September 26th, 2018

Hail the Champions: 2018 F-Class Nationals at Raton, NM

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua
The winning Klemm clan. Ian Klemm won his Second Straight F-TR National Championship last week. Here he is with parents Karen and Ken Klemm. Father Ken also competed at the Nationals, shooting great in both individual and team events.

The 2018 F-Class Nationals recently concluded at Raton, NM. The event was well-attended, with excellent turn out for both the Mid-Range and Long-Range cycles. The weather was variable, with wet but very calm conditions to start the 1000-yard match, resulting in new F-TR and F-Open National Records being set for 20-shot strings.

Long-Range F-Nationals Results | Mid-Range F-Nationals Results

Congratulations to the new F-Class Champions. Ian Klemm shot great to win the F-TR National Championship. This was the second straight F-TR title for Ian, who also won at Lodi, Wisconsin in 2017.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team LapuaIt was a family affair this year for the Klemm clan. Ian’s father, Ken Klemm, finished third among High Masters, and also nailed the highest score among ALL shooters in the 1000-Yard F-TR team match. Well done father and son! Mike Plunkett finished second, while also setting a new F-TR record, 200-16X, also matched by Ray Gross.

Winning F-TR Rifle and Load:
Ian Klemm’s winning .308 Win featured a Kelbly Panda action, 30″ Bartline 1:10″-twist barrel, and McMillan X-IT left-hand stock. Ian used a Vortex 15-60X52mm Golden Eagle scope (as did runner-up Ted Plunkett). Ian loaded Berger 200.20X Hybrid bullets in Lapua brass with Vihtavuori N140 powder and CCI BR4s. MV is 2680 FPS.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua

Ian, who won his first title last year in Lodi, Wisconsin, said this year was tougher. To travel down to New Mexico and win at Raton was very satisfying — as I had to come from behind.” Ian told us: “This Championship was especially difficult as a particularly strong challenger [and new 1000-yard record-holder] Mike Plunkett had earned an early lead and I would have to make up 6 points in the final day to win. Fortunately, the Range at Raton saved some of its most challenging conditions for the final match of the championship. This gave me the right amount of wind to work with. The Vortex Golden Eagle HD scope showed the mirage I needed in order to make timely wind-hold decisions.”

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua

In the F-Open division, Norm Harrold of Team McMillan shot great from the start, topping the field to win the F-Open division. Tom was shooting a .284 Shehane cartrdige in the new McMillan Kestros stock. Our buddy Erik Cortina interviewed Norm in this video, starting at 00:15:

Interview with F-Open Champ Norm Harrold at 00:15:

Team Competition Champions

In Team competition, Team X-Men won the 1000-Yard F-TR Team Title, with a 1568-61X score. Members shown are: Alan Barhardt, Tracy Hogg, Ian Klemm, Ken Klemm, Matt Schwartzkopf, Phil Kelley (Captain), James E Crofts (Coach). In second place was Team McMillan with 1553-53X: Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers, Jeff Rorer, Brad Sauve, John Droelle (Captain), Ray Gross (Coach).

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua

In F-Open Division, Team Grizzly won the 1000-Yard Team Championship with a 1580-81X score, edging runner up Team Lapua-Brux-Borden by two points (1578-81X). Here are the team members, with Grizzly President Shiraz Balolia top left and coach Trudie Fay in the middle.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua
Team Grizzly: Shiraz Balolia, Emil Kovan, David Mann, John Myers, Trudie Fay (Coach).

Team Pierce Engineering won the F-TR Mid-Range Team event. Team members included: Doug Boyer, Josh Moore, Richard Nixon, John Roethlisberger, Coach Tom Majewski.

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden captured the F-Open Mid-Range Championship with a strong performance. Team “LBB” shot well, to earn a second straight Mid-Range National Title, and grab second (Silver) at Long Range. Team member Jay Christopherson praised his team-mates and also gave credit to his rivals: “Team Grizzly was outstanding for the LR Open Gold”.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua
Team LBB: Jay Christopherson, Erik Cortina, Tom Hendricks, Pat Scully, Coach Bob Sebold.

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September 7th, 2016

Shiraz “Three-Peats” in Canada — Wins 3rd Straight F-Open Title

Shiraz Balolia Bullets.com .300 WSM F-Open Connaught Ranges Ottawa Ontario Canada

Grizzly Industrial and Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia pulled off a stunning feat of marksmanship recently, winning his third straight F-Open title at the Canadian F-Class National Championships. It wasn’t easy — conditions were tough, as was the competition — there were top shooters from around the world, including many past U.S. Champions. Shiraz had a slim, one-point lead after Day 2, but Balolia ended up tied on total points (and V-Count) with Emil Kovan at the end of the third and final day. But when the cards were compared, a string of Vs on Day 3 secured Shiraz the win via tie-breaker. Thus Shiraz achieved the memorable “three-peat”, winning Canada’s 2016 F-Open National Championship to complement his 2015 and 2014 victories.

Three-Peat at Connaught — 2016 F-Open Canadian Championship

by Shiraz Balolia
Shiraz Balolia Bullets.com .300 WSM F-Open Connaught Ranges Ottawa Ontario CanadaThis trip to Ottawa for the Canadian National Championship was a specially important one. The U.S. Team tryout process and practice was to take place for two days prior to the National Championship as the next F-Class World Championship is going to be held in Ottawa in August of 2017.

Connaught Range is a fantastic range that is very well run. Pullers are provided as part of your entry fee and matches are run at different times of the day, even into the evening. The flags are heavier than the ones we use in USA and are notorious for lying to the shooter. Matches are shot in pair firing mode which means one shooter takes a shot and the other scores. You cannot simply rattle off a shot as soon as the target comes up.

Crazy Hot Conditions at the Connaught Range
The first day the winds were mild, but tricky and the temperature was 102° F. I had never shot in such weather and ended up in the 6th place for the day. The second day had several matches at 900 meters and the wind picked up, with a 105° F recorded temperature, causing havoc with everyone. In one of my matches at 900 meters I took my two sighters and my first shot for record was a 3 (equivalent to an 8 in USA). To top it off I shot another 3 a few shots later. Liar, Liar, flags on fire! Anyway, I dropped 7 points in that match only to find out some very good shooters had dropped over 10! I moved to top position for the two-day Aggregate.

The third and final day was one string of 20 shots with shooters squadded by their two-day Aggregate ranking. So I was paired with Emil Kovan, while the third position shooter was paired with the fourth-ranking shooter et cetera. We all shot in identical conditions.

Après Moi, le Déluge — Not Your Gentle Drizzle
Then came a vicious rainstorm. We waited out the storm for two hours before we shot. The rain was really, really nasty and coming down really hard. We were all huddled under the U.S. Open Team’s tent.

Shiraz and Emil Battle to the End…
Finally, after the long delay, we got back to the firing line. And it went down to the wire. Emil shot a 100 with 3 Vs and I shot a 99 with 12 Vs. When the dust settled, we ended up with the same score and total V-Count (611-61V). The tie would be resolved by a “count-back” procedure. I had a stack of Vs at the end of my string and that won the match. What a fight!

Shiraz Balolia Bullets.com .300 WSM F-Open Connaught Ranges Ottawa Ontario Canada

Shiraz told us that this third championship was the toughest: “A while back, I had rotator cuff surgery on my shooting arm and had not shot a match in 9 months. I barely was able to test loads for three weeks before I shipped my ammo and did not know what to expect.” He says that winning “did not even sink in for a few days and looking back, I think this will be something I will cherish forever.”

Shiraz’s win came against very tough competition. Shiraz notes: “The whole U.S. Team, the whole Canadian Team, many South Africans, Germans, British, Ukrainians and others were present. We had several past US National Champions present as well and it was a great honor to shoot with all of them.”

Shiraz F-Class
Note: This is a photo from 2013, there may be slight changes in the rifle.

The rifle features a BAT Machine ‘M’ action, with a 31″, 1:10″-twist Bartlein barrel. 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 Master Class Stocks. Shiraz customized the stock with finger grooves, fore-end channel, and a bottom rear slide. Shiraz did the final stock finishing as well.

Gun Components

BAT Machine Action
Master Class Stock, modified by Shiraz
Bartlein Barrel, 1:10″ Twist, 31 inches long
Fitted Barrel Harmonic Tuner
March 10-60x Scope with fine crosshair and 3/32″ dot

Caliber & Load

.300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM)
215gr Berger Hybrid bullets, 2870 FPS
Norma .300 WSM Cases
H4831SC Powder
Tula (Russian) Primers

NOTE: Shiraz was not running anywhere near max: “I chose a light load for Ottawa due to the range limits as my other accurate node is 100 FPS faster and almost at the range limit.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 3 Comments »
August 15th, 2016

Chou Brothers Top F-TR Field at Canadian Championships

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Kevin Chou Will Chou Shiraz Balolia F-TR F-Open

It was a family affair in the F-TR Division at the Canadian F-Class Championships this past week. In a remarkable show of strength, Kevin and Will Chou, brothers from Aurora, Canada, finished first and second, topping a strong 94-shooter field that included past American and Canadian Champions. The “Chou One-Two” performance was one for the ages. Kevin finished first with 611-61V (“V” is the equivalent of an “X” in the USA), while Will (2014 Champion) scored 607-58V to finish second. A full thirteen points behind Will was third place Daniel Lentz at 594-34V.

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Kevin Chou Will Chou Shiraz Balolia F-TR F-Open

Look hard at those numbers — Champion Kevin Chou was 17 points ahead of Daniel Lentz (the first American), with nearly double Dan’s V-Count. 17 points is a huge margin in this kind of competition. You have to hand it to the both Chou Brothers, Kevin and Will — they were “on fire” this past week at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario. Kevin’s 611-61V equaled the top score in the F-Open division. That’s a major milestone for the F-TR bipod class shooting a .308 Win.

1. CHOU, KEVIN (Aurora, ON, Canada) 611-61V
2. CHOU, WILL (Aurora, ON, Canada) 607-58V
3. LENTZ, DANIEL(USA) 594-34V
4. HOGG, TRACY (USA) 593-41V
5. BURTON, ROBBY (USA) 591-44V

The F-TR event attracted top shooters from around the globe. Countries represented were: Australia, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States. CLICK HERE for Complete F-Class Individual Results.

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Kevin Chou Will Chou Shiraz Balolia F-TR F-Open

Kevin Chou Rifle Specs
BAT Machine M action, RB/RP
Bartlein barrel 300×308 1:10″ 5R Heavy Palma 29” finished
Jewell trigger
Robertson Composites stock (Warner model)
Nightforce NXS 5-22×56 with mirage cap by Kreativ Solutions
Duplin bipod
Edgewood Mini Gator Rear Bag, extra short, slick ears

Will Chou Rifle Specs
Stolle Panda F-Class, RB/RP
Bartlein barrel 300×308 1:10″ 5R Heavy Varmint 30 1/2” finished
Mike Ezell Tuner
Jewell Trigger
Master class stock (Warner model)
March Tactical 2.5-25x52mm with modifier disk
Duplin bipod
Edgewood Mini Gator Rear Bag, extra short, slick ears

Kevin Chou Load Data
Berger 200 Hybrids, .010″ jam
Hodgdon Varget, 44.2 grains, 2660 fps
Lapua .308 Win Palma brass, skim turned to .0145″, .002″ neck tension.
CCI BR4 primers

Will Chou Load Data
Berger 200gr hybrids, .010″ jam
Hodgdon Varget, 44.2 grains, 2660 fps
Lapua .308 Win Palma brass, skim turned to .0145″, .002″ neck tension.
CCI BR4 primers

Report from the Canadian F-TR Championships

by Will Chou and Kevin Chou
Weather was extremely hot and humid for the first two days, resulting in thick mirage, a excellent indicator. In the Army & Navy match during the F-Open relay, wind velocity increased and shifted from right full value to left half value winds. Wind settled down for the last match of the day.

On the third day, mainly team matches, the rain challenged the marking staff with target faces deteriorating; a stop was called to the match after the 1st relay of the final. The match committee determined the best course of action, refaced the target during dry period and finished the remaining seeded final relays.

On the seeded final relay, my brother and I had no idea we’d be shooting together, as we’ve not discussed or paid any attention to scores for the entire match. It was a familiar position though, as we always practice paired together. Strangely, we’re not competitive with each other but rather assist one another to raise the level together. Come to think of it, that’s not just with my brother — we do that with everyone.

On that note, we feel the F-Class community has been raising each others level, bridging the gap between F-Open and F-TR. International teams have been assisting each other, most recently with Canadians and South Africans. Congratulations to South Africa for its well-deserved victory in the International Team Match.

We also congratulate the USA Team, which won the America Team Match, raising the bar yet again. Lastly, Shiraz Balolia’s “three-peat” in the F-Open Division was an incredible feat.

Big thanks to everyone at Bartlein barrels for their support to the Canadian F-Class team. Special thanks to Dan Pohlabel of Kreativ Solutions for the mirage cap, which allowed a better aim in thick mirage. Lastly, Clint Cooper of Duplin bipods, for the great product and his support.

Thank you all and we hope to see you on the firing line.


Shiraz Wins Third Canadian F-Open Championship in a Row: 2016, 2015, 2014
Grizzly Industrial President Shiraz Balolia pulled off a remarkable F-Open “THREE-PEAT” at the 2016 Canadian F-Class Championships. Shiraz won his third straight Canadian F-Class Championship, after winning the title in 2015 and 2014. Shiraz shot a 611-61V to edge, by way of tie-breaker, fellow American Emil Kovan, who also shot a 611-61V. That’s as close as it gets! Rounding out the podium in third place was another Yank, Dwayne Draggoo with 608-44V.

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Kevin Chou Will Chou Shiraz Balolia F-TR F-Open

Stay tuned — We’ll have a full report on Shiraz’s notable three-peat F-Open performance (with his equipment and load details) later this week. We’ll also have reports on the Team competitions. There were three teams of 8 shooters taking part in the International, won by South Africa. In the Lum Trophy Match for teams of 4 shooters, there were 14 teams in the F-Open class, win by USFO Blue, and 11 teams in F-TR, won by USA Schwartzkopf.

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August 10th, 2016

Canadian F-Class National Championships Commence

Canada Canadian F-Class Championships Connaught Ontario Canada F-TR F-Open

Many of the world’s best F-Class shooters have traveled to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada this week to compete at the Canadian F-Class National Championships. F-Open ace Shiraz Balolia, who won back-to-back Canadian F-Open Championships in 2015 and 2014, will pursue a “three-peat” at Canada’s Connaught Ranges. There will be plenty of F-TR talent on hand as well, including Bryan Litz, reigning U.S. Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR Champion. The first challenge for the shooters will be the weather, which can be notoriously wet and windy at Connaught. The weather forecast looks good for today and tomorrow, but thunderstorms (and rain) are predicted for Friday and Saturday.

Get Ready for the Thunderstorms…
Canada Canadian F-Class Championships Connaught Ontario Canada F-TR F-Open
Weather.com 5-Day Forecast. CLICK HERE for update.

U.S. F-TR Rifle Team Prepares for the Canadian Championships:

Canada Canadian F-Class Championships Connaught Ontario Canada F-TR F-Open

Shown above is the U.S. F-TR Rifle Team, which will compete in the F-TR division. In the America Match, teams from Canada, South Africa, and the United States will battle head-to-head for national honors.

Many Companies Help Sponsor U.S. F-TR Rifle Team
It takes significant resources to field a large shooting team in international competition. The U.S. F-TR Rifle team is fortunate to have many great sponsors helping the team with equipment and financial support. The team’s top-level “Gold Medal” sponsors, are, in alphabetical order: Berger Bullets, Gemtech, Kelbly’s, McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Nightforce Optics, Pierce Engineering, and 5.11 Tactical. CLICK HERE for a list of all sponsors.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, News 1 Comment »
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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October 31st, 2015

X-Men and Team Grizzly Win F-Class National Championships

2015 F-Class national championship X-Men Team Grizzly ben avery

We have two new National Champion F-Class Teams. At the 2015 Long-Range Team Championships in Phoenix yesterday, Team Grizzly won the F-Open Division while the X-Men team secured the F-TR Title. The teams had to deal with tough conditions, requiring wind coaches to bring their “A Game”. James Crofts of the X-Men said: “The highest level of winds in recent nationals memory greeted all on the line today.” And Shiraz Balolia, who finished with the highest score (395-17X) among all shooters, observed: “High winds in the second match really made a huge difference in scores.”

Team Grizzly Wins 2015 F-Open Long-Range National Championship
Team Grizzly finished first in the F-Open Division with a 1560-49X score. In second, nine points back with 1551-49X, was the Tex-Mex Squad, while local favorites the Wide Nines team finished third with 1548-45X. Team Grizzly’s 9-point winning margin was impressive — Leo Ahern joked that: “9 points is more like a spanking than a win!”

Team Grizzly Captain Shiraz Balolia had the top score (395-17X) of all shooters participating in the team event. (This is a file photo from previous match).
2015 F-Class national championship X-Men Team Grizzly ben avery

Team Grizzly’s Captain Shiraz Balolia said: “My hat is off to our coach, Trudie Fay, who has coached and won us the last three consecutive Team matches at the National Championships. I have been fortunate to have been a shooter and Captain of all three gold medal wins, three years in a row, one with Team USA and two with Team Grizzly. Trudie did a great job and my Team gun just hammered!” Along with Faye and Balolia, Team members included Kenny Adams, Emil Kovan, and John Myers.

2015 F-Class national championship X-Men Team Grizzly ben avery

X-Men Team Tops F-TR Field
Hail the Orange and Green invaders. The X-Men are the 2015 US Long Range National F-TR Champions. The Team included shooters Tracy Hogg, Phil Kelley, Ian Klemm, and Dan Lentz, along with Wind Coach James Crofts and Captain Ken Klemm. Crofts said: “Big thanks to our remaining X-men teammates Joseph Conley, Mike Hardy, and Radoslaw Czupryna. Special thanks to Ray Bowman as we were all shooting PR&T hammers. We have great respect for Team Sinclair (that has motivated us for a long time) and Team Michigan, our friends from up North. Today was a good day!”

All four X-Men rifles featured Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) Low Boy stocks. PR&T’s Ray Bowman observed: “Ian Klem built his rifle on our stock, PR&T stocked Dan Lentz’s rifle and we built Phil Kelley’s and Tracy Hogg’s “HAMMER” rifles.” Gunsmith Ryan Pierce chambered two of the X-Men barrels.

It was sunny but quite windy on Friday for the Team Match (Sherri Judd Photo).
2015 F-Class national championship X-Men Team Grizzly ben avery

Finishing second in the F-TR division was the Michigan Rifle Team, winners of the Mid-Range F-TR National Championship. The Team was coached by newly-crowned, Mid-Range F-TR Nat’l Champ Bryan Litz. Shooters include Doug Boyer, Jim Grissom, Bill Litz (Bryan’s father), and gunsmith John Pierce. Grissom shot a great match, finishing with 385-12X, but it was not enough to carry the Michiganders to victory. The squad finished with 1524-29X, six points behind the winning X-Men (1530-33X). Team Sinclair placed third with 1512-35X.

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »
August 17th, 2015

Yanks Win Gold at Canadian F-Class Nationals

Canada Canadian F-Class F-TR Championship James Crofts Shiraz Balolia Team USA

The Canadian F-Class Championships took place last week at the Connaught Range outside Ottawa, Ontario. American shooters performed well, taking top honors in both the F-Open and F-TR divisions. In the F-Open class, Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia won his second straight Canadian National Championship (he also won in 2014). This year he was shooting a .300 WSM. The long, heavy .30-Cal bullets offer a ballistic advantage… IF you can handle the additional recoil. Shiraz told us: “This [match] was particularly challenging and satisfying as there were some incredible shooters from around the world including two World Champions, three U.S. National Champions, Canadian National Champions, British Champions, and European Champions shooting alongside me. It was an honor to shoot alongside the best shooters in the world.”

A large number of American shooters ventured to Ontario for the Canadian F-Class Championships.
Canada Canadian F-Class F-TR Championship James Crofts Shiraz Balolia Team USA

James Crofts shot consistently to win the F-TR division, and Paul Phillips finished second. Of Jim, the “man to beat” in F-TR, fellow competitor Tom Hittle said: “Congratulations to James Crofts for the overall win in TR. It was well deserved. Thank you for all the guidance and tips over the last couple of years.” After the match, James told us: “I want to thank a few companies that helped me get where I am. BRUX Barrels — I have now won three Nationals with Brux barrels. Jim Borden from Borden Actions — your action was smooth and precise. And Ray Bowman (PR&T) who, hands down, builds the best rifles available. I have used two different PR&T rifles to win U.S. F-TR Nationals. Proof is with the gold medals.”

In Team competition, a “dark horse” squad from North Carolina pulled off a real upset, taking Gold for the 4-man team event. The “Team NC” boys (James Hittle, Tom Hittle, Ed Shelley, and Greg Denekamp), benefited from good wind-calling by the Hittles plus some very accurate rifles. Tom Hittle remarked: “Ray Bowman of PR&T rifles were used by each team member. Thank you Ray for incredible-shooting hammers.”

Canada Canadian F-Class F-TR Championship James Crofts Shiraz Balolia Team USA

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May 28th, 2015

New Lever-Arm Precision Primer Press from Bullets.com

Bullets.com Grizzly Bald Eagle Precision Priming Primer tool press

Bullets.com has released a new, advanced handle-actuated primer seating device. Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia tells us: “We have designed a new bench-mounted Bald Eagle Primer Press. It seats primers very consistently and you can adjust the depth of the primer in .002″ increments. I have been using one for months. In fact, I used it for the Canada win and also during the Nationals last year where our Team won the National Championships.”

Bullets.com Grizzly Bald Eagle Precision Priming Primer tool press

(more…)

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January 21st, 2015

Norma to Make 6mm Dasher and .284 Win Brass for Bullets.com

Bullets.com has contracted with Norma to produce 1,000,000 pieces of .284 Winchester and 6mm Dasher brass (500,000 of each type). This is big news for competitive shooters. The .284 Win cartridge is a proven winner in F-Class competition and the 6 Dasher is a record-setting mid-range benchrest cartridge. It’s tough to beat the Dasher at 300-600 yards, and the .284 Win is probably the most successful cartridge for F-Open shooters.

Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia (left) and Norma Managing Director Paul-Erik Toivo “ink the deal”.
Bullets.com Norma .284 Winchester Dasher 6mm Brass contract order

Shooters should be excited about these new offerings. Bullets.com’s contract with Norma calls for advanced production methods to make sure the new brass is truly “match-grade” and long-lasting. To ensure that primer pockets stay tight for many firings, the caseheads on the new brass will be double-stamped for improved hardness and strength. Additionally the new brass will go through an additional draw stage to ensure ultra-uniform casewall thickness. With these extra manufacturing steps, this new 6mm Dasher and .284 Win brass should be the best brass Norma has ever produced, as Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia explains in the video below:

Shiraz Balolia Explains the Qualities of the New Brass

Shiraz reports: “Normally, Norma has about 25 steps of quality control (QC) during the production process of brass. They told us that our first shipments will have almost 30 steps to make sure that the brass is absolutely flawless when it leaves the factory.”

For illustration only — actual specifications may be slightly different.

6mm Dasher

Bullets.com Dasher 6mm 6 Norma brass Balolia Shiraz

.284 Winchester

Bullets.com Dasher 6mm 6 Norma brass Balolia Shiraz

6mm dasher brass6mm Dasher without Fire-Forming Hassles
Until now, if you wanted to shoot a Dasher, you had to go through the time-consuming and laborious process of forming brass from the parent 6mmBR Norma case. You had to blow the shoulder forward, either through fire-forming or hydro-forming. Now that’s all changed — you will soon be able to take perfect 6mm Dasher brass out of the box, and “load and shoot”.

The Deal is done. New Norma .284 Win brass will start arriving in the USA in March, 2015, while the new Dasher brass is expected in late summer 2015.
balnorma02

IMPORTANT — The above diagrams were made 4 years ago with QuickDESIGN. They are for illustration purposes ONLY. These are NOT reamer prints, and there may be small differences compared to the Norma .284 Win and 6mm Dasher brass ordered by Bullets.com. Do NOT spec reamers based on the above illustrations. Wait ’til we have the actual Norma brass to measure.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 24 Comments »
August 20th, 2014

Championship F-Class Form — Shiraz Shows How It’s Done

Shiraz Balolia F-classAt the Canadian F-Class Championships last week Shiraz Balolia won the F-Open Individual Championship, and Shiraz was a member of the winning Team USA America Match Team, and the winning USA 4-man F-Open team. If you want to see how a world-class F-Open pilot works his magic, check out this video. After a discussion of scoring, the shooting starts at the five-minute mark in the video. Under the guidance of wind coach Gary Rasmussen, Grizzly Industrial President Shiraz Balolia shoots 100-7X for ten shots, following Gary’s wind calls.

NOTE: Shiraz shot with wind coaches in the team matches at the Connaught Range in Canada. However, during the individual championship matches he had to make his own wind calls, dialing windage corrections or holding off as he saw fit. It wasn’t easy. Shiraz told us: “It’s been a while since I had 5 1/2 minutes of left wind on my .300 WSM and was holding left 3+, then holding right 3 1/2 just two shots later!”

Pair Firing in Canada
According to Shiraz, “One thing that was different about the Canadian Nationals was that they were pair fired. One shoots, other scores, other shoots, and so on. With this slower, pair method of shooting, every shot can be in a different condition. Unlike the USA Nationals where a guy can rattle off the whole string in less than 4 to 5 minutes in one or two conditions, you would be hard pressed to get off two or three shots each in five minutes. This is the way the next World Championship is going to be shot — with pair firing.”

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).

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.”

At the Canadian Championships, Shiraz used a .300 WSM. In this demo video, 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

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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.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing 8 Comments »
February 7th, 2014

Team Grizzly Sets National Record at Berger SW Nationals

The wind gods smiled on the shooters at the Berger Southwest Nationals on Thursday. For most of the day, the wind flags were hanging straight down or barely moving. Many shooters managed to go through the 800-yard stage without dropping a point. Conditions got tougher for the 900-yard and 1000-yard stages but it was still a day of low winds and high scores.

F-Class Team Grizzly Shiraz Balolia

F-Class Team Grizzly Shiraz Balolia

Team Grizzly made the most of the good conditions in the F-Open Division. Coached by Trudie Fay, and anchored by 2013 World Champion Kenny Adams, the four-person team shot brilliantly, scoring 1786 with 104 Xs. That beats the existing 800/900/1000 Palma course National record by five (5) points and ten Xs. The previous record, 1781-94X, was set by Team Berger in 2008.

F-Class Team Grizzly Shiraz Balolia

During the match we had a chance to chat with Shiraz Balolia as he was getting his .300 WSM ready for the 1000-yard stage. Since stepping down as the captain of the USA F-Open Team, Shiraz had told us that he planned to shift his priorities, and devote more time to non-shooting activities. But here he was, back in the thick of competition. Shiraz smiled and said “You’re right, I was planning to get away from shooting a bit. But I just couldn’t miss this match … I guess I have the bug”. When a man’s this good at long-range shooting, you can’t keep him away from the firing line for long. Shiraz serves as Captain of Team Grizzly.

F-Class Team Grizzly Shiraz Balolia

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January 3rd, 2014

Rick Jensen Named Captain of U.S. F-Class Open Team

Shiraz Balolia has announced that Rick Jensen will take over the reins as Captain of the U.S. F-Class Open Team. Departing Captain Balolia deserves a great deal of praise for his hard work, dedication, and leadership of the team over recent seasons. Shiraz gave generously to the squad, in terms of both time and resources. Under his tutelage, the Open Team raised its standards of training and team-work. Shiraz will be a tough act to follow.

Rick Jensen USA U.S. F-Class team captainAbout Rick Jensen, New Team Captain
Rick Jensen lives in Claremore, Oklahoma with his wife Crystal and his daughters Riley and Zoey. He started shooting local F-Class matches at Tulsa Red Castle Gun Club in 2005. Since then he has competed at the National and International levels. Rick’s first Nationals were in Lodi, Wisconsin in 2008. In 2010, Rick was a member of the winning North America Shooters team at the 4-man National Championship Team matches in Sacramento. Rick has shot at two World Championshipse — the 2009 F-Class World Championships at Bisley, England, and the 2013 FCWC at Raton, NM.

Rick considers one of the most memorable highlights of his career to be in the summer of 2011 when, along with Team USA, Rick won a gold medal in a combined F-Open/F-TR match against Ireland for the Creedmoor Cup. He felt that this was truly a special trip that will never be forgotten, in part due to the cup’s special ceremonies. Rick is honored to be representing the United States as the new Captain of the U.S. F-Class Open Team.

Rick Jensen USA U.S. F-Class team captainShiraz tells us: “Yesterday marked my last day as Captain of The United States F-Class Open Rifle Team. I had indicated to the team several months back that I would not be able to continue serving as the Captain of the team due to time constraints.

I am pleased to state that the NRA has picked a very good replacement for our team. Starting today, Rick Jensen is the new F-Class Open Rifle Team Captain for the United States. Rick has been a member of the U.S. F-Open Team for over six years and knows many of the various functions associated with it. He will make a fine Captain. Please join me in congratulating Rick as the new Captain of our United States F-Open Team. Congratulations, Rick!

Personally, I will continue as a team member — doing whatever the Captain asks of me. I am actually looking forward to simply showing up and shooting or coaching at matches and various events.”

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
November 7th, 2013

Bullets.com — New Shooting Supplies and Accessories Webstore

Reloaders Rejoice! There’s a new source for bullets, brass, powder, and primers, as well as loaded ammunition. The all-new Bullets.com website offers all these products, plus reloading tools and dies, barrels, gun stocks, scopes, rings, shooting rests, range bags and much more. Primers, you need primers you say? Yes, Bullets.com currently has some types of CCI, Federal, and Remington primers in stock, including the hard-to-find CCI 450 small rifle magnum primers.

You definitely want to include Bullets.com among the vendors you visit when you need components and gun hardware. The new Bullets.com webstore will carry 8,000+ shooting-related products from over 50 top brands such as Lapua, Norma, Federal, CCI, Berger, Sierra, Berry’s, Bald Eagle, Bushnell, Hodgdon, Alliant, Nightforce, Kowa, Vortex, Winchester, MTM, Magpul and many more! Check out the website at www.bullets.com or call 1-800-235-0272 to get a free 60-page color catalog.

POWDERS IN STOCK — Among the popular powders in stock at Bullets.com today are:

  • Hodgdon H4895, Hodgdon H4350, Hodgdon H1000, Hodgdon Benchmark (all one-pounders)
  • IMR 4064, IMR 4198, IMR 4895, IMR 4350, IMR 7828 SSC (all one-pounders)
  • Ramshot Hunter, Winchester 748 (all one-pounders)

NOTE: Powders in stock as of 11/7/2013 at noon Pacific time, one-pound containers only. This is not a complete list. CLICK HERE to see entire Bullets.com Powder Inventory.

Bullets.com Grizzly Shiraz Balolia

Bullets.com carries projectiles from the leading bullet-makers including Berger, Lapua, Sierra, Speer, and Berrys. Yes Bullets.com has premium bullets in stock right now, including the hard-to-find Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid, and 7mm 180gr Hybrid. Grab ‘em while you can boys!

Along with reloading components, factory ammo, and reloading dies, you’ll find the hardware you need to build a complete rifle. Bullets.com caries Bartlein barrels (in a wide range of calibers and contours), laminated gun stocks, and a full line of optics, including Nightforce, Kowa, and Vortex rifle-scopes and spotting scopes.

Bullets.com Grizzly Shiraz Balolia

Who Are Those Guys? About Bullets.Com
Bullets.com Grizzly Shiraz BaloliaBullets.com was launched as a result of the intense passion for shooting by its President, Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz has been shooting pistols, rifles and shotguns for almost 40 years and has been involved in long range rifle shooting at the National and International level for almost 10 years. He served as the Captain of the U.S. F-Class Open Rifle Team for the 2013 World Championship and was a member of the 4-man team that won the 2013 Nat’l 1,000-yard Championship. He has won numerous gold medals in long range shooting and has set several National records.

Bullets.com is a division of Grizzly Industrial that was started by Mr. Balolia in 1983. During those 30 years, Grizzly became a powerhouse in the metalworking and woodworking machinery industry serving over a million regular customers and growing its warehouses with 1.2 million square feet of space in three states (WA, PA, MO).

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading 4 Comments »
August 19th, 2013

U.S. F-Class Championships Get Started in Raton, New Mexico

F-Class National Championships Raton New Mexico NM
The U.S. F-Class National Championships are underway at the Whittington Range in Raton, New Mexico. The event commenced yesterday with squadded practice. Today the first official matches started at 8:00 am, with threee 15-shot invidivual events at 1000-yards. The event is hosted at Raton by the Bald Eagle Rifle Club (BERC). CLICK HERE for match information.

U.S. National F-TR Team on Practice Day…
F-Class National Championships Raton New Mexico NM

Course of fire — Day One

  • Match 1: 1000-yard individual slow fire prone. Unlimited sighting shots and 15 shots for
    record in a time of 22 minutes.
  • Match 2: 1000-yard individual slow fire prone. Two (2) sighting shots and 15 shots for record in a time of 22 minutes.
  • Match 3: 1000-yard individual slow fire prone. Two (2) sighting shots and 15 shots for record in a time of 22 minutes.

Because the 2013 F-Class World Championships will be held at Raton immediately after the U.S. Nationals, many international shooters will be attending the U.S. Championships this week. The firing line definitely has a multi-national look this year. Below is U.S. F-Open National Team Captain Shiraz Balolia with a proud Canadian competitor. For once Shiraz may have been one-upped in the hatsmanship competition.

F-Class National Championships Raton New Mexico NM

Photos courtesy Shiraz Balolia and Team USA F-TR Rifle Team

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August 5th, 2013

‘World Championship’ Cartridge Caddies from Pistol Dynamics

The beautifully-made Pistol Dynamics (PD) Products Cartridge Caddy has become popular with many top shooters. USA F-Class Shooting Team members Shiraz Balolia, Kenny Adams and others rely on these caddies to access ammo and keep time. By providing a clear, unmistakable visual display of time remaining and rounds fired, these ammo caddies make life easier for shooter, scorer, and coach.

Pistol Dynamics PD Products Cartridge Caddy

To celebrate the 2013 F-Class World Championship in Raton, New Mexico this month, PD Products, through its Formula-F Division, has introduced a limited run of sequentially-numbered World Championship Caddies with F-Class World Championship graphics and optional name engraving. Production of these 25-round caddies will be limited by the number of units sold to participants of the match and will cease after that point.

Pistol Dynamics PD Products Cartridge Caddy

Caddies Custom-Fit Your Choice of Cartridge
Caddies are available for a variety of cartridge types from .223 Rem to 7mm Magnum. Some Caddies are multi-caliber capable. For example, the .308 block accepts .308 Win, .243 Win, 7mm08, and other .308 family variants. Limited-edition ‘World Shoot Caddies’ cost $140.00 (shipping included) with optional name engraving for $20.00 extra (at time of purchase).

Pistol Dynamics PD Products Cartridge Caddy

Original Caddy Also Available for $110.00
PD Products’ original On-Time Caddy is still available for $110.00, including standard shipping within the continental USA. Custom name engraving is also available on this product. Both the original PD Products Caddy and the special Limited Edition World Championship Caddy come with a lifetime warranty on machined parts and one year on the timer.

To learn more about the special ‘World Shoot’ Caddy or the original On-Time Caddy visit the
PD Products website, call (321) 733-1266, or send email to: info [at] pistoldynamics.com .

Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
April 9th, 2013

U.S. F-Open Team Gets Ready for Upcoming Championships

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Balolia

This August the U.S. National and World F-Class Championships will be held in Raton, New Mexico. The U.S. F-Class Open Team has been working hard to prepare for the Worlds in Raton. This will be the fourth F-Class World Championship and first time it is being held in the USA. Team Captain Shiraz Balolia and his team-mates hope to successfully defend “home turf” this summer. The F-Class World Championships will run August 23 to 27, 2013. Preceding the World Championships, the U.S. F-Class National Championships will be held from August 18 to 22, 2013.

Team Members and Selection Process
U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz BaloliaThe US F-Class Open Rifle Team consists of the top F-Open shooters in the United States. Some members were on previous teams, but Team Captain Shiraz Balolia explains: “Our try-out process was very stringent and above board, which removed the notion of an ‘old boys club’ and allowed a lot of new blood to try out for the team”.

The selection process was straightforward. Each participant had to have placed in the top 20 of a National Championship or in the top 3 of a regional championship to be able to try out. After that, they had to participate in at least three try-outs over a two-year period. There were about a dozen try-outs at various venues (Houston, Lodi, Raton, Phoenix, Sacramento) which allowed shooters from all over the country to participate. Shooting during all try-outs were conducted at 1000 yards.

The scoring system was based on “Vertical” Score where the goal of the shooter was to hold good vertical elevation with regards to the X-Ring. All try-outs were shot with coaches and the wind calls were the responsibility of the coach. The shooters were not penalized for wide shots if they were on the waterline. The targets had horizontal lines drawn on them and points were deducted for high and low shots.

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Balolia

The targets were photographed and published for the try-out participants to view so everyone knew exactly where they stood. Shiraz notes: “This actually worked really well to raise the overall standard of the team as it increased competitiveness among the shooters”.

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Bilolia

From the initial group, the first cut was made to select the Development Team (DT). These DT shooters then continued further try-outs in 2012 with a similar process. The DT group was then culled to the final team members listed below.

Captain: Shiraz Balolia; Head Coach: Bob Mead; Other Coaches: Trudie Fay, Rick Hunt, Emil Praslick
Shooters (alpha sort)
1. Charles Ballard
2. Danny Biggs
3. David Gosnell
4. David Mann
5. Dean Morris
6. Don Nagel
7. Emil Kovan
8. Herb Edwards
9. Jim Murphy
10. John Dunbar
11. John Gaines
12. John Myers
13. Ken Dickerman
14. Kenny Adams
15. Larry Bartholome
16. Mark Walker
17. Rick Jensen
18. Robert Bock
19. Tony Robertson

F-Class Insights: Q&A with Team Captain Shiraz Balolia

We did a Q&A session with Shiraz Balolia, F-Open Team Captain. Shiraz offered candid answers to “hot topic” questions of interest to F-Class shooters. He also observed that his team is working very, very hard in preparation for the World Championships. After being beaten by the Brits in 2009, Shiraz says: “We have a score to settle….”

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Balolia

Q: The F-Open Team has switched calibers. What was the thinking behind that move?

Shiraz: After we lost to the Brits in 2009, it became a foregone conclusion that we needed to shoot a 7mm cartridge. Charles Ballard and Jim Murphy were among the first guys in the USA to recognize the virtue of the 7 mm (.284) caliber. The choices we had within the .284 family were: straight .284 Win, .284 Shehane, 7 RSAUM, or 7 WSM variant. After much experimentation and thought we decided on the 7 RSAUM and 7 WSM family of casings which allowed us velocities of around 3000 FPS with a 180gr bullet. With the advent of new 180gr bullets from Berger and Sierra, we were able to get extremely flat-shooting groups (tight vertical) with the velocities that we needed.

Q: Foreign teams won the last two F-Class World Championships. How are you going to beat the Brits and South Africans in 2013?

Shiraz: In the previous World Championship (at Bisley in 2009), the Brits had a huge advantage. Almost all of their shooters lived within a few hours of the Bisley range. The coaches they used knew that range inside out and they were able to practice as a team many times on that range before the World Championships. Plus, they were ahead of us in terms of caliber selection and were shooting 7mm cartridges, as were the South Africans. By contrast, our team came from all over the USA and we had very little time together as a team. Things are different this time… yes, our shooters are still from all over the USA, but the amount of training we have done as a unit, a whole team, is much better than last time around. We have a lot of depth in our team. In other words, our worst shooter is not that far behind our best shooter. I do not believe that there has ever been a long range U.S. Team that has trained this hard and this many times as a unit. We are ready to take on the Brits or any other country!

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Balolia
Shiraz notes: “We did a lot of training on the range as well as in the ‘classroom’ setting with power point presentations. We had numerous sessions like these…. The behind-the-scenes work to deliver ‘same-day’ power-point results (just hours after the scores were shot) provides immediate feedback.”

Q: How Does Successful Team Shooting Differ from Individual Shooting?

Shiraz: In individual matches, you are responsible for making all the wind calls, corrections on the scope and paying attention to all conditions before taking a shot. Sometimes the condition can change between the time you review the flags and the mirage, make an adjustment and take a shot.

In a team setting, the shooter is responsible for making a really good shot. He/she must be a really good trigger puller who has good equipment, good ammo, and who can follow directions. The coach makes all the calls, he often makes adjustments on your scope and all the shooter has to do is make the shot when asked by the coach. Shooters who second-guess a coach or think they can read the wind better than the coach did not make the team!

Q: Will Team USA Enjoy a ‘Home Court Advantage’ at Raton, NM?

Shiraz: Other than Trudie Fay, one of our coaches, we do not have any team members from the Raton area. We are a very large nation, in size, and our shooters come from all four corners and everywhere in between. Raton is not exactly “home court”, but we have trained there as a team several times. The Brits and the South Africans are no slouches either. The Brits spent a whole week in Raton last year in August to get a feel for the range, the temperature, the wind etc.; the Brits also tested loads for their team members. The South Africans came to shoot against us in September last year at the Stars and Stripes match and also shot at the US F-Class Nationals. The competition is certainly stiff and we can not let our guard down or be over-confident.

Q. Are there special skills and capabilities needed to be a successful team shooter?

Shiraz: To be a really good team member, the shoooter must have all these qualities:

1. He must be able to think in terms of what is best for the team rather than himself.

2. He must have really good equipment. That means a really good barrel, a smooth, trouble-free action, good optics, trigger, rest, etc.

3. He must have superior reloading skills, and be capable of producing really good ammo with bullets that perform consistently shot after shot.

4. He must possess the ability to take direction and put himself at the disposal of the coaches. What we look for in a shooter is consistency over a long period of time, not just a flash in the pan.

The shooters we have on our team have passed all the tests we have put them through and what we have today is, without a doubt, the best United States F-Open Team ever put together.

Support Need for Team Expenses
The U.S. F-Class Open Team may be about $3000.00 short on funds. Any donation will help. Please endorse checks to “US F-Class Open Rifle Team” and mail to P.O. Box 3110, Bellingham, WA 98227.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
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 11th, 2013

Match Results: Berger Southwest Long Range Nationals

Berger southwest long range nationals 2013

shiraz baloliaThe 2013 Berger Southwest Long Range Nationals (at Ben Avery in AZ) have wrapped up, and some divisional results have arrived. (Stay tuned for more complete results — as they are made available.) Congratulations to Grizzly Industrial President Shiraz Balolia, who won the F-Open Division.

The F-Open competition was very close right down to the end, and the conditions were unforgiving. Shiraz finished with a 1226-55X score, one point ahead of F-Open runner-up Freddy Haltom (1225-60X), who had high X-count among Open-classers. We’re told that Shiraz was using a “shoulder-busting” .300 Win Short Mag in Phoenix. We’ve been promised photos of Balolia’s winning rig as soon as Shiraz gets back from Arizona.

Berger southwest long range nationals 2013

Berger southwest long range nationals 2013

The Top 10 F-Open shooters are listed in the chart above. Note, the 9th and 10th best Aggregate Scores were shot by two “Masters”, who out-shot dozens of “High Masters” to make the Top 10 overall. Steven Blair, who placed 8th Overall in F-Open, told us: “When conditions and competitors are as tough as they were in Phoenix, the winners deserve our accolades. It was no accident or luck that they finished as they did.” Forum member Kelbro agreed: “Except for the practice days, this was a challenging week. Double congrats to the top dogs. They earned it.”

Berger southwest long range nationals 2013

In the F-TR division, John Hayhurst shot well throughout the Nationals to finish first with 1210-25X. Runner-up Lige Harris had 35 Xs, but ended six points down, finishing with 1204-35X. James Crofts, a past F-TR National Champion, finished third with 1203-24X. In F-TR Team Competition, the new Michigan F-TR team coached by Bryan Litz proved to be a powerhouse, securing an impressive team win. Shooters were: Al Barnhart (captain), Doug Boyer, Bill Litz (Bryan’s father), and Dale Sunderman. The second- and third-place teams were both USA F-TR Development squads. USA Team Blue grabbed second place, while USA Team Red took third. We’re told that USA Team blue set a new F-TR Palma record on Saturday. However, Team Michigan came back with a big win in Sunday’s 1000-yard team match, securing the Team Aggregate title.

In F-Open division, we’re told that Team UHaul finished first, with great shooting by Matt Davis, Herb Edwards, David Gosnell, and David Mann. Team Tex-Mex was second, with strong performances by Bryan Chatwell, Freddy Haltom, Ben Milam, and Cory Bizzel. Team Grizzly ended up third despite a cross-fire in one match. Team Grizzly is composed of F-Open winner Shiraz Bilolia, Emil Kovan, John Myers, and Tony Robertson.

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
September 19th, 2012

U.S. F-Class Team Wins Stars & Stripes Challenge Match

Congrats to the U.S.A. F-Class Team which triumphed in the 2012 Stars & Stripes Challenge Match held September 16 at Raton, New Mexico. The showcase event in the Stars & Stripes Match is a team competition with 8-man national teams. Team USA finished first with a 3443-107X combined score. In second place was the South Africa Protea Team with 3428-88X. Team Australia came in thirds with 3398-81X, and Team Canada scored 3364-63X to secure fourth place. In the photo below, Team USA members celebrate their victory. Shown (left to right) are: Charles Ballard, Larry Taite, Laura Perry, John Weil, Trudie Fay, Shiraz Balolia (Captain), Bob Mead, Rick Hunt, Jeff Rorer, Darrell Buell, Jim Murphy and Larry Bartholome.

U.S. F-Class Team Stars and Stripes

U.S. F-Class Team Stars and Stripes

U.S. F-Class Team Stars and Stripes U.S. F-Class Team Stars and Stripes

Along with the signature National Team Event, the Stars & Stripes event featured 4-person team matches for both F-Open and F-TR divisions. Winner of the F-Open 4-person event, with a 1757-65X score, was Team Long Shots, captained by Mark Walker and coached by Michelle Gallagher. Team shooters were: David Baily, David Gosnell, Ken Dickerman, and Mark Walker. Finishing first in the 4-person F-TR team event was Team Misfits, coached and captained by Lige Harris. Lige also shot on the team, along with Leslie Jones, Tom Jones, and John Kills. Team Misfits scored 1710-34X to secure a 16-point victory over F-TR runner-up U.S. Development Team #4.

CLICK HERE for Complete Stars & Stripes Challenge Match Results.

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