September 26th, 2012

David Bailey and Team Long Shots are F-Open Champions

Congratulations to David Bailey, the 2012 F-Open National Champion. Shooting at Raton last week, David scored 1283-59X, to finish one point ahead of fellow Forum member Bob Sebold (1282-59X). Past F-Open Champion Jeff Cochran tells us: “David did a masterful job. He had one of the best, if not the best, rifles on the line for the morning trigger-pulling contests. He also showed great patience choosing his shots wisely in some of the nasty, switchy afternoon conditions. Not only spitting them downrange when the conditions called for it, but he was smart enough to put on the brakes and not get burned. All in all, David had a great performance in a wide range of conditions.”

David Bailey F-Class Open Champion 2012

Bailey Shot a .280 Remington with Berger 7mm Hybrids
David was shooting a 7mm cartridge, but not the 7mm you might expect. David’s Bat-actioned F-Open rifle has a 32″ Bartlein, 9-twist barrel chambered for a no-turn-neck .280 Remington. David’s winning load consisted of 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets pushed at 2860 FPS by Russian primers and Hodgdon 4831SC powder. Bullets are seated about 0.015″-.020″ away from the lands (this happens to be Berger’s suggested “starting point” seating depth for these Hybrids). David says he does “very little brass prep” other than sorting his Remington brass. (That’s right — Remington!) He does use an expander ball during reloading to push out any neck-wall-thickness variations.

The pretty green stock is a Robertson Composites ‘Speedy F-Class’ model, with adjustable cheek-piece. David added 4.5 pounds of lead in the buttstock to bring the gun up to max F-Open weight. David’s rifle was originally smithed by Richard King of King’s Armory in Arlington, Texas, (817) 265-0118, rking3005 [at] sbcglobal.net. The current .280 Rem barrel was chambered and fitted on the gun by David himself.

David Bailey F-Class Open Champion 2012We had a chance to chat with David Bailey after the Nationals. When asked how he felt about the big win, David replied: “It took a while to sink in… I was extremely happy that two of my teammates finished in top 10 — Mark (Walker) and Michelle (Gallagher) — [as a team] we had a very good week overall.” David wanted to give credit to his past/present team-mates, “both the Spindle Shooters and Long Shots — they have been a tremendous help.” David added, “In particular I want to say thanks to Jeff Cochran. And I can’t forget my gunsmith Richard King, he’s been a tremendous asset.”

For those who have been following David’s shooting, it was no surprise that he did well at Raton. David noted: “I’ve been shooting well for the last couple of years, but this time it all came together. I will say my wind reading has gotten a lot better the last couple of years.”

Asked if he had any advice for new F-Class shooters, David replied: “Practice — shoot as much as you can. And as for hardware and reloading — don’t get hung up on the gimmicks.”

Team Long Shots Wins F-Open Team Title
As captain of Team Long Shots, David Bailey helped lead the Long Shots Open Team to their second consecutive national title. The Long Shots compiled a 1583-83X score to finish first, ahead of second-place Team Spindle Shooters (1576-65X). Long Shots Team Members are: David Gosnell, Mark Walker, Ken Dickerman, team captain David Bailey, and coach Michelle Gallagher. This year, the Long Shots turned in a great performance, emerging victorious over what may be the largest number of F-Open teams ever at the F-Class Nationals.

David Bailey F-Class Open Champion 2012 Team Long Shots

For the equipment junkies, it’s interesting to note that Michelle Gallagher used a rifle with a new stock David Bailey designed and built. Texas gunsmith Richard King barreled Michelle’s rifle in .280 Remington, and also built other guns for Long Shots Team members. Richard built Mark Walker’s rifle and Ken Dickerman’s rifle and stocked David Gosnell’s gun. Jeff Cochran reports that Richard King also smithed two rifles used by the Sierra Spindle Shooters team (Cochran’s own gun and Jeff Traylor’s rifle). Overall Richard King worked on six rifles for the top two F-Open teams — that’s a pretty strong endorsement of King’s gun-building skills.

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September 22nd, 2012

David Bailey and James Crofts Win 2012 F-Class Nationals

The 2012 F-Class Nationals have concluded and the event was a great success. Nearly 200 shooters competed at Raton this year.

Congrats to the new F-Class National Champions: David Bailey (F-Open) and James Crofts (F-TR). Bailey amassed a 1283-59X score to edge F-Open runner-up Bob Sebold (1282-59X) by a single point. Note that Jim and Bob, both AccurateShooter Forum members, had the same X-count. Bob’s excellent X-count placed him ahead of Jim Murphy (1282-50X), who captured third place along with F-Open High Senior Title. High Lady Shooter was Michelle Gallagher with a 1274-51, while Danny Biggs, a past National Champion, was High Senior with 1273-46X.

Forum member James (‘Jim’) Crofts took the F-TR crown with a truly dominating performance. Jim’s 1272-47X was a full six points and 11 Xs ahead of runner-up (and 2011 champ) Jeff Rorer, who finished with 1266-36X. In third-place overall, was High Senior Daniel Pohlable (1264-42X). In fourth overall, was the High Lady shooter Trudie Fay (1259-45X).

james croft f-tr f/tr national champsionship f-class

Jim Crofts really deserves praise for his marksmanship at Raton. Jim’s F-TR Score of 1272-47X would have ranked him 13th in the F-Open division, ahead of dozens of skilled shooters running ballistically-superior cartridges. In his .308 Win, Jim ran Berger 200gr Match Hybrids at 2600 fps with Hodgdon Varget. Jim’s winning F-TR rifle featured a 30″ Brux barrel and Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) stock. And take note — Jim’s barrel had over 3000 rounds though it by the end of the match. Jim wants to thank Ray Bowman at PR&T for smithing a great rifle and providing sponsorship.

CLICK HERE for Complete F-Class Nationals Results with Match by Match Scores

James Crofts F-TR ChampionInterview with Jim Crofts
We had a chance to talk to Jim by telephone this morning, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for us….

AccurateShooter: Is this your first big win? How did you feel receiving the trophy as National F-TR Champion?

Jim: I won the Berger SW Nationals earlier this year, but this is my first-ever National Championship. I was very relieved once it was over because there were many great shooters right behind me.

AccurateShooter: Did you run any new hardware at the Nationals? Did you alter your load any?

Jim: This is the same combination that I’ve used all year long. I went back to my old faithful PR&T-built rifle and my old faithful load and everything works. I still anneal my cases every firing. You will find this helps maintain consistent bullet seating and it helps lower your extreme spread.

AccurateShooter: Shooters from your neck of the woods have now won the F-TR division two years running — Whats the secret?

Yes, with my win we’ve had back to back F-TR National championships for North State X-Men club members. Jeff Rorer, last year’s F-TR champ [and 2012 runner-up] shoots with us at a local level. That’s who I’ve been chasing since last year’s National Championship. When you shoot against quality competition every week, it makes you strive for perfection.

AccurateShooter: How were conditions during the week? Raton can be windy…

Jim: Actually, conditions were moderate most of the week. However, on the last day, it was calm during the first match, but in the second match it got to be very tricky. There were changes in velocity and angles — I had a hard time keeping up with the velocity changes in the last match.

AccurateShooter: How has the FTR game changed in the last couple years? Is it more competitive than ever before?

Jim: The sport is growing and it’s getting tougher, that’s for sure. This year we had 91 competitors in F-TR. It went up from about 60 last year to 91 this year — a 50% increase. And the competition is really getting tight in F-TR. Not only are the numbers of shooters growing, but the quality of the competition is getting higher every year.


Also at the F-Class Nationals this year, some Eliseo Tubeguns made an appearance. Shown below are Linda Shehan (Team Australia) and Warren Dean (Team USA) with their GC-1 FTR rigs at the nationals. These tubeguns feature actions by Rod Shehan, with an Adam Davies bipod on the left, and Sinclair F-Class bipod on the right.

Eliseo Tubegun

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