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November 30th, 2020

The Most Advanced Neck-Turners — Blake IDOD and AUTODOD

Bryan Blake machine f-class products IDOD AUTOIDOD neck turner turning power machine

Bryan Blake, a very clever machinist and gunsmith, has created an ultra-precise and speedy neck-turning machine. Bryan, who runs Blake Machine, Blake Barrel, and F-Class Products has created a system that uses twin precision cutter tips to turn case necks inside and out quickly and efficiently, with superior precision. This advanced IDOD Neck Turning Machine holds cases securely in a precision-machined spindle attached to an electric motor. Twin blades move precisely during the cutting process, milling the necks inside and out. The turned necks come out perfect every time, with the shoulders trimmed exactly (with doughnut removed) as well. If you turn hundreds of cases during a shooting season, you may want to consider getting an IDOD from F-Class Products. Bryan was able to turn 30 cases in just 6 minutes. And there is an even more advanced version, called the AUTODOD, shown in the last video below.

Our friend Erik Cortina recently visited Bryan Blake in Phoenix. Erik saw the IDOD in action and was impressed. Erik notes: “For a very long time, we have been turning brass the exact same way. Use a mandrel as a pilot and have a cutter with a specified gap go around the perimeter and turn the necks to specified thickness. The IDOD uses a technique called ‘pinch turning’ to turn the ID and the OD (IDOD) at the same time.” You can watch how it works in Erik’s video below (action starts at 7:55 time-mark):

The secret to the efficiency of the Blake IDOD is a vibration-free motor, high-mass case-holder, precision OD/ID-adjustable cutter, along with an advanced tracking system that moves the cutter heads towards the case neck (and back again) with absolute, 100% repeatable precision. Watch the video from 8:30 to 10:10 to see Bryan explain how to adjust the system for a perfect result.

This shows how to set up the IDOD Neck-turning machine for a particular cartridge type:

Bryan Blake machine f-class products IDOD AUTOIDOD neck turner turning power machine

This video shows a close-up of a neck being with perfect neck-wall consistency:

This latest video from Blake Machine shows the new AUTODOD machine with power controls. This speeds up and simplifies neck-turning process.

Bryan Blake machine f-class products IDOD AUTOIDOD neck turner turning power machine

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 8th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: 2020 F-TR Mid-Range Nat’l Champ .308 Win

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

Story based on Report by Bryan Blake, Blake Machine Company
Here’s the gold medal-winning .308 Win rifle of the 2020 F-TR National Mid-Range Champion, Andy Cyr. Arizona native Cyr won the F-TR Mid-Range Championship with an impressive score of 1761-72X out of a possible 1800 points. At this three-day Mid-Range event at Ben Avery in Phoenix, all 180 rounds were shot at 600 yards. Andrew delivered a convincing victory, winning by NINE points over runner-up James Crofts, a past national champion himself. We congratulate Andrew on his impressive win. And today’s Sunday GunDay feature examines the details of Andrew’s impressive .308 Win F-TR rifle.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

Cyr Overcame Incredibly Tough Conditions at Ben Avery
After Day One of the Mid-Range Nationals, Andy was in 5th place. Andy made up some serious ground on the next two days despite winds that were well into the 20 MPH+ range. In fact, many experienced shooters took misses (not hitting the scoring ring) because the winds were so fierce. Interestingly, Andy’s 1761-72X score beat all but eight F-Open shooters.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action
Andrew Cyr’s .308 Win F-TR rifle during load development and accuracy testing.

F-TR Mid-Range Championship-Winning .308 Win Rifle Specifications:
Blake Barrel and Rifle 32″ .30 Caliber, 1:11″-twist barrel with custom specs
McMillan XIT Stock (lightened with ports on butt area)
Borden BRM Action
Kahles K1050 10-50x56mm Scope
Phoenix Bipod with F-Class Products lowering kit and skeleton legs

Andrew Cyr’s Championship-winning F-TR rifle was built by Phoenix-based Blake Barrel and Rifle (BBR) in 2018. Interestingly, this rifle was originally built for Andy’s daughter Jessica. The rifle was used by Andy a few months later. The rifle features a severely-lightened XIT stock with the grip smoothed out. Andy was actually the first customer of Blake Barrel and Rifle back in 2018. He has always been willing to try out new rifling profiles, twist rates, and barrel configurations as recommended by BBR.

Bryan Blake tells us: “Many customers demand exact specs and there is no way of changing their mind, even if it is factual-based. With Andy he was always willing to try new things, some things didn’t work well, but some things worked very well, just like the barrel used to win the Nationals.” Andy preferred a heavier barrel in the chamber area than most TR shooters. The shank diameter is 1.350″ rather than 1.250″. What this does is keep as much material around the chamber, which is the hottest area of the barrel. That way the barrel is less affected by heat over a string of fire, since the heat can be dissipated into a larger area.

Andy used a 32″ barrel, a length not commonly used in F-TR anymore. Most are running 30″ or even 28″ now. Many folks think a shorter barrel is more accurate so these competitors do not use a 32″ barrel. Well as you can see by his results, Andrew’s 32″ tube shot great. The extra length was NOT a handicap. We should remember that longer barrels can normally produce higher velocities than shorter barrels or deliver equivalent speeds with less pressure.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

Many people also believe that a 1:9-10″ twist is needed to shoot 200-grain class bullets out of a .308 Win accurately. However, Andy took the advice of Blake Barrel and Rifle, and went with a 1:11″-twist Blake cut-rifled barrel. Many would say this twist is too slow, and some online calculators say a 1:11″-twist won’t fully stabilize 200-grain bullets. Obviously this is also not the case. Andy’s 11-twist and Berger 200-grain Hybrid bullets (NOT 200.20X bullets) work very well with this combination. NOTE: Andy uses an F-Class Products barrel tuner to tune his load. He will sometimes even alter tune between relays to compensate for changing barometric conditions.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action
Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action
Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

Winning .308 Win Load — Lapua Palma Brass, VV N550, CCI 450s, Berger 200gr Hybrids
Andy Cyr took the Mid-Range title loading Vihtavuori N150 powder, CCI 450 primers, Berger 200gr Hybrids, and Lapua .308 Win Palma brass. Andy does not push his bullets very fast and finds a big accuracy node at the mid-2600 FPS range. He jumps his bullets .015″ off the lands. One thing Andy consistently does is test, test, test. He will test different powders, charge weights, seating depths nearly every time he is at the range. He will shoot a different load for each string to see what works best.

Profile of 2020 F-TR Mid-Range National Champion — Andrew Cyr
Father and Daughter Compete Together

Andy started shooting F-Class in 2012 to help him shoot better in the PRS series. He hoped to learn to read the wind better and get more experience in long-range shooting in general. After shooting F-Class he was hooked and found he enjoyed it more than PRS. Andy and his daughter Jessica have shot many state matches together, with both of them shooting F-TR. Jessica owned the Mid-Range 20-shot woman’s Aggregate record for years with a score of 200-11X. Interestingly Andy shot his very first clean at 1000 yards at the Nationals in Raton, NM in 2018 with a score of 200-11X also. This year Andy started using a spotting scope to help read mirage and it has helped him tremendously he reports.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

The “Master” Beat the “High Masters”
Andy is currently classified in Mid-Range as a Master for F-Class, not yet High Master. Even after winning the F-Class Mid-Range Nationals, the most prestigious F-Class match of the year, he is still classified as a Master. Andy’s 1761-72X score works out to 97.8% of a perfect 1800. But the requirement for F-Class High Master is 98%. That just shows you how tough the conditions were at Ben Avery this year. But still the Master beat ALL the High Masters — if you look at the score sheet above, all the other Top 10 F-TR competitors were High Masters. Impressive. And we believe Andy is the first Arizona resident to ever win a national F-Class Championship in either F-Open or F-TR.

About Blake Barrel and Rifle
Blake Barrel and Rifle (BBR) has been in business since 2018. BBR built the rifle that Brian Bowling used to win the 2019 F-Open National Championship. And now another ultra-accurate BBR-built rifle has won the 2020 F-TR Mid-Range Championship. Bryan Blake tells us that Blake Barrel and Rifle has recently upgraded BBR’s rifle barrel building equipment. There are advanced CNC lapping machines, CNC bore-honing machines, and all-new, proprietary rifling cutter designs that no one else in the barrel business uses.

Blake Barrel and Rifle produces cut-rifled, 6-groove barrels with a unique rifling profile no other barrel manufacturer is using. Blake barrels have an impressive winning record in recent major competitions — earning National Championships, plus many match wins and podium performances. Bryan Blake tells us that “The time and quality control spend on Blake barrels is second to none and the proof in the results.” For more information, visit Blakebarrel.com.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action


Blake Barrel and Rifle | Blake Machine Company

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
October 29th, 2020

Report: Wicked Conditions at Mid-Range F-Class Nationals

F-Class Nationals Championship ben avery arizona 600-yard mid-range

Mid-Range Competitors Battle Tough Conditions at Ben Avery
Report by F-Class John (competing at the Nationals)
The Mid-Range Nationals at Ben Avery in Arizona have been completed, and many competitors are breathing a sigh of relief. Winds were howling and conditions were VERY tough. We congratulate all the competitors who battled the high winds. This year all shooting at the Mid-Range Nationals was done at 600 yards (the simplified course of fire was adopted in 2019). I think I can safely say everyone is excited and ready to move on to Long-Range portion of the championships.

The Top 10 in each division are listed below. New F-Open Mid-range Champion Tim Vaught put together a very impressive performance, dropping just 14 points in very challenging conditions.

F-Class Nationals Championship ben avery arizona 600-yard mid-range

The fact that F-Open winner Tim Vaught dropped just 14 points across nine 20-shot relays is INSANE given the incredibly tough conditions. He deserved his title without a doubt. F-TR Mid-Range Champion Andrew Cyr also had an impressive performance, winning by 9 points over a very tough field, including past National F-TR Champions and Nancy Tompkins, past NRA High Power and Long Range Champion.

The F-TR division was won by Andrew Cyr. His gunsmith, Bryan Blake, said this rig has some unusual features, including barrel twist rate. Stay tuned for a full tech report…
F-Class Nationals Championship ben avery arizona 600-yard mid-range

Challenging Conditions at F-Class Mid-Range Nationals
Conditions were pretty incredible and by no means typical for Ben Avery for the Mid-Range portion of the USA F-Class National Championships. We started on Sunday with dead calm conditions on relay one and by the end of shooting, it was challenging but certainly not anything outside the normal for most of the people. We woke up Monday to crazy strong winds that just tore apart those who were ‘lucky enough’ to be on the first relay and it throughout the day it went from horrible to manageable and it was just dumb luck if your relay got hit or spared. The uncharacteristically strong winds met us Tuesday morning again for the final day of Mid-Range.

Video has highlights from three days of Mid-Range competition.

Before the first relay I measured gusts that were almost 24 mph with the constant wind hovering in the high teens. It calmed down from there but still remained very challenging until the end. Overall it was quite the fight for first with Tim Vaught earning the F-Open win with Dan Bramley and Tod Hendricks taking a respective second and third place out of a field of 66 High Masters and 13 Masters. These guys all shot superbly in some of the most challenging conditions ever witnessed at the Ben Avery range in Arizona. Mighty impressive…

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
December 27th, 2017

Three Great How-To Videos from Erik Cortina

Erik Cortina Video SEB Rest NEO Upgrade coaxial Lambang Modified Case Hornady Length gauge RCBS Chargemaster

Erik Cortina is one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters. A member of Team Lapua-Brux-Borden, Erik has been a top performer at National and World F-Class Championships. Erik is also a very smart guy and a skilled toolsmith who has upgraded his shooting equipment in interesting ways. Today we feature three “How-To” videos from Erik. These show how to upgrade a SEB Coaxial Rest, how to improve the performance of an RCBS Chargemaster, and how to create your own Modified Case for measuring length to lands.

1. How to Upgrade your SEB Co-Axial Joystick Rest

Erik Cortina Joystick SEB Rest accessory f-class feet holder

Joystick (coaxial) rests are used by top shooters in benchrest and F-Open disciplines. With coaxial rests, you can adjust both vertical and horizontal aim instantly in one fluid movement — there are no mariner wheels to spin or knobs to turn. Just gently stir the joystick to move up, down, or sideways. Erik Cortina explains: “If you want to get into F-Class (Open) and want to win, you should get a SEB rest. SEB makes an excellent product, but the one thing we upgrade automatically … is adding the F-Class feet. These have a bigger footprint and a spike on the bottom [so you can] dig the feet into the ground and make your rest a lot more stable.” In this video Erik installs a set of Blake Machine Co. F-Class feet. These feature a set-screw, so they are easy to attach and then remove for travel (no Loctite!). “Simple yet effective” declares Erik.

In the second half of the video (starting at 5:30), Erik installs a Dan Bramley Joystick Holder. This features two clamp-on cradles that hold the joystick crosswise below the top (see photo). This handy accessory ensures your handle always remains with the rest (and doesn’t get left at home when you travel to a big match). This joystick holder has been popular with competitors. Erik says, “The Bramley Joystick holder is $60.00 — money well spent.” To order, email Dan at dbramley [at] yahoo.com.

2. How to Make a Modified Case for the Hornady OAL Tool

Hornady Stony Point Tool OAL O.A.L. gauge bullet seating length ogive checker

In this video, Forum member Erik Cortina shows how to create a custom modified case for use with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge (formerly the Stoney Point Tool). While Hornady sells modified cases for many standard cartridges, if you shoot a wildcat such as the 6mm Dasher or .284 Shehane, you’ll need to create a custom modified case. And even if you shoot a standard cartridge such as the .308 Win, you can get more consistent measurements if you make a custom modified case from a piece of brass fired in your chamber.

MORE INFORMATION: Want to learn more? We published a much longer story in which Erik explains in greater detail how to made the Modified Case. That article illustrates the 5/16″ – 36 RH HSS Tap required and shows how to set up the lathe to drill and tap your case. If you are serious about making your own Modified Cases, you should Read the Full Article.

3. How to Make the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Work Better

Erik Cortina has been fiddling around with his RCBS ChargeMaster and he discovered something interesting. Through a series of tests he determined that the ChargeMaster dispensed slightly more precise charges when he trickled the last few 10ths of a grain on to the RCBS pan. Erik wasn’t expecting this result, but he confirmed there may be a slight benefit to this trickling method (as opposed to allowing the ChargeMaster to dispense the full charge). You can see Erik’s test procedure in this video:

We should note that Erik’s preferred method of weighing powder is to first dispense a slightly lower charge with the RCBS, transfer the pan to a laboratory-class Sartorius magnetic force restoration scale, then trickle up with his Omega (Dandy Products) Powder Trickler. However, if you don’t have a $800+ laboratory-grade scale, you might just try trickling on to the ChargeMaster pan.

MORE INFORMATION: We have published a more lengthy Bulletin Article that covers Erik’s Chargemaster Performance Findings in greater detail. That article has more photos plus a clever, bonus “Beep Defeat Tip”. If you own a Chargemaster, we recommend you READ the Full Article.

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