Which caliber and rifle for benchrest?


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Wayne02
December 26, 2007, 12:00 PM
My club has benchrest and cast bullet benchrest matches at 200 yards that I would like to become involved in. It is off-season now so I can't really go to a match and see what everybody is using yet, so I thought I'd throw it out here for opinions.

The benchrest guys are a serious bunch with all kinds of fancy rifles and techniques. The cast bullet guys are more laid back and seem to have a little more fun with the process. I will likely gravitate to the cast bullet group for the most part, but would like the opportunity to shoot with the serious benchrest group in the factory stock class occasionally. I wonder if one can use the same rifle for cast bullets and the high-end bullets used by the serious guys?

Either way I don't have a lot of money to spend on customized rifles and would like to just get a solid factory stock rifle to use for the next couple of years and see if I stay with the sport.

First I need to decide on caliber. I will most likely reload for whatever caliber I choose. I already shoot .06 in military rifles and have been making a concentrated effort to keep my calibers constrained to minimize cost and complexity (for example I only shoot 38/.357, no 44). Having said that, I don't see near as many options for bullets and the like for .06 advertised as I do for 308. From my few discussions with the guys it seems just about everybody shoots 308. Comments like, "you will end up shooting 308 eventually" makes me wonder if I should just bite the bullet and go with that caliber out of the shoots?

How about a rifle? Savage seems to be mentioned fairly frequently. Which model would be good for this discipline?

The only modern bolt-action rifle I have now is a ruger m77 in 6mm rem. But it is more of a short, light weight hunting rifle, and don't know whether it is worth messing with benchrest or not. Not even sure I've seen cast bullets in 6mm?

Thanks

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gcrookston
December 26, 2007, 12:14 PM
I like Savage and I think they are poo-pooed way to much. I actually have 2 of them, one in .223, the other in .308. Both were 1/2 MOA out of the box and quality optics only improve their disposition. I have a Burris 6.5x24 on my .223 and a Leupold 6.5x24 on my .308.

I've competed several times in bench rest with my .308 and it's done quite well, especially with 168gr BTHP (Federal GMM). I'd be brazen enough to throw this little $400 walmart gun up against anything. It is an interesting sport, and some take it way too seriously. It's always fun to be next to someone that has thrown thousands of dollars at a custom rifle only to be out x'd with a little cheapo thing like a Savage...

IndianaBoy
December 26, 2007, 12:30 PM
Remington 700 or short action mauser (if you can find one)

True the action.....


219 Donaldson Wasp. Lilja or Shilen barrel.

You could put the whole thing together for not a whole lot more than a factory Remington.

Or just get a Savage in 223. Or 222 Remington if you want to shoot smaller groups, but with more expensive ammo.

Start handloading if you don't already.

If you are shooting at 200 yards, there is no reason to shoot a larger caliber.

BeJaRa
December 26, 2007, 12:42 PM
I assume when you say .06 you mean 30-'06. the 30-'06 and the 308 use the same diamiter bullets and it sounds like you are either already handloading or planning on starting to handload so you will have a whole slew of bullet choices.

ALS
December 26, 2007, 01:17 PM
I would stop over to benchrest.com and have a look around the forums.
There should be a lot of information you can acquire from them for a newbie getting into the sport.

Walkalong
December 26, 2007, 02:24 PM
The benchrest guys are a serious bunch with all kinds of fancy rifles and techniques
Yep. :cool:

I wonder if one can use the same rifle for cast bullets and the high-end bullets used by the serious guys?
Nope. :(

Get what will be competitive in with the cast bullet crowd and see how you like it. Look in to the other if you do. It will be expensive no matter which route you go there. See the first quote :)

I'd be brazen enough to throw this little $400 walmart gun up against anything. It is an interesting sport, and some take it way too seriously. It's always fun to be next to someone that has thrown thousands of dollars at a custom rifle only to be out x'd with a little cheapo thing like a Savage...
When can we get together. :evil:

Do that in a registered match did ya? :rolleyes:

skinewmexico
December 26, 2007, 04:42 PM
I like Savage and I think they are poo-pooed way to much.

Savages are pretty well respected on the shooting forums, like Benchrestcentral and Long Range, they just get poo-pooed on the Fudd forums. Get a Savage, it's cheap and easy to gunsmith and change barrels in your garage.

rangerruck
December 26, 2007, 09:39 PM
wow, the 6 milly is an excellent benchrest round, I would deff check into that.

browningguy
December 26, 2007, 10:17 PM
I bought a Savage 12 FV for just that type of shooting, put the Weaver Grand Slam 6.5-20 (on sale at Natchezss.com for $279)on and it's pretty good. My best group at 100 so far is in the mid .3's, but my wife got me a new laminate stock for Christmas which should be here in Jan. Mine is in .243 Win. and with flat base bullets I think it would do great at 200-300 yards.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v11/jcm9371/Rifles/243-1.jpg

Forgot the group pic:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v11/jcm9371/243target005.jpg

gcrookston
December 26, 2007, 11:04 PM
Walkalong, you aren't that far from me. Can I bring me M1a, too?

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/4961/dsc00133sv2.jpg
Shot with CYBERSHOT (http://profile.imageshack.us/camerabuy.php?model=CYBERSHOT&make=SONY) at 2006-07-24

these are 3 / 3 shot groups while setting up my M1a with new rings (traded out the A.R.M.S. for Mk4's). center mass shot, upper right comfirmation, 4 clicks left... I can never shoot this well on a sunny day. 18-20 mph back wind to boot.

No, the last registered match I shot was with an '03 NM at Perry in 1989. I failed to make anywhere near the winner's circle, fell out by almost 15x I could blame the 60 yr old rifle, but it was me.

Outlaws
December 27, 2007, 12:02 AM
Having said that, I don't see near as many options for bullets and the like for .06 advertised as I do for 308.

Just clear up what you mean by "bullets"...Do you mean complete factory loaded rounds, or the actual bullets that you can buy for hand loading? The bullets are the same for both rounds, they just sit in a different piece of brass, but with a 30-06 you can shoot some of the heavier grain bullets too...but that is for another subject as you are only talking about paper at 200 yards.

Be sure to clean good after shooting cast bullets before going to jacketed.

Essex County
December 27, 2007, 02:33 PM
I've got a coupl of Vintage (?) bench guns that I think of as very accurate Varmit rifles. I'd give Bob White at the Accuracy Corner.coma a shout. He wont steer you wrong.....Essex

Walkalong
December 27, 2007, 02:43 PM
Walkalong, you aren't that far from me. Can I bring me M1a, too?
Sure. :)

Here are two targets shot in a registered match I saved. One is a good group and the other is a reminder of what happens when we loose focus or misjudge the wind. A classic 4 + 1 turning a good group into a big group. Turning a .1 something into a .3 or .4 something which just kills your chances of winning in that aggregate. This hapened to be "heavy varmint" at 100 yds. The .186 helped. The .393 killed me. A big 3 at 100 is usually the kiss of death. Any one can luck into a good group now and then. You have to do it 5 in a row to be competitive here. I kept the left target as something positive and the right target to remind me to stay focused on every single shot.

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