May 23rd, 2011

.223 Remington Shooter Equals GB 1000-Yard F-TR Record

At a recent Great Britain F-Class Association Match at the Blair Atholl Glen Tilt range, AccurateShooter Forum member Laurie Holland shot a 96-9V for twenty shots, tying the British F-TR single match record. Laurie accomplished that feat with a Savage-actioned .223 Remington. Laurie proved that the little .223 Rem can be competitive, even at 1000 yards. The Blair Atholl range, 1,000′ ASL in the southern Scottish Highlands, has been described by a top international rifle coach as ‘the world’s second most difficult range for wind’ (behind Trentham in New Zealand). Many British F-Class shooters were therefore surprised when Laurie Holland took his Savage-based .223 Rem F/TR rifle to the range earlier this month to compete in the season’s second GB F-Class Association league round. The event consisted of five, 1000-yard matches over a weekend (three 15-round stages on the Saturday, and two 20-round matches on Sunday). Forty-eight registered GB FCA shooters turned up, split 50/50 between F-Open and F-TR categories.

Though heavy rains were expected, Saturday was dry. However, the predominately 5 o’clock wind grew progressively stronger throughout the day, swinging through 20 or 30° with irregular gusts and lulls. With the range situated on a steep and uneven valley-side, wind changes affect elevation markedly in addition to the usual lateral movements. A gust can send the bullet high and left, while a lull moves POI low and right.

After Matches 1 and 2 Laurie was at the bottom end of the top 10 shooters in the class, but he surged to the lead in the day’s final match that saw the most difficult wind conditions. Laurie’s 66-2V score topped second place Adam Bagnall (reigning GB F-TR league champion) by seven points, and was also better than many F-Open scores. Laurie and his .223 were now tied (on points) with F-TR world champion Russell Simmonds for the overnight lead. Both had 183 points but Laurie was leading by five V-Bulls to one. As chance would have it, Russell and Laurie had been squadded to shoot together on the second detail of Sunday morning’s 20-round Match 4. NOTE: Brits employ a different system for F-Class targets. Target Rings have a 1 through 5 value, with a “V” (rather than “X”) for a dead-center hit. The maximum score possible on a twenty-round match would be 100-20V.


Laurie used the Savage successfully in the 2010 F Class European Championship meeting seen here shooting for GB in the second placed GB F/TR ‘Blue’ Team.

What followed was a classic two-man duel. Laurie explains: “While the F-Open boys on the first detail were still shooting, we had a short but violent rainstorm that really spoiled their day, this finishing just as they took their last shots. As the rain cleared, the wind apparently died too, the flags hanging limp, so we didn’t delay getting set up to take maximum advantage of the conditions. Russell and I both found the Bull / V-Bull on shot 1. Russell drilled five consecutive Vs, while I had two Bulls and three Vs. I began to think I might just hold Russell on points, but he’d hammer me on V-count. We started to find something was moving the bullets about, but there was no way of reading this on the sodden flags or even by the sway of the tops of some tall silver birch trees near the firing point, these usually proving very sensitive. It was a case of watching the plot develop, use intuition, and watch where Russell’s shot went before I took mine. (Remember, we have two competitors to each target taking shots alternately — no string shooting in the UK.)


Kongsberg electronic scoring monitor. This system gives near instant shot marking and lets spectators watch competitors’ performance in real time.

Crowd Watches Two-Man Duel — Laurie Ties Record in Match 4
With the Kongsberg electronic scoring machines, a flashing circle on the target shows the most recent shot, with its numerical Ring Value on the right side of the screen. All of our Fours came up as 4.9s, just leaking out! I was very reluctant to touch the scope knobs knowing just how easily a quarter-MOA ‘click’ can overdo the correction in these conditions and increasingly aimed low and left as the match progressed. As we reached the end we guessed our scores must be close, and amazingly I was getting more Vs now than Russell and his .308. However, neither of us knew we were tied on shot 19, both having dropped four points, and scored eight Vs, so the last shot would be crucial. Russell told me afterwards he sensed the wind had maybe picked up marginally, briefly considered aiming off a little further left, but decided to stick with his previous aim that had given him a ‘V’ – crack, 4.9 at 3 o’clock! My shot 19 had been a Four in exactly the same spot and I eased the Sightron’s reticle dot over to the bottom left corner of the Bull ring – crack, V.0 at six o’ clock for 96.9v total. Just to our right, Adam Bagnall had also shot 96, but with eight Vs, so I won the match and equaled John Cross’s GB F/TR record 20-round 1,000-yard score shot last summer. This increased my overall lead to 1 point. As the shooting concluded, we heard a rising murmur behind and turned to discover we had a substantial audience, mostly of ‘Open’ competitors, who’d been following our progress — electronic scoring not only gives an instant result, but makes shooting a spectator sport!

I’d like to say the fairy tale had a happy ending, but I blew my lead in the final four shots of the final match and ended up fourth in F-TR class, Russell taking the top spot. So, the .223 Rem will have to wait a little longer to get its first GB F-TR league round win.”

Despite faltering in the last match, Laurie still earned two stage medals and posted the highest F-TR V-count (15) in what had been a low scoring weekend. Laurie’s impressive performance with a .223 Rem now has many people reconsidering the Mouse Gun cartridge’s utility in British long-range F-TR competition.

Permalink Competition, News 15 Comments »
May 23rd, 2011

6mm BRX Redding Dies Have Arrived — Order from Whitley

On May 4th we noted that Robert Whitley has commissioned a special run of 6mm BRX dies. We’ve just learned that the dies have arrived — and, according to Whitley, they work great.

Robert offers a Redding Type ‘S’ full-length sizing die that will size the whole case, with bushing control over the neck. Redding 6mm BRX micrometer-top Comp Seaters will also be available. The Type ‘S’ FL Sizer costs $89.95, while a package with Comp Seater costs $199.95. This is a very limited run of 6BRX dies, and Redding is not currently selling them through other sources. If you want a Redding 6BRX Type ‘S’ FL sizer or Comp Seater die, order soon:

AR-X Enterprises, LLC (Attn: Robert Whitley)
Phone: (215) 348-8789
Email: rcw3 [at] erols.com

Permalink New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »