Shooting USA – Texas Varmint Bench Rest
This time, it’s small varmints shot at long ranges. It’s precision shooting with benchrest rifles in the latest version of two traditional sports becoming a new challenge. And John tries the challenge of knocking down 1-MOA Coyotes with his Precision Rifle Gear. Plus, the Remington 700, is one of History’s Guns. And, families are competing together at the Rimfire Challenge World Championship.
Texas Varmint Bench Rest Silhouette
A new sport is creating fans in two different parts of the United States. It’s a combination of two traditional disciplines: silhouette and bench rest. The Ridgway Rifle Club in Pennsylvania first came up with the idea, and lengthened its range to 1,000 yards so competitors could shoot varmint silhouette targets with bench rest rifles. Now, a rifle club in Coolidge, Texas, is hosting a similar competition, only it doesn’t have that kind of range. So, the club had to improvise, which resulted in Varmint Bench Rest Silhouette, with a Texas-twist.
“I want to attract the old bench guys, the F-class guys, the silhouette guys, so I tried to blend everything I could think of from every discipline into one little sport. So I had to make the targets smaller,” says David Brady, one of the directors at the Heart of Texas Silhouette Association.
In Coolidge, competitors shoot at varmint targets shaped as animals native to Texas. The two-inch prairie dog at 200 meters; the three-inch armadillos at 300 meters; the coyotes at 385; and the hogs at 500 meters. Plus, there are two traditional silhouette targets at 600 and 750 yards. Every shooter has ten minutes and ten rounds to knock ten targets off the rail. It’s a sport that is both challenging and fun, and appealing to dozens, including Robert Poffinbarger, a Marine wounded in Vietnam, who is confined to a chair.
“I’m having a ball! It’s wonderful. I’ve been a bench rest shooter, a silhouette shooter. I’ve been an F-Class shooter. I just never liked shooting paper because, well it doesn’t move, but this is fun. The targets are reactive,” says Bob.
History’s Guns: Remington 700
Remington has been building firearms for 200 years, but only one rifle has left a legacy few others can match. Remington introduced the Model 700 bolt-action rifle 55 years ago. To this day, it is still one of the most revered hunting arms and a popular choice among police and snipers around the world.
“There are not a lot of firearms that have had that kind of longevity and that kind of success,” says Firearms Historian Garry James. “It’s got a good action, it’s reliable, and it’s rugged. It does what it’s supposed to do and there’s not much more that you can ask from a good rifle.”
Rimfire Challenge World Championship
A “world championship” may sound intimidating to novices, but both first-timers and avid competitors are welcome at the Rimfire Challenge World Championship in Woodville, Alabama. It’s a family affair, with more than 250 men, women and children competing with .22 caliber pistols and rifles on all-steel stages.
“For us, rimfire is a great way for people to get involved in the shooting sports,” says Smith & Wesson’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Shaun Phelan. “You know it’s something that kids can do it with their parents. Husbands can do it with their wives. So, we feel it’s really important to offer these types of events out here so people can see what competitive shooting is all about.”
Competitors begin each stage in the low-ready position with the muzzle aimed at the Start Target. Then, its shooters’ choice on how each stage is shot, but the red target, known as the stop plate, must be hit last. Every competitor shoots each stage five times, but the four fastest times count for score, and your score is your stage time in seconds. It’s a competition that is appealing to all ages, including Ron Oliver’s 6-year-old daughter, Venice.
“The steel gives them an audible reaction that they hear that ensures they’re hitting their target. The speed they absolutely love, they get to shoot it fast,” says Ron. “They’re usually over in five or six seconds so it keeps their interest and keeps them working faster.”
Rimfire Challenge Events
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0
Smith & Wesson first introduced the M&P ten years ago, and now there is an upgrade with 35 new enhancements. The new pistol is called the M&P 2.0, and it’s all about the hardware, with a noticeable aggressive texture on both the receiver-grip, and the inserts. Plus, the M&P 2.0 comes with four insert sizes: small, medium, medium-large, and large. It ensures every owner gets a more precise fit, no matter the size of his or her hand. Internally, the M&P 2.0 is the first polymer pistol to mold in two full-length stainless steel chassis inserts, which stiffens the entire receiver. The M&P 2.0 is now available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.
Hornady American Gunner in 9mm
American Gunner is Hornady’s affordable line of “tried-and-true” ammunition. In the M&P M2.0, the 9mm is the 115-grain XTP hollow-point, and is both manageable and accurate. American Gunner is versatile, and has options in all of the popular calibers for target practice, hunting or self-defense.
Comp-Tac Holsters for M&P 2.0
Comp-Tac Victory Gear has numerous options when it comes to carrying your new M&P 2.0. The Convertible Model for the 5-inch sets up for belt carry, or inside the waistband. Then for duty or concealed carry, there’s the 4ľ-inch in green with the thumb break retention. Comp-Tac also has two versions for inside-the-waistband carry, and both have leather shields for comfort. Finally, there is a competition version for the new M&P with the low-cut front to facilitate a faster draw. The International model is very popular in IDPA competition. All prices range from $50 to 80.
Pro Tip: Colt Combat Unit Member Ken Hackathorn – Emergency Reload
In a defensive pistol scenario, you must prepare for any situation. That is why training is not only limited to shooting, but should also include handling and clearing malfunctions. Combat Unit Member Ken Hackathorn is a world-renowned trainer, and has a drill to teach us how to reload effectively in an emergency situation.
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NRA Membership Offer: Jim Pays $10 when you join the NRA through the Shooting USA website.