Want to see how some of the best rifle shooters in the world operate in high-stakes, 1000-yard competition? This video shows Team Sinclair powering to victory at the 2014 F-Class National Championships in Phoenix. Scoring an impressive 792-38X, Team Sinclair topped the field, winning the 4-man team title and setting a new 1000-yard F-TR National Team Record in the process. It was a close match, with America’s “powerhouse” F-TR teams battling it out for the top three spots: Team Sinclair (Gold), Team X-Men (Silver), and Team Michigan (Bronze). Team Sinclair’s wind coach Ray Gross did a superb job. Ray also serves as the Captain of the USA F-TR Rifle Team.
Along with the Team Sinclair shooters, this video also features Team X-Men (orange shirts), and Team Michigan. Starting at the 2:05 time-mark, you can hear Bryan Litz calling wind for Team Michigan. Watch the mirage in the video and see if you can match Bryan’s wind calls with the movement of the mirage. This is a great opportunity to see F-TR Top Guns in action. Team score cards appear in the video, starting at the 3:01 time-mark.
Watch Team Sinclair, Team X-Men, and Team Michigan at 2014 F-Class Nationals:
Warning — Video starts with loud rock music. You may want to turn down your speakers if at work.
Thanks to Paul Phillips for editing and uploading this video. Photos courtesy Nightforce Optics.
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Congratulations to James Crofts (F-TR) and to Emil Kovan (F-Open), our new 2014 F-Class U.S. National Champions. Crofts, F-TR Team USA Vice-Captain, won the F-TR Title with a 1574-59X score. Emil Kovan took the F-Open National Championship with a 1587-83X. Well done, gentlemen!
Battle of the Ages in F-TR Division
USA F-TR teammates James Crofts and Derek Rodgers entertained all with a 3-day battle that will be remembered for many years to come. James Crofts took home the title of US F-TR National Champion by just one point, scoring 1574-59X to Derek’s 1573-65X. These two great shooters, both at the top of their game, were neck and neck right down to the final shot. Rodgers had the higher X-Count but fell just one point short. He was shooting Berger 200gr Match Hybrid bullets with Varget powder. Crofts was also shooting heavy .30-caliber projectiles.
The battle between James Crofts (left) and Derek Rodgers (right) went down to the wire.
In the F-TR Division, William Litz was third with 1563-58X. Brad Sauve, 3-Time National Champ, was close behind, with 1563-54X, to finish fourth in a very high-scoring event.
James wanted to give credit to others who helped him along the way: “There are a lot of people that I need to thank that have helped me in my quest to become the U.S. National Champion, twice. First, I thank my family for giving me there unconditional support throughout it all. Second is Ray Bowman of Precision Rifle and Tool, he builds the best F-Class rifles in my opinion hands down. The rifle I used was the second F-TR rifle Ray has built for me. Thank you Ray.
Next, [I want to thank] all my teammates from the NorthState X-Men: Phil Kelley, Tracy Hogg, Joseph Conley, Mike Hardy, Ian Klemm and Radoslaw Czupryna. Your quest for perfection and determination make us all better and it is my honor to be your coach and captain.
Last [I want to thank] all my team mates from F-TR Team USA — thank you all. I just hope I can represent our growing sport in a positive manner. — James E Crofts, 2012 and 2014 F-TR US FTR National Champion
Congratulations to all those who participated in the 2014 F-Class National Championship. There were many superb performances at this event, and new National individual and team records were set in Phoenix this past week. F-Class continues to grow in popularity, and with each passing year, the standard of precision improves, and the competition gets tougher.
Medal photo by Shiraz Balolia, Captain of Team Grizzly, winners of the F-Open Team Championship.
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There have been some remarkable team performances at the 2014 F-Class Nationals. With good conditions, talented shooters, and ultra-accurate rifles, three teams have “raised the bar” with record-breaking performances this week in Phoenix.
Team Long Shots Breaks Records with 800-42X Score at 1000 Yards
Congratulations to the Long Shots rifle team for breaking the 80-shot, 1000-yard, F-Open Civilian and Open Team Match National Records with a score of 800-42X. That is amazing shooting! Give credit to Michelle Gallagher, David Bailey, Ken Dickerman, David Gosnell, and Mark Walker.
Michelle Gallagher (as Snow White) on Halloween with her four team-mates.
Team Grizzly — F-Open National Champions
Shiraz Balolia reports: “Team Grizzly just won the F-Open National Team Championship. This is the third major match that Trudie Fay has coached four shooters into winning. She was also our coach when she coached us to a win at the last National Championship in Raton, and then again in February this year (2014) when we set a new National record in the Palma course in Phoenix at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Trudie is a heck of a wind reader!” Shooters are: Kenny Adams, Shiraz Balolia (Captain), Emil Kovan, and John Myers.
Team Sinclair — Six-Time National F-TR Champions
Ray Gross Posted: “I just got home after the Team Sinclair victory dinner… teammate Derek Rodgers set a new 1000-yard national record Wednesday, then beat it for a new, higher, record Thursday. Then we won the team National Championship today and set a new National Record doing it! We are ‘stone cold’, 6-time National Champions. I’m proud to be a part.”
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Here’s a very interesting spotting scope stand, from Forum member (and ace F-Class shooter) Monte Milanuk. You can see this stable rig can be adjusted super-low for prone shooting. The components are from Italian photography accessory maker Manfrotto (but it’s not as expensive as you might think).
Click for larger image
Monte tells us about his spotting scope stand, which is really a conventional photography tripod adjusted to a very low position, with a special head:
This stand has a Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip head to make positioning easier. It actually goes even lower, and much, much higher. Both the head and the tripod are about $170-ish each, so it’s a bit more expensive than a Ray-Vin, a little less than a Creedmoor Polecat, and a whole lot more flexible overall.
This Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod is actually a little on the big side – probably should have gone with a Manfrotto 190 model (couple inches shorter on the legs) so it can be a bit of a hassle to set up when you have to shoot two-to-a-mound a la Fullbore.
It’s probably not as [expensive] as you might think… a Ray-Vin F-Class stand (without head) is about $170 from Creedmoor Sports. A Ray-Vin stand head is $150, plus the outrigger attachment is another $100+. I’ve got two of them downstairs for when I used to shoot conventional prone[.]
Comments from Facebook Fans: Pretty high end setup, should work well for prone, not sure about other positions. — John T.
An excellent and sturdy Manfrotto stand. I have one that I use not only for a spotting scope but to mount the rifle on when allowed for unknown distance tactical matches.–Dennis Santiago
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When we recently ran a story about Dennis Santiago’s new snakeskin Eliseo Tubegun, folks asked us if this kind of rifle can be competitive in F-Class competition. Here’s a detailed answer to that question by German Salazar, who runs the Riflemans Journal Website.
A while back, German Salazar published a three-part article on Shooting The Tubegun in F-Class. Links for all three segments are found below. The article covers some of the hardware German engineered to adapt his tubegun for long-range F-Class shooting with scope. If you’re an F-Classer, or just a fan of tubeguns, you should read German’s article, in all its parts.
In the intro to his multi-part F-Class Tubegun article, German explains:
Salazar: The tubegun has truly changed the face of High Power shooting over the past five years or so. Specifically, the CSS (Gary Eliseo) tubeguns, which are made for a broad variety of actions and configurable to single-shot or repeater, have truly helped the sport to grow. That’s not just idle talk, the two principal factors that made the tubegun so important to our growth are the ease of transition for AR15 shooters moving into a bolt-action rifle and the absolutely ridiculous length of time it currently takes to get a stock from the conventional stock makers. My last conventional stock took well over two years from order to delivery (plain fiberglass). One of my friends has now been waiting four years for a simple wood stock for a smallbore rifle. By contrast, tubeguns, which are largely CNC machined, are delivered in a reasonably short time — weeks or a couple of months at most.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the tubegun would never have attained its present success if it weren’t for one simple fact — they are brutally accurate. I have three CSS tubeguns, one chambered in .308 and two in .30-06 and they are my favorite prone rifles due to their accuracy and great ergonomics. Those factors are just as appealing to an F-Class competitor as to a prone shooter, and indeed, the tubegun is making solid inroads into F-Class. READ MORE…
Forum member Rick Curtis, a shooter from the Phoenix area, put together an interesting video showing some of the F-Class shooters at a recent club match at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Rick notes: “As you can see (hear) at the beginning of the video the first relay was fired in a ‘frisky’ headwind.” (Don’t worry about the awful wind noise — it moderates 35 seconds into the video.) It is interesting to see the different shooting styles, and the wide variety of hardware on the line.
Watch F-Class Shooting Video from Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, AZ
One fellow who watched the video made an interesting comment: “A couple of those shooters sure do a lot of moving around before and after the shot. I shoot sling and jacket and definitely try to minimize my movement. Is minimizing movement as important in F-Class?”
Rick Curtis replied: “I sent some of the individual videos back to the shooters who were in them with some recommendations that included minimizing movement, spotting scope placement, shot routine suggestions and a few other observations.”
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Grafs.com is now featuring some hard-to-find products that are very popular with our Forum members. These are items that sell out quickly, or may be back-ordered for months. Grab ‘em while you can.
Berger 7mm 180gr Hybrids
Graf’s has the ultra-accurate, high-BC 7mm 180gr Berger Hybrid bullet. This 7mm Hybrid is probably the most popular projectile in use by top F-Class Open shooters. Yes, 7mm Hybrids are in stock now and ready to ship for $45.99 per 100.
Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press
Graf’s has the superb Forster Co-Ax Press in stock and ready to ship. This unique product is the “Cadillac of reloading presses”. Sizing and seating dies slide into universal jaws for quick die changes. The dies can also self-align in the press for reduced run-out on your loaded rounds. If you’ve been wanting a Co-Ax, grab one now as they can be hard to find between production runs.
Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph
Graf’s now sells the remarkable Third Generation Magnetospeed Chronograph. The original Magnetospeed was a “game-changer” in the shooting industry. This compact chrono attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t need to set up a tripod, and fiddle around aligning sky-screens or diffusers. You also don’t have to worry about putting a bullet hole (or two) in the middle of your chronograph. The latest “V3″ model Magnetospeed features an improved attachment system, an upgraded display/control module, plus software enhancements. And Magnetospeed now provides a rugged polymer case that holds the “bayonet” sensing unit, display module, and all other components. Price is $379.99
NOTE: All these prices include shipping with one $7.95 flat fee per order.
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“All dressed up and nowhere to go” was the comment our IT guy, Jay Christopherson, sent with this photo. This is Jay’s testing set-up at his home range, complete with PVM-21 chronograph and wireless target-cam. The camera signal is sent, via WiFi, to Jay’s laptop computer. However, even with all that high-tech electronic gear, you can’t make the shot if you can’t see the target through the rifle-scope. On this morning, heavy ground fog completely obscured the target. Jay told us: “I ended up waiting a little over an hour for the fog to burn off enough so that I could see the 600-yard target. What was funny was that I had a perfectly clear picture of the target via the target-cam and monitor. But there was no way to aim the rifle since the riflescope showed nothing but fog.”
This photo was taken by Jay at the Cascade Shooting Facility in Ravensdale, WA. The rifle is Jay’s .284 Shehane F-Class rifle. Jay was testing primers for Extreme Spread (ES) variation around 9:00 am. Nature was not cooperating. Jay was running Hodgdon H4831sc and testing various primers to see which provided the best numbers.
The chronograph is the Kurzzheit PVM-21. Equipped with infrared sensors, the PVM-21 is our “go-to” chron for most velocity testing, with an Oehler 35P for “back-up”. The PVM-21 (now updated with Kurzzheit’s BMC-19 model) sets up quickly and gives reliable results in any light conditions. But there is something even more sophisticated on the horizon — the new Labradar, a “stand-off” chronograph that uses Doppler radar to measure bullet speed.
Jay explains: “I am (somewhat) patiently waiting for the new Labradar to release. The PVM-21 works pretty well most of the time and is easy to setup. I do get odd readings out of it every so often, but they are pretty obvious when they occur.” The advantage of the Labradar (if it ever comes to market) is that the unit sits to the left or right of the rifle. The Labradar is situated out of the bullet path, so there is no chance of shooting the chronograph by accident. Another advantage of the Labradar is that you can set it up without needing to go forward of the firing line, which would require a safety break.
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Report by Vince Bottomley
For this year, the European F-Class Championships moved from its traditional November date to mid-September. England can be smitten with some dreadful weather in November and previous Championships have suffered everything from rain and mist, to sub-zero temperatures. It proved to be a wise decision and competitors enjoyed balmy, sunny weather for the whole week, with matches on September 12-14, 2014. The event was well attended with 206 individual entries and over 20 teams. With competitors from a dozen nations, this is one of the biggest F-Class events in the world.
Congratulations to Scotland’s Des Parr, the new F-Open champion (on V-count over James Finn), and congrats to Giulio Arrigucci of Italy, who won the F-TR title. Both Parr and Finn dropped only five points over the entire two-day individual competition. For more information (and full listing of match results) visit www.GBFclass.co.uk.
F-Open Individual Results
F-TR Individual Results
1. Des Parr (Scotland): 470.48V (possible 475)
2. James Finn (Ireland): 470.41V
3. Marco Been (Holland): 467.49V
4. Mik Maksimovic (GB): 465.38V
5. Daniel McKenna (Ireland): 464.40V
6. Dave Lloyd (GB): 463.36V
1. Giulio Arrigucci (Italy): 455.30V
2. Francisco Franco Mosquera (Spain): 454.30V
3. Sergii Gorbon (Ukraine): 452.36V
4. Tom Bond (GB): 449.29V
5. Valentin Pomomarenko (Ukraine): 449.29V
6. Russell Simmonds (GB): 449.29V
Over the past few years, numbers have increased steadily and this year, over 200 shooters assembled on Bisley’s famous Stickledown range on the Friday morning for the first of two days of individual competition, followed by Team Matches on the Sunday. The four days preceding the Championships were available for practice and informal competitions.
With near-perfect conditions for the first 800-yard stage, some excellent scores were recorded. Scotsman Paul Crosbie’s F-TR score of 75.12V not only took the stage win but also set a new GB record and equaled the top F-Open score (by Italian Gian Antonio Quaglino). Maximums were also recorded at 900 yards by both classes but at 1000 yards, Scotsman Des Parr’s 74.11V was a clear winner, with Italy’s Andrea Ceron’s recording a 72.6V in F-TR.
The Famous Stickledown Range at Bisley
At the end of Day One, Des Parr was leading Open Class by a single point and Spain’s Francisco Franco Mosquera had a two point lead in F-TR. The following day, competitors tackled the same course of fire to decide the title of European Champion.
Although a little overcast for the start of Day Two, the sun soon broke through and the fact that the top 36 Open shooters didn’t drop a single point at 800 yards gives an indication of conditions. Even the top 15 F-TR shooters ‘cleaned’ the target but, some relays experienced less favorable conditions.
At 900 yards, again the top nine Open competitors shot ‘possibles’ but, in F-TR, Ukraine’s Sergii Gorban’s excellent 74.9V was the top score. For the final 1000-yard shoot – a 2 and 20 this time, Ireland’s Kevin Clancy’s 95.5V was a great F-TR score but Dave Lloyd’s winning Open score of 99.6V was absolutely stunning.
In the end, Scotland’s Des Parr and Ireland’s James Finn tied on points with 470 of 475 possible, but Parr took the 2014 European F-Open title based on V-bull count: 48 for Parr vs. 41 for Finn. Italy’s Giulio Arrigucci won the F-TR Championship by one point over Francisco Franco Mosquera.
We were delighted to have American shooter Francis ‘Biff’ Conlon join us – shooting a borrowed rifle in F-TR (second from left in the above photograph). Biff shot as part of one of the F-TR Teams in the pre-Championship competitions and picked up a gold medal – note the unusual trophy! Maybe a few more Americans might think it worthwhile making the trip to shoot in next year’s Europeans.
The Championships end with the Teams Matches on the Sunday. These matches are for eight-man teams so, not all countries are able to field a team but four Open Teams and five FTR teams were fielded. Ranges are 900 and 1000 yards with 15 shots at each distance. Wind coaches are permitted.
Report from David Lloyd, current Great Britain F-Open Team Captain
I’ve just got back from the F-Class European Championships. The minor 4-man teams match was held last Thursday afternoon and was shot over 1000 yards with 2 + 20 to count. I was part of the victorious Team March (388.26V). In second place was the Midland Precision Guns Team with 383.26V.
The conditions were good and the level of competition was very high. Team March was captained by Gary Costello the UK and European importer of March scopes. The coach was Tony Marsh and he did a superb job of coaching the team to victory (he coached me to a score of 100-6Vs). The shooters were: Gary Costello, David Lloyd, Ian Boxall, Darren Stewart. Peter Walker was reserve shooter and register keeper.
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Here’s the deal of the year if you need a quality, windage-adjustable front rest. Pay just $165.00 for a competition-grade rest that normally sells for well over four hundred bucks! You heard that right. Bullets.com is offering aluminum-base front rests, with flex-shaft remote windage adjustment, for just $165.00! Choose either the popular slingshot-style rest (model BE1005) or a triangle base version (model BE1004). These front rests previously retailed for $425.00 each (with windage drive). But Bullets.com is having an “overstock” sale so you can get blow-out pricing on both these rests. At these prices ($165.00) you can afford two rests — one for yourself and one for a shooting buddy.
Slingshot-Style Front Rest Now $165.00 (BE1005)
Here is the slingshot model BE1005. Note, the optional bag is NOT included in the $165.00 sale price.
Remote Windage Adjustment System What looks like a cable connected to a knob is actually a flexible drive shaft. This connects to the front bag carrier assembly (windage top) and moves it left and right as you rotate the knurled knob. This allows you to conveniently (and precisely) adjust windage from any shooting position.
Triangle-Base Front Rest $165.00 (BE1004)
Here is the triangle-base model BE1004. Note: Optional front sand bag is sold separately.
Premium Rests at a Blow-Out Prices
These Bald Eagle front rests can be used on the bench or on the ground for prone shooting. Designed by a benchrest shooter and refined by a member of the U.S. F-Class Open Rifle Team, this rest system has been thoroughly tested and proven to be capable of quick, precise adjustments during string shooting. There are two different models available for $165.00 — Slingshot base or Triangle base. The Slingshot model has an elongated front leg to keep the rest stable as well as keep the Windage adjustment knob within easy reach. These Bald Eagle rests feature a flex-shaft-drive Windage System that allows you to quickly and easily adjust for changing wind conditions. Front bags are sold separately. Minor modifications are required for left-hand shooters.
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Preview by John Gaines, President, BERC
Sponsored by the Bald Eagles Rifle Club, the 2014 Spirit of America Fullbore Rifle Prone Championship will be held at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico on 5-12 September. The event is open to Target Rifle, F-Open, and F-TR shooters. There will be matches at 300, 500, 600, 900 and 1000 yards. CLICK HERE for 2014 Spirit of America Match Program.
Since 2001 the Bald Eagles have hosted the Spirit of America Match and it has grown in both stature and reputation with every year of competition. It is one of the premier fullbore matches in the world, and the range at Raton is one of the most challenging in the United States.
The short ranges are fired in the mornings and the long ranges in the afternoon. Short range matches (300, 500, and 600 yards) are fired “two to the mound” while the long ranges (900 and 1000 yards) are fired “string fire”. Both individual and team matches are fired and competitors not belonging to a recognized or hometown team are encouraged to join a “make-up” team for the experience and the camaraderie of team shooting. The total round count for the week is more than 400 (counting practice and “blow-off” shots.) That’s lots of shooting on one of the best ranges in the world!
Door Prizes and More…
In addition to cash, trophies, and medals there will be a door prize table containing various merchandise from recognized companies in the shooting sports industry. Top door prize will be a Savage M12 F-Class rifle with a Nightforce Competition scope. To learn more about the 2014 Spirit of America Match visit the Bald Eagles Rifle Club website at www.baldeaglesrc.org.
The Guns and the Targets
The match is for fullbore Target rifle, F-Class (Open), and F-Class (T/R). There will be separate awards for each category.
Gun Specs: A rifle chambered for the unmodified 7.62×51 or commercial .308 Win cartridge, or a rifle chambered for the unmodified 5.56mm or commercial .223 Remington cartridge. Any safe trigger is acceptable.
Targets: 300 yards-MR63; 500 yards-MR65; 600 yards-MR1; 900 & 1000 yards-NRA LR
Gun Rules: Rifles and rests must comply with NRA rules 3.4 & 3.4.1
Targets: 300 yards-MR63FC; 500 yards-MR65FC; 600 yards-MR1FC; 900 & 1000 yards-R-FC
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At the Canadian F-Class Championships last week Shiraz Balolia won the F-Open Individual Championship, and Shiraz was a member of the winning Team USA America Match Team, and the winning USA 4-man F-Open team. If you want to see how a world-class F-Open pilot works his magic, check out this video. After a discussion of scoring, the shooting starts at the five-minute mark in the video. Under the guidance of wind coach Gary Rasmussen, Grizzly Industrial President Shiraz Balolia shoots 100-7X for ten shots, following Gary’s wind calls.
NOTE: Shiraz shot with wind coaches in the team matches at the Connaught Range in Canada. However, during the individual championship matches he had to make his own wind calls, dialing windage corrections or holding off as he saw fit. It wasn’t easy. Shiraz told us: “It’s been a while since I had 5 1/2 minutes of left wind on my .300 WSM and was holding left 3+, then holding right 3 1/2 just two shots later!”
Pair Firing in Canada
According to Shiraz, “One thing that was different about the Canadian Nationals was that they were pair fired. One shoots, other scores, other shoots, and so on. With this slower, pair method of shooting, every shot can be in a different condition. Unlike the USA Nationals where a guy can rattle off the whole string in less than 4 to 5 minutes in one or two conditions, you would be hard pressed to get off two or three shots each in five minutes. This is the way the next World Championship is going to be shot — with pair firing.”
Watch Gary Call the Wind and Shiraz Shoot 100-7X for Ten Shots
For best viewing, click the YouTube settings button to watch in 720p or 1080p HD (high definition).
Team Shooting with a Coach
Shiraz tells us: “We come across a lot of shooters who have never shot under a coach. This video was produced to give shooters a basic understanding of shooting with a coach and the importance of releasing a good shot. In a team setting, you basically leave all the decision-making to the coach and aim where you’re told to aim. I’ve worked with Gary many times and it shows in the comfort level we have with each other. The coach plots the shots or a plotter advises the coach of any grouping that is not centered.”
At the Canadian Championships, Shiraz used a .300 WSM. In this demo video, Shiraz was shooting a 7mm F-Open rig: “My .284 Shehane rifle takes about 10 to 12 shots to settle down and that is probably why we made several scope adjustments while shooting. It is a great caliber and a step up from a straight .284 Winchester. The wind was relatively calm, but sometimes that slow wind with subtle angle changes can be very deceiving.”
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