This is shot with purpose built 0.22” rimfire calibre Match rifles; these are larger than 0.22” sporting rifles or air-rifles, and are more accurate. Traditional models have a wooden stock, but newer models have an aluminium skeleton stock. Most rifles are bolt-actions (Anschütz, Feinwerkbau, and Walther are leading brands), but some are Martini lever-actions (notably BSA); both types are single shot – loaded one bullet at a time. Most are aimed with telescopic sights although rifles set up for Prone rifle shooting using aperture sights can also be used.
There are different rules for shooting Benchrest, some allow the rifle to be supported at the front and rear but at Pinhoe we use NSRA rules which state shooters fire from a bench in a sitting position the front of the stock on a rest but with the rifle butt located in the shoulder and the stock supported by the shooters hands.
At Pinhoe, Benchrest is shot indoors from a distance of 20 yds. Each paper target has ten aiming spots which are divided into concentric scoring rings, the smallest of which (the bullseye) counts as 10 points.
One shot is fired at each spot for a maximum score of 100 points. Bullet holes and scoring rings are not visible to the naked eye but are visible through the telescopic sights so shooters can see their shots.
Smallbore Benchrest is also shot at 50 metres and 100 yards on some outdoor ranges. Here larger targets with larger scoring rings are used. When shooting outdoors one must compensate for the effects of crosswinds on their shots for an extra challenge !
Q: Do I need to have perfect eyesight to shoot, and see the targets?
A: No, many shooters wear glasses or contact lenses. So long as your vision is OK with glasses/contacts this will be fine.
Q: I have heard that rifles kick when fired; will this hurt?
A: No, 0.22” calibre ammunition is very low powered. Unlike a shotgun or large-calibre rifle, the recoil is very gentle and little more than a slight wobble.
Q: Do I have to be physically strong to hold the rifle still?
A: No, the rifle is supported by a supporting rest at the front and by the non firing hand between the bench and stock at the rear.
Q: I haven’t fired a rifle before, can I still join?
A: Yes, many of our members had no prior experience. Pinhoe has qualified instructors who can teach beginners, even absolute novices. Everyone has to start somewhere!
Q: I don’t have any of the equipment mentioned; is this a problem?
A: No, we don’t expect beginners to have their own kit, so Pinhoe has a selection of rifles for beginners to borrow free of charge.
Q: Do I need a license to shoot?
A: Yes, but only if you want to buy your own rifle; a Police-issued Firearms Certificate (FAC) would be required then. You would not need an FAC to use club rifles.
Q: Is shooting expensive?
A: No, not really. Pinhoe offers beginners three trial sessions for £24 (ammo included). Normal adult full membership is £180 p.a. (2021 pricing). Ammunition is extra, but a box of 50 cartridges costs from £3.50. Beginners can use club equipment until they want to buy their own; much of which can be bought second-hand.