October 11th, 2017

The Transformer — Anschutz Stock Adapted for F-Open Rifle

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Here is an interesting project by one of our Forum members. Martin C. (aka “Killick”) modified an Anschutz 1411 Match 54 rimfire prone stock to become a comfortable, great-tracking F-Class Open Division Stock. No Killick didn’t sacrifice a perfectly good rimfire rifle for this project — he bought the Anschutz stock by itself on eBay, then transformed it…

Killick explains: “This project started about seven years ago. I bought the Anschutz prone stock on eBay and whittled it a bit into a Palma rifle with a Barnard action and block and a Doan Trevor cheek piece and scope rail. Then about two years ago I decided to re-task the stock/action assembly into an F-Open rig. With more whittling, gluing, sanding, body fillering, sanding, filling, sanding, more sanding…and sanding, forming, priming, sanding, painting, waiting, painting, painting…painting and before you know it, Bob’s your uncle.”

Here is the eBay-sourced Anschutz 1411 stock, with new high-gloss blue finish, as initially modified for use in Killick’s centerfire Palma rifle. Looks nice!

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Next step was the addition of a 3″-wide wood fore-end for F-Open duties with front rest:

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Almost done here… just needs priming and final painting:

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Here is Killick’s completed F-Open rifle with its much-modified Anschutz stock now finished in fire-engine red lacquer. This image shows the detail of the grip and customized cheekpiece.

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

To learn more, visit Killick’s Anschutz Stock F-Class Project Thread on our Shooters’ Forum.

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October 7th, 2017

F-Open Nat’l Champ Talks Wind Reading and Cartridge Choice

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
“A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold.” — Jay Christopherson, 2017 F-Open Nationals Second Place.

In this 15-minute video, Team Lapua’s Erik Cortina interviews Robert Mead, the 2017 LR F-Open Champion. Robert (Bob) discusses his wind reading techniques with Erik, and the newly-crowned F-Open Champ explains how to set up a reliable wind zero. Bob also discusses cartridge choices in F-Open. He admits the straight .284 may be the tightest grouping 7mm cartridge, but he has used the 7mm RSAUM for a decade now. He believes the RSAUM may the best cartridge for 1,000 yards in 7mm, all things considered (grouping ability, ballistics): “To me it’s a light magnum, it’s capable of high speed, yet burns less powder than your regular magnums. [But] it’s a finicky cartridge — you’ve got to do a fair amount of load development.”

Every serious F-Class competitor should watch this video start to finish:

Credit Erik Cortina for video and the photo of Robert Mead with trophy above.

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October 1st, 2017

Report from F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
“A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold.” — Jay Christopherson, F-Open Second Place.

The 2017 F-Class National Championships in Lodi, Wisconsin are now history. Hail the new Champions: Robert Mead, F-Open (1582-68X) and Ian Klemm, F-TR (1557-56X). Hosted by the Winnequah Gun Club, the Nationals drew about 75 F-Open shooters and 45 F-TR competitors, down from last year. In F-Open, Robert Mead shot brilliantly in tough conditions to finish 14 points ahead of his closest competitor, AccurateShooter.com’s System Administrator Jay Christopherson. Erik Cortina was just one point behind Jay, but Erik had the high X-Count for the match at 71X.

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
Photos of Robert Mead and Ian Klemm courtesy Erik Cortina.

In F-TR, Ian Klemm also won by a margin of 14 points. This was an impressive win by Ian, given the challenging winds and weather. F-TR runner-up Todd Sanders also shot remarkably well, considering he is a relative newcomer to F-Class. Forum member KyBountyHunter observed: “Outstanding shooting this week gentlemen, in some of the most challenging conditions that I’ve seen. Congrats to all the winners. Ian — fantastic job taking First Place (well deserved) [and] special congrats to Todd. For this only being his second year in F-TR, he’s going to be force to be reckoned with for a long time!”.

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux

CLICK HERE for Match Results. Sorry — no equipment list yet.

Final Results for F-Open (TOP 10):
1. Robert Mead: 1582-68X HM
2. Jay Christopherson: 1568-59X HM
3. Erik Cortina: 1567-71X HM
4. John Myers: 1558-64X HM
5. Pat Scully: 1558-50X HM
6. Larry Bartholome: 1554-55X HM
7. Robert Sebold: 1554-41X HM
8. Steve Harp: 1553-58X HM
9. Jeff Hopkins: 1551-49X MA
10. Lou Murdica: 1550-46X MA

Final Results for F-T/R (TOP 10):
1. Ian Klemm: 1557-56X HM
2. Todd Sanders: 1543-43X MA
3. Brad Sauve: 1542-44X MA
4. Laura Perry: 1539-46X EX
5. Daniel Pohlabel: 1534-49X MA
6. Josh Moore: 1529-37X EX
7. Ken Klemm: 1528-38X MA
8. Bob Lorenz: 1525-47X EX
9. Raymond Weaver: 1522-36X HM
10. Alan Barnhart: 1521-31X HM

Strong Performances by Members of Team Lapua-Borden-Brux
Jay Christopherson posted: “A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold. This was a great end to the 2017 competition season for me as I managed to hang on by the skin of my fingertips to win Silver at the 2017 F-Class US National Championships (F-Open).” For the record, Team Lapua-Borden-Brux ended up with all five present members of the team in the Top 8 of the Grand Aggregate.

Jay Christopherson (2nd, 1568-59X, Silver)
Erik Cortina (3rd, 1567-71X, Bronze)
Pat Scully (5th, 1558-50X)

Bob Sebold (7th, 1554-41X)
Steve Harp (8th, 1553-58X)

In team competition, Team Lapua-Borden Brux won the F-0pen Long Range Championship as well as the Mid-Range Championship. Jay told us: “That was some outstanding shooting by great team members. I’m really looking forward to the 2018 season.” Erik Cortina added: “So proud of our team. We conquered the 2017 LR National Championship as well as the Mid-Range National Championship. We could not have done it without our sponsors: Lapua, Borden Actions, and Brux Barrels.”

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux

In the F-TR Team Competition, mighty Team Sinclair triumphed yet again, winning its 10th Long Range National Championship. Team member Paul Phillips offered this interesting factoid: “This year we won with the original four members we had in 2004 plus Dan Pohlabel. It’s pretty awesome to be shooting with the same guys for 13 years! What a great run since 2004.” And those same four also all hail from Midland, Michigan (Midland County Sportsman’s Club). Team Sinclair still holds the 4-man Team 1000-yard National Record. Shown below, L to R, are team members: Daniel J. Pohlabel, Paul Phillips, Raymond Gross (Coach), Brad Sauve, and John Droelle.

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Team Sinclair F-TR
All Team Sinclair members use identical hardware: McMillan XiT stock, Kelbly Panda action, Bartlein barrel, Nightforce scope, and Phoenix Precision bipod. All shoot Berger 200-20X bullets in Lapua brass.

The One that Got Away — Almost Matching F-Open 20-Shot Record
Erik Cortina shot a superb 200-16X during the competition (see electronic target scoring screen below). That was just one X shy of the current 200-17X National Record. Erik observed: “So close, yet so far. Almost matched the National Record of 200-17X but shot a ten on my very last shot. Everything felt good but luck was not on my side.”

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux


File photo from Lodi at past F-Class Nationals.

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September 24th, 2017

Washington Squad Sets New F-Open National Team Record

Washington F-Open Team Jay Christopherson F-Class Montana Deep Creek National Record
WA Team members, left to right: Tod Hendricks, Jay Christopherson, Monte Milanuk, David Oakes.

F-Class competition continues to evolve, as guns and shooters get better every season. That means records get broken. Yet another record was smashed this month as the “Washington F-Open” team scored 1794-121X, a new pending National Record. That stunning combined team score beats the previous best by five points and more than 20 Xs. We believe the current record is 1789-100X, set at the 2017 Berger Southwest Nationals.

The new 1794-21X team record was set at the 2017 Northern Rockies LR F-Class Regional Match, held September 6-8 at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana. This is a three-day, long range regional F-Class match consisting of two individual days and one team day.

Washington F-Open Team Jay Christopherson F-Class Montana Deep Creek National Record

Team Member Jay Christopherson, who won the F-Open Division, was proud of his Team’s accomplishment: “We were very excited when our shooting held up at 1000 yards to break the record.” Forum member Pat F., who also shot the match in Montana, said this was a really impressive performance: “I think that record will stand for a while.”

Washington F-Open Team Jay Christopherson F-Class Montana Deep Creek National Record

World’s Most Accurate IT Guy Wins F-Open with Brilliant Performance
Our AccurateShooter.com Systems Administrator, Jay Christopherson, won the F-Open Division with a superb 1047-62X individual performance. Remarkably, when you combine that 1047-62X with his 449-33X score in the team match, Jay dropped only four (4) points the entire weekend over 150 shots (105 shots in individual competition and another 45 in the team match). That is a combined percentage 99.73% in the Ten-Ring. Amazing! Jay is definitely “The World’s Most Accurate IT Guy”. Congrats Jay.

Jay was shooting a new F-0pen rifle built with his favorite hardware: a smooth-cycling Borden BRMXD action riding in a hardwood X-Ring stock. The barrel was a 32″-long, 1:9″-twist Bartlein chambered for the .284 Winchester cartridge. All team members were shooting straight .284 Wins with Berger 180gr Hybrid bullets. Jay was using a new scope, a fixed-power 48x52mm March High Master. Jay was impressed with the sharpness, clarity, and reliability of this scope. He said that during the match he never felt the need to dial-down power, so the 48X fixed magnification worked fine.

Jay reports: “Conditions were generally pretty good. Not perfect, but almost… There was enough change to push you out of the 10-Ring if you were not careful, but overall, the conditions were about as consistently good as you can expect. There was also some smoke haze, particularly on Friday and Saturday, that made seeing the target a challenge and looking at mirage was basically impossible. But, for all that, the wind was mostly very, very kind.”

“This is the fourth year I have traveled to shoot this match and as always, it was an excellent match. Jamey Williams does an outstanding job of herding cats and ensuring that the match runs smoothly. Bob Evans ran the line and really did an excellent job of keeping everyone safe and the match moving.”

Here is an aerial view of the Deep Creek Range (Drone video by David Gosnell):

Northern Rockies LR F-Class Regional Match Results
Individual Top Three Shooters (1050-105X Possible)

F-Open Division:
Jay Christopherson, 1047-62X, MW

Tod Hendricks, 1043-61X, 2nd MW
Jim Williams, 1041-51X, 3rd MW

F-TR Division:
Justin Covey, 1030-48X, MW

Tom Hubbard, 1030-41X, 2nd MW
John Van Santford, 1027-36X, 3rd MW

F-Class Team Matches (1800-180X Possible)

F-Open Winning Team:”Washington F-Open”, 1794-121X
Jay Christopherson, 449-33X
Tod Hendricks, 448-28X
David Oakes, 448-30X
Monte Milanuk, 449-30X

F-TR Winning Team: “Misfits”, 1751-50X
John Van Santford, 436-14X
Beverly Van Santford, 441-13X
Phil Brackenbury, 436-12X
Larry Bandaccari, 438-11X

Course of Fire: The individual days are a 105-shot aggregate, consisting of a 45-shot Palma (800/900/1000) followed by a 20-shot x 1000 (Day 1) and a 40-shot x 1000 match (Day 2). The team match is a 45-shot per team member Palma match (800/900/1000).

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September 15th, 2017

Hot Rod Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor — Major Upgrades

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod
Check out that bolt assembly. It features a fluted stainless bolt body, laser-engraved Titanium shroud, and Titanium dragon-scale bolt knob with polished stainless handle.

You haven’t seen a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) like this before. Forum member TerryH has customized his Second-Gen 6.5 Creedmoor RPR with a wicked purple finish, snazzy stainless/titanium bolt, and slick HDPE (polymer) bag-riders front and rear. The mods on this Hot Rod Ruger don’t stop there. Terry added a Seekins hand rail, Timney trigger, ergonomic grip, and more…

For his Hot Rod Ruger, Terry has the right skill set, learned on the job: “I work in a body shop and have pretty much custom-painted all my stuff for many years. For this 6.5 CM RPR, colors of choice are House of Kolor PBC-65 Passion Purple and black covered with Cerakote MC-161 matte clear.” Terry even painted his Bald Eagle rest purple to match his Hot Rod RPR.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

Terry reports: “I’m shooting an RPR in 6.5 CM. It has a Patriot Valley Arms 26″ barrel. Josh at PVA is making a thread protector for me so I can remove the Mad Scientist brake. The butt stock has a V-Tab adjustable butt plate and Wiebad check rest pad. Glass is a currently a Vortex Gen I PST 6-24x50mm but I have a Golden Eagle on layaway”. To learn more about this rifle or ask TerryH questions about the build, visit this Shooters’ FORUM THREAD.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

Ruger Precision Rifle Modifications:
Chassis and Hanguards Painted Passion Purple
Patriot Valley Arms 26″ Barrel with Brake
Timney Trigger with Ambi Safety
Custom HDPE (Polymer) Bag-Riders front and Rear
V-Tab adjustable butt plate and Wiebad cheek-pad
Seekins Rail

Good Accuracy with Factory Ammunition
Terry reports: “The RPR is shooting .3 MOA @ 100 with factory Fed American Eagle 140s.” Terry plans to start handloading for the rifle with the goal of shooting F-Class matches next year: “I’ve successfully shot steel out to 1140 yards on the range but [I don’t know] if that will actually translate well in a match. I’m committed to practicing as much as I can and starting to shoot some matches in 2018.”

Front and Rear Bag-Riders with Protektor Rear Bag and Upgraded Bald Eagle Rest
Terry has engineered a slick set-up for F-Open competition and load testing. Up front is a Bald Eagle rest upgraded with windage knob mod, stainless F-Class feet, and longer adjusters. Terry also “changed the hardware to all stainless and added a couple of levels”. In the rear, Terry runs a Protektor Doctor rear bag with 1″ ear spacing.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

The really impressive additions are custom HDPE bag-riders Terry crafted himself: “I realized that the butt stock wasn’t going to cut it on the rear bag and even though I got the 2 1/4″ front bag and the Seekins rail is 2″ wide and flat that it wasn’t as stable or smooth as I’d like.” So Terry made his own front and rear bag-riders from HDPE, a material similar to Delrin. Currently the front unit is 2.25″ wide, but Terry will be changing that to a 3″-wide front sled: “I decided that I’d get a 3″-wide front bag and mill a new front bag-rider. I’m going to recess the center to fit around the hand guard and I’ll mill a recess on the bottom of that one.”

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

Shown below is the Hot Rod Ruger before Terry added the HPDE Bag-Riders front and rear. Terry says the rifle now handles much better with the bag riders, and he plans to upsize the front sled to 3″ width.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

Bling’s the Thing. Below is the Hot Rod Ruger’s bolt assembly. It features a custom flat-fluted bolt shaft, laser-engraved Titanium shroud and Titanium dragon-scale knob with polished stainless handle. Terry confesses: “I simply can’t resist anything shiny!”

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

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September 12th, 2017

Custom Rimfire F-Class Rifle for a Grand-Daughter

Doan Trevor .22 LR rimfire Mango stock Anschutz model 54
The dots and dashes are Morse Code for the shooter’s initials. The wood is Mango with Walnut fore-end wing inlays. The barreled action is an older Anschutz Model 54 that spent years in a prone stock.

Build Report by Doan Trevor
How do you build a stock for the grand-daughter of an award-winning shooter? Over the years I have built five or six rifles for this shooter, and now his grand-daughter had taken an interest in F-Class. He wanted her new rifle to mirror his own F-Class rifle, and he provided me with an old Anschutz Model 54 barreled action. Her new rifle would get her started in rimfire with the possibility of graduating to High Power (centerfire) shooting. The dots and dashes on the sides of the stock are Morse Code for his grand-daughter’s initials — “AMS”.

Rimfire F-Class Stock Design Factors
Typically when I build a rimfire F-Class stock I use the same pattern as I do for High Power stocks. The pattern has evolved from my prone stocks, as it has proven very successful with time. Also, there is a known issue of using wood for a stock in F-Class. The wood needs to be cured, and unfortunately, finding wood in the specific dimension for the stock is near to impossible. Therefore, I inlay pieces in the fore-end making sure that it is straight and on center. Other materials can be used for an F-Class stock, but keeping them straight and centered can be very difficult. Using cured wood during the build process, I continually check the centerline from fore-end to the rear slider, ensuring that the stock stays centered. This helps ensure good tracking and return to point of aim.

Doan Trevor .22 LR rimfire Mango stock Anschutz model 54

Adapting Prone Stock for F-Class Use
There is a current trend of older Palma and prone shooters to convert their rifles for F-TR and F-Open due to eyesight problems and other disabilities. The stocks that they have been using (and loving) can be recycled to their new shooting styles with a few design changes. I have been doing this successfully for the last several years. Whether it be a new shooter or an older one, you can either plan for the future or adapt older equipment so that all can shoot the style that they want. My philosophy in rifle building is to create every rifle with the potential to win a national or world championship. I am proud to say that I have build rifles for Derek Rodgers, Trudie Faye, Lige Harris, Barry Smith, Eric Rhodes, Kent Reeves, Terry Glen and many more award-winning shooters. And I look forward to many more.

Doan Trevor .22 LR rimfire Mango stock Anschutz model 54

What the Heck is .22 LR Rimfire F-Class?
There is no official NRA F-Class rimfire discipline (at least not yet). However, many F-Class shooters (both F-0pen and F-TR) employ .22 LR rifles for low-cost training. For example, James Crofts practices extensively with his 40X rimfire F-TR rig. In addition, many shooting clubs offer F-Class style rimfire fun matches, shot prone with front rest or match bipod. This rifle was built for an F-Class fun match hosted regularly by the Los Angeles Rifle & Revolver Club (LAR&R).

The photo below displays a different Doan Trevor-crafted rifle, a rimfire benchrest rig with Turbo action. This shows how Doan makes the 3-inch-wide fore-end. Outboard left- and right-side wings are bonded to the central stock material, then the wings are carefully shaped for straightness. Getting the geometry “just right” helps the rig track perfectly.

Doan Trevor .22 LR rimfire Mango stock Anschutz model 54

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August 18th, 2017

F-Class Team Worlds: USA Wins F-TR, Australia Wins F-Open

F-TR F T/R Canada Connaught Ranges F-Class Team World Championship
Photo Credits Laura Perry(top) and Kelly McMillan (bottom)

The 2017 F-Class World Championships wrapped up August 17 with the final day of Team competition. Over the past two days, 8-shooter squads competed in the major international challenge match while 4-shooter teams vied for honor in the Rutland match. Team USA F-TR stole the show with a stirring come-from-behind victory over a very strong Australia F-TR squad. Not to be denied, Aussie F-Open shooters countered America’s F-TR success with a solid win for Australia in the 8-shooter F-Open match. It was Deja Vu… this result was a replay of the 2013 Worlds, where Team USA won the F-TR Team Title, while Team Australia won F-Open.

CLICK HERE for full 2017 F-Class World Championships Team and Individual Results

F-TR World Champions: Team USA, Richardson Trophy — Score: 3400-264V
PERRY, LAURA, AL — 419v31
DROELLE, JOHN, MI — 418v27
BARNHART, ALAN, MI — 433v36
HOGG, TRACY, NC — 424v31
KLEMM, IAN, WI — 426v39
RODGERS, DEREK, NM — 435v39
RORER, JEFFREY, NC — 429v35
POHLABEL, DANIEL, OH — 416v26
GROSS, RAYMOND, MI
HARDIN, CARLTON, GA
PHILLIPS, PAUL, MI
LENTZ, DANIEL, WI
LITZ, BRYAN, MI
FULMER, SCOTT, NY
REEVE, KENT, NC
BOYER, DOUGLAS, MI

F-Open World Champions: Team Australia, Farquharson Trophy — Score: 3511-342V
DAVIES, ROD — 441v45
CARTER, PETER — 437v37
LARSEN, PETER — 442v38
LOBERT, MARTY — 437v43
POHL, ADAM — 440v48
BRAUND, STUART — 431v39
BUNYAN, BRETT — 440v40
NUGENT, TIM — 443v52
MCGOWAN, CRAIG
BRAUND, RICHARD
WAITES, MICHAEL
LAZARUS, STEVE
REID, JOSH
FERRARA, BEN
TILLACK, LOWELL
DOBSON, DAVID

Team USA — Three-time World Champions deliver a come-from-behind win at the 900 meter line.
F-TR F T/R Canada Connaught Ranges F-Class Team World Championship

Along with winning F-Open, the Aussies did well in the 8-man F-TR competition, finishing second overall with a score of 3394-237V, six points behind Team USA F-TR (3400-264V). Third in F-TR was Team South Africa, with 3376-250V.

Rutland F-Class World Championship

Team Canada (3506-346V) finished second in F-Open, while Team USA (F-Open) finished third with the interesting score of 3500-350V (that’s not a misprint). We believe Calvin Waldner of Canada had the top individual F-Open score for the match — 444-51V.

The F-TR Team Battle — It Paid to Wait
The top two F-TR squads, Team USA and Team Australia, followed very different strategies. The Australians got off to a quick start, while the Americans waited… and waited … and waited. Being patient and waiting for more readable and stable wind conditions proved a winning strategy for the Yanks who overcame a 9-point deficit to finish with a six-point margin as time closed down in the firing period.

Team USA Captain Ray Gross reports: “The match came down to the last yard line. The Australians were up 11 points to start the day and the Canadians were 6 points behind. We made up 2 points at 700m and shot even with the Australians at 800m, leaving us 9 points down going into the final 900m stage.

The Aussies chose to start shooting right away in what looked liked easy conditions and we waited, hoping for better. While we waited the team stayed focused and ready. Luck was on our side, it calmed down and the shooters and coaches performed flawlessly, making up the nine points and finally pulling ahead in the last few minutes of the match.

We were the last team on the line shooting and everyone was behind us watching. After two days of very close competition, the match was not decided until our last two shooters. Our last shooter started with only 12 minutes left in the match and he finished his string of 15 shots in about five minutes. He only dropped two points giving us a six point victory.

We were so focused on delivering our best performance that we weren’t sure how the other teams had finished. After the last shot the Australian captain came over and congratulated me. They had been watching our score after they had finished and knew that we had won the match. Our gritty determination had paid off and it had been one of the most exciting matches that I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone on the team should be proud that they did not let our slim chances discourage them going into that last yard line. They stayed focused and each delivered a top performance.”

American F-Open Squads Dominate 4-Shooter Rutland Match

In the F-Open Rutland competition for 4-shooter teams, American squads dominated, taking the top 4 places. Team USA Blue (1758-177V) won the Rutland title, edging Spindle Shooters by a slim one-point margin. In third place was Team USA Red followed by the Texas State Rifle Association team.

Rutland F-Class World Championship

Rutland F-Class World Championship

In F-TR Rutland competition, Team “Da Bulls” secured a very convincing win. Da Bulls’ 1709-131V score was a full 14 points ahead of Team KP Ballistics. This was sort of an American victory… though Da Bulls did have one Canadian “ringer” on the squad, Stephen Ireland of Toronto. Runner-up KP Ballistics was just the opposite — KP had all Canadian members except one Yank, Wade Fillingame of New Hampshire.

Rutland F-Class World Championship
Above Team Da Bulls member James Crofts waives “good-bye” from the Connaught Ranges in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The next F-Class World Championships will be held in South Africa in 2021. ICFRA Web Page for 2021 FCWC.

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August 16th, 2017

Match Shooting Strategies — How To Use a Wind Plot

wind plot Bryan Litz FCWC Canada F-Class World Championship
CLICK HERE to see full-screen version of Wind Plot.

The Battle of Nations begins. Today is Day 1 of international team competition at the 2017 F-Class World Championships (FCWC) in Ottawa, ON, Canada. Talented teams, in their nation’s colors, will be competing for glory and national pride.

Team shooting is very different than individual competition. Typically a team coach makes the wind calls for the shooters. In some cases (where the rules allow), the wind coach even dials elevation and windage changes for the active shooter. For the wind coach to do his job effectively, he must follow the changes in the wind and determine what the correct wind call should have been for each shot. (In other words — what was the “right call”)

Past F-TR USA Nat’l Champ Bryan Litz was wind coach for the winning 4-man LUM F-TR Team at the 2017 Canadian F-Class Championships, which preceded the FCWC Worlds. Here Bryan explains how he uses a Wind Plot to make better wind calls, helping his team-mates maximize their scores.

wind calling plot log technique

Wind Plot Methodology by Bryan Litz

The wind plot I use is a running history of what the correct wind call was for every shot fired. The more you shoot, the more history you have in a condition, and I find that very useful information. This kind of plot IS NOT showing where the bullet hit, and is NOT showing what you held. It’s showing what you should have held to center each shot. IMO, this is the most valuable information to have when guessing where to hold next for each shot. Here are some key points:

1. I always look for blocks of stable conditions to shoot in and wait out the rest.

2. If the wind plot shows drastic changes, either I’m not picking the right time to shoot or it’s just a really unstable wind condition.

3. When you see many shots using the same hold (e.g. Robby’s 700m and 900m strings on plot), it can indicate very fast shooting and fast pit service.

Q. What are the numbers and Markings on this Wind Plot?
Litz: The wind plot represents the rings on the target. Left 2 for example, is the 5 line on the international target, while Left 2 is the 10 line on the USA target. F-Class shooters and coaches talk about wind holds in relation to these rings. A Left 2 hold isn’t left 2 MOA or 2 MILS, it’s the second ring from center. The vertical lines on the plot represent the rings going out from center, 4 or 5 in each direction. A left or right 5 hold is edge of black on the int’l target.

wind plot Bryan Litz FCWC Canada F-Class World Championship

Q: What Does this Specific Plot Reveal?
Litz: Looking at the plot, from left to right is 700m, 800m, and 900m that we shot progressively through the day. Top to bottom shows each shooter in sequence (shooters names are shown by their blocks). To the right I note what was on the gun for that shooter, and note when it changes. Often times we run the same wind on the gun for several shooters but if it changes, I note what the new windage is and continue on. For example if we’re settled into a condition where we’re shooting Vs with a right 3 hold, I might adjust the scope 1 MOA right because a right 3 hold is equal to 1 MOA. So we can move the scope and start shooting with a center hold.

Q. Are you Plotting Where the Bullet Hits?
Litz: Not exactly. This kind of plot IS NOT specifically showing where the bullet hit, and IS NOT showing what the shooter held. It’s showing what the shooter should have held to center each shot. IMO, this is the most valuable information to have when guessing where to hold next for each shot.

On each shot, the shooter or coach takes a guess about where to hold, and fires the shot. If the bullet hits the center, you plot the point right where you held because it was the correct hold. However, if you miss the call, you plot what hold was required to put that shot in the center. For example if you shoot a right 3 and hit where you held, the correct call would have been “center”. In this way, you’re building a history of what you should have done, which may or may not be what you actually did. This shows you the trends, and brackets which can be used to make future decisions.

Q: Is this Type of Wind Plot Something New?
Litz: I didn’t invent this method, it’s been around a long time. Vertical can be plotted the same way. In team matches, we have a plotter who is advising on elevation trends and suggesting corrections. But, as wind coach, my job is the horizontal so I only keep the wind plot. I have learned lots of strategies from my coaches Emil Praslick and Steve Hardin.

There are many ways to plot and many standard work sheets for this. They’re all tools and the key is to find something that works for you in different situations. I don’t keep a plot when I am personally behind the trigger string firing because I lose more points when I take the time to do it vs. just shooting fast. When pair firing or coaching, I can keep the wind plot without compromising the shooting.

2013 F-Class World Championships
Team Australia used plots and comms linking coaches to help win the 2013 F-Open Team World Championship. We expect other teams will follow suit in Canada in 2017.

Know Your Goal — Keep It Simple
Know your goal of plotting. The simplest plot is where you write the shot number where it hit on a target face. This kind of plotting is useful for evaluating shooter performance because it shows how big the group is (in particular the vertical dispersion). However keeping a plot like this does little to help you figure out the wind. It just shows you what shots you messed up on. It does nothing to help you find the center. [Editor: That’s a whole different matter with many variables.] The wind plot I use is a running history of what the correct wind call was for every shot fired. The more you shoot, the more history you have in a condition, and I find that very useful information.

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August 16th, 2017

PickleFork Rail Accessory for Eliseo Tubeguns

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork foreend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have one match rifle that could do double-duty — shoot position matches (with sling), and then function as an F-Open gun with front rest? Now that’s possible with Gary Eliseo’s clever “PickleFork” accessory for his line of tubeguns. This accessory also works great for load testing and varmint hunting.

Competition Machine’s Gary Eliseo is a very smart designer as well as a talented shooter. The inventor/builder of the popular Competition Machine Tubegun chassis systems, Gary has come up with something new, which he calls the PickleForks. These are rails that fit to the sides of the tubular fore-end/handguard on his chassis systems. This allows you to use a pedestal-style front rest for F-Class competition. It also provides a much more stable platform for load testing, varmint hunting, or any kind of rest-assisted precision shooting.

These PickleForks transform a Tubegun into an ultra-stable, straight-tracking rig when used with a competition-style front rest.

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork forend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

Gary explains: “Now you can have the same super low-boreline, long ‘wheelbase’ and vertical sides of our innovative F1 F-Class chassis system for your tube chassis. The new PickleForks attach directly to the sides of the F-Class/Tactical fore-ends, no modifications are required. They are very rigid with no flex or twist and make the rifle track like it’s on rails.” The new Eliseo Competition Machine PickleForks are offered for a very reasonable $70.00 per pair, with Cerakote finish. (You get two metal units, one for each side of the fore-arm). For more information, visit www.GotXRing.com or call (928) 649-0742.

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork forend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

New Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 12th, 2017

ICFRA F-Class World Championships Commence in Canada

FCWC F-Class World Championships

The F-Class World Championships (FCWC) commence today at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We wish good luck to all the competitors. Based on the conditions at the recent Canadian F-Class National Championships, conditions could be challenging.

F-Class World Championships EVENT SCHEDULE:
Friday, August 11 (REST DAY – RANGE CLOSED)
Competitor Check-In for FCWC; Rifle Inspection; International Teams Reception
Saturday, August 12: Opening Ceremonies; ICFRA FCWC (Individual)
Sunday, August 13: ICFRA FCWC (Individual)
Monday, August 14: ICFRA FCWC (Individual); Awards Prize Giving
Tuesday, August 15: TEAM PRACTICE DAY
Wednesday, August 16: ICFRA FCWC (Teams)
Thursday, August 17: ICFRA FCWC (Teams): Awards Prize Giving & Closing Ceremonies

Tips for Success at the F-Class Worlds — #1, Avoid Train Wrecks

As an assist to all the competitors, we’re repeating an article by Bryan Litz, which many have found very helpful — how to avoid “Train Wrecks” at major championships.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

When you have a major, critical problem at a shooting match, i.e. a “train wreck”, this can be the end of your weekend. In this article, Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz talks about “train wrecks” — the big disasters (such as equipment failures) that can ruin a whole match. A recent USA F-TR Champion, Bryan illustrates the types of “train wrecks” that commonly befall competitors, and he explains how to avoid these “unmitigated disasters”.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballisticsTrain Wrecks (and How to Avoid Them)
by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC.

Success in long range competition depends on many things. Those who aspire to be competitive are usually detail-oriented, and focused on all the small things that might give them an edge. Unfortunately it’s common for shooters lose sight of the big picture — missing the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Consistency is one of the universal principles of successful shooting. The tournament champion is the shooter with the highest average performance over several days, often times not winning a single match. While you can win tournaments without an isolated stellar performance, you cannot win tournaments if you have a single train wreck performance. And this is why it’s important for the detail-oriented shooter to keep an eye out for potential “big picture” problems that can derail the train of success!

Train wrecks can be defined differently by shooters of various skill levels and categories. Anything from problems causing a miss, to problems causing a 3/4-MOA shift in wind zero can manifest as a train wreck, depending on the kind of shooting you’re doing.

Below is a list of common Shooting Match Train Wrecks, and suggestions for avoiding them.

1. Cross-Firing. The fastest and most common way to destroy your score (and any hopes of winning a tournament) is to cross-fire. The cure is obviously basic awareness of your target number on each shot, but you can stack the odds in your favor if you’re smart. For sling shooters, establish your Natural Point of Aim (NPA) and monitor that it doesn’t shift during your course of fire. If you’re doing this right, you’ll always come back on your target naturally, without deliberately checking each time. You should be doing this anyway, but avoiding cross-fires is another incentive for monitoring this important fundamental. In F-Class shooting, pay attention to how the rifle recoils, and where the crosshairs settle. If the crosshairs always settle to the right, either make an adjustment to your bipod, hold, or simply make sure to move back each shot. Also consider your scope. Running super high magnification can leave the number board out of the scope’s field view. That can really increase the risk of cross-firing.

2. Equipment Failure. There are a wide variety of equipment failures you may encounter at a match, from loose sight fasteners, to broken bipods, to high-round-count barrels that that suddenly “go south” (just to mention a few possibilities). Mechanical components can and do fail. The best policy is to put some thought into what the critical failure points are, monitor wear of these parts, and have spares ready. This is where an ounce of prevention can prevent a ton of train wreck. On this note, if you like running hot loads, consider whether that extra 20 fps is worth blowing up a bullet (10 points), sticking a bolt (DNF), or worse yet, causing injury to yourself or someone nearby.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

3. Scoring/Pit Malfunction. Although not related to your shooting technique, doing things to insure you get at least fair treatment from your scorer and pit puller is a good idea. Try to meet the others on your target so they can associate a face with the shooter for whom they’re pulling. If you learn your scorer is a Democrat, it’s probably best not to tell Obama jokes before you go for record. If your pit puller is elderly, it may be unwise to shoot very rapidly and risk a shot being missed (by the pit worker), or having to call for a mark. Slowing down a second or two between shots might prevent a 5-minute delay and possibly an undeserved miss.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics4. Wind Issues. Tricky winds derail many trains. A lot can be written about wind strategies, but here’s a simple tip about how to take the edge off a worse case scenario. You don’t have to start blazing away on the command of “Commence fire”. If the wind is blowing like a bastard when your time starts, just wait! You’re allotted 30 minutes to fire your string in long range slow fire. With average pit service, it might take you 10 minutes if you hustle, less in F-Class. Point being, you have about three times longer than you need. So let everyone else shoot through the storm and look for a window (or windows) of time which are not so adverse. Of course this is a risk, conditions might get worse if you wait. This is where judgment comes in. Just know you have options for managing time and keep an eye on the clock. Saving rounds in a slow fire match is a costly and embarrassing train wreck.

5. Mind Your Physical Health. While traveling for shooting matches, most shooters break their normal patterns of diet, sleep, alcohol consumption, etc. These disruptions to the norm can have detrimental effects on your body and your ability to shoot and even think clearly. If you’re used to an indoor job and eating salads in air-conditioned break rooms and you travel to a week-long rifle match which keeps you on your feet all day in 90-degree heat and high humidity, while eating greasy restaurant food, drinking beer and getting little sleep, then you might as well plan on daily train wrecks. If the match is four hours away, rather than leaving at 3:00 am and drinking five cups of coffee on the morning drive, arrive the night before and get a good night’s sleep.”

Keep focused on the important stuff. You never want to lose sight of the big picture. Keep the important, common sense things in mind as well as the minutia of meplat trimming, weighing powder to the kernel, and cleaning your barrel ’til it’s squeaky clean. Remember, all the little enhancements can’t make up for one big train wreck!

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August 11th, 2017

Kevin Chou, Rhys Ireland, and USA Teams Win Canadian National F-Class Championships

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Connaught Ottawa Ontario Team Litz USA

The 2017 Canadian F-Class Championships have concluded. As the event preceded the 2017 F-Class World Championship (in the same venue) by a few days, many of the world’s best F-Class shooters were on hand at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario. Competition was fierce — as were the winds at times. The challenging conditions gave shooters a good test in preparation for the FCWC which gets underway in earnest on Saturday, August 12, 2017.

All 2017 CDN F-Class Nationals Individual Results | All 2017 CDN F-Class Nationals Team Results

Kevin Chou Wins Second Straight F-TR Canadian Title
Canada’s Kevin Chou (Aurora, ON) shot great to win the F-TR match with a strong 426v30 score. This made was two wins in a row for Kevin, who also took the F-TR Title in 2016. Two Yanks completed the podium, with Jeff Rorer (420v25) taking second place, and Robby Burton (418v25) placing third.

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Connaught Ottawa Ontario Team Litz USA

Rhys Ireland Wins F-Open Canadian Championship
The F-Open Championship was a tightly-fought match that went down to the wire. Rhys Ireland won the Individual F-Open Championship with a 434v30. Just one point behind at 433v39 was Australia’s Rod Davies. Third, again just one point back, was Canadian Barry Price (433v30).

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Connaught Ottawa Ontario Team Litz USA

Team USA (Litz) Wins F-TR Team Championship
American F-TR Teams managed a clean sweep of the top three places in the 4-shooter LUM Team Match. Team USA Litz secured the team victory with a 875v71 score. Finishing second in F-TR was USA Team Swartzkopf (871v74), followed by Team USA Hardin (870v72).

Who can explain the lines and dots on this shot tracking chart used by Bryan Litz?
Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Connaught Ottawa Ontario Team Litz USA

F-TR Team USA (Litz) members (alphabetically) Douglas Boyer, Robby Burton, Dan Lentz, Monte Milanuk; Bryan Litz (head coach), Stan Pate (asst.)
Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Connaught Ottawa Ontario Team Litz USA

Team USA (Nancy) Wins F-Open Team Title
The F-Open 4-shooter Team Competition was also dominated by American squads which finished first and second. Winning F-Open Gold, with a score of 888v98, was Team USA (Nancy), coached by Nancy Tompkins, America’s “First Lady of Shooting”. Finishing second was Team USA (Walker) with 887v100, followed by the Canadian F-Open Team at 887v90.

F-Open Team USA (Nancy) was packed with talent. Shooters were: Shiraz Balolia, Ken Dickerman, James Laney, and Pat Scully. Another American deserves mention, John Myers of the Texas F-Open Team. We believe John’s 225v27 was the high score for the team match, and he was the only competitor to shoot “clean”, not dropping a point.

Sebastian Lambang, inventor/builder of SEB Rests, competed in the Canadian Championships. Over half the competitors used SEB rests — Joy-Pods for F-TR and NEOs and MINIs for F-Open.

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Connaught Ottawa Ontario SEB Lambang sebastian

Conditions were windy and challenging at the 2017 Canadian F-Class Championships. Will the strong winds continue for the F-Class World Championships (FCWC) starting tomorrow, August 12, 2017. Only the wind gods know for sure. Good luck to all the FCWC competitors from all nations!

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Connaught Ottawa Ontario

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July 27th, 2017

The Guns of Summer — F-Open Rigs for the World Championships

Kovan F-Open Rifle

The F-Class World Championships are coming up next month in Canada, August 11-17. The world’s top F-TR and F-Open shooters will compete at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. There will be a wide variety of high-end equipment on display. This article covers some of the hardware choices made by the U.S. F-Open team.

Kovan F-Open Rifle
Kovan F-Open Rifle
Black F-Open Rifle from Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com.

Are you trying to decide what components to use for your next F-Class build, or are you looking to upgrade your current rig? Wonder what the “big dogs” in the sport have selected as their hardware? Here’s what United States F-Open team members were using (as of 2016). The most popular chambering is the .284 Winchester, followed by the 7mm Walker (a 40° .284 Winchester Improved). Kelbly and BAT actions were the most popular (but many guys are using Bordens in their latest builds). Nearly all team members are using cut-rifled barrels. A wide variety of stocks are used, with PR&T holding a slight edge over second-place McMillan. NOTE: This survey was taken last year.

F-Class Team USA F-Open

Click Image Below for Larger Version:

F-Class Team USA F-Open

F-0pen competitor Brett Solomon will be using this stunning Speedy-Built .284 Win. It features a “Spear of Destiny” Flame Maple stock milled by Will McCloskey, with a Melonited BAT action, and a 32″ 7mm Bartlein barrel with Stewart Barrel Tuner.

Brett Solomon F-Open rifle Speedy Bartlein

F-Class World Championships Schedule

Canadian F-Class National Championship
Monday, Aug 7: Competitor Check-In for FCNC (Inspections and Squadded Practice)
Tuesday, Aug 8: Canadian F-Class Nationals
Wednesday, Aug 9: Canadian F-Class Nationals
Thursday, Aug 10: Canadian F-Class Nationals Finals and Awards Prize Giving

F-Class World Championships
Friday, Aug 11 (REST DAY – RANGE CLOSED)
Competitor Check-In for FCWC; Rifle Inspection; International Teams Reception
Saturday, Aug 12: Opening Ceremonies; ICFRA FCWC (Individual)
Sunday, Aug 13: ICFRA FCWC (Individual)
Monday, Aug 14: ICFRA FCWC (Individual); Awards Prize Giving
Tuesday, Aug 15: TEAM PRACTICE DAY
Wednesday, Aug 16: ICFRA FCWC (Teams)
Thursday, Aug 17: ICFRA FCWC (Teams): Awards Prize Giving & Closing Ceremonies

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July 15th, 2017

Premium Lapua Scenar-L Bullets on Sale — 46% OFF

Graf's graf sons Lapua Scenar Scenar-L bullets sale discount

Lapua Scenar-L bullets are superb. We have found these bullets to be extremely consistent in weight and base to ogive measurement. In fact some of the first 6mm Scenar Ls were probably the most consistent factory bullets we’ve ever measured. Scenar-L bullets also shoot great. We have a couple 6mm barrels that prefer Scenars over any other bullet type, including custom projectiles. We think serious shooters owe it to themselves to try a box of Scenar-Ls for their favorite match rifle. And now .224, 7mm (.284), and .308 caliber shooters have the opportunity to grab some great Scenar-Ls for an amazingly low price. Right now Grafs.com is running a SALE on select Scenar-Ls in .224, .284, and .308 calibers. These are priced 46% Off, saving you up to $26.00 per 100-count box!

You better act soon, quantities are limited. We expect the 180gr 7mm Scenar-Ls will sell out right away, followed by the 220gr .308 Scenar-Ls shortly thereafter. These are both outstanding choices for F-class and long-range competition.


Lapua Scenar-L Bullets on Sale at Grafs.com »

77gr .223 Caliber | 180gr 7mm (.284 Caliber) | 220gr .308 Caliber

Graf's graf sons Lapua Scenar Scenar-L bullets sale discount

In addition to the three bullet types above, Grafs.com has 150gr 7mm Scenar-L bullets on sale.

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July 2nd, 2017

Exhibition Grade F-Open Rifle from Master Class Stocks

Alex Sitman Master Class StocksAlex Sitman of Master Class Stocks in Pennsylvania is widely considered one of the finest rifle-stock craftsmen in the country, if not the world. Alex’s workmanship and dedication to excellence is top-of-the-line. Alex normally custom-fits each stock to his customer precisely. Many hours are dedicated to stock prep and inletting, and his bedding jobs are flawless. Each stock is exactingly hand-crafted with great attention to detail, and then the stock is “dressed” in the customer’s choice of finishes.

Doing all that takes time — a lot of time. That’s why Master Class Stocks has a long waiting list, and it can take months before a big job is completed. But when Alex is involved, you can count on the final product being a work of stock-making art. Here’s an example. Alex recently stocked an F-Class rifle using eye-popping, exhibition-grade Bastogne walnut. The wood was sourced from Cecil Fredi of GunstockBlanks.com. Alex says: “Cecil’s wood is some of the best I’ve ever used. This blank cost over $1000.00, but it was truly spectacular.” Since the blank was less than 3″ wide, Alex (with assistance from 8-time NRA High Power Champion Carl Bernosky) laminated on the 3″-wide forearm “wings” using spare wood left after the blank was cut. See how Alex and Carl carefully matched the grain of the wood on the forearm. And note how perfectly the adjustable cheek-piece is fitted. If you want a stock like this on your next rifle, contact Alex Sitman at Master Class Stocks, (814) 742-7868.

The Bastogne Beauty — More Construction Details
Eric Kennard tells us: “This rifle was built for Mike Dana in Florida. Kelbly’s did the metal work. [The action is a Stolle Panda F-Class.] Barrel by Brux. Chambering? 6mmBR of course! Mike added a March 10 x 60 scope. Let me tell you this is beyond a work of art! The fit is absolutely perfect! There is not one flaw in the wood-work. The pillar bedding is also perfect! Did you notice the ebony inserts? Or Alex’s custom trigger guard? Alex out did-himself this time. Most of us would not dare to shoot [this gun]!”

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June 13th, 2017

Best F-Class Cartridge Choices For Mid-Range and Long-Range

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Cartridge Choices for F-Class Competition

By Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

There are hundreds of cartridge types capable of winning in F-Open. For F-TR you can shoot either the .223 Rem or .308 Win, but you have many load options. This article will focus on proven choices, currently used by the top F-Class shooters in the world. Our discussion will analyze cartridge selection based on the four different F-Class sub-disciplines: Open Mid-Range, Open Long-Range, F-TR Mid-Range, and F-TR Long Range.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Kovan
Click image to view full-screen photo.

Mid-Range F-Open Cartridges

For starters, a .300 WSM is certainly capable of winning mid-range matches but it is not ideal. So what is ideal, and why? F-Class Mid-Range matches usually are usually shot at 300, 500, or 600 yards — or all three. At those distances the 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges rule. In moderate conditions, the 6mm Dasher is unbeatable. Its low recoil along with its super grouping ability and good ballistics make it my number one choice for Mid-Range.

Best bullets for the 6mm Dasher are: Vapor Trail 103gr, Berger 105 Hybrid, 108 BT, and 105 VLD (hunting). Best powders are: Varget, H4895, and Reloder 15.

Choices for Mid-Range in Tougher Conditions:
We all know that conditions are not always “moderate” that’s why something a little bit bigger will save you a “Nine” or two. The 6.5X47 Lapua was designed for 300-meter competition, but as soon as it was released, it was adopted by F-Class, benchrest, and tactical shooters. It offers great ballistics with very low recoil and big “accuracy window”. Lapua makes great brass for it (no surprise there) and Berger makes great bullets: 130gr VLD, 140gr VLD, 140gr Hybrids. Best powders in most barrels are Varget and H4350, I don’t use double-based powders such as Reloder 17 and the Vihtavuori N500 series because of their unpredictable performance day to day (greater temp sensitivity).

The 6.5X47 Lapua necked down to 6mm is also a great option for mid range matches. I was able to easily get 3200 fps with 105 hybrids and H4350.

Choice for Long-Range F-Open Competition

In Long-Range F-Open Class (out to 1000 yards), the big, high-BC bullets rule. If I had to pick one cartridge for F-Class (both mid- and long-range) I would pick the .284 Winchester or one of its variants. The .284 Win is currently dominating in F-Open competition. It offers great barrel life, it is super-easy to tune and its recoil is very manageable. The best bullets for it by far (in my opinion), are the Berger 180 Hybrids. But Sierra’s new 183gr MK bullet (with factory-uniformed meplats) seems to perform very well as does the Berger 180 VLD. Best powders for the .284 Win are H4350 and H4831SC.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Long-Range Only F-Open Cartridge
As much as I like the .284 Win, for long-range competitions I like the .300 WSM even more. If you look at a .300 WSM and a 6mm Dasher side by side, they appear almost identical in geometry — the .300 WSM looks like an “super-sized” Dasher. Both cartridges are currently the “darlings” of long-range benchrest due to their extraordinary grouping ability and huge “node’’ windows. Big accuracy windows allow loads to perform well in different conditions and geographical locations. That’s obviously very important if you travel to compete. The .300 WSM loaded with Berger 215gr or 230gr Hybrids is very tough to beat at long range, and it is currently my number one choice.

The 7mm RSAUM is another outstanding long-range round. It resembles a 6BR on steroids and it is almost as easy to tune. Best bullets for it are Berger 180gr Hybrids, 195gr EOLs, and Sierra’s 183gr MatchKing. Best powders for the 7mm RSAUM are: H4350, H4831SC, and VV N160.

Top Caliber/Bullet Combos for F-TR

In F-TR competition, the choice is clear — a .308 Win throated for Berger 185gr BTLRs and 200gr Hybrids will win in mid-range AND long-range comps. Many championships have been won, and many records set with those two bullets in the .308 Win. To quote Danny Biggs (a two times FTR National Champion) “The 185 BTLR is the best bullet for .308 Win ever made”.

The Berger 215gr Hybrids have been used to win many competitions including recently the 2015 F-Class Nationals. Bryan Litz won both the Mid-Range and Long-Range 2015 Championships using 215s. Bryan’s rifle is shown below:

Bryan Litz F-TR 2015 National Championship rifle

I recommend chambers throated for the 185/200 grain projectiles over the 215/230 grain bullets. The reason is that if you have your barrel throated out for the 215s or the 230s, you could have a “slow” barrel and max out on pressure before the desired velocity is reached. Optimum freebore for the 230s is too long for the 185/200s, so you would be limited to using only 215/230gr bullets in that barrel.Furthermore, the recoil increase with heavier bullets is substantial, causing the rifle to be more difficult to shoot.

.223 Remington Cartridge Diagram.223 Rem — Not A Competitive Option
I would stay away from the .223 Remington. On paper the 90gr VLD will shoot inside most .308 Win loads even at a 1000 yards. But in reality, on average, the .223 Rem, regardless of what powder/bullet combo is used, cannot compete with the .308 Win. [Editor: The equipment lists at major F-TR matches will confirm Kovan’s conclusion here.]

Conclusion (and Other Options)
This article covers only the (currently) most popular cartridge/bullet combos for F-Class (F-Open and F-TR). As I said in the beginning, many cartridge types are capable of winning but are not listed due to their low popularity, case design, or lack of quality components. All of the above information is based on my personal experience and it is meant to help new shooters choose the right cartridges for F-Class matches. Thanks for reading and good luck — Emil Kovan

Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoEmil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member

– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

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May 22nd, 2017

Accurate Cartridges — The .284 Shehane, an Improved .284 Win

F-Class Reloading .284 Winchester Win Shehane Accuracy

If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane, an improved version of the .284 Winchester. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel!

Gun builder Ryan Pierce of Piercision Rifles explains:

Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fireforming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. This was the first five rounds through it after I cleaned it after the last match. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.

Ya, I figured why not I had some old barrels laying around so I just chopped 2″ off the back and 1″ off the front and chambered it up as a Shehane. Had 1000 pieces to fireform and didn’t want to do all that on a brand new barrel.

My fireform loads are going 2765 FPS. I have a 29″ barrel also though since it’s a setback. Once you get it formed I would push it faster than that or I wouldn’t even bother with the Shehane. My old straight .284 load at 2890 fps had ES spread in single digits for 10 shots. I figured if I get it up to 2935-2950 fps that will be a point or two saved in a several day match.

.284 Winchester Shehane Reamer Print PT&G

Fellow .284 Shehane shooter Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.

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May 4th, 2017

Kelly McMillan and Jim Borden Collaborate on F-Open Rifle

Kelly McMillan Junior Rifle Jim Borden BRMXD BRM action Accuracy

It’s great to see two important businessmen give back to the shooting sports. Kelly McMillan and Jim Borden are working together on a project — creating an F-Class Open rifle that can be loaned out to young shooters to help them get started with the sport. Great idea — we need to get more young folks involved in precision shooting. In F-Class (as well as benchrest) it seems we have an “aging population”. Engaging the next generation of shooters is vitally important.

Kelly McMillan, President of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, reports:

“Big shout out to Jim Borden. He heard I want to build a mid-range/entry level F-Class rifle to be loaned out to new junior shooters interested in finding out whether they like competing in F-Class Open. He contacted me a couple of weeks ago and said he would like to be involved in this project and wanted to send an action on which to build this rifle. Oh boy, it has arrived. Borden’s [operation] has always been synonymous with quality firearms and components but this action is an example of quality craftsmanship in every aspect. Thanks Jim for doing what you do. Hope I can do this thing justice.”

Kelly McMillan Junior Rifle Jim Borden BRMXD BRM action Accuracy

We’d like to see the looks on the faces of the juniors who’ll get to shoot this new rifle Kelly will be building. That’s like a Driver Training student getting to pilot a Ferrari. When this Editor got started in shooting, it was with very well-worn, hand-me-down 22 LRs at a local Boy Scout summer camp. We think it’s great that juniors will be able to sample something built with all-top-quality components.

F-Class young old

Kelly McMillan Taking Stock Radio Show

Every Friday at 11:00 am, Kelly McMillan hosts the Talking Stock Radio Show on the Voice America Network. This week’s show features guest Robbie Barrkman, founder of The Robar Companies and CTI (Coating Technologies Inc.). If you have used any firearm product coated in NP3, you have Robbie to thank for it. Kelly will also interview Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooter Randy Powell from Thunder Ammo & Arms in Oklahoma.

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February 28th, 2017

Talented Texas Teen at the Berger SW Nationals

David Claudette F-Class
Like father, like daughter. This smiling twosome hails from the Lone Star State.

At the 2017 Berger Southwest Nationals we met a talented father/daughter team from Texas. David and his daughter Claudette were enjoying the match, her first national-level F-Class competition. Father David, an Accurateshooter Forum member, tolds us: “Claudette turned 15 on the day we drove out, Tuesday, and this was her first Berger SWN match. She and my son Royse (17) have won Texas junior championships, but this match was the largest we’ve attended.” Here is Claudette’s story…

Claudette F-Class Texas

Texas Teen Enjoys Many Activities, including the Shooting Sports
As a Texan finishing her freshman year of high school, young Claudette has grown up with the shooting sports — thrown into the mix of a typical small town teen’s activities, such as year-round school sports and fall cheer-leading. Claudette and her brother Royse enjoy a leg up when it comes to target practice, though. In 2002 the family moved to far South Texas to build a new home on the clan’s fifth-generation cattle ranch, a spread renowned as the original importer of Charolais-breed cattle. Now for the family of four, shooting and even hunting can literally start outside the back door.

Claudette bypassed air guns and began shooting as a rimfire plinker in the backyard. Skipping ahead a decade, monthly .22 LR precision rifle matches are now an interest, while high power prone shooting is now quite a few notches above a shared family interest, and with Dad at least, maybe a necessity of life. In 2007 an outdoor kitchen was added in the backyard that doubled as a nice covered shooting station. 615 yards away (at the end of the red line) Dad constructed a stout bunker/backstop from old railroad ties. This allows convenient shooting practice and load development sessions between family road trips to state mid-range matches and other competitions.

Home, Home on the Range … here’s the Texas cattle ranch where Claudette hones her shooting skills.
Claudette F-Class Texas

Claudette’s first-ever group shot at her home range was on a full-value windy day with a .223 Savage Precision Varmint and 80 grain bullets. Most of a whole poster board was needed to plot those shots, in a region known for its windmills.

Claudette F-Class TexasBig Gun for Little Lady
Now Claudette shoots F-Open’s mainstay, the .284 Winchester. Claudette recently competed at the Berger Southwest Nationals match. The .284 Win with heavy bullets definitely delivers a serious kick, but Claudette’s weight barely breaks into triple digits. That’s why she has those doubled-up bath towels — to soften the recoil impact on her shoulder. At the SWN, Claudette shot next to Team Lapua ace F-Classer Erik Cortina one day. Impressed with her shooting skills, Erik put in a good word for her. That led to Claudette joining the USA Under 25 Team for the 2017 F-Class World Championships to be held at the Connaught Ranges in Ottawa, Canada this upcoming August. Claudette is now the newest member of America’s Under 25 squad. Congrats young lady!

Learning Rifle Skills for Life
Father David says that marksmanship training serves another important purpose for his son and daughter: “These matches that hone the rifleman’s traditional skills do have a second purpose, especially for kids growing up so far from the practical response abilities of law enforcement. Self-defense is a major part of the self-reliance embodied as a core value in the still-large number of rural Americans. And that means that rifles, albeit lighter ones, are never far from reach, a right that complements the shared quest to improve proficiency and pass on the desire to do so.”

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February 12th, 2017

Berger SW Nationals — Day 4 Report from Saturday

Arizona Berger SW Nationals Southwest Nationals F-Class Palma F-TR Phoenix travel

We saw a change in weather on Saturday. It dawned warm and relatively calm, but the winds picked up in the afternoon as clouds rolled in. There wasn’t any rain though, and for shooters who were sunburned after many days in the Arizona sunshine, the overcast was a bit of a relief. On Saturday, Ben Avery hosted both individual and team matches. All three classes (Sling, F-Open, F-TR) shot two 1000-yard individual matches. This was followed by 4-person Team Matches at 1K. Here are the top five performers in Saturday’s individual matches:

Top Five Competitors in Each Class
SLING
Kevan Hoffarth (P), 400-19X
Jerry Iliff (A), 400-18X
John Whidden (A), 399-23X
Peter Church (A), 399-22X
Gary Rasmussen (A), 399-16X
F-OPEN
Dan Bramley, 399-28X
Robert Hoppe, 399-27X
Pat Scully, 399-24X
Erik Cortina, 399-22X
John Meyers, 399-20X
F-TR
Ian Klemm, 394-16X
Bryan Litz, 393-16X
Nancy Tompkins, 392-19X
Peter Ricci 392-13X
Alan Barnhart, 392-9X

In a great individual performance, Kevan Hoffarth, shooting a Palma Rifle, shot clean to beat ALL sling shooters, including those in the “Any Rifle” sub-class. In fact, “Any” shooters took the next four sling places. In the F-Open Division, it was a very tight race, decided by X-Count for the top five places, with Dan Bramley edging Robert Hoppe for the win by one X.

Berger SW Nationals Sling

Watch Highlights of Day 4 at the Berger SW Nationals:

What the Berger SW Nationals is All About

When folks usually talk about shooting matches they focus on the obvious — scores and hardware. But the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) is about much more than putting holes in paper with bangsticks. We’d say this match has become so popular (with 400 entrants) because it offers the whole experience — fun, challenge, a warm-weather escape, and above all, camaraderie.

Berger SW Nationals Sling

Some shooters come to Ben Avery for the swag (the prize table is amazing). Others come for the sunshine (think warm 75-85° weather). And even more folks come to try out their shiny new toys and to test their skills against the nation’s best shooters.

But we’d say the number one reason most folks make the pilgrimage to Ben Avery every year is the camaraderie — the chance to connect with friends, rekindling connections that may go back decades. Fundamentally, then, the Berger SWN is about the people. For this Editor, the chance to meet good friends such as John Whidden, Gary Eliseo, Doan Trevor, Nancy Tompkins, Anette Wachter, Shiraz Balolia, Adam Braverman, Jay Christopherson, Erik Cortina, Scott Harris, and so many others, gives me plenty of motivation to make the 7-hour drive from California.

For many of us, this is the only time of the year when we get a chance to meet fellow shooters from distant corners of the USA. And where else will you find a past NRA President (John Sigler) on the firing line, and have a chance to chat with him during a lunch break. The SWN is very special.

Berger SW Nationals Competition

The Brain Trust — Experts Galore
The best minds of the shooting world come to Ben Avery every year. Got a question about ballistics? Well, Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz will be happy to answer your questions between relays. Want some expert advice about wind reading? Seek out Mid Tompkins (usually found hanging around the club-house) or Emil Praslick, one of the most knowledgeable wind coaches on the planet (Emil was shooting and coaching this year). And if you have a gunsmithing question, you’ll find some of the top barrel-fitters and stock makers, including Doan Trevor and Gary Eliseo.

Emil Praslick III heading out to the firing line…
Berger SW Nationals Emil Praslick

Tubegun Chassis-Maker Gary Eliseo was at the match
Berger SW Nationals Gary Eliseo

Berger SW Nationals

Compete against the Best
If you want to test your mettle against some of the best shooters in the world, get yourself to Ben Avery in February. Here you can compete, shoulder to shoulder, against the best Sling and F-Class shooters on the planet. Guys like John Whidden (reigning Long Range National Champion) and Kenny Adams (reigning World F-Open Class Champion). If you want to play with the “Big Boys”, Ben Avery is the place. Having said that, novice shooters will enjoy the experience as well, because you’ll find that these top shooters are (almost universally) happy to share their knowledge.

Berger SW Nationals through lens

Learn from Top Talents
If you want to improve your game, this is the place. Walk down the firing line and you’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with many national champions. There is no question that you can improve your techniques by watching top shooters, and you can get ideas about hardware by looking at the rigs campaigned by the best. Where else will you find a half-dozen national F-Class champs seated around a table. Or an 11-time National High Power Champion (David Tubb), hanging out at the Lapua trailer in the parking lot.

2015 F-TR National Mid-Range and Long-Range Champion Bryan Litz helps a Junior shooter
Berger SW Nationals Bryan Litz

Mid Tompkins at Shooters’ Clinic
Berger SW Nationals Mid Tompkins

Gun Gear Candy Store
If you are thinking about upgrading your match rifle, you’ll find plenty of inspiration at Ben Avery. On the firing line you’ll fine the newest actions from Barnard, BAT, and Borden, the latest/greatest optics (see Vortex Golden Eagle below), and the newest most advanced stocks. F-TR guys will find a wide variety of exotic bipods plus the latest generation of sandwich-construction bipod “mats”. (NOTE: These are becoming rigid, elevated platforms with low-friction tops — will the rules be tightened?).

Arizona Vortex Seb Rest Borden Action SW Nationals Phoenix travel

Arizona Vortex Seb Rest Borden Action SW Nationals Phoenix travel

Warm Arizona Weather
When we arrived in Phoenix on Tuesday it was a relatively mild 76°. By Friday it had warmed to a balmy 84°. We didn’t hear any complaints from the Canadians who fled ice and snow to shoot the match. Even while California was getting soaked with rain it was sunny and warm in Arizona. And you can even have a balloon ride right over the Ben Avery range.

Arizona Sedona SW Nationals Phoenix travel

Enjoy a Desert Escape
The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is located in a scenic corner of Arizona, north of Phoenix. Get here early in the morning and watch the balloons take off. Head northwest and you can visit the historic town of Prescott. Two hours north is Sedona, famed for its stunning Red Rock scenery. A few hours south you can visit Tombstone and the OK Corral. There’s a lot to see and do in the Phoenix area that makes the trip worthwhile in addition to the gun fun at the range.

Arizona Sedona SW Nationals Phoenix travel

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February 10th, 2017

Team Match Day at the Berger Southwest Nationals

Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Thursday was TEAM DAY at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). In the Sling, F-TR, and F-Open classes, dozens of 4-person teams shot under coaches at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. The key difference between the team game and individual competition is that (for the most part) shooters function as trigger pullers only. Wind and elevation calls are typically made by the coaches, who sometimes even dial clicks for the shooters. In the above photo Bryan Litz is just about to click his shooter’s elevation turret.

This year the Scottish Thistle Team won the Sling division, lead by a strong 449-27X performance by Angus McLeod. The Hayes Rays of Sunshine Team finished second, six points back. In the highly competitive F-TR class, North by Southwest took the team title, with Da Bulls in second.

In the F-Open class, the Cluster Ducks (clever name) took the win, edging out second place The Longshots by a single point. Third in F-Open was Tex-Mex #1. Kudos to AccurateShooter’s own Jay Christopherson, our site systems manager, who lead 4th Place Team Lapua/Brux with a strong 448-25X. Jay keeps our servers running smoothly — and he’s a great shooter in his own right.

Here’s Team Krieger (foreground) getting ready on the 1000-yard line.
Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Anette Wachter (in chair) shot a 450-36X in the Team Match — not dropping a single point. Outstanding!
Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

TEAM EVENT TOP THREE in SLING, F-OPEN, and F-TR
SLING
1st Place — Scotland Thistle 1786-100X
Angus McLeod, 449-29X
Sandy Walker, 447-27X
Ian Shaw, 445-24X
Michael Barlow, 445-21X

2nd Place — Hayes Rays of Sunshine 1780-97X

3rd Place — Sabine 1775-88X

NOTABLES: Annette Wachter, 450-36X (4th Place Team High)

F-OPEN
1st Place — The Cluster Ducks 1789-100X
James Laney, 450-27X
Kevin Shepherd, 448-24X
Norman Harrold, 448-21X
Joe Meyer, 443-28X

2nd Place — The Longshots 1788-103X

3rd Place — Tex-Mex #1 1781-93X

NOTABLES: Jay Christopherson, 448-25X (4th Place Team High)

F-TR
1st Place — North by Southwest 1773-74X
Daniel Lentz, 445-22X
Ian Klemm, 445-17X
Daniel Pohlabel, 443-18X
Ken Klemm, 440-17X

2nd Place — Da Bulls 1770-81X

3rd Place — Michigan F-TR Team 1764-85X

NOTABLES: Mike Plunkett 447-16X (4th Place Team High)

NEW F-OPEN TEAM Record: The Cluster Ducks set a new National Team Record for 800/900/1000 yards with their 1789-100X Score. In fact, the second-place Longshots also broke the previous 1786-104X record, set by Team Grizzly in 2014. Because the Cluster Ducks edged The Longshots by one point the Ducks will go down in the record books. But both teams can rightfully say they broke the then-current 1786-point F-Open record. Well done shooters!

Team Thunder-Struck from the Land Down Under brought along an inflatable mascot.
Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

GUNS and GEAR HIGHLIGHTS

Interesting Competition Hardware at Ben Avery

Eliseo F-Class Chassis with Two-Piece Barrel Block
Christine Harris was shooting a new prototype Eliseo F-Class stock with a two-part barrel block. This is similar to the Eliseo F1 stock but the bolt-together barrel block allows easier exchange of barreled actions.

Eliseo F1 Stock Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Stunning F-Open Rig from Cerus Rifleworks
Cerus Rifleworks showed us a jaw-dropping new F-Open rifle. This is an amazing combination of beauty and advanced performance. The CNC-milled stock is stiff and straight, with tolerances that put most wood stocks to shame.

Cerus Rifleworks Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

A Lady Soldier’s Coat and Rifle
This Monard shooting coat belongs to SSG Amanda Elsenboss, a shooter with the USAMU Team. The rifle features a Barnard action in what appears to be a classic Robertston Composites H&H-style prone stock. Nice hardware for a talented lady soldier.

CEBRUS Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

USAMU Amanda Robertson stock competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Pair of ‘Pods
We saw many SEB Joy-Pods on the front end of F-TR rifles. These light-weight bipods offer quick and easy aiming via a joystick-controlled coaxial head. The large flat feet allow the rifle to move back smoothly on recoil, and then slide right back on target.

SEB coax coaxial JoyPod Joy-PodTeam competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Gear-Hauler for Many Seasons
This cart has seen countless matches over the years. Those stickers are markers in time, recording decades of shooting matches in many venues. How many stickers can you identify?

Cart Ben AveryTeam competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Distinguished Rifleman’s Spotting Scope
The stories this old spotting scope could tell — how many targets has it seen over the years? The most important sticker, “Distinguished Rifleman”, bears witness to its owner’s skill and commitment to the sport.

Spotting Scope Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

Nightforce Optics Competition Scopes
Nightforce, a major sponsor of the Berger SW Nationals, had a variety of scopes mounted on viewing rigs. You could quickly compare one scope vs. another. We’d like to see more optics makers demo their scopes at major matches.

Spotting Scope Team competition Berger Southwest Nationals SWN team match

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