Belgian benchrest shooter Mario De Graeve is at the top of his game. He has recently won a whole host of competitions over the last year including the Luxembourg open in March 2019.

Accuracy, focus and consistency all play a part in making sure you continuously hit the center of the target. Nevertheless, for a more successful trip to the range, you need to have the right gear. Mario gives us the lowdown on his equipment and recommendations on how to make the most of your trigger time.

“For my front rest I personally use one with a joystick. This gives you the ability to cover the whole target card with little movement on the stick. Your hand can also always stay on the bench.

Many benchrest shooters are using rests with two knobs, one for left and right and the other for up and down movement. It is entirely up to personal preference. However, I find that with a joystick when you’re in the middle of the card and you’ve made a shot that’s tricky, you can go to the sighters in a second without doing much. With the knobs it’s a lot of turning movement of the hand and doesn’t provide a steady position on the bench. I find the joystick also helps eliminate any unconscious movement too.

It is important to have the rifle in a real steady and stable position on the bench. Depending on type of stock of the rifle you need one that fits perfectly to minimise movement.

The most important thing is to get the distance, or setup, of the front and rear rests exactly the same every time. If the rifle lays a little further forward or back in the rear rest this can give a change in how the shot delivers on the target. You also need a perfect 90° angle with rifle to the front rest and rear bag. This way, the rifle comes back after every shot in a straight line. Something very important to limit the number of flyers you have left and right on the target.

When you have the same setup every time and you have a bad shot, you can be truly sure that it is not a result of the setup. Therefore, you can eliminate this factor and focus on eradicating any other issues which could have caused the bad shot.

The three things you need to achieve a perfect shot is a good rifle, the right ammunition and practice. Good ammo can be found by batch testing different lots to see which works well in your barrel.

When you combine all of the above you can compete with the best on the circuit with great results.”

To find the perfect ammunition for your competitive shooting, check out the ELEY .22LR range of benchrest ammunition.