By all accounts, the 2014 Extreme Benchrest match was a rip-roaring success. More than 100 shooters from 16 states and 6 countries came to Arizona to compete in Extreme Benchrest (75 yards!), 25-meter benchrest, outdoor speed silhouette, field target and a 10-yard indoor pistol match.
The event, which has been held the last 4 years, is a team effort by the staff of www.airgunsofarizona.com and bolstered by a number of clubs that helped to make all of it possible: Phoenix Benchrest for running the 25 Meter event, Precision Airguns and Supplies for sponsoring the Speed Silhouette event, Quail Creek Airgun club for running the Dirty Bird and Milbro dart events and the Airgunners of Arizona FT club for running the Field Target event.
Shane Kellar was match director for Extreme Benchrest. “My biggest concern was that something would go wrong and throw the timing off. We were running from sun up to sun down – from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm – and any glitch would result in the last relay of shooters running out of daylight.”
You might well think that the responsibility to run the match might take all the competitive spirit out of a person, but not Kellar. He entered and won both the speed silhouette match and the 25 meter benchrest.
The speed silhouette is, in my view, a fascinating competition. The objective is to knock down 16 silhouettes in the shortest time possible. Competitors shoot from front rests only and must shoot either single shot rifles or, in the case of repeaters, with magazines empty. They can’t stage any pellets; they have to start with them in a tin. They shoot at chickens at 30 yards, pigs at 40 yards, turkeys at 50 yards, and rams at 60 yards. At the starter’s signal, shooters begin loading their guns or their magazines, and the match is on.
In years past, individuals with stop watches would stand by the benches, start the watches at the beginning of the match and then click the watches off as the individual shooters finished the course. But as shooters got better and better, and times got closer and closer, it became obvious that a better timing system was needed.
So Kellar and Greg Glover of Airguns of Arizona developed a new timing system. The rangemaster punches a button and a master clock starts for all 20 benches. As each shooter finishes, they punch a button to stop the clock for their shooting position. It’s very similar to the timing system used for Olympic swimmers. “Greg and I were pretty stressed, hoping the new system would behave flawlessly,” Kellar says. It did, and after the first relay, he was able to relax.
Shooting an FX Verminator that was launching JSB .22 15.89 gr pellets at around 850 fps and loading pellets directly into the breech, Kellar was able to drop the 16 silhouette targets in just over a minute: 1:07.34. “I missed two shots and dry fired once,” he says.
In the 25 meter benchrest match, he shot an FX Royale BR, which was sending .22 caliber JSB 18 gr pellets downrange at 885 fps. After three relays, his total score was 736 (out of 750) with 25Xs. He was tied for scores and Xs with another shooter, so the tie was decided by look at the first card. The first person not to shoot a 10 comes in second.
He says, “Obviously I wanted to shoot well, but even more important, I wanted to make sure that the 100 people who showed up had a great experience. I am deeply grateful to all the folks from AoA and all the clubs who bent over backwards to make that happen.”
“It’s very gratifying to have shooters come up to us after the match and say they had a great time. We listen to their feedback and plan on incorporating a lot of their suggestions into next year’s match.”
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott