In June I had the opportunity to travel to Provo, Utah, to shoot the Rocky Mountain Airgun Challenge. RMAC was held at the Garth Killpack Shooting Range in Hobble Creek Canyon. I loved being on the range and learning about the different airgun competitions. I was signed up for 100-yard Benchrest, other Umarex shooters were signed up for that and the other competitions like Precision Marksman Challenge, Speed Challenge, and Big Bore Slug Challenge.
Benchrest was very difficult and different from any competition I had ever shot. Because the range was in a canyon the wind blew hard and fast, switching back and forth the further down the range it went. It was unpredictable. I was shooting the Gauntlet .30 by Umarex USA. Shooting a .30 caliber pellet helps when you are shooting in the wind but it is still very difficult (slugs were not allowed for this challenge). I was watching wind flags, shooting sight-in targets, and praying that I hit where I was aiming. I had to learn how to use a MIL-Dot scope and figure out how many MILs I needed to adjust based on the wind. My scope was the Riton 3 Conquer 6-24x50. Using the scope was pretty simple, each small dash or dot represented .2 MILs and each long dash is 1 MIL. Knowing how to use your scope helps you to make quick changes to your point of impact.
The targets that we were shooting at were 5-inches across. We had to shoot at 25 targets that would be scored and we had five sight-in targets at the bottom. The shooter's goal is to hit the X in the 10 ring. The Xs are the tie-breakers if people get the same score. I was trying to keep my shots in the 8 ring … I didn’t keep all of them in the 8 ring. I actually got last place in my relay, but I was 5th from last overall. I know that’s not good, but I had fun. Now that I have done it, I know what to expect and I have a goal to beat my previous score.
There were a lot of other factors that you had to watch out for, such as making sure you only shot your target. All of the targets were placed in a row at 100 yards. After every shot, I had to check the stickers on my target to make sure that I hadn’t moved my gun, or it hadn’t jumped to a different target. The wind can change at any moment, throwing your pellet off the target you were aiming at and into another. You have to keep your air pressure in mind when shooting because unless you are extremely fast and accurate you are going to have to refill multiple times, it is easy to forget to do that and wonder why your shots are going lower and lower. You will have to reload your magaziness as well, as only seven shots per magazine are allowed to keep it fair. You can’t talk to anyone other than the range officer when you are on the line and no one can talk to you. Spectators are allowed to use a spotting scope to see where pellets are hitting, that is the only way they can see the hits on the target.
$100,000 in prize money was given out to the winners. The first-place winner in the Benchrest Pro Class won $20,000! If you want to get into airgun competition, I highly recommend it. Find a shop like Utah Airguns that will help you learn about the sport and the airguns.
By Breanna Garvey
Competitive shooter, wife, and lover of shooting sports and the outdoors.