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February 23rd, 2020

Sunday GunDay: The Klemm Clan — Father and Son F-TR Aces

Ian Klemm Ken Klemm F-TR Rifle Father Son USA Team F-Class champion
Ian Klemm won back-to-back 2017/2018 USA F-TR National Championships. His next big challenge will be the 2021 World Championships, where his father Ken Klemm will be one of his teammates on Team USA.

Over the last 30 years, a family saga has been playing out in rural Wisconsin: a father fosters within his son the joy of competitive target shooting. It started in a basement shooting range of a small-town elementary school, shooting single-shot rimfire target rifles while cementing the fundamentals of sight alignment, breathing, trigger control, and safety. With a background of competitive smallbore shooting in school and the U.S. Navy, Ken Klemm coached his son, Ian, in a father/son indoor winter shooting league. Ian was determined to shoot as well or better than his Dad and would pursue that goal for the next 30 years. Even after his engineering career took him to the Washington DC area for defense-related work, Ian continued to compete with his Dad by mailing “postal match” targets back and forth for many years.

Ian Klemm Ken Klemm F-TR Rifle Father Son USA Team F-Class champion
Ian and Ken Klemm have shot successfully together as members of Team X-Men.

Ken even came to visit Ian out east, with rifle in tow, where they entered the Virginia State 1000-yard Benchrest Championship on a whim with their entry-level (factory) F-Class rifles. Ken’s record target measured 0.003″ smaller than his son’s but Ian was getting closer to matching his Dad. Ian eventually moved back to Wisconsin after taking a design job with Vortex Optics, only a few miles from his hometown, and now he and his Dad could compete in earnest, both against each other and as teammates on the X-Men F-Class club team.

ian klemm rifle

Ian’s trigger time increased significantly with his new vocation and he was lucky enough to design a new competition scope, the Vortex Golden Eagle, for both to use. Armed with two nearly identical new rifles and their new optics, Ian and Ken began traveling cross-country together to compete alongside their X-Men teammates, winning multiple National F-Class Championships together.

Ian Klemm Ken Klemm F-TR Rifle Father Son USA Team F-Class champion

Matched F-TR Rifles with Kelbly Actions, McMillan X-It Stocks, Bartlein Barrels
Both Ken’s and Ian’s match rifles are built using the same winning hardware — Kelbly actions, McMillan X-It stocks, and Bartlein barrels. Also, Ian and Ken both run similar loads: Lapua .308 Win Palma brass, Vihtavuori N150 Powder, and Berger 200-20X bullets. In addition to the components listed below, they use some special equipment: bipod lowering kits from FClassProducts.com, large rear bigfoot bags from Seb Lambang (SebRests.com), and “Dri-Gun” rain protection from BarrelCool.com.

Gun Specifications
Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm scopes
Kelbly Panda actions
McMillan X-It stocks
Bartlein 1:10″-twist, 30″ barrels
Phoenix Precision Bipods
Load Specifications
Lapua .308 Win Palma (small primer) Brass
VihtaVuori N150 Powder
CCI BR-4 Primers
Berger 200-20X Bullets
Seating: 0.015″ jump

Ian Klemm Ken Klemm F-TR Rifle Father Son USA Team F-Class champion

Father and Son Share their Winning Strategies
Having each other to share tips and techniques and confirm winning strategies with has certainly helped Ken and Ian compete successfully together over the last few years. Common between them are the strategies of bracketing wind conditions with sighters as well as using the Golden Eagle’s aperture stop ring (ASR) to more effectively observe mirage and ultimately quantify wind value. They both try to shoot in a building wind condition as it more slowly increases in velocity while challenging each other to stop during a string at the first sign of a potential “let off” or sudden decrease in wind velocity.

Ian Klemm Ken Klemm F-TR Rifle Father Son USA Team F-Class champion
Ian and Ken competed successfully as teammates on Team X-Men. They shared winning strategies, such as bracketing wind conditions with sighters.

The only significant difference in how each of them wins is in their gun handling. Ken maintains the most consistent form and smallest groups by assuming very light shoulder pressure and virtually no grip contact with his rifle. In contrast, Ian is most competitive with a medium-firm pressure on both the grip and forearm of the McMillan X-It stock as well as medium shoulder pressure. Both techniques have proven themselves during competition when employed consistently.

Ian Klemm Ken Klemm F-TR Rifle Father Son USA Team F-Class champion

Unlike many F-TR shooters, two-time F-TR National Champion Ian Klemm grips the fore-end of this rifle when he shoots. Ian explains:

“I use a piece of Kydex thermoplastic (commonly used in holsters) that I formed around the forearm (see photo above). I index off it when gripping the stock with my weak hand to ensure that I’m always contacting [the stock] in the same spot. I grip this while shooting, for every shot. It was quickly assigned to my subconscious since I was so used to gripping the fore-end after years of hunting. It felt unnatural to me to not be doing anything with my off-hand. By letting my subconscious do what comes naturally, I am able to achieve a higher level of consistency that if my conscious mind was ‘trying’ to accomplish something with that other hand. The relatively stiff McMillan X-IT stock feels like it benefits from more contact in terms of vibration during the shot as well.”

Father and Son Will Shoot for Team USA in 2021 World Championships
The United States F-Class Rifle team has just completed a 2-year tryout period consisting of multiple tests and scored drills designed to determine which developmental candidates would be named to the final travel team ultimately representing our country against the rest of the world during the next quadrennial World F-Class Championship in South Africa, April 2021. Ken and Ian were just recently informed that they had both been named as shooters on that Final Team USA Selection. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a father and son have shared that honor as teammates on a USA Rifle Team.

Ian Klemm Ken Klemm F-TR Rifle Father Son USA Team F-Class champion
Here are Ken and Ian on the 2019 FCNC Team. Both father and son have been selected to shoot with the 2021 USA National F-TR Team which will compete at the World F-Class Championships South Africa.

The level of competition from the leading countries around the world is expected to be even stronger this cycle than in previous ones, with correspondingly slimmer margins of victory. Along with the rest of their US teammates and coaches, they will practice and prepare as a dedicated team over the next year to build a sense of confidence and trust in one another. Ken and Ian are thankful for the opportunity to share this experience of a lifetime together and for the 30-year long practice session leading up to it.

Ian Klemm Ken Klemm F-TR Rifle Father Son USA Team F-Class champion
Ian Klemm and Ken Klemm at 2017 Berger SW Nationals.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Optics 1 Comment »
January 2nd, 2018

Good Reading — Shooting Sports USA January “Rifle Issue”

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

There are three notable articles in the latest January 2018 Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA Magazine. F-Class competitors will definitely want to read the report on the 2017 World Championships. And hand-loaders will appreciate the insightful article on the AMP induction annealing machine. The third recommended article provides tips and techniques for sighting in hunting, tactical, and benchrest rifles. Access the entire SSUSA 54-page January 2018 eZine by clicking THIS LINK.

F-Class 2017 World Championships in Canada
Story by Larry Bartholome

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

Fifteen years ago, the very first F-Class World Championships were held in Canada. In 2017, the Championships returned to Canada for the fifth edition of the match. This year there were triple the number of entries, representing the growing popularity of F-Class competition. Notably, this year’s event was preceded by the Canadian F-Class National Championships. This issue contains a full report on the event, written by Larry Bartolome, a past National F-Open Champion. Shown at right above is the new F-TR World Champion, our friend Derek Rodgers from New Mexico.

AMP Annealing Machine — Annealing .30-06 Brass for Vintage Military Rifles
Story by Art Merrill

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

Produced in New Zealand, the AMP (Annealing Made Perfect) unit is a sophisticated, microprocessor-controlled annealing machine that achieves ultra-consistent results using an electrical INDUCTION process. By contrast, with butane torch systems you may have to adjust the system when the ambient temperature changes, or even if your butane fuel is slightly different. In this month’s issue of Shooting Sports USA, Field Editor Art Merrill uses the AMP to anneal .30-06 brass for vintage military rifles. The review shows how to use the AMP and explains the advantages of the Induction Annealing vs. flame-based annealing.

Sighting In Your Rifle — Tips for All Shooters
Story by Jim Shults

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

This month’s “Rifle Issue” of Shooting Sports USA focuses on rifle shooting in various forms. Author Jim Shults has written an lengthy article offering tips and techniques for sighting-in your rifle. Shults says “The trick in effective sighting-in (zeroing) is shot-to-shot consistency”. To achieve that consistency, you must first eliminate driver error. You need a stable set-up. Good ammo is also essential and Shults offers an important tip: “Keep your ammo cool and out of direct sun at the range”. Shults also explains there is a big difference between load testing and zeroing. You want to finalize your zero AFTER you have developed your match or hunting load.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills No Comments »
July 27th, 2017

The Guns of Summer — F-Open Rigs for the World Championships

Kovan F-Open Rifle

The F-Class World Championships are coming up next month in Canada, August 11-17. The world’s top F-TR and F-Open shooters will compete at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. There will be a wide variety of high-end equipment on display. This article covers some of the hardware choices made by the U.S. F-Open team.

Kovan F-Open Rifle
Kovan F-Open Rifle
Black F-Open Rifle from Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com.

Are you trying to decide what components to use for your next F-Class build, or are you looking to upgrade your current rig? Wonder what the “big dogs” in the sport have selected as their hardware? Here’s what United States F-Open team members were using (as of 2016). The most popular chambering is the .284 Winchester, followed by the 7mm Walker (a 40° .284 Winchester Improved). Kelbly and BAT actions were the most popular (but many guys are using Bordens in their latest builds). Nearly all team members are using cut-rifled barrels. A wide variety of stocks are used, with PR&T holding a slight edge over second-place McMillan. NOTE: This survey was taken last year.

F-Class Team USA F-Open

Click Image Below for Larger Version:

F-Class Team USA F-Open

F-0pen competitor Brett Solomon will be using this stunning Speedy-Built .284 Win. It features a “Spear of Destiny” Flame Maple stock milled by Will McCloskey, with a Melonited BAT action, and a 32″ 7mm Bartlein barrel with Stewart Barrel Tuner.

Brett Solomon F-Open rifle Speedy Bartlein

F-Class World Championships Schedule

Canadian F-Class National Championship
Monday, Aug 7: Competitor Check-In for FCNC (Inspections and Squadded Practice)
Tuesday, Aug 8: Canadian F-Class Nationals
Wednesday, Aug 9: Canadian F-Class Nationals
Thursday, Aug 10: Canadian F-Class Nationals Finals and Awards Prize Giving

F-Class World Championships
Friday, Aug 11 (REST DAY – RANGE CLOSED)
Competitor Check-In for FCWC; Rifle Inspection; International Teams Reception
Saturday, Aug 12: Opening Ceremonies; ICFRA FCWC (Individual)
Sunday, Aug 13: ICFRA FCWC (Individual)
Monday, Aug 14: ICFRA FCWC (Individual); Awards Prize Giving
Tuesday, Aug 15: TEAM PRACTICE DAY
Wednesday, Aug 16: ICFRA FCWC (Teams)
Thursday, Aug 17: ICFRA FCWC (Teams): Awards Prize Giving & Closing Ceremonies

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August 25th, 2013

F-Class Individual World Championship Goes Down to the Wire

We’re halfway through the F-Class World Championships, with the individual matches completed. We should be able to announce the winner very soon, when the final individual scores have been certified. We can report that this match went down to the wire, with the top two places decided on V-Count (the international equivalent of our X-Count). Final results of both Individual and Team FCWC matches will be posted at: fcwc-usa.org/results.

One Very Patriotic Shooter at the F-Class World Championships.
team usa rifle f-class worlds

It has been a very tough two days for most competitors. One late relay on Saturday faced a rain squall that resulted in many off-target misses. On Sunday, from mid-morning on, the wind was switching angles all the time with ups and downs in wind speeds. There were apparent lulls that seemed steady, but quite suddenly the wind angle could switch 40° or more, while gusting. Nonetheless, shooters turned in some great performances. During his 800-yard relay, Australia’s Marty Lobert shot a perfect 75-15V for fifteen shots (max shot value at the Worlds is a five).

F-class worlds South Africa

The individual F-Open and F-TR World Champions will be crowned tonight. Team competition begins tomorrow (Monday). We’ll post video interviews with the top shooters soon. Here are some photo highlights from Sunday at the F-Class World Championships.

F-class worlds canada australia

f-class worlds

Seb Lambang f-class worlds

F-class worlds

f-class worlds au

f-class worlds south africa

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »