August 12th, 2020

Go Low: Extreme Low-Profile F-TR Rifles from Pierce Engineering

F-TR Scoville Stock F-Class Rifle

One recent trend in F-TR competition is the use of low-profile, benchrest-type stocks shot with a light hand-hold and little or no face contact. For this method of F-TR shooting to work, you need the right equipment, and practice a “minimalist” shooting technique. One of the pioneers in this style of F-TR shooting is action-maker John Pierce of Pierce Engineering. Above you can see John shooting one of his F-TR rifles at the 2015 Canadian F-Class Championships. Note the straight-line stock and see how the adjustable bipod is set quite low to the ground (in fact the bipod’s arms are almost straight out).

F-TR Scoville Stock F-Class Rifle

Members of the Michigan F-TR Team, including Bryan Litz, have used similar rigs with success. Bryan said it took a while to adapt his shooting technique to this kind of rig, but there is a pay-off. Armed with a Pierce-built F-TR rifle, Bryan won his first-ever F-TR Match. Bryan explains the technique he uses when shooting this kind of rifle:

“Coming over from sling shooting, I knew there would be unique challenges to F-TR which I wanted to learn prior to (not during) a major tournament. I learned a new shooting position which doesn’t involve drawing the right knee up. For F-TR I get more straight behind the gun rather than at an angle. I found that the rifle shoots best with very light cheek, shoulder and grip pressure, approaching free recoil. This is how Eric Stecker shot his similar rifle into second place in the SW Nationals [with high X-Count by a large margin]. I learned the rifle’s sensitivity to different bipod and rear bag supports, and found the best buttplate position to allow the rifle to track and stay on target after recoil. This set-up shot best with a mostly free-recoil approach, that means ‘hovering’ over the comb, rather than resting your head on the stock. This took some ‘getting used to’ in terms of neck and back muscle tone. These are the kind of details I think it’s important to focus on when entering a new discipline.”

Bryan’s Pierce-built F-TR rig is a tack-driver: “I can certainly vouch for this set-up! In [a 2015] mid-range State Championship in Midland, MI, I shot my Pierce rifle into first place with a 598-44X (20 shots at 300, 500 and 600). Once you get used to the positioning and way of shooting these rifles, they just pour shots through the center of the target.”

Pierce F-TR Rifles with Scoville Stocks
Shown below are three complete Pierce F-TR rifles, along with a barreled action for comparison. The carbon-fiber/composite stocks are built by Bob Scoville. These Scoville stocks are very light, yet very strong and very stiff.

F-TR Scoville Stock F-Class Rifle

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December 20th, 2016

New Kestros F-Class Open Stock from McMillan

McMillan F-Open F-Class Kestros Long Wheelbase Boyd Allen
Click Image for full-screen version of photo

F-Class has become one of the fastest-growing types of mid-range and long-range rifle competition. Because of that popularity, a market for specialty equipment has been created, including stocks. McMillan Fiberglass Stocks offers a variety of stocks for both F-TR and F-Open disciplines. Shown above and below is the new Kestros*, McMillan’s upgraded, second-generation F-Open stock. This is an impressive offering, with good stiffness, a torque-taming low-profile design, and good adjustability for the shooter. Our friend Boyd Allen had the chance to test drive a Kestros recently.

McMillan F-Open F-Class Kestros Long Wheelbase Boyd Allen

McMillan Kestros “First Look” Range Review by Boyd Allen
McMillan’s first-generation F-Open stock was well-received, and this new GEN II Kestros includes some significant improvements, making it even better. To achieve increased stiffness, the fore-end was filled out and its fill density was increased. (F-Open rifles have a rather generous 22-lb. weight limit, so the slight increase in stock weight should not be a problem.)

Because F-Open Shooters typically shoot long, heavy bullets through fast-twist barrels, torque control is an issue, which is why the base of the front section of the fore-end is close to the barrel. This low-profile design counters torque. By maximizing the angle defined by the bottom corners of the stock and the bore’s centerline, this stock geometry increases resistance to roll.

McMillan F-Open F-Class Kestros Long Wheelbase Boyd Allen

As tested, this Kestros stock features a nice three-way adjustable butt, as well as an adjustable cheek piece. Symmetrical palm swells and the symmetrical cheek piece make the stock truly ambidextrous. We believe that the cheekpiece locking knob can be switched to either side, adapting to both lefties and righties.

Comments by Tester Boyd Allen
Wanting some visual pop for pictures, and knowing that this was to be a range-only rifle, I ordered a tri-color flame pattern gel coat, the most durable of stock finishes, because it is part of the stock rather than being an applied, surface-only finish.

McMillan has been in the stock business for a long time, and when you sit down behind this one, you understand why. This company really knows what it is doing. The Kestros is a real pleasure to shoot, tracking perfectly. As the saying goes, it falls readily to hand.

My test Kestros stock came very accurately CNC-inletted for my action, with the optional aluminum pillars. The fit is so good that I am doing a full load work-up before doing final bedding, so I can see just how much (if any) bedding improves accuracy. For this test I have chosen a 6PPC barrel (yes it does look short with this stock.) because it will allow me to make finer distinctions in this area. Later I will be working with other calibers (and longer barrels). So far I have been very impressed with this stock — ergonomics, tracking, stability, build quality, and inletting have all been excellent.

* The original Kestros (aka “Kestrosphendone” or “Cestrus”) was an ancient Greek military weapon, a type of sling used to hurl heavy, arrow-like finned projectiles.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review 1 Comment »
August 27th, 2016

New Kestro F-Open Stock from McMillan

Kestro F-Class f-Open stock long range low profile Low boy

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks is introducing a new F-Class Open Division stock. This offers a low profile fore-end and parallel geometry for improved tracking. This is similar to McMillan’s previous F-Open stock, but with important enhancements. Here is Kelly McMillan’s report:

“Our new Kestro is … made specifically for F-Class Open competition. Notice we have kept the low profile fore-end while increasing the mass and rigidity. The fore-end is not only ‘dead nuts’ in line with the butt stock, but it is also on an exactly parallel plane so when it recoils there is no rise or lateral shift in the cross hairs.

Kestro F-Class f-Open stock long range low profile Low boy

This model comes with an integral adjustable cheek-piece and can have our standard buttplate or our lightweight 3-way adjustable butt plate. My estimation is that this stock will weigh as light as 4.5 pounds fully dressed, or as much as 8 pounds depending on what you need.

Kestro F-Class f-Open stock long range low profile Low boy

We are currently working on the cheek-piece free model for those of you who don’t put your face on the stock. One more thing, this color combination we call a Tiger Stripe Maple.” Editor’s NOTE: Though “maple” is in the stock color name, this is a reinforced fiberglass stock, not wood.

Permalink Competition, New Product 1 Comment »
April 14th, 2016

Master Class Low-Profile F-Open Stock by Bernosky

Master Class F-Open low profile Stock Carl Bernosky

Most shooters know Carl Bernosky as a 10-time National High Power Rifle champion. But you may not realize that Carl is also a very talented stock-maker and rifle-builder. Carl crafts a wide variety of wood and wood laminate stocks for competition as well as hunting. He also crafts many stocks for Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks.

Master Class Low-Profile F-Open Stock
Here is a new Master Class Low-Profile F-Open Stock crafted by Carl Bernosky. It is made from a Cherry/Maple wood laminate. This design features a railed fore-end along with a flat, parallel toe for improved tracking and stability on the bags. The front section of the fore-arm has a low profile. This allows the barrel bore axis to ride lower. That helps reduce hop and helps the gun recoil straight back. For more information on this low-profile F-Open stock design, visit Carl Bernosky’s Facebook Page and MasterClassStocks.com.

Master Class F-Open low profile Stock Carl Bernosky

Note that the stock maintains full depth under the action and quite a few inches forward of the action. This smart design feature is very important. We have seen other low-profile stock designs that can flex or “hinge” forward of the action because there’s not enough wood material there. In fact, the only part of the stock that needs a cut-down profile is the front 10″ or so, where the stock actually rides the front bag.

Master Class F-Open low profile Stock Carl Bernosky

This particular stock features a “pop-off” magnetic cheekpiece, as well as a buttplate that adjusts for Length of Pull (LOP) via spacers. The action is by Pierce Engineering. This and other Master Class Stock designs can be customized with other features on request.

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July 29th, 2010

New Ballard-Designed F-TR Stock from Precision Rifle & Tool

F-TR lowboy gunstockCharles Ballard, two-time U.S. F-class Open Champion, has been working with Precision Rifle & Tool on a new F-TR (Target Rifle) stock. Charles designed the stock to combine the adjustability of the better F-Open designs with a nice rigid fore-end for bipod use. Charles has shot the new stock in competition and he says it tracks really well. When fitted with a wide-base bipod, the stock is super-stable, with minimal hop on recoil.

The new stock is officially called the “Ballard LowBoy F-Class Target Rifle (F-TR) Stock”. This new design is available immediately, in a variety of laminated colors, starting at $325.00 (without hardware). The stock can be inletted for Rem 700 actions, Rem 700 clones, the Savage Target Action, and most custom actions.

Key Features of the new Ballard F-TR stock are:

  • Extended front to provide proper balance with long barrels.
  • Low profile design for a lower, more stable center of gravity.
  • Buttstock has a 1/2″ machined flat on the bottom and angled sides to provide superior tracking in the rear bag.
  • Buttstock has a slight angle to allow minor elevation adjustments.
  • Optional adjustable buttplate and optional adjustable cheekpiece.

F-TR lowboy gunstock

Stock Delivery Options Dictate the Price
Precision Rifle & Tool can deliver the Ballard LowBoy F-TR in any state of completion the customer desires. The basic stock costs $325, inletted for your action, but unfinished and without hardware. Complete with removable/adjustable cheekpiece, and adjustable buttplate, the stock costs $900.00 ready to be bedded and finished. Clear-coating or oil finish is available at extra cost.

YouTube Preview Image

In the video, Charles Ballard gives you a “walk-around” of the stock and explains the stock’s design features. The high-tech, carbon fiber bipod is made by Center Shot Engineering in Oregon. For more info, or to order a Ballard LowBoy F-TR stock, visit PrecisionRifleSales.com, or call (336) 516-5132. Charles Ballard himself can talk you through the options.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 2 Comments »