of Fire
The rifles used at SoCal Regional are pre-charged using compressed air tanks. The rifles were chambered for either .177 or .22 caliber pellets. While some of the rifles were dedicated benchrest rigs, many were converted/adapted Field Target Rifles. The large side-focus-parallax wheels you see on some of the rifles are used for ranging in Field Target competition. The targets were set at 25 meters. Each target has 25 record bulls. The time limit was 30 minutes per target. Winners were determined based on the Overall Aggregate from the combined scores of three, 25-bull targets. Trophies were awarded to top shooters in HV and LV classes, and the Overall winner.
Comments from Match Director
After seven years as a rimfire benchrest shooter, I found a new passion with these air rifles. The cost involved will vary depending on where one wants to start. The sport right now is developing quickly with barrel manufacturers, custom action builders, and stock makers all getting involved. For Open Grove Benchrest, this event was a huge success in attracting different levels of competitors from first-time shooters to Benchrest regulars. We hope this will be a turning point for attracting new shooters to the sport. We tried to make this a fun family event. People really did seem to enjoy themselves. After the last relay, all the shooters were treated to a lunch. Then we gave out door prizes and awarded trophies to the winners.
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