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October 2nd, 2008

Team Results from F-Class Nationals

Up in the woods of Wisconsin, the “Guns of October” are cutting loose. Many of America’s (and Europe’s) top F-Class shooters are competing in the Fifth Annual F-Class Championship in Lodi, WI. The 5-day event at the Winnequah Gun Club continues through October 4th. The event kicked off with a practice match (won by Forum member Charles Ballard), followed by team competition. (The individual championship will be contested last.)

Winnequah Gun Club

Hard-Fought Team Matches and Record-Breaking Performances
Team match results are available, with complete results posted on In the US Nationals Open Class Team Match, Team Spindle Shooters prevailed with a 1590-81X score, followed by Team Berger (1569-62X), and Team 4 Aces (1565-60X). Spindle Shooters’ Coach Praslik praised his shooters: “These guys shot very straight and fast. I believe we broke two national records today. The 600-yard team score of 797-42x is a new record. The 1000-yard team score of 793-39x is a new record. The aggregate of the two scores, 1590-81x, is a National Championship record. Well done, Spindle Shooters. It was a privilege to coach you.”

Open Class Teams F-TR (Target Rifle) Teams
Spindle Shooters 1590-81X
Captain: Jeff Cochran / Coach: Emil Praslik III
Shawn Ahrens
Jeff Cochran
Jeff Traylor
Brett Solomon

Team Berger 1569-62X
Captain: Larry Bartholome / Coach: Jim Murphy
Bob Bock
John Brewer
Jim Murphy
Larry Bartholome

Team 4 Aces 1565-60X
Captain: David Bailey / Coach: Emil Praslik (older)
David Gosnell
David Bailey
Rick Jensen
Emil Praslik

Team Sinclair 1544-47X
Captain: Dan Phillips / Coach: Raymond Gross/Paul Phillips
Brad Sauve
Paul Phillips
John Droelle
Raymond Gross

Team USA F-T/R 1535-50X
Captain: Darrell Buell / Coach: Mike Miller/Dale Carpenter
Mike Miller
Warren Dean
Dale Carpenter
Jeff Rorer

Team Savage 1509-26X
Captain: Stan Pate / Coach: Darrell Buell
Monte Milanuk
John Weil
Darrell Buell
Stan Pate

USA Wins Challenge Match
In addition to the regular Team Competition, International honors were at stake in a USA vs. Europe challenge match. Facing the combined forces of multiple European nations, the American shooters prevailed in both F-Open and F-TR Classes. Team USA-Open posted a 3117-121X score to best the Europeans, who totaled 3073-73. That was a great performance by Team USA-Open members Eric Bair, Shiraz Balolia, Robert Bock Jr., Mike Downey, Dagbs McIntosh, Dean Morris, Bryan Otey, and Larry Taite. In the F-TR division, the American team of Dale Carpenter, Warren Dean, Mike Miller, and Jeff Rorer outscored their European counterparts 1535-5X to 1447-16X to notch another victory for the Red, White, and Blue.

New Records Set Last Weekend
Preceding the Nationals, during last weekend, Wisconsin long-range team matches were held. Larry Bartholome reports: “The weather was near perfect with light, but tricky winds and sun shine some of the time. Six F-Class and Five Sling teams competed. I only have F-Class scores. USFCT1 (Team Berger/Norma) won Saturday’s Palma match with a new US record of 1781-94x. Two points back was USFCT2 (Spindle Shooters). The new record is 54 points and 45Xs ahead of the old one. Four of the five F-Class teams broke the old record.”

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October 2nd, 2008

New Manners Stock Debuts at F-Class Nationals

Tom Manners of Manners Composite Stocks has a new F-Class stock that’s long, low, and very stiff. The first three examples get their “trial by fire” this week at the F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin. The stock is derivative of some other familiar designs, particularly in the grip area, but the underside of the stock is radically new, and the stock promises to be very rigid in all planes, without the fore-arm lift or flex found in some other F-Class stocks.

Manners rifle stocks

Tom says: “The shell is 100% carbon fiber with a molded-in action and barrel area. This design features a very long, stiff fore-end. From the back of the action to the tip of the fore-end the stock measures 27″ long which is around 7 1/2″ longer than our T4 stock.” The idea is to provide a “longer wheelbase” to better balance the long, 30-32″ barrels favored by many F-Class competitors.

Manners rifle stocks

The front half of the fore-end is very thin (from top to bottom) to achieve a low profile on the bags. The McMillan F-Class stock uses such a design, and a thin fore-end can definitely lower the center of gravity. However, some other thin-forearm designs have suffered from a springboard effect. This should not be the case with the new Manners stock. Much thought has gone into controlling fore-end flex. Manners’ design achieves greater vertical rigidity (less deflection under load) through an innovative “fish belly” design. The rounded undersection, like a canoe hull, strengthens the fore-end considerably. Carbon fiber construction also adds stiffness.

Manners rifle stocks

Another nice feature of the fore-end are the molded-in “rails”. On the underside of the forearm, an area is relieved for a few inches in the center. This allows the stock to contact the front bag on the two outer edges or rails. The relieved center area can ride above the “hump” typically found in the middle of the front sand-bag. Other stock designs have proven the merits of this “twin rail” feature. It works. Eliminating contact with the “hump” reduces rock and wobble, and the twin rails allow smooth tracking.

Manners rifle stocksManners rifle stocksOverall, we like the stock design very much except for one thing. The stock has a pronounced corner or knuckle at the top rear of the pistol grip. This creates a sharp transition from the tang to the area relieved for your thumb. A similar (though less extreme) knuckle is found on the McMillan A-series designs. Our testers have shot stocks with grips like this and the reaction was mixed. IF you have big hands and can wrap your thumb all the way around the grip, this design can work well with a hard hold. The vertical section right below the knuckle can help distribute some of the recoil into the web of the hand. However, for people with smaller hands, your thumb is forced into an awkward position. Additionally, many shooters use a lighter hold, or prefer to place the thumb parallel to the bore axis, resting on the stock, just behind the tang. This allows you to apply some down-pressure, WITHOUT side force (a shooting style that some rifles prefer). You can do this easily with a Tooley MBR-style stock, or a Franklin low-rider. With a hard knuckle like you find on the Manners stock, resting your thumb behind the tang doesn’t work well at all. Looking at the photos, we also think the pistol grip is quite fat, further causing problems with shooters with small to medium hands. That said, we know many shooters, particularly “tactical” competitors, who like this kind of grip. Tom Manners wants to “get feedback” on the new stock at the Nationals. It will be interesting to learn if some shooters ask for a different style grip.

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