March 28th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: .300 WSM Pending 1K World Record Heavy Gun

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSM

This Sunday we feature an impressive .300 WSM Heavy Gun shot by a superb long-range shooter. With this rig, at age 83, Arizona benchrest ace Charles Greer drilled a remarkable 2.862″ 100-10X group, beating all known 1000-Yard HG 10-shot records on the books. If this record is approved (which is likely), Greer’s .300 WSM can rightfully be hailed as the most accurate 1000-yard gun in history.

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSM
CLICK HERE for full-screen rifle photo.

Story compiled with help from Jason Peterson
This would be an excellent 10-shot NBRSA Heavy Gun group at 600 yards, but this target was shot at 1000 yards by Charles Greer (aka “chuckgreen” on AccurateShooter forum) on February 13, 2021 at an NBRSA Match in Arizona. Chuck was shooting his .300 WSM Heavy Gun with Borden action, Krieger barrel, and Berger 220gr Hybrids. The event was hosted by the Sahuaro 1000 Yard Benchrest Club, at Three Points Range, outside Tucson, Arizona. Though it is pending final approval, it appears this is the smallest 10-shot Heavy Gun group ever shot, anywhere, at 1000 yards, and it was centered for a 10X. That’s doubly impressive when you consider that Charles Greer achieved this at age 83! Yes “Old guys rule”!

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSM
Amazing 100-10X 2.642″ (unofficial) 10-Shot Group at 1000 Yards.

This group is perfectly centered for an amazing 100-10X score. The group was range measured at 2.642 inches. For reference, the 1000-yard X-Ring is 3.00″ in diameter. The “X” itself is about 1.2″ tall. Pending final verification, this amazing target should shatter two NBRSA records. This handily beats the current single target HG score record of 100-6X held by Bill Schrader since 2005, and the single target HG group record of 3.650″ held by Tim Height (2019). For comparison, the current IBS 10-Shot 1000-yard HG group record is 2.871″ by Michael Gaizauskas from 2016. So it appears that this may be the smallest 10-shot group ever shot in competition in history. And from what we can determine, this is the first potential HG size record that also has a 100 score with TEN Xs.

Because shots are not marked in this discipline, this stunning group was a surprise to Greer: “I had no idea that I was shooting a world record target until I went back to the pits after my relay. Just as well. If I’d seen nine rounds in the X on the target, staying steady [for the last shot] would have been challenging….”

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSM

Forum member “Tom” (2016 IBS 1000-yard Nat’l Champion and holder of several IBS 1000-yard records) unofficially measured Greer’s 1K group at 2.680 inches (0.256 MOA), using Ballistic-X software. Awaiting final group measurement by the NBRSA Long Range Committee, as currently measured, this target is just under existing IBS and Williamsport 10-shot HG 1000-yard records: The current IBS HG 1000-yard group record is 2.871″ held by Michael Gaizauskas. The current Williamsport HG 1000-yard group record is 2.815″ held by Matthew Kline.

Benchrest Shooting — Sport for All Ages
Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSMCharles Greer reminded us that even senior citizens can succeed in benchrest competition: “One of the benefits of benchrest shooting is that it is a sport accessible to us even as we age. I cannot run and gun anymore like I used to do in IPSC and IDPA but as long as I can get my body and my equipment up to a bench, I can still be very competitive. That is not possible for us old guys in most sports and shooting disciplines. As I am ‘only 83′ I am hoping to squeeze a few more years of competition out of the old body before I have to pack it in for good.”

Charles is thankful for what he has achieved in this sport over many decades: “The Shooting Gods have certainly smiled on me from time to time during my brief shooting career and for that I am incredibly grateful.”

This target may also be the smallest 1K 10-shot group ever shot in competition, in ANY Class. In 2014, Jim Richards fired a 10-shot, 2.6872″ Light Gun group under Williamsport Rules at Deep Creek Range in Montana. However, Jim’s record small group was NOT centered in the 10-ring and it appear that Greer’s group could measure smaller. [Editor: Charles is no stranger when it comes to 1000-yard records. Charles is the current listed holder of two NBRSA 1000-yard score records: 3-Target HG Score: 294-8X (2010); 6-Target 2-Gun Score: 441-13X (2010).]

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSM

100-10X at 1000 — This May Be a First
After looking at all the 1000-yard records from different organizations, it appears that Greer’s 100-10X score could well be a first! And it may be many years before another 100-10X score is ever shot in competition.

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSM

Arizona’s Three Points Range is known for its windy conditions. So much so that small groups are not common in match reports. 6mm cartridges that are commonly shot at other 1000-yard benchrest competitions are rarely shot at Sahuaro 1K BR Club matches. The bigger calibers dominate here.

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSM

Charles Greer NBRSA 1000-Yard Heavy Gun Specifications:
Action: Borden BRMXD drop port
Barrel: Krieger 30″ 4-groove, 1:10″ twist, custom contour 1.35″ tapered to 1.00″
Chambering: .300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM)
Chamber Specs: .337 neck with .280 freebore
Stock/Weight: McMillan/Wheeler LRB (solid fill) stock at 27 pounds
Gunsmith: Gerald Reisdorff
Optics: Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm
Front Rest: Sinclair Competition with 4″ Edgewood bag
Rear Rest/Bag: Wahlstrom mechanical rear rest with custom Edgewood bag

Load Details: Norma .300 WSM brass, Alliant Reloder 23 powder, Federal 210M primers, Berger 220gr LR Hybrid bullets at 2800 FPS

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSM

Upside-Down (Wider Base) Stock Rudder Improves Rifle Tracking

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSMGreer has done something clever with his McMillan/Wheeler benchrest stocks. He has flipped over (inverted) the adjustable metal rudder (or keel) that runs on the underside of the buttstock. This provides a wider, flat tracking surface. The inverted rudder runs in a special sandbag on a Walhstrom mechanical rest. NOTE: Mechanical rear rests ARE legal for BOTH Heavy Guns and Light Guns under current NBRSA rules (see page 24). Shown at right is Greer’s Light Gun, but his Heavy Gun has the same system.

Charles explains: “Both my LG and my HG are of the same configuration except for additional weight in the stock of the HG. I decided to do this so that I would not need a separate rest system for each gun which saves on expense and makes it much easier to switch the LG out for the HG during competition. No need to change rest systems and re-align everything. Both of my stocks are McMillan/Wheeler LRB models with the adjustable rudder that can be repositioned horizontally to improve tracking. The rudder has a 3/4 inch-wide base that is usually fit into an Edgewood gator bag with a flat top. I did not like the way the rifle tracked with this set up and wanted something more solid and stable.

So I found that if I turned the rudder upside down and re-installed it that way on the stock, using the same screws and holes, the top of the rudder when turned down provided me with a base 1.5″ wide with a 1/4″ rail on each side. I got a Wahlstrom mechanical rear rest and had a custom Edgewood front bag made for it with a 1.5″ separation between the ears. The rail tracks perfectly in the bag and I can tighten the ears to make it quite solid and steady. I have noticed a huge improvement in tracking with this set up. I am still refining this arrangement but plan to continue using it on both rifles. I have never seen this done and was thinking maybe your readers would be interested.”

Questions & Answers with Charles Greer

Hall of Fame short-range shooter Gary Ocock interviewed Charles Greer. This interesting Q&A dialog covers shooting styles, equipment selection, recoil management and other notable topics.

Q: Tell us about your rifle, accuracy standards, and choice of calibers and bullets for the 1K game.
Greer: I set up two rifles, Light Gun and Heavy Gun. Both will shoot 100-yard 5-shot groups in the high ones and low twos. In Arizona I want a heavy, high-BC bullet in both guns to buck the wind and want to keep the ES under 10 FPS. I’m finding .300 WSM with Berger 220 LRHT bullets and a 4 groove Krieger barrel will provide the performance I need, and I shoot this round in both rifles.

Q: Explain your rest set-up, tracking, and recoil management. And how fast do you typically shoot your strings of fire?
Greer: I am using a Sinclair Competition Front Rest along with a mechanical rear rest, both with Edgewood front bags, to give me the stability necessary to provide consistent tracking even with these relatively high recoil rounds. Almost perfect tracking and consistent return to battery in the same spot is necessary to get a record string off quickly and smoothly. I try to get my strings off in a time of between 6 and 10 seconds per round depending on conditions. Any faster and I get sloppy.

Q: What were conditions like when you shot that amazing 10-shot group?
Greer: On the day I shot the record-pending target I had the first relay. There was wind but it was light, maybe 4-5 mph and seemed steady. The flags were about halfway up to horizontal and seemed to be holding that way. My procedure is to shoot 5 sighter rounds, two to adjust my initial round on paper to the X-Ring and then three more during the last minute to check for changes in the wind. If these last three rounds stay in the Ten Ring it is usually a sign that the wind may be steady enough for me to shoot a good group. On the “record” day the last three sighters were right in or near the X-Ring and when the record target came up I quickly but carefully dumped my 10 rounds holding the scope dot right on the X. The wind apparently held absolutely steady, and I got the result you see on the target.

That is my normal shooting technique. I pretty well know during the last minute of the sighter period whether a good group will be possible. If each of my last three sighters ends up inches away from the X in different directions, I know the wind is shifty and a good group on that target is unlikely. I adjust the last sighter to the X and then dump the string the same way just hoping the wind may hold for a minute or so. Sometimes it does, but often not so much.

During the record strings there is no way to know where the rounds are going. They are not marked, and the holes cannot be seen through the scope at that distance. The 1K flags are big and heavy and not very indicative of minor wind changes so I do not try to hold off or change my point of aim unless a flag completely reverses direction during a string. I’ve found that over the years adjusting my point of aim to the X after the last sighter and then dumping my strings gets the best results overall.

Q: What is your highest shooting accomplishment so far?
Greer: Well, the highest accomplishment (if one can call it that) would have to be this 100-10X target. This may end up being the best 10-shot target ever shot in a sanctioned match. 0f course, there is a tremendous amount of luck involved in this coming together but I certainly am pleased.

I had set four NBRSA world records when I was shooting previously: Light Gun Agg in 2008, and all three possible Highest Three Target Score records in 2010, two of which still stand. The first was probably the most satisfying as was my performance in the 2010 Nationals where I placed high in several categories and was Heavy Gun Champion for Score.

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSMQ: Who do you attend matches with?
Greer: During the last year my son, Brian, has become my match shooting companion. We go out together every month. Brian was able recently to purchase the great 300 Ackley HG that I competed with and set world records with in 2010. I sold the rifle to a friend who never shot it and it found its way back into our family. Brian is now becoming a serious competitor.

Photo Right: Charles Greer with son Brian.

Q: What are your future shooting goals?
Greer: To keep on shooting our local match each month and to try to get to the Nationals once or twice more before I get too damn feeble. And to be able to see my son take my place as a regular winner when I can no longer compete.

Q: Is there any advice you would like to share with new shooters?
Greer: Make a commitment to excel at whichever discipline you choose. Get the best equipment and components that you can afford and consider each match a learning experience. At some point anything that can go wrong will go wrong and one must learn from these mistakes. Most importantly, be patient and keep coming back. In Arizona good shooting conditions are rare. You gotta be “in it to win it”. If you show up at every match you can attend eventually a great condition will appear on your relay and you will have a chance to shoot a spectacular score.

Charles Greer 1000 yard Heavy Gun HG NBRSA 10X world record group .300 WSM

Q: What is your shooting background?
Greer: I started shooting rabbits as a kid in the Mojave Desert, trained on various firearms in the military in the fifties and sixties and over the years hunted birds and large game and played with various handguns. In 2005 I moved to Tucson from Mexico the first time and, looking for an activity, started shooting IDPA and IPSC pistol matches at Pima Pistol Club. Shortly thereafter I bought a .308 Savage tactical rifle and got interested in shooting for accuracy. One thing led to another and before long I bought a better Savage varmint rifle in .300 WSM and started shooting the 1K match at Tucson Rifle Club at Three Points around 2007. I kept upgrading my equipment, started winning matches, set some world records.

After the 2011 NBRSA Long Range Nationals I felt rather burnt out on shooting. I sold all my guns and equipment and headed South looking for perhaps one more adventure. I found some but they did not include shooting as South of the border folks tend to shoot back when they hear anything go bang. I returned to Tucson in May of 2019, built a couple of new rifles, and got involved again in the monthly Sahuaro match where the most recent world record target was shot. I would like to resume shooting the NBRSA Long Range Nationals. Will not be ready this year but probably will in 2022.

Q: Have you tried other disciplines at different ranges?
Greer: I have only competed in Long Range, mostly 1000 yards but 600 yards a few times at the Nationals. I would like to try shooting “Score” and there is a monthly match at our range. May try it if I can get an appropriate rifle.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Shooting Skills 7 Comments »
December 6th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: .300 WSM F-Open Rig from Australia

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

Today’s featured rifle comes from the land Down-Under — Australia. This impressive .300 WSM F-Open rig has top-tier components/accessories from multiple countries. From the USA comes the Borden BRMXD action, Krieger barrel, McMillan Kestros ZR stock, and R.A.D. 2 recoil system. The 10-60x56mm March scope comes from Japan. The Lenzi rear bag is from Italy, and the SEB front rest is from Indonesia, with a Rodzilla top from America. This rifle is brand new, and just had its first competitive test this weekend, emerging with the top 600m Aggregate. By all indication, this .300 WSM F-Open beast is a winner.

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

Impressive .300 WSM F-Open Rifle from Australia

This rifle belongs to Kris Wilson, aka “Willow” on our AccurateShooter Forum. Just last week Kris posted in the Pride and Joy Rifle thread: “Got my latest build up and running — a .300 WSM F-Open rifle. Never shot a .300 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum) before today and I have to say that, while the recoil is on the sharp side, it’s entirely manageable thanks to the stock design and front rest.” Kris resides in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and shoots at the Hornsby RSL Rifle Club. He is his club’s current F-Open Champion, even with some very tough competition — his club boasts two Australian F-Open championship-winning club members. Kris loves the F-Class game: “I started rifle shooting in 2015 when I was introduced to the world of F-class through shopping for a riflescope. Once I saw what F-class was all about, I was hooked.”

Kris produced this video on December 5, 2020. He reports: “Here is my first real outing with my new .300 WSM. I had previously sighted in at 50 meters at an indoor range to establish a wind zero. Had a rough idea of velocity so I threw together two loads to run at 600 meters. Our Aussie targets have a max numerical ring value of 6 (equivalent to “10” on USA targets). On Stage One I shot a 60.8X (60.10X max possible), grouping about 3.7 inches. On Stage Two, shown in this video, I shot a a 66.9X (66.11X max possible) with a 3-inch grouping. I took first place in both stages and won the overall Aggregate for the day. That earned me a Christmas ham and turkey for my trouble!”

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

.300 WSM Rifle Hardware, Cartridge Choice, and Reloading

Report by Kris Wilson, NSW, Australia

Stock: McMillan Kestros ZR with R.A.D. 2 system. 70% black, 15% grey, 15% red.
Action: Borden Rimrock BRMXD, left bolt, right port, left eject. The action is fully DLC coated and fitted with a +20 MOA rail
Trigger: TriggerTech Diamond
Barrel: Krieger 1:10″-twist, 4 groove finished at 31″ and fitted with an Ezell tuner.
Scope: March High Master 10-60x56mm with MTR-1 reticle, illuminated
Rings: ARC M10 High Rings
Front Rest: SEB Mini Rest, with Rodzilla Rest Top system
Rest Feet: Bryan Blake (F-Class Products) adjustable stainless feet
Rear Support: Lenzi (Italy) LR Rear bag, with custom metal base plate

Cartridge Selection — Why the .300 WSM Was Chosen over a 7mm Cartridge
I set out with the goal of building my ultimate F-Open rifle. Now “ultimate” is of course subjective, but I did not want to leave any stone unturned when it came to building a .300 WSM. When researching the equipment for my new build I had a couple of ideas in mind. I was already shooting a 7mm, in the form of a 280AI which had served me well, but I already had plans to switch to a .284 Shehane with the introduction of Peterson .284 Win brass, coupled with the fact Norma stopped making 280AI brass (Note: Peterson now makes 280AI brass). While I was reasonably well-covered with my .284 Shehane, I wanted something with a bit more horsepower to hold up at long range in choppy conditions. A lot of the top guys here shoot 7mm SAUMs but I wasn’t keen on going down that path. Why? For every accurate SAUM I’ve seen, I’ve seen others struggle and given that the 7mm SAUM seems to be particularly hard on barrels, I wanted something that could match the 7mm SAUM ballistically, but have better barrel life.

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

After plenty of research on AccurateShooter.com, and speaking with some shooters, both locally and in the USA, I decided to give the .300 WSM a go. This cartridge is not particularly popular in Australia for F-Open, primarily because most states enforce muzzle energy restrictions, so pushing the .300 WSM to its potential simply isn’t viable for many shooters here. It IS viable in my home state however, along with the ACT, so I can at least use it in major competitions in two Australian states without having to run at lower nodes where it would otherwise be trumped by the 7 SAUM shooters. I was also attracted to the cartridge through its general design, having a 35-degree shoulder angle similar to the inherently accurate .284 Winchester. I also think the .300 WSM resembles a super-sized Dasher, another devastatingly accurate cartridge. Most .300 WSM shooters report ease of tuning, another key factor I considered.

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

Choice of Stock, Action, and Barrel
My gunsmith, Matt Paroz (aka MattP on the AccurateShooter Forum) is one of Australia’s top gunsmiths as well as one of Australia’s top F-Open shooters. He knows what it takes to build match-winning rifles. Matt is also an agent for McMillan stocks and I was sold on the Kestros ZR after seeing how it well it tracked — the lower center of gravity it offers cannot be underestimated once you start stepping up in caliber size. I had previously seen a couple of rifles that Matt built for an Australian F-Open team member and I was blown away not only by the quality of the builds, but how well the components worked with one another. I already own a Barnard action, a match-winning action in its own right, but I was desperate to get my hands on a Borden. I liked the fact that Jim Borden times his actions as they leave his factory, so I ordered a BRMXD, left bolt, right port, left eject. I ordered my BRMXD fully DLC-coated, for both longevity and aesthetics.

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

I opted for a TriggerTech Diamond trigger which has been timed to the action and offers a level of crispness the factory Barnard trigger cannot replicate. The synergy between action and trigger is just superb. I managed to get my hands on a 10-twist, 4-groove Krieger barrel that looks like a winner so far. Finished at 31″, this barrel has been super-easy to tune so far, with Berger 215gr hybrids showing very good promise. NOTE — Overall the rifle comes in 500 grams (1.1 lbs.) below F-Open max weight, so the next barrel will probably finish at 32″.

The barrel sports an Ezell tuner. I don’t touch the tuner until I’ve sorted my load and bullet seating depth. The tuner just affords me that extra flexibility in tightening up an already good grouping. At the end of the day, like any competitive shooter, I’m chasing tight vertical and horizontal, something which will run inside 1 MOA at 1000 yards. If I drop a shot, I want it to be my fault, not the rifle’s.

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

About my optics choice — when the chance to own a March High Master came up, I didn’t think twice. I have used March previously and got a sneak peek through an original High Master prototype which was doing the rounds in Australia. With superb image quality, it left a lasting impression. March has built up an excellent following and reputation in Australia, and so far I have to say it was money well spent. The March is held in place with a set of beefy ARC M10 rings.

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

The rest of my F-Open setup includes a modified SEB Mini up front, with a Rodzilla Rest top and Bryan Blake adjustable feet. I chose the SEB Mini because it has a wide, stable footprint but relatively light weight. That makes the Mini easier to transport. At the rear I use an extremely well-crafted Lenzi LR bag which sits on a custom rear plate. This heavy combination keeps things nice and planted. That aids in straight tracking.

Reloading for the .300 WSM — Process and Die Choice
When it comes to reloading, I keep it simple and don’t over-think things. I use Norma .300 WSM brass. I ensure case mouths are always deburred on the inside and out but I do not neck turn. I am set up to turn necks with a 21st Century unit, but after neck turning previously for a 6mm SLR, I just didn’t see a noticeable benefit in doing so. I always full length re-size after firing and prefer bushings, generally opting for .002″ of neck tension on anything I shoot. So far it seems to be working. With my .300 WSM I run a Redding Type-S full-length bushing die with a .335 bushing. A loaded round comes in at 0.337″ across the neck and I opted for a no-neck turn reamer which comes in at 0.343″, so there’s plenty of clearance. I use a Forster micrometer seating die. I prefer the feel of the Forster and I use Redding dry lube media to assist in smooth bullet seating.

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday
Reloading room with MEC single-stage press on left and AutoTrickler with Force Restoration Scale on right. Note there are plenty of bullets — Kris got his supplies before the shortage.

I use an AMP Annealer and anneal after every firing. Powder charges are measured and dropped with a V3 AutoTrickler and A&D FZ500i scale. The 215gr Berger Hybrid seemed like a pretty good place to start as far as bullet selection. I point them with a Whidden bullet pointing die. Powder options can sometimes be a contentious choice and if you’re lucky you’ll get a couple of powders which will work well in any given barrel. For my .300 WSM I use Alliant Reloder 23. It is very temp-stable. My primer of choice is S&B Standard Large Rifle Primers. How does it all come together? The first nine shots through the barrel while zeroing the scope resulted in an ES of 17 and SD of 6 — promising signs for a light initial load of 63 grains.

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

First Test in Competition — Kris Earns Victory at 600m with his .300 WSM
The first real test came after only 19 rounds had gone down the barrel. My local range and district had its annual Christmas shoot with Christmas hams and turkeys awarded to discipline winners. I was up against a decent field with two members from the Australian F-Open team running against me — one sporting a .284 Win and the other a 7mm SAUM. I ran two different loads using Reloder 23. I was hoping to be in the vicinity of 2920 fps with my pointed Berger 215gr hybrids. What made this a bit harder was not being able to run my LabRadar prior to the shoot. Based on user comments on the 215gr hybrids, I jumped them 20 thousandths, hoping they would hold together and not end up with a shotgun grouping on target.

My first sighting shot at 600 meters was a 4 which landed high, but windage was good. I wound down 1 MOA and the second sighter was a 5. My first scoring shot was an X. I proceeded to shoot clean, scoring a 60.8X (100.8X on a USA target), with the group measuring 3.7 inches. Quite a good start for shots 20-31 through the barrel! For Stage 2, we were only allowed one sighter with 11 shots to count (66.11 max possible). I knew my second load was a touch higher so I came down several clicks, and my first sighter was an X. This second stage load grouped tighter, shooting clean again with a 66.9X, with 11 shots in 3 inches. That was good enough to take first place in both stages and win the overall Aggregate for the day. See HEXTA target screen capture below. American readers take note — a SIX in Australia is the same as a TEN in your USA system.

Australia F-Class F-Open .300 WSM Win Short Mag sunday Gunday

Suffice to say I was very pleased with how things turned out! Despite the bigger bang this rifle makes, the Kestros ZR and R.A.D. 2 system made it remarkably compliant. The recoil is sharp but the R.A.D. system just takes all the sting out of it — it reminded me of shooting my old 280AI in terms of felt recoil. I was able to get back on target with a minimum of fuss and didn’t find the rifle fatiguing at all, so it gets a massive thumbs up from me. This just illustrates how important component selection and rifle set-up is to the overall experience. Going home with a Christmas ham and Turkey was an added bonus!

CONCLUSION — The .300 WSM is Very Effective for F-Open
With recent trends in F-Open equipment, such as rifle stock technology making a lower center of gravity possible, bigger F-Open options such as the .300 WSM are now quite manageable. That’s not to say this caliber is a pussy cat — it definitely kicks more than the .284s out there. But with my choice of components, the recoil is manageable and the R.A.D. 2 system takes the sting out, so I’m not left nursing a sore shoulder at the end of a stage. The rifle is off to a very positive start so far but I know it’s capable of more. The lead up to Christmas will keep me busy fine-tuning a load in time for the NSW State Title match to be held in late January 2021. With COVID-19 halting most competitive shooting in Australia in 2020, this 2021 NSW competition is sure to prove popular. I intend to have my .300 WSM rifle humming in time for it.

Kris Wilson (NSW, Australia) Talks About Competitive Shooting
When I was introduced to F-Class shooting, I was fascinated with the level of accuracy shooters were obtaining with their rifles and it was something that just drew me in. Since then it has been a gradual learning curve, not to mention the fact everyone I have met has been super friendly and willing to share their knowledge. The shooting fraternity is a great community to be part of…. Mixing it with Australia’s best is what drives me right now.

For the past two years I have taken competition more seriously as I hope to represent Australia in the future. In my first Nationals match in 2019, I finished 15th out of 30 F-Open shooters. I then finished 7th in the 2019 NSW State Championships, with every shooter above me having been a state or national championship winner, including current F-Open world champion Rod Davies. 2020 has been different due to COVID-19 — unfortunately many of Australia’s state championships and prize shoots were cancelled. But I’ve been working hard to maintain my skills and the new rifle is motivation. As reloading equipment and rifle components continue to improve, it’s a great sport which encourages learning and provides many opportunities to keep improving your shooting.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Optics 1 Comment »
January 5th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Water-Cooled Wondergun Set World Record

Joel Pendergraft water-cooled wondergun .300 Ackley Improved

We like “outside of the box” thinking. And in the world of competitive shooting, it can’t get more unconventional than this. But this radical liquid-cooled benchrest rig wasn’t just a crazy experiment — it actually delivered the goods. This IBS Heavy Gun, built by Joel Pendergraft, produced a superb 10-shot, 3.044″ group that stood as an International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) 1000-Yard Heavy Gun record for seven years, not being broken until 2016.*

Using this water-cooled wondergun, Joel shot the record-breaking group in April 2009 at Hawks Ridge, NC. This monster features a .30-Caliber 12-twist, 4-groove Krieger barrel inside a water-filled sleeve (like on a liquid-cooled machine gun). Joel shot BIB 187gr flat-based bullets in Norma brass, pushed by a “generous amount” of Alliant Reloder 25 and Federal 210M primers. The cartridge was a big custom wildcat Joel listed as “.300 Ackley Improved”. That traditionally has been based on the .300 H&H Magnum parent case**. READ Forum Thread on .300 Ackley.

Joel Pendergraft

This 3.044″ 10-shot group was a remarkable accomplishment, breaking one of the longest-standing, 1000-yard IBS World Records. And Joel’s 3.044″ record stood for 10 years.

Joel Pendergraft

water-cooled heavy gun IBSThis 3.048″ 10-shot group was a remarkable accomplishment, breaking one of the longest standing 1000-yard World Records. Bill Shehane commented: “This tops the NBRSA, IBS, and Original Williamsport Clubs’ all-time 10-shot Heavy Gun group records. Took a long time to do it and I for one know Joel did not back into it — he worked harder than most… to break this record. And just like John Voneida of the Original Williamsport Club who held this most prestigous record for so long, Joel is a super nice guy and a great competitor.”

Pendergraft was modest after his notable achievement: “What makes this so very special is to be able to celebrate the accomplishment with all of my shooting friends[.] A good friend once said that records are shot when preparation and opportunity meet. I feel blessed to have personally had the opportunity. The preparation we can individually work on and achieve but the opportunity only comes to a few. Those of you that compete in long range competition will know what I mean.”

Joel Pendergraft


*On July 24, 2016, Michael Gaizauskas shot a 2.871″ ten-shot group that bettered Pendergraft’s record by 0.171″ (less than a quarter inch). Michael’s group was also all in the 10 ring, for a perfect 100 score. CLICK HERE for IBS Long-Range Records.

** Back in 2008, the .300 Ackley was the #1 Cartridge in 1000-yard competition at Hawks Ridge. SEE Results Chart. Forum member Cheechako explains: “The .300 Ackley Magnum is actually the .300 H&H case improved. Many shooters will start with the Weatherby brass because it is higher quality. There are several versions of the Ackley but the differences are minor until you get into the few, like the 300 Hart, that actually do increase the capacity. There is also a .300 Weatherby Improved which is sort of a misnomer because it’s almost impossible to improve that case except to eliminate the rounded corners.”

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November 3rd, 2019

Sunday GunDay: .300 WSM Hunter with Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

300 WSM winchester short magnum carbon manners hunter hunting

High-Tech Hunter in 300 WSM

Since its introduction in 2001, the .300 Winchester Short Magnum (.300 WSM), has proven very popular for hunting and long-range competition. The case has ample capacity to drive the heavy .30-caliber bullets, and with proper case prep and annealing, the WSM is capable of outstanding accuracy. When Nebraskan Greg Anderson decided to build his “ultimate long-range hunter”, he selected the .300 WSM for its accuracy and its ability to drop large game at long distances. Teaming up with Chris Matthews of LongShot Rifles, Greg developed an impressive long-range hunting rig, with high-tech components to reduce weight. The 26″ barrel is a carbon-wrapped composite over a Rock Creek stainless blank. The carbon technology saved about 3 pounds over an all-steel barrel of similar length/contour.

300 WSM winchester short magnum carbon manners hunter hunting

The Manners Composite stock also features carbon fiber construction for stiffness and reduced weight. Greg’s carbon/carbon rifle tips the scales at just 10.8 pounds, including scope and bipod. A conventional rig could easily weigh 15 pounds or more. Greg’s carbon hunter has proven accurate as well as innovative. With 175gr Sierra MKs, the gun shoots well under 1/2-MOA out to 600 yards and beyond.

The Ideal Spot and Stalk Rifle

by Greg Anderson
The purpose of this project was to create a hunting rifle that would be inherently accurate at long range and have an acceptable weight for hunting in rough country. I researched the question of overall weight with several gunsmiths. The smiths confirmed that while fat-contour barrels could deliver improved accuracy, there was a price to pay and a lot more weight. With a heavy barrel, the finished rifle would be most likely weigh about 15 pounds. That’s more than I wanted to haul around in the field. To reduce barrel weight, the suggested “traditional” solutions were fluting, which would reduce barrel weight by at least one-half pound, or going with a smaller diameter barrel.

The Quest for Reduced Weight without Accuracy Loss
Fluting didn’t promise enough weight savings, and a slim, sporter barrel probably wasn’t going to deliver the kind of consistent accuracy I wanted (particularly as the barrel heated up). Accordingly, I decided to “think outside the box”. My research on lightweight barrel options lead me to Advanced Barrel Systems, (ABS) a company in Lincoln, Nebraska that once produced custom carbon-wrapped barrels. ABS President Mike Degerness could wrap a barrel to virtually any shape and diameter, allowing great stiffness even with a huge reduction in barrel weight. As the “core” for his carbon-wrapped barrels, Mike recommends a cut-rifled blank made by any of the quality cut-barrel makers. [NOTE: ABS is not taking orders at this time. You cannow get excellent carbon-wrapped barrels from Proof Research].

Proof reasearch carbon barrel

Significant Weight Saving with Carbon
How much weight can you save with a carbon-wrapped barrel? Well a 24-inch, #7 contour ABS carbon-wrapped barrel will weigh about 2.5 pounds compared to about 5.5 pounds for a steel barrel of the same length and contour. So, this means that you can put a fat, stiff competition-contour barrel on your hunting rifle and save over half the barrel weight compared to an all-steel barrel. Saving three pounds is a blessing when you’re carrying the rifle all day long in the field. I placed an order for a 30-caliber Rock Creek barrel blank with an 1:11.25″ twist and a finished length of 26″. Mike wrapped the barrel and finished it to an M24 contour.

Carbon Can Also Improve Barrel Vibration Damping
One interesting benefit of carbon barrel-wrapping is that the carbon components have a vibration-dampening effect. According to ABS, the extreme rigidity of the finished composite barrel dampens the vibration nodes of the barrel making it shoot like a plain steel barrel of much greater mass. Carbon fiber has a high modulus of elasticity that has the effect of lowering the amplitude of the vibration of the barrel when fired. This is what makes the ABS barrels perform so well, according to Mike.

300 WSM winchester short magnum carbon manners hunter hunting

Impressive Accuracy For a Hunting Rifle
Looking at the targets below, one may ask, “Does the rifle always shoot this well?” The answer, not surprisingly, is: “it depends on the trigger-puller”. The rifle is capable of outstanding accuracy. But it took some time and effort for me to develop the skills required to shoot up to the rifle’s inherent accuracy. I nearly always practice prone from bipod. Initially, I was getting horizontal stringing until I changed my grip and learned to be more consistent from shot to shot. Shooting a heavy-recoiling .30-caliber rifle from the ground is not the same as shooting a .223 Rem from the bench.

3-Shot Group at 200 yards | 6-Shot Group at 500 Yards

300 WSM winchester short magnum carbon manners hunter hunting

Completing the Project Build
To smith the rifle, I selected Chris Matthews of LongShot Rifles, LLC because of his expertise with the WSM cartridges and long-range shooting equipment. Because cost was a factor, we decided to use a donor Remington long action that had been used on a Remington 7mm magnum. Chris trued the action and we had Dave Kiff from Pacific Tool & Gauge grind us a bolt to fit the action more perfectly. Chris chambered the Rock barrel and installed a .300 Badger recoil lug.

Carbon-reinforced Hunting Stock from Tom Manners
Being a fan of carbon fiber technology, I selected an MCS-T stock from Manners Composite Stocks. These stocks have an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio and the high comb of the MCS-T gave an almost perfect alignment with the scope. The finished rifle was topped off with a Leupold 4.5-14x40mm LR scope equipped with M1 windage and elevation turrets. A Harris bipod completed the package. All up, including scope, steel rings, and bipod, my .300 WSM rifle with 26″ barrel weighs 10.8 pounds.

300 WSM Carbon hunting hunter rifle Manners stocks

Load Development for Accuracy
I developed a load using 63.0 grains of H4350, 175gr Sierra Match Kings with Federal 210M primers in Winchester-brand brass. This load gives 2960 FPS out of my rifle. The load would shoot sub-MOA from bipod from 100 yards to 600 yards and was adopted as the “go to” load. I have also tried the 208gr Hornady A-Max in this gun. The A-Maxs shot well but the Sierras work well for everything (paper punching and hunting) so the 175gr SMK is my bullet of choice.

300 WSM Carbon hunting hunter rifle

Brass Prep and Annealing Are Very Important
The Winchester-brand brass is good, but you have to prep it thoroughly if you want good results. My brass prep consisted of turning the necks, de-burring the flash holes (inside and out), and chamfering the case necks. Using a Sinclair neck-turning tool, I turn the necks to .0135″ per side. That provides a complete clean-up of the necks, which run about .015″ neck-wall thickness out of the box.

anneal annealing tempilaqOne thing I’ve learned to do is anneal the brass every 3-4 firings. I started to do that after I noticed that the force required to seat bullets became inconsistent after just a few loading cycles. I also experienced flyers that were going out of the group for no apparent reason. Annealing the cases every 3-4 firings has eliminated most of the unexplained flyers and annealing has also made bullet seating much, much more consistent. I’ve also noticed a significant improvement in my groups at 500 and 600 yards now that I anneal regularly. Group sizes at 600 yards can be as much as 2″ smaller with annealed brass than with un-annealed, work-hardened brass.

Greg Anderson was successful with his .300 WSM on his very first hunt, dropping a nice buck at 364 yards. Chris reports: This was on some private land in Nebraska. As daylight faded… there were a couple of bucks, but one looked to be the best of the lot. The buck gave me a broadside shot ranged at 364 yards. I settled behind the scope and took one shot. It hit right where I aimed and the buck just folded.”

deer hunting buck 300 WSM

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
August 11th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — Eye-Catching Rifles from America and the UK

sunday gunday Rem 700 .270 winchester win tye sims
Here is Tye Sim’s .270 Win Mountain Rifle: “This is off a trued and blue-printed Rem 700 action. I love it.”

For today’s Sunday GunDay feature, we thought we’d present a selection of rifles featuring both cool gear and scenic venues. We’ve got quite a mix — hunting rifles and competition rigs, full customs as well as factory rifles. And there are some interesting calibers including 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win, .308 Win, plus a couple WSM variants. Enjoy our Sunday lineup!

Gary Costello Blair Atholl Scotland F-Open F-Class .300 WSM

To begin, here is the beautiful Blair Atholl range in Scotland. Owner Gary Costello posted: “Great day today, weather was interesting but not as bad as we thought!” Gary, a top F-Class shooter in the UK who often runs a .300 WSM, has been featured in a previous Sunday GunDay spotlight story HERE

F-class F-Open Andrew Stone .284 Win Labradar

Andrew Stone is an F-Class shooter from the Southern USA. Here his F-Open rig is set up for load testing from the bench at his beautiful, tree-lined home range. Targets are at 600 yards. Andrew is using a SEB front coaxial rest and LabRadar chronograph mounted on an aftermarket tripod.

F-TR Brian Harder rifle F-TR

In the photo above is Brian Harder’s handsome .308 Win F-TR rifle. This features a Kelbly action, McMillan stock, and Vortex scope with level. Up front is a SEB Joystick Bipod (Joy-Pod) with accessory ski-type feet. Note that Brian runs a front scope extension tube (sunshade), and a mirage shield on the barrel. These items do make a difference, particularly on hot summer days!

F-Class 7mm 270 WSM hydro-dip Bartlein

Here’s another British Beauty. This is the 7mm-270 WSM F-Classer belonging to Forum member Ian B. (aka “Elwood”). It features a Stolle Panda F-Class action, 32″ straight-contour Bartlein barrel, and a custom Joe West stock, modified by Ian and then hydro-dipped in brilliant blue by Hydro Graphics in the UK.

Bergara B14 6.5 Creedmoor HMR

Factory rifles can be interesting too. That’s pretty impressive accuracy shown by Steven Castleman’s Bergara B14 HMR chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. On this day Steve was shooting Hornady factory ammo loaded with 147-grain ELD Match bullets.

Savage Stealth 10 BA Rifle hog hunting

Here’s a stunning silhouette of a Savage 6.5 Creedmoor. Ed Whipple posted: “Borrowing a Savage 10 BA Stealth from my buddy Ron. He wanted a 100-yard head shot on a hog. I’m not listening to Ron any more. Federal Fusion bullet ain’t messing around.”

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July 21st, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Shiraz Balolia’s F-Class Lowboy Stock Project

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Lowboy F-Class Gunstock Conversion

Project by Shiraz Balolia, President of Grizzly Industrial
The lowboy stock you see above started as an experiment. I had an extra Masterclass F-Class stock that had gone through two actions, four beddings, and multiple modifications over the years. I figured that there was nothing to lose if the experiment did not work out.

After deciding on the design, the stock was carefully leveled in every direction and milled to the precise dimensions for attaching the side pieces, which would be glued to the original stock.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill
Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Curly Maple and Bubinga wood were laminated to get the exact thickness of the side pieces so that the total width of the fore-end would be just under the total width allowed for F-Open stocks.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Two guide pins made of Bubinga were drilled through each side so that the sides would not move when glued to the milled stock.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Once the sides were glued to the blank, the stock was once again trued on the mill so it was perfectly flat and square with the back (see below).

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

The stock was then sent to Keith Weill at KW Precision who did an incredible bedding job on the new BAT M action. The stock was then sent out for spraying a clear finish. Normally I spray my own stocks, but I did not have time for this stock, so that part was subbed-out. The finger grooves and “Shiraz” inlay had been done by me a few years prior during the old stock’s heyday.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Modified Stock Has Significantly Lower Center of Gravity
The rifle was then assembled, a March 10-60x56mm High Master scope was installed, and break-in was completed on the new barrel. At the range, the stock performed great. The stock rides one-half-inch lower in the front bag and really feels good.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill
CLICK HERE for full-screen photo.

Bartlein Barrel Is Chambered in .300 WSM
I was pleased to find that the Bartlein barrel I have on this gun cleaned up very well during barrel break-in and this “experiment” may turn into this being one of my best-performing guns. All of my F-Open match guns are .300 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum), and so is this one.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

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May 5th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Costello Battles Storm Hannah with .300 WSM

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

Gary Costello recently won the Great Britain National League 600-yard Championship in F-Open class. Gary managed that impressive win despite Storm Hannah which caused torrential rain and 40 mph winds during the match, held at the Diggle ranges. Gary, a Forum member, reports that conditions were hellacious: “The weather was terrible, with horizontal rain and winds in excess of 40 mph. In fact, some shooters got blown clean off the target and many complete misses occurred.”

There’s a special story here, as Gary had been battling a life-threatening illness for many months. Gary told us: “This was my first National Competition since September 2018. I contracted a serious heart virus in October 2018. I was critically ill until January 2019. After undergoing treatment and 100% rest I recovered slowly, my focus was the 600-Yard Shoot in April. I am now 70% there and hopefully in another 4-6 months I hope to make a full recovery.” [Editor: Gary, we are glad you are on the road to recovery.]

In today’s Sunday GunDay story, we feature Gary’s American-crafted .300 WSM F-Open rifle. Note that Gary’s rifle has a Ezell barrel tuner and a recoil-reduction system in the buttstock. The .300 WSM does generate quite a kick with those big .30-caliber bullets.

Gary Costello’s .300 WSM F-Open Rifle

BAT M Action and Cerus Stock
This rifle was purchased from Jim Fowler (FalconPilot on the AccurateShooter Forum). This SG Rifles gun, crafted by smith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez, is a .300 WSM with BAT ‘M’ action (with nitrided bolt) and Cerus riflestock. Gary owns two other Speedy-built rifles.

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

Gary tells us: “My BAT ‘M’ action is a multi-port so I feed with my left and it ejects on the right. Speedy has worked on the firing control and timing, and I fitted the roller-cocking piece to aid smoothness and speed.” The fluted shroud is Speedy’s signature for fire control work.

Stunning Lenzi Co-Axial Front Rest
Gary tells us this impressive joy-stick rest “is a superb piece of engineering .. made by my good friend Alberto Lenzi.” Note the large stable base, and the deluxe counter-balance weight on the front end. Gary also uses a very nice leather rear sandbag crafted by Lenzi.

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

Riflescope — Prototype March 10-60×56 High Master
Gary Costello’s company is the European distributor for March Scopes. Gary was testing this scope as it has a new temperature-tolerant lens system to be released later this year

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

.300 WSM Load Details — H4350 with Berger 215gr Hybrids
Gary was shooting pointed Berger 215gr Hybrid bullets in Norma .300 WSM cartridge brass. The powder was Hodgdon H4350 with Muron KVB7 primers. Gary say his load runs around 2850 fps, and is very accurate. To demonstrate, here is a three-round, 100-yard test target, with a group measuring in the ones. Pretty impressive for a big bullet and a short magnum cartridge.

Gary Costello F-Class Great Britain UK .300 WSM Speedy

Gary Costello F-Class Great Britain UK .300 WSM Speedy

The UK has some wonderful places to shoot. This photo was taken at Blair Atholl in the Highlands of Scotland. Gary says “This is one of my favorite ranges and probably the hardest range to shoot in the UK. Due to the topography of the range you have to alter elevation as well as wind for pick-up and let-off. They say ‘Diggle Ranges Bark’ but Blair Atholl Bites!”

Blast from the Past — At Blair Atholl Ranges in Scotland

Gary Costello Blair Atholl Scotland Ranges

One of Europe’s very best F-Class competitors, Gary is no stranger to the winner’s circle. Here he is at the Blair Atholl Ranges in Scotland after a major victory a few seasons back. Gary says: “Blair Atholl, in the Estate of Blair Castle, is very scenic. The range is very tricky and is known as the hardest range in the UK to shoot due to the location of the targets cut into the hillside and valley. When the wind is at full value you often have to add one-half MOA elevation to every 1 MOA of wind. So thinking wind and elevation every shot is very difficult. I won this match some time ago and I do not recall the score. However it was a decisive win, and all matches in the competition were held at 1000 yards.” Gary was using a different rifle, but it also was a .300 WSM with a BAT action. His load was Hodgdon H4831 with Berger 215gr Hybrids, Murom primers, and Norma brass.

GB 600-Yard Championship — Gary’s Shot-by-Shot Report

The event was the first GB National League event of the year, our only short range (600-yard) match. This is actually one month later than usual in hope the weather would be better, sadly that wasn’t the case!

I won the Championship, five points clear of runner-up Ian Boxall. My final score was 241-18V out of a maximum of 250. The course of fire was reduced due to Storm Hannah on Saturday. It was decided by our committee that for safety we should shoot under cover (Diggle has a 600-yard covered firing point). The goal was to get at least one match to allow the competition to continue on the Sunday.

When I saw the condition and the flags I decided I needed to shoot as quick as possible as wind speed and direction were changing in seconds….

So I shot like stink only watching one flag and the other targets and my shot indication on the target screen. My first sighter was a score One left (a FIVE on the U.S F-Class target). But after adjusting, my second sighter was a One right — so there were pick-ups and let offs of about FIVE MOA!

I split the difference and went for score, my first shot was a Four (Nine on USA target) which I then adjusted on and held accordingly for the rest of the string using the other targets as indication and the one flag I had identified, it went pretty well.

Day Two (Sunday) weather was completely different, much better with no rain. We were first up at 0900 and the winds were light with subtle changes. This was a two sighters and 20-shot match, I started well with two V sighters which were converted, my partner Richard Sharman also had a good start and we proceeded through the string shooting Vs and Fives until Richard’s shots started to not register, this happened three times so it was decided I would continue and Richard would shoot again on another target. This caused a lot of delay and disruption. I had lost my path and wind, due to the delay I was allowed a non-convertible sighter which was a Three. It took two further shots to get back into the swing and I then recovered and ended the shoot with a 97-10V.

For the Final Match, the wind had picked up and was causing quite a few lost points and curses. I knew I was three points clear going into this Final Match so I had to play it real safe not to drop shots and lose critical points. I favored a left 4-5 Ring hold so not to get caught on the pick-ups. I use the March MTR-2 reticle, on 40X this reticle is subtended at exactly one-half MOA and brackets the F-class target perfectly. I was not concerned about the V bull at this time, the plan paid off and I dropped two points only.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review, Shooting Skills 5 Comments »
April 4th, 2019

Bump Buster Recoil Reduction System for F-Open Rifles

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open accurateshooter.com

Many of our Forum members have expressed interest in a recoil-reduction system for prone F-Open competition rifles shooting heavy bullets from powerful cartridges. A .300 WSM shooing 200+ grain bullets can definitely take its toll over the course of a match. One system that has been used with considerable success is the hydraulic “Bump Buster” recoil system. This definitely reduces the pounding your shoulder gets during a long match. To illustrate this system, we’ve reprised an article on Brett Soloman’s F-Open rifle from a couple years back. Watch the Videos to see the Bump Buster in action.

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open accurateshooter.comOn his Facebook page, Hall-of-Fame shooter and ace gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez unveiled an impressive new F-Open rifle built for Bret Solomon. The rifle features Speedy’s new low-profile F-Class stock.

Bret’s gun is chambered for his 300 Solomon wildcat, shooting heavy 210gr bullets, so it can can be a real shoulder-buster, without some kind of buffer. The stock is fitted with a Ken Rucker’s Bump Buster hydraulic recoil reduction system to tame the recoil. The Bump Buster was originally designed for shotguns and hard-hitting, big game rifles. It is interesting to see this hydraulic buffer adapted to an F-Open rig.

Here you can see Bret shooting the gun, coached by Nancy Tompkins and Michele Gallagher:

Bret’s gun features a stainless Viper (Stiller) action, barrel tuner, and an innovative Speedy-crafted wood stock. Speedy says this stock design is all-new: “It is a true, low Center-of-Gravity F-Class stock, not a morphed Palma stock merely cut out on the bottom”. See all the details in this short video:

Stock Features: Glue-in or Bolt-In and Optional Carbon Pillars and Cooling Ports
Speedy explained the features of the new stock design: “Terry Leonard and I started working on an F-Class version of his stocks last year during the F-Class Nationals and came up with what he and I consider the first true low-CG stock in the sport. As you can see by the videos, there is very little torqueing of the stock during recoil. I add the carbon fiber tunnel underneath the forearms to save Terry some time. This bonds very well to his carbon fiber skeleton within the stock adding addition stiffness to the forearm to support the heavy barrels found on the F-Class rigs. We are playing with both glue-ins like we benchresters use and bolt-ins as well. The rifles on the videos are glue-ins. Bret just took delivery today of his first bolt-in employing carbon fiber pillars and the first Leonard stock ever to have cooling ports.”

Need for Recoil Reduction Follows F-Class Trend to Bigger Calibers and Heavier Bullets
In recent years we have seen F-Open competitors move to bigger calibers and heavier bullets in pursuit of higher BC. There is no free lunch however. Shooting a 210gr .30-caliber bullet is going to produce much more recoil than a 140gr 6.5mm projectile (when they are shot at similar velocities). Does this mean that more F-Open shooters will add hydraulic buffers to their rigs? Will a recoil-reduction system become “de rigueur” on F-Open rifles shooting heavy bullets?

Our friend Boyd Allen observes: “You may imagine that shooting a short magnum, or even a .284 Win with heavy bullets, involves a fair amount of recoil, and in the prone position this can be more than a little wearing. It can in fact beat you up over the course of a match. Some time back, Lou Murdica told me about having a hydraulic recoil absorbing device installed on one of his F-Class rifles, chambered in .300 WSM. Lou is shooting heavy (210-215gr) bullets so the recoil is stout. According to Lou, the hydraulic recoil-reduction system made all the difference.”

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
February 24th, 2017

Great Deal on Vias Camo Winchester XPR Hunters

Winchester XPR rifle tactical deal Vias camo

Here’s a very sweet deal on a handsome Winchester hunting rig with detachable box mag. Right now Cabelas.com is offering $170.00 off a Winchester XPR. Plus there’s a $50.00 Mail-in Rebate. That reduces your net cost for the rifle to $349.99. That’s a great deal for a rifle with a smooth bolt action (with 60° lift), nice trigger, and detachable box magazine. This XPR is offered is a wide variety of chamberings including: .243 Win, 7mm-08, .270 Win, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, .300 WSM. The rifle has nice controls — two-position safety, bolt-release button, and cocking indicator. The action comes drilled and tapped for scope mounts. GO TO DEAL PAGE.

  • Button-rifled, free-floating steel barrel with recessed target crown
  • Smooth nickel-Teflon-coated bolt
  • Vias camouflage composite stock with textured panels
  • M.O.A. adjustable trigger system

QUICK REVIEW: We’ve shot this rifle, and we like it much better than most entry-level hunting rigs from other USA manufacturers. The ergos are good, the action runs smoothly and feeds reliably. A verified buyer states: “No frills hunting rifle that is extremely accurate. Winchester wanted their piece of the pie in the entry level rifle market and they seemed to nail this one. Shoots sub-MOA with cheap factory ammo. I would put this a step ahead of the Ruger American and the Savage Axis and a step below the Tikka T3, but it’s also cheaper than the T3.” We agree 100% with that assessment. If you’re looking for a basic hunting rig, this is a very good buy at $349.99 (after rebate).

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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 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

Permalink Competition, News 11 Comments »
June 17th, 2015

Custom Oak Cartridge Caddies with Timer from Nando

Ammo Ammunition Caddy WSM 6mmBR Oak ammo holder custom timer

Retired engineer Alexander Müller (aka Nando-AS on our Forum) produces handsome oak ammo caddies in his home workshop. Cartridge-specific, the caddy’s holes are sized for specific casehead diameters, so your cartridges go in and out easily. There are also through-holes, allowing loaded cartridges to be placed nose-down if you wish.

To order, visit this Forum Page: http://forum.accurateshooter.com/index.php?topic=3875396

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 2 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

Permalink - Videos, Competition 4 Comments »
November 13th, 2013

Bumblebee .300 WSM F-Open Rig with Defiance ‘Deviant’ Action

Steven Blair’s recent report on the .300 WSM for F-Class stirred quite a bit of interest. If you’re a serious F-Open competitor, you’ll definitely want to read that article, which covers the pros and cons of the .30-Cal WSM loaded with the ultra-high-BC 230gr Berger Hybrid bullets.

If you’re thinking about building a .300 WSM for F-Class, here’s a rig that can give you some design and hardware ideas. This eye-catching custom .300 WSM F-Open rig belongs to Forum member Keith T. (aka “KT”). With its striking “bumblebee” color scheme, it will certainly get noticed on the firing line.

Click Photos to see full-screen versions.
F-Open Defiance Action .300 WSM F Class PR&T Brux Batlein rifle

Bold Bumblebee .300 WSM for F-Class
Forum member Keith T. (aka “KT”) just got his hands on his new .300 WSM for F-Class and long-range competition. It’s a handsome brute, decked out in a “bumblebee” (yellow and black) laminated stock. Keith’s rifle features a Defiance Machine Deviant Long Magnum action (with Jewell trigger) in a Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) F-Class Lowboy stock. Keith has two 30″-long, 1:9″-twist barrels for the gun, one made by Brux Barrels, and the other by Bartlein. Both barrels have identical .300 WSM chambers cut with the same reamer. Keith will test both and then use the best-performing of the two in competition. Riding on top is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm Benchrest Model scope. All the work was done by Accurate Ordnance (AO), based in Winder, Georgia.

F-Open Defiance Action .300 WSM F Class PR&T Brux Batlein rifle

F-Open Defiance Action .300 WSM F Class PR&T Brux Batlein rifle

Keith reports: “This one took a while to get built due to parts availability issues, but I’m glad it’s done! Thanks to Accurate Ordnance and Nightforce and all their help.” NOTE: Accurate Ordnance tells us that a rifle like this can normally be completed in 6-8 weeks, once all key parts are in hand.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
November 11th, 2013

The .300 WSM — Next Big Thing in F-Open Competition?

Earlier this month, Forum Member Steven Blair won the California Long-Range Championship (F-Open Class) shooting a .300 WSM. Here Steve explains the advantages of the .300 WSM cartridge in long-range competition. Steve also discusses the learning process required to shoot the stout-recoiling .300 WSM successfully. Steve cautions: “It took me months to learn how to shoot my .300 WSM rifle well”.

The Argument for the .300 WSM as an F-Open Cartridge
by Steven Blair
There has been much interest lately regarding .300 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum) in F-Open competition. The cartridge is already well-established in 1000-yard benchrest and has been used successfully in F-Open, notably by Derek Rodgers to win the 2010 National Championship. Derek used, as do most .300 WSM BR shooters, a 210-grain bullet.

Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New MexicoThe .300 WSM is a modern design, short and fat with a 35° shoulder. It is a slightly rebated and beltless magnum, capable of approaching .300 Winchester Magnum performance with notably less powder. It has an excellent accuracy reputation and I’ve found it very easy to tune.

Berger introduced the outstanding .30-caliber, 230-grain Hybrid bullet in 2011. This bullet ballistically eclipses all others, caliber .30 and under. Berger rates it as G7 .380 and G1 .743. Trimmed and pointed, the B.C., estimated from elevation adjustments at 300, 600, and 1000 yards, increases to G7 .410. It is also an exceptionally accurate bullet.

The combination of these two items, .300 WSM cases and Berger 230gr Hybrid bullets, and their application to long range F-Class, is what I will discuss in this article.

VOICE FILE: Click Button to hear Steven Blair Explain How to Master the .300 WSM.

.300 WSM Brass — Choices are largely limited to Norma, Winchester and Remington (Lapua, are you listening?). Since I have only used Winchester and Norma brass, I won’t discuss Remington brass, which may also be a viable choice. I found Norma brass to be exceptionally good and have seen no evidence of short life that I’ve heard elsewhere. Winchester brass can produce results equal to Norma, if first sorted, culled, and prepped. There is a significant price difference between the two brands. It is worth noting that Norma manufactures both .270 WSM and .300 WSM brass. Either can be used. Winchester makes .270 WSM, 7mm WSM, .300 WSM, and .325 WSM brass. Again, any can be used but 7mm WSM requires pushing the shoulder back. The other three have the same shoulder dimension.

Bullet Selection — My approach is to use the highest B.C. bullet available that is accurate. As mentioned above, the hands-down, .30-caliber winner is Berger’s 230gr Hybrid. My loads using 230gr Hybrids produce approximately 2865 fps from 34″ barrels. In order to equal the 1000-yard, 10 mph wind deflection, 215 Hybrids must be run at 3030 fps, a fairly stiff load. By contrast, 7mm 180gr Hybrids must start at 3100 fps, not reliably achievable in most conditions. Lapua now makes a 220gr Scenar-L that Erik Cortina has shot a fair bit and reports that it is very accurate. It has a similar profile to the Sierra 220gr MatchKing, another possible candidate, albeit with much lower B.C. than Berger’s mighty 230gr Hybrid.

Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico

Barrel Life — After 1126 and 936 rounds shot at F-Class cadence in two barrels, my best guess is at least 2000 rounds accurate barrel life. The barrels look better than any of my .284 Shehane barrels at this point.


Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico
Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico

Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New MexicoF-Open Rig with Tuner
Steve’s .300 WSM rifle features a BAT 3-lug action (with integral recoil lug and +20 MOA rail), in a Manners F-Class stock. The barrel is a 34″, 1.25″-straight contour Krieger or Brux fitted with an Erik Cortina 1.25″-diameter tuner (shown at right — note Index Marks). Other hardware includes a Bix ‘n Andy trigger, and Nightforce 12-42x56mm NXS scope (NP-R1 reticle). Some of these components were chosen to aid tracking (given the additional recoil). The rifle weighs 21 pounds, 13.5 ounces — just under the 22-pound F-Open limit.


Accuracy and Tuning Ease — The .300 WSM tunes more easily and is more tolerant than any of the four 6mmBR barrels I’ve shot. It is the most accurate large-caliber cartridge I know. A number of 1000-yard benchrest records were set with the cartridge and my experience reinforces that. During my .300 WSM load development, several 100-yard, five-shot groups were in the “ones”, no mean feat for a rifle pushing 230 grains at nearly 3000 fps. The load tolerance window, the powder charge spread where velocity, ES and accuracy are relatively constant, is 0.8 grains in my loading. That means the same load can be fired confidently in many conditions.

Exterior Ballistics — The extent to which the big bullet reduces wind deflection and vertical movement must be experienced to appreciate. I shoot against 7mm cartridges ranging from .284 Win to 7mm WSM, no slouches among them. When they are blown into the 9 Ring, I stay in the 10 Ring. When range vertical pushes them up or down to lose a point, I see it, too, but don’t drop points. However, there is nothing magic about it. The shooter still must point the gun at the right place. The mistakes just cost less and, since F-Class is an Aggregate game, the point spread will accumulate.

Recoil — This is the big downside of the .300 WSM + 230gr Hybrid combination. My rifle weighs 2½ ounces shy of 22 pounds and still pushes me around. My early testing was done with a load that produced 2950 fps. I still cannot shoot it well. The load is very accurate but I cannot manage the recoil consistently. At 2865 fps, it is manageable but always requires careful attention to body position, shoulder pressure, front rest setup, rear bag characteristics and other ergonomic factors. I have learned that shooting a rig with this much recoil places more emphasis on the factors our sling brothers and sisters have managed for many years. It took me months to learn how to shoot the rifle well. I fired over 1000 rounds before I began to feel comfortable. Persist, the results are worth it.

Summary — If you are willing to put the effort into learning how to shoot the cartridge and have a reasonable recoil tolerance, the investment will pay dividends. My scores have increased and become more consistent. My confidence in the rifle has also increased, no small matter in a game with many mental aspects. Be prepared for what could be a long learning curve. If all that sounds like too much, one of the 7mm cartridges is pretty close and certainly competitive in the right hands. My choice, given all the factors listed above, is .300 WSM.

Left to Right: RCBS Chargemaster, Hoover meplat trimmer, Omega trickler, Sartorius GD-503 scale.Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico

Steven Blair has competed in F-Class competition since December of 2010 and F-Open since November of 2011. He placed fifth in the F-Class National Championship this year and is the two-time winner of both the California Long Range F-Class Championship and Twentynine Palms Long Range Regional. Steve shoots on Team Lapua.

Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico

Steve says the .300 WSM may offer an advantage at long range: “The weekend of 2-3 November, I won my second straight California Long Range F-Class Championship. Last year, my .284 Shehane performed well against strong competition. This year, the .300 WSM provided a ballistic edge that certainly gained a few additional points. My final 991-50X was at least partly due to the excellent ballistics and accuracy the big cartridge provided.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 8 Comments »
June 26th, 2013

Speedy Builds a Low-Profile F-Classer for Bret Solomon

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open accurateshooter.comOn his Facebook page, Hall-of-Fame shooter and ace gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez unveiled an impressive new F-Open rifle built for Bret Solomon. The rifle features Speedy’s new low-profile F-Class stock.

Bret’s gun is chambered for his 300 Solomon wildcat, shooting heavy 210gr bullets, so it can can be a real shoulder-buster, without some kind of buffer. The stock is fitted with a Ken Rucker’s Bump Buster hydraulic recoil reduction system to tame the recoil. The Bump Buster was originally designed for shotguns and hard-hitting, big game rifles. It is interesting to see this hydraulic buffer adapted to an F-Open rig.

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open accurateshooter.com

Here you can see Bret shooting the gun, coached by Nancy Tompkins and Michele Gallagher:

Bret’s gun features a stainless Viper (Stiller) action, barrel tuner, and an innovative Speedy-crafted wood stock. Speedy says this stock design is all-new: “It is a true, low Center-of-Gravity F-Class stock, not a morphed Palma stock merely cut out on the bottom”. See all the details in this short video:

Stock Features: Glue-in or Bolt-In and Optional Carbon Pillars and Cooling Ports
Speedy explained the features of the new stock design: “Terry Leonard and I started working on an F-Class version of his stocks last year during the F-Class Nationals and came up with what he and I consider the first true low-CG stock in the sport. As you can see by the videos, there is very little torqueing of the stock during recoil. I add the carbon fiber tunnel underneath the forearms to save Terry some time. This bonds very well to his carbon fiber skeleton within the stock adding addition stiffness to the forearm to support the heavy barrels found on the F-Class rigs. We are playing with both glue-ins like we benchresters use and bolt-ins as well. The rifles on the videos are glue-ins. Bret just took delivery today of his first bolt-in employing carbon fiber pillars and the first Leonard stock ever to have cooling ports.”

Need for Recoil Reduction Follows F-Class Trend to Bigger Calibers and Heavier Bullets
In recent years we have seen F-Open competitors move to bigger calibers and heavier bullets in pursuit of higher BC. There is no free lunch however. Shooting a 210gr .30-caliber bullet is going to produce much more recoil than a 140gr 6.5mm projectile (when they are shot at similar velocities). Does this mean that more F-Open shooters will add hydraulic buffers to their rigs? Will a recoil-reduction system become “de rigueur” on F-Open rifles shooting heavy bullets?

Our friend Boyd Allen observes: “You may imagine that shooting a short magnum, or even a .284 Win with heavy bullets, involves a fair amount of recoil, and in the prone position this can be more than a little wearing. It can in fact beat you up over the course of a match. Some time back, Lou Murdica told me about having a hydraulic recoil absorbing device installed on one of his F-Class rifles, chambered in .300 WSM. Lou is shooting heavy (210-215gr) bullets so the recoil is stout. According to Lou, the hydraulic recoil-reduction system made all the difference.”

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
November 28th, 2010

Dear Santa: Send Me a 300 WSM Ultimate Varminter

If you’re wondering what to ask Santa to deliver this holiday season, how about a Quilted Maple 300 WSM Varminter? That’s what Santa brought Barry O. (aka TheBlueEyedBear) last December. Barry, a respected long-time member of our Shooters Forum, ordered a new 300 WSM Varminter in 2009 and it arrived just in time for Christmas. The beautiful rifle, smithed by Richard Franklin, features a BAT Action, Bartlein 30″ barrel, and a stunning Quilted Maple wood stock. Barry’s new 300 WSM is capable of delivering 125gr Ballistic Tips at over 4000 fps, with great accuracy.

300 WSM Varminter Richard Franklin
300 WSM Varminter

Barry reports: “Here is my 300WSM Varminter built by Richard Franklin of Richards Custom Rifles. This is one awesome piece of work — And YES, it shoots! I expected a lot when I asked Richard to build this gun, and believe me; I got more than I expected. I am not a machinist, nor am I an engineer, but I can tell you for certain that this is the finest quality work you can expect from a gun builder.

300 WSM Varminter Richard Franklin

As you can imagine, my reason for building this gun was for long range varminting. I had read articles about the flat-shooting 300 WSM Varminter on AccurateShooter.com, and how it could launch a projectile at over 4000 fps with great accuracy. I also read some of the brutal articles on other sites from the nay-sayers. So, I had to have one. Simply put: THE NAY-SAYERS ARE WRONG! You CAN launch a 125gr Ballistic Tip bullet over 4000 fps and terrorize those little fury creatures way far away. I love this thing… I think I’ll ask Richard to build me another!” [Editor’s Note: Anyone wanting Richard Franklin to build a custom rifle had better act quickly. Richard is retiring and he will not work on any orders submitted after January 1, 2011.]

300 WSM Varminter Richard Franklin

Franklin 300 WSM Vaminter Specifications:

BAT Machine SS Model ‘B’ action, RB/RP, Diamond fluted bolt
BARTLEIN 30″ SS str. 1.25″-diam. barrel (polished) 1:16″ tw, .337 neck
BAT Machine polished aluminum trigger guard
HOLLAND recoil lug
JEWELL BR trigger set at 1.5 oz.
HARRELL’s muzzle brake
UNDERTAKER stock in Quilted Maple, clearcoated
RCR polished SS pillar bedding
LIMBSAVER recoil pad (I hate recoil)
BAT Machine SS 20moa scope base
NIGHTFORCE 30mm scope rings
NIGHTFORCE 8x32x56 NSX with NP-2DD reeticle
NIGHTFORCE angle meter
U.S OPTICS cant indicator

Richard Franklin To Retire — Final Order Deadline Announced
Richard Franklin, builder of the beautiful rifle shown above, has announced his retirement. He will be taking orders for custom rifles through January 1, 2011, but that’s it — he’s giving up the business. Orders received after January 1st will be built by Richard’s protégé Tommy Shurley. Read on…

Richard Franklin Will Retire. Order Cut-Off Date is 1/1/2011

Richard Franklin gunsmithI will be taking orders for custom rifles and muzzle loaders until the 1st of January, 2011. When these orders are completed by me in 2011 I will be officially retired from building rifles as a business. After Jan. 1st, 2011 Tommy Shurley of Shurley Bros. Custom Rifles will be taking over my business known as Richards Custom Rifles. I will retain my website and answer questions as usual. Any rifle orders coming in after Jan. 1st will be directed to Tommy Shurley. Tommy has been working with me for some time now here in my shop and I will continue to work with Tommy in his shop in Heber Springs, Arkansas until I am satisfied that Tommy can build rifles as I have been building them. Tommy will have a full service shop and be able to meet all your shooting needs. — Richard Franklin

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
June 8th, 2009

Rifle and Barreled Action Bargains at CDNN

The latest CDNN Investments Catalog has been released. As usual there are some great deals on name-brand factory rifles. CDNN typically purchases overstocked inventory at deep discounts off normal wholesale and passes the savings on to CDNN’s customers.

CLICK HERE to download latest CDNN Catalog (.pdf file)

To see all the latest deals you’ll need to download the current CDNN 2009-2 Catalog, a 100-page .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) file. Among the many bargains, below we list three that caught our attention. In addition to firearms, CDNN’s catalog also features magazines, gun cases, optics, and many other accessories.

CDNN FN Rifle

CDNN Rem 700 Police

CDNN Rem 700 varminters

Permalink Hot Deals 1 Comment »