Welcome to the Bell City Rifle Club Benchrest web page.  We hope that you find all the information you need to find out what short range Benchrest shooting is all about, but if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us at the email address listed at the bottom of the page.  The Benchrest matches at Bell City will be the first at the club and in Connecticut in a long time.  We are hoping to get good turnouts, and continue to provide a great place to shoot.  When it gets down to it, we hope that anyone attending the matches is having fun and being safe.  That is what it is all about.  Safety is something that cannot be understated, and EVERYONE is expected to follow ALL range rules at ALL times.  We do not want to lose this venue because of careless errors or someone who didn’t know the rules.

The Bell City Rifle Club has a long history of competitive shooting mainly in the high power and rimfire arenas.  These will be the first Benchrest matches held there, and we look forward to having them be a regular addition to the match schedule.  The matches  will be held under the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) rules and regulations for centerfire Varmint For Score (VFS), Hunter Benchrest (HBr), Varmint Hunter (VH), and factory/semi-custom rifles (categories defined below.  See www.internationalbenchrest.com for more details of the VFS, VH, and H requirements.

For those who are new to what is considered competitive Benchrest shooting here are a few FAQS that might help.

What is a Benchrest gun?   There are many definitions of what constitutes a Benchrest gun most of which depend on what discipline you are shooting.  A loose fitting definition for the typical short range Benchrest gun is a 10.5 to 13.5lb gun with a lightweight wood laminate or fiberglass stock having a 3” wide fore end, custom action, custom barrel around 21-24” in length with a tight neck chamber in 6mmPPC (group) and 30BR (score), 1-2oz trigger, variable or fixed high magnification scope (typical is fixed 36, 45, and 50X), shot off of a heavy pedestal-style front rest and heavy rear sand bag which cannot be connected. Please refer to the following link to get the best, most concise and official definitions: www.internationbenchrest.com

Here is a beautiful example of what a top-flight group Benchrest gun can entail.  http://www.6mmbr.com/gunweek018.html

And here is an example of a pair of beautiful score guns      http://www.6mmbr.com/gunweek082.html

Do I have to have a custom $3,000 gun to compete?   Absolutely not!!!  There is a competitive class for almost any gun out there from factory to full blown custom.  Again, it’s about having fun!  You will find novices and experts alike at these matches, and it’s almost guaranteed that whatever your level you’ll walk away with more information than you could have hoped.  These guys all love to shoot and talk about shooting, wind reading, reloading, barrel vibration, bullet design, and the latest innovations in extreme rifle accuracy.

Will my factory savage, Remington, Winchester, etc have a chance?  Why the heck not!  If your gun will shoot a bullet to 100 or 200yds you can compete in this match in the factory or semi-custom class.  It is the nut behind the trigger who wins the match, and not necessarily a shiny new piece of kit that has all the bells and whistles.  However, once you get to the state/national level you will want every advantage possible, and all that custom quality comes to the fore.  When hundredths or thousandths of an inch can decide a tournament you don’t want to have anything but the best when you hit the line.

Here are the definitions being used at Bell City for factory and semi-custom rifles in the score matches:

Factory class would be limited to Remington (non-40x), Winchester, Savage, Sako, Tikka or other major manufacturers.   No gunsmithing allowed.  There will be a plaque for 1st place, and a certificate for second place will be presented.  There is no weight limit for this class.

Semi-custom rifles are any factory or custom action that has a custom barrel, trigger, stock, or truing performed.  There will be a plaque for 1st place, and a certificate of accomplishment for second place will be presented.  There is no weight limit for this class.

Do I have to be a member of Bell City?  No, anyone can come and shoot at these matches and compete, but only those who are members of the IBS will be eligible for awards in the VFS, VH, and H classes during the registered tournaments.  If you are not a member of the IBS you can fill out a member registration at the match, or go to www.internationalbenchrest.com, and download a member registration form.  You will also find match day registration forms on the IBS website that you can fill out prior to arriving which will help speed the registration process on the day of the match.  Make sure that you resize the match registration document to approximately 70% if you decide to print it out as the document is larger than standard sized paper.

Can I join Bell City at the match?   We will have applications available on match day, however, since you are on our site, just go to the home page and follow the link to download a copy.  You will need to attend an executive committee meeting or an annual meeting to join officially.  We will not accept applications at the match.

Do I have to be an IBS member to shoot?  No, we are trying to get as many people as possible interested in these matches, but if you want to be considered for awards, official listing in Precision Shooting magazine, or prizes during the IBS registered matches you will have to be a member.  Onsite registration for IBS membership will be available.  See the www.internationalbenchrest.com site for registration costs and information.

What will the cost of the matches be?  The IBS matches will be $15 per gun per yardage.  These matches will be awarding plaques for first place and certificates for 2nd place and 3rd place gets a hand shake.   $5 (subject to change depending on the type of food provided) for food and drink.  We will have coffee and donuts as well included in the $5 fee.

What does a typical match entail?   There are two main types of short range Benchrest shooting – Group and Score.

Group shooting is performed at 100, 200, and 300yds and involves a total of five targets with five or ten shot groups per yardage.  The object is to put all five record shots into one hole.  It does not matter where the group forms on the bull as long you are within the bounds of the rings.  At the highest levels of competition there are those that can agg (that’s five targets with five shots on each target) with groups measuring center-to-center averaging under 0.2 inches.  At 200 and 300yds the groups are measured in inches and then divided by 2 and 3 respectively, then calculated in an overall aggregate for Grand Agg’s (multiple yardages averaged together).  The current go-to caliber is the 6PPC or .22-100PPC (.22 caliber PPC shortened by .1”) for group shooting.  This is not to say that a different chambering couldn’t win, but if there was a better choice you can bet that it would be showing up at major matches.

Official Group Targets

100 yds – center bull is ½”, but it isn’t about the bull…
100 yds – center bull is ½”, but it isn’t about the bull…
Official 100 yd target
Official 100 yd target
200 yds – center ring is 1"
200 yds – center ring is 1"
Official 200 yd target
Official 200 yd target

Score shooting is also performed at 100, 200, and 300yds, but instead of putting all five shots into one hole you are aiming for the “dot” in the ten ring (outside measurement of the ten ring is ½” at 100yds, and 1” at 200yds).

You can go to www.nationaltarget.com and look under the links “rifle”, and then “miscellaneous”, then “IBS” targets to view dimensions.

Each target has six bulls on it…one sighter bull (lower right) and five record bulls.  A complete tournament consists of 6 targets (called matches)…one warmup and five record matches.  A perfect score is 250-25X, and though it has been done is not a regular occurrence.  The current go-to caliber for score is the 30Br (6mmBr necked up to .30cal) due to its larger hole and the “best-edge” form of scoring.  There are plenty of PPC’s out there that can still win matches, but again, at the higher levels of competition you want every advantage possible.  The 30BR has shown it can be every bit as accurate as the PPC, but the increased recoil is felt to be a disadvantage in major group matches.

Where can I go to read more about Benchrest?   Some of the best information can be gotten from the following sources:  www.benchrest.comwww.6mmbr.com, Precision Shooting magazine (P.S.), The Benchrest Shooting Primer (P.S. publication), The Ultimate in Rifle Accuracy by Glenn Newick, Extreme Rifle Accuracy by Mike Ratigan, Rifle Accuracy Facts by Harold Vaughn, and Precision Reloading by Fred Sinclair.  It is important to have a firm understanding of reloading and tuning loads by seating depth, powder charge, neck tension, or, more recently, muzzle devices a.k.a. “tuners”.

Things you may want to bring to the match:

1)  An adjustable stool – there are stools provided, but they are wooden and at a set height.

2) Some sort of sun shade/umbrella – the afternoon sun can be brutal to try to shoot through.

3) For those who don’t intend to reload at the match, bring plenty of loaded ammo – A minimum of 30 rounds per yardage not including sighters (they can add 2-10 rounds per target …5 record targets and one warmup) depending on how you shoot.  That’s a possible 45-90 rounds per yardage.  The average shooter will most likely not shoot 10 sighters on every target, but you never know.

We fully intend for anyone who attends these matches to:

1)      Feel welcome

2)      Enjoy their time before, during, and after the match

3)      Not feel intimidated by the level of competition from other attendees.  There is NO one who hasn’t been to their first match.  Poor scores don’t mean anything.  It’s all about having fun and learning!

4)      Leave the match with a sense of accomplishment and belonging to something new as well as improving your shooting skills.

5)      Have Fun!!!


Any offers to volunteer to help at the matches are welcome and incredibly appreciated.  The more people that are willing to help at the match the more efficient the relays will be, and the more we can do in one day.