Rimfire Benchrest Silhouette

Rimfire Benchrest – Silhouette, Rifle and Pistol

“Mouse gun” Benchrest, as it is sometimes irreverently called, is a challenging silhouette sport. It is relatively inexpensive and almost anyone can be competitive with a well made .22 LR pistol/rifle equipped with an adequate scope. Ammo is also important in this sport-don’t expect a box of 550 rounds of bulk ammo to perform as well as the more precious stuff. You may have to test various kinds to see what your weapon likes. All the targets and other equipment are provided. This consists of various 1/5 scale silhouettes, sighter plates, swingers, shooting pads and sandbags. We have two classes in Rimfire Silhouette, Sporter and Unlimited. Sporter class is limited to weapons weighing 10 pounds or less including scope and mounts. It is further restricted to single piece barrels (no attached tuners) and rounded stocks no wider than 2.25 inches. The Unlimited class has no weight limits or dimensional restrictions to barrels or stocks. For both classes, shooters may use any personally provided rest they choose. Other equipment such as scopes, triggers, etc. are not restricted. There is neither fee nor any prizes, and winning positions are determined by a weighted scoring procedure. Scores are posted on the Zia web site and in the monthly Zia Newsletter.

We shoot the Silhouette matches each month on the 2nd Sunday at the East silhouette range, setting up at 0730 and shooting by 0830, usually starting with the rifle match, followed by the pistol match. Both Sporter and Unlimited classes are fired simultaneously with as many relays as necessary. There is no requirement to participate in both pistol and rifle matches. There are four relays for each match, e.g. for rifle-one each from 50 meters at chickens, from 100 meters at pigs, from 150 meters at turkeys and from 200 meters at rams. Each relay is limited to 15 minutes with unlimited sighters and 10 rounds for record at 10 silhouettes. There are usually enough participants to allow for a spotter for each shooter.

The pistol match normally follows the rifle match with the only change being the firing distances-40 meters, 50 meters, 75 meters and 100 meters. Relay order and initial targets are drawn for all matches to expedite the match.

The silhouettes are NRA 1/5 scale which are sized to be relatively the same difficulty at the increasing distances (the targets are larger at 200m than at 50m), but because of the slow velocity of the “mouse round”, wind offsets and bullet drop complicate the matter until some science and luck is involved. There can be 20+ moa of drop between 50 meters and 200 meters-this becomes much like Tom Sellick shooting a 45-70 at 500-600 yards. If you add in the fact that .22 ammo is not the most consistent, the challenge is there. Perfect scores for a match are very rare.

For participant practice, there is a complete set of silhouettes, sighter plates, swingers, etc. available which are locked in a metal container that is attached to the activity conex, just north of the East Range. Keys are available to participants in order to access the container. See Earl Baugher  for other details.