July 21st, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Shiraz Balolia’s F-Class Lowboy Stock Project

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Lowboy F-Class Gunstock Conversion

Project by Shiraz Balolia, President of Grizzly Industrial
The lowboy stock you see above started as an experiment. I had an extra Masterclass F-Class stock that had gone through two actions, four beddings, and multiple modifications over the years. I figured that there was nothing to lose if the experiment did not work out.

After deciding on the design, the stock was carefully leveled in every direction and milled to the precise dimensions for attaching the side pieces, which would be glued to the original stock.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill
Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Curly Maple and Bubinga wood were laminated to get the exact thickness of the side pieces so that the total width of the fore-end would be just under the total width allowed for F-Open stocks.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Two guide pins made of Bubinga were drilled through each side so that the sides would not move when glued to the milled stock.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Once the sides were glued to the blank, the stock was once again trued on the mill so it was perfectly flat and square with the back (see below).

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

The stock was then sent to Keith Weill at KW Precision who did an incredible bedding job on the new BAT M action. The stock was then sent out for spraying a clear finish. Normally I spray my own stocks, but I did not have time for this stock, so that part was subbed-out. The finger grooves and “Shiraz” inlay had been done by me a few years prior during the old stock’s heyday.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Modified Stock Has Significantly Lower Center of Gravity
The rifle was then assembled, a March 10-60x56mm High Master scope was installed, and break-in was completed on the new barrel. At the range, the stock performed great. The stock rides one-half-inch lower in the front bag and really feels good.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill
CLICK HERE for full-screen photo.

Bartlein Barrel Is Chambered in .300 WSM
I was pleased to find that the Bartlein barrel I have on this gun cleaned up very well during barrel break-in and this “experiment” may turn into this being one of my best-performing guns. All of my F-Open match guns are .300 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum), and so is this one.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

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April 7th, 2018

New Barrel Chambering Book by Gritters and Zeglin

Gordy Gritters Fred Zeglin barrel chambering gunsmith lathe book dvd

There is a new book, Chambering Rifles for Accuracy, that will benefit folks who want to understand the chambering process, and potentially learn to chamber a barrel on their own. We caution, however — you really need a skilled, hands-on mentor for this this task. For someone without a lot of machining experience, chambering can be tricky, and working with lathes can be dangerous to say the least.*

With those cautions stated, this book will help any gun-owner understand how chambering is done, and what to look for when assessing chambering work by commercial gunsmiths. Chambering Rifles for Accuracy is co-authored by Gordy Gritters and Fred Zeglin. The methods detailed in this book can be used equally well by gunsmiths in a professional shop, and by skilled, well-trained hobbyists working in a home workshop. The book costs $49.95 from Amazon.

Gordy Gritters is a highly-respected gunsmith and gunsmithing instructor. Gordy has built many match-winning competition rifles so he knows his stuff. Fred is a gunsmith, gunsmithing instructor, author, and is the owner of 4-D Reamer Rentals, so he is very knowledgeable on the use and care of reamers. Fred has extensive experience building high-accuracy hunting rifles.

Fred wrote the first half of the book, which covers what is needed to prepare for and chamber high-accuracy hunting barrels. Zeglin lists all the tools needed such as reamers, micrometer reamer stops, headspace gauges, and more.

Gordy wrote the second half of the book, which goes beyond basic chambering. Gordy covers setting up a lathe for chambering barrels through the headstock, various dialing-in methods commonly used, how to deal with curvature in rifle bores, and how to deal with reamer chatter (especially prevalent in 5R-type barrels). Then Gordy covers the entire dialing-in/threading/fitting/chambering/crowning process used to build a benchrest-quality rifle. Gordy also explaines how to ream custom chamber necks, and how to throat the chamber for specific bullets or for a specific purpose.

Gordy Gritters Fred Zeglin barrel chambering gunsmith lathe book dvd

Gordy Gritters also created an excellent DVD, “Chambering a Championship Match Barrel”. No other chambering video shows the entire chambering process step-by-step with the advanced, precision techniques used by master gunsmiths. Gordy has built several rifles that hold world records and have won National Championships. This is a professional 90-minute production from Grizzly Industrial. You can purchase this $69.95 DVD from Gordy’s website or from Grizzly Industrial.


*This Editor’s own uncle suffered a severe arm injury while working with a lathe. He was not an amateur — he had done lathe and mill work for over 40 years. But a shirt-sleeve caught in the spinning chuck. The results were horrific.

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May 8th, 2016

A Mother’s Day Message…

Mothers' day mother's holiday grizzly video

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” — Rudyard Kipling

Today is Mother’s Day. There are more than 85 million mothers in the United States, and today is the day we recognize all those ladies who brought life into the world.

This Editor lost his mother last July, so this Mother’s Day is particularly poignant — my first without her. Be good to your mother, cherish her, and love her without fail… always. In her latter years, attend to her needs, help her with her health, and take time to bring brightness (and laughter) into her life. Let her know that you appreciate all the sacrifices she made, and that you are grateful for all that she did for her children and family.

This Mother’s Day tribute was created by another man who recently lost his mother. It will help all of us appreciate all the things our mothers did for us…

Here are some quotes for Mother’s Day:

“Only mothers can think of the future — because they give birth to it in their children.” — Maxim Gorky

“Men are what their mothers made them.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Such a mysterious business, motherhood. How brave a woman must be to embark on it.” ― M.L. Stedman

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Photo credit to Grizzly Industrial.
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March 5th, 2016

Shooting with a Wind Coach — F-Open Teamwork Demonstration

F-Class Open Team shooting with Shiraz Balolia at 700 yards .284 7mm

Editor’s Comment: All long-range competitive shooters should watch this excellent video — whether you shoot with a team or as an individual. Three cameras were used so you can watch the shooter, the range flags, and the target simultaneously. After a discussion of scoring, the actual shooting starts at the five-minute mark in the video. Under the guidance of wind coach Gary Rasmussen, former U.S. F-Class Open Team Captain Shiraz Balolia shoots 100-7X for ten shots, following Gary’s wind calls. Shiraz is the President of Grizzly Industrial

Team Shooting with a Coach
F-Class Open Team shooting with Shiraz Balolia at 700 yards .284 7mmShiraz tells us: “We come across a lot of shooters who have never shot under a coach. This video was produced to give shooters a basic understanding of shooting with a coach and the importance of releasing a good shot. In a team setting, you basically leave all the decision-making to the coach and aim where you’re told to aim. I’ve worked with Gary many times and it shows in the comfort level we have with each other. The coach plots the shots or a plotter advises the coach of any grouping that is not centered.”

Watch Gary Call the Wind and Shiraz Shoot 100-7X for Ten Shots

For best viewing, click the YouTube settings button to watch in 720p or 1080p HD (high definition).

Shiraz was shooting a 7mm F-Open rig: “My .284 Shehane rifle takes about 10 to 12 shots to settle down and that is probably why we made several scope adjustments while shooting. It is a great caliber and a step up from a straight .284 Winchester. The wind was relatively calm, but sometimes that slow wind with subtle angle changes can be very deceiving.”

F-Class Open Team shooting with Shiraz Balolia at 700 yards .284 7mm

The video was shot the first week of May 2013 at a range in Custer, WA located about 20 miles from Bellingham, Washington. The production team included Shiraz Balolia, Gary Rasmussen, three cameramen, and a target puller. Big Thanks to Grizzly Industrial for providing the camera crew and post-production talent.
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June 18th, 2014

Baer/Cloward Masterpiece Rifle — Saved for the Grand-Kids

Shiraz BaloliaLast week we ran a story on revered stock-maker Jim Cloward of Washington State. Well here’s a story about a very special rifle, featuring one of the finest hand-crafted, custom stocks Cloward ever made. This stunning, heirloom rifle was crafted two decades ago for Shiraz Balolia, President of Grizzly Industrial. Since he hasn’t been shooting it, he initially thought about putting it up for sale. But our Forum members argued: “Don’t sell it Shiraz — that gun should be in a museum or stay in the family!” Shiraz listened and decided to keep the rifle as a family treasure: “It’s off the market and will wait for the grandkids to grow up to decide which one gets it.”

The Balolia Baer/Cloward Heirloom Rifle
by Shiraz Balolia
I commissioned this rifle over 20 years ago and am ashamed to say that it has less than 50 rounds down the barrel! This is a super-custom, one-of-a-kind rifle that was built by Bruce Baer and the stock work was done by Jim Cloward. This was a “money no object” gun. The stock was a special highly-figured walnut piece that I had saved for years to build “that special gun”, thinking I would pass it on to one of the kids. It has an Ebony fore-end and an Ebony and Ivory grip cap. The barreled action rides in a barrel block in that beautiful Cloward-crafted stock.

Click Images to See Full-screen Version
Shiraz Balolia James Jim Cloward Stock Bruce Baer

  • Caliber — .308 Baer, made for 1000-yard shooting.
  • Action — Hall, single shot with Jewell trigger.
  • Barrel — Obermeyer, fluted, 29″, 1:10″ twist, throated to shoot up to 220gr Sierras.
  • Stock — Jim Cloward custom with 3-way adjustable buttplate and barrel block.
  • Scope — Rare silver Leupold 36X Benchrest model in mint condition.

Shiraz Balolia James Jim Cloward Stock Bruce Baer

The super-comfortable thumbhole stock is an absolute work of art by Jim Cloward, who did the lovely checkering as well. Jim has done some nice stocks for me, but this one is probably the best. He outdid himself on this stock — I do not think you will ever see another Baer/Cloward rifle like this!

Click Images to See Full-screen Version
Shiraz Balolia James Jim Cloward Stock Bruce Baer

Shiraz Balolia James Jim Cloward Stock Bruce Baer

Shiraz Balolia James Jim Cloward Stock Bruce Baer

Shiraz Balolia James Jim Cloward Stock Bruce Baer

Shiraz Balolia James Jim Cloward Stock Bruce Baer

One More Cloward-Stocked Rifle
Shiraz has a few other treasured Cloward-stocked rifles, including this stunning break-down hunting rifle in fitted travel case. Click image to see the rifle, full-screen, in all its highly-figured glory. We’ve asked Shiraz to to photograph some of his other “Clowardian” beauties so we might showcase them in the future — stay tuned.

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May 17th, 2013

Great Video: F-Class Team Shooting with a Wind Coach

Editor’s Comment: All long-range competitive shooters should watch this excellent video — whether you shoot with a team or as an individual. Three cameras were used so you can watch the shooter, the range flags, and the target simultaneously. After a discussion of scoring, the actual shooting starts at the five-minute mark in the video. Under the guidance of wind coach Gary Rasmussen, U.S. F-Class Open Team Captain Shiraz Balolia shoots 100-7X for ten shots, following Gary’s wind calls.

F-Class Open Team shooting with Shiraz Balolia at 700 yards .284 7mm

Team Shooting with a Coach
F-Class Open Team shooting with Shiraz Balolia at 700 yards .284 7mmShiraz tells us: “We come across a lot of shooters who have never shot under a coach. This video was produced to give shooters a basic understanding of shooting with a coach and the importance of releasing a good shot. In a team setting, you basically leave all the decision-making to the coach and aim where you’re told to aim. I’ve worked with Gary many times and it shows in the comfort level we have with each other. The coach plots the shots or a plotter advises the coach of any grouping that is not centered.”

Watch Gary Call the Wind and Shiraz Shoot 100-7X for Ten Shots

For best viewing, click the YouTube settings button to watch in 720p or 1080p HD (high definition).

Shiraz was shooting a 7mm F-Open rig: “My .284 Shehane rifle takes about 10 to 12 shots to settle down and that is probably why we made several scope adjustments while shooting. It is a great caliber and a step up from a straight .284 Winchester. The wind was relatively calm, but sometimes that slow wind with subtle angle changes can be very deceiving.”

F-Class Open Team shooting with Shiraz Balolia at 700 yards .284 7mm

The video was shot the first week of May 2013 at a range in Custer, WA located about 20 miles from Bellingham, Washington. The production team included Shiraz Balolia, Gary Rasmussen, three cameramen, and a target puller. Big Thanks to Grizzly Industrial for providing the camera crew and post-production talent.
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February 13th, 2013

Match-Winning Rifle: Shiraz Balolia’s .300 WSM F-Open Rig

After Shiraz Balolia (President of Grizzly Industrial) won the F-Open Division at the 2013 Berger Southwest Long Range Nationals, folks wanted to know more about Shiraz’s match-winning .300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) rifle. That gun is a great piece of work, we can assure you. The Masterclass stock was extensively customized by Shiraz himself, who is a talented wood-worker (as well as a superb F-Class trigger-puller). CLICK PHOTO to see large “centerfold” shot of rifle.

Shiraz Balolia F-Class

Shiraz Balolia F-Class

The rifle features a BAT Machine ‘M’ action, with a 32″, 1:10″-twist Bartlein barrel. Metal work was done by Gordy Gritters. The scope is a March 10-60x52mm, which sits on a +20 MOA angled rail. The primary stockwork, including fitting of the adjustable cheek-piece and buttplate, was done by Alex Sitman of Masterclass Stocks. Shiraz customized the stock with finger grooves, fore-end channel, and a bottom rear slide. Shiraz did the final stock finishing as well.

Shiraz Balolia F-Class

Listen to Shiraz Balolia Talk about his F-Open Victory (Click PLAY to Launch Audio File)

[haiku url=”http://accurateshooter.net/Video/shirazmemo1.mp3″ title=”Shiraz Talks about F-Open”]


Q&A with Shiraz Balolia

Shiraz f-class
Q: Is the .300 WSM the “next big thing” in F-Open Competition?

Shiraz: The .300 WSM takes a bit to get used to. With more powder you have a bigger bang next to your head, plus you have to deal with the mule kick. My gun recoils so hard that it was coming to rest down on the neighbor’s target. I had to be careful about not cross-firing. Once you get these behind you it can be a very accurate caliber to shoot because of the great .30 cal bullet choices. There were about five .300 magnums in Phoenix, but only one in the top ten. You still have to read the wind!

Shiraz Balolia F-Class

Q: What’s your match load for the .300 WSM?

Shiraz: I use Norma brass with turned necks. At the Berger SW Nationals I used Berger 215gr Hybrids, Fed 215 LR magnum primers, and a stout load of Hodgdon H4831 SC. This drives the 215s at around 2910 FPS. If that sounds fast, remember I’m using a a 32″-long barrel.

Q: Can you tell us about your chamber and your fire-forming process?

Shiraz: On the .300” WSM [I run] a tight-neck .336” chamber for turned necks. Basically, I fire-form all my brass in a fire-form barrel and save the good barrels for matches. Gordy is so good that he can chamber different barrels to within .0002” in the headspace dimension. That way I can have several same-caliber barrels and can use the same brass for all those barrels. I use a .0005″ shoulder bump for my brass. I load the bullets so that the bearing surface sits above the doughnut ring.

Q: Do You Think Tuners Will Become Popular in F-Class?

Shiraz fclassShiraz: Tuners are a double-edged sword. In order to use them most efficiently you need to load test the barrel in many different conditions and record the results, fine tuning and turning the dials to find the best harmonic of that barrel in a given condition. When you encounter a similar condition at a match to what you tested previously, you would look up your notes and turn the dials so that it matches your tested condition. I am over-simplifying this, as it is quite complex and there are many articles about tuners. I do not see tuners catching on in F-Class as 99% of the users would not want to go through the aggravation.

Q: The stock looks highly customized. What special work did you do?

Shiraz: The stock is a Master Class F-Class stock that was highly modified by me. I channeled out the fore-end so the stock would ride on two “rails” on the front bag and not rock. I also added a wide 1.25″ base on the bottom of the stock that rides on the rear bag. There is a matching rear bag with a wide slot in it. The gun slides back and forth nicely and is very stable. I wanted finger grooves that fit my hand so I carefully filed those by hand with a round file, making sure to fit it many times during the process. Once all the modifications were complete I sanded and sprayed the stock with clear UV lacquer. My UV booth cures the spray in minutes. I usually assemble the gun the same day I spray it. As you know, I build guitars as a hobby as well.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 9 Comments »
February 2nd, 2013

Gear Review: Bald Eagle (Grizzly) 20″ Range Bag

Bald Eagle Range BagI have been looking for a bag that can securely carry a large spotting scope as well as chronograph hardware, wind meter, and camera gear — all the extra stuff I typically take to the range in addition to the essential cleaning and shooting products that go in my regular range kit. The folks at Grizzly Industrial told me to check out their new 20″ Range Bag by Bald Eagle. These 20″ Range Bags, are very versatile and well-made. With eyepiece removed, my jumbo-sized Pentax PF-100ED spotting scope fit perfectly inside the padded central compartment. At the same time I could haul ALL the peripherals for my PVM-21 chronograph, plus a camera, wind meter, spare Pentax eyepiece, AND a netbook computer. Without the netbook, there is room for four pistols along the side channels. If you don’t need to pack a large spotting scope, the main compartment could easily hold 3 more pistols in Bore-Store socks, plus holsters, ammo boxes, and earmuffs.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.

Good Gear AccurateShooter.comWatch the video to see how much stuff will fit in this bag. NOTE: If you carry a tripod or windflag stand using the straps under the case lid, be sure to position the foam padding carefully to prevent any direct contact with a spotting scope in the main compartment. Overall, the 20″ Range Bag is a remarkably capable gear-hauler. With the nicely-padded interior it will safely carry expensive items such as laser rangefinders, and binoculars. There is also a slash pocket on the rear side (not shown in video) that will hold thin items such as target stickers and shooting log-books. The 20″ Range Bag is offered in four (4) different colors: Red, Black, Green, and Camo. Price is $59.95 for solid colors and $61.95 for camo.

Grizzly Bald Eagle 20

Smaller, 15″ Range Bag Offered Also
Grizzly also sells more compact, 15″-wide Bald Eagle Range Bags. There are six (6) color choices for the 15″ Range Bag: Red, Black, Navy Blue, Green, Hot Pink (for ladies), and Camo. Solid colors cost $45.00, while the Camo Bag costs a couple dollars more ($46.95). If you don’t need to haul a spotting scope, you may prefer the smaller version. The 15″ version still offers lot of carrying capacity — it’s big enough to hold ammo, muffs, target stickers, and much more.

Grizzly Range Bag 15" Camo

REVIEW Disclosure: Grizzly Industrial provided the 20″ Range Bag for testing and evaluation.

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