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December 4th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: December Pride & Joy Rifles

tactical paint painting pride joy rifle shooters forum
New .300 WSM F-Class rifle, with stock finished by Forum member Cigar Cop.

One of the most popular features of our Shooters’ Forum is the ongoing Pride and Joy Rifle thread. Since 2009, Forum members have posted photos and descriptions of their most prized firearms. Here are some of our favorite “Pride and Joy” rifles recently showcased in our Forum. Do you have a gun you’d like to see featured there? Register for the Forum and you can add your favorite gun to the list.

We hope these “Pride and Joy” rifles may provide inspiration for our readers, whetting their appetite for their next competition, varminting, or hunting rifle project.

Eliseo Tubegun in 7mm SAUM with Pierce Action, Bartlein Barrel

tactical paint painting pride joy rifle shooters forum

Here is a striking camo-finished Elesio (Competition Machine) Tubegun chambered for 7mm SAUM. Note the block fitted to the tubular fore-end so the rifle rides smooth and steady on the Rodzilla T-Rex joystick front rest. The proud owner, Forum member Aeon, tells us: “This is a Gary Eliseo RTM chassis with pickle forks. It has a custom Ceracoat paint job to match my sling gun.” Key components are: Pierce Engineering long action tube receiver, Bartlein 1:8.5″-twist barrel, Jewell trigger set at 2 oz., and Vortex Golden Eagle scope in Vortex rings. Aeon adds: “The chamber was cut by Mark Chesesbro of Chesebro Rifles. Mark throated it very long so the the 180gr and 184gr Bergers would sit where they belong.”

Tuning the 7mm SAUM and Recoil Reduction
Owner Aeon tells us: “The 7 SAUM was as easy a gun as I have ever shot to find a good load for — H1000 gave great consistency and tuning was not hard. However, the challenge in shooting this rifle was recoil management. The 7 SAUM has a punch to it and I found myself having trouble finishing three relays without form problems in the last relay. I considered getting a RAD Pad but that would have required expensive machine work. I stumbled on a recoil pad that is uniquely effective, the Falcon Strike. Sent the pad to Gary Eliseo and he sent it back with the butt plate machined to fit. Complete game changer! The rifle is a dream to shoot now with a big reduction in felt recoil.”

Ultra-Accurate 6.5×47 Lapua — Stiller Action, Bartlein Barrel

tactical paint painting pride joy rifle shooters forum

This gray and blue beauty belongs to Forum member Farmer Dave. He posted: “Got this 6.5×47 Lapua back from my smith about six months ago. It’s the most accurate rifle I have ever owned.” This rifle features: AG Composites CF stock, Stiller TAC 30 action, Bartlein 5R barrel, TriggerTech Diamond trigger. On top is a Trijicon Accupower riflescope.

Henry .45-70 with Modern Buttstock and M-LOK Handguard

tactical paint painting pride joy rifle shooters forum

Here is member Quest45’s handsome lever-action Henry .45-70 Gov and Glock 40 10mm. About his two guns he posted: “All I need is a can of bear spray”. The rifle is fitted with a red dot sight, ammo caddies, Ranger Point M-LOK handguard, and a modernized modular buttstock. These upgrades make it a thoroughly-modern Henry lever gun for the 21st Century.

A .243 Winchester Hunting Rig that Nailed Scottish Roe Buck

tactical paint painting pride joy rifle shooters forum

Forum member John V. from Scotland showcased a successful hunt with his .243 Winchester rifle. This sports a suppressed, 26″ MTU 1:7.5″-twist barrel. He loaded Sierra 100gr Pro-Hunter bullets, and took this nice Roe Buck at 240 yards through a gap in the foliage.

Ultra-Low Profile 6 PPC for Short-Range Benchrest

tactical paint painting pride joy rifle shooters forum

This handsome rifle, which belongs to Forum member J.J.Coe, represents the state-of-the-art for 100/200-yard benchrest rifles. It is chambered (no surprise) for the 6 PPC cartridge, which dominates the short-range game. In features a super-low profile carbon composite stock. Note how the vertical centerline of the stock is very close to the barrel. This keeps the center of gravity low and helps the rifle recoil smoothly with less hop in the bags. Note also the tuner on the barrel.

Do-it-Yourself Paint Job, Done in the Bathroom at Home

tactical paint painting pride joy rifle shooters forum

Many eye-catching rifles start with a great paint job. Forum member JHN did this job himself. He posted: “Went to local paint shops, some cost a two-month work income, some said guns were a ‘no-no’. So I did it myself — my first Candy Apple red. Base collar is gold metallic, followed by the red. I didn’t have a good paintwork place so I had to improvise. Our bathroom has nice concealing in the summer — a perfect paint booth. So I only have to apologize about some red flakes in our bathroom.”

Mauser M96 with Quilted Maple Stock — for the Wife

tactical paint painting pride joy rifle shooters forum

We like this handsome quilted Maple-stocked Mauser belonging to Forum member Steel Mover. He posted: “Some like synthetic and some like wood — I have both. Here is the wife’s quilted Maple 96 Mauser 6.5×55. I was working in the shop, wife walked through and said ‘You are building that for me aren’t you?’ Well ‘Yes, dear’ I said of course … so I Lost my rifle.”

Patriotic .284 Shehane F-Open Rig

tactical paint painting pride joy rifle shooters forum

Forum member 1shot is proud of this new F-Classer: “Just got my first F-Open rifle finished chambered in .284 Shehane. It features a Kelbly stock w/RAD system, Shilen 1:8″-twist ratchet-rifled barrel with EC Tuner, and X-treme 2-stage trigger — all mated up to a Kelbly Panda action. I think this dog will hunt!”

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November 12th, 2022

Old Anschutz Stock Transformed into Modern F-Class Stock

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.

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November 8th, 2022

Get Official Targets: Air Rifle, Rimfire, Benchrest, F-Class, High Power, and Pistol

official shooting IBS NBRSA NRA rifle shooting targets paper bullseye benchrest

Do you need targets — not just any old targets, but the correctly-sized targets for specific shooting disciplines (such as NRA Smallbore, F-Class, and 1K Benchrest)? Well you won’t find them at your neighborhood gun store. Precise, dimensionally-correct competition targets are produced by a half-dozen specialty printers. In this article we provide links to the leading target sellers, with a chart showing “who’s got what”. Look for your particular discipline and the vendors will be specified.

Sources for Official Shooting Competition Targets:

ALCO Target Company

American Target Company

Creedmoor Sports

National Target Company

Pistoleer.com

U.S. Target Company

AccurateShooter.com offers dozens of FREE, printable targets for target practice, load development, and fun shooting. We also offer a few of the most popular NRA Bullseye targets. One or more of these printable targets should work for most training purposes. However, some readers have asked: “Where can we get the real targets… exactly like the ones used in NRA, IBS, and NBRSA shooting matches?”

Official targets NRA IBS NBRSA

All these vendors carry nearly all the NRA High Power and Smallbore targets, including the smaller F-Class targets. National Target has the F-Class and High Power targets, including 100-yard reductions of the 200, 300, and 600-yard military targets.

NRA Target IBS Hunter Rifle Target

Orrville Printing currently sells IBS targets for rimfire (50 yard) benchrest, short-range centerfire Benchrest (100, 200, 300 yards), Hunter BR Rifle (100, 200, 300 yards), plus the official 600-yard and 1000-yard IBS targets. National Target Company also has most of the IBS targets. NBRSA short-range, 600-yard, and 1000-yard benchrest targets are available directly from the NBRSA Business Office. Send an email to nbrsa@icloud.com or call (434) 993-9201.

Available Official Competition Targets
Vendor NRA High Power F-Class NRA Smallbore Air Rifle/Pistol IBS NBRSA Other
ALCO Target
Company
Yes, All No Yes Yes No No Archery, IDPA, IPSC, Police, Realistic, Shoot-N-C, Silhouette, Fun Targets, Pasters.
American Target
Company
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No USBR, Sight-in, Muzzle-Loading, Police Silhouette
Creedmoor Sports Yes, Some Yes, Some Yes, All Yes No No NMAR, Repair Centers, Police Silhouette, Sighting Targets, Shoot-N-C Grid
Domagron Targets Yes, Some No Yes, Some Yes No No NRA, Air Gun, Reactive, Fun Targets
National Target
Company
Yes, Nearly All Yes Yes, All Yes Yes* No IDPA, IPSC, FBI, Police Silhouette, Sight-in, Target Backers, Pasters
Pistoleer.com Yes Yes Yes, most and color training Yes Yes No Bianchi, FBI, IBS, IDPA, IPSC, Silhouette, Archery, Pasters
U.S. Target, Inc. Yes Yes Yes, All Yes No No Bianchi, FBI, Police Silhouette, IPSC, Realistic Silhouette, Varmint

Alco Target silhouette paper cardboard

Need Steel, Cardboard Silhouettes or specialty targets? ALCO Target Company in Duarte, California is the USA’s leading producer of the full spectrum of shooting targets including paper targets, cardboard targets, steel targets, and target stands.

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October 31st, 2022

The “Mental Game” — Mantras for Competitive Shooting Success

shooting training applied ballistics bryan litz

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics“Shoot Like a Champion”. Bryan Litz, author of Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting, says he often sees notes like this tucked in shooter’s gear (or taped to an ammo box) at matches. What “marksmanship mantras” do you use? Do you have a favorite quote that you keep in mind during competition?

On the Applied Ballistics Facebook Page, Bryan invited other shooters to post the motivating words (and little reminders) they use in competition. Here are some of the best responses:


    “Shoot 10s and No One Can Catch You…” — James Crofts

    “You Can’t Miss Fast Enough to Win.” — G. Smith

    “Forget the last shot. Shoot what you see!” — P. Kelley

    “Breathe, relax, you’ve got this, just don’t [mess] up.” — S. Wolf

    “It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.” — J. McEwen

    “Keep calm and shoot V-Bull.” — R. Fortier

    “Be still and know that I am God[.]” (PS 46:10) — D.J. Meyer

    “Work Hard, Stay Humble.” — J. Snyder

    “Shoot with your mind.” — K. Skarphedinsson

    “The flags are lying.” — R. Cumbus

    “Relax and Breathe.” — T. Fox

    “Zero Excuses.” — M. Johnson

    “SLOW DOWN!” — T. Shelton

    “Aim Small.” — K. Buster

    “Don’t Forget the Ammo!” (Taped on Gun Case) — Anonymous

PARTING SHOT: It’s not really a mantra, but Rick Jensen said his favorite quote was by gunsmith Stick Starks: “Them boys drove a long ways to suck”. Rick adds: “I don’t want to be that guy”, i.e. the subject of that remark.

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October 22nd, 2022

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

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

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

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

F-Class Shooting at Bisley Range in the United Kingdom


F-Class Bisley England UK European Championships

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

Highlights from Day 1 of 2021 F-Class Nationals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newbie Perspective — First Time Shooting F-Class

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

Reloading for F-Class — Interview with Erik Cortina

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

Building a Modern F-Open Stock for Competition

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

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

BONUS Video

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

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

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October 20th, 2022

Train for F-Class Competition with 300-yard Target Centers

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

The 2022 F-Class National Championships are underway right now at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mid-Range Championship (Oct. 16-19) finished yesterday, and now the Long-Range Championship runs today, October 20, through Sunday, October 23. With economic inflation and the high price of gas in particular 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 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 14th, 2022

Avoid Having a ‘Train Wreck’ at the 2022 F-Class Nationals

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

The 2022 NRA F-Class National Championships commence this weekend at the Ben Avery range in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mid-Range F-Class Nationals commence this Sunday, October 16, with practice on Saturday, October 15. The 1000-yard Long Range match starts on October 20th.

2022 NRA F-Class Nationals Ben Avery AZ train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

How to Avoid “Train Wrecks” In Competition

In any shooting competition, you must try to avoid major screw-ups that can ruin your day (or your match). In this article, past F-TR National Mid-Range and Long Range Champion Bryan Litz talks about “Train Wrecks”, i.e. those big disasters (such as equipment failures) that can ruin a whole match. Bryan illustrates the types of “train wrecks” that commonly befall competitors, and he explains how to avoid these “unmitigated disasters”.

Urban Dictionary “Train Wreck” Definition: “A total @#$&! disaster … the kind that makes you want to shake your head.”

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballisticsTrain Wrecks (and How to Avoid Them)
by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC.

Success in long range competition depends on many things. Those who aspire to be competitive are usually detail-oriented, and focused on all the small things that might give them an edge. Unfortunately it’s common for shooters lose sight of the big picture — missing the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Consistency is one of the universal principles of successful shooting. The tournament champion is the shooter with the highest average performance over several days, often times not winning a single match. While you can win tournaments without an isolated stellar performance, you cannot win tournaments if you have a single train wreck performance. And this is why it’s important for the detail-oriented shooter to keep an eye out for potential “big picture” problems that can derail the train of success!

Train wrecks can be defined differently by shooters of various skill levels and categories. Anything from problems causing a miss, to problems causing a 3/4-MOA shift in wind zero can manifest as a train wreck, depending on the kind of shooting you’re doing.

Below is a list of common Shooting Match Train Wrecks, and suggestions for avoiding them.

1. Cross-Firing. The fastest and most common way to destroy your score (and any hopes of winning a tournament) is to cross-fire. The cure is obviously basic awareness of your target number on each shot, but you can stack the odds in your favor if you’re smart. For sling shooters, establish your Natural Point of Aim (NPA) and monitor that it doesn’t shift during your course of fire. If you’re doing this right, you’ll always come back on your target naturally, without deliberately checking each time. You should be doing this anyway, but avoiding cross-fires is another incentive for monitoring this important fundamental. In F-Class shooting, pay attention to how the rifle recoils, and where the crosshairs settle. If the crosshairs always settle to the right, either make an adjustment to your bipod, hold, or simply make sure to move back each shot. Also consider your scope. Running super high magnification can leave the number board out of the scope’s field view. That can really increase the risk of cross-firing.

2. Equipment Failure. There are a wide variety of equipment failures you may encounter at a match, from loose sight fasteners, to broken bipods, to high-round-count barrels that that suddenly “go south” (just to mention a few possibilities). Mechanical components can and do fail. The best policy is to put some thought into what the critical failure points are, monitor wear of these parts, and have spares ready. This is where an ounce of prevention can prevent a ton of train wreck. On this note, if you like running hot loads, consider whether that extra 20 fps is worth blowing up a bullet (10 points), sticking a bolt (DNF), or worse yet, causing injury to yourself or someone nearby.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

[Editor’s Note: The 2016 F-Class Nationals will employ electronic targets so conventional pit duties won’t be required. However, the following advice does apply for matches with conventional targets.]

3. Scoring/Pit Malfunction. Although not related to your shooting technique, doing things to insure you get at least fair treatment from your scorer and pit puller is a good idea. Try to meet the others on your target so they can associate a face with the shooter for whom they’re pulling. If you learn your scorer is a Democrat, it’s probably best not to tell Obama jokes before you go for record. If your pit puller is elderly, it may be unwise to shoot very rapidly and risk a shot being missed (by the pit worker), or having to call for a mark. Slowing down a second or two between shots might prevent a 5-minute delay and possibly an undeserved miss.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics4. Wind Issues. Tricky winds derail many trains. A lot can be written about wind strategies, but here’s a simple tip about how to take the edge off a worse case scenario. You don’t have to start blazing away on the command of “Commence fire”. If the wind is blowing like a bastard when your time starts, just wait! You’re allotted 30 minutes to fire your string in long range slow fire. With average pit service, it might take you 10 minutes if you hustle, less in F-Class. Point being, you have about three times longer than you need. So let everyone else shoot through the storm and look for a window (or windows) of time which are not so adverse. Of course this is a risk, conditions might get worse if you wait. This is where judgment comes in. Just know you have options for managing time and keep an eye on the clock. Saving rounds in a slow fire match is a costly and embarrassing train wreck.

5. Mind Your Physical Health. While traveling for shooting matches, most shooters break their normal patterns of diet, sleep, alcohol consumption, etc. These disruptions to the norm can have detrimental effects on your body and your ability to shoot and even think clearly. If you’re used to an indoor job and eating salads in air-conditioned break rooms and you travel to a week-long rifle match which keeps you on your feet all day in 90-degree heat and high humidity, while eating greasy restaurant food, drinking beer and getting little sleep, then you might as well plan on daily train wrecks. If the match is four hours away, rather than leaving at 3:00 am and drinking five cups of coffee on the morning drive, arrive the night before and get a good night’s sleep.”

Keep focused on the important stuff. You never want to lose sight of the big picture. Keep the important, common sense things in mind as well as the minutia of meplat trimming, weighing powder to the kernel, and cleaning your barrel ’til it’s squeaky clean. Remember, all the little enhancements can’t make up for one big train wreck!

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October 11th, 2022

2022 F-Class Nationals October 16-23 at Ben Avery in Arizona

2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts

The 2022 United States F-Class National Championships commence Sunday, October 16, 2022 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility (BASF) in Phoenix. There’s a “hybrid” format this year. (The range should be open for practice on Saturday 10/15/2022). For 2022, the Nationals combine both Mid-Range and Long-Range competitions in one extended mega-match. The Mid-Range U.S. F-Class Nationals take place October 16-19, 2022, with all shooting at 600-yard targets. The Long Range F-Class National Championships then run Thursday, October 20 through Sunday October 23, 2022. All Long Range matches are at 1000 yards. The competitions will have two different divisions: F-Open and F-TR (Target Rifle). Registration is now closed for both Mid-Range and Long-Range Championships.*

CLICK HERE for 2022 F-Class Nationals Match Program »

Ben Avery Shooting Facility Coronavirus Health Covid-19

Located on 1,650 acres in north Phoenix, Ben Avery 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. A camping area is available for competitors. Contact Ben Avery Shooting Range Camping to reserve a camping spot.

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

You’ll see some serious hardware on the firing line at Ben Avery. Here’s a modern F-Open rig with a handsome maple stock. The gun, belonging to David Mann of Texas, shoots as good as it looks.

Ben Avery F-Class Nationals Championship Phoenix Arizona


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NRA 2022 F-Class Nationals Key Guidelines:

RULES: Current NRA F-Class Rules shall apply.
TARGETS: MR-1FC at 600 yards and LRFC at 1000 yards.
TARGET SERVICE: Competitors will pull their own targets.
SCORING: Competitors will score. Any competitor failing to perform his scoring duties may be disqualified.
SQUADDING: All matches will be squadded. Squadding tickets for individual matches will be issued at the Stat. Office starting at 6:30 AM Sunday 16 October. Any competitor who fails to obtain his squadding ticket by 7:30 AM will only be squadded to fill up vacancies.
CLASSIFICATION: NRA F-Class Classifications will be used. Those competitors unclassified or without proof of a lower classification, will be required to compete in the Master class. Please indicate classification on the registration and entry form.
EMPTY CHAMBER INDICATOR (ECI): Approved NRA empty chamber indicators are required to be used at all times except during the preparation period time and firing.

Ben Avery F-Class Nationals Championship Phoenix Arizona


* Registration officially ended on Monday, October 10, 2022. Entries after this time are considered late entries and may be accepted to fill vacancies on existing relays only. An additional $20.00 will be charged for late entries.

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August 28th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: SEB Wins in Australia with New NEO-X Rest

F-Class QRA Queens Series Australia Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test

Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang, the brilliant designer/builder of SEB Shooting Rests, is also one darn good shooter, as demonstrated at a recent major rifle competition in Australia. Shooting at multiple yardages from 300 to 1000 yards, Seb won the Queens Series F-Open title, and finished third overall in the Duncan & Queens Series Grand Agg. That’s mighty good marksmanship considering it was done with an F-Open rifle Seb had just acquired and never shot before! Congrats to Seb for his outstanding performance!

One of the factors in Seb’s success was an all-new front rest that Seb designed and crafted himself. This new SEB NEO-X rest has many advanced features including a swivel-adjusting head, a wide footprint, and the ability to fold-up for easier transport. We have a full report on the impressive NEO-X rest in this story, with bench testing videos by F-Class John.

F-Class QRA Queens Series Australia Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test

The 2022 QRA Duncan & Queens Series in Australia

Report by Sebastian Lambang
This was my first overseas travel since the Berger Southwest Nationals in early 2020 [right before the COVID-19 shutdowns]. Three years ago I participated in the WARA Queens 2019 in Perth shooting the F-TR, and this was my second F-Open match in Australia. Usually I shoot the F-TR division. However this year I was invited to shoot the F-Open in the QRA Queens 2022 by Jason Mayers, my Australian dealer. Jason has been my “Little Big Brother” and my best friend in Australia. So why not? Let’s just do it!

Jason has two, twin F-Open guns. I bought one and used it during this match. Chambered for 7mm RSAUM, this F-Open rifle features a Barnard action, Marty Lobert trigger, Bartlein barrel with a large tuner in the front, McMillan Kestros ZR stock, and a Nightforce scope. I was shooting 7mm 180gr Berger bullets.

Jason did all of the load development, provided the ammunition and all equipment needed to shoot. The rifle shot and tracked very well — I loved it! Yes, I used a NEO-X prototype unit during the Queens match, i.e. the one that Jason used during the Duncan matches. The second unit just came in the day before the Queens started, it is set for left-handed shooter like him. I used his NEO rest during the Duncan Series.

We had various conditions during the match, from sunny, misty and rainy, to dead calm conditions and switchy wind. I was very fortunate to be able to pick the right time and shot well in the final 900 and 1000-yard stages, winning both yardages! With those results at 900/1000 I finished first in the Queens Match in F-Open. I then finished third overall in the Duncan & Queens Series F-Open Grand Aggregate.

F-Class QRA Queens Series Australia Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test
Jason Mayers (L) and Seb Lambang (R). Seb had never shot this F-Open rifle before he piloted it to victory in the 2022 QRA Queens match.

Overcoming Challenges — Rifle Suffers Trigger Failure
I had a trigger failure which caused my score to drop by at least 2 points in the 1000-yard session just before the final day. I dropped 4 points in a good condition and it made me really upset! But huge thanks must go to Mark Fairbairn. Mark helped me to fix the rifle and loaned me a trigger so I still had a few minutes to finish the string!

After that trigger problem I chose to not give up! I hoped for a miracle, to be able to choose the right time to start to shoot (wind wise), to be good enough in reading the current conditions and to get the best possible scores! Jason’s encouragement in the morning that I could still win the match really helped boost my motivation! I do not know why or how but I retained confidence to shoot well and to win the match.

Thanks to Family, Friends, and Fellow Competitors
My sincere thanks to my lovely wife Lily who always supports and loves me as what I am all the time! Thanks again to my Little Big Brother Jason Mayers who has always helped and supported me genuinely! Without his help and support I wouldn’t have been able to win the match so it’s a more about him than me. My Thanks to QRA and all of the Match Organizers, Range Officers, Staffers, and Volunteers during the championship. My thanks also to all competitors and for the warmth and generous welcome!

Thoughts about the New NE0-X from its Inventor

I am really happy that the NEO-X works as expected, too. I think my effort to make even a better rest has been paid off. The New NEO-X combines the best features from the NEO rest and Mini rest in one package with a few extra features. The new NEO-X is designed for those who seek a light-compact rest and want the best one!

F-Class QRA Queens Series Australia Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test

Great Scores Shot by Seb Lambang with new NEO-X Front Rest

Seb shot superbly to win the Queens Series in F-Open Division and take third overall in the combined Duncan and Queens Series Grand Aggregate. Here are two of Seb’s targets, as electronically logged — 1000 yards on the left, 600 yards on the right. NOTE: In Australia, the maximum numerical ring points value is 6, not 10 as in North America. But the center-most ring does register “X” as here. The match included targets shot at 300, 500, 600, 900, and 1000 yards.

Click Photo for Seb Lambang Results Page, then click “eye” icons on right to see more targets
F-Class QRA Queens Series Australia Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test

QRA Queens Series 2022 Results LINK
QRA Duncan Series 2022 Results LINK

Duncan & Queens Series Grand Aggregate Results LINK
Sebastian Lambang Individual Scores (All Yardages)

Bench Testing with SEB NEO-X Prototype — VERY Impressive

F-Class john Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test

Our friend F-Class John recently received one of the very first NEO-X prototypes sent to North America. John assembled the impressive new rest and took it to the range for testing. John was very impressed with the new rest to say the least. He told us: “This really is state-of-the art. I’m very impressed with how it folds compactly for transport, yet is extremely stable, with a nice open platform in the rear.” John noted that the swivel top allows precise alignment with your targets, even if the rest is not positioned perfectly on the ground. That helps when a shooter needs to set up quickly at a new yardage during a match.

When testing with his 7mm F-Open rifle, John noted that the rest is very solid on the bench and does not bump or wobble. See his observations in this exclusive test video:

Commentary by F-Class John
Here’s my quick review after shooting off the NEO-X prototype a couple times. It’s AMAZINGLY STABLE. The way it unfolds not only makes for a wide and stable footprint, but it also leaves lots of room for the shooter to work with, while controlling the joystick.

Another cool thing is that you don’t, technically, even have to lock the bridge down. The bridge is 100% stable after moving it up or down and the lock is more academic than anything.

The swivel head is a feature people will have seen on other rests but the way you can shoose to leave it swiveled or locked down is great. This new NEO-X is going to change things, I have no doubt.

F-Class john Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test

Unboxing SEB NE0-X Prototype

F-Class john Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test

John noted: “The way the NEO-X folds up is amazing, perfect for transporting. It weighs under 20 pounds fully loaded with all parts, joystick, and control arm.”

F-Class john Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test

F-Class QRA Queens Series Australia Seb sebastian Lambang front rest coaxial NEO-X prototype F-Class test

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August 20th, 2022

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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August 18th, 2022

Lights, Camera, ACTIONS — See Kelbly’s Actions Being Made

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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August 18th, 2022

F-Class Training at 300 Yards with Reduced-Sized Targets

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

Here’s a handy training option for F-Class shooters. Forum member SleepyGator is an F-Class competitor, but there are no long-distance ranges close to his home. Accordingly, he wanted some “reduced-distance” targets he could use at 300 yards for practice. 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. We offer some free targets you can print out for use at 300 yards. The dimensions of F-Class targets are found in the NRA High Power Rules, Sec. 22, part 4, page 70-71 — see sample below.

Training Targets for 300-yard F-Class

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 made 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 PDF files that can be easily printed.

NOTE: 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 (Page 70-71)

F-Class Target Paste Center

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July 24th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: TX Lady’s Krieger-Barreled .308 Win F-TR Rifle

F-TR Tracy Slayton Self F-TR Krieger Barrel Chamber Chiller

Texas action pistol and 3-Gun competitor Tracy Slayton Self has taken up the F-Class game. Last summer On Facebook Tracy posted a nice training session with her Krieger-barreled .308 Winchester F-TR rifle. You can watch her shooting video HERE on her Facebook page. She used a battery-powered, Chamber Chiller fan unit to cool the barrel.

F-TR Tracy Slayton Self F-TR Krieger Barrel Chamber Chiller

On her Facebook page, Tracy posted: “Very, very windy day today but pulled off a 444/450 18X which is a High Master score. My Krieger barrel is the bomb and my Kahles scope allows me to see that target at 600 yards clearly. My Chamber Chiller really cools my barrel down in between matches and my Stiller action is as smooth as butter.”

F-TR Tracy Slayton Self F-TR Krieger Barrel Chamber Chiller

Click Photo for short video of Tracy’s shooting session, with shots called on audio:

F-TR Tracy Slayton Self F-TR Krieger Barrel Chamber Chiller

F-TR Tracy Slayton Self F-TR Krieger Barrel Chamber Chiller

Match-Winning F-TR .308 Win Load INFO

Texan Tracy Slayton (featured above) did not supply her .308 Win load data for this article. However, we’ve got something even better! For our readers who compete in F-TR, we obtained .308 Win F-TR load information from top F-TR shooter, Peter Johns. A U.S. Navy veteran, Peter won the 2020 Berger SW Nationals F-TR title, after finishing second at that same event in 2019. Here is Peter’s load profile, a very good place to start for any .308 Win F-TR shooter…

F-TR .308 Win Match Load and Reloading Methodology

Loading for .308 Win F-TR — Do What Matters
Peter told us: “My loading technique has evolved almost full circle from where I started. I went from the basics to doing every step a person could conceive. Then I decided to start testing all the different steps to see what didn’t matter or made things worse. I am now back to almost no steps in my reloading process.

I don’t clean brass anymore. I just wipe the case off, lube, size, prime, and load. I anneal when I feel the necks getting inconsistent when seating the bullets. I pre-load all my ammo for matches. I tried seating them at the match but I didn’t find it to matter on the score card and it takes my focus away from conditions.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Peter’s 2020 SWN-winning .308 Win load consists of Berger 200.20X bullets, Lapua Palma brass, Federal 205M primers, and Varget powder. Peter revealed: “The Berger 200-grainers are running in the mid-2600 fps range. I have tried them much faster but found the best consistency at this speed.”

Peter measures powder to the kernel and also weighs/sorts other components. He runs Berger 200.20X bullets slightly off the lands in a 0.170 freebore chamber. Notably he tests a variety of powders, ascertaining each barrel’s particular preference: “In the last few years I have tried N140, N150, H4895, and Varget. I think they are all good powders for F-TR and the 200.20X bullet. This year I was using Varget. At the 2018 SWN I placed 4th with H4895, in 2019 SWN I got 2nd with N140. I find what powder my particular barrel likes best. I also test CCI BR4 and Fed 205M to see which my rifle likes best. This year I was using Fed 205M. I have been using Lapua Palma brass and it seems to last forever.” Peter full-length sizes with a Redding bushing FL die. He seats his Berger bullets with a Wilson inline seater.

.308 Berger Bullets Available Now at Midsouth Shooters

Top-Tier .308 caliber match bullets remain is short supply. But thankfully there are some good options at decent prices. Recently Midsouth Shooters received a large selection of Berger match bullets, and you’ll find many .308 caliber options for Palma rifles and F-TR rigs. Here are some of the deals available currently (as of 7/24/2022):

Berger .308 Caliber 30 F-TR match hybrid bullets midsouth available

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May 29th, 2022

Trigger Technique — Become a Better Trigger-Puller

trigger show bix'n andy otm tactical

Do you occasionally get completely unexplained flyers, or have a shot land straight down at 6 O’Clock, right below your point of aim? That could be caused by poor or inconsistent trigger technique. How you pull the trigger can and does affect your accuracy.

Many gun enthusiasts start with pistols. When they later start shooting rifles they may carry over some not-so-good practices acquired from shooting handguns with heavy 4 to 6-pound trigger pulls. You may want to “re-learn” your trigger techniques to get better rifle results.

Shooting Sports USA has a good article on trigger technique that offers many useful tips. That article also has many helpful illustrations, including the one shown above. Another illustration shows different types of trigger shoes (straight vs. curved) and explains how each makes a difference: “With a lightly curved trigger, the shooter’s finger can contact the trigger either high or low according to preference. Higher contact will increase the resistance.” READ ARTICLE HERE.

The article analyzes common errors, such as pulling the trigger with the very tip of the finger rather than the pad of the index finger: “Using the tip of the finger can lead to lateral pressure on the trigger, which throws off the shot.”

The article also explains that you should check your trigger regularly to make sure it is functioning properly and is not out of adjustment: “Just like any other moving part, the trigger can suffer from wear. In such a precise mechanism, tiny amounts of wear can cause major problems.”

Gary Eliseo tubegun prone rifle
The ergonomics of the Eliseo Tubegun allow a nice, straight trigger pull.

Trigger Tips

Six Suggestions for Making your Trigger Control More Consistent.

1. If your triggers are adjustable, set the pull weight appropriate to the discipline. For a hunting rifle, you don’t want an ultra-light trigger pull. For High Power, you may want a two-stage pull, while on a Benchrest rifle you may prefer a very light trigger.

2. If you have a two-stage trigger, experiment with different combinations of First Stage and Second Stage.

3. Have a friend watch you as you pull the trigger, and maybe even take a close-up video as you pull the trigger. This can reveal a variety of flaws.

4. Practice dry-firing to see if flaws in trigger technique are causing gun movement.

5. As an experiment, try pulling the trigger with your middle finger. Ergonomically, the middle finger has a more straight alignment with the tendons in your hand. This exercise can help you identify alignment issues with your index finger.

6. For stocks with adjustable Length of Pull you may want to set the LOP differently for bench shooting vs. prone or F-Class shooting.

trigger show bix'n andy otm tactical

trigger show bix'n andy otm tactical

When Only the Best Will Do…
German-made Bix’N Andy triggers, available from BulletCentral.com, are among the very best you can buy. Available in both single-stage and two-stage, Bix’N Andy triggers are extremely precise, repeatable and smooth. The unique internal, friction-reducing roller ball system allows for extremely low reset force, yielding an ultra-crisp let-off. Bix’N Andy triggers can be fitted with a variety of trigger shoes according to shooter preference.

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May 22nd, 2022

Sunday GunDay: .284 Shehanes for F-Open Competition

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

High-BC 7mm Bullets7mm (.284) remains the caliber to beat in F-Class Open Division (though some shooters have had success with .30-Cal short magnums.) With a standard .284 Winchester, or better yet, a .284 Improved, you can drive the high-BC Berger 180gr and 184gr bullets to competitive velocities.

The straight .284 Win is an excellent cartridge, quite capable of winning F-class matches. However, in most barrels, it can’t push the 180s at 2900-2950 fps velocity levels*. A lot of barrels will top out at about 2850 fps. That’s where the .284 Shehane comes into play.

The .284 Shehane is a slightly modified wildcat that retains the same 35° shoulder as the parent case. However, by blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with 30-32″ barrels using H4831sc, Vihtavuori N560, or Alliant Reloder 16. (That’s with a reasonably fast barrel. Some barrels are faster than others.)

Norm Harrold Won 2018 F-Class Open Division Nationals with .284 Shehane Rifle
F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Norm Harrold (above) won the 2018 USA F-Class Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan Kestros ZR stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane, which has a bit more case capacity than a standard .284 Winchester. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Norm revealed his load in an Erik Cortina YouTube Video.

F-Class shooter Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.

Forum member Jim Hardy has shot the .284 with great success. He tells us: “In my humble opinion, the .284 Shehane is the best balanced long-range round there is — bar none. Here is why:

You have to shoot a 30 Cal Magnum with a 240gr bullet to equal the performance of most 7mm chamberings with the 180 Berger VLD. With the .284 Shehane, you have a .308 bolt face, medium action, and Lapua brass. You use less powder than the 7 mags, and have great accuracy and ballistics even while fire-forming. The .284 Shehane shoots inside the 6.5 AND the straight .284, the .300 WSM, and the .300 Win Mag with less recoil. What is not to love about the 284 Shehane? It is a no-brainer for long range — F-Class or Prone or 1000-yard Benchrest.”

Amazing Accuracy When Fire-Forming .284 Shehane

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel! Gun builder Ryan Pierce of Piercision Rifles explains: “Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fireforming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.”

Scotland’s Grant Taylor. who used the .284 Shehane to finish third at the 2009 F-Class Worlds in England says the .284 Shehane is “very accurate with superb vertical spreads at 1000 yards. [This] caliber… has awesome accuracy. I’m getting 2930-2950 fps with spreads in the 3-5 fps range. I use Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and pointed 180gr Bergers.”

.284 Shehane Showcase — Two Special F-Open Rifles

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine
Jason Cohen’s “We the People” patriotic .284 Shehane F-Class rifle. This rig scored second place in its very first match, a 3×20 at 1000 yards in Wyoming.

Here’s another handsome .284 Shehane F-Open rifle. Owner Jason Cohen explained why he chose the .284 Shehane chambering: “The .284 Shehane has a proven record of accomplishments and that is why I have chosen it. I use Lapua brass (6.5-284 necked-up), CCI BR-2 primers, Hodgdon H4350 powder, and Berger 184gr bullets. All these components have been a successful combination that has worked flawlessly[.]”

The barrel is a Blake Machine 1:8″-twist finished at 32 inches. It was fitted to my action by Dale Woolum of Woolum Accuracy. Dale also threaded the barrel for a Woolum Accuracy tuner. This has proven to be a valuable tool in my load development.

The rifle began its life as a Will McClosky Cerus stock. This was sent that to Bryan Blake at Blake Machine. Jason noticed that Bryan had been adding aluminum rails to the front of Cerus stocks to lower the center of gravity and improve tracking. Jason asked Bryan to fit the stock with forearm rails, shown in the photo below. Bryan did all the stock work and fitted the action, rails, and RAD recoil pad.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine
.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The .284 Shehane — Accurate and Forgiving Wildcat
Jason explains why he selected the .284 Shehane chambering: “The .284 Shehane is amazing, very forgiving and not temperamental. Straight .284 or Shehane — you cannot go wrong. I run a 184gr Berger at about 2850 FPS and get great brass life in my other rifles. I usually start to consider tossing the brass around 15 firings. Primer pockets start to get a little looser and the brass seems to need more sizing than the newer brass with less firings.”

.284 Shehane Load Development
Load development for me starts with each new barrel. I screw on the new barrel, fire 25 rounds of whatever I have left over and then clean it. I push out to 600 yards and do a ladder test in round-robin format. I start 0.6 grains lower than my last charge that worked. I work up from that reduced charge weight in increments of 0.3 grains. The paper tells the rest of the story. Once I get something that works well at 600 yards I go back in work around that by 0.1 grains. After that I play a little with seating depth and look for a change. I will occasionally mess with the tuner and tighten things up if possible.

.284 Shehane Raffle Prize Rifle for Team USA

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

This stunning .284 Shehane rifle was constructed as a raffle prize to benefit Team USA members preparing for the F-Class World Championship. 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

.284 Shehane Also Shines in 1K Benchrest Competition

The .284 Shehane has won in Benchrest as well as F-Class competition. In 2013, Henry Pasquet won the IBS 1000-Yard Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Henry’s Championship-winning rig is shown below. Note the 5″-wide fore-end which is not legal for F-Class. Henry also runs a combo tuner/muzzle-brake.

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship


*Some exceptional barrels chambered in straight .284 Win can reach 2900 fps with the 180s. Ryan Pierce has a 32″ Brux barrel that is delivering 2900 fps with the straight .284. However, Ryan acknowledges that his velocities are not typical: “A lot of .284 Win barrels top out at around 2850 fps with the 180s”.

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