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September 29th, 2016

Mid-Range F-TR Nationals — Litz and Team Michigan Triumph

F-Class Mid Range Championship
Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz needed all of his wind-reading skills in Lodi, WI. Conditions were challenging!

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics won his second straight Mid-Range F-TR National Championship this past weekend. Likewise the Michigan F-TR Team won its second Championship in a row. So it was a heck of a showing by the Michiganders overall. With a strong individual performance, Phil Kelley finished second with his fellow X-Men teammate James Crofts in third. The X-Men Team also garnered second-place in the F-TR Team event. Kelley told us: “It sure is fun to compete with the best in the business — to share the individual overall podium with Bryan Litz and James Crofts is an exciting honor.”

It was a bit cold in Lodi, Wisconsin, photo by K. McSparron.
F-Class Mid Range Championship

F-Class Goes High-Tech with Electronic Targets
This was the first-ever F-Class National Championship that used electronic Targets. Litz offers his perspective on the new E-Targets in the Q&A section below — Bryan is mostly positive about the E-Targets but he says there are still some minor bugs to be worked out.

Bryan, a sling-shooter at heart, has really taken to this F-TR game. He won both the Mid-Range and Long Range F-TR National Championships in 2015 and now he has one 2016 title in the bag. Bryan tells us: “Many thanks go out to all those who’ve supported me in winning my second F-TR Mid-Range National Championship. My serious pursuit of F-TR shooting began the day I called John Pierce and requested: ‘John, build me one like yours’. That rifle and others built by Pierce Engineering are at the top of the game. Thanks also to my many great team-mates on the Michigan and U.S. Rifle Teams who have taught me a lot about this sport. As always the competition was stiff and mother nature gave us some drastically different looks. The challenging weather, combined with the introduction of electronic targets to this sport at the national level, required shooters to be highly adaptable. Thanks to the match organizers and technical staff who did a great job.”

John Pierce (left) and Bryan Litz with his Championship-winning Pierce-built F-TR rifle (2014 photo).
F-TR National Championship

Litz Loads Vihtavuori N140 with 215gr Berger Hybrids in his .308 Win
Bryan told us: “Load data is always a common question and I keep no secrets –I’m running the same basic load I shot the past few years with the exception that I’m now burning 43.0 grains of Vihtavuori N140 instead of Hodgdon Varget in new Lapua brass with Fed 210M primers and 215 Berger Hybrids seated about 0.005″ off the riflings. This gets 2520 fps in a 28-inch barrel. I use this same load for both mid-range and long range.”

Team Competition — Michigan Wins F-TR Division with X-Men in Second
Michigan F-TR Team won its second consecutive Mid-Range National Championship. Congratulations to team-mates Al Barnhart, Doug Boyer, Bryan Litz, and John Roethlisberger. Al and Doug are experienced veterans but this is John’s first experience in a national-level event. Michigan actually fielded two teams in this event and the second squad also won a medal in one of the matches. Byran Litz noted that the Michigan F-TR Team “has been working hard to develop our shooters and many have made it onto the U.S. Rifle Team. We have many great sponsors including: Applied Ballistics, Berger Bullets, Bartlein Barrels, Marksmanship Training Center, Nightforce Optics, Pierce Engineering, and Vihtavuori Powder.” Bryan added: “I also thank Team X-Men for the spirited competition. You guys (James Crofts, Tracy Hogg, Phil Kelly, Ian Klemm, and Ken Klemm) are great and make these team matches very fun.”

Bryan Litz with Michigan F-TR team-mates Al Barnhart, John Roethlisberger, and Doug Boyer.
F-Class Mid Range Championship

Q & A with the Champ — Litz Talks Targets and Match Strategies

We asked Bryan how the new Electronic Target technology used in Lodi alters the F-Class game. As the Long Range Nationals are underway now, we also asked Bryan to comment on Mid-Range vs. Long Range strategies — what does he do different at 1000 yards vs. 600 yards.

1. How did you like the electronic targets? Did this require/allow a change in your shooting style or rhythm (e.g. can competitors shoot faster now with less wait time between shots)?

LITZ: I really like the E-Targets for many reasons. Not pulling pits is the biggest one but the E-Targets also bring a level of fairness that human pullers could never achieve in the sense that everyone gets the same speed ‘service’.

For the 2016 FCNC in Lodi, WI, all the targets are programmed with a 7-second delay which is equivalent to “very good” target service. The system actually shows your shot value immediately, but doesn’t plot the location of the shot for 7 seconds. So if you want to “machine gun” a shot following an X with the same hold, you can take your chances without knowing where the X was.

The E-Targets require some adaptation from regular pit service. For those with many years of experience on traditional targets, it’s just WEIRD that the target doesn’t go up and down or have a spotter in it. All the information you need is on the tablet. This isn’t better or worse, just different. Occasionally the tablets lose signal for a few seconds and it can be frustrating, but this is not different than when a puller missed a shot and you had to “call for a mark”. I think that very soon the connectivity issues will be fully resolved and the systems will operate flawlessly. I know it would be impossible to get all the shooters through on such a small range any other way. The E-Targets have enabled a medium-sized range like Lodi to host a National Championship.

Q: How is the mid-range F-TR game different than long-range F-TR competition?

LITZ: Usually Mid-Range is about consistent precision — not having any fliers and not dropping any points. Mid-Range matches are usually decided by a narrower point spread than long range. Conditions aren’t typically big enough to move you out of the 10 ring very much at mid-range. The first couple days of the 2016 Mid-Range Nationals was just like this. I won the first two days, dropping only 3 points in total. But then the wind picked up on Day 3 and it was totally different! It became more like a Long Range match with all the points falling like rain and [conditions] very difficult to read. Many more 8s and 7s appeared at 600 yards and the field really spread out. In the end I was able to hold onto my lead and win the tournament.

Q. Why the change to Vihtavuori N140 powder? Was it more available or were you seeing lower ES/SD?

LITZ: I’m seeing the same ES/SDs with VV N140 as what I was using before (Varget) and N140 may burn a little cleaner. Also availability has been improving on the Vihtavuori powders in recent years. We (the Michigan F-TR Rifle Team) are very fortunate to have Vihtavuori as a sponsor and look forward to winning many matches with Vihtavuori products.

Editor’s Note: If any readers have results for the F-Open Mid-Range Nationals, please post in the comments section below and we will update this story.

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September 11th, 2016

F-Class Nationals September 23 – October 1 in Lodi, Wisconsin

F-Class national Championship Lodi Wisconsin

Yes, F-Classers, it’s time for the Nationals. Is your ammo loaded? Scope zeroed? The 2016 NRA F-Class Nationals will be held in Lodi, Wisconsin at the Winnequah Gun Club from September 23 through October 1, 2016. This will be a combined Mid-Range and Long Range event, with the Mid-Range activities running September 23-27, followed immediately by the Long-Range Nationals which conclude October 1, 2016. F-TR and F-Open shooters will compete for both individual and team honors. Here is the schedule:

F-Class national Championship Lodi Wisconsin

Electronic Scoring at F-Class Championships
F-Class national Championship Lodi WisconsinThis is big news. For the first time ever in the USA, electronic (sonic-sensor) targets will be used for both the Mid-Range and Long Range F-Class National Championships. NOTE: These are NOT like the self-contained Kongsberg target systems at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park.

At Lodi, Competitors will still aim at conventional paper target faces but sonic sensors on the target frames will allow instant shot plotting and scoring. This target system was developed by Silver Mountain Targets of Canada. The Silver Mountain system uses sonic sensors (essentially high-tech microphones) to triangulate shots with great precision. Monitors will be positioned at each firing station. The Silver Mountain system has been extensively tested and the match directors have hard-wired the target “brains” back to the scoring center to ensure reliable communications. Before the championship, match officials will be conducting a mandatory class on the operation of the electronic target monitors.

Looking downrange at Winnequah Gun Club in Lodi, WI:
F-Class Nationals Lodi, Wisconsin F-TR

2016 NRA F-Class National Championships FEE Schedule:

Mid-Range – Individual entries all individual matches – $230
Mid-Range – Each Team match (pay at range) – $80
Long Range – Individual entries all individual matches – $230
Long Range – Each Team match (pay at range) – $80
Combined Individual entry Mid-Range and Long Range – $400

STATE of the ART — F-TR and F-OPEN

Here is the sleek .308 Win rig Bryan Litz used to win the 2015 Mid-Range AND Long-Range F-TR Championship at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix.

And here is the 7mm RSAUM F-Open rifle belonging to Kenny Adams. The reigning F-Open World Champion, Kenny will be one of the favorites in Lodi…

U.S. F-Class Nationals Kenny Adams Lodi Wisconsin

Kenny’s World-Beating 7mm RSAUM Load
For his 7mm RSAUMs Kenny loads Hodgdon H4350 powder and Federal 215m primers into Nosler or Norma RSAUM brass. In the RSAUM he runs Berger 180gr Hybrid bullets seated “just touching” the lands. Kenny is very precise with his charge weights. Using a Sartorius Magnetic Force Restoration scale, Kenny tries to hold his powder charges to within 1-2 kernels charge-weight consistency.

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March 3rd, 2014

Krieger Barrels — Like Father, Like Sons

Krieger Barrels John KriegerKrieger Barrels Inc. is a family-run business. Founder John Krieger now works with two of his sons in the business, Andrew (“Andy”) and Mark. At SHOT Show 2014 we had a chance to chat with John and Andy. John told us that he is very proud to work with his two sons. He said that Andy, who has a degree in engineering, brings an important skill set and a new level of scientific expertise to the business. On his part, Andy says that his father is a “great boss… and the best teacher you could have”. Meet this father and son barrel-making team in this short video.

John Krieger and Andrew Krieger

How does Krieger Barrels produce such a great product year in and year out? It takes a lot of highly-skilled labor and some serious machinery to produce outstanding cut-rifled barrels. To illustrate the barrel-making process, Krieger has produced a fascinating video, filmed at Krieger’s production facility in Richfield, Wisconsin. This video shows the process of single-point, cut-rifled barrel-making start to finish. If you love big, powerful machines, you’ll enjoy this video. Its really quite amazing to see all that’s involved in the production of cut-rifled barrels.

How Krieger Barrels Are Made (MUST-WATCH video — one of the best we’ve ever featured).

For anyone interested in accurate rifles, this is absolutely a “must-watch” video. Watch blanks being cryogenically treated, then drilled and lathe-turned. Next comes the big stuff — the massive rifling machines that single-point-cut the rifling in a precise, time-consuming process. Following that you can see barrels being contoured, polished, and inspected (with air gauge and bore-scope). There is even a sequence showing chambers being cut.

Here is a time-line of the important barrel-making processes shown in the video. You may want to use the “Pause” button, or repeat some segments to get a better look at particular operations. The numbers on the left represent playback minutes and seconds.

Krieger Barrel-Making Processes Shown in Video
00:24 – Cryogenic treatment of steel blanks
00:38 – Pre-contour Barrels on CNC lathe
01:14 – Drilling Barrels
01:28 – Finish Turning on CNC lathe
01:40 – Reaming
01:50 – Cut Rifling
02:12 – Hand Lapping
02:25 – Cut Rifling
02:40 – Finish Lapping
02:55 – Outside Contour Inspection
03:10 – Engraving
03:22 – Polish
03:50 – Fluting
03:56 – Chambering
04:16 – Final Inspection

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September 14th, 2013

Criterion Barrels Opens New Facility in Germantown, Wisconsin

Criterion barrelsCriterion Barrels, producer of high-quality, button-rifled barrels (with a heritage of barrel-making from Krieger barrels) has opened a large new production facility in Germantown, Wisconsin. Over the past year, Criterion has hired many new skilled technicians to work in the new 72,000 square-foot facility, and new high-tech machinery is on its way.

Criterion reports: “To successfully meet with the recent industry-wide surge in demand, we have increased our production levels with the intent of fulfilling orders in the timeliest possible manner. To meet these manufacturing goals while simultaneously fulfilling our commitment to produce of some of the finest quality rifle barrels available, Criterion has successfully relocated its operations to a new 72,000 square-foot production facility. The phased transition from our Richfield workspace to the now fully-operational Germantown building was completed in November of last year.

Criterion has increased the number of its production personnel by more than 75% over the course of the last year… The purchase of new machinery will also serve to complete orders in a more efficient manner, allowing for improved material handling and reduced turnaround times[.] [R]est assured that Criterion Barrels, Inc. will continue to make all possible efforts toward streamlining and expanding our production potential while retaining the level of quality and precision that our customers have come to expect from our barrels.”

Criterion barrels

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October 2nd, 2011

Results from F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin

The 2011 F-Class National Championships in Lodi, Wisconsin are now history. Hail the new Champions: Jim Murphy, F-Open (1331-55X) and Jeff Rorer, F-TR (1315-41X). Hosted by the Winnequah Gun Club, the Nationals were well-attended, with 61 F-TR competitors and 90 F-Open shooters. The F-Open race was incredibly tight, with just four (4) points separating first through fifth positions. In F-TR, runner-up John Weil shot incredibly well in the crazy conditions on Friday. John made up a bunch of points, but it wasn’t enough to grab victory from Rorer, who shoot well all three days. CLICK HERE for Complete Match Results. Sorry, we don’t have an equipment list at this time.

Final Results for F-Open (TOP 10):
1. JIM MURPHY: 1331-55X
2. DON J NAGEL: 1330-46X
3. DAVID GOSNELL: 1329-61X
4. JOHN BREWER: 1328-62X
5. ROBERT BOCK: 1327-64X
6. RICK JENSEN: 1326-62X
7. DAVID MANN: 1326-57X
8. CHARLES BALLARD: 1325-59X
9. DANNY J BIGGS: 1324-62X
10. BOB PASTOR: 1324-47X

Final Results for F-T/R (TOP 10):
1. JEFF RORER: 1315-41X
2. JOHN H WEIL: 1308-42X
3. LAURA PERRY: 1307-39X
4. CHRIS OZOLINS: 1305-34X
5. JOHN CHILTON: 1303-39X
6. DARRELL BUELL: 1300-49X
7. IAN KLEMM: 1300-43X
8. DANIEL POHLABEL: 1296-43X
9. MARK HOUSEMAN: 1296-35X
10. MICHELLE GALLAGHER: 1292-35X

Forum member Darrell Buell provided Match Reports for our Shooter’s Forum. Darrell, who finished sixth in F-TR Class at this year’s Nationals, explained that conditions were erratic throughout the week — changing from one day to the next:

“The first day in Lodi was the 600-Yard stage. The winds were relatively light, no more than two minutes, but they had some tricky pick-ups and let-offs, and some vertical thrown into the mix. The weather was excellent, temps in the mid 60s, with rain threatening most of the day, but only producing a few sprinkles for the last two (of six) relays. Day two saw the Shooters move back to the 1000-Yard line. The weather was beautiful, temps in the mid to high 60s, with partly sunny skies. Winds were stronger than they were at 600 the day before, and there was a good deal of vertical noticed by the competitors.

The final day of the Nationals saw wild conditions, with unpredictable gusty full value winds. Congratulations go to John Weil for a superb performance in difficult conditions Friday. Thanks go to the Liebetrau clan for running another Nationals.”

2011 F-class national championship

2011 F-class national championship

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