Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Shooting the Extreme Benchrest Speed Shoot

The speed shoot is the atypical armadillo among the three signature shoots at Extreme Benchrest. There are no scoring rings and no X count. Your score is the time it takes to knock down 16 metallic silhouette targets set out from 30 to 60 yards. Fastest gun wins.

One chicken in the air and one to go,

This is not conventional metallic silhouette. The targets are about 40% closer, you get to sit at a bench and time is not a limit it is a gole. They turn the clock off after three minutes, but that is just a time management tool because the winners are decided at the other end of the time spectrum.  The speed shoot is a great hit at ERB, it is also a hit at our airgun club in Idaho, and it could be a hit at yours too.

At EBR the speed shoot is shot over two days. On Saturday each competitor is given thee runs to shoot a time that will qualify for the finals on Sunday. Put another way you get two chances to get into the swing of things and one to qualify. The fastest ten times in Sportsman and Pro Classes shoot together for top score and first place prizes in pro and sportsman class.   

How this works is easier to tell. I shot a .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder with a Wicked Airrifles single shot tray and a 6-20X Simmons set on 12X. Rules say that you can only use a front rest, and your rifle and magazines, if you use them, must be unloaded prior to the start.

I planned to shoot the rams (60 yards) first and work my way to the chickens (30). My rifle shoots better at the beginning of the fill and tapers off on the far side on the bell curve. If it was windy I would shoot the pigs (40) first in order to gage the wind then work out to the rams. The wind didn’t seem too strong but I watched my pellet drift down wind to impact uselessly in the gravel down range.  I held the next shot an inch off the ram’s upwind nose and it missed too! I think that shot may have drifted as much as 9 inches. I switched to turkeys (50).”It can’t be blowing that much,” I told my self. It was. and after a few more shots I was on track, just off the upwind edge, but hopelessly behind the clock. My last pig fell and the clock ran out at three minutes. Looking down range there were 4 standing chickens all giving me the bird.

My third run I beat the clock my one second, I had shot a 2:59 albiit with a few misses. My strategy to shoot the chickens last worked as I mowed them down with 4 shots. This is a personal best that left me a happy airgunner.

What kind of airrifle do you need for the speed shoot. I think that the most important requirement is the ability to be loaded quickly. Last year I used my Air Arms S-400 and it has a longer loading port then the Marauder I used this year. With a single shot tray, the Marauder was OK but I would have liked a longer opening. Similarly the larger .25 pellets are easier for me to handle.

Power is not a problem since the targets are set on cement that is both level and smooth.  Shooting the speed shoot at the Idaho Airgun Field Target club shoots showed us that .177s from 17 to 20 foot pounds of energy will topple a ram at 60 yards.

Shane Keller won the speed shoot with a time of 1:07. That guy has fast hands! You can see video of him shooting on the Airgun Gear Show. He looks like he is cruising through  the course of fire. Try this yourself and you will see what an achievement Shane’s time is.
The only requirements to put on your own speed shoot are a set of ⅕ scale silhouettes. These are the kind used in NRA .22 rifle silhouette matches. The other requirement is a timer of some sort. With two sets of targets you could match shooter against shooter in a double elimination, and not have to deal with timers. The winner of each bout is the first one to knock’m all down.

The speed shoot was new to me in 2013, I hope it stays around for a long time to come.

Photos by Arimo Dave