Steve Ware is an accomplished air pistol competitor and outdoor writer. Last summer he took a look at the Marauder Pistol. Always up for a challenge, this is his report on a new competition ideally suited for the Benjamin Marauder rifle.
The USA Air Rifle Benchrest organization recently approved a new class – Production. The rules are fairly simple, a rifle, scope, rings combination with an MSRP of no more than $700. No modifications can be made to equipment not described in the owner’s manual.
If you are looking for an inexpensive new shooting sport, this may be the one for you!
As a bit of background, each target is comprised of 25 bullseyes. One shot is taken at each. Maximum score per target is a 10. Obliterating the center also counts as an “X”. Thus, maximum score per target is 250 and 25 X. Three targets (75 shots) comprise a match. You cannot fill the rifle in the middle of a target but can after your 25 shots. Sighter shots are allowed.
Today was it, my first match in the new Production class. I had acquired a Marauder, scope, and rings well under the $700 price cap. I had taken the rifle for some rudimentary sight settings (windy enough to blow my hat off I might add!). The match this day was indoors; so, the wind factor was not an issue.
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I am a 26 year competitor in handgun silhouette, but a total novice with an air rifle. I was considering myself lucky to break into the 200′s prior to the match beginning!
I learned quite a bit on my first card regarding holding the rifle, use of bags, etc and was thrilled with a 222 and 2X. Using what I had learned on the first card, my second card score improved to 240 and 6X. I decided to try different pellets on the third card which was a mistake. After thirteen targets I realized the rifle did not like them (-15 points and only 1X); so, I switched back to my previous pellets for the last 12 and shot a -8 and 2X ending up with a 227 and 3X on the third card for a total of 689 and 11X.
Considering that the second card was a 240, I believe the Marauder can be competitive in the Production class.
My overall impression is that (1) I learned quite a bit, (2) I had a ton of fun, (3) I am looking forward to the next match, (4) I think I am going to like this Production class. It is great to be able to shoot with friends and not spend $3,000. In fact, I would not spend $3,000 even though I like my friends.
Thanks to Steve George for having the courage to open the sport up to those of us that would prefer to spend less on equipment. I look forward to many hours of enjoyable shooting.