October 3rd, 2013

Prototype ‘Big Wheel’ Farley Co-Axial Rest for F-Open Competition

farley coaxial f-class f-open raton speedy gonzalezAt the F-Class Nationals in Raton, we saw a wide variety of front rests being used by F-Open shooters. One that caught our eye was a new prototype Farley Coaxial rest brought to the match by our friend Speedy Gonzalez. This one-of-a-kind Farley features a big wheel on the side for gross elevation adjustment, plus an extended locking arm. These two upgrades make the rest easier to use from the prone position. Up front is a new L-shaped Delrin forearm stop (Speedy say this would be black in the production version). Special large-diameter feet with extended “anchor shafts” complete the package. (See bottom photo.) Speedy used this rest at the Nationals and did very well, finishing second in the Master division, and in the top 15 overall among all Open-class shooters.

CLICK Photos Below to See Full-Screen Version.

farley coaxial f-class f-open raton speedy gonzalez

Speedy says the folks at Farley hope to market the Big Wheel Coaxial with these F-Class upgrades by the end of 2013. Some of the items should be available for purchase separately, as upgrades to current Farley rests. Sorry, no pricing is available at this time.

farley coaxial f-class f-open raton speedy gonzalez

The rest also sported a new Edgewood front bag with the new light-colored, super-slick bag material. Along with the new bag fabric, Speedy explained that there are subtle changes to the bag design and construction so that it holds its shape better and doesn’t “plump up” in the middle.

farley coaxial f-class f-open raton speedy gonzalez

farley coaxial f-class f-open raton speedy gonzalez

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 3 Comments »
June 26th, 2013

Speedy Builds a Low-Profile F-Classer for Bret Solomon

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open accurateshooter.comOn his Facebook page, Hall-of-Fame shooter and ace gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez unveiled an impressive new F-Open rifle built for Bret Solomon. The rifle features Speedy’s new low-profile F-Class stock.

Bret’s gun is chambered for his 300 Solomon wildcat, shooting heavy 210gr bullets, so it can can be a real shoulder-buster, without some kind of buffer. The stock is fitted with a Ken Rucker’s Bump Buster hydraulic recoil reduction system to tame the recoil. The Bump Buster was originally designed for shotguns and hard-hitting, big game rifles. It is interesting to see this hydraulic buffer adapted to an F-Open rig.

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open accurateshooter.com

Here you can see Bret shooting the gun, coached by Nancy Tompkins and Michele Gallagher:

Bret’s gun features a stainless Viper (Stiller) action, barrel tuner, and an innovative Speedy-crafted wood stock. Speedy says this stock design is all-new: “It is a true, low Center-of-Gravity F-Class stock, not a morphed Palma stock merely cut out on the bottom”. See all the details in this short video:

Stock Features: Glue-in or Bolt-In and Optional Carbon Pillars and Cooling Ports
Speedy explained the features of the new stock design: “Terry Leonard and I started working on an F-Class version of his stocks last year during the F-Class Nationals and came up with what he and I consider the first true low-CG stock in the sport. As you can see by the videos, there is very little torqueing of the stock during recoil. I add the carbon fiber tunnel underneath the forearms to save Terry some time. This bonds very well to his carbon fiber skeleton within the stock adding addition stiffness to the forearm to support the heavy barrels found on the F-Class rigs. We are playing with both glue-ins like we benchresters use and bolt-ins as well. The rifles on the videos are glue-ins. Bret just took delivery today of his first bolt-in employing carbon fiber pillars and the first Leonard stock ever to have cooling ports.”

Need for Recoil Reduction Follows F-Class Trend to Bigger Calibers and Heavier Bullets
In recent years we have seen F-Open competitors move to bigger calibers and heavier bullets in pursuit of higher BC. There is no free lunch however. Shooting a 210gr .30-caliber bullet is going to produce much more recoil than a 140gr 6.5mm projectile (when they are shot at similar velocities). Does this mean that more F-Open shooters will add hydraulic buffers to their rigs? Will a recoil-reduction system become “de rigueur” on F-Open rifles shooting heavy bullets?

Our friend Boyd Allen observes: “You may imagine that shooting a short magnum, or even a .284 Win with heavy bullets, involves a fair amount of recoil, and in the prone position this can be more than a little wearing. It can in fact beat you up over the course of a match. Some time back, Lou Murdica told me about having a hydraulic recoil absorbing device installed on one of his F-Class rifles, chambered in .300 WSM. Lou is shooting heavy (210-215gr) bullets so the recoil is stout. According to Lou, the hydraulic recoil-reduction system made all the difference.”

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
December 15th, 2012

New Accurate LT-32 Powder Coming in January

Midsouth Shooters Supply is now taking advance orders for the new Accurate LT-32 Powder, with initial deliveries expected in January 2013. Price for a 1-lb container is $25.12, while an 8-lb jug runs $190.50. Produced by Western Powders, LT-32 is an extruded powder with extremely small kernels (roughly .0275″). This powder is designed to perform like the legendary “T-322″ powders which worked brilliantly in short-range benchrest cartridges, especially the 6mm PPC. Early testers report that Accurate LT-32 meters superbly and is easy to tune. Western claims LT-32 exhibits very low standard deviation. (Photos below by Speedy Gonzalez).

Accurate lt32 powder Western

Speedy Says Accurate LT-32 is Very Promising
Benchrest Hall-of-Famer and noted gunsmith Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez tested the prototype LT-32 powder from Western Powder earlier this year. Speedy stated: “It pains me to say it, but the new LT-32 out-shot my best lots of [the original] IMR 8208 (T-322)”.

Accurate lt32 powder Western

Speedy reports: “I must say that I was quite surprised by the results of my initial testing of the new Western Powder LT-32. Shooting this morning over my Oehler 35P triple screen chronograph yielded some very unexpected results. My best lot of ‘T’ powder continues to exhibit its age as it continues to lose velocity (as it ages). While the new Western LT-32 demonstrated this morning velocities equal to what my old ‘T’ powder used to shoot like 30 years ago.

This new powder goes through the measure like a ball powder. (Note: I have always felt that one of the reasons ‘T’ powder shot so well was due to the fact it measured so well as compared to other powders. This is a definite advantage for us that rely on consistent volume instead of weight.) I will have to shoot it over a season to see if it is as temperature and humidity insensitive as ‘T’, but it looks very promising from what I saw today.

It has yet to be seen if the new LT-32 proves to not be affected by temperature and humidity like the old T-322. But from these short tests it very much mimics my T-322 of old. My ‘T’ powder was always a blessing to me in the fact that when I went to a match I did not have the same problems everyone else was having [i.e. having] to tune up and down over the course of a weekend or week. I got to shoot and concentrate on the conditions instead of making it a tuning competition. It was always kind of funny watching everybody going up and down on their powders trying to accommodate the changes in weather as the days went on. Hopefully this will allow all to become better shooters by being able to concentrate on shooting and not re-turning every time one comes back from the bench.”

Statement from Western Powders

The Accurate LT-32 is an exact copy of the original T-32 manufactured in the same plant and on the same machinery as the original. Lou Murdica has been extensively testing it and he tells us it is the easiest powder to tune that he has seen in 40 years.

Accurate lt32 powder WesternAccording to Lou, the chamber that everybody was using in the 80s will work with this powder. The bullets do not need to be seated way out in order to get more powder in the case. In testing the powder in our Bond Universal receiver against the original “T” powder, SDs were about 30% lower with the new powder versus the “T” powder. Lou and Don Nielson donated 16 lbs. of the original T-32 lot of powder for our quality control and that is what the new powder is shot against.

All of our powders are allowed to deviate +3% to -5% in pressure from the quality control lot except LT-32 which we cut the deviation percentages in half in order to have the best lot to lot consistency in the industry for this powder[.] We developed this powder specifically for the 6mm PPC and it is QC’d in the 6mm PPC.

Keith Anderson
Western Powders Ballistic Lab

NOTE: Accurate LT-32 should also be available from PowderValleyInc.com in mid-to-late January 2013. Listed Prices are: $24.10 for 1 pound and $182.00 for 8 pounds.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »