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Benchrest in Ione - Pics

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Yesterday's benchrest event in Ione was wonderful, especially for a noob like me. The Sacramento Valley Shooting Center is owned and operated by the Folsom Shooting Club, and it was my first time there. The center has a lot of ranges, and is nicely spread out. The one "negative" for air rifles is the high earth berms surrounding each range; winds traveling over structures become turbulent. Personally, I _like_ conditions like that, because as a hunter, just about anywhere I hunt will have random turbulence-creating structures. So watching the wind indicators spin through full circles was pleasant, in a twisted way!

As you can see from the first pic, there were quite a few shooters, there. Some PB shooters from other ranges stopped by to see what was going on, too (maybe to see why our range was so quiet? Hahaha).

For the sake of open and honest feedback, I am a HORRIBLE springer shooter! I couldn't toss up consistent groups if my life depended on it. So, I spent the entire "competition" period simply working on grouping with my .22, and testing pellets with my .25. I haven't had a chance to shoot for months, so it was painful to see the spread! Both guns are still way too new (just a few-hundred pellets through each), so it was a wonderful opportunity to continue the break-in, and work on technique. As a hunter, I've never bothered with "benchrest materials" so a sympathetic shooter loaned me his extra Caldwell bags (he couldn't stand to watch me shoot off a towel and pillow, so he said, "Please use these!" Hahahaha).

For fellow noobs: Go to these competitions! Seriously. The experience is invaluable. I was also able to shoot some pretty amazing guns, and now I have to admit that I have been fully infected by the Dark Side. Many shooters graciously offered to let me try their rifles (two Daystates, a BSA, a fully-modded custom Mrod bullpup, a Cricket, and an FX), and I was able to somewhat return the favor by testing some new .25 pellets in two rifles (and actually found some new favorite pellets for them!). You'll really get a feel for different guns, so attending shoots is perfect.

The folks who were there that were actually competing were throwing out some impressive cards. "Even" the springers. If you think a PCP is the only way to shoot accurately, you've never seen what an experienced shooter with a nice springer and glass can do. My shotgun groups indicated that there was no way I could even come close to what they were achieving.

Two-dozen duck eggs made an appearance once the majority of "real shooting" was concluded, and a lot of fun plinking ensued. Cans and plastic bottles were staggered between 30 and 50 yards, and the ducks eggs nestled down at 50, 100, and 111 yards!

There's something about relaxing and just shooting for fun that allows your technique to mellow, so I had a blast. My paper-groups were blood-curdling, but I was able to consistently nail duck eggs at 50 yards with my "cheap Chinese breaker". It was a great feeling to have the PCP shooters and owners of British and German springers look over to confirm that the busted eggs were the result of the XS25 and a loaner scope.

My happiest take-away, however, was a hundred-yard shot on a duck egg with the .22 XS25. The scope doesn't have mil-dots, so there was a lot of aiming at background features to determine the proper POA. The last pic shows the egg, with the shooting lanes in the distance.

It was a wonderful day, and I hope to attend, again. Maybe next time, I'll actually be able to compete... haha.

Sounds like a perfect day Drew!!! Thanks for posting this!!!

You had a lot of fun.
That's what's important.
Great shot at the egg!!

Thanks for posting up a review ... indeed we ALL had a roaring good time !!

Good report Drew.  I attended my first (and only so far) benchrest match there a couple years ago during the monsoon.  I thought, 'how hard can it be to hit a target when you get to rest your gun?'  Well, plenty, it turns out.   Like you, I still had a blast and learned quite a bit too.  Gotta get back down there again.  Nice facility too.


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