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September 27th, 2021

ELR Italian Style — Extreme Shot One Mile Italia

Gary Costello Tapani Italy italia Extreme Shot One Mile Italia

While the King of 2 Miles event kicks off today in Raton, New Mexico this week, another Extreme Long Range (ELR) competition just concluded in Trapani on the west coast of the Italian island of Sicily. The challenging Extreme Shot One Mile Italia in Sicily took place September 22-26, 2021.

Gary Costello Tapani Italy italia Extreme Shot One Mile Italia
Gary Costello Tapani Italy italia Extreme Shot One Mile Italia

Our British friend Gary Costello took top honors. He reports: “The end of a fantastic week in Sicily, competing at the Extreme Shot One Mile Italia competition. It was great to take home the win. All credit goes to my shooting partner/spotter Stuart who did the business! And congratulations to the other podium winners: Second Place Iacono Rosario and Third Place Rod Formosa. A big thanks to the organizers for a great competition. We made many new friends. See you all next year!”

Gary Costello Tapani Italy italia Extreme Shot One Mile Italia

Click below to watch Official Video of Extreme Shot One Mile Italia winner Gary Costello’s final string. The video records the shots in real time as his spotter was seeing it. This last string had steel targets at 1400m, 1500m, and 1640m. The 1400 and 1500m targets were 60x70cm plates while the most distant 1640m target used a 70x80cm plate. 1640 meters is 1.019 miles.

If you watch this video closely, you can see Gary’s 33XC bullets score hits, including a clear hit on the 1640m target (starting at 3:10 time-mark). Gary’s shots produced visible dark spots on the steel.

Gary Costello Tapani Italy italia Extreme Shot One Mile Italia

Gary was shooting the 33XC cartridge with Berger 300 OTM Bullets. His big ELR rifle, built by GS Precision in the UK, features a BAT ‘M’ RBLP action, Manners LRT carbon stock, and Benchmark 34″, 1:7.5″-twist, five-groove barrel. Gary notes that barrel only had 30 shots through it when the match began. The scope was a March 5-42x56mm HM FFP wide angle with MIL FML-3 reticle.

Gary Costello Tapani Italy italia Extreme Shot One Mile Italia

The event offered a long range challenge set in the beautiful Sicilian countryside with targets placed from 500m to 1640m (one mile is 1609.34 meters). We love the location, and participants praised the event.

Gary Costello’s Post-Match Report:

Q: How is the range in Trapani and what were the wind/weather conditions during the match?

Gary: The range is situated in a valley with distant tall hills. This makes a great backstop. The weather, as you would expect, was warm, usually 80-85 degrees F. The wind was strong, predominately from the left going up the valley. However, it was being affected by the topography. Some of the closer targets were as difficult as the long ones due to the conditions.

Gary Costello Tapani Italy italia Extreme Shot One Mile Italia
This shows the target locations at the Sicily range except for the cold bore and “surprise” targets.

Q: What do you like about ELR competition?

Gary: This was my first ELR competition. I have been ‘lurking’ for a while and made a trip to France for KO2M back in 2019 (just to watch). ELR is very different to F-Class. However the fundamentals are similar. I do like the longer ranges and the challenges these create to make contact. An accurate rifle is essential.

Gary Costello Tapani Italy italia Extreme Shot One Mile Italia

Q: How did you like Sicily and the hospitality of fellow competitors?

Gary: Sicily is fantastic, with super-friendly people. All the guys at the range and the organizers bent over backwards to accommodate and help. Plus there were fantastic lunches delivered daily! Logistics and COVID restrictions didn’t make the trip easy. However it was all worth it.

Gary Costello Tapani Italy italia Extreme Shot One Mile Italia

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August 15th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Winning .300 WSMs at 152nd Imperial Meeting

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

For today’s Sunday GunDay story, we head across the Atlantic to the famed Bisley range in the United Kingdom (UK). There the historic Imperial Meeting took place last month. This shooting competition is steeped in history, first being held 161 years ago in 1860. Today we highlight the .300 WSM rifles shot by F-Open winner (and Forum member) Gary Costello. Gary came home with a huge haul of trophies. He won the F-Open Grand Agg on V-count scoring 665-76V, 19Vs more than second place Lance Vinall’s 665-57V. In the UK the “V” is equivalent to our “X”, and the target has five number rings, with five being the highest numerical shot value.

Gary posted: “Finally cooled down after the Bisley Imperial Meeting. What a week, 8 trophies, 14 gold medals, two silver, two bronze and the big one — the Grand. It was an experience shooting in 86+ F degree heat and at some unusual times. Congratulations to all the medal and comp winners, in particular to second-place Lance Vinall, who shot a great match”.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

About the Imperial Meeting at Bisley in the UK

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

The Imperial Meeting is a large, multi-discipline rifle shooting match contested annually in the United Kingdom. This article spotlights Gary Costello, who won the 2021 Imperial F-Open division with his pair of handsome .300 WSM rifles.

The first Imperial Meeting event was contested on Wimbledon Common, in southwest London, in 1860 when Queen Victoria fired the first shot and gave a prize of £250 to the best individual marksman. Originally the Meeting was only available to Volunteers (regular and reserve military personnel) using the issued service rifle of the day.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Today the UK National Rifle Association holds the Imperial Meeting as an open competition with the aim to promote and encourage marksmanship throughout the Queen’s (or King’s) dominions. The event has grown to include many different disciplines. The largest entry is for Target Rifle, which dominates the final week of the Meeting and culminates with the final of the Queen’s Prize. The Queen’s Prize remains the premier award for the Meeting’s top shot, with the £250 prize still given to the winner.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Host to the competition is the National Shooting Center at Bisley, the world-renowned range complex which can host virtually all forms of shooting from air rifle to 1200-yard full-bore matches. Set in 3000 acres of heathland, Bisley is unique in character with a wide variety of ranges.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello
.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Report from Imperial Meeting at Bisley by Gary Costello

The recent 2021 Imperial Meeting was the 152nd event of its kind. Last year was my first Meeting and it was a condensed version as the COVID lockdown had just been relaxed (but later revived). This 2021 Imperial was the full version. In F-class we had 15 scheduled matches, held at 300, 500, 600, 900 and 1000 yards. In these matches you get two sighters and the 15 shots for record. This year was my second Imperial Meeting. Lots of shooters were keen to enjoy some shooting freedom now that the UK national lockdowns had ended. However the NRA was still practicing COVID safety protocols.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Three very prestigious competitions are qualifiers for the final matches. These three are: the St. Georges, the Donaldson, and the Farquharson (named after George Farquharson, the father of F-Class). The finals add another three matches if you qualify. Also there are three range Aggregates which qualify for medals/trophies.

Twin Winning .300 WSM F-Open Rifles
Gary brought TWO .300 WSM F-Open match rifles to the Imperial Meeting. Gary notes: “I had two .300 WSM rifles ready for the competition. I have managed to tune both rifles to take the same ammo and seating depth allowing me to alternate and use the same lot of ammo. My philosophy was to alternate both rifles as to not cause too much attrition/wear (due to the high round count and multiple matches). One .300 WSM rifle has a Borden BRMDX action, with some Thomas “Speedy” Gonzales mods and the trademark Speedy bolt shroud fluting. This has a 1:9.5″-twist Benchmark 5-groove barrel, actually chambered by Stuart Anselm at GS Precision Engineering Services.”

Gary’s second .300 WSM F-Open rifle features a BAT M RBLP dual port fitted with a 1:10″-twist Bartlein barrel (supplied by Speedy), with action tuned and modified by Speedy. Both rifles are chambered virtually identically. Both rifles have Cerus stocks, blueprinted Jewell triggers, and Ezell PDT tuners.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello
The rifles are supported with a Lenzi front coaxial rest and a Lenzi rear bag, spec’d to the Cerus stocks.

Match .300 WSM Load — Berger Bullets, Norma Brass, H4350, Fed 210M
I run the .30 Cal Berger 215gr Hybrid bullet exclusively. I have not found a better long range bullet for F-Class. I use neck-turned Norma .300 WSM brass, H4350 powder, and Federal 210gm match primers. Unfortunately H4350 is not available in the UK anymore, but I was lucky to buy up a decent amount before it was banned. I anneal the Norma brass with an AMP 2 annealer every firing. But I do NOT trim and chamfer after every firing — only when the brass gets to the point of requiring it.

Here is the .300 WSM compared to a .284 Shehane (7mm), another popular F-Open cartridge
.300 WSM norma brass win short magnum gary costello
Cartridge comparison image by Kris Wilson, aka “Willow” on our AccurateShooter Forum.

.300 WSM norma brass win short magnum gary costello
The .300 WSM has been described as a “super-sized Dasher”.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

OPTICS — March 10-60x56mm High Master Scopes
Both .300 WSM rifles have March 10-60x56mm High Master (HM) riflescopes. Gary notes: “In my slightly biased opinion, this scope is simply the best F-Class and long-range scope money can buy. I was using a MTR-3 reticle in one scope and the slightly thinner MTR-1 reticle in the other. The HM temp lens system is astonishingly clear and bright. It’s very easy on the eye, reducing strain and fatigue during long shoots.”

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

March optics have a clever system which enables shooters to use their scopes like a FFP scope on specific zoom power. The MTR1 and MTR3 reticles are subtended with hash marks at 1 MOA on 40X and 2 MOA at 20X, this allows the shooter to calibrate the necessary hold from a sighting shot without even looking at a plotting sheet, it also makes very precise hold over and follow up shots, (which proved invaluable during the week with the very switching and changing conditions) it also gives you the choice to turn down the power if mirage and conditions call for it.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

March 10-60×56 HM scopes feature a Temp anti-drift lens system. This has really proved its worth in searing temps. The clarity and image quality helped me achieve three personal bests and wins. (TIP: Use the MD disk supplied with your scope if you have one. Mine never left the rifle all week.) In fact I actually stopped using my spotting scope on some of the shoots as I could see mirage better through the March than anything else.

March Optics 10-50x56mm scope costello

Mental Preparation — Be Confident and Consistent
I went into the Imperial after having a very good season so far. I was unbeaten in three National 2-day matches. So my confidence was high and I was feeling good about the competition. This confidence proved a massive advantage — you have to believe in your abilities.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

My main focus was to be consistent. At the Imperial it’s almost impossible to win every single competition, as there are 18 in total. However one must not to make too many mistakes and be consistent. As Brian Litz says, a “train wreck” will finish your comp. However if you stay consistent and only drop a few points here and there, you will be all right, as most other competitors will drop a few points as well. The key is not to make BIG mistakes.

Here’s an example of avoiding the “train wreck” disaster when conditions are tough:

Final Final — the Farquharson. It was super hot, the wind was up and conditions were very tricky, I knew this was going to be a survival match and it was. I saw many 3s going in, however I did have a pretty good hold on the conditions losing a few 4s but nothing major until a big fat 3 came out of nowhere. But I persevered and did not let this upset me as I could see lots of points being lost around me. When the dust had settled I won by 2 points in this match and 4 points overall in the Aggregate.

Physical Fitness — Training Is Important
I have been working hard on my physical fitness for the past two years (after a pretty serious condition). Fitness really helps in a long competition and especially in the heat, with the stress it can cause. During the Imperial match, vehicles are only allowed in certain areas so you have to be able to hand-carry your shooting kit all over the range, a very large area. In recent months, I’ve dropped 25 pounds in weight. That helped — I found myself very physically able to cope with the exertions.

Reloading Advice from Gary Costello

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Check and Double-Check Everything! Often I have found errors and mistakes which would not bode well for accuracy.

Label Everything! This is especially important when preparing for a long competition, and when shooting different rifles.

Choose a Temp-Stable Powder. Make sure you select a powder that is not sensitive to temp variations. Hodgdon, and Alliant would be my choice, and of course some Vihtavuori powders.

Load to the MIDDLE of your Accuracy Node. This way you can allow for warmer or cooler temps and conditions. I see lots of guys just pick the fastest speed and/or smallest group. But that can get you in trouble on hot days.

Use Quality Tools and Dies. Buy the best reloading gear your budget allows. Quality kit will last forever and stand you in good stead.

Thanks to Speedy, Cerus, and March Scopes
A big mention has to go to my good friend and master gunsmith Thomas (“Speedy”) Gonzales. This man is a legend and has taught me more about the dark arts than anybody. I think he produces the finest rifles known to man. Give credit also to Cerus Rifleworks. All my rifles have Cerus stocks and they are just awesome. Final mention is to March Optics. I have the honor to work with this company since 2010. I believe they make the finest optics in the world.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello
Gary also shot with the winning White Horse Lodge F-TR Team coached by Stuart Anselm.

Photos courtesy NRA of the UK’s Facebook Page.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gear Review 2 Comments »
August 11th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — Eye-Catching Rifles from America and the UK

sunday gunday Rem 700 .270 winchester win tye sims
Here is Tye Sim’s .270 Win Mountain Rifle: “This is off a trued and blue-printed Rem 700 action. I love it.”

For today’s Sunday GunDay feature, we thought we’d present a selection of rifles featuring both cool gear and scenic venues. We’ve got quite a mix — hunting rifles and competition rigs, full customs as well as factory rifles. And there are some interesting calibers including 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win, .308 Win, plus a couple WSM variants. Enjoy our Sunday lineup!

Gary Costello Blair Atholl Scotland F-Open F-Class .300 WSM

To begin, here is the beautiful Blair Atholl range in Scotland. Owner Gary Costello posted: “Great day today, weather was interesting but not as bad as we thought!” Gary, a top F-Class shooter in the UK who often runs a .300 WSM, has been featured in a previous Sunday GunDay spotlight story HERE

F-class F-Open Andrew Stone .284 Win Labradar

Andrew Stone is an F-Class shooter from the Southern USA. Here his F-Open rig is set up for load testing from the bench at his beautiful, tree-lined home range. Targets are at 600 yards. Andrew is using a SEB front coaxial rest and LabRadar chronograph mounted on an aftermarket tripod.

F-TR Brian Harder rifle F-TR

In the photo above is Brian Harder’s handsome .308 Win F-TR rifle. This features a Kelbly action, McMillan stock, and Vortex scope with level. Up front is a SEB Joystick Bipod (Joy-Pod) with accessory ski-type feet. Note that Brian runs a front scope extension tube (sunshade), and a mirage shield on the barrel. These items do make a difference, particularly on hot summer days!

F-Class 7mm 270 WSM hydro-dip Bartlein

Here’s another British Beauty. This is the 7mm-270 WSM F-Classer belonging to Forum member Ian B. (aka “Elwood”). It features a Stolle Panda F-Class action, 32″ straight-contour Bartlein barrel, and a custom Joe West stock, modified by Ian and then hydro-dipped in brilliant blue by Hydro Graphics in the UK.

Bergara B14 6.5 Creedmoor HMR

Factory rifles can be interesting too. That’s pretty impressive accuracy shown by Steven Castleman’s Bergara B14 HMR chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. On this day Steve was shooting Hornady factory ammo loaded with 147-grain ELD Match bullets.

Savage Stealth 10 BA Rifle hog hunting

Here’s a stunning silhouette of a Savage 6.5 Creedmoor. Ed Whipple posted: “Borrowing a Savage 10 BA Stealth from my buddy Ron. He wanted a 100-yard head shot on a hog. I’m not listening to Ron any more. Federal Fusion bullet ain’t messing around.”

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May 5th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Costello Battles Storm Hannah with .300 WSM

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

Gary Costello recently won the Great Britain National League 600-yard Championship in F-Open class. Gary managed that impressive win despite Storm Hannah which caused torrential rain and 40 mph winds during the match, held at the Diggle ranges. Gary, a Forum member, reports that conditions were hellacious: “The weather was terrible, with horizontal rain and winds in excess of 40 mph. In fact, some shooters got blown clean off the target and many complete misses occurred.”

There’s a special story here, as Gary had been battling a life-threatening illness for many months. Gary told us: “This was my first National Competition since September 2018. I contracted a serious heart virus in October 2018. I was critically ill until January 2019. After undergoing treatment and 100% rest I recovered slowly, my focus was the 600-Yard Shoot in April. I am now 70% there and hopefully in another 4-6 months I hope to make a full recovery.” [Editor: Gary, we are glad you are on the road to recovery.]

In today’s Sunday GunDay story, we feature Gary’s American-crafted .300 WSM F-Open rifle. Note that Gary’s rifle has a Ezell barrel tuner and a recoil-reduction system in the buttstock. The .300 WSM does generate quite a kick with those big .30-caliber bullets.

Gary Costello’s .300 WSM F-Open Rifle

BAT M Action and Cerus Stock
This rifle was purchased from Jim Fowler (FalconPilot on the AccurateShooter Forum). This SG Rifles gun, crafted by smith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez, is a .300 WSM with BAT ‘M’ action (with nitrided bolt) and Cerus riflestock. Gary owns two other Speedy-built rifles.

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

Gary tells us: “My BAT ‘M’ action is a multi-port so I feed with my left and it ejects on the right. Speedy has worked on the firing control and timing, and I fitted the roller-cocking piece to aid smoothness and speed.” The fluted shroud is Speedy’s signature for fire control work.

Stunning Lenzi Co-Axial Front Rest
Gary tells us this impressive joy-stick rest “is a superb piece of engineering .. made by my good friend Alberto Lenzi.” Note the large stable base, and the deluxe counter-balance weight on the front end. Gary also uses a very nice leather rear sandbag crafted by Lenzi.

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

Riflescope — Prototype March 10-60×56 High Master
Gary Costello’s company is the European distributor for March Scopes. Gary was testing this scope as it has a new temperature-tolerant lens system to be released later this year

Gary Costello England UK F-Class .300 WSM Win Short Magnum Speedy BAT Action SG Rifles

.300 WSM Load Details — H4350 with Berger 215gr Hybrids
Gary was shooting pointed Berger 215gr Hybrid bullets in Norma .300 WSM cartridge brass. The powder was Hodgdon H4350 with Muron KVB7 primers. Gary say his load runs around 2850 fps, and is very accurate. To demonstrate, here is a three-round, 100-yard test target, with a group measuring in the ones. Pretty impressive for a big bullet and a short magnum cartridge.

Gary Costello F-Class Great Britain UK .300 WSM Speedy

Gary Costello F-Class Great Britain UK .300 WSM Speedy

The UK has some wonderful places to shoot. This photo was taken at Blair Atholl in the Highlands of Scotland. Gary says “This is one of my favorite ranges and probably the hardest range to shoot in the UK. Due to the topography of the range you have to alter elevation as well as wind for pick-up and let-off. They say ‘Diggle Ranges Bark’ but Blair Atholl Bites!”

Blast from the Past — At Blair Atholl Ranges in Scotland

Gary Costello Blair Atholl Scotland Ranges

One of Europe’s very best F-Class competitors, Gary is no stranger to the winner’s circle. Here he is at the Blair Atholl Ranges in Scotland after a major victory a few seasons back. Gary says: “Blair Atholl, in the Estate of Blair Castle, is very scenic. The range is very tricky and is known as the hardest range in the UK to shoot due to the location of the targets cut into the hillside and valley. When the wind is at full value you often have to add one-half MOA elevation to every 1 MOA of wind. So thinking wind and elevation every shot is very difficult. I won this match some time ago and I do not recall the score. However it was a decisive win, and all matches in the competition were held at 1000 yards.” Gary was using a different rifle, but it also was a .300 WSM with a BAT action. His load was Hodgdon H4831 with Berger 215gr Hybrids, Murom primers, and Norma brass.

GB 600-Yard Championship — Gary’s Shot-by-Shot Report

The event was the first GB National League event of the year, our only short range (600-yard) match. This is actually one month later than usual in hope the weather would be better, sadly that wasn’t the case!

I won the Championship, five points clear of runner-up Ian Boxall. My final score was 241-18V out of a maximum of 250. The course of fire was reduced due to Storm Hannah on Saturday. It was decided by our committee that for safety we should shoot under cover (Diggle has a 600-yard covered firing point). The goal was to get at least one match to allow the competition to continue on the Sunday.

When I saw the condition and the flags I decided I needed to shoot as quick as possible as wind speed and direction were changing in seconds….

So I shot like stink only watching one flag and the other targets and my shot indication on the target screen. My first sighter was a score One left (a FIVE on the U.S F-Class target). But after adjusting, my second sighter was a One right — so there were pick-ups and let offs of about FIVE MOA!

I split the difference and went for score, my first shot was a Four (Nine on USA target) which I then adjusted on and held accordingly for the rest of the string using the other targets as indication and the one flag I had identified, it went pretty well.

Day Two (Sunday) weather was completely different, much better with no rain. We were first up at 0900 and the winds were light with subtle changes. This was a two sighters and 20-shot match, I started well with two V sighters which were converted, my partner Richard Sharman also had a good start and we proceeded through the string shooting Vs and Fives until Richard’s shots started to not register, this happened three times so it was decided I would continue and Richard would shoot again on another target. This caused a lot of delay and disruption. I had lost my path and wind, due to the delay I was allowed a non-convertible sighter which was a Three. It took two further shots to get back into the swing and I then recovered and ended the shoot with a 97-10V.

For the Final Match, the wind had picked up and was causing quite a few lost points and curses. I knew I was three points clear going into this Final Match so I had to play it real safe not to drop shots and lose critical points. I favored a left 4-5 Ring hold so not to get caught on the pick-ups. I use the March MTR-2 reticle, on 40X this reticle is subtended at exactly one-half MOA and brackets the F-class target perfectly. I was not concerned about the V bull at this time, the plan paid off and I dropped two points only.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review, Shooting Skills 5 Comments »
March 5th, 2016

Victrix Armaments Rifles with Advanced 5-Axis CNC Technology

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Report by Vince Bottomley
Victrix Armaments, an Italian company, has developed new technology that could be a major “game-changer” in the world of precision rifles in general, and F-Class in particular. Victrix’s leadership group knows all about excellence — and winning. Giuseppe Valtorta, CEO of Victrix Armaments, is a top competitive shooter who won Gold with his F-TR rifle at the 2015 European F-Class Championships.

A New Breed of F-Class Rifle
Turn back the clock half a century — George Farquharson is happily shooting a modified military rifle with iron sights and sling. He hasn’t even dreamt of F Class…

Benchrest however is beginning to gather momentum. Accuracy seekers are demanding the ultimate in precision engineering. They will go to their favorite gunsmith and, if they’re very lucky, procure one of the new custom actions from Hart or Shilen.

In the last 50 years, what’s changed? Benchrest is still with us but F-Class has emerged as a world discipline and, to some extent, brought new challenges to our accuracy rifle builders. But, whilst the rest of the planet has reveled in the speed and precision of CNC machining, we still love to place our faith in the gunsmith and his trusty old lathe!

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

But, of course, there is a reason for this. CNC equipment is expensive and geared towards the rapid multiple production of precision parts, whereas the custom gunsmith is dedicated to the ‘one-off’ build.

Also, even with a limited run, CNC does not readily lend itself to chambering our cut- or button-rifled barrels. Good as our barrels are, there are issues that have made CNC machine problematic. Each barrel demands loving care at the hands of our chosen gunsmith – if it is to perform to our expectations.

5-Axis CNC vs Manual Barrel Chambering
What if — What if the whole barrel-fitting and chambering process could be made “CNC compliant” and produce a rifle which would equal (or even exceed) the accepted standard. And do it every time, time after time! Cost could be reduced and also waiting times.

Good as our custom barrels are, they still need to be scrupulously checked — for uniformity of the bore, the lands, the grooves — for straightness, consistency of diameter, and concentricity. This could be achieved, using some pretty sophisticated measuring equipment — but that would be outside the realms of the custom gunsmith.

Even then, how could the barrel be easily accommodated in a CNC five-axis machining center to ensure a set-up for the best possible chamber and threading? Remember, bores are rarely concentric to the outside diameter and seldom straight, so the set-up would need to ensure that any deviation would be in the vertical plane when the barrel is screwed in the action and the chamber-section would need to be exactly aligned.

These are of course the issues faced every day by the custom gunsmith but currently, there are few CNC machines which could easily accommodate this requirement. But yes, there are a few….

Let me introduce you to Victrix, an Italian engineering company with an impressive multi-million euro factory crammed with the very latest in CNC machinery and a state of the art measuring laboratory. They already have a well-established background in the firearms manufacturing industry, at both military and sporting level. Never heard of Victrix? You soon will, for Victrix has chosen the prestigious 2016 IWA Show (Hall 9 – 423) to launch its new range of high-end rifles.

Victrix manufacturing facility in Italy is ‘crammed with the very latest in CNC machinery':
Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Whilst Victrix initially developed a range of tactical/military firearms — some of which will also be of interest to the sport shooter — the company has now turned its attention to the F-Class discipline. By working with those competing at the highest level of F-Class competition, Victrix has developed a range of “off the shelf” F-Class rifles that are “competition-ready” right out of the box. Incidentally, Victrix have chosen American barrel-maker Benchmark as its exclusive barrel supplier. Victrix has already perfected a way of accurately assessing barrels to adapt them to CNC working, and this is the key to the new project.

Victrix Target Trigger — Adjustable down to an Ounce
Victrix F-Class rifles will feature an advanced, new target trigger engineered by Victrix. This four-lever target trigger boasts an adjustment range of 1 to 2.5 ounces (30 – 70 grams). Another trigger (8 to 21 ounces pull weight), is used for the Victrix tactical rifles.

Victrix Action
For its new line of rifles, Victrix have developed its own proprietary actions. These actions employ some interesting ideas. The bolt is three-lug with a 60-degree lift and 105/105/150 degree lug-geometry. Testing verified that this arrangement provided a greater resistance to flexing in the locked position over the more traditional 120/120/120 geometry. This geometry also aids the pick-up and feeding of rounds from a magazine when used in a tactical configuration.

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Above is Victrix’s new action. It’s impressive. Multiple configurations are offered: Right Bolt/Left Port, Right Bolt/Right Port and other variations. The action can be fitted with Victrix Target or Tactical trigger.

The action and bolt are machined from 17.4PH stainless steel and then hardened (body 48 Rockwell, bolt 45 Rockwell) and treated with PVD (physical vapor deposition). Finally the actions are coated with chromium nitride and nobium for wear-resistance and smooth operation. Tenon thread is M27x1.5 and of course, tolerances are ‘benchrest’ standard. Picatinny rails are screwed and pinned to the action.

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Victrix has certainly done its homework. The company will offer rifles for both F-Open and F-TR classes. Stocks will be offered in a variety of materials: wood, wood-laminate, aluminum, and carbon-fiber. The stocks share a no-nonsense, straight-forward design, specifically for shooting a rested rifle.

Whilst we are focusing on their F-Class rifles, we shouldn’t forget the Victrix tactical range. Although designed with military and police use, they will appeal to anyone who enjoys tactical-style shooting. There is no compromise on quality or accuracy so, expect the same build standard but with stocks CNC’d from 7075 mil-spec aluminum with a hard-anodized coating. The Victrix three-lever tactical trigger adjusts from 8 to 21 ounces (250 – 600 grams).

Victrix Italy Italian F-Class match rifles CNC Chambering

Victrix has chosen March Scopes UK (IWA Hall 3A – 110) as its business partner in launching the new Victrix F-Class rifles. This was a wise choice, as March Scopes UK proprietor Gary Costello is a former World F-Class Champion. Gary, well-known to F-Class competitors, continues to shoot with the Great Britain Team.

We look forward to taking a closer look at the Victrix F-Class rifles and hope to provide an in-depth range report in the not-too-distant future. Check out the Victrix website at

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, New Product 5 Comments »
November 8th, 2013

Across the Atlantic: European F-Class Championships at Bisley

F-Class European Championship Bisley Rutland England Great Britain Joe Melia Paul Eggerman

Credit Des Parr for providing match details found in this report.
The 2013 European F-Class Championships are now history. Congratulations to new F-Open Euro Champion Joe Melia of Ireland, and new F-TR Euro Champion Paul Eggerman of Germany. Held at the Bisley Ranges in England, the European Championships drew top shooters from all over the Continent, plus the U.K. and Ireland. Following the individual competitions, national teams competed, and Great Britain emerged the big winner. British teams won gold in F-Open, F-TR, and the Rutland Cup. Hail Britannia!

On the GB F-Class Association website, Des Parr authored a great day-by-day account of the Euro Championships. Des writes: “The 2013 European Championships had a little of everything to keep everyone happy — some very light winds to please the trigger pullers, some very strong winds to please the wind-readers and only a little rain to please everyone! Friday was notable for having remarkably calm and steady wind. This enabled everyone to really see what their rifles were capable of in near to ideal conditions. The result was predictable; some very high scores.”

Individual Championships
In F-Open division, senior Irishman Joe Melia shot 457.39 to capture the title. Des Parr notes: “Joe got a rousing cheer from all his fellow competitors, indicative of his good standing. In second, it was another medal for Ireland, this time the fiercely competitive Anthony Dunne used all his experience to rack up 453.38. In third place was the new GB Captain from Wales, David Lloyd with 452.33.”

In F-TR, the Germany’s Paul Eggemann shot a superb score of 447.35 to win the individual title, ten points ahead of his nearest rival. Ukraine’s Sergei Baranov took second with 437.22, while his countryman Sergei Gorban finished third with 436.26.

Links to Full European F-Class Championship Results
F-Open Championships Results | F-TR Championships Results | Team Championships Results

8-Man Event — Top place went to Team GB with 1084.58. Second place was taken by Italy with 1035.46 and in third was BDMP Germany with 1021.32. In F-TR, first place went to Team GB with 1007.32, with Team Italy second (987.31), and Ukraine third (978.26).

4-Man Rutland — There were ten, 4-man teams in the Rutland Competition. In F-Open, Winning Team GB was steered to victory by captain Peter Hobson with a super 524.19. France Open 1 took second with 522.17, while the Europe Open team was third with 497.22.

Irish Teams won silver and bronze in the 4-man Rutland Match at the European Championships.
F-Class European Championship Bisley Rutland Ireland

In related news, Forum member Gary Costello from the U.K. won the GB/Euro National League title for 2013 with a total of 71 points. This multi-match title is based on the best of four (4) League Championship Competitions throughout the year. Gary explains: “We have eight shoots in total, this championship is open to GB F-Class Association members and includes shooters from France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine and several other countries. Most of these countries have maximum 300 yards to shoot so the UK is the closest place to compete in long-range competitions. That’s a bit amazing considering the size of the UK to Germany for example.”

F-Class European Championship Leagu Bisley Gary Costello 300 WSM

Gary used a 300 WSM built by Gunsmith Peter Walker, with a Nesika L action, Benchmark barrel, and a March 8-80x56mm scope. Gary told us that it took some time to master the 300 WSM, which has more recoil than a .284 Win, but in the end, Gary’s choice of caliber helped carry him to victory over a long season of hard-fought competition. Finishing second in League standings was Mark Daish with 70 points, while Des Parr took third place with 64 points. (Point totals based on best four matches.) Complete 2013 GB F-Class League Results are available on the GB F-Class Association website.

Photos courtesy F-TR Ireland and Gary Costello.
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March 7th, 2012

AccurateShooter Forum Gets New, More Powerful Server

We’ve upgraded the Forum, giving it a bigger, faster server. The new dedicated Forum server has a faster processor, more storage space, and more memory — all of which improves the user experience.

The switch-over was accomplished yesterday at 1630 hours (Pacific Time). All existing threads and posts have been preserved. Post counts and buy/sell feedback have also been retained. By all indications, everything is going well so far. Forum users report that pages load faster and searches take less time: “Things move along very fast now!” (Frank G. aka 40X Guy).

Join a Community of Nearly 17,000 Serious Shooters
If you haven’t visited our Shooters’ Forum yet, log on to and check out one of the best Message Boards for precision shooters on the web. We now have nearly 17,000 Forum members including many National and International Champions. For example, this morning 2011 NRA National High Power Champion Carl Bernosky was logged in. And UK and World F-Class Champion Gary Costello (aka “GLC”) regularly visits our Forum. If you want advice from guys who really know their stuff — it doesn’t get better than that.

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