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October 22nd, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: F-Class Showcase — Events, Gear, Loads

Saturday movies F-Class Bisley Ben Avery NRA Championships F-Open F-TR

The 2022 NRA F-Class National Championships have been underway at the Ben Avery Range in Arizona this past week. The Mid-Range F-Class Nationals ran October 16-19, and the Long Range (1000-yard) event started on October 20 and concludes on Sunday, October 23, 2022. Many of the nation’s leading F-TR and F-Open shooters are battling it out at Ben Avery right now. The week of competition will conclude on Sunday October 23, 2022 with the final 1000-yard relays followed by award ceremonies.

Saturday movies F-Class Bisley Ben Avery NRA Championships F-Open F-TR
Looking down-range with F-TR rifle at Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

F-Class Shooting at Bisley Range in the United Kingdom

F-Class Bisley England UK European Championships

F-Class competition is popular around the world, and the UK is a major center of F-Class shooting in Europe. The Bisley range is justly famous, with a long heritage of shooting competitions. This video features the European F-Class Championship held at Bisley in 2015.

Highlights from Day 1 of 2021 F-Class Nationals

In 2021 the NRA F-Class National Championships were held at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Here is interesting footage from Day 1 of the Long-Range 1000-yard match. The video is narrated by our friend Erik Cortina, a top F-class shooter and member of Team Lapua-Brux-Borden. Erik has a popular YouTube Channel featuring interviews with many top shooters as well as reloading and tech tips.

WICKED WINDS — At Ben Avery with 18-30 mph Winds

Long-range F-Class shooters will tell you that the winds can be the biggest challenge in a match. And things can get pretty wild at times as the Ben Avery range in Phoenix, site of the 2022 NRA F-Class National Championships. In this video, shooters fight through extremely strong 18-30 mph winds at 600 yards. In these kind of extreme conditions, a major unexpected gust can send your bullet off-target.

F-Class F-Open stock Ben Avery
F-0pen rifle at the Berger SW Nationals at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ.

Front Rest Options for F-Open (and Benchrest) Competition

If you are shopping for a front rest, definitely watch this comprehensive 42-minute video from start to finish. This is probably the most informative video about premium shooting rests available on YouTube. Top F-Class shooter and video-maker F-Class John covers a wide selection of front rests, with some observations about coaxial bipods as well. John covers the impressive new SEB NEO-X, the easy-to-transport SEB Mini-X, the excellent Rodzilla Rest, the innovative 21st Century Hybrid Rest, the sleek Italian Lenzi Rest. And at the end of the video John reviews the very affordable Caldwell Fire Control Rest ($204.99 on Amazon), explaining how it can be a decent choice for shooters on a limited budget.

Newbie Perspective — First Time Shooting F-Class

Saturday movies F-Class Australia Bribane Tikka T3 F-Open F-TRJust getting started in F-Class? Then you would appreciate this video, which covers the experience of an F-Class novice from Australia. The host of the video shot his first F-Class match at 600 yards with the Brisbane Mariners Rifle Club (BMRC) in Brisbane, Australia. He was using a Tikka T3 factory rifle with a $40 bipod. He enjoyed the challenge and had a good experience. This video shows that club-level F-Class can be fun, even with a modestly-priced factory rig. NOTE: This video is filmed indoors after the match, NOT on the lovely BMRC range shown above.

Reloading for F-Class — Interview with Erik Cortina

In this Precision Rifle Network video, Erik Cortina of Team Lapua-Brux-Borden covers the reloading process for his F-Class rifle. All phases of reloading are noted — brass prep, annealing, primer seating, precision powder measuring (to the kernel), and bullet seating. Erik also talk about load testing and use of barrel tuners. Erik produces the EC Barrel Tuner which is used by many top competitors.

Building a Modern F-Open Stock for Competition

In this video, our friend F-Class John explains the process for building two custom laminated stocks for his F-Open rifles. John selected handsome, highly-figured African hardwoods, which were then laminated into layers with purple-tinted heart-wood and dark Wenge wood stringers in the middle. The stock-maker then sliced the wood into layers (1:02) and then glued the layers together (1:40). After final cutting, the stocks are shown at 2:00, and then the video shows how the stocks received their final finish. Both stocks are fitted with the R.A.D. recoil-reduction system. See the bedding at 19:00 and the fully finished rifles at 19:12 with barreled actions fitted.

Saturday movies F-Class Bisley Ben Avery NRA Championships F-Open F-TR
Here is another beautiful F-Open stock, on the firing line at Ben Avery with a SEB Mini front rest. Note the metal side-bars on the front of the forearm. These metal fittings extend the stock’s “wheelbase” while also lowering the rifle’s center of gravity.


Crazy Small F-Class Group — Five Shots in 1.3″ at 1000 Yards

This video might just make you slap your forehead and say “that’s amazing!” During a practice session, Erik Cortina had a camera set up on the firing line along with a ShotMarker system on the target 1000 yards away. Erik recorded himself nailing a 1.3″ five-shot group, with four of the shots all touching in just 0.3″. The full group size, 1.3″, works out to 0.124 MOA — amazing accuracy for a big 7mm cartridge! And the four touching shots in 0.3″ represent an insane 0.029 MOA cluster! (1 MOA at 1000 yards is 10.47″.) As this was not shot in a competition, Erik’s 1.3″ group doesn’t count as a record, but it just shows how accurate a modern F-Open rifle can be when all the stars align for a talented trigger-puller.

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October 22nd, 2022

Position Shooting — Tips from Olympic Shooter Matt Emmons

Matt Emmons smallbore air rifle Olympic Games gold medal position shoooting
Rio 2016 World Cup Photo Courtesy ISSF and Team USA.

Would you like to try position shooting? Here are some tips from one of the best 3P shooters on the planet, Olympian Matt Emmons.

Matt Emmons Anschutz 3P three position shooting tipsMatt Emmons is one of the USA’s top smallbore rifle competitors in recent decades. Emmons has competed on the U.S. National Team since 1997 and he has represented the USA in various rifle events at four Olympics Games — 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Matt earned multiple Olympic medals: Gold in 2004 in Men’s 50m Prone*; Silver in 2008 in Men’s 50m Prone; and Bronze in 2012 in Men’s 50m 3X40. Although his specialty is Men’s 3-Position rifle, Emmons’ World Championship and Olympic Gold are in Men’s 50m Prone. He usually shoots an Anschütz or Bleiker .22LR rifle, with Eley Tenex ammo.

Here are shooting tips from Matt, courtesy Anschütz. Click image below to launch a large PDF file. Right-click the image and “save as” to download the poster-sized PDF.

Here Matt Shows the Kneeling Position. The other two positions are Standing and Prone.

CLICK Photo to Load Large PDF File
Matt Emmons Anschutz 3P three position shooting tips

Three Sets of Hardware for Three Positions
You may be surprised to find that Matt often totes three complete sets of rifle parts to important matches — three buttplates, three cheekpieces, and three Centra sights with adjustable irises. Matt told Shooting Sports USA that he travels with “three sets for three positions. Our final is so fast that I need three sets of everything to allow a fast change-over between positions.” Matt carries his gear in an an Anschütz sport bag: “It’s similar to the big Ogio duffels with wheels, but lighter. I’ve worked with AHG/Anschütz for many years and I like their bag because all of my junk fits in it.”

*Emmons’s gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in the prone position came while using a borrowed rifle. In April 2004, just prior to the Olympic Team Trials, Emmons discovered his rifle had been severely sabotaged in the supposedly secure locker room at the United States Olympic Training Center. The precisely tuned barrel and action were heavily damaged by what appeared to be a screwdriver. “I unpacked my gun and I noticed that something wasn’t right,” Emmons said. “Sure enough, somebody had done something to it. I shot it and I couldn’t get the shell out. I said, ‘Something’s wrong here’.” Emmons said it could not have been an accident: “Oh no, no,” Emmons said. “Somebody took a screwdriver and went in.” Emmons went on to the 2004 Summer Olympics, and his gold medal in the prone position event, using his former University of Alaska Fairbanks teammate, Amber Darland’s .22 rifle. He never found out who the saboteur was, but said “I’d like to know so I could shake their hand and say thanks.”

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