Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Questions on F-Class

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    176

    Questions on F-Class

    I have been trying to determine what shooting discipline best interests me, and F-Class is definitely near the top of the list. To start, I will attend a match or two to see what equipment is being used, talk to people, etc. But, I am not sure about F vs F/TR. For new person, would it be fair to say F/TR is preferred? I ask because there are no exotic calibers, cost should be lower, but I don't know about the level of competition.

    While I still need to check out equipment, I thought the Savage 12F/TR in .308 would be good (.223 seems too wind vulnerable for the distance), but also considered for F-Class, the Savage 12F in 6mmBR. I am not so sure about the 6.5 x 284 due to barrel life. I will need to shoot many rounds for skill development. I am not sure it is worth looking into, but what about the Savage Long Range Precision Varminter in 6mmBR for F-Class? Will these factory rifles just be blown out of the water in F-Class, or will a factory gun make a better account of itself in F/TR? Or, would it be wise to find say a used F or F/TR custom gun? To start, $1500 for the rifle is fine, and will spend the $1000+ for the scope. I rather prefer shooting off bipod as well.

    Thanks.

    - Phil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    537
    Phil,

    Generally speaking F/TR is still picking up steam. It is expanding faster than F/Open as far as I can tell - each year the number of competitors in F/TR keeps increasing for pretty much the reasons you mentioned. You'd have to shoot a lot (as in 'more than me') to wear out a barrel in a season or even two. The loads are pretty well mapped out for a .308 Win courtesy of the folks shooting Palma, etc. - a few people are revisiting some areas in light of the smaller targets and whatnot, but there isn't much new under the sun if you know what I mean. Given that there is only so much you can do with a .308, the differentiating factor becomes the shooter and their ability to hold hard and call the wind rather than the equipment. Actually, thats true of F-Class and most competitive disciplines in general; its just emphasized more in F/TR. The caveat is that often times (at least around where I shoot) there just aren't enough warm bodies on the line in local matches to split 'F-Class' up into F-Open and F-TR, so everybody gets lumped together. Those days... being an F/TR shooter is kinda tough, as the cards are stacked against you - all you can do is bear down, shoot your best, and focus on beating your personal average, personal best, etc. and count it as practice.

    For 600yds and in... I wouldn't bet against a .223 running a warm 80gr load. Those little needles can hang right in there with the bigger bullets in all but the worst conditions. For longer ranges... well, its an area thats starting to receive some scrutiny as the .223 recently became a legal Palma caliber. The path to best performance isn't exactly mapped out as thoroughly as with the .308 Win.

    As far as whether the factory Savage rifles will make the grade... I've seen some of the 6mmBR guns shoot *very* well. No reason the 6.5-284 shouldn't. I've not spent the amount of time/effort tuning loads on those two calibers that I have for the 12 F/TR in .308 Win. The factory 12 F/TRs have acquitted themselves fairly well over the last few years at various matches - four of us shoot these rifles on a factory-sponsored team. Most recently, the rifles made the trip over to Bisley for the F-Class World Championships as part of the USA F/TR team, and I noticed several European shooters fielding them as well. I think that should settle the question of whether the *rifles* have the ability to hang with the competition in F/TR... the bigger variable remains the shooter. Some people like custom features not available on the factory guns such as certain stocks, etc. and with that I cannot argue - some level of customization may help the shooter connect with the rifle better. I tend to approach the sport as more of a 'continual upgrade' or evolutionary process. Get a gun, get shooting. If part 'A' just doesn't work for you, hopefully by then you'll have been around the sport for a bit and have seen (and got to handle) the alternatives. Put some money aside and upgrade if necessary. By all means, make the gun fit you - but do it over time so you get what you want or need. Focus more on the shooting, and less on the options, and I think you'll go further.

    Monte Milanuk

    Team USA F/TR
    Team Savage
    Last edited by milanuk; 09-25-2009 at 08:07 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    176
    Monte,

    First, thank you for the thoroughness of your reply. It is VERY helpful. I will have just one place to shoot F-Class, the next match being 10/11/2009, and I will be there asking questions, seeing what the number of F vs F/TR numbers are, which may help me decide on what class I wish to be in.

    Could you elaborate on your statement, "...the differentiating factor becomes the shooter and their ability to hold hard and call the wind rather than the equipment. Actually, thats true of F-Class and most competitive disciplines in general; its just emphasized more in F/TR...". Are you saying this because F/TR is on a bipod and the rifle can move around more, or the calibers (223, 308) are tougher to shoot in the wind, or...?

    Given your comments, I am not sure about F vs F/TR, as I rather like the 6mmBR (F only). It looks like much of the F shooting where I am is going to be 600+ yards, so if F/TR that means the Savage F/TR in .308. I checked the ballistics on the 308 vs the 6mmBR show the 6mmBR perhaps somewhat superior,and perhaps easier for a novice. Using a Hornady calculator (jbm ballistics site not working), I got the following.

    6mmBR: Sierra MatchKing 107 grain, 2885 fps
    308: Sierra Matchking 175 grain, 2650 fps

    A reduction in velocity of 15 fps on the 6mmBR results in a vertical change of 3.8" at 1000 yards. The 308 is 5.3".

    A 10 mph wind changes point of impact at 1000 yards by 79.6". The 308 is 98.1".

    I am worried about not hitting the target next to me with those kinds of changes in wind! It is astonishing people can shoot at these ranges as accurately as they do in any condition other than dead still. I really feel humbled.

    - Phil

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    537
    Are you saying this because F/TR is on a bipod and the rifle can move around more, or the calibers (223, 308) are tougher to shoot in the wind, or...?
    Both.

    Most people who pursue F/TR with any degree of seriousness go to some lengths to reach a set-up that fits them and their shooting style, while holding the rifle as still as possible. Generally speaking, I think there is a slight edge to the front rests and such used by F/Open shooters, though with some of the newer (and more expensive) bipods coming on the market, that gap is shrinking. The weight limit for F/TR includes the bipod, where as it does not for F/Open - so there can be a 5-6lb (or more) difference in the weight of the gun alone.

    I shoot some F/Open, and I will say that after spending a couple years focusing on shooting from a bipod... shooting from a front rest is a whole 'nother skill set. Similar, but with nuances all its own. Kind of like sling shooters look at bipod shooters and think there must be little to no skill involved since the dang bipod and rear bag holds it up for them , F/TR shooters tend to think F/Open shooters have it easy because all you have to do is push it back up against the stop, swing the joystick and pinch that 2 oz. trigger and the rest does all the hard work... not quite

    The .223 & .308 are definitely 'wind challenged'. If you were going to pick two calibers for competitive shooting based solely on their wind deflection and/or flatness of trajectory, they would not even be on the list. That is both part of the allure, and the challenge of F/TR. The cartridges *require* the shooter to put some effort into learning to read the wind. There are no shortcuts. But... everybody else in F/TR is in pretty much the same boat. Someone might have a hot load that might shave an inch or two here or there and maybe net them a few points over a long weekend, possibly enough to win the agg. But you don't see anybody walking away from the pack because of their equipment or what load they happen to be using.

    As for the wind... most ranges have flags. Not the field of spinners and tails and whirly-gigs like a point-blank BR match, but anywhere from 1 to 20 big tall flags up on poles 20-30 ft off the ground. On many ranges you can get a pretty decent read on the mirage using the number boards above or below your target. Enough that unless you are firing blind, you should be able to see the big changes and either hold up and wait them out, or compensate and keep shooting. There are a number of books with very good sections on wind reading for this kind of shooting - they will give you enough knowledge to get on paper and hopefully stay there.
    Last edited by milanuk; 09-25-2009 at 01:14 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •