March 7th, 2021

2021 NRA National Championships Schedule for Camp Atterbury

NRA national match championships camp atterbury 2021 f-class high power mid-range Long range ELR pistol smallbore

NRA Competitive Shooting has released the Official Calendar for the 2021 NRA National Championships at Camp Atterbury. The 2021 NRA Nationals at Camp Atterbury start with registration for the Smallbore Championships on Tuesday, July 6. The Smallbore Nationals continue through Sunday, July 18. The Precision Pistol National Championships begin on Tuesday, July 20, with the F-Class Mid-Range Nationals starting July 22 (registration/practice), with F-Class Long-Range commencing on July 27. Moving on to High Power Rifle, the Fullbore event runs August 1-7, while the Mid-Range Nationals begin on Tuesday, August 9, followed by the Long-Range Nationals starting on August 14, 2021. Finally, the NRA Extreme Long-Range (ELR) Championship begins on Friday, August 20 and concludes Saturday, August 21. The last week of the month, August 22-27 is slated for OTC competition.

NRA national match championships camp atterbury 2021 f-class high power mid-range Long range ELR pistol smallbore

Smallbore Rifle Championship: 6-18 July, 2021
Precision Pistol Championship: 20-25 July, 2021
F-Class Mid-Range Championship: 21-25 July, 2021
F-Class Long Range Championship: 27-30 July, 2021
Fullbore Championship: 1-7 August, 2021
High Power Mid-Range Championship: 9-13 August, 2021
High Power Long Range Championship: 14-19 August, 2021
ELR 1-Mile Championship: 20-21 August, 2021
OTC Competition: 22-28 August, 2021

NOTE: Listed dates include registration/sign-up and/or practice day, and award ceremony.

See full 2021 Camp Atterbury NRA National Championships calendar below. CLICK to view larger, full-screen printable image that is easier to read. ENLARGE (+ with mouse) after loading to read small print.


CLICK CALENDAR to VIEW Full-screen PDF then click Enlarge (+)

NRA national match championships camp atterbury 2021 f-class high power mid-range Long range ELR pistol smallbore

To learn more about the 2021 NRA Nationals, visit compete.nra.org. And for the latest updates, subscribe to the free Shooting Sports USA Insider newsletter.

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February 28th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: “Red Rocket” .284 Win F-Open Match Rifle

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Forum member Martin Tardif (aka “Killick” in our Forum) competes with a very accurate .284 Win F-Open rig fitted with a Barnard action, Brux barrel, and Eliseo F1 chassis. Unlike some F-Class shooters, Martin has tried many disciplines over the years, including service rifle and Mid-Range and Long Range sling competition. But he told us, “After experiencing arthritis in my hands and wrists, I decided I would dabble with F-Class. And that has turned into a happy obsession.” Today’s story features the object of that happy obsession — Martin’s tack-driving .284 Win he calls the “Red Rocket”.

F-Open Match Rifle — .284 Winchester “Red Rocket”

by Martin Tardif
This is the story of the new “Red Rocket”, my new F-Open rifle. It’s chambered in .284 Winchester (.317″ neck, .220″ freebore). This rifle features Barnard P action, Barnard single-stage trigger (4 oz.), and Brux 30″ one-inch straight-taper, 1:8.5″-twist barrel fitted with Blake Tuner. The barreled action rides in a Gary Eliseo Competition Machine (CMI) F1 F-Open metal chassis with Marine Corps Red powder coat. On top is March 48x52mm fixed-power High Master scope. In a previous incarnation, this same Barnard action served in a wood-stocked F-Class rig, a Red Retromod built from a modified Anschutz stock. I still have the Barnard action (and trigger), but mostly everything else is new.

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo
Here’s the .284 Win “Red Rocket” with CMI F1 Stock, Barnard action, Brux barrel, and Blake Tuner on my SEB Mini at Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club in SoCal.

My previous F-Class rifle started out as a Palma rifle back around 2008. With a modified Anschutz prone stock, that .308 Win Palma sling gun served me well, helping me earn the 2009 California State Palma Championship. Much later I grafted more wood on and whittled that same stock into an F-Open specimen (shown below). That did get me to Long Range High Master but it definitely had limitations. For one it had annoying flex in the fore-end and the buttstock was not aligned with the barrel channel.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

I wanted to upgrade my stock to get a more consistent, better-shooting F-Open performer. So in April of 2020 I contacted Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine and ordered one of his streamlined, F1 “boom-stick” chassis units. These feature a very low Center of Gravity. I sent Gary my Barnard action and had Brux send him a barrel that I had won at the 2020 SWN raffle.

This video shows Martin shooting the “Red Rocket” in California

This rifle has been a success from the very start. At its first big match, the 2020 California State Championships, the Red Rocket tied for First Place on points but finished second overall on X-count.

Martin tells us: “The new red Eliseo stock is phenomenal and far surpasses the old red stock on my RetroMod project previously featured on the Daily Bulletin. The three things I like best about this Eliseo F1 chassis system are:

1. The lean, clean, efficient engineering and styling.
2. Easy manipulation of buttstock and cheek piece adjustments, ease of bolt removal.
3. Inherent confidence in its straightness and the durability of all the parts and finish.”

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

“I’m extremely impressed with the potential of this rig and I have still yet to fiddle with the tuner and test some of my Wolf/KVB primers. It’s all gravy now.” — Martin Tardif

I received the finished rifle in September and was impressed with its stark and consummate functionality and there is no doubt as to that function. The collinear aspect from any angle suggests a Red Rocket Car on the Bonneville Salt Flats, so that’s what I call this rig.

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Reloading Methods and Load Development
My virgin brass prep starts with a .284 neck mandrel with the occasional squirt of WD-40, then to the drill press to turn the necks to 0.014″ wall thickness with my PMA Model B turner. After a quick dip in the media tumbler I run the whole batch through my DIY cake pan annealer and they’re ready for sizing. I like the Whidden Gunworks full length bushing dies. I use a .310″ bushing and a loaded round measures .312″. After sizing, I run the cases through the tumbler for 10-15 minutes to clean them up and then they are primed. I’m using my stash of S&B primers with an RCBS benchtop primer seater with a Holland Perfect Primer Seater add-on. I do point my 180-grain Berger Hybrid bullets with a Hoover die (see below).

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Here is Martin’s reloading bench. From left to right: A&D FX-120i Force Restoration Scale with Auto-Trickler V3, Hoover Bullet-Tipping Die, Whidden .284 Win FL Sizing Die with PMA click-adjust lock ring, Hodgdon H4350 powder. Martin reports: “I’m also using some of F-Class John’s Auto Trickler Methods — using two powder cups to speed up the process, hash marks on Auto Trickler gear drive, and minimal openings on FX-120i wind guards. These all improve the powder measuring.

Load Development and Accuracy Testing in Competition
I started load testing in November 2020. I tried both H4831sc and H4350 at 100 yards. I usually have excellent results with H4831sc but the Brux tube stubbornly preferred H4350. So I took a preliminary recipe (52.2 grains) to the California Long Range Championship and tied for First Place on points but got beat on Xs. Having seen a little too much vertical at the state match, I went with a lighter load that looked good for vertical at 100 yards (51.8 grains — see photo below). That load got me an overall win at our 1000-yard club match.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

I wanted to fine tune that load so I started a seating depth test. I did a final head to head test, comparing .015″ jump (away from first lands contact) and .018″ jump at 1000 yards. The .015″ jump load was the clear winner. This 15-round group was shot at 1000 yards with no flags on an overcast day with no mirage.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The ShotMarker screenshot above shows 15 shots at 1000 yards with bullets seated .015″ out, switching winds and no flags, just watching the mirage. I added .25 MOA up after the first round ‘9’ (me fighting a clean barrel on first shot) and went to town.

Advice for New F-Class Shooters — by Martin Tardif

1. Watch a Top Competitor — Find a good shooter that you respect and watch and take note of their equipment, how they set up to shoot, how they shoot, what conditions they shoot in or don’t. Ideally you should ask to be squadded with them (if possible) so you can score for them. That way you’re not dividing your attention from the shooter you’re supposed to be scoring for. Be mindful not to pester them while they are setting up. Best to wait until they have finished shooting and try to ask questions off the firing line, others still shooting need to concentrate.

2. Cartridge Selection for F-Open– Go to Accurate Shooter’s 7mm Cartridge Guide and scroll to the .284 Winchester section by Charles Ballard. You can read further about the 7mm WSM and 7mm SAUM but for a caliber that’s not fussy you should stick with the .284 Win.

3. Reloading Equipment — To win, you really need ammo as perfect as you can make it. You should be able to find out everything you need to know about reloading equipment via the Accurateshooter Forum’s Reloading and Competition areas. It’s a one-stop shopping brain trust for everything F-Class, Sling, and Benchrest. And the Forum Marketplace is literally a never ending ‘Gun Show’ of For Sale items. It’s a great place to buy quality used stuff for newbies.

As a final bit of advice — BELIEVE the wind — it’s smarter than you are!

Commentary on Metal Chassis vs Wood Stock
I previously had a wood F-Class stock so flexible you could easily pinch the barrel to the fore-end with one hand and hold it there. My Eliseo metal chassis is MUCH more rigid. I don’t think there is any argument that a metal stock is more rigid than wood. I also think a metal stock with its monolithic properties has a more consistent cross-sectional density along its length than a wood stock would have due to the vagaries of grain structure. However I have no experimental data to support that theory, or how that might positively affect shot to shot consistency. I CAN say that the gun shoots better, with smaller groups and higher scores, than the previous wood stock version.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The CMI F1 chassis has three main sections: rear assembly, main assembly, and fore-end. The main assembly is a 27″-long solid billet section with milled cavities for the rear assembly and trigger group. This also supports the action V-Block which cradles the full length of the action. The V-Block is mated to the top of the billet in a milled channel but doesn’t touch the sides to avoid uneven harmonics. The rear assembly hold the LOP-adjustable butt pad/bag rider and “easy off” cheek piece. The 3-piece fore-end is fitted to the main section with screws. The complete F1 chassis with grip and cheek piece weighs 6 pounds.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo
Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

F1 Chassis Maker Gary Eliseo Talks about His Design
The F1 was designed to incorporate the most important features needed in an F-Open rifle system. Top priority was placed on how the rifle tracked. The chassis had to be perfectly straight, and immune to weather so it will stay straight. On the F1, the fore-end is designed to keep the centerline of the barreled action as low as possible. This super-low center of gravity, along with the tall vertical sides, keep torque to a minimum, so the gun doesn’t twist or hop, but instead comes straight back.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The F1 chassis can be fitted with bedding blocks to accommodate any action. These action bedding blocks are carefully epoxy-bedded to the chassis so the customer’s barreled action is perfectly in line with the central axis of the chassis. In addition to optimizing tracking, I also took a look at how the shooter interfaced with the rifle. I wanted the cheek piece to be narrow so that the shooter would not be forced into applying side pressure on the stock to get their eye behind the scope. The cheek piece is also easy to remove for those who shoot without one. This also facilitates bolt removal.

If you’re interested in an F1 F-Open Chassis, contact Gary via the Competition Machine eMail page. The current price for an F1 Chassis with Cerakote finish (any color) is $1150.00. Lead time is about 12 weeks.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Martin Tardif Eliseo Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Hollands Gunsmithing Perfect Primer Seater

Green Tools for Red Rocket — Martin uses an RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage press on an Inline Fabrication UltraMount. Primers are seated with an RCBS Bench Primer fitted with Holland’s Gunsmithing Perfect Primer Seater Adapter. This provides ultra-consistent primer seating.

F-Class Match Strategies for California Ranges
My strategy for a match clearly depends on the specific location. For instance, at my home range, the Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club, which has several cuts and gullies crossing the canyon, the wind comes primarily from NNE and since the range faces slightly NNE the predominant condition will be a head or right wind so I’m looking for R to L mirage and left angled flags.

By contrast, Coalinga CA is a much more open/exposed range which can make it much more challenging. When you see all the flags going against the mirage for the majority of the string (after you’ve gone for record of course) that can be tough. So I like to watch the wind while I’m scoring and for a few minutes during sighters and shoot them in a few ‘looks’ if I can get them. But sometimes you have to go with your gut if your sighters whisper “go-for-record-you-knucklehead” and so it’s off to the races. It often seems like I should have just chased the spotter when I’m waiting out a fishtail or let-up there.

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February 25th, 2021

Shiraz Balolia Book Recounts Remarkable Business Success Story

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly Industrial F-Class

If you are a F-Class competitor or use machine tools, chances are you know Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz is one of America’s top F-Class shooters, an all-star competitor who has won major titles, including three straight Canadian F-Open National Championships. Shiraz also owns Grizzly Industrial Inc., a large, successful enterprise he founded in 1983. For 38 years, Grizzly has provided quality tools to wood-workers and metal workers. Grizzly’s catalog is now over 700 pages.

Shiraz’s life story is an interesting one. He came to the USA from Kenya, and then became a very successful businessman, building Grizzly Industrial into a major player in the tools/parts/machinery business. Shiraz also founded Bullets.com, which sold firearms accessories and reloading components for some years. Shiraz’s effort to start Bullets.com was an outgrowth of his desire to “give back” to the shooting sports, the hobby he loves.

To cover his noteworthy business career and life, Shiraz has written an impressive 288-page autobiography, entitled A Bad Case of Capitalism (referring to his love for the world of selling products). This book covers Shiraz’s early years though the present, providing a “tale of travel through war-torn countries, courtroom battles, success, failure, and everything in between.” It explains the challenges of starting direct-to-consumer businesses, first via mail-order and then adapting to the new online world.

We enjoyed the book because it provides a clear inside look at the challenges of starting a business. And we are grateful that Shiraz, through his businesses, has been a strong supporter of AccurateShooter.com for more than a decade. Balolia’s autobiography has been described as “equal parts business primer, history, and collection of life lessons”. The book shows how vision and determination can create a true American success story.

Readers have enjoyed the book and the lessons it offers on how to build a business:

“As someone who loves to create things with his hands, I was immediately drawn to this book, as Mr. Balolia is basically the father of machinery for woodworkers like me. It’s a great read that opens your eyes to a place and time I’d never heard of before, and it paints a great picture of determination and grit…. This book is certainly a motivating tale, and it shows that with a supportive family and vision (and a ton of hard work) you can do anything you dream.” — Jameson H.

“This is as much a story of Mr. Balolia as it is of Grizzly Industrial. In this book, and probably real life, the two are inseparable. From humble beginnings to a substantial empire of industrial equipment you have to admire and applaud the success story and this chronicle of hard work and perseverance. Impressive, very impressive.” — Own One

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Grizzly Lathes for Gunsmiths

In this video, Shiraz talks about Gunsmithing Lathes sold by Grizzly.com:

Shiraz Uses the Machines That He Sells
Shiraz is not just a talented business leader and ace marksman. He is also a very skilled fabricator and woodworker. He has crafted guitars, and worked on his own gunstocks. This shows an F-Class Stock Shiraz upgraded using Grizzly Industrial machinery. The modified stock has a significantly lower Center of Gravity, riding 1/2″ lower in the front bag. Shiraz says the modified stock performed great.

Shiraz Balolia biography book

Shiraz Balolia lathe press tools stock

Shiraz Balolia (left) and Norma Managing Director Paul-Erik Toivo.
Shiraz Balolia

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February 20th, 2021

Improve Your Shooting Skills with Multi-Discipline Training

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.

How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.

Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.

Michelle Gallagher Cross TrainingPosition shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]

These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.

This article originally appeared in the Berger Blog. The Berger Blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.

Article Find by EdLongrange.

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January 29th, 2021

Getting Started in F-Class — F-TR vs. F-Open and Gear Options

Vince Bottomley Target Shooter F-Class F-Open F-TR

A while back, our friend Vince Bottomley in the UK wrote an excellent article for Target Shooter Magazine. Vince offers “solid-gold” advice for new F-TR and F-Open shooters. Vince reviews the cartridge options, and offers suggestions for a shooter’s first (and hopefully affordable) F-Class rifle. Vince also reviews various bipod choices for F-TR and discusses optics options (from $300 to $3000).

Here’s a short sample from the Target Shooter Magazine article:

Getting Started in F-Class by Vince Bottomley
As membership secretary of a large club, one of the questions I’m frequently asked – “What’s the best way to get started in F-Class?” My club has an F-Class shoot every couple of weeks at ranges from 300 to 1000 yards and, not surprisingly, it’s very popular.

F-TR or Open Class?
From a shaky start way back in 2004, the F-TR Class is now proving as popular as Open Class and, at GBFCA League shoots and club shoots, many shooters choose to start with a 308, shooting off a bi-pod – in other words F-TR. In Open Class, the 7mm WSM soon established itself as the “must have” cartridge – if you wanted to win but, the WSM’s appetite for barrels eventually brought another 7mm cartridge into play – the 284 Winchester. This 50-year-old stalwart was revived a decade or so ago as the 6.5-284 and indeed this cartridge found some favor with F-Class pioneers – before the potency of the WSM was discovered. If you don’t mind shelling out for a couple of barrels per year (barrel life is about 750 rounds with the WSM) go for the 7mm WSM but, if you require a decent round-count, then opt for the .284 Win and learn to read the wind a bit better!

F-TR f-class rifle match ben avery AZ
F-TR Rifle at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

Scopes for F-Class
If you will be shooting 1000 yards then I would recommend at least 32 power and preferably a variable – like the 8-32. The cheapest “usable” scope in this range is the Sightron. It’s a great scope for the money and at under $900 (in the USA) it’s half the price of its nearest competitor. It’s also light – at 1.5 lbs – and there are some great reticles for the F-Class shooter – like the LRMOA.

Vince Bottomley Target Shooter F-Class F-Open F-TR

Read Full Article on Target Shooter Magazine Website.

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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.

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November 15th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: French 6-6.5×47 F-Classer for Aliénore

F-Class 6.5x47 Lapua Toulouse France

Today’s Sunday GunDay Story is a unique and beautiful F-Class rifle from France. This handsome rifle was first featured in our Gun of the Week Archives. This rifle was a gift from husband to wife. Because this is such a unique rifle, with a great back-story, we are reprising this “French Connection” rifle once again.

Europe has a number of capable custom arms makers, and in this article we feature one of them, Christian Salva of Toulouse, France. Here we spotlight an ultra-accurate and handsome 6-6.5×47 Lapua F-Class rifle. Built for a lady, the rifle exhibits flawless craftmanship to match its superior performance.


Alie Gets Her Gun — Thanks to Husband Aurélien

Photos and text by LONASSAC, translation by T.J.E., NRA UK
Aliénore, a charming young French lady, shares her passion for short- and long-range shooting with her husband, Aurélien. Aurélien already owns a 6mmBR PGM Ultima Ratio rifle and decided to have a rifle built for his wife so that they could shoot together. They therefore turned for help to the Christian Salva workshop, located in Toulouse in the south of France, close to their home.

SALVA Walnut Stock–Gorgeous Wood, and Great Ergonomics
Aliénore chose a superb, perfectly-grained French walnut blank for the stock. The stock is a single, solid piece of walnut, with a waxed finish to show off its fine figuring. The stock design is optimized for F-Class, prone and Bench Rest shooting. The fore-end is flat and 3.35″ (85mm) wide, slightly wider than the common 3″ used on most benchrest rifles. On the underside of the forearm is a rail to take a Parker-Hall or a Versa Pod-type bipod. The trigger guard is a custom, light alloy SALVA design. The butt plate is Anschütz-type. It adjusts vertically and can be rotated on its horizontal axis. The cheek piece is adjustable for height only — all that is needed.

Aliénore selected the F-Class Target Rifle from Christian Salva’s range of rifles, which is the one best suited to the type of shooting she wanted to do. Their club’s rifle range, near their home, goes out to 600 meters (See photos above). Unfortunately, as is usual in France, the range does not have a target pit. Members shoot prone using front benchrest-style rests, as in F-Class. The problem is that, without a proper target trench, it’s not possible have individual shots spotted and marked (as would be done in American High Power matches). However, with a good scope, in good light, shot-holes can be seen at 400m, and sometimes even at 600m — but this is rare.

When this rifle was crafted, Christian Salva was one of the few gunsmiths in France who manufactures complete rifles from front sight to butt-plate. With the sole exception of the barrel, he constructs the whole rifle, including action, bolt, trigger and stock. He also does all the bedding and chambering himself. Everything is done to his customer’s specification which, of course, can only be achieved in a small and highly specialized business.

General Rifle Specifications
The rifle was built on a SALVA hexagonal long range action with a flat base, which is set in a highly-figured French walnut stock using a bedding block. The gun is 49″ (125 cm) overall, and weighs 9 kg (about 20 lbs.), including scope. The barrel is 29″ (74cm) long, and a straight 1.22″ (31mm) in diameter. Given the weight and size of the barrel, the decision was made to secure the barreled action into the stock with a bedding block. On top of the action is an angled Picatinny rail with 20-MOA built-in to allow long-range shooting without using up the scope’s internal elevation. The rifle is currently fitted with a Nightforce 12-42x56mm BR scope held in alloy rings.

Details of SALVA Action
The rifle features a light Dural alloy right bolt, right port, single-shot action treated and coated with a champagne-color surface hardener. The action is hexagonal in shape (normal for a French action), with a flat base for improved bedding. On this particular gun, however, the action is floated, with the barreled action secured by the long barrel block. Take a good look at the photo below. Yes, the action on is fully-floated — the barrel block secures the barreled action into the wood stock. This is similar to some Benchreast heavy guns.

F-Class 6.5x47 Lapua Toulouse France

Christian Salva produces his actions from scratch, employing high-tech machinery, including CNC multi-axis mills. The advanced design allows the action to be very strong as well as light. The SALVA action is very thick and sturdy, in spite of its weight being reduced to a minimum. It can chamber cartridges from the 6mmBR size up to magnum calibers such as the 300 Win Mag. A treated steel insert is screwed into the front of the action. This is threaded to receive the barrel and machined to receive the locking lugs of the bolt. The threaded section is especially long (36mm with a 1.5mm thread) so as to ensure proper rigidity for the unit. Where the bolt lever closes, a steel insert, screwed into place with a BTR screw, prevents the steel bolt lever from wearing the softer Dural alloy of the action.

Tri-Lug Bolt with Extractor and Ejector in Lugs
The cylindrical all-steel bolt has a diameter of 0.906″ (23mm) and three (3) front locking lugs. The bolt design has BOTH extractor and ejector placed in locking lugs. Salva’s goal, in engineering the position and operation of both extractor and ejector, was to reduce side pressure on the cartridge. The extractor is designed to hold a cartridge case in place with minimal lateral displacement. The ejector is also built into one of the three lugs. [Editor’s Note: Many modern benchrest actions, such as the Stolle Panda, Stiller Viper, and some BATs employ an extractor in the lug. This is also a feature on Savage bolts and push-feed Model 70 Winchesters. However, these bolts do not have the ejector in a lug as well.]

Remarkably, the ejector has no spring, unlike most bolt designs. It should be noted that this springless ejector is designed to eliminate side pressure when chambering a round, thus keeping the round concentric in the chamber. The ejector is mechanical and will eject the case if the shooter pulls the bolt all the way back. If the shooter prefers to extract the case by hand, one simply pulls the bolt part way back. The 1.5″ (38mm) bolt lever is fairly short, but it has an oversize 30mm polymer knob to facilitate the opening and closing of the bolt.

French Gun, German Barrel — a 29″ Lothar Walther
On Aliénore’s rifle, the barrel is the only component not manufactured by SALVA in Toulouse. For the barrel, Christian Salva chose a stainless Lothar Walther, 6-groove barrel, with a 1:8″-twist for handling 105gr bullets. The muzzle is milled with an 11º slope so as to handle boat-tail VLD bullets. This German-made Walther tube has a 1.22″ (31mm) straight contour and is 29″ (74mm) in length. This long, non-tapered barrel is heavy enough that Salva decided to mount it with an alloy bedding block, about 8″ long (20 cm). Ten Allen-head screws clamp the block to the barrel, while the lower section of the bedding block is secured to the wood stock with eight screws and bedding compound.

Proprietary SALVA Trigger
The trigger is also manufactured by SALVA in its entirety, from Christian’s own design. Overall trigger pull weight adjusts from 50-250 grams (1.8 oz. – 8.8 oz.). The SALVA trigger can also adjust for: Longitudinal trigger position (Length of Pull); Over-travel; Main travel; Second-stage pressure; and Sear engagement.

Cartridge and Load Info
The rifle is chambered in 6-6.5×47 Lapua. Aurélien starts with Lapua 6.5×47 cases. These are then necked-down to 6mm and neck-sized with a .265″ bushing. The necks are turned very slightly, to ensure neckwall uniformity, and achieve a consistent grip on the bullet. Aurélien loads Berger 105gr VLD bullets, pushed by Vihtavuori N160 powder and small magnum primers. His preferred load is 38.2 grains of N160 with a cartridge overall length (COAL) of 2.732″ (69.40 mm). With this load, muzzle velocity is 2854 fps (870 meters per second) chronographed one meter from the muzzle. [Editor’s note–this is a very mild load. The 6-6.5×47 can drive 105-grainers over 3100 fps.]

How the Rifle Shoots

Smooth Function + Great Accuracy
When firing using a front rest, the recoil of a 9 kg, 6-6.5×47 Lapua rifle is minimal and ideal for a lady. The operation of the rifle is trouble-free, even if a few rounds were initially a bit stiff on loading for the first time. Thereafter everything sorted itself out very nicely. The action of the bolt is solid and one can feel that everything is very snug and that the tolerances are properly tight.

The versatile trigger rivals the best benchrest triggers, with the additional bonus of a single- or two-stage operation. That said, with a minimum pull-weight of 50 grams (1.8 oz.) perhaps the term “two-stage” is not the best description, since it is difficult to detect a let-off point at that weight. The trigger can be set to be a very light, single-stage let-off.

The rifle is fitted with a Nightforce 12-42x56mm BR model scope. This high-magnification optic enables the shooter to see his/her bullet holes at 400 meters in good light. This is very useful when it comes to adjusting for wind. The stock’s adjustability and ergonomics allow the shooter to feel comfortable using this rifle. The Anschütz butt-plate and easily-adjustable height of the cheek piece help in that regard.

This rifle has demonstrated some impressive accuracy. Below is a group shot by Aurélien at 400 meters (437.4 yards) on C200 targets. Using OnTarget group measuring software, we calculated this 5-shot group at 0.555″ or 0.121 MOA. That’s remarkable for a gun shooting long, VLD-style bullets. At 100 meters the rifle has yielded “one-ragged hole” groups.

alie rifle 6-6.5x47 accuracy

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November 2nd, 2020

2020 F-Class National LR Championships — Hail the Champions

Ian Klemm Pat Scully F-Open F-TR Ben Avery 2020 Championship

The 2020 NRA F-Class National Championships are now complete. We hail the new Champions Pat Scully (F-Open), and Ian Klemm (F-TR). We also give congratulations to all the competitors who dueled often-tough conditions at Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona, with periods of very high winds. CLICK HERE to see all 2020 F-Class Nationals Results for all participants.

F-Open Individual Results | F-Open Team Results | F-TR Individual Results | F-TR Team Results

Top-Ranked Shooters at 2020 NRA F-Class National Championships
F-Open Top Competitors

1. Pat Scully, F-0pen Champion, 1575-73X
2. Keith Glasscock, 1575-60X
3. Tod Hendricks, 1574-83X
4. Eric Wuestenhoefer, 1572-59X
5. Tim Vaught, 1565-76X
6. Patrick Fulghum, 1564-60X
7. Ken Dickerman, 1563-64X, High Senior
8. Bret Solomon, 1562-58X
9. Emil Kovan, 1562-53X
10. Erik Cortina, 1561-70X

Christine Harris, 1543-60X, High Lady
Kaycie Blankenship, 1517-35X, High Junior
Larry Bartholome, 1541-53X, High Gr. Senior

F-TR Top Competitors

1. Ian Klemm, F-TR Champion, 1561-56X
2. Keith Trapp, 1555-47X
3. Brad Sauve, 1553-40X, High Senior
4. Luke Ramsey, 1551-42X
5. Scott Harris, 1551-39X
6. Nancy Tompkins, 1550-44X, High Lady
7. James Crofts, 1546-52X
8. Henry Rockhill, 1543-37X
9. Brian Harder, 1539-37X
10. Nick Abbott, 1535-45X

Morgan Abbott, 1495-34X, High Junior
Raymond Weaver, 1534-30X, High Gr. Senior

Ian Klemm Pat Scully F-Open F-TR Ben Avery 2020 Championship
Pat Scully (right) is 2020 F-Open National Champion while fellow team-mate Tod Hendricks (left) finished third overall, just one point back.

In tough conditions, the top shooters put on impressive performances. Competition was tight and it went down to the wire. After multiple days of shooting, F-Open Champion Pat Scully and runner-up Keith Glasscock ended up tied on points (both scored 1575), but Scully did have a huge edge in X-count with 73X vs. 60X for Keith. In F-TR, LR Champion Ian Klemm posted an impressive 6-point win. Ian also recorded high X-Count (56X) among all F-TR shooters. Phil Kelley posted: “Ian is now only the second 3-Time F-TR National LR Champ and he has won 3 of the last 4 years — an amazing run.” Phil also observed that his fellow Team USA shooters took 7 out of the top 10 F-TR places.

Overall, the “top guns” in both divisions performed amazingly well given some very tough conditions. Forum member ShootDots noted:

“On the last day I was on the line with Keith Glasscock [Second Overall] on my immediate left. I was scoring for Pat Scully [F-Open Champion]. With wind conditions that would make a brass monkey flinch, these two gents made it look easy! I have shot with some REALLY good shooters over the years [but] these two are at a different level altogether!

I do not know Ian Klemm BUT I do know how he shoots! When you are surrounded by the finest, you get a first hand view of what REAL shooting is all about. My hat is off to the winners and to those who came within a hairsbreath of them! A B-I-G hearty CONGRATULATIONS to them!”

Our Forum tech staffer Praveen (who shot F-Open) concurred, praising the top-finishing Open-class competitors, noting that 3rd-place Tod Hendricks amassed an amazing 83 Xs. Praveen posted: “Congratulations… I witnessed some really fine shooting this year while experiencing some very tough wind conditions. Pat, Keith, and Tod — hats off to you. And Tod — so many Xs!” Forum member RonatSpokane also noted Tod’s stunning X-Count: “Sheesh Tod, you’re … bogarting those Xs. With 83 Xs, more than 50% of your shots were under 1/2 MOA. In those kinds of conditions, that’s nothing short of stunning.”

Forum member Carlsbad noted that the final day was very tough: “What a match. Every day had different challenges. The last day was challenging. We had one guy clean the afternoon string on Friday and then shoot 180 in the afternoon string on Sunday. That was tough. I don’t know how guys shot high 190s in those conditions. Congratulations to Ian Klemm and Pat Scully.”

Three National Titles in Four Years for 2020 F-TR Champ Ian Klemm
Ian Klemm F-TR Ben Avery 2020 Championship

Ian Klemm has now won three National F-TR Championships in four years. Ian captured back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, winning at Lodi, WI in 2017, and Raton, NM in 2018. Ian also finished second at the 2019 Nationals. Ian put on another great performance to win in 2020 under very challenging conditions.

Ian Klemm F-TR Ben Avery 2020 Championship

Ian Klemm Pat Scully F-Open F-TR Ben Avery 2020 Championship

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October 27th, 2020

Train for F-Class with Reduced-Size Target Centers

F-Class Target center NRA training reduced size
Ben Avery Match Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

The 2020 F-Class National Championships are underway right now at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mid-Range Championship (Oct. 25-28) concludes tomorrow, followed by the Long-Range Championship (Oct. 29 – Nov. 1). Given the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we know many F-Class shooters couldn’t make it to Nationals this year. For them, and other folks who are getting started in the sport, here are some special targets that let you train at your home range, even if it does not have target bays at 600 and 1000 yards. These special 300-yard target centers that let you duplicate the exact MOA size of the official F-Class targets, but at closer range.

2015 F-Class Championship Ben Avery
Here is the sleek, carbon-stocked .308 Win rifle Bryan Litz used to win both the 2015 Mid-Range AND
Long-Range F-TR Championship at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, Arizona.

These reduced-size target centers were created by Forum member SleepyGator, an F-Class competitor who needed practice targets he could use at 300 yards. There is an official reduced-distanced standard for 300-yard F-Class matches. This utilizes the NRA No. MR-63FC – F-Class Target Center which is pasted over the MR-63 target. It provides a 1.42″ X-Ring, 2.85″ 10-Ring, and 5.85″ Nine-Ring. (The dimensions of F-Class targets are found in the NRA High Power Rules, Sec. 22, part 4, page 70-71 — see sample below.)

F-Class Reduced Target Centers

CLICK HERE to Download F-Class 300-yard Target Centers (.Zip archive with three targets)

To duplicate the 300-yard target, SleepyGator has prepared a printable version of the MR-63FC Target Center, along with a pair of training targets with two bulls and five bulls. The two-bull and five-bull targets mirror the scoring rings on the MR-63FC, but they display only the innermost three rings and two rings respectively. All three targets are Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files that can be easily printed. You may need to adjust the scale (sizing) on your printer to get the dimensions exactly correct. As noted above, when printed, the 10-Ring on all three targets should measure 2.85″. This should provide some handy practice targets you can use between matches. Thanks to SleepyGator for providing these targets. You can download all three as a .Zip archive. After downloading the .Zip file, just click on the .Zip archive to extract the individual targets.

CLICK HERE to Download NRA High Power Rules with F-Class Target Dimensions

F-Class Target Paste Center

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October 22nd, 2020

2020 F-Class National Championships in Arizona NOTICE

2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts

The 2020 United States F-Class National Championships commence Sunday October 25, 2020 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. There’s a “hybrid” format this year. For 2020, the Nationals combine both Mid-Range and Long-Range competitions in one exended mega-match. The Mid-Range U.S. F-Class Nationals take place 25-28 October 2020, with all shooting at 600-yard targets. The Long Range National Championships then run October 29 through November 1st with all matches at 1000 yards. The competition consists of two different divisions: F-Open and F-TR (Target Rifle).

CLICK HERE for 2020 F-Class Nationals Match Program »

For health reasons, F-Class Nationals competitors will be required to follow a number of important health and safety protocols. This is to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. Here are the 2020 protocols as issued by the host Desert Sharpshooters club:

2020 NRA F-Class National Championships — Safety Protocols

We have had to implement several measures for the 2020 F-Class Nationals due to COVID-19. The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is owned by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, a state government agency. Therefore, all state and local guidelines and measures regarding COVID-19 must be followed on the property. Unfortunately, the local guidelines include a mask mandate, among other measures. We were hoping for the measures to be relaxed as the Nationals grew closer, but that is not the case. The COVID-19 measures that must be implemented during the match are below.

COVID-19 measures for the 2020 F-Class Nationals include:

– Reduce the total number of entries to 180.
– Use every other target for a total of 45 targets.
– Food and drinks, including water, will NOT be provided or for sale.
– Only one person pulling a target.
– Wearing mask/face cover is required when 6 feet distancing cannot be obtained. This includes:

    Using the restroom.
    During all team matches, except the shooters. Only the shooter and coach will be permitted on the firing line. All other team members must be 6 feet from the shooter and coach.
    On the people movers traveling to and from the pits.
    Walking up/down the ramps/stairs at the 1000 yard line, or traveling to or from one’s assigned firing point.

– No banquet dinners.
– Award ceremony will be held each day on the firing line, with shooters in the parking lot social distancing.
– While scoring, the scorer will be at least 6 feet from the shooter.
– Shooters on the firing line will set up on each side of their assigned target marker with 6 feet separating them.
– Shooters not pulling targets, scoring, or shooting must remain off of the firing line and in their vehicles or socially distancing in the parking lot.
– Only the scoring and shooting relays will be permitted on the firing line. During pit changes, the previous scoring and shooting relays must vacate the firing line before the next scoring and shooting relays approach the firing line.
– All scores and squadding will be posted online. Those with no access to the internet can obtain their squadding on the bulletin boards on the east and west side of the building. Only one person will be permitted to be at the bulletin board at a time.
– No one is permitted to enter the Berger Building.
– Refunds will be given to those that wish to not participate in the event.

Failure of individuals to follow any of the above guidelines may result in disqualification and being asked to leave. If we do not comply with these regulations, we risk the Ben Avery Shooting Facility canceling the event without prior notice.

We would also like to remind shooters that if they are feeling sick or have any symptoms to please not come to the range, and notify us immediately at fclassnationals@gmail.com.

Ben Avery Shooting Facility Coronavirus Health Covid-19

Located on 1,650 acres in north Phoenix, BASF is one of the nation’s largest publicly operated shooting facilities. A City of Phoenix “Point of Pride,” the facility has received a five-star rating from the National Association of Shooting Ranges.

Firing line at 2015 F-Class Nationals at Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts


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October 20th, 2020

Laser Engraving for F-Class Team USA on New Borden Actions

Borden action laser engraving

Borden action laser engravingJim Borden of Borden Accuracy/Borden Rifles is adding “something extra” to the Borden actions crafted for F-Class Team USA members. These actions feature a Team Name and Team shield thanks to modern computer-controlled laser engraving. Jim Borden posted: “Here is Tony at Endless Laser Art doing his thing. [Team members] James Crofts, Drew Rutherford, Dan Bramley, Keith Trapp here we come!”

Jim is crafting special actions for both the F-TR and F-Open Team USA squads with laser-engraved USA F-Class Team shields. There is a BRMXD-type called USA Open and a BRM-type action called USA FTR. The F-Open serial numbers start USAFOPEN01 while F-TR numbers start USAFTR01. These are offered to members of USA F-Class Teams.

Watch Laser Engraving of Borden Actions

Watch the video above to see U.S. Rifle Team shield laser-engraved on Borden actions for F-Class Team USA and F-TR Team USA.

Borden action laser engraving

Don’t Tread on Me — Laser-Engraved Ax Blade for NRL Founder
Here’s a another example of modern, computer-controlled laser engraving. Travis Ishida, one of the founders of the NRL Precision Tactical series, has obtained a laser engraving machine. This can be great for putting identifying marks on tools, metal gunstocks, motorcycle parts — basically anything where you want some words and/or graphics. We like the message Travis printed on his Ax: “Liberty or Death… Don’t Tread on Me”. Travis posted: “Finally got my laser engraver working and now I want to engrave everything in sight! This could be a lot of fun… and a little obsessive.”

Borden action laser engraving

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
October 11th, 2020

SunDay GunDay: .284 Shehane Team USA Raffle Prize Rifle

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

This SunDay GunDay story features a stunning rifle constructed as a raffle prize to benefit Team USA members who will be traveling to South Africa in 2021 for the upcoming F-Class World Championships. Raffle tickets purchased for this F-Open rig, as well as two other rifles, will help defray expenses for Team USA members, both adults and juniors. Along with the stunning F-Open rifle featured here, there are two other great prizes: A KW Precision-built .308 Winchester F-TR rifle with Borden Rimrock action, and a Kelbly Koda Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor with Nightforce scope.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

.284 Shehane F-Open Prize Rifle with Superb Components

Report by Katie Blankenship
This eye-catching F-Open rifle was crafted by Blake Barrel and Rifle in Arizona. This prize rifle features all top-of-the-line components: Borden BRMXD Action, Cerus multi-laminate stock with forearm extension, R.A.D. recoil reduction system (hydraulic-damped buttpad), Bix ‘N Andy trigger, and Nightforce Competition scope. The stainless Blake barrel is chambered for the .284 Shehane wildcat, and sports an F-Class Products tuner on the end.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action
Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

If you like this rifle, you can participate in a Team USA Contest with a chance to win this beauty. Team USA is running a raffle that supports all three divisions of the United States F-Class Team: F-Open, F-TR, and Under-25. After each member sells $250 dollars worth of tickets, the proceeds go into individual accounts to pay for trip expenses such as air travel, hotel, food, entry fees, uniforms, ammunition, and other costs.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

The prize drawings will be held at Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, AZ in November 2020. All winners must comply with all Federal and State laws in order to take possession of firearms. $2,500 may be awarded in place of firearm. Entrants do not need to be present to win. Winners will be announced after confirmation of legal eligibility and with consent of the winner. Raffle tickets cost $10.00 each or you can get three tickets for $25.00. CLICK HERE for prize raffle details.

About the Under-25 F-Class U.S. Rifle Team

My sister Kaycie and I are both on the Under-25 United States F-Class Team. We both started out shooting F-Class on the Wickenburg High School Rifle team. I started in 2012 while Kaycie started in 2015. We went from using loaner guns with Wickenburg to shoot the F-Class sport, to now having a couple generous sponsors and making the Under-25 United States Team.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

The raffle is for three different rifles. The one featured here is the sponsored F-Open rifle built by Blake Barrel and Rifle. For this special rifle, I was actually involved in the build process at Blake Machine in Phoenix, Arizona, where I work.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action
Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

How Sisters Katie and Kaycie Got Involved in Rifle Competition
Kaycie and I grew up in a family that spent a lot of quality time together in the outdoors — hunting, shooting, and fishing. With my passion for hunting (inspired by my Dad), I wanted to further my shooting skills. So, I decided to join Wickenburg High School’s Rifle Team coached by Rex Powers. Upon joining, since I was a small, 90-lb girl, some people thought I would never be a top competitor on the team — not able to compete with the bigger boys on the team. But within my freshman year of high school I was the team’s top shooter and held that spot all 4 years of high school. I developed a passion for F-Class shooting. After graduating from HS, I continued to assistant-coach the team and compete in local matches. My sister Kaycie accompanied me in 2015 and also found a love for the sport. Now a senior in high school, Kaycie is still shooting with the high school team, while earning a sport on the Under-25 U.S. F-Class Rifle Team.

What Katie Likes about F-Class Competition
F-Class shooting has given me the opportunity to meet many influential people, to travel, and to work in a specialized job that I love. This sport has taught me patience, attention to detail, and discipline. And that, in turn, has had a positive impact on many other areas in my life. Kaycie and I’ve have also met many other junior shooters who have become great friends. It’s great to have that camaraderie at matches. The community behind this sport includes many very generous people with tons of knowledge — there is such a healthy competitive atmosphere at the range.

How Young Shooters Can Get Started in F-Class
If you are interested in F-Class we highly suggest going to your local range and watching an F-Class match being held. There are so many people willing to provide knowledge and guidance to help you get started in the sport and join the fun!

The Bryan Blake Connection — How He Helps Young Shooters
I met Bryan Blake (Blake Barrel and Rifle) in early 2018 at a local mid-range Championship. At the time I was shooting a 6.5×47 Lapua with a shot-out barrel and was just there for fun, knowing my scores would be low. Bryan loaned me one of his rifles for a string and offered to loan me a gun for the upcoming October State 600-yard championships. Since then I now have my own F-Class rifle build by Blake Barrel and Rifle and now work for Bryan’s family-owned business. Bryan has helped raise my shooting to the next level with his knowledge of the sport and his dedication to encouraging young competitors.

Get Rifle Prize Raffle Tickets to Support Team USA

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action
Team USA Raffle Prize Drawing will take place in November 2020.


LINK for Raffle Tickets Page (All 3 Prize Rifles) »

Kaycie and I are proud to represent our country in the 2021 F-Class World Championships. We appreciate your support for F-Class Team USA by purchasing raffle tickets. You can purchase tickets on the webpage linked above. NOTE: When tickets are purchased through that page, the funds will go directly towards travel expenses Kaycie and I will incur going to the 2021 World F-Class Championships.

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September 15th, 2020

Great Book: Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting II

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Modern Advancements Volume 2 II testing pre-order

If you buy one book about Long Range Shooting, this should be it. Based on sophisticated testing and research, this 356-page hardcover from Applied Ballistics offers important insights you won’t find anywhere else. Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting – Volume II, the latest treatise from Bryan Litz, is chock full of information, much of it derived through sophisticated field testing. As Chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets (and a trained rocket scientist), author Bryan Litz is uniquely qualified. Bryan is also an ace sling shooter and a past F-TR National Champion. Moreover, Bryan’s company, Applied Ballistics, has been a leader in the Extreme Long Range (ELR) discipline.

AUDIO FILE: Bryan Litz Talks about Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, Volume 2. (Sound file loads when you click button).

Volume II of Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting ($39.95) contains all-new content derived from research by Applied Ballistics. Author Bryan Litz along with contributing authors Nick Vitalbo and Cal Zant use the scientific method and careful testing to answer important questions faced by long range shooters. In particular, this volume explores the subject of bullet dispersion including group convergence. Advanced hand-loading subjects are covered such as: bullet pointing and trimming, powder measurement, flash hole deburring, neck tension, and fill ratio. Each topic is explored with extensive live fire testing, and the resulting information helps to guide hand loaders in a deliberate path to success. The current bullet library of measured G1 and G7 ballistic coefficients is included as an appendix. This library currently has data on 533 bullets in common use by long range shooters.

Bryan tells us that one purpose of this book is to dispel myths and correct commonly-held misconceptions: “Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting aims to end the misinformation which is so prevalent in long range shooting. By applying the scientific method and taking a Myth Buster approach, the state of the art is advanced….”

Bullet Dispersion and Group Convergence
Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Modern Advancements Volume 2 II testing pre-order

Part 1 of this Volume is focused on the details of rifle bullet dispersion. Chapter 1 builds a discussion of dispersion and precision that every shooter will benefit from in terms of understanding how it impacts their particular shooting application. How many shots should you shoot in a group? What kind of 5-shot 100 yard groups correlate to average or winning precision levels in 1000 yard F-Class shooting?

Chapter 2 presents a very detailed investigation of the mysterious concept of group convergence, which is the common idea that some guns can shoot smaller (MOA) groups at longer ranges. This concept is thoroughly tested with extensive live fire, and the results answer a very important question that has baffled shooters for many generations.

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Modern Advancements Volume 2 II testing pre-orderPart 2 of this Volume is focused on various aspects of advanced hand-loading. Modern Advancements (Vol. II) employs live fire testing to answer the important questions that precision hand loaders are asking. What are the best ways to achieve MVs with low ES and SD? Do flash hole deburring, neck tension, primer selection, and fill ratio and powder scales sensitivity make a difference and how much? All of these questions are explored in detail with a clear explanation of test results.

One of the important chapters of Part 2 examines bullet pointing and trimming. Applied Ballistics tested 39 different bullet types from .224 through .338 caliber. Ten samples of each bullet were tested for BC in each of the following configurations: original out of the box, pointed, trimmed, pointed and trimmed. The effect on the average BC as well as the uniformity in BC was measured and tabulated, revealing what works best.

Part 3 covers a variety of general research topics. Contributing author Nick Vitalbo, a laser technology expert, tested 22 different laser rangefinders. Nick’s material on rangefinder performance is a landmark piece of work. Nick shows how shooters can determine the performance of a rangefinder under various lighting conditions, target sizes, and reflectivities.

Chapter 9 is a thorough analysis of rimfire ammunition. Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets, 2nd Edition presented live fire data on 95 different types of .22 rimfire ammunition, each tested in five different barrels having various lengths and twist rates. Where that book just presented the data, Chapter 9 of this book offers detailed analysis of all the test results and shows what properties of rimfire ammunition are favorable, and how the BCs, muzzle velocities and consistency of the ammo are affected by the different barrels.

Chapter 10 is a discussion of aerodynamic drag as it relates to ballistic trajectory modeling. You will learn from the ground up: what an aerodynamic drag model is, how it’s measure and used to predict trajectories. Analysis is presented which shows how the best trajectory models compare to actual measured drop in the real world.

Finally, contributing author Cal Zant of the Precision Rifle Blog presents a study of modern carbon fiber-wrapped barrels in Chapter 11. The science and technology of these modern rifle barrels is discussed, and then everything from point of impact shift to group sizes are compared for several samples of each type of barrel including standard steel barrels.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tactical, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 7th, 2020

New Hybrid-X Front Rest from 21st Century Shooting

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

Introducing the Hybrid-X Shooting Rest
The new, patent-pending Hybrid-X front rest from 21st Century Shooting is a true hybrid between a joystick and a traditional “wheel” rest. Windage (left/right point of aim) changes are made via a control stick that extends back to the shooter. This control stick travels on a horizontal plane. Elevation is controlled through a knob on the end of the control stick, OR a large, traditional wheel on the post. So you have TWO elevation control options — the Big Wheel or the smaller knob on the end of the control rod.

The entire central assembly of the rest is mounted on a circular plate that is mounted in the base plate. This central assembly and plate is called the Target Acquisition System or “T.A.S”. This allows the user to easily self-align the rifle and rear bag by simply loosening a few levers. Self-alignment will help minimize set-up time and improve repeatability by eliminating binding of the rifle in the shooting bags. In addition, this will allow for rapid windage adjustment if needed to acquire a target. This really is an important advancement — you can simply place the rest on bench or ground, and then use the T.A.S. function to get perfect target alignment. No more trial and error placing the rest multiple times to get the correct orientation to the target.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial
 
The Hybrid-X design team tells us: “Smooth operation and ease of control are what this rest represents. The utilization of a ball screw plus bearing block provides glass-smooth elevation adjustment. And the elevation is stable.” Guys, this is important. Unlike some joystick rests which move when you release the joystick, on the Hybrid-X, the cradle holding your rifle does not “droop” when you release the Hybrid-X control stick. Repeatability from shot to shot is provided by the rock-solid platform and the fact that elevation does NOT change when you let go of the control stick.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial
The entire center section of the rest rotates as one unit for fast, perfect alignment to target.
 
Key Features of New Hybrid-X Shooting Rest
 
1. Weight of rifle is not a factor in ease of controls due to the use of ball screws/bearing blocks in the post.
2. Windage range is more than you would ever need — more than other rests on the market.
3. Elevation is not lost from shot to shot even if you release control stick.
4. Total weight of Hybrid-X prototype is 28 pounds.
5. Designed, machined and built in the USA!

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial
 
How does it work? Very well indeed! The folks at 21st Century report: “Everyone that has shot off this rest so far is blown away with the repeatability, smoothness, and the ease of the controls.” The innovative Hybrid-X rest is Patent Pending, and is 100% made in the USA. Priced at $1950.00, the Hybrid-X is in production now. You won’t see it (yet) on the 21st Century website, but you can email or call (260) 273-9909 to order. Currently, expect a 60-day wait from time of order to delivery. The rest includes a front bag.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

Field Test of New 21st Century Rest in Competition

Report from F-Class Competitor Bret Solomon
I would like to first start out by saying “Thank You” to all the persons involved at 21st Century Shooting for getting me this new rest. I used the new rest for the first time on Friday, August 7, 2020 for a team match in The Michigan State Long Range Team Match Championship. My team took first in the F-Open Division and I had a very quick learning curve with the rest. Saturday, I again used the rest for the Michigan Long Range/F-Class Regional individual matches. We shot one match and called the rest of the day due to weather concerns. Sunday we came back for three matches.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

As the day progressed, the winds came up and starting switching considerably more and I put the new rest to work. I was able to concentrate on wind switches, feeling very confident that the gun was staying where I put it in the rest and on target. Adjustments were very smooth and I was able to shoot multiple shots with no elevation changes. The controls are in a position where you can get behind the gun and not have to reach out for changes. Yes the rest performed great — I was able to come from behind to take a one-point win in the F-Open Division. I believe the new rest from 21st Century Shooting made a significant difference for me. In the future, I hope the Hybrid-X rest will help advance my shooting game.

Once again, thank you to 21st Century Shooting for a great addition of technology, innovation, craftsmanship, and customer service to the shooting community. — Bret Solomon

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, New Product, News 2 Comments »
August 15th, 2020

RetroMOD Project — Old eBay Rimfire Stock Reborn for F-Open

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Here is an interesting project by one of our Forum members. Martin C. (aka “Killick”) modified an Anschutz 1411 Match 54 rimfire prone stock to become a comfortable, great-tracking F-Class Open Division Stock. No Killick didn’t sacrifice a perfectly good rimfire rifle for this project — he bought the Anschutz stock by itself on eBay, then transformed it…

Killick explains: “This project started about seven years ago. I bought the Anschutz prone stock on eBay and whittled it a bit into a Palma rifle with a Barnard action and block and a Doan Trevor cheek piece and scope rail. Then about two years ago I decided to re-task the stock/action assembly into an F-Open rig. With more whittling, gluing, sanding, body fillering, sanding, filling, sanding, more sanding…and sanding, forming, priming, sanding, painting, waiting, painting, painting…painting and before you know it, Bob’s your uncle.”

Here is the eBay-sourced Anschutz 1411 stock, with new high-gloss blue finish, as initially modified for use in Killick’s centerfire Palma rifle. Looks nice!

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Next step was the addition of a 3″-wide wood fore-end for F-Open duties with front rest:

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Almost done here… just needs priming and final painting:

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Here is Killick’s completed F-Open rifle with its much-modified Anschutz stock now finished in fire-engine red lacquer. This image shows the detail of the grip and customized cheekpiece.

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

To learn more, visit Killick’s Anschutz Stock F-Class Project Thread on our Shooters’ Forum.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
August 12th, 2020

Go Low: Extreme Low-Profile F-TR Rifles from Pierce Engineering

F-TR Scoville Stock F-Class Rifle

One recent trend in F-TR competition is the use of low-profile, benchrest-type stocks shot with a light hand-hold and little or no face contact. For this method of F-TR shooting to work, you need the right equipment, and practice a “minimalist” shooting technique. One of the pioneers in this style of F-TR shooting is action-maker John Pierce of Pierce Engineering. Above you can see John shooting one of his F-TR rifles at the 2015 Canadian F-Class Championships. Note the straight-line stock and see how the adjustable bipod is set quite low to the ground (in fact the bipod’s arms are almost straight out).

F-TR Scoville Stock F-Class Rifle

Members of the Michigan F-TR Team, including Bryan Litz, have used similar rigs with success. Bryan said it took a while to adapt his shooting technique to this kind of rig, but there is a pay-off. Armed with a Pierce-built F-TR rifle, Bryan won his first-ever F-TR Match. Bryan explains the technique he uses when shooting this kind of rifle:

“Coming over from sling shooting, I knew there would be unique challenges to F-TR which I wanted to learn prior to (not during) a major tournament. I learned a new shooting position which doesn’t involve drawing the right knee up. For F-TR I get more straight behind the gun rather than at an angle. I found that the rifle shoots best with very light cheek, shoulder and grip pressure, approaching free recoil. This is how Eric Stecker shot his similar rifle into second place in the SW Nationals [with high X-Count by a large margin]. I learned the rifle’s sensitivity to different bipod and rear bag supports, and found the best buttplate position to allow the rifle to track and stay on target after recoil. This set-up shot best with a mostly free-recoil approach, that means ‘hovering’ over the comb, rather than resting your head on the stock. This took some ‘getting used to’ in terms of neck and back muscle tone. These are the kind of details I think it’s important to focus on when entering a new discipline.”

Bryan’s Pierce-built F-TR rig is a tack-driver: “I can certainly vouch for this set-up! In [a 2015] mid-range State Championship in Midland, MI, I shot my Pierce rifle into first place with a 598-44X (20 shots at 300, 500 and 600). Once you get used to the positioning and way of shooting these rifles, they just pour shots through the center of the target.”

Pierce F-TR Rifles with Scoville Stocks
Shown below are three complete Pierce F-TR rifles, along with a barreled action for comparison. The carbon-fiber/composite stocks are built by Bob Scoville. These Scoville stocks are very light, yet very strong and very stiff.

F-TR Scoville Stock F-Class Rifle

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
May 29th, 2020

Recoil Reduction System for F-Class Rifles — Bump Buster

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 Bret 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 torquing 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.
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May 23rd, 2020

2020 Berger Southwest Nationals Equipment Lists

2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

The best F-Class and Sling shooters in the nation compete each year at the Berger Southwest Nationals at the Ben Avery range in Arizona. Walk down the firing line and you’ll see the absolute “best of the best” in equipment — from $3500 optics to $2000 stocks and $400 triggers. Berger SWN shooters have some of the best equipment you can buy. In this game, where just 1 or 2 points can separate first from third place (considering X-Count), it’s important to have top-flight equipment. That means a custom action, custom barrel, and high-end stock or chassis system.

Matt Schwartzkopf, a range supervisor at Ben Avery, and member of the USA F-TR Team, has collected comprehensive gear reports from the 2020 Berger SW Nationals. Matt has created charts showing competitors’ choices for Actions, Barrels, Stocks, Riflescopes and Spotting Scopes. In addition, Matt has compiled bullet choice data for all classes and Cartridge rankings for F-Open Division.

There is a discussion of the 2020 SWN Gear Selection in our Shooters’ Forum. CLICK HERE to follow that Forum thread. Many top SWN shooters, including past F-Open National Champion Larry Bartholome, have contributed to this Forum discussion about gear options.

ACTIONS Listed by Division (Sling, F-TR, F-Open)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

ACTIONS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

BARRELS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

BULLETS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

CARTRIDGE BRASS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

POWDER by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

STOCKS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

RIFLESCOPES by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

SPOTTING SCOPES Listed by Class (Sling, F-TR, F-Open)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

Cartridge Selection in F-Open Division

In addition, Matt produced an interesting listing of cartridge/caliber types for the F-Open division. This is helpful because cartridge choice is unrestricted in the F-Open class. By contrast, the F-TR division is limited to .223 Remington (5.56×45) or .308 Winchester (7.62×51). You can see that the .284 Winchester (and variants) currently dominate F-Open.

2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

Permalink Competition, Gear Review 1 Comment »
May 5th, 2020

What’s Wrong with This Picture — Look Carefully

Bisley Range Deer England Centre UK Wildlife F-Class
Click image to zoom full-screen.

What’s wrong (or right?) with this picture? Does the “F” in F-class refer to “Fauna”? Look carefully at this Bisley Range photo taken by Australian R. Hurley while looking downrange through his March 8-80X scope. The photo was taken in 2015 at the Bisley National Shooting Centre in the UK.

The Story Behind the Photo
British shooter T. Stewart reports: “I was there when this photos was taken. All I can say was that Mr. Hurley was firmly reminded that should said deer accidentally jump in front of his bullet … he would spend five years ‘At Her Majesty’s Pleasure’.”

“That morning we had five deer moving across the targets, literally blocking the V-Bull. Since we were on the 900-yard Firing Point, and elevated for such, obviously the bullet would pass well above them. But they do NOT move or flinch at the noise or passing bullets since they are not hunted on the Bisley Ranges. Earlier this year we saw a herd of 20 or so deer grazing slowly across the Range.”

More Fauna Findings…
Apparently Bisley is not the only place were “the deer and the antelope play”. In Canada, on the Connaught Ranges near Ottawa, Ontario, shooters often encounter a variety of wildlife. William McDonald from Ontario says: “Animals are a common sight on the Range. Along with deer we see geese, turkeys, and coyotes on a daily basis.”

Likewise, E. Goodacre from Queensland, Australia often sees ‘Roos on his home range: “I shoot at Ripley, Australia, and shooting is regularly interrupted by kangaroos. Our last silhouette match was delayed by an hour while 30 ‘Roos dawdled across — silly buggers!”

R. Hurley wasn’t the first fellow to view deer through his F-Class rifle’s scope. After seeing Hurley’s photo from Bisley, B. Weeks posted this image, saying: “Been there, done that!”

Bisley Range Deer England Centre UK Wildlife F-Class

Permalink Competition, News, Optics, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
April 8th, 2020

Lights, Camera, Actions! — Video Tour of Kelbly’s Shop

Kelbly's Panda Action gunsmithing video barrel stock bedding

Want to see new-born Pandas? No, not the furry kind — rather Stolle Panda actions produced with state-of-the-art CNC machinery. If you’ve ever wondered how precision benchrest, long-range, and tactical rifles are built, check out video from Kelbly’s. You’ll see actions finished, barrels chambered and crowned, pillars installed in stocks, barreled actions bedded, plus a host of other services performed by Kelbly’s gunsmiths and machinists.

If you’re a fan of fine machine-work, this video should be both informative and entertaining. You can see how precision gun work is done with 21st-Century technology. Tip of the hat to Ian Kelbly and crew for producing this excellent video visit to the Kelbly’s production center.

Click Volume Control to Activate Sound for Kelbly’s Video:

Kelbly's Panda Action gunsmithing video barrel stock bedding

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