August 11th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — Eye-Catching Rifles from America and the UK

sunday gunday Rem 700 .270 winchester win tye sims
Here is Tye Sim’s .270 Win Mountain Rifle: “This is off a trued and blue-printed Rem 700 action. I love it.”

For today’s Sunday GunDay feature, we thought we’d present a selection of rifles featuring both cool gear and scenic venues. We’ve got quite a mix — hunting rifles and competition rigs, full customs as well as factory rifles. And there are some interesting calibers including 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win, .308 Win, plus a couple WSM variants. Enjoy our Sunday lineup!

Gary Costello Blair Atholl Scotland F-Open F-Class .300 WSM

To begin, here is the beautiful Blair Atholl range in Scotland. Owner Gary Costello posted: “Great day today, weather was interesting but not as bad as we thought!” Gary, a top F-Class shooter in the UK who often runs a .300 WSM, has been featured in a previous Sunday GunDay spotlight story HERE

F-class F-Open Andrew Stone .284 Win Labradar

Andrew Stone is an F-Class shooter from the Southern USA. Here his F-Open rig is set up for load testing from the bench at his beautiful, tree-lined home range. Targets are at 600 yards. Andrew is using a SEB front coaxial rest and LabRadar chronograph mounted on an aftermarket tripod.

F-TR Brian Harder rifle F-TR

In the photo above is Brian Harder’s handsome .308 Win F-TR rifle. This features a Kelbly action, McMillan stock, and Vortex scope with level. Up front is a SEB Joystick Bipod (Joy-Pod) with accessory ski-type feet. Note that Brian runs a front scope extension tube (sunshade), and a mirage shield on the barrel. These items do make a difference, particularly on hot summer days!

F-Class 7mm 270 WSM hydro-dip Bartlein

Here’s another British Beauty. This is the 7mm-270 WSM F-Classer belonging to Forum member Ian B. (aka “Elwood”). It features a Stolle Panda F-Class action, 32″ straight-contour Bartlein barrel, and a custom Joe West stock, modified by Ian and then hydro-dipped in brilliant blue by Hydro Graphics in the UK.

Bergara B14 6.5 Creedmoor HMR

Factory rifles can be interesting too. That’s pretty impressive accuracy shown by Steven Castleman’s Bergara B14 HMR chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. On this day Steve was shooting Hornady factory ammo loaded with 147-grain ELD Match bullets.

Savage Stealth 10 BA Rifle hog hunting

Here’s a stunning silhouette of a Savage 6.5 Creedmoor. Ed Whipple posted: “Borrowing a Savage 10 BA Stealth from my buddy Ron. He wanted a 100-yard head shot on a hog. I’m not listening to Ron any more. Federal Fusion bullet ain’t messing around.”

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May 5th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Costello Battles Storm Hannah with .300 WSM

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

Gary Costello recently won the Great Britain National League 600-yard Championship in F-Open class. Gary managed that impressive win despite Storm Hannah which caused torrential rain and 40 mph winds during the match, held at the Diggle ranges. Gary, a Forum member, reports that conditions were hellacious: “The weather was terrible, with horizontal rain and winds in excess of 40 mph. In fact, some shooters got blown clean off the target and many complete misses occurred.”

There’s a special story here, as Gary had been battling a life-threatening illness for many months. Gary told us: “This was my first National Competition since September 2018. I contracted a serious heart virus in October 2018. I was critically ill until January 2019. After undergoing treatment and 100% rest I recovered slowly, my focus was the 600-Yard Shoot in April. I am now 70% there and hopefully in another 4-6 months I hope to make a full recovery.” [Editor: Gary, we are glad you are on the road to recovery.]

In today’s Sunday GunDay story, we feature Gary’s American-crafted .300 WSM F-Open rifle. Note that Gary’s rifle has a Ezell barrel tuner and a recoil-reduction system in the buttstock. The .300 WSM does generate quite a kick with those big .30-caliber bullets.

Gary Costello’s .300 WSM F-Open Rifle

BAT M Action and Cerus Stock
This rifle was purchased from Jim Fowler (FalconPilot on the AccurateShooter Forum). This SG Rifles gun, crafted by smith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez, is a .300 WSM with BAT ‘M’ action (with nitrided bolt) and Cerus riflestock. Gary owns two other Speedy-built rifles.

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

Gary tells us: “My BAT ‘M’ action is a multi-port so I feed with my left and it ejects on the right. Speedy has worked on the firing control and timing, and I fitted the roller-cocking piece to aid smoothness and speed.” The fluted shroud is Speedy’s signature for fire control work.

Stunning Lenzi Co-Axial Front Rest
Gary tells us this impressive joy-stick rest “is a superb piece of engineering .. made by my good friend Alberto Lenzi.” Note the large stable base, and the deluxe counter-balance weight on the front end. Gary also uses a very nice leather rear sandbag crafted by Lenzi.

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

Riflescope — Prototype March 10-60×56 High Master
Gary Costello’s company is the European distributor for March Scopes. Gary was testing this scope as it has a new temperature-tolerant lens system to be released later this year

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

.300 WSM Load Details — H4350 with Berger 215gr Hybrids
Gary was shooting pointed Berger 215gr Hybrid bullets in Norma .300 WSM cartridge brass. The powder was Hodgdon H4350 with Muron KVB7 primers. Gary say his load runs around 2850 fps, and is very accurate. To demonstrate, here is a three-round, 100-yard test target, with a group measuring in the ones. Pretty impressive for a big bullet and a short magnum cartridge.

Gary Costello F-Class Great Britain UK .300 WSM Speedy

Gary Costello F-Class Great Britain UK .300 WSM Speedy

The UK has some wonderful places to shoot. This photo was taken at Blair Atholl in the Highlands of Scotland. Gary says “This is one of my favorite ranges and probably the hardest range to shoot in the UK. Due to the topography of the range you have to alter elevation as well as wind for pick-up and let-off. They say ‘Diggle Ranges Bark’ but Blair Atholl Bites!”

Blast from the Past — At Blair Atholl Ranges in Scotland

Gary Costello Blair Atholl Scotland Ranges

One of Europe’s very best F-Class competitors, Gary is no stranger to the winner’s circle. Here he is at the Blair Atholl Ranges in Scotland after a major victory a few seasons back. Gary says: “Blair Atholl, in the Estate of Blair Castle, is very scenic. The range is very tricky and is known as the hardest range in the UK to shoot due to the location of the targets cut into the hillside and valley. When the wind is at full value you often have to add one-half MOA elevation to every 1 MOA of wind. So thinking wind and elevation every shot is very difficult. I won this match some time ago and I do not recall the score. However it was a decisive win, and all matches in the competition were held at 1000 yards.” Gary was using a different rifle, but it also was a .300 WSM with a BAT action. His load was Hodgdon H4831 with Berger 215gr Hybrids, Murom primers, and Norma brass.

GB 600-Yard Championship — Gary’s Shot-by-Shot Report

The event was the first GB National League event of the year, our only short range (600-yard) match. This is actually one month later than usual in hope the weather would be better, sadly that wasn’t the case!

I won the Championship, five points clear of runner-up Ian Boxall. My final score was 241-18V out of a maximum of 250. The course of fire was reduced due to Storm Hannah on Saturday. It was decided by our committee that for safety we should shoot under cover (Diggle has a 600-yard covered firing point). The goal was to get at least one match to allow the competition to continue on the Sunday.

When I saw the condition and the flags I decided I needed to shoot as quick as possible as wind speed and direction were changing in seconds….

So I shot like stink only watching one flag and the other targets and my shot indication on the target screen. My first sighter was a score One left (a FIVE on the U.S F-Class target). But after adjusting, my second sighter was a One right — so there were pick-ups and let offs of about FIVE MOA!

I split the difference and went for score, my first shot was a Four (Nine on USA target) which I then adjusted on and held accordingly for the rest of the string using the other targets as indication and the one flag I had identified, it went pretty well.

Day Two (Sunday) weather was completely different, much better with no rain. We were first up at 0900 and the winds were light with subtle changes. This was a two sighters and 20-shot match, I started well with two V sighters which were converted, my partner Richard Sharman also had a good start and we proceeded through the string shooting Vs and Fives until Richard’s shots started to not register, this happened three times so it was decided I would continue and Richard would shoot again on another target. This caused a lot of delay and disruption. I had lost my path and wind, due to the delay I was allowed a non-convertible sighter which was a Three. It took two further shots to get back into the swing and I then recovered and ended the shoot with a 97-10V.

For the Final Match, the wind had picked up and was causing quite a few lost points and curses. I knew I was three points clear going into this Final Match so I had to play it real safe not to drop shots and lose critical points. I favored a left 4-5 Ring hold so not to get caught on the pick-ups. I use the March MTR-2 reticle, on 40X this reticle is subtended at exactly one-half MOA and brackets the F-class target perfectly. I was not concerned about the V bull at this time, the plan paid off and I dropped two points only.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review, Shooting Skills 5 Comments »
March 5th, 2016

Victrix Armaments Rifles with Advanced 5-Axis CNC Technology

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Report by Vince Bottomley
Victrix Armaments, an Italian company, has developed new technology that could be a major “game-changer” in the world of precision rifles in general, and F-Class in particular. Victrix’s leadership group knows all about excellence — and winning. Giuseppe Valtorta, CEO of Victrix Armaments, is a top competitive shooter who won Gold with his F-TR rifle at the 2015 European F-Class Championships.

A New Breed of F-Class Rifle
Turn back the clock half a century — George Farquharson is happily shooting a modified military rifle with iron sights and sling. He hasn’t even dreamt of F Class…

Benchrest however is beginning to gather momentum. Accuracy seekers are demanding the ultimate in precision engineering. They will go to their favorite gunsmith and, if they’re very lucky, procure one of the new custom actions from Hart or Shilen.

In the last 50 years, what’s changed? Benchrest is still with us but F-Class has emerged as a world discipline and, to some extent, brought new challenges to our accuracy rifle builders. But, whilst the rest of the planet has reveled in the speed and precision of CNC machining, we still love to place our faith in the gunsmith and his trusty old lathe!

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

But, of course, there is a reason for this. CNC equipment is expensive and geared towards the rapid multiple production of precision parts, whereas the custom gunsmith is dedicated to the ‘one-off’ build.

Also, even with a limited run, CNC does not readily lend itself to chambering our cut- or button-rifled barrels. Good as our barrels are, there are issues that have made CNC machine problematic. Each barrel demands loving care at the hands of our chosen gunsmith – if it is to perform to our expectations.

5-Axis CNC vs Manual Barrel Chambering
What if — What if the whole barrel-fitting and chambering process could be made “CNC compliant” and produce a rifle which would equal (or even exceed) the accepted standard. And do it every time, time after time! Cost could be reduced and also waiting times.

Good as our custom barrels are, they still need to be scrupulously checked — for uniformity of the bore, the lands, the grooves — for straightness, consistency of diameter, and concentricity. This could be achieved, using some pretty sophisticated measuring equipment — but that would be outside the realms of the custom gunsmith.

Even then, how could the barrel be easily accommodated in a CNC five-axis machining center to ensure a set-up for the best possible chamber and threading? Remember, bores are rarely concentric to the outside diameter and seldom straight, so the set-up would need to ensure that any deviation would be in the vertical plane when the barrel is screwed in the action and the chamber-section would need to be exactly aligned.

These are of course the issues faced every day by the custom gunsmith but currently, there are few CNC machines which could easily accommodate this requirement. But yes, there are a few….

Let me introduce you to Victrix, an Italian engineering company with an impressive multi-million euro factory crammed with the very latest in CNC machinery and a state of the art measuring laboratory. They already have a well-established background in the firearms manufacturing industry, at both military and sporting level. Never heard of Victrix? You soon will, for Victrix has chosen the prestigious 2016 IWA Show (Hall 9 – 423) to launch its new range of high-end rifles.

Victrix manufacturing facility in Italy is ‘crammed with the very latest in CNC machinery':
Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Whilst Victrix initially developed a range of tactical/military firearms — some of which will also be of interest to the sport shooter — the company has now turned its attention to the F-Class discipline. By working with those competing at the highest level of F-Class competition, Victrix has developed a range of “off the shelf” F-Class rifles that are “competition-ready” right out of the box. Incidentally, Victrix have chosen American barrel-maker Benchmark as its exclusive barrel supplier. Victrix has already perfected a way of accurately assessing barrels to adapt them to CNC working, and this is the key to the new project.

Victrix Target Trigger — Adjustable down to an Ounce
Victrix F-Class rifles will feature an advanced, new target trigger engineered by Victrix. This four-lever target trigger boasts an adjustment range of 1 to 2.5 ounces (30 – 70 grams). Another trigger (8 to 21 ounces pull weight), is used for the Victrix tactical rifles.

Victrix Action
For its new line of rifles, Victrix have developed its own proprietary actions. These actions employ some interesting ideas. The bolt is three-lug with a 60-degree lift and 105/105/150 degree lug-geometry. Testing verified that this arrangement provided a greater resistance to flexing in the locked position over the more traditional 120/120/120 geometry. This geometry also aids the pick-up and feeding of rounds from a magazine when used in a tactical configuration.

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Above is Victrix’s new action. It’s impressive. Multiple configurations are offered: Right Bolt/Left Port, Right Bolt/Right Port and other variations. The action can be fitted with Victrix Target or Tactical trigger.

The action and bolt are machined from 17.4PH stainless steel and then hardened (body 48 Rockwell, bolt 45 Rockwell) and treated with PVD (physical vapor deposition). Finally the actions are coated with chromium nitride and nobium for wear-resistance and smooth operation. Tenon thread is M27x1.5 and of course, tolerances are ‘benchrest’ standard. Picatinny rails are screwed and pinned to the action.

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Victrix has certainly done its homework. The company will offer rifles for both F-Open and F-TR classes. Stocks will be offered in a variety of materials: wood, wood-laminate, aluminum, and carbon-fiber. The stocks share a no-nonsense, straight-forward design, specifically for shooting a rested rifle.

Whilst we are focusing on their F-Class rifles, we shouldn’t forget the Victrix tactical range. Although designed with military and police use, they will appeal to anyone who enjoys tactical-style shooting. There is no compromise on quality or accuracy so, expect the same build standard but with stocks CNC’d from 7075 mil-spec aluminum with a hard-anodized coating. The Victrix three-lever tactical trigger adjusts from 8 to 21 ounces (250 – 600 grams).

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Victrix has chosen March Scopes UK (IWA Hall 3A – 110) as its business partner in launching the new Victrix F-Class rifles. This was a wise choice, as March Scopes UK proprietor Gary Costello is a former World F-Class Champion. Gary, well-known to F-Class competitors, continues to shoot with the Great Britain Team.

We look forward to taking a closer look at the Victrix F-Class rifles and hope to provide an in-depth range report in the not-too-distant future. Check out the Victrix website at www.Victrixarmaments.com.

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, New Product 5 Comments »
November 8th, 2013

Across the Atlantic: European F-Class Championships at Bisley

F-Class European Championship Bisley Rutland England Great Britain Joe Melia Paul Eggerman

Credit Des Parr for providing match details found in this report.
The 2013 European F-Class Championships are now history. Congratulations to new F-Open Euro Champion Joe Melia of Ireland, and new F-TR Euro Champion Paul Eggerman of Germany. Held at the Bisley Ranges in England, the European Championships drew top shooters from all over the Continent, plus the U.K. and Ireland. Following the individual competitions, national teams competed, and Great Britain emerged the big winner. British teams won gold in F-Open, F-TR, and the Rutland Cup. Hail Britannia!

On the GB F-Class Association website, Des Parr authored a great day-by-day account of the Euro Championships. Des writes: “The 2013 European Championships had a little of everything to keep everyone happy — some very light winds to please the trigger pullers, some very strong winds to please the wind-readers and only a little rain to please everyone! Friday was notable for having remarkably calm and steady wind. This enabled everyone to really see what their rifles were capable of in near to ideal conditions. The result was predictable; some very high scores.”

Individual Championships
In F-Open division, senior Irishman Joe Melia shot 457.39 to capture the title. Des Parr notes: “Joe got a rousing cheer from all his fellow competitors, indicative of his good standing. In second, it was another medal for Ireland, this time the fiercely competitive Anthony Dunne used all his experience to rack up 453.38. In third place was the new GB Captain from Wales, David Lloyd with 452.33.”

In F-TR, the Germany’s Paul Eggemann shot a superb score of 447.35 to win the individual title, ten points ahead of his nearest rival. Ukraine’s Sergei Baranov took second with 437.22, while his countryman Sergei Gorban finished third with 436.26.

Links to Full European F-Class Championship Results
F-Open Championships Results | F-TR Championships Results | Team Championships Results

TEAM COMPETITION
8-Man Event — Top place went to Team GB with 1084.58. Second place was taken by Italy with 1035.46 and in third was BDMP Germany with 1021.32. In F-TR, first place went to Team GB with 1007.32, with Team Italy second (987.31), and Ukraine third (978.26).

4-Man Rutland — There were ten, 4-man teams in the Rutland Competition. In F-Open, Winning Team GB was steered to victory by captain Peter Hobson with a super 524.19. France Open 1 took second with 522.17, while the Europe Open team was third with 497.22.

Irish Teams won silver and bronze in the 4-man Rutland Match at the European Championships.
F-Class European Championship Bisley Rutland Ireland


In related news, Forum member Gary Costello from the U.K. won the GB/Euro National League title for 2013 with a total of 71 points. This multi-match title is based on the best of four (4) League Championship Competitions throughout the year. Gary explains: “We have eight shoots in total, this championship is open to GB F-Class Association members and includes shooters from France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine and several other countries. Most of these countries have maximum 300 yards to shoot so the UK is the closest place to compete in long-range competitions. That’s a bit amazing considering the size of the UK to Germany for example.”

F-Class European Championship Leagu Bisley Gary Costello 300 WSM

Gary used a 300 WSM built by Gunsmith Peter Walker, with a Nesika L action, Benchmark barrel, and a March 8-80x56mm scope. Gary told us that it took some time to master the 300 WSM, which has more recoil than a .284 Win, but in the end, Gary’s choice of caliber helped carry him to victory over a long season of hard-fought competition. Finishing second in League standings was Mark Daish with 70 points, while Des Parr took third place with 64 points. (Point totals based on best four matches.) Complete 2013 GB F-Class League Results are available on the GB F-Class Association website.

Photos courtesy F-TR Ireland and Gary Costello.
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March 7th, 2012

AccurateShooter Forum Gets New, More Powerful Server

We’ve upgraded the AccurateShooter.com Forum, giving it a bigger, faster server. The new dedicated Forum server has a faster processor, more storage space, and more memory — all of which improves the user experience.

The switch-over was accomplished yesterday at 1630 hours (Pacific Time). All existing threads and posts have been preserved. Post counts and buy/sell feedback have also been retained. By all indications, everything is going well so far. Forum users report that pages load faster and searches take less time: “Things move along very fast now!” (Frank G. aka 40X Guy).

Join a Community of Nearly 17,000 Serious Shooters
If you haven’t visited our Shooters’ Forum yet, log on to Forum.AccurateShooter.com and check out one of the best Message Boards for precision shooters on the web. We now have nearly 17,000 Forum members including many National and International Champions. For example, this morning 2011 NRA National High Power Champion Carl Bernosky was logged in. And UK and World F-Class Champion Gary Costello (aka “GLC”) regularly visits our Forum. If you want advice from guys who really know their stuff — it doesn’t get better than that.

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