September 1st, 2007

NASCAR for Benchrest–Should There Be a True One-Design Class?

Is it time to develop a true one-design class for Benchrest competition? The idea would be to have a single, affordable design that could shoot a variety of matches in its own class. Rifle specs would be tightly controlled so that shooters would not have to constantly upgrade equipment, or purchase $2000 scopes to remain competitive. Chamber/barrel dimensions would be clearly defined so that any competent gunsmith could set up the rifle.

Imagine being able to shoot one rifle that would be class-competitive at all Benchrest distances: 100, 200, 300, 600, and 1000 yards. And you could shoot the same rifle in Club and Varmint matches at other distances such as 300m, 400 yards, 500 yards, 500m. If enough shooters got involved, economies of scale would drive down the cost of components (actions, stocks, triggers etc.). In Europe, for example, over 100,000 shooters shoot in target rifle matches with essentially identical, one-design equipment. Parts are very affordable.

Illustration only. One-Design Rifle would have different components.

We’ve discussed the concept of a one-design Benchrest Rifle, i.e. NASCAR for benchrest, in our Shooters’ Forum. READ this FORUM Thread. There are strong opinions on both sides of the issue. Many people see the potential and favor the idea because it would encourage new shooters and keep things affordable. With one gun certified for multiple distances, shooters could get more “bang for their buck.” Many readers from overseas liked the idea of a gun costing under $1500.00 complete (less scope), that would be universally approved for matches at any distance–yards or meters, 100-1000.

Other folks think “NASCAR for Benchrest” is a bad concept. They remark that we already have enough classes in the shooting sports, and that one-design shooting is already offered in Service Rifle and Garand Matches. Some readers feel that Americans are too enamored with customization–nobody wants a rifle that is exactly like the one on the next bench. Many active short-range BR shooters were concerned that adopting a new class would “pollute their matches” with unskilled shooters and lessen the glory associated with garnering Hall of Fame points.

CLICK GRAPHIC to view actual poll:

Reader's Poll

What are YOUR views on the subject?
You can let us know two ways.

First, go to the home page, and vote on our current Readers’ Poll. (Right now the voting is pretty even–58% support the one-design concept, while 42% are opposed.) Second, you can post a comment on the subject by clicking on “Comments”, right below this paragraph.

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