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November 26th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Cortina Interviews World-Class Shooters

Erik Cortina YouTube interview john whidden seb lambang Lonny Basham Bart Sauter Video Interview

Interview with NBRSA 3-Gun and Tackdriver Champ Bart Sauter

Bullet-maker Bart Sauter is one of the world’s best benchrest shooters. He won the 2022 NBRSA 3-Gun National Championship this year, and he also has won the multi-class Tack Driver event two years in a row. Plus he has set small-group world record at 600 yards. In this very informative interview, Bart talks about bullets, equipment selection, match preparation, and shooting techniques. We think every benchrest shooter should watch this video.

Master at Work — Sauter in Action
If you want to see how a world-class bench shooter runs his rifle, check out this short video showing Bart Sauter in action. He runs five shots in about 9 seconds.

Interview with 6-Time Nat’l Long Range Champion John Whidden


CLICK HERE for full 81-minute interview with John Whidden.

John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks is one of the greatest American marksman in history. Shooting sling rifles, John has won the U.S. Long Range National Championship a remarkable six times. He has also won a Palma World Championship, and this summer John won the 2022 Smallbore Prone U.S. National Championship. While a humble individual, John has superb shooting skills and unrivaled mental toughness. In this interview, John talks about the challenges of competition and what motivates him to excel. John also talks about the products he has developed for Whidden Gunworks.

Interview with Tod Hendricks, 2021 F-Open National Champion

A member of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden, Tod Hendricks has been one of the most talented and consistent F-Open competitors for many years. He used his mental toughness and wind-reading skills to capture a National Championship in 2021. In this wide-ranging interview with his team-mate Erik Cortina, Tod reveals what it takes to win in F-Open these days, covering equipment, ammo quality, and match preparation.

NOTE: While the video title frame states Tod Hendricks was 2020 National F-Open Champion, he actually won the 2021 NRA F-Open Long-Range Championship at Camp Atterbury, IN. Tod finished 3rd at the 2020 Nat’l Championship at the Ben Avery Range, AZ.

Interview with Ken Clemens of Brux Barrels

Brux Barrels is a machine tool company located in Lodi, Wisconsin, specializing in premium, custom, cut-rifled barrels. Brux barrels have set some impressive benchrest records, and have won championships in multiple disciplines. In this video Erik Cortina interviews Ken Clemens of Brux. They discuss the production process at Brux, from the selection of top-quality steel blanks to the final hand-lapping procedures.

Interview with Lanny Bassham, Olympic Gold Medalist and Author

Erik Cortina recently interviewed noted author and Olympic Gold Medal-winning shooter Lanny Bassham. Erik asked Lanny about his book With Winning in Mind. Lanny discussed the “mental game” in the shooting sports and Lanny’s program for visualization of a winning performance. Lanny explains that after you have mastered your rifle skills, and learned to read the wind, it is important to adopt a winning mentality and to visualize success. Lanny should know. He won a shooting Gold Medal in the Olympics along with 22 world individual and team titles.

Interview with Lindsey Paul, Queen of 2 Miles

Lindsey Paul is the only women to win the King of Two Miles ELR competition, becoming the first-ever QUEEN of Two Miles, shooting a .375 CheyTac. In 2021, the talented lady Texan beat a field of top competitors, including past KO2M Champions, all guys. Lindsey had a truly outstanding performance, including 3 hits in 5 shots at the max distance, 2.0 miles (3520 yards). In this interview, Lindsey, who works in the law enforcement field, talks about the Extreme Long Range (ELR) game, and she also explains what it’s like to shoot the heavy-recoiling .375 CheyTac.

Interview with Frank Galli — Founder of Sniper’s Hide

The founder of the popular Sniper’s Hide Forum, Frank Galli is an online pioneer and living legend in the tactical shooting sports world. A former U.S. Marine Scout-Sniper, Frank (aka “Lowlight”) runs a very active Forum with over 180,000 members. Along with moderating his Forum, Frank runs training clinics and hosts regular podcasts. Frank is also the author of the book Precision Rifle Marksmanship: The Fundamentals, an excellent resource for PRS/NRL competitors as well as tactical marksmen.

BONUS Videos — Two Great Tech and Reloading Videos

How to Find Jam Point on your Barrel

Loading for F-Class

Erik Cortina produces his own line of EC Barrel Tuners and Tuner Brakes. These have been used successfully by many top shooters. View the full line of Cortina Precision products at: ShootSmallGroups.com.

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October 24th, 2022

2022 NRA F-Class National Championships Results

NRA 2022 F-Class F-Open F-TR national championship ben avery phoenix Arizona AZ

The 2022 NRA F-Class National Championships concluded on Sunday, October 23rd after 8 days of competition. Held at the Ben Avery range in Arizona, the F-Class Nationals were popular this year. There was a good turn-out for both the 600-yard Mid-Range event and the 1000-yard Long-Range competition. For the Long Range event, there were over 100 shooters in the F-Open division and over 70 competitors in the F-TR Division. We congratulate the new NRA F-Class National Champions in the two Divisions (F-TR and F-Open) and two distances (600 yards and 1000 yards). Hail to the Champs!

2022 NRA F-Class National Champions, F-TR and F-Open

Keith Trapp, F-TR 1000-Yard Champion Tim Vaught, F-Open 1000-Yard Champion
James Crofts, F-TR 600-Yard Champion Eric Wuestenhoefer, F-Open 600-Yard Champion

Among many notable showings, we were impressed by Eric Wuestenhoefer’s and James Crofts’ winning totals at 600 yards. F-Open competitor Eric finished with a superb 1795-117X Mid-Range Grand Agg, while F-TR ace James racked up a stellar 1782-100X Mid-Range final tally.

We list the Top 10 for Mid-Range and Long-Range Championships for both classes below. There were some very close competitions this year. The F-TR 1000-yard event went down to the wire with 2022 Champion Keith Trap (1572-63X) edging past Champion Ian Klemm (1572-58X) by X-count. In the F-Open Mid-Range Championships, 2022 Champ Eric Wuestenhoefer won by a single point over Pat Scully, who had the high X-Count. Get full match results on the Desert Sharpshooters Website:

CLICK HERE for Full 2022 NRA F-Class Nationals Results »

F-TR Long Range Top 10

1. Keith Trapp, 1572-63X CHAMPION
2. Ian Klemm, 1572-58X
3. Mike Francis, 1569-68X
4. Tracy Hogg, 1569-48X
5. Carl Matthews, 1564-58X
6. Edward Shelley, 1563-63X
7. Luke Ramsey, 1563-60X
8. Nancy Tompkins, 1561-60X
9. Brad Sauve, 1560-60X
10. Dale Lucy, 1559-57X

F-Open Long Range Top 10

1. Tim Vaught, 1586-87X CHAMPION
2. Tracy Harrold, 1584-78X, High Woman
3. Peter Johns, 1583-81X
4. Norman Harrold, 1582-80X
5. Eric Wuestenhoefer, 1580-80X
6. Matthew Basalla, 1580-74X
7. John Stewart, 1579-69X
8. Doug Skogman, 1578-77X, High Senior
9. David Gosnell, 1578-75X
10. William Kolodziej, 1576-75X

F-TR Mid-Range Top 10

1. James Crofts, 1782-100X CHAMPION
2. Richard Dixon, 1778-94X
3. Tracy Hogg, 1777-75X
4. Matthew Schwartzkopf, 1776-78X
5. Luke Ramsey, 1775-90X
6. Keith Trapp, 1775-76X
7. Raymond Weaver, 1768-71X
8. Henry Rockhill, 1765-73X
9. Philip Kelley Jr., 1763-75X
10. Steve Ernst, 1763-71X

F-Open Mid-Range Top 10

1. Eric Wuestenhoefer, 1794-117X CHAMPION
2. Pat Scully, 1793-121X
3. Josephy Cordeiro, 1792-116X
4. Tracy Harrold, 1791-104X
5. Jim Murphy, 1790-96X
6. John Masek, 1789-108X
7. Norman Harrold, 1788-115X
8. Jesse Ford, 1788-101X
9. Ken Dickerman, 1786-102X
10. Dan Bramley, 1786-96X

Here’s a video from John Masek who finished sixth in the F-Open 600-yard Championship. You’ll find many informative videos on John’s popular F-Class John YouTube Channel.

NRA 2022 F-Class F-Open F-TR national championship ben avery phoenix Arizona AZ sponsors

Want to see more photos? Over 800 photos from the 2022 NRA F-Class Championships are linked via our Shooter’s Forum. These hi-rez images by Forum member Turbulent Turtle cover all the F-Class Nationals matches, both individual and team. The image below captures the final Team Day on 10/22/22, with Team BulletCentral.com in the orange jerseys.

NRA 2022 F-Class F-Open F-TR national championship ben avery phoenix Arizona AZ sponsors

F-TR Team Results

1000-Yard F-TR Top Three Teams

USA F-T/R BLUE HM 1576-64X
TRACY HOGG 390-14X
BRAD SAUVE 396-19X
LUKE RAMSEY 393-9X
IAN KLEMM T 397-22X
KIMBERLY ROWE alt
**********************************
TEAM TEXAS HM 1551-43X
Capt.: SKIP BARKLEY / Coach: ALLEN TAMPKE
JENNIFFER BONDURANT 390-7X
CARL MATTHEWS 381-12X
RANDY LITTLETON 391-15X
GREG BARKLEY 389-9X
MALACHI GALLAGHER alt
**********************************
USA F-T/R RED MA 1541-45X
Capt.: PHIL KELLEY / Coach: JAMES CROFTS
EDWARD SHELLEY 379-6X
MIKE FRANCIS 389-14X
NIKLAS MONTIN 386-13X
HENRY ROCKHILL 387-12X

F-Open Team Results

1000-Yard F-Open Top Three Teams

ROLLING COAL HM 1586-85X
Capt.: NORM HARROLD / Coach: OMAR ALONZO
NORMAN HARROLD 393-20X
TIM VAUGHT 397-23X
DOUG SKOGMAN 397-17X
PETER JOHNS 399-25X
**********************************
TEAM GRIZZLY HM 1585-72
Capt.: SHIRAZ BALOLIA / Coach: TRUDIE FAY
JOSEPH CORDEIRO 397-18X
DWAYNE DRAGGOO 393-19X
SHIRAZ BALOLIA 395-15X
ERIC WUESTENHOEFER 400-20x
WILLIAM KOLODZIEJ alt
ADDISON MOHLER alt
**********************************
THE LONG SHOTS HM 1581-79X
Capt.: DAN BRAMLEY / Coach: MICHELLE GALLAGHER
KEITH WEIL 396-21X
KEN DICKERMAN 395-22X
PAT SCULLY 393-17X
DAVID GOSNEL 397-19X

F-TR Team Results

600-Yard F-TR Top Three Teams

TEAM TEXAS HM 1580-85X
Capt.: SKIP BARKLEY / Coach: ALLEN TAMPKE
RANDY LITTLETON 396-21X
GREG BARKLEY 399-22X
CARL MATTHEWS 388-18X
JENNIFFER BONDURANT 397-24X
**********************************
USA F-T/R BLUE HM 1573-72X
Capt.: CHARLES ROWE / Coach: KEITH TRAPP
ALTON JOHNSON 392-15X
TRACY HOGG 393-20X
HENRY ROCKHILL 390-16X
LUKE RAMSEY T HM 398-21X
KIMBERLY ROWE alt
**********************************
USA F-T/R RED HM 1571-63X
Capt.: PHIL KELLEY / Coach: JAMES CROFTS
NIKLAS MONTIN 393-18X
EDWARD SHELLEY 390-14X
BRAD SAUVE 396-20X
DOUG BOYER 392-11X

F-TR Team Results

600-Yard F-Open Top Three Teams

ROLLING COAL 1591-95X
Capt.: NORM HARROLD / Coach: OMAR ALONZO
TIM VAUGHT 398-23X
NORMAN HARROLD 397-27X
DOUG SKOGMAN 398-22X
PETER JOHNS 398-23X
CHRIS FEW alt
**********************************
THE LONG SHOTS HM 1588-100X
Capt.: DAN BRAMLEY / Coach: MICHELLE GALLAGHER
DAVID GOSNELL 397-26X
KEN DICKERMAN 397-26X
PAT SCULLY 395-21X
KEITH WEIL 399-27X
**********************************
LAPUA BRUX BORDEN 1585-78X
Capt.: ERIK CORTINA / Coach: BOB SEBOLD
DAVID CHRISTIAN 397-15X
JEREMY SMITH 394-18X
JAY CHRISTOPHERSON 397-24X
TED WEDELL 397-21X
TOD HENDRICKS alt

NRA 2022 F-Class F-Open F-TR national championship ben avery phoenix Arizona AZ sponsors

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October 22nd, 2022

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

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

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

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

F-Class Shooting at Bisley Range in the United Kingdom


F-Class Bisley England UK European Championships

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

Highlights from Day 1 of 2021 F-Class Nationals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newbie Perspective — First Time Shooting F-Class

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

Reloading for F-Class — Interview with Erik Cortina

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

Building a Modern F-Open Stock for Competition

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

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

BONUS Video

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

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

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October 20th, 2022

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

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

The 2022 F-Class National Championships are underway right now at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mid-Range Championship (Oct. 16-19) finished yesterday, and now the Long-Range Championship runs today, October 20, through Sunday, October 23. With economic inflation and the high price of gas in particular we know many F-Class shooters couldn’t make it to Nationals this year. For them, and other folks who are getting started in the sport, here are some special targets that let you train at your home range, even if it does not have target bays at 600 and 1000 yards. These special 300-yard target centers let you duplicate the exact MOA size of the official F-Class targets, but at closer range.

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

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

F-Class Reduced Target Centers

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

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

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

F-Class Target Paste Center

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October 14th, 2022

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

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

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

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

How to Avoid “Train Wrecks” In Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

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

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

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

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

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

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October 11th, 2022

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

2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts

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

CLICK HERE for 2022 F-Class Nationals Match Program »

Ben Avery Shooting Facility Coronavirus Health Covid-19

Located on 1,650 acres in north Phoenix, Ben Avery is one of the nation’s largest publicly operated shooting facilities. A City of Phoenix “Point of Pride,” the facility has received a five-star rating from the National Association of Shooting Ranges. A camping area is available for competitors. Contact Ben Avery Shooting Range Camping to reserve a camping spot.

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

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

Ben Avery F-Class Nationals Championship Phoenix Arizona


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NRA 2022 F-Class Nationals Key Guidelines:

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

Ben Avery F-Class Nationals Championship Phoenix Arizona


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

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September 15th, 2022

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 reigning 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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August 18th, 2022

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

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

Here’s a handy training option for F-Class shooters. Forum member SleepyGator is an F-Class competitor, but there are no long-distance ranges close to his home. Accordingly, he wanted some “reduced-distance” targets he could use at 300 yards for practice. There IS an official reduced-distanced standard for 300-yard F-Class matches. This utilizes the NRA No. MR-63FC – F-Class Target Center which is pasted over the MR-63 target. It provides a 1.42″ X-Ring, 2.85″ 10-Ring, and 5.85″ Nine-Ring. We offer some free targets you can print out for use at 300 yards. The dimensions of F-Class targets are found in the NRA High Power Rules, Sec. 22, part 4, page 70-71 — see sample below.

Training Targets for 300-yard F-Class

F-Class Reduced Target Centers

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

To duplicate the 300-yard target, SleepyGator made a printable version of the MR-63FC Target Center, along with a pair of training targets with two bulls and five bulls. The two-bull and five-bull targets mirror the scoring rings on the MR-63FC, but they display only the innermost three rings and two rings respectively. All three targets are Adobe PDF files that can be easily printed.

NOTE: You may need to adjust the scale (sizing) on your printer to get the dimensions exactly correct. As noted above, when printed, the 10-Ring on all three targets should measure 2.85″. This should provide some handy practice targets you can use between matches. Thanks to SleepyGator for providing these targets. You can download all three as a .Zip archive. After downloading the .Zip file, just click on the .Zip archive to extract the individual targets.

CLICK HERE to Download NRA High Power Rules with F-Class Target Dimensions (Page 70-71)

F-Class Target Paste Center

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July 24th, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match-Winning F-TR .308 Win Load INFO

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

F-TR .308 Win Match Load and Reloading Methodology

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

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

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

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

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

.308 Berger Bullets Available Now at Midsouth Shooters

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

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

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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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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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March 19th, 2022

Dad Develops .223 Rem F-TR Load for his Daughter

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

Jeremy Rowland decided to put together an F-TR rifle for his eldest daughter, who enjoys competitive shooting. For his daughter, Rowland chose the .223 Rem option because it has less recoil and components are less costly than the .308 Win. Here is Rowland’s account of how he developed a .223 Rem load. For more details (with data charts), read Jeremy’s FULL STORY on Sierra Bullets Blog.

Journey to Find a .223 Rem F-Class Load

by Jeremy Rowland, Reloading Podcast
My oldest daughter has been to several matches with me, and has even competed in several, using her .243. [A few seasons back] I decided, she would compete with a .223 Rem in FT/R. Looking for a good starter rifle, I settled on the Savage Axis Heavy Barrel since it has a 1:9″ twist. This would be a great little rifle for her to learn on. The rifle was shot unmodified, as it came from the factory. A Sinclair F-Class Bipod w/micro elevation adjustment was fitted to the front.

Next came finding the components I wanted to use for her match loads. After spending hours and hours running numbers on JBM stability calculator as well as in my iPhone Ballistic AE app, the 69 gr Sierra Tipped MatchKing® (TMK) looked really good. So that’s what I decided to go with. I jumped in head first and ordered a bulk pack of the Sierra 69 gr TMKs. I had settled on Hodgdon CFE 223 powder since it shows good velocity. I decided to go with once-fired Lake City brass with CCI BR4 primers.

Next came the testing. I decided to run a ladder test (one shot per charge from min to max looking for the accuracy node). The ladder test ranged from 23.5 grains to 25.6 grains, in 0.3 grain increments.

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

Ladder Test Conditions: Temp: 59.4° | Humidity: 63% | Elevation: 486 | Wind: 5-12 mph

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

Bullet: 69 gr Sierra Tipped MatchKing®
Case: Lake City (mixed years, sorted by case capacity)
Primer:CCI BR4
Powder: Hodgdon CFE 223 (one round each from 23.5 to 25.6 grains)
Cartridge OAL: 2.378″
Base to Ogive: 1.933″ (.020″ off lands)

After his ladder test, Rowland settled on a load of 25.2 grains of Hodgdon CFE 223. He then fine-tuned his load with different seating depths: “I loaded up 5 rounds each at .020″ off lands, .015″ off lands, .010″ off lands, and .005″ off the lands. Here are the results from the best group for OAL/Ogive fine tuning. As you can see, I think I’ve found a winner in these 69 gr Sierra Tipped MatchKings.”

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

Seating Depth Test Conditions: Temp: 36.3° | Humidity: 73.8% | Elevation: 486 | Wind: 5-7 mph

This article originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

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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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August 18th, 2021

Texas Lady Trains for F-TR Competition

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

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

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

On August 8th, Tracy posted: “Very, very windy day today but pulled off a 444/450 18X which is a High Master score. My Krieger barrel is the bomb and my Kahles scope allows me to see that target at 600 yards clearly. My Chamber Chiller really cools my barrel down in between matches and my Stiller action is as smooth as butter.”

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

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

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

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

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