Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jim Attends/Survives 2015 Extreme Bench Rest in Arizona

This year I had the pleasure of attending my first Extreme Bench Rest Competition.  The ERB was hosted by Airguns of Arizona and held at at the Rio Salado Sportsman Club in Mesa, AZ on October 1st - 4th, 2015.

The first day brought temperatures of 105*+ and gusting winds.  Throw in the fact that the FT Event was set up in the desert with many plants and critters that can poke, bite or sting.  All these variables gave real definition to the word "extreme" to this Michigan born and bred guy.  At the morning Shooters Meeting, the educated locals drilled into us Hydrate - Hydrate - Hydrate, and they were right!  Bottled Water was readily available and it appeared everyone took their advice. 

Lucky me - our first FT lane was an off hand lane.  I was happy with knocking down three out of the four targets. Clearing the next couple of lanes, I felt like I was getting into the groove, but as blustery winds increased along with the rising temps, the course became a real challenge for me.  Shooting my Steyr LG110 and getting 30 out of 40 normally would not put a smile on my face, however, I was quite happy to find that this score put me in 3rd Place.

Jim Stanis 
Jim Stanis
The 25 Yard Meter event  was a very fast paced event.  All three cards were posted at the onset, with approx. 20 minutes per card and 3 minutes in between to clean your barrel, air up ect.  The  RAW BM500 .22 along with JSB 18G pellets were a good choice for me.  In my forty man squad, my score of 733 put me in 2nd place.  After the remaining two squads shot and the scores were all tallied, 
I placed 5th.

The 10 Meter Pistol Event was a nice change of pace.  Shot indoors, no wind and air conditioning on a 10 Meter Range. I had fun shooting my Hammerli AP40 and ended up in 6th Place. 

It is also worth mentioning that the Rio Salado Sportsman Club has a brand new airgun specific building.  The building is 25 meters in length and large enough to have eighteen lanes.  I suspect the building will be fully functional in the near future.  Kudos's to Rio Salado for making such a great addition and commitment to the Airgun Sport.

Day One - Card One for the 75 yard event: Temperatures dropped into the 90*'s as long as we were in the shade, it was actually quite comfortable. The high winds did persist.  Using a .30cal FX Boss, and JSB 44G pellets, it was common for me to hold 3" - 6" out from the center of the target. As I was shooting my first card, the wind shifted completely 180. Instead of holding 3" - 6" out from the left edge, 15 minutes later, it was necessary to hold 3" - 6" out from the right edge Wow! I shot a 226-4x on my first card, second highest in my forty man squad.  Only two shots behind long range master Ted Bier.   Shooting our second 75 yard card on the next day, winds were similar and even did the same 180* shift as I worked my way up my card. I managed another 226-6x.  Shooting in the Pro Class, the competitors needed to score in the Top 20 in order to proceed to the Final Event/Day of the Extreme Bench Rest Shoot.  My scores met these requirements.  On the final day, to make things even more extreme, the targets were moved out to 107 yards.  Wind was so extreme on the final day that it was actually blowing over the metal silhouettes that had been used for the Silhouette Speed Shoot.  
Range accommodated 40 shooter per heat
Three Heats - Total of 120 Shooter/Competitors
I not sure about the other competitors, but I did not have numbers for 107 yards, so I had to site in during the competition.  This was trickier than it sounds, as one had to be careful not to send a sighter up into the score area.  Considering wind was throwing projectiles 10" or more, it could have been easy to do.  I guess I'm a fast learner, lucky or a little of both, as I was able to keep all my shots except one inside of the score area or five ring in this case.  When one of my pellets went out side of the five ring, I assumed it would be a minus 10, but not wanting to loose the actual score of the target, I shot another pellet at the actual score area.  The way the rules apply, this was the incorrect approach.  I would have been better leaving the one out and not firing a 26th shot.  So  I received a minus 10.  Ouch that hurts.  Even with the minus 10, I still made the top ten shooters, ninth place to be exact.  Considering how green I was to this type of shooting, I was totally happy with my results.  My hat really goes off to the guys that consistently shoot at these yardages and conditions and can actually hit what they are aiming at.
107 Yards - Yes, it was a LONG WAY -
If you notice one missing, it's probably because it was blown away.
It did actually happen on one of the targets  
             Another perk while attending the ERB was the chance to handle the new FX Impact.  Fredrik Axelsson the owner of FX, gave us a demo of the quick and easy barrel change option.  Just one of the many feature the Impact offers.
         Jim Stanis checking out the FX Impact
Mark Maher - My Travel Buddy
Excited to be able to check out the Impact
Fredrik Axelsson, owner of FX Airguns
 I am so thankful that I was able to attend this years event.  Special Thanks to the entire Staff of Airguns of Arizona.  They worked diligently to keep us all hydrated, fed, entertained and organized.  Anyone who has ever organized similar events knows this is not an easy task.