Member of The Month – Brian Robinson
Congratulations on being chosen as our Member of the Month for February – Brian Robinson. Please read the questions to our questionnaire and Brian’s answers.
How many years have you been shooting Benchrest?
I started shooting benchrest in 2018. After attending a match as a spectator in 2017 I knew it was something I’d enjoy, so I spent the next 8-10 months getting a rifle and all the gear I thought I’d need and the following summer I attended my first match at Shelby County, OH. I had no experience in club matches prior to that so I was jumping in with both feet so to speak.
What is your favorite Benchrest shooting discipline? Long Range? Score? Group?
The only discipline I‘ve competed in to date is short range group, but I could see myself trying score and possibly long range in the future.
What is your home range or Rifle Club?
My home range does not hold registered matches, but Shelby County Deer Hunters Association is only about an hour away and is a very nice range for short range benchrest shooters.
Favorite match or matches you annually attend?
I truly enjoy every club/match I’ve attended in the Easter Region, and last year I was able to attend 3 more for the first time. Shelby County is a very unique range and I always have a good time there. It’s an added bonus that I get to sleep in my own bed at night. The match that the Kane Fish and Game Club in PA puts on is another one I’ll be marking on my calendar for as long as they’re up to hosting. I had a great time there last year even though I didn’t shoot the best. They really make you feel like you’re a club member even if you live several states away. There’s just something about that range and the area that I like but can’t describe. Or maybe it’s the pies.
The BRRC of St. Louis is as good as it gets when it comes to ranges and the club does an amazing job. WWCCA in Michigan is another club I really enjoy. Usually we’ll have several shooters from the North attend that match and that was something I really missed last year.
What makes these matches so special?
I think I covered that in my answer above.
Which friends do you like go to matches with?
I’m as competitive as anyone, but if a day were ever to come that I could no longer attend matches, without a doubt the thing I’d miss the most are the people that make these matches so fun. One of the guys that helped me out early on is Tim Humphreys. If I see him when I get to a match, I know it’s going to be a fun weekend regardless of how well I shoot. I really enjoy chatting with Stan Buchtel as well. I’m very interested in the history of this game and that man knows as much about the game and how it’s evolved as anyone. I also have a good time chatting with and learning from Ted Heindselman, Steve Theye, Jack Neary, Don Rosette and many others.
What rifle components do you use (Scope, Stock, Action, Barrel, Trigger)?
I only have one rifle that I would call “competitive” and it’s a Light Varmint rifle chambered in 6ppc. It’s built on a Bat DS action, Scarbrough stock, Bix’n Andy trigger and I’m using a Valdada 36x scope that I really like. My barrels have all been Kriegers with either a 13.5 or 14 twist, and Ted Heindselman and Dave Bruno have been doing my barrel work. I have a second Light Varmint rifle in the works and it will be built with the same components. I do have a Flavio trigger and a Bartlein gain twist barrel I’ll be trying out when the weather permits.
What’s your highest shooting accomplishment thus far? (Small group, Aggregate or Grand win, 2-Gun, etc, win)
Well, there are no World Team medals or HOF points on my resume. I have yet to even win a 2-Gun but I’ve came really close a couple times. The first time was the most memorable for me because that was the first time I had ever finished in the top 3 in a Grand, let alone a 2-Gun. It was in the summer of 2019 and Ted Heindselman ended up beating me out by about .004”! Later that year I won my first aggregate. I do like to set small but reachable goals each year and last year my goal was to finish in the top half at the Nationals. It was my first Nationals and obviously the competition is incredibly strong so I would have considered finishing in the top half of the 3-Gun to be an accomplishment. I ended up finishing 11th, so to date that feels like my best shooting accomplishment.
Greatest benchrest memory to date?
There have been lots of great memories, milestones and firsts over these past few years, but probably my greatest memory to date came in my first match I had ever attended. I was a bit nervous since I had never shot in a match of any kind and this was also the first time I had ever loaded outside of my home. I wanted to do well but just getting to the firing line with 8 loaded rounds when my relay was called and not shooting someone else’s target would have sufficed.
I knew I wasn’t doing great in that first aggregate but I hadn’t shot any monsters so I was happy with the way things were going. When it was all over and I looked at the standings for the first time I saw that I was in dead last with a .32X agg. That was a little bit discouraging, even if it was my first match. I started the afternoon match with a mid-.2, followed it up my first .1 group, and on that third match of the HV100 agg I shot my first screamer… a .093. I still remember admiring it through my scope after the last shot and having John Petteruti to my left congratulate me. This game is about aggregates not groups, but it was that moment that I knew I was hooked.
Funniest Benchrest memory to date?
Has to be Tim Humphreys demonstrating to everyone in the loading barn at Shelby Co how a duck wins a fight against a rooster. One of those “you had to be there” moments I guess.
What are your current/future shooting goals?
Continuing to improve my tuning skills and understanding what the targets are telling me. I’m learning new things every match and really enjoy the journey.
Any advice you would share with new shooters?
The first thing I would suggest, if you don’t already have them, is buy a good set of wind flags and don’t leave for the range without them. You’ll discover very quickly how important they are in this game. The next thing I would recommend is to go to a registered match, even if it’s just as a spectator first, and ask questions. Usually the Friday before a weekend match is best since it’s just a practice day for the competitors. There’s a very steep learning curve for new shooters entering this game but without a doubt the fastest way to improve is to go to the matches and learn from the best. There’s no shortage of guys willing to help. The advice given online isn’t always the best and you’ll find that out quickly. If you can find a mentor in your area that’s willing to spend a little more time working with you that’s even better. Your #1 goal should be to have fun. There will be days where things just aren’t working and you’ll get frustrated, but at the end of the day as long as you’re having fun that’s what it’s all about.