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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September 26th, 2012

David Bailey and Team Long Shots are F-Open Champions

Congratulations to David Bailey, the 2012 F-Open National Champion. Shooting at Raton last week, David scored 1283-59X, to finish one point ahead of fellow Forum member Bob Sebold (1282-59X). Past F-Open Champion Jeff Cochran tells us: “David did a masterful job. He had one of the best, if not the best, rifles on the line for the morning trigger-pulling contests. He also showed great patience choosing his shots wisely in some of the nasty, switchy afternoon conditions. Not only spitting them downrange when the conditions called for it, but he was smart enough to put on the brakes and not get burned. All in all, David had a great performance in a wide range of conditions.”

David Bailey F-Class Open Champion 2012

Bailey Shot a .280 Remington with Berger 7mm Hybrids
David was shooting a 7mm cartridge, but not the 7mm you might expect. David’s Bat-actioned F-Open rifle has a 32″ Bartlein, 9-twist barrel chambered for a no-turn-neck .280 Remington. David’s winning load consisted of 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets pushed at 2860 FPS by Russian primers and Hodgdon 4831SC powder. Bullets are seated about 0.015″-.020″ away from the lands (this happens to be Berger’s suggested “starting point” seating depth for these Hybrids). David says he does “very little brass prep” other than sorting his Remington brass. (That’s right — Remington!) He does use an expander ball during reloading to push out any neck-wall-thickness variations.

The pretty green stock is a Robertson Composites ‘Speedy F-Class’ model, with adjustable cheek-piece. David added 4.5 pounds of lead in the buttstock to bring the gun up to max F-Open weight. David’s rifle was originally smithed by Richard King of King’s Armory in Arlington, Texas, (817) 265-0118, rking3005 [at] sbcglobal.net. The current .280 Rem barrel was chambered and fitted on the gun by David himself.

David Bailey F-Class Open Champion 2012We had a chance to chat with David Bailey after the Nationals. When asked how he felt about the big win, David replied: “It took a while to sink in… I was extremely happy that two of my teammates finished in top 10 — Mark (Walker) and Michelle (Gallagher) — [as a team] we had a very good week overall.” David wanted to give credit to his past/present team-mates, “both the Spindle Shooters and Long Shots — they have been a tremendous help.” David added, “In particular I want to say thanks to Jeff Cochran. And I can’t forget my gunsmith Richard King, he’s been a tremendous asset.”

For those who have been following David’s shooting, it was no surprise that he did well at Raton. David noted: “I’ve been shooting well for the last couple of years, but this time it all came together. I will say my wind reading has gotten a lot better the last couple of years.”

Asked if he had any advice for new F-Class shooters, David replied: “Practice — shoot as much as you can. And as for hardware and reloading — don’t get hung up on the gimmicks.”

Team Long Shots Wins F-Open Team Title
As captain of Team Long Shots, David Bailey helped lead the Long Shots Open Team to their second consecutive national title. The Long Shots compiled a 1583-83X score to finish first, ahead of second-place Team Spindle Shooters (1576-65X). Long Shots Team Members are: David Gosnell, Mark Walker, Ken Dickerman, team captain David Bailey, and coach Michelle Gallagher. This year, the Long Shots turned in a great performance, emerging victorious over what may be the largest number of F-Open teams ever at the F-Class Nationals.

David Bailey F-Class Open Champion 2012 Team Long Shots

For the equipment junkies, it’s interesting to note that Michelle Gallagher used a rifle with a new stock David Bailey designed and built. Texas gunsmith Richard King barreled Michelle’s rifle in .280 Remington, and also built other guns for Long Shots Team members. Richard built Mark Walker’s rifle and Ken Dickerman’s rifle and stocked David Gosnell’s gun. Jeff Cochran reports that Richard King also smithed two rifles used by the Sierra Spindle Shooters team (Cochran’s own gun and Jeff Traylor’s rifle). Overall Richard King worked on six rifles for the top two F-Open teams — that’s a pretty strong endorsement of King’s gun-building skills.

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