January 2nd, 2018

Good Reading — Shooting Sports USA January “Rifle Issue”

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

There are three notable articles in the latest January 2018 Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA Magazine. F-Class competitors will definitely want to read the report on the 2017 World Championships. And hand-loaders will appreciate the insightful article on the AMP induction annealing machine. The third recommended article provides tips and techniques for sighting in hunting, tactical, and benchrest rifles. Access the entire SSUSA 54-page January 2018 eZine by clicking THIS LINK.

F-Class 2017 World Championships in Canada
Story by Larry Bartholome

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

Fifteen years ago, the very first F-Class World Championships were held in Canada. In 2017, the Championships returned to Canada for the fifth edition of the match. This year there were triple the number of entries, representing the growing popularity of F-Class competition. Notably, this year’s event was preceded by the Canadian F-Class National Championships. This issue contains a full report on the event, written by Larry Bartolome, a past National F-Open Champion. Shown at right above is the new F-TR World Champion, our friend Derek Rodgers from New Mexico.

AMP Annealing Machine — Annealing .30-06 Brass for Vintage Military Rifles
Story by Art Merrill

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

Produced in New Zealand, the AMP (Annealing Made Perfect) unit is a sophisticated, microprocessor-controlled annealing machine that achieves ultra-consistent results using an electrical INDUCTION process. By contrast, with butane torch systems you may have to adjust the system when the ambient temperature changes, or even if your butane fuel is slightly different. In this month’s issue of Shooting Sports USA, Field Editor Art Merrill uses the AMP to anneal .30-06 brass for vintage military rifles. The review shows how to use the AMP and explains the advantages of the Induction Annealing vs. flame-based annealing.

Sighting In Your Rifle — Tips for All Shooters
Story by Jim Shults

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

This month’s “Rifle Issue” of Shooting Sports USA focuses on rifle shooting in various forms. Author Jim Shults has written an lengthy article offering tips and techniques for sighting-in your rifle. Shults says “The trick in effective sighting-in (zeroing) is shot-to-shot consistency”. To achieve that consistency, you must first eliminate driver error. You need a stable set-up. Good ammo is also essential and Shults offers an important tip: “Keep your ammo cool and out of direct sun at the range”. Shults also explains there is a big difference between load testing and zeroing. You want to finalize your zero AFTER you have developed your match or hunting load.

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January 4th, 2015

F-Class Nationals Featured in January Shooting Sports USA eZine

The 2014 F-Class National Championships were held in Phoenix this past October. It was a well-attended match with nearly 170 competitors from around the nation. In a tight battle, James Crofts (1574-59X) edged past champion Derek Rodgers (1573-65X) by a single point in the F-TR division. In F-Open, Emil Kovan (1587-83X) shot well to beat Danny Biggs (1585-83X) by a two-point margin. Both Kovan and Biggs racked up 83 Xs — that’s mighty impressive shooting. Overall, conditions were generally good (if hot), and many new records were set. The course of fire was 160 shots, all at 1000 yards.

Shooting Sports USA Larry Bartholome

An excellent, detailed day-by-day report on the F-Class Nationals appears in the January edition of Shooting Sports USA, just released. Prepared by past National F-Open Champion Larry Bartholome (aka “LBart” in our Forum), this article provides unique insights by one of the leading competitors in the game. Larry may be a senior citizen but he can still shoot. In fact, Larry observes that age is no barrier to success in the F-Open division: “In the ten-year history of F-Class, the F-Open discipline has been won four times by senior or grand senior shooters. John Brewer was 73 when he won in 2004. In 2007 Bob Bock won as a 65-year-old senior in Raton, NM. Jim Murphy was a 65-year-old senior when he won in lodie, WI. Finally, Larry Bartholome won in 2013 at Raton at the age of 73, even though he felt like 103. All of these senior/grand senior champions are members of Team Berger, and still shoot.”

Another highlight of the 2014 F-Class Nationals was the performance of Team Long Shots. Team members pleased the crowd by shooting in their Halloween costumes on October 31st. The colorful costumes (Snow White and the four dwarfs) didn’t seem to hurt their performance. In fact it may have brought the Long Shots some luck. All four marksmen went through the match without dropping a single point. This gave Team Longshots an 800-42X score at the end of the day to secure the team win, setting a new team record in the process. Larry Bartholome writes: “This is the first-ever 800-point team score in the history of F-Class.”

Shooting Sports USA Larry Bartholome

You can read the FREE eZine version of Shooting Sports USA online. Along with Larry’s F-Class article, this January edition includes coverage of various state and regional shooting championships, plus a field test of the new Match-Grade .30-06 Springfield Ammunition from Creedmoor Sports. This is excellent stuff, produced with premium Lapua brass and Lapua Scenar bullets. Tester Art Merrill reported this ammo was very straight, and demonstrated excellent accuracy on target. If you shoot Garand matches, you may want to get your hands on this high-quality ammo. See the test results below.

New Creedmoor Sports .30-06 Ammo Reviewed:
Creedmoor Sports .30-06 Ammunition Ammo

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February 23rd, 2014

“People Win Matches, Not the Calibers” — Larry Bartholome

Larry Bartholome F-Open Champion SWN

Larry Bartholome (aka “LBart” on our Forum) is the current F-Open USA National Champion. He also won the F-Open division at the recent Berger Southwest Nationals. A “Senior Citizen” now, Larry is still at the top of the F-Class game. If you were to pick the top ten F-Open shooters on the planet, Larry would be on the short list, that’s for sure.

In a recent AccurateShooter Forum thread, there was a discussion of caliber/cartridge choice for F-Open shooting — specifically whether 6mm cartridges can be competitive at long-range (as opposed to mid-range).

Larry, who currently shoots a 7mm-270 WSM, offered some wise words. Here’s some sage advice from Larry, a champion who has triumphed at the highest level, against the toughest competition. F-Class competitors will benefit from reading what Larry has to say, and taking it to heart:

Cartridge Choice for F-Class — What Really Matters
Matches are won with what people decide to shoot. The people win matches, not the calibers. A person makes his decision on what he is going to shoot with and [that person] wins or loses based on the decision.

The smaller cases and bore sizes have advantages in less recoil and more inherent accuracy. They are easier to shoot well. Because they shoot smaller groups on average they make the 10 ring seem bigger. With light winds that helps.

When the wind gets to changing and picking up this advantage is negated by the wind drift advantages of the larger calibers. Once the switches and velocity changes get beyond the mind’s ability to stay up with them, the small caliber advantage is minuscule.

My own thought is I need all the help I can get. I know I can’t read the wind. I play the percentages. [My 7mm offers] good grouping, good wind drift, lower recoil than the 30s. My 7mm/270 WSM was shooting very well in Phoenix, just as the other Bartlein barrels shot well in Raton. The points lost were mine, not the rifle’s or the caliber.

When the wind flags and mirage are telling you to hold left and your bullets are going left, no caliber in the world will help you. You are the one steering those bullets.

Larry Bartholome
Team Berger/Norma

Larry Bartholome F-Open Champion SWN

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August 23rd, 2013

Bartholome (F-Open) and Rodgers (F-TR) Win F-Class Nationals

The dust has settled and all the scores have been tabulated at the 2013 U.S. F-Class Nationals. This was a hugely successful event with 350 shooters on the firing line. After three days of individual matches, concluding with blustery conditions on Thursday, we have two new USA F-Class Champions, Larry Bartholome (F-Open) and Derek Rodgers (F-TR). Both men shot great matches from start to finish — we congratulate both on their well-deserved victories.

CLICK HERE for Final F-Open Full Results | CLICK HERE for Final F-TR Full Results

Derek Rodgers (Team Sinclair) is the 2013 U.S. National F-TR Champion. Posting a 1270-44X final score, Derek edged runner-up Lige Harris (1268-44X) by two (2) points, both men finishing with identical X-counts. John Chilton was third with 1264-35X, with Trudie Fay (1263-33X) and James Crofts (1261-33X) rounding out the top five. Lige finished as High Senior, while Trudie was the High Lady.

F-Class Championship Derek Rogers Larry Bartholome

Fellow F-TR shooter (and past National F-TR Champion) Brad Sauve praised Rodgers:

“Derek is the only person that has won both the F-TR and F-Open U.S. National Championships. Derek just dominated those Raton winds in every match and must have ice in his veins to go into that last match knowing he was tied for first and [still] pull out another great performance.”

In F-Open class, Larry Bartholome won the 2013 National Championship, besting an extremely strong field packed with talent. Larry shot great on all three days, holding on to his lead even in extremely challenging conditions on Thursday. Larry took the F-Open title with a 1283-59X score. The next three positions were decided on X-Count, with three shooters, second-place Kenny Adams (1281-66X), third-place Freddy Haltom (1281-52X), and fourth-place William Wittman (1281-50X) all finishing with 1281 point totals. Kenny’s impressive 66X was the high X-count for the match. Steven Blair finished fifth with a 1280-52X score.

F-Class Championship Derek Rogers Larry Bartholome

Here’s One of the Next Generation of Champions…
F-Class Championship Derek Rogers Larry Bartholome

Stormy Conditions on Thursday
On Thursday, the wind started out calm for the first couple of relays. Conditions started to get a little switchy by the 3rd through the 6th relays and then with a storm front coming in, the 7th and 8th relays got a bit wild. Our reporter at Raton, Jeff Williams, reports: “We had dust devils dancing between the line and the targets. Rain held back until after all shooters had finished.”

World F-Class Championship Raton 2013

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September 16th, 2012

Bartholome, Fay, and Tompkins Win at SOA in Raton, NM

2012 Spirit of America matchThe Spirit of America Match at Raton, New Mexico has concluded. Bryan Litz provided this quick wrap-up last evening: “Just a short time to report the winners before heading to the awards dinner. Larry Bartholome won F-Open, Trudie Fay won F-TR, and Nancy Tompkins won the sling class. The match came down to the last relay at 1000 yards. The photo at right shows a common result in the switching winds. Lots of target uprights were damaged and shooters grateful for hanging a six by half an inch! Congratulations to all competitors for persevering [in] Raton’s difficult conditions!”

Below are match photos taken by Bryan Litz. You’ll find more Spirit of America Match photos on the Applied Ballistics Facebook Page.

2012 Spirit of America match

2012 Spirit of America match

2012 Spirit of America match

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February 7th, 2012

Read About F-Class and Field Target Comps in Shooting Sports USA

ssusa F-Class ChampionshipPast F-Open Class National Champion (and Forum Member) Larry Bartholome, has authored an authoritative article on the 2011 F-Class National Championship held last fall in Lodi, Wisconsin. Larry writes: “With a wind tunnel for a range, and rain that canceled the final team match, only the strongest stood on the winners’ podium when the Championships ended”. Larry provides a day-by-day guide to the match, with complete results for both F-Open and F-TR classes. You’ll find Larry’s article in the February 2012 edition of Shooting Sports USA.

You can read, for FREE, the digital version of Shooting Sports USA. CLICK HERE to read Larry’s article (pp. 20-22). Along with the report on the F-Class Nationals, there are many other items of interest in the February edition of Shooting Sports USA. You’ll find a 14-page 2012 Event Calendar that covers NRA competitions all across the country.

ssusa F-Class Championship

Field Target Air RifleIn addition, this month’s edition features a well-written, 4-page Guide to Field Target Competition by Jock Elliot. Field Target is a form of outdoor silhouette shooting using high-tech PCP Air Rifles with high-magnification scope. Check out the special Marauder Hybrid bullpup used by Team Crosman member Ray Apelles in the photo below. These high-end rigs are not cheap. A “full-race” Open Class Field Target rifle can cost up to $3000.00 with another $1000.00-$3000.00 for optics.

field Target air rifle

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September 18th, 2011

2011 Spirit of America Results from Raton, NM

September 11-17, the Bald Eagles Rifle Club hosted the 2011 Spirit Of America rifle match, at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM. This match serves as U.S. National Fullbore Championships, but there are also F-Class divisions. The match consists of conventional sling (TR) class, as well as F-Open and F-TR, and the event is shot at distances of 300, 500, 600, 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Approximately 80 shooters, including about 20 F-classer attended the event.

Bryan Litz won the Fullbore TR (sling) competition with a 1782-105X overall score, with runner-up Andrew Wilde (1780-101X), just two points behind. Sean Morris finished third with 1776-85X, and Jim O’Connell shot 1772-81X to claim the High Senior title.

F-Class SOA Bryan Litz Fullbore
Photo by Randy Pike

In F-Open Class, familiar names topped the leaderboard. Larry Bartholome earned his chair ride as F-Open winner, shooting an impressive 1776-98X. Second in F-Open, five points back at 1771-96X, was past F-Class National Champion Danny Biggs. In the F-TR division, Michael Smith topped the field with a 1738-69X, followed by John Killen, who shot a 1720-52X. NOTE: F-Open and F-TR competitors shoot a target with smaller-diameter scoring rings than the Fullbore Target.

F-Class SOA larry Bartholome michael smith

Conditions Were Mild… Then Wild
Bryan Litz tells us the conditions weren’t so bad … until the final day: “We dodged some rain throughout the week, but wind conditions were easy to moderate for the most part. That is until the last 1000-yard string of the last day when Raton finally showed its evil side! The most wind I had used all week was just over 3 MOA. That last relay on Saturday, it was running between 7 and 12 MOA with very quick changes. There were many misses, and just keeping all shots in the black was an accomplishment.” Rick Hunt concurred that the conditions were arduous on the final 1K stage: “At 1000 yards, there was a 9:00 o’clock wind running between 9 1/2 and 13 1/2 MOA. As seen by the scores, two shooters really nailed it. Other than that, it was pretty disastrous for most shooters with the really fast velocity changes.”

Raton New Mexico

When the smoke had cleared, the standings were all jumbled up compared to what they were the rest of the week. Litz added: “An experience like that really drives home the importance of wind shooting skills. To be honest, I had no particular strategy going in other than to stay calm and positive no matter what. A big part of shooting in adverse conditions is managing yourself mentally. I dropped 10 points that last relay, more than I’d lost in the entire tournament up to that point. But given the conditions, I felt good about it, knowing I’d done my best.”

Berger 155gr Hybrids Work Well in Fullbore Competition
Bryan Litz credits his 155gr Berger .308-cal Hybrids for his strong performance: “I was shooting the new Berger 155 grain Hybrid bullets which played a part in saving some points in that nasty wind (on the last day). Due to their length, these bullets require a 1:12″ twist to stabilize and have a higher BC than any other .30 caliber 155 grain bullet. The hybrid ogive makes them length tolerant (insensitive to seating depth) and as the results of this tournament show, they are very effective”.

Complete Final Scores On SOA Blog
You’ll find complete interim and final SOA Match Scores linked from the Bald Eagles Match Blog.

Saturday and Final TR (Fullbore Sling) Class (PDF).

Saturday and Final F-Open and F-TR Class Results (PDF).

At the match the USA Young Eagles unveiled the new uniforms the American team will wear at the World Fullbore Championships in Australia next month. On opposite sleeves, the uniforms feature logos from both major bullet sponsors — Berger and Sierra. Bryan Litz observerd: “Historically teams have been sponsored by ‘one or the other’, but there’s no reason a team can’t enjoy sponsorship by multiple brands, and this is a very positive step in that direction.”

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