July 5th, 2014

New Accessory for F-Class Shooters — Flat Sheet for Rear Bag

Darrell Buell, past captain of the world champion F-TR Team USA, just received an impressive new piece of kit. A custom flat sheet was created by Kent Rush for Darrell, complete with cool graphics and sponsors’ logos. As soon as we saw this on Darrell’s Facebook page, we knew this would be popular with our readers. Heck, this Editor wants one too — with “AccurateShooter.com” emblazoned on it.

Shooting pad rear bag sheet rest F-Class F-TR

Darrell loves his new shooting accessory: “Here’s the whole enchilada! Savage rifle, 2014 Nightforce Competition Scope, Berger Bullets (185 Juggernauts), Seb Lambang’s new Joy-Pod (plus “Pod-Pad” mat), a new shooting mat courtesy of Scott at Red Star Targets, and an awesome new rear-bag sheet by Kent Rush for the Edgewood bag. This new sheet allows for friction-free rear bag adjustments — Thanks Kent Rush!”

Shooting pad rear bag sheet rest F-Class F-TR

Shooting pad rear bag sheet rest F-Class F-TR

Darrell Leads North American Junior F-TR Team
Though he has stepped down from his role as Captain of F-TR Team USA, Darrell hasn’t given up his coaching duties entirely. Darrell is the coach (and adult leader) of the North American Junior F-TR Team. Darrell is lending his world-beating long-range shooting knowledge to young competitors who are making a mark for themselves already. Here is Darrell with one of his young marksmen.

Shooting pad rear bag sheet rest F-Class F-TR

Permalink Competition 1 Comment »
June 7th, 2013

A Beautiful Range in America’s Heartland (Malvern, Ohio)

Darrell Buell recently posted a photo of the oh-so-scenic Alliance Rifle Club Range in Malvern, Ohio. This is where Darrell and the U.S. F-TR Team will be practicing this week. Wow — what a beautiful place to shoot. The Alliance Range looks more like a top-flight Championship golf course than a mere shooting range. All that green grass, rimmed by trees, looks like heaven to a Westerner accustomed to ranges that are hard-packed dirt, dust, and gravel. This Editor now has a new item on his “bucket list” — get out to Ohio and shoot a match with the Alliance Rifle Club.


Photos by Darrell Buell and Alliance Rifle Club.
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February 20th, 2013

F-Class Team Tests New Nightforce 15-55x52mm Comp Scope

Nightforce 15-55x competition scope test gear review

New Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition ScopeField Report by Darrell Buell
A few weeks ago at SHOT Show, Nightforce Optics introduced a new Competition Scope. When Nightforce heard about the upcoming U.S. Team practice session in Phoenix, the optics-maker overnighted us two prototype Comp Scopes to wring out under match conditions.

From the start, we were impressed by these new 15-55X Competition Scopes. Darrell mounted one on his personal competition rifle, and the other on a mocked-up action, so people could hold it up safely in a steady fashion behind the firing line. The new scopes acted like magnets, drawing people from all over the Berger SW Long Range Nationals to check them out.

Nightforce 15-55x competition scope test gear reviewThe new Competition Scope is a 15-55x52mm. The new scope’s ED (extra-low dispersion) glass yields outstanding resolution. Remarkably, the resolution in the Competition scopes is even slightly better than the Nightforce 12-42x56mm NXS, with its larger 56mm objective lens. The color is definitely ‘crisper’ as well. Not surprisingly, the image quality is what most people noted first (see through-the-lens photo at right). The glass is great, and Nightforce included other thoughtful features as well. First is the side parallax adjustment that competitors have been wanting for years (this is one of the draws for the NXS scope in competition). The higher zoom range (with 55X power on tap), and the 60 MOA of vertical travel is also a much-asked-for (and useful) feature.

In competition, the high-quality glass in the new Comp Scopes proved very beneficial. The Berger SW LR Nationals took place in Phoenix, in February, so conditions ranged from cold and windy, to warmer with moderate mirage. In some of the heavier mirage conditions (not massive mirage, by any means, but enough that the magnification on a 12-42X NXS would probably have been turned down to 32-35 power), the Competition Nightforce stayed at 45 power and above. The turrets were the usual Nightforce precision, good defined, tactile adjustment clicks (5 MOA per revolution). The only improvement there would be to have the windage turrets adjust in ¼ MOA clicks (yielding 10 MOA per revolution), which Nightforce assures us that will be done for the Team scopes. [Current production 15-55X Competition Scopes have 1/8 MOA windage clicks.]

The Team’s response to the prototype scopes was overwhelmingly positive. Nightforce has generously agreed to provide 10 new Competition scopes for the USA F-Class Team competing in South Africa next month. The Bloemfontein Range will be an excellent test of the new 15-55X scope’s capabilities!

Nightforce 15-55x competition scope test gear review

Nightforce 15-55x competition scope test gear review

Visit to Nightforce Production Center in Idaho
The prototype scopes had to be returned to Nightforce, and as it wasn’t much of a detour, Team Captain Darrell Buell paid a visit to Nightforce’s Orofino, Idaho production facility. Nightforce rolled out the welcome mat, providing not only a highly detailed tour of the location, but also the opportunity to say a few words in front of a meeting of all of the day shift and evening shift staff. It was good fun for everyone, the staff seemed genuinely fascinated by what the Team was doing with their scopes all over the world, and Darrell was equally interested in the attention and quality that was invested by the staff there in each scope produced.

During the tour Nightforce provided a convincing demonstration of the rugged durability of NF optics. Each assembly station had a steel pillar fixture near the bench; the pillars were covered in a thin layer of rubber padding. As a scope was completed, the technician would grasp it by the ocular end, and strike the objective end (quite sharply) on the rubber-coated pillar three times. The scope would then be placed back on a optical test stand, and the image checked for shifting. This ‘strike test’ was then repeated three additional times (with associated checks), so that the top, bottom, left side, and right side were all tested and checked.


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Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 8 Comments »
June 14th, 2012

Vote in Forum Poll on Proposed F-TR Bullet Weight Limits

In our Shooters’ Forum, Darrell Buell, Captain of F-TR Team USA, has started a discussion about permitted bullet weights in F-TR competition. Darrell observes that a new generation of ultra-heavyweight 215-230 grain bullets may spur a “technology race” that would increase the cost to compete in F-TR matches at the top level.

Darrell writes: “In order to run the uber-heavies, you will be required at a minimum to get a gunsmith to re-cut at least the throat of your chamber, then you are stuck with a tiny number of projectiles that will work in the rifle. People that want to be competitive will feel compelled to drop the expense of modifying their rifles, and not have any guarantee that their mods will turn out to be effective. We will have strayed from our successful initial model for F-T/R, as a class for ‘shooter vs. shooter’ competition, and be marching down the road that you must have a $5000 custom to be remotely competitive.” As the result, Darrell has proposed an F-TR rule change that would limit the max weight of permitted .308-caliber bullets to “less than 201 grains”.

CLICK HERE to View POLL on F-TR Bullet Weights

At the beginning of the F-TR Bullet Weight Thread, you’ll find a poll on the issue of bullet weights. Registered members of our Forum can vote in the poll. You have three choices: a) Leave the Rules unchanged; b) Limit max bullet weight to less than 201 grains; and c) Limit max bullet weight to 156 grains or less.

What do you think? Should the F-TR rules be changed to cap bullet weights? Or, is it best to leave bullet choice unrestricted for .308-caliber shooters? Darrell wants F-TR shooters to express their opinions by Voting in the Poll.


Modern F-TR Rigs are getting increasingly sophisticated (and looking more like F-Open rifles). Here is Vince Bottomley’s latest F-TR rifle, which, in the hands of Stuart Anselm, won the European F-TR Championship shooting 185gr Berger Bullets.

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
January 6th, 2012

Members of 2013 F-T/R Team USA Selected

This Report was submitted by Darrell Buell, F-T/R Team USA Captain

The F-Class World Championships are just over a year and a half away. In the past four years, much has changed in the F-T/R game. Most noticeably, participation has increased greatly. We had 60 shooters at the 2011 Nationals in Lodi compared to 19 shooters in 2007. The level of competition has risen as well. There was a mere 3% spread in scores for the top 30 places this year. That’s tighter than it has ever been since I started keeping statistics. The top 15 spots had only a 2% score spread!

F-T/R Team USA Selection Process
With many more shooters and a higher level of competition, selecting the 2013 American F-T/R team was especially difficult. There were many qualified applicants to choose from. The selection criteria have not changed over the years. All of the 40+ applicants’ qualifications were dumped into a matrix to get sorted. The initial sort was done by examining the best data I have that compares all of the shooters side by side, i.e. Nationals scores. More weight was given to those times when I could compare shooter vs. shooter on the same relay, when they were facing the exact same conditions. From there, we used modifiers for International Team experience, and other factors. 50 million calculations later, a ranking was developed. This ranking was used to set the Roster List below.

USA F-T/R Team Roster:

Team Staff:

Captain: Darrell Buell
Vice Captain: Mike Miller
Head Coach: Mid Tompkins
Coach: Steve Cunico
Adjutant: Kathy Buell

Team Members:
Jeff Rorer
John Hayhurst
John Chilton
Chris Ozolins
John Weil
Dale Carpenter
Derek Rodgers

Team Members (cont’d):
Philip Kelley
Warren Dean
Brad Sauve
Paul Phillips
Monte Milanuk
Lane Buxton
Sierra Scott

As with past Teams, this roster will be used for the next four (4) years for International Competitions of every description. These events include (but are not limited to): 2013 F-Class World Championships in Raton, NM; 2013 South African International Matches in Bloemfontein; 2013 Stars & Stripes Challenge 2013; Creedmoor Cup; USA vs. Europe, and others.

Reserve Team Spots
The sharp-eyed will notice that I may seem to be a couple of shooters short. I am reserving a couple of spots to be named after the 2012 Nationals in Raton, in case other shooters are absolutely on fire this year, and would be good additions to the Team.

F-T/R Team USA Sponsors
As with past Team campaigns, the financial challenges (especially for the travel) will be considerable. I am absolutely committed to taking the very best Team I can field, regardless of finances. To this end, some outstanding sponsors are helping take some of the burden off the individuals: Berger Bullets, Nightforce Optics, Surgeon Rifles, Hodgdon Powder, Lapua, Kowa, and Redding Reloading. Many thanks to these and other sponsors for their continuing support.

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »