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Congratulations on being chosen as our NBRSA Member of the Month!

How many years have you been shooting Benchrest?

I have been shooting benchrest for a total of about 10 years but there was a big break in the middle as I focused on family life. I bought my first 6mm PPC when I was 25 and was hooked. I always enjoyed getting the most accuracy out of varmint rifles while growing up and moving into benchrest was a natural progression.

What is your favorite Benchrest shooting discipline? Long Range? Score? Group?

I shoot both short range group and 600 and 1000 yard benchrest matches and I find both to be challenging and fun. While more of my friends shoot long-range benchrest, I appreciate the unique challenges short range matches present.

What is your home range or Rifle Club?

My home club is the Tehama Shooters Association and in the next year we will begin holding registered 600 and 1000 yard benchrest matches. 

Favorite match or matches you annually attend? What makes these matches so special?

My favorite NBRSA matches are in Medford OR but sadly they took a pause during the covid shutdown and have yet to resume. The venue is beautiful and fair and the matches are well run. Medford is more centrally located on the West Coast so it draws shooters from as far north as Seattle and as far south as California so I get to interact with many of the long range shooters who have become good friends.

I am blessed to attend most matches with my dad. In addition, I really like to shoot with Jeff Locke and Keith Faller from Washington and Oregon respectively, and Bill Wood and the rest of the crew at the Tehama Shooters Association. I have also enjoyed the people I have met while attending IBS 1000 yard matches at the Deep Creek Range in Missoula Montana and my goal is to attract more of those shooters to our NBRSA matches in the future.

What rifle components do you use (Scope, Stock, Action, Barrel, Trigger)?

My short range rifle features a Borden BR action pillar bedded by Tom Meredith in a TMBR stock and is topped with a Sightron SIII ED 45x scope. My most accurate barrel to date has been a Bartlein gain-twist 13.85-13.75 with a .268” neck chambered by my dad. My long range rifle is a 6mm BR Ackley built on a Borden BRM drop port action glued and screwed by Alex Wheeler into one of his fiberglass LRB stocks. My best performances with it have come with Krieger and Brux Barrels.

I started making my own short and long range bullets and really enjoy the challenge. I owe a great deal of thanks to those who have offered me advice and encouragement along the way, including: George Ulrich, Joel Nader, Mike Sosenko, Gary Ocock and Roy Hunter.

(Small group, Aggregate or Grand win, 2-Gun, etc, win)

My highest shooting accomplishment in short range came in February 2022 when I won my first 2-gun in Visalia CA. I shot my best ever yardage agg (.17xx) that weekend and also won my first grand aggregate. It was also the first match I shot my own 68gr 8-6 ogive bullets made on a set of George Ulrich dies.

My best weekend of long range competition was in October 2018 when I set 4 NBRSA score records at a two day 600-yard match and also won the 2-gun group aggregate.

My focus is on growing the NBRSA long range ranks by holding matches at our range outside of Red Bluff, CA. Unlike most other NBRSA ranges on the West Coast, we don’t have a “live pit” that requires shooters to pull and mark targets during the match while others are shooting. The hope is that this will offer an opportunity for shooters of all ages and physical abilities to participate and enjoy the match throughout the competition day.

Find a few good mentors and show them respect by following their advice, practice as much as you can, and most important, find a great gunsmith that has built winning rifles in the discipline you are hoping to compete in and LISTEN to them. The best gunsmiths are rarely the cheapest or the fastest but they will save you money and frustration in the long run.

Post Author: Rael Harris