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July 14th, 2022

Long Range Shooting Tips from Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz

NRA F-Class F-TR F-Open Nationals National Championships Bryan Litz

Berger SW Nationals Bryan LitzThe 2022 NRA Long Range National Matches and Palma Matches at Camp Atterbury, Indiana kick off soon. The NRA’s Long Range matches will run July 24-29, 2022. In addition, the CMP’s National Long Range Matches will run August 9-13, 2022 at Camp Perry in Ohio.

Today we share some smart tips from a past F-Class and Sling Champion who is both a great shooter AND a ballistics wizard. In 2015, Bryan Litz won the F-TR Mid-Range AND Long-Range National Championships hosted at Ben Avery. And at the 2014 Berger SW Nationals (SWN), Bryan took top honors among all sling shooters. If you only know Bryan Litz from his Applied Ballistics Books and DVDs, you may not realize that this guy is a also great marksman along with being an actual rocket scientist!

Given his impressive track record in both F-Class and Palma (Fullbore) out to 1000 yards, we asked Bryan if he had any advice for other long-range competitors.

First Bryan provided three tips concerning Ballistics, his special area of expertise. Next Bryan offered three more general tips about long-range competition — how to analyze your shooting, how to choose your ‘wind strategy’, and how to avoid the most costly mistakes, i.e. how to avoid the “train-wrecks”.

Bryan Litz won the 2015 F-TR Mid-Range and Long-Range Championships with this sleek rig:
NRA F-Class F-TR F-Open Nationals National Championships Bryan Litz

Litz Ballistics Tips

Ballistics TIP ONE. If you’re having trouble getting your ballistic software to match actual drops, you need to look at a number of possible reasons. Here are some common issues that can cause problems.

Click Values Are Not Exact. Scopes and iron sights don’t always produce accurate adjustments. In other words, if your ballistics program predicts 30 MOA of drop, and you dial 30 MOA but hit low, it might be that your sight actually only moved 28 MOA (for example). To see if your sight is adjusting accurately, shoot a tall target at 100 yards and measure group separation when dialing your sight.

Barometric vs. Station Pressure. This is a commonly misunderstood input to ballistics programs. You can avoid this pitfall by remembering the following: station pressure is the actual measured pressure at your location, and you don’t need to tell the program your altitude when using station pressure. Barometric pressure is corrected for sea level. If you’re using barometric pressure, you also have to input your altitude.

Muzzle Velocity. Chronographs are not always as accurate as shooters think they are — your true MV may be off by 10-20 fps (or more). If your drop is different than predicted at long range, it might be because your muzzle velocity input is wrong.

Mixing Up BC (G1 vs. G7). Knowledgeable long range shooters know that the G7 standard is a more representative standard for modern LR bullets. However, using G7 BCs isn’t just a matter of clicking the ‘G7′ option in the program. The numeric value of the BC is different for G1 and G7. For example, the G1 BC of the Berger 155.5 grain Fullbore bullet is .464 but the G7 BC is .237. If you were to enter .464 but click on G7, the results would be way off.

Ballistics TIP TWO. A properly installed level is absolutely essential for long range shooting. Without a good level reference, your long range wind zero will be off due to minor canting of the rifle from side to side. You can verify that your level is installed correctly on a 100-yard ‘tall target’. Draw a plumb line straight up the target and verify that your groups track straight up this line as you go up in elevation.

Ballistics TIP THREE. If your long range ballistic predictions aren’t tracking, always come back and verify your 100-yard zero. Sometimes a simple zero shift can be misconstrued as errors in long range ballistics predictions.

Bryan Litz Tips

Litz Competition Shooting Tips

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

CMP Long range camp Perry Nationals National Championships Bryan Litz

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

NRA F-Class F-TR F-Open Nationals National Championships Bryan Litz

Electronic High Power Targets for 2022 at Camp Atterbury
This year, for the first time, electronic targets will be used at Camp Atterbury during the NRA High Power National Championships. NRA Competitive Shooting Deputy Director Aaron Farmer posted: “We will have up to 40 targets using Silver Mountain electronic target systems. Competitors will be squadded on a target and then continue to shoot on the same target all week. The only thing that will change is the starting relay for the day. We will be running three relays. No pit duty!”

Photos by Steve Fiorenzo

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June 26th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: Pride & Joy Guns of Summer from Our Forum

AccurateShooter.com Pride Joy F-Open KW Precision wood stock

One of the most popular features of our Shooters’ Forum is the ongoing “Pride and Joy” 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. The photo above shows multiple wood-stocked Palma rifles belonging to Forum member SParker.

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.

22 BR Savage Varminter — Accuracy on a Budget

AccurateShooter.com Pride Joy 22 BR savage varmint rifle ground hog 6mmBR
AccurateShooter.com Pride Joy 22 BR savage varmint rifle ground hog 6mmBR

This 22 BR Savage, with upgrades from Sharpshooter Supply, is the “pride and joy” of Forum member Maynard. Note the heavy-contour custom barrel with brake. That 22 BR cartridge is a very effective choice for varmint work, as the ground hog in the photo proves. The 22 BR and 22 Dasher are capable of outstanding accuracy with a large variety of bullets and powders. A 22 Dasher can rival the ballistics of a 6mmBR out to 500+ yards, but with reduced recoil.

Daughter’s First Rifle — Built by Dad

Pride Joy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger

Above is a nice field rifle built up by a father for his daughter. Forum member FrankZ explains: “This is my favorite rifle and it will become my daughter’s first centerfire. The action is from the first rifle I purchased with my own money 21 years ago (700VSS).” The rifle now sports a 24″ Brux barrel chambered in 6mm Creedmoor, with aftermarket PT&G Bolt and DBM metal.

6BR Ackley Improved from Alex Wheeler

Pride Joy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles wheelgun Ruger Revolver hunter

Here is a 6BR Ackley Improved (6BRA) built by Alex Wheeler. This blue marble-painted beauty features a BAT “B” action timed by Alex, fitted with Jewell trigger, and Borden trigger guard. The barrel is a Hawk Hill HV contour finished at 28 inches. The stock is a Deep Creek Tracker with 4″ forearm and rudder system (the toe of the stock adjusts for angle, allowing better tracking). This scope is a Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle riding in Burris Signature Zee rings.

F-Open Rifle with Borden Action + McMillan Kestros ZR Stock

AccurateShooter.com Pride Joy F-Open borden action mcmillan kestros ZR
AccurateShooter.com Pride Joy F-Open borden action mcmillan kestros ZR

This state-of-the-art .284 Shehane F-Open rifle belongs to Forum member Willow. This has a McMillan Kestros ZR stock fitted with a RAD (spring-loaded buttpad) system with custom spring. Other components are: Borden BRMXD LBRP DLC-coated action, Bartlein 32″, 4 groove, 1:8.5″-twist 400MOD steel barrel, and TriggerTech Diamond trigger. On top is a March HM 10-60x56mm scope in March Gen 3 rings. Below is a video by Editor F-Class John, showing the features of the Kestros ZR stock.

6BRX in the Country

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger

Forum member Grimstod posted this nice 6BRX in a scenic setting: “Bill Goad at Premier Accuracy crated this fantastic 6BRX. It shoots better then I do.” The rifle features a single-feed Alpin action, with Hart 26″ 1:8″-twist barrel, chambered for the 6BRX (6mmBR wildcat) with .269 neck. Grimstod currently runs 95gr Berger VLDs in Lapua brass. On top is a Leupold 40x45mm scope on a Picatinny rail that Grimstod machined himself. The stock is an HS Precision painted by Premier Accuracy.

6mm Dasher for Benchrest Silhouette Matches

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger

Here’s a gorgeous green 6mm Dasher. Forum Member Gunnermhr states: “This is my new 12-lb Dasher for the 1000 Yard Benchrest silhouette matches. My good friend at CRS Custom Rifle Stocks in Aaronsburg, PA made and painted the stock. It’s similar to a Tooley MBR with a few modifications. It still supported on a 3″ forearm and is full length. Hard to imagine it still makes weight with a wood stock and a 36 power Leopold. Crossed the scale at 11.7lbs. The rifle features a BAT “B” Action. The paint is Candy Apple Green, the forearm has a white base-coat, center section is gray base coat and the buttstock is black base coat, all covered with five coats of clear. It’s the new pride of the fleet as it shoots as good as it looks. This gun hammers with 105gr Berger Hybrids.”

Two Dashers and a Rimfire for Fun

pride joy 6mm Dasher Anshutz

Courtesy Forum member Dan H., here are two red-stocked Dashers plus an Anschutz 54.30 (Benchrest Stock) to make it a trio. Dan says: “The Anschutz provides good practice in trigger-pulling. It’s amazing what you can learn from a rifle that is as sensitive as this one.”

1917 Enfield Upgraded with Hand-Carved Figured Maple Stock

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles wheelgun Ruger Revolver hunter

This impressive rifle features an “antique” 1917 Enfield action chambered for the .338 Win Magnum cartridge. The lovely Maple stock was hand-carved by Forum member Spitfire_ER. He tells us: “I found this piece of wood as a return at a lumber yard about 7-8 years ago. I asked the guy in the yard about it and he said it had been returned because it had too much figure for the job the customer was working on. First thing I thought was, ‘That would make a nice stock’.”

New 6PPC with Borden Action, Lederer Barrel, Loker Tuner

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger
Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger

Here’s a modern, low-profile, short-range Benchrest rifle, finished proudly in bright red. Forum Member JimmyMac posted: “Picked up my new 6 PPC today. This red rig features a Borden B action (Jewell trigger) fitted with a Lederer 1:14″-twist barrel with a Loker tuner. The barrel action rides in a Roy Hunter stock. On top is a Nightforce 42x44mm Competition scope in BAT rings. The rifle was smithed by Dave Bruno.”

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June 4th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Great Tech Advice from Keith Glasscock

Keith Glasscock winning wind youtube channel f-Class f-Open ES SD loading

Keith Glasscock is one of America’s greatest F-Class shooters, as well as a highly respected wind coach. A High Master, Keith finished second overall at the 2021 NRA F-Class Long Range Championship in F-Open division. He also finished second at the 2020 Nationals, tied with F-Open winner Pat Scully on points, but with fewer Xs. And he took second also at the 2019 Nationals. His consistency is unrivaled, which means he definitely knows the secrets of long range wind calling and loading ultra-accurate ammo.

Keith has a popular YouTube Channel with new content every week. On Keith’s Winning in the Wind channel, Keith offers 60+ informative videos on a wide range of topics including wind reading, reloading, component selection, load development, and training. For today’s Video Showcase, we offer four of our favorite Keith Glasscock videos. Each video has important points that can benefit any competitive rifle shooter, whether you shoot in local 100-yard fun matches or compete at the National Level in F-Class, LR Benchrest, Palma, or High Power.

How to Prepare for a Match

In this informative video, Keith explains how to prepare for a major medium- or long-range rifle competition, with a particular focus on F-Class. Keith explains how to prepare for weather conditions and “get the lay of the land” before the match. Even the day of the match, your can look and learn. As one viewer noted: “I’ve noticed some guys playing on their phones during matches. This is an important time to get in sync with wind patterns and fine tune your wind strategy.”

How to Find (and Fine-Tune) Seating Depth

This is Keith’s most popular video. Keith definitely knows how to maximize accuracy by finding the optimal seating depth for each particular barrel. He is achieving groups in the high Ones for three shots. That would be good for a short-range benchrest cartridge, but Keith is achieving that with a .284 Winchester which has much more recoil. If you shoot F-TR or F-Open or even PRS, you should watch this video.

How to Lower your ES/SD and Reduce Vertical at Long Range

This is Keith’s first video in a series on how to improve long range groups, precision, and accuracy by reducing velocity Extreme Spread (ES) and Standard Deviation (SD). To achieve the lowest ES you need to look at multiple processes, including precision powder weighing, careful seating, brass annealing, and primer selection. Another factor is bullet selection. Not all bullets of the same nominal caliber and weight class have exactly the same bullet diameter or shape. Sometimes you can get better accuracy AND lower ES by trying a different brand of bullet. We have found bullet diameters, of the same stated caliber, can vary by up to .0008″ (eight ten-thousandths). Some barrels like the fatter bullets, while other barrels may favor the skinny bullets.

How to Find Bullet-to-Rifling Touch Point

Before you even start to load for a new rifle you need to know the point at which the bullet in a loaded round will first touch the rifling. (This will be a base to ogive measurement on your round). Beyond that point you are “in the lands”. If you load shorter than that base-to-ogive length you are “jumping” your bullets. Some cartridge/bullet combos typically shoot best in the lands, while with other bullets and cartridges, jumping is the way to go. Additionally, with some disciplines it is wise to jump your bullets since you may have to unload a chambered round while on the firing line. In this video Keith shows a number of methods to determine “length to lands” with repeatable precision.

Field Test and Review of SEB Mini-X Coaxial Front Rest

While gear reviews are not the primary focus of Keith’s YouTube Channel, Keith does talk about products he likes and uses. In this video. Keith reviews the SEB Mini-X, the newest coaxial tripod rest from SEB Rests. The Mini-X offers fast, precise windage and elevation adjustment with the joystick control. The unit is much easier to pack and transport than a large, heavy front rest such as a SEB NEO or Farley. The latest Mini-X also has upgraded foot controls that make it easier to level the rest on uneven ground. For more info, see our SEB Mini-X Report.

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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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April 29th, 2022

Team Competition — How to Make and Use a Wind Plot

wind plot Bryan Litz FCWC Canada F-Class World Championship
CLICK HERE to see full-screen version of Wind Plot.

Team shooting is very different than individual competition. Typically a team coach makes the wind calls for the shooters. In some cases (where the rules allow), the wind coach even dials elevation and windage changes for the active shooter. For the wind coach to do his job effectively, he must follow the changes in the wind and determine what the correct wind call should have been for each shot. (In other words — what was the “right call”)

Bryan Litz, founder of Applied Ballistics and Past USA F-TR National Champion, served as wind coach for the winning 4-man F-TR Team at the 2017 Canadian F-Class Championships, which preceded the F-Class World Championships also held in Canada. Here Bryan explains how he has used a Wind Plot to make better wind calls, helping his team-mates maximize their scores.

wind calling plot log technique

Wind Plot Methodology by Bryan Litz

The wind plot I use is a running history of what the correct wind call was for every shot fired. The more you shoot, the more history you have in a condition, and I find that very useful information. This kind of plot IS NOT showing where the bullet hit, and is NOT showing what you held. It’s showing what you should have held to center each shot. IMO, this is the most valuable information to have when guessing where to hold next for each shot. Here are some key points:

1. I always look for blocks of stable conditions to shoot in and wait out the rest.

2. If the wind plot shows drastic changes, either I’m not picking the right time to shoot or it’s just a really unstable wind condition.

3. When you see many shots using the same hold (e.g. Robby’s 700m and 900m strings on plot), it can indicate very fast shooting and fast pit service.

Q. What are the numbers and Markings on this Wind Plot?
Litz: The wind plot represents the rings on the target. Left 2 for example, is the 5 line on the international target, while Left 2 is the 10 line on the USA target. F-Class shooters and coaches talk about wind holds in relation to these rings. A Left 2 hold isn’t left 2 MOA or 2 MILS, it’s the second ring from center. The vertical lines on the plot represent the rings going out from center, 4 or 5 in each direction. A left or right 5 hold is edge of black on the int’l target.

wind plot Bryan Litz FCWC Canada F-Class World Championship

Q: What Does this Specific Plot Reveal?
Litz: Looking at the plot, from left to right is 700m, 800m, and 900m that we shot progressively through the day. Top to bottom shows each shooter in sequence (shooters names are shown by their blocks). To the right I note what was on the gun for that shooter, and note when it changes. Often times we run the same wind on the gun for several shooters but if it changes, I note what the new windage is and continue on. For example if we’re settled into a condition where we’re shooting Vs with a right 3 hold, I might adjust the scope 1 MOA right because a right 3 hold is equal to 1 MOA. So we can move the scope and start shooting with a center hold.

Q. Are you Plotting Where the Bullet Hits?
Litz: Not exactly. This kind of plot IS NOT specifically showing where the bullet hit, and IS NOT showing what the shooter held. It’s showing what the shooter should have held to center each shot. IMO, this is the most valuable information to have when guessing where to hold next for each shot.

On each shot, the shooter or coach takes a guess about where to hold, and fires the shot. If the bullet hits the center, you plot the point right where you held because it was the correct hold. However, if you miss the call, you plot what hold was required to put that shot in the center. For example if you shoot a right 3 and hit where you held, the correct call would have been “center”. In this way, you’re building a history of what you should have done, which may or may not be what you actually did. This shows you the trends, and brackets which can be used to make future decisions.

Q: Is this Type of Wind Plot Something New?
Litz: I didn’t invent this method, it’s been around a long time. Vertical can be plotted the same way. In team matches, we have a plotter who is advising on elevation trends and suggesting corrections. But, as wind coach, my job is the horizontal so I only keep the wind plot. I have learned lots of strategies from my coaches Emil Praslick and Steve Hardin.

There are many ways to plot and many standard work sheets for this. They’re all tools and the key is to find something that works for you in different situations. I don’t keep a plot when I am personally behind the trigger string firing because I lose more points when I take the time to do it vs. just shooting fast. When pair firing or coaching, I can keep the wind plot without compromising the shooting.

2013 F-Class World Championships
Here Team Australia used plots and communication gear linking coaches. This helped the Aussies win the 2013 F-Open Team World Championship held at Raton, NM.

Know Your Goal — Keep It Simple
Know your goal of plotting. The simplest plot is where you write the shot number where it hit on a target face. This kind of plotting is useful for evaluating shooter performance because it shows how big the group is (in particular the vertical dispersion). However keeping a plot like this does little to help you figure out the wind. It just shows you what shots you messed up on. It does nothing to help you find the center. [Editor: That’s a whole different matter with many variables.] The wind plot I use is a running history of what the correct wind call was for every shot fired. The more you shoot, the more history you have in a condition, and I find that very useful information.

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February 15th, 2022

2022 Southwest Nationals Match Report

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ

The 2022 Southwest Nationals are history. This was a very successful mid-range and long-range event, with 330+ participants and some great shooting in F-Open, F-TR, and Sling divisions. We congratulate the 2022 SWN Champions: Tod Hendricks (F-Open, 1243-73X); Keith Trapp (F-TR, 1233-62X); and Kimberly Rowe (1231-63X). Shown below are Sling Winner Kimberly Rowe, and F-TR Champ Keith Trapp.

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ

Here are the TOP TEN for each of the three divisions. CLICK HERE for ALL results:

2022 Southwest Nationals Top Ten Competitors by Division
F-Open Class

Tod Hendricks, 1243-73X
Tim Vaught, 1241-71X
Ken Dickerman, 1238-66X
John Masek, 1237-65X
William Kolodziej, 1235-57X
Doug Skogman, 1235-56X
Eric Wuestenhoefer, 1233-60X
Omar Alonzo, 1233-59X
Emil Kovan, 1233-57X
C.J. Sitton, 1232-62X

F-TR Class

Keith Trapp, 1233-62X
Fritz Braun, 1228-58X
James Crofts, 1224-36X
Brad Sauve, 1221-40X
Carl Matthews, 1217-50X
Drew Rutherford, 1217-45X
Matt Schwartzkopf, 1216-45X
Anthony Jordan, 1214-37X
Michael Waters, 1212-43X
Ellis Berry, 1210-48X

Sling Class

Kimberley Rowe, 1231-63X
Bobby Gill, 1231-55X
Oliver Milanovic, 1230-69X
Justin Skaret, 1229-58X
Curtis Gordon, 1228-63X
Ron Zerr, 1227-63X
Robert Gustin, 1226-49X
Trudie Fay, 1225-57X
Eron Ahmer, 1224-47X
Ken Shomber, 1222-51X

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ

Click the links below for full results, including Grand Aggs and day-by-day performances. You can also find further results plus a large collection of photos at SouthwestNationals.net.

ALL F-Open Results | ALL F-TR Results | ALL Sling Div. Results

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
The Berger SW Nationals is one of the few American events where sling shooters compete on the same firing line as F-Class competitors (though in separate groups).

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
Reading the wind can be challenging at Ben Avery. What’s your wind call here?

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
Top competitors show focus and concentration in mid-range match.

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
Stunning F-Open rifle with SEB Mini front rest with Blake Machine accessories.

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
Looking downrange during Team Match.

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
Here is the 1000-yard firing line on the final day of competition.

Competitor’s Thoughts about the 2022 SW Nationals
Our friend John Masek (“F Class John” in our Forum) shot great to finish 4th overall in the F-Open division. Here is his “take-away” from this year’s SWN:

The 2022 SWN saw what I can only describe as the largest collection of tight-shooting guns I’ve even seen. As we approached the 800-yard line for the first day of the Long Range program, it was absolutely dead calm and everyone knew some high scores were going to get posted. By the end of the 800-yard match, the vast majority of the 134 F-Open shooters shot a clean 150 with a staggering eight of them shooting a perfect 150-15X (even 11-year-old Ethan Blake). By the end of the day, after shooting 15 rounds each at 800, 900, and 1000 yards, the entire first page of F-Open shooters was separated by only 7 points — a crazy tight margin.

On the following day we started with a very difficult 10-15 mph headwind that derailed many shooters. After the dust settled, there were 22 points separating the first page of shooters but still just 9 points spread among the top 20. The final day was fairly mild and it was anyone’s game, but there was just enough wind to keep shooters on their toes, giving many a chance at redemption from the previous day.

At the end of the day, Tod Hendricks, Tim Vaught, and Ken Dickerman kept their heads in the game and held onto their leads to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in F-Open. Tod shot an amazing 200-15X in his final round, proving that he was indeed deserving of the F-Open gold medal after three days of fierce competition.

As always, this match, along with the F-Class Nationals and V2 Finale, bring out the finest shooters in the country (and others from around the world). I highly encourage anyone who is able to attend these matches to do so. It’s an experience like no other. No matter your score, you’ll leave with more experience and certainly more friends than you arrived with.

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
There was construction behind the Ben Avery Range. Note the many tall cranes.

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
Competitors being transported for their sessions pulling targets in the pits.

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
Working in the pits is part of the Berger SWN experience.

Over 300 Competitors from Many Countries
On opening day of the 2022 SW Nationals Nancy Tompkins posted: “We started the day off with National anthems for Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico, Scotland, the United Kingdom, and the USA. We have 282 shooters today and 333 for the Long Range portion of the match. It is fantastic seeing so many targets up and so many competitors after the last two years.”

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ
Photo by Nancy Tompkins near Ben Avery Shooting Facility the evening before the Southwest Nationals. Nancy posted: “Thank you to all of the sponsors, volunteers, and shooters who have traveled from all over… to make this match so special.

Parting Shot: Norm Harrold Target, 200-17X

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ

Paul Phillips posted: “Today I pulled a target for Norm Harrold. This was his 1000-yard target that scored 200-17X. This was the best F-Class score I ever pulled for. It sure is nice when they’re all in the X-Ring. Nice shooting Norm! This is a 5-inch X-Ring.” NOTE: This was from the first 20-shot competition on Day 2 at 1000 yards. We believe Norm had the second highest score for this particular 20-shot match, behind Steven Zock who shot an amazing 200-19X.

See you next year!

Berger Southwest SW Nationals 2022 f-class f-open f-tr 1000 yards palma sling match Ben Avery Phoenix AZ

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February 8th, 2022

Berger Southwest Nationals — Equipment List from 2020

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

The Berger SW Nationals competition is back! After being cancelled in 2021 due to Covid concerns, one of America’s best shooting matches returns in 2022. The match kicks off tomorrow, February 9, 2022, and continues through Sunday February 13, 2022 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

This is a unique match that combines F-Class competition with High Power (Palma) prone sling shooting. The nation’s top F-Open and F-TR shooters will be in Phoenix, along with top “hard-holders” with their bolt-action long-range target rifles.

If you’re curious about the equipment favored by Berger SWN competitors, here are the equipment lists from the last SWN match in 2020. This list was compiled by the match directors from info supplied by 2020 F-Class and High Power competitors. This covers hardware (actions, barrels, stocks), optics (riflescopes, spotting scopes), and cartridges (brass, bullets, powders). As you’d expect, .284 Win (and variants) dominated the F-Open ranks. Though some guys did try the .223 Rem for F-TR, the .308 Win was still used by the vast majority of F-TR shooters.

Matt Schwartzkopf, USA F-TR Team member (and Ben Avery Range Supervisor), collected comprehensive gear reports during the 2020 Berger SW Nationals. Matt then created charts showing competitors’ choices for Actions, Barrels, Stocks, Riflescopes and Spotting Scopes. In addition, Matt compiled bullet choice and powder preferences for all classes along with cartridge rankings for F-Open Division.

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

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.

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

Shooters’ Forum Thread about SWN Gear Selection

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

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January 8th, 2022

Getting Started in F-Class — Guide for F-TR and F-Open Newbies

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 8-32x56mm SIII. It’s a great scope for the money and at under $1000 (in the USA) it’s half the price of some of its competitors. 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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September 24th, 2021

PickleForks — Bolt-On F-Class Bag-Rider Rails for Eliseo Tubeguns

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork forend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

Do you have an Eliseo Tubegun that you use for sling-shooting competitions, but would like to try your hand at F-Class Open matches? Well here is a low-cost, yet very effective add-on that can transform your TubeGun into a serious F-Open rifle. The bolt-on rails also work great for load development if you want to use a front rest with 3″-wide front bag for greater stability and repeatability.

Competition Machine’s Gary Eliseo is a very smart designer as well as a talented shooter. The inventor/builder of the popular Competition Machine Tubegun chassis systems, Gary offers a bolt-on bag-rider accessory. Gary call this his PickleFork fore-end extension. The Pickleforks are rails that fit to the sides of the tubular fore-end/handguard on his chassis systems. This allows you to use a pedestal-style front rest for F-Class competition.

Pickleforks also provide a much more stable platform for load testing, varmint hunting, or any kind of rest-assisted precision shooting. These PickleForks transform a Tubegun into an ultra-stable, straight-tracking rig when used with a competition-style front rest.

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork forend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

Gary explains: “Now you can have the same super low-boreline, long ‘wheelbase’ and vertical sides of our innovative F1 F-Class chassis system for your tube chassis. The new PickleForks attach directly to the sides of the F-Class/Tactical fore-ends, no modifications are required. They are very rigid with no flex or twist and make the rifle track like it’s on rails.” The new Eliseo Competition Machine PickleForks are offered for a very reasonable $70.00 per pair, with Cerakote finish. (You get two metal units, one for each side of the fore-arm). For more information, visit www.GotXRing.com or call (928) 649-0742.

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork forend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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September 3rd, 2021

Weakside Bolt Placement — When and Why It Works

left port McMillan Rifle

Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.

This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:

As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.

Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
Derek Rodgers, the current F-TR World Champion and the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR U.S. National Championships plus the King of 2 Miles Match, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up. Yep, Derek shoots right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld. He places his right hand on the grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand.

Recent F-TR World Champion and King of 2 Miles Derek Rodgers
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

This is the rifle with which Derek won the 2013 F-TR National Championship.
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

*For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.

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September 2nd, 2021

F-Class Wow Factor — Borden Action, Cerus Stock, Brux Barrel

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle
Note the owner’s name, “S. Limbourne” was engraved on the bolt release (and trigger guard, see below).

Competition rifles don’t need to be beautiful, as long as they shoot. But who doesn’t like a spectacular figured-wood stock, particularly when it is combined with a superb custom action and a tack-driving barrel. This custom .284 Winchester F-Class Open division rig was crafted by gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez for competitive shooter Scott Limbourne. The handsome Bacote wood stock comes from Cerus Rifleworks, while the action is a polished Borden RBRP BRMXD. Two Brux 1:9″-twist barrels were chambered for the project, both finished at 32″. The stock is also fitted with a R.A.D. Recoil System. This rig has top-of-the-line hardware all around.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Action: Borden BRMXD – Polished
Rail: 20 MOA Polished
Chambering: .284 Winchester
Trigger: Jewell BR – Blueprinted
Barrel: (2x) Brux 32″ 1:9″ Twist
Stock: Cerus F-Open in Exhibition Grade Bacote
Recoil System: R.A.D. System
Extras: Carbon Fiber Tunnel Plate, Custom Engraving Work on Action, Trigger Guard, and Bolt Release.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

You’ll find other impressive rigs on Speedy’s Facebook Page. If you’d like a superb custom rifle like this, call Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez at 972-672-6630, or send email to: speedy.godzilla [at] msn.com.

SPEEDY GONZALEZ
9023 HUEBNER RD. STE 102
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240

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July 31st, 2021

Video Showcase: Wisdom from Keith Glasscock

Keith Glasscock winning wind youtube channel f-Class f-Open ES SD loading

Keith Glasscock is one of America’s greatest F-Class shooters, as well as a highly respected wind coach. A High Master, Keith finished second overall at the 2021 NRA F-Class Long Range Championship in F-Open division. He also finished second at the 2020 Nationals, tied with F-Open winner Pat Scully on points, but with fewer Xs. And he took second also at the 2019 Nationals. His consistency is unrivaled, which means he definitely knows the secrets of long range wind calling and loading ultra-accurate ammo.

Keith has a popular YouTube Channel with new content every week. On Keith’s Winning in the Wind channel, Keith offers 60+ informative videos on a wide range of topics including wind reading, reloading, component selection, load development, and training. For today’s Video Showcase, we offer four of our favorite Keith Glasscock videos. Each video has important points that can benefit any competitive rifle shooter, whether you shoot in local 100-yard fun matches or compete at the National Level in F-Class, LR Benchrest, Palma, or High Power.

How to Find (and Fine-Tune) Seating Depth

This is Keith’s most popular video. Keith definitely knows how to maximize accuracy by finding the optimal seating depth for each particular barrel. He is achieving groups in the high Ones for three shots. That would be good for a short-range benchrest cartridge, but Keith is achieving that with a .284 Winchester which has much more recoil. If you shoot F-TR or F-Open or even PRS, you should watch this video.

How to Lower your ES/SD and Reduce Vertical at Long Range

This is Keith’s first video in a series on how to improve long range groups, precision, and accuracy by reducing velocity Extreme Spread (ES) and Standard Deviation (SD). To achieve the lowest ES you need to look at multiple processes, including precision powder weighing, careful seating, brass annealing, and primer selection. Another factor is bullet selection. Not all bullets of the same nominal caliber and weight class have exactly the same bullet diameter or shape. Sometimes you can get better accuracy AND lower ES by trying a different brand of bullet. We have found bullet diameters, of the same stated caliber, can vary by up to .0008″ (eight ten-thousandths). Some barrels like the fatter bullets, while other barrels may favor the skinny bullets.

How to Find Bullet-to-Rifling Touch Point

Before you even start to load for a new rifle you need to know the point at which the bullet in a loaded round will first touch the rifling. (This will be a base to ogive measurement on your round). Beyond that point you are “in the lands”. If you load shorter than that base-to-ogive length you are “jumping” your bullets. Some cartridge/bullet combos typically shoot best in the lands, while with other bullets and cartridges, jumping is the way to go. Additionally, with some disciplines it is wise to jump your bullets since you may have to unload a chambered round while on the firing line. In this video Keith shows a number of methods to determine “length to lands” with repeatable precision.

Field Test and Review of SEB Mini-X Coaxial Front Rest

While gear reviews are not the primary focus of Keith’s YouTube Channel, Keith does talk about products he likes and uses. In this video. Keith reviews the SEB Mini-X, the newest coaxial tripod rest from SEB Rests. The Mini-X offers fast, precise windage and elevation adjustment with the joystick control. The unit is much easier to pack and transport than a large, heavy front rest such as a SEB NEO or Farley. The latest Mini-X also has upgraded foot controls that make it easier to level the rest on uneven ground. For more info, see our SEB Mini-X Report.

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July 6th, 2021

Advice for Long-Range Shooters — Six Tips from Bryan Litz

NRA F-Class F-TR F-Open Nationals National Championships Bryan Litz

Berger SW Nationals Bryan LitzThe 2021 NRA F-Class National Championships at Camp Atterbury, Indiana kick off soon. The Mid-Range F-Class Nationals run July 22-26, 2021, while the Long Range F-Class Nationals take place July 27-30, 2021. SEE Nat’l Matches INFO Handout.

For those headed to the Nationals, we are sharing some smart tips from a past F-Class Champion who is both a great shooter AND a ballistics wizard. In 2015, Bryan Litz won the F-TR Mid-Range AND Long-Range National Championships hosted at Ben Avery. And at the 2014 Berger SW Nationals (SWN), Bryan took top honors among all sling shooters. If you only know Bryan Litz from his Applied Ballistics Books and DVDs, you may not realize that this guy is a also great marksman along with being an actual rocket scientist!

Given his impressive track record in both F-Class and Palma (Fullbore) out to 1000 yards, we asked Bryan if he had any advice for other long-range competitors.

First Bryan provided three tips concerning Ballistics, his special area of expertise. Next Bryan offered three more general tips about long-range competition — how to analyze your shooting, how to choose your ‘wind strategy’, and how to avoid the most costly mistakes, i.e. how to avoid the “train-wrecks”.

Bryan Litz won the 2015 F-TR Mid-Range and Long-Range Championships with this sleek rig:
NRA F-Class F-TR F-Open Nationals National Championships Bryan Litz

Litz Ballistics Tips

Ballistics TIP ONE. If you’re having trouble getting your ballistic software to match actual drops, you need to look at a number of possible reasons. Here are some common issues that can cause problems.

Click Values Are Not Exact. Scopes and iron sights don’t always produce accurate adjustments. In other words, if your ballistics program predicts 30 MOA of drop, and you dial 30 MOA but hit low, it might be that your sight actually only moved 28 MOA (for example). To see if your sight is adjusting accurately, shoot a tall target at 100 yards and measure group separation when dialing your sight.

Barometric vs. Station Pressure. This is a commonly misunderstood input to ballistics programs. You can avoid this pitfall by remembering the following: station pressure is the actual measured pressure at your location, and you don’t need to tell the program your altitude when using station pressure. Barometric pressure is corrected for sea level. If you’re using barometric pressure, you also have to input your altitude.

Muzzle Velocity. Chronographs are not always as accurate as shooters think they are — your true MV may be off by 10-20 fps (or more). If your drop is different than predicted at long range, it might be because your muzzle velocity input is wrong.

Mixing Up BC (G1 vs. G7). Knowledgeable long range shooters know that the G7 standard is a more representative standard for modern LR bullets. However, using G7 BCs isn’t just a matter of clicking the ‘G7′ option in the program. The numeric value of the BC is different for G1 and G7. For example, the G1 BC of the Berger 155.5 grain Fullbore bullet is .464 but the G7 BC is .237. If you were to enter .464 but click on G7, the results would be way off.

Ballistics TIP TWO. A properly installed level is absolutely essential for long range shooting. Without a good level reference, your long range wind zero will be off due to minor canting of the rifle from side to side. You can verify that your level is installed correctly on a 100-yard ‘tall target’. Draw a plumb line straight up the target and verify that your groups track straight up this line as you go up in elevation.

Ballistics TIP THREE. If your long range ballistic predictions aren’t tracking, always come back and verify your 100-yard zero. Sometimes a simple zero shift can be misconstrued as errors in long range ballistics predictions.

Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals Ben Avery Bryan Litz
Bryan Litz Tips

Litz Competition Shooting Tips

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

NRA F-Class F-TR F-Open Nationals National Championships Bryan Litz

Photos by Steve Fiorenzo

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June 14th, 2021

V² Finale F-Class Tournament Concludes in Tennessee

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee

The first Annual V² Finale, held this weekend in Tennessee, has concluded. This new-format match pitted F-Class competitors against each other in a bracket-style double elimination match. This was a very elite field, selected via a Points series. All targets were placed at 1000 yards, with a Euro-Style 5V target. In something unusual for an American F-Class match, ALL shooting was done via PAIR FIRING, with shooters going head-to-head with alternating shots, 15 per shooter in the brackets and then 10 per shooter in the final two-man showdowns for F-TR and F-Open divisions.

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee

The competition was fierce but we have final results of this tough F-Class tournament. Congratulations to the V² Finale 2021 winners who earned fame, glory, and large cash pay-outs: Tracy Hogg (F-TR) and William (Bill) Kolodziej (F-Open). Additional top finishers are listed below, with links for FULL RESULTS below the table.


F-TR Winner – Tracy Hogg | F-Open Winner – Bill Kolodziej

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee

F-TR Final Full Results | F-Open Final Full Results

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee

The event, hosted at the modern Dead Zero Shooting Park in Tennessee, was sponsored by Vihtavuori and Vortex Optics. Along with helping to defray the range costs, these sponsors provided prizes to top shooters. In 2021 shooters qualified for the event through a nationwide points series, with 32 slots for F-Open and 32 slots for F-TR. The match organizers encourage F-Class competitors to shoot points series matches in the future, to qualify for next year’s event: “Earn some points so you can be part of V² Finale II in 2022.”

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee

V² Points Series and Finale Info Packet | V² Facebook Page

Big Pay-Outs for Participants
The V² Finale was first and foremost a money match. This event offered the highest payout ever for F-Class competition. Cash awards are distributed to the top 8 shooters for each equipment category, as a percentage of the overall match fee pool. The actual amounts will depend on match fees and attendance. We don’t have final numbers yet but payouts for positions 1-8 in each class were estimated to be:

1st Place: $3840 (40%)
2nd Place: $1920 (20%)
3rd Place: $960 (10%)
4th Place: $450 (4.6%)

5th Place: $300 (3.125%)
6th Place: $300 (3.125%)
7th Place: $300 (3.125%)
8th Place: $300 (3.125%)

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee
Erik Cortina with Bryan Blake. Note the innovative, new spotting scope support Bryan crafted.

V2 finale f-class f-open f-tr match tennessee

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June 11th, 2021

V² Finale F-Class Tournament Underway in Tennesee

v2 f-tr f-open f-class shooting tournament finale point series tennessee dead zero shooting park

V² Finale Double Elimination Tournament at 1000 Yards
A new kind of F-Class Tournament is being held in Tennessee over the next three days. The V² (“V-Squared”) Finale, sponsored by Vihtavuori and Vortex Optics, is a double-elimination shooting match, conducted much like a basketball tournament. There are 32 competitor places each in F-Open Division and F-TR — for 64 places total. In each round there is “pair firing”. Two shooters compete head-to-head with three, 15-round strings, all at 1000 yards. The winner of each two-person match-up proceeds, while the loser goes into a loser’s bracket… so everyone has a second change to win some of the prizes. This event is about more than trophies and glory — it is also about winning big piles of cash — $28,000 in total.

V² Finale F-Open Bracket LIVE | V² Finale F-TR Bracket LIVE

64 shooters, who earned entry with points garnered in previous matches, have been invited to compete for $28,000 in prize monies. The V² Finale is held at the Dead Zero Shooting Park in Tennessee, an impressive, modern facility. The Dead Zero 1000-yard range is equipped with ShotMarker electronic targets. That means that scoring is quick, there is no waiting for targets to be marked, and, importantly, no pit duties for the competitors.

V² Points Series and Finale Info Packet | V² Facebook Page


This video, created last year explains the V² Finale Rules and Course of Fire.

The V² Finale itself is conducted over three (3) days. It’s a double-elimination tournament — this means that everybody has the opportunity to shoot at least two matchups. A loss in the primary bracket will seed you into the elimination bracket, where you will have the opportunity to continue on and potentially work your way back to shoot for the overall Championship.

The V² Finale is a pair-fire, best two of three format, with 15-shot strings (45 rounds max per person per bracket). If one shooter wins the first TWO strings, the third string is not fired. The idea behind this pair-firing is to have both competitors for each stage shooting at the exact same time, in the exact same conditions, on the exact same target. The only person you are competing against is the person next to you. The competitors who wins two out of three matches in the matchup will advance.

v2 f-tr f-open f-class shooting tournament finale point series tennessee dead zero shooting park

V² Finale Bracket Match Results

READ THIS!! You can scroll UP and Down with your mouse, and thereby see the Loser’s bracket for both F-Open and F-TR.
READ THIS!! You can use the BRACKET Pull-Down Menu (Upper Right) to select Winner’s and Loser’s Brackets, or choose Top 16 and Top 8.
READ THIS!! You can pull box to left to see more on the right side, using mouse (or finger on smartphone).
READ THIS!! The boxes below are live feeds from the Match Website. Click links below to view Bracket Results on FULL SCREEN.
READ THIS!! This is NOT a static image, it will change as results are filled in. You can come back to this page and see more results as the event progresses.

V² Finale F-Open Bracket LIVE | V² Finale F-TR Bracket LIVE

F-Open Event Results in Real Time — Use Mouse to Scroll!

F-TR Event Results in Real Time — Use Mouse to Scroll!

The V² Finale match, sponsored by Vihtavuori Powders and Vortex Optics, takes place June 11-13 at the Dead Zero Shooting Park in Tennessee. This is a limited-field event for the top 32 F-Open and 32 F-TR competitors who have accrued the most points for the 2020-2021 season. The match will be a double-elimination bracket system (e.g. NCAA March Madness) where shooters are matched up against a single opponent for each round. As opposed to a typical match where you shoot against the entire field, this type of competition allows for two shooters to go head to head pair-fire style, competing under the exact same conditions. No wind alibis. No relay roulette. No excuses. Keep advancing and you will find yourself in the finals where you’ll have a chance to win the prestige of being the best F-Open or F-TR shooter in the country plus some serious prize money and awards.

v2 f-tr f-open f-class shooting tournament finale point series tennessee dead zero shooting park
The V² Finale firing line on 6/11 at the Dead Zero Shooting Park.

Thanks to the generous support from Vihtavuori Powders and Vortex Optics, more than 85% of the entry fees are awarded back to the shooters in the form of cash prizes, awarded all the way down to 8th place for each category. The creators of the V² points series noted: “This type of reward for performance is one of the core reasons why we created the V² Finale and why you won’t find any prize tables.”

For more details see the V² Series Information Packet or visit the V² Series Facebook Page.

Vihtavouri Supports Innovative V² Finale Match Format
“Vihtavuori is honored to partner with Vortex Optics for the inaugural V2 F-Class Point Series Finale. We’re excited to be onsite and support the world’s best long range shooters who will compete in a match they designed themselves,” stated Geoff Esterline, Marketing Director for Capstone Precision Group.

v2 f-tr f-open f-class shooting tournament finale point series tennessee dead zero shooting park

Why Was the F-Class Points Series Created? (Official Statement)
Everyone in the F-Class world knows about their local, state and regional matches and many of those shooters attend the Southwest Nationals and F-Class National Championship each year. These matches are often challenging and feature some of the best shooters in the country at any given time. As great and exciting as those matches are, they have some key limitations – they don’t answer the question of consistency over peak performance. They allow for random chance to play a role in results, in the form of target service, conditions, or “relay roulette”, among other factors. Basically, they don’t allow for a true measure of shooter performance over time, and more specifically, in a true test of head-to-head competition. It was partly with this in mind that we created the F-Class Points Series to collect and award points with the ultimate goal of putting on a one-of-a-kind, limited-field, matchup-style event that will give competitors a format to prove that the best indicator of skill is reliable consistency, not peak performance. A points system will allow us to track consistent performance over the course of a yearlong FPS season, culminating in an invitation to join the limited field of the V² Finale for the top 64 qualifying competitors.

Map for Dead Zero Shooting Park

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May 30th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: More Pride & Joy Rifles from our Forum

pride joy 6.5x55 Ackley Borden Action Robertson Stock F-Class F-Open, Bartlein Barrel
pride joy 6.5x55 Ackley Borden Action Robertson Stock F-Class F-Open, Bartlein Barrel
Forum member Rardoin’s handsome F-Open rig features the new Borden BRM-XD action.

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

Bill Goad’s 6PPC Hunter “Ranch Rifle”

pride joy Bill Goad Hunter 6mm PPC benchrest

Forum member Grimstod tells us: “This is the personal rifle of Bill Goad. He has been experimenting with it on several levels. It is shooting great and has several matches on it now. Please enjoy these photos. More can be found on the website www.PremierAccuracy.com. We like the subtle barbed wire effect on the stock.

Twin-Upper AR with Custom Wood Furniture

pride joy AR Sporting Rifle Maple Walnut Furniture AR Platform

This very unique AR belongs to Forum member Nuto-BR. He tells us: “Here are the two uppers I built. The top one is am X-caliber in 20 Practical with 24-inch, 1:11″-twist barrel. The bottom one is a WOA in .223 Rem, with 20″, 1-12″ twist barrel. They both shoot 1/2 MOA or better. Both stocks are laminated Maple and Walnut. I reversed the order of the two woods to tell them apart.”

Two Dashers and a Rimfire for Fun

pride joy 6mm Dasher Anshutz

Courtesy Forum member Dan H., here are two red-stocked Dashers plus an Anschutz 54.30 (Benchrest Stock) to make it a trio. Dan says: “The Anschutz provides good practice in trigger-pulling. It’s amazing what you can learn from a rifle that is as sensitive as this one.”

Dream Hunting Rifle with Custom Camo

pride joy Hunting stock camo custom paint 6.5-280 Ackley Improved

Here is Forum member TyDaws’s “Dream Hunting Rifle” in 6.5-280 Ackley Improved. We love the custom paint work by by Melodie Yarbrough. Smithed by West Texas Ordnance, this rifle features a Rem 700 action with fluted bolt, PT&G tapered recoil lug, and Timney 510 2-lb trigger. The barrel is a fluted 26″ 1:8″-twist Bartlein 5R #3 contour. On top is a Huskemaw Blue Diamond 4-16x42mm optic in Warne Maxima rings. That’s an Atlas bipod up front.

Three Guns for Mr. Big

pride joy .243 Win Stiller Rem 700 Tactical Farley 6.5x47 Lapua 6PPC

Forum Member Mr. Big offered up another trio of rifles — two bench guns and a tactical rig. Mr. Big says: “Here are the rifles I shoot most: Farley 6mm PPC, Stiller .243 Win, and Rem 6.5×47 Lapua. They will do just about anything I ask them to…” Challenge: Can you identify the makers of the three different stocks shown in this picture (and the different materials used in each)?

Classic M1917 Enfield Action in Hand-Carved Maple Stock

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles wheelgun Ruger Revolver hunter

This impressive rifle features an “antique” 1917 Enfield action chambered for the .338 Win Magnum cartridge. The lovely Maple stock was hand-carved by Forum member Spitfire_ER. He tells us: “I found this piece of wood as a return at a lumber yard about [many] years ago. I asked the guy in the yard about it and he said it had been returned because it had too much figure for the job the customer was working on. First thing I thought was, ‘That would make a nice stock’.”

6mm Dasher in Robertson Spider Web Stock

pride joy 6mm Dasher Robertson Stock

Here is Forum member Vahena’s 6mm Dasher. It has a no-turn-neck chamber in a 28″, 1:8″-twist barrel with 1.25″ straight contour. This has an original Robertson fiberglass stock with spider web graphics. This rifle was originally built as a 6.5×284 with a fluted barrel. Now it sports a bigger barrel for a smaller cartridge. The front rest is a SEB Neo with counterweight up front.

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May 6th, 2021

Train for F-Class at 300 Yards with Reduced Size 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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April 8th, 2021

Thunder Downunder — New Zealand North Island Rifle Match

Clevedon New Zealand club match F-TR FPR F-Open Sling Target Rifle

Clevedon New Zealand club match F-TR FPR F-Open Sling Target RifleNew Zealand is a beautiful country with rich, verdant green hills, snowcapped Southern Alps, thousands of miles of coastline, and abundant, unspoiled nature. Here’s quick look at what it’s like to shoot in New Zealand, aka Aoteoroa, the Land of the Long White Cloud.

New Zealand has a long, proud heritage of Marksmanship, and the little island country has hosted major international matches in recent years. This report is from a regional club match hosted at the Clevedon Rifle Club in the North Island, south of Auckland. The club website says: “At Clevedon we shoot from 300 yards back to 1000 yards, mainly with single-shot target rifles in any caliber up to 8mm. There are several styles of target shooting, Target Rifle with open sights and supporting the rifle with a sling, F-Class where a rest and telescopic sights are used and Hunter Class where standard hunting rifles with a support are used. The shooting season goes from September until May. The range is situated on a working farm so changes to the club program happen around hay making [and other farm activities].”

Clevedon New Zealand club match

Clevedon New Zealand club match F-TR FPR F-Open Sling Target Rifle

These photos are from the Clevedon Rifle Club in Clevedon NZ (North Island), south of the Auckland metropolitan zone. The range is on a working farm near the Clevedon Scenic Reserve and Hanua Ranges Regional Park. These images were posted on the New Zealand NRA Facebook page.

Sunshine Down Under with Competition at 300, 500, and 600 Yards
The Kiwi club reports: “Round 5 of the Clevedon Club Championships was completed today over 300, 500, and 600 yards in fine, sunny conditions. This is the finish of the short ranges with the Long Range [matches set for] next Saturday. Being Easter weekend we had a great turn out with 28 shooters, still managed to get people shooting on the wrong target. The four divisions were F-Open, F-TR, FPR (Field Precision Rifle), and Target Rifle. Next Saturday, 10 April, shooting is over 800, 900 and 1000 yards, last round of the Club Champs, set up from 8:15 and shooting to start at 9am At 800 yards.”

What is FPR Class?
The FPR (Field Precision Rifle) class is for shooters with muzzle brakes or suppressors (not allowed in normal F-Class rules), and are generally bolt-action rifles purchased from retail stores. Commonly used are the Ruger RPR, Remington 700, and Savage variants. EDITOR: We would like to see the FPR Class get started here is the USA. It seems like a good way to expand participation with more affordable rifles.

Clevedon New Zealand club match F-TR FPR F-Open Sling Target Rifle

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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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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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