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September 26th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: Shiraz’s F-Open Dynamic Duo — .30 Cal and 7mm

Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut

Pair of Premium F-Open Rifles with Kelbly Golden Bear Actions

Report by Shiraz Balolia, CEO Grizzly Industrial
This project was started 2-3 years ago when I decided to build two brand-new rifles based on the Cerus riflestock chassis. I had my own highly-figured woods and sent them to Will at Cerus Rifleworks. Within a few months I received back two very nice-looking stock blanks but unfortunately they were made for a regular recoil pad system. I was going to install the R.A.D. (Recoil Absorption Device) systems and failed to mention that to Will. Further the thumbhole slot for the adjustment knob was through-cut on both sides of the stock and placed in a position where it would interfere with the R.A.D. recoil system installation. Accordingly, some serious modifications were in order.

Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut

Modifying the Cerus Stocks and Installing the R.A.D. System
The very first thing I did was plug up the thumbhole slot in each bank and then installed decorative caps in highly-figured contrasting woods. I also wanted the thumb-knob adjustment to be accessible and adjustable using only one finger so I shifted the whole system forward and to the right. I was now able to install the R.A.D. recoil system (see below) without interfering with the cheekpiece adjustment.

Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut

Next, I installed the bottom wider track for my rear bag and also carved out the finger grooves in the grip. The blanks were quite long so I cut off approximately two inches from the front end of each stock and also deepened the large tracking cavity under the fore-ends. I went ahead and inlaid my name in Mother-of-Pearl on the Walnut stock.

Gold Kelbly Actions for Two World-Class Tack-Drivers
The two sequentially-numbered Golden Bear F-Class actions (057 and 058) arrived from Kelbly at different times and the stocks were sent to Alex Sitman at Masterclass Stocks for bedding the actions into the stocks. Alex does an outstanding job on pillar bedding and has done most of my rifles for many years.

Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut

The stocks were then sent to Sims Guitar Finishing for clear coating with “wet look” finish on the stocks. Chambering of the barrels was done in-house by Dave, our top engineer at Grizzly Industrial. Dave has chambered most of my rifles in recent years. Both he and I have been trained by Gordy Gritters in precision chambering. Finally, the rifles were assembled, scopes installed, and tested out. Both are tack-drivers made for world-class competition.

Shiraz Tests his .300 Shiraz F-Open rifle. As you’d expect shooting heavy 215gr Berger Hybrids, the recoil is significant, but the rifle tracks perfectly with smooth return to battery.

Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut

Rifle #1 – Walnut Stocked .300 Shiraz

• Chambered for .300 Shiraz (modified .300 WSM)
• Stock made of highly-figured Walnut with Curly Maple inner laminations
• Kelbly Golden Bear F-Class action
• Bartlein 1:10″-twist barrel, 31″ length
• March 10-60x56mm High Master scope with Barrett rings
• Bald Eagle tuner
• Jewel trigger

Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut

Rifle #2 – Curly Maple Stocked .284 Shiraz

• Chambered for .284 Shiraz (modified .284 Winchester)
• Stock made of highly-figured Curly Maple as well as Walnut and Wenge inner laminations
• Accents and inlays as well as the base shoe are made of Curly Koa wood
• Kelbly Golden Bear F-Class action
• BRUX 1:9″-twist barrel, 31″ length
• March 10-60x56mm High Master scope with March rings
• Bald Eagle tuner
• Jewel trigger

Two Improved Cartridges — .300 Shiraz and .284 Shiraz

Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut

The two rifles run their own respective “Improved” cartridges. The dark walnut rig runs the .300 Shiraz which is based on the .300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM). The maple 7mm runs the .284 Shiraz derived from the .284 Winchester. Shiraz developed these two improved cartridge designs to boost the performance of the parent cartridges which are both quite popular among F-Open competitors. The .284 Shiraz has similarities to the popular .284 Shehane wildcat.

.300 Shiraz Load Information: Shiraz loads his .300 Shiraz with Berger 215gr Hybrids, CCI BR2 Primers, and Hodgdon H4350 Powder. This load produces groups under quarter-MOA.

.284 Shiraz Load Information: The .284 Shiraz (shown below) is loaded with Berger 180gr Hybrids, again with CCI BR2 Primers, and H4350 powder. And like Shiraz’s .30-cal rifle, this handsome 7mm rig delivers sub-quarter-MOA grouping capability.

Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut

Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut
Shiraz Balolia F-Open twin rifles Cerus Kelbly Golden Bear action figured walnut
This stock is made from highly-figured Curly Maple with Walnut and Wenge wood inner laminations. Accents and inlays and the base shoe are made of Curly Koa wood.

About Shiraz Balolia

Shiraz Balolia is the founder and CEO of Grizzly Industrial. He is also one of the USA’s leading F-Class shooters. He has been a Team USA member and F-Open Team USA Captain, and in individual competition he won three straight Canadian F-Open Championships (2014, 2015, 2016). That Canadian Three-Peat is definitive proof of Shiraz’s stellar long-range shooting talent.

In the video below, created when Shiraz was F-Open Team USA Captain, Shiraz works with Palma Team Coach Gary Rasmussen. With the target at 800 yards, Shiraz shows how a shooter works with a wind coach. Three cameras are employed to show the target, the shooter, and the spotter’s-eye view.

This video starts with a lesson on target reading, then Shiraz and Gary work together to judge the wind. Watch as Shiraz makes ten straight “10 point” center hits at 800 yeards. A inset frame in the video shows bullet placement after each shot. This video is highly recommended for all long-range competitive shooters and coaches.

Here is Shiraz (top left) with Team Grizzly, the 2018 U.S. F-Open Championship Team. Members are: Shiraz Balolia, Emil Kovan, David Mann, John Myers, Trudie Fay (Coach).

F-Open Team Grizzly Shiraz Balolia

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 26th, 2021

Tech Tip: How to Determine a Barrel’s True Twist Rate barrel rifling diagram
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy

Sometimes you’ll get a barrel that doesn’t stabilize bullets the way you’d anticipate, based on the stated (or presumed) twist rate. A barrel might have 1:10″ stamped on the side but it is, in truth, a 1:10.5″ twist or even a 1:9.5″. Cut-rifled barrels, such as Kriegers and Bartleins, normally hold very true to the specified twist rate. With buttoned barrels, due to the nature of the rifling process, there’s a greater chance of a small variation in twist rate. And yes, factory barrels can be slightly out of spec as well.

After buying a new barrel, you should determine the true twist rate BEFORE you start load development. You don’t want to invest in a large supply of expensive bullets only to find that that won’t stabilize because your “8 twist” barrel is really a 1:8.5″. Sinclair International provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel.

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle. Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8″-twist barrel.

Determining Barrel Twist Rate Empirically
Twist rate is defined as the distance in inches of barrel that the rifling takes to make one complete revolution. An example would be a 1:10″ twist rate. A 1:10″ barrel has rifling that makes one complete revolution in 10 inches of barrel length. Rifle manufacturers usually publish twist rates for their standard rifle offerings and custom barrels are always ordered by caliber, contour, and twist rate. If you are having a custom barrel chambered you can ask the gunsmith to mark the barrel with the twist rate.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »