Competitive target shooting is strictly a range activity. The formation of the National Rifle Association as the governing body of official target competition in 1871 was the beginning of official target shooting in America. Creedmoor Long Island was the home of the 1,000-yard competition. Many target matches occurred prior to this but the National Rifle Association was one of the first national sanctioning bodies.
Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878
Sharps produced the Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878 designed for target shooting at Creedmoor events. Like the Sharps the Sharps-Borchardt was a falling block breech loader. But unlike the Sharps it was hammerless with an internal striker. Strikers usually have a short ‘lock time’ or the interval from pulling the trigger to ignition. The external hammer has a long throw, extending lock time. The shorter the lock time, generally, the better and more accurate the shot. Given that muzzle velocities are on the order of about 1,400 fps the projectiles journey of the thousand yards was leisurely. As the targets were metal, the satisfaction of the metallic clang could be heard before the smoke cleared. The Sharps-Borchardt was considered to be the strongest action built during the 19th Century, and utilized coiled springs instead of flat springs, an innovation at the time. Had in numerous models it tended to be a bit pricey and wasn’t a commercial success but had a very high reputation for accuracy.
Long Range Shooting Wind Formula
Then there is the wind. The shooter needs to dope the wind over a thousand yards. Doping the wind is the ability to estimate the winds angle and speed. Over a thousand yards it can even change directions. 1k bench rest is a demanding sport, particularly if there is a lot of wind. Take for instance the Sierra flat nose 300 grain bullet at 1400 fps muzzle velocity. It will take just under three seconds to travel 1,000 yards, will drop almost 1800 inches and drift 253 inches with a 10mph wind coming for the 3:00 o’clock position relative to the bore. This is when it is zeroed to 200 yards. A one minute-of-angle (MOA) is about 10” at a thousand yards. Very demanding indeed. Using Sierra’s Infinity ballistics program and the above-mentioned bullet we can approximate the ballistics of the 19th Century round nose 500 grain bullets, which would perform better over that range and being heavier is not as subject to the wind. The bullets of that era would handle transonic transition better than modern streamlined projectiles as the center of pressure would not shift as much. The transonic region is between Mach 1.2 and Mach .8. Some streamlined projectiles tend to destabilize in this region of velocity.
Competitions for Benchrest Shooters
These competitions have evolved over time to the modern benchrest matches of today. Of all the shooting sports, bench rest shooting is probably the most demanding and technical of all the shooting sports. First you must craft your ammunition and match it to your rifle. Then there is the gun, usually single shot. You don’t want to weaken your receiver by cutting out a slot for the magazine, nor do you want to batter your ammo during recoil. If your considering bench rest shooting visit your range. Bench rest shooting is an enjoyable, but demanding sport. Not only does it involve shoot over extended ranges to the 1k, but 300 and 600 yard matches are also available.