Building a rifle for quasi-benchrest/F-class

strat81

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My club shoots 600 yards off the bench at 600 yard F-class targets. Most of the winners shoot real F-class and use their F-class rifles with are typically single-shot bolt actions, no magazines, with straight cylinder contour barrels (~1.25" at the muzzle), and weights around 15-20 pounds. Some use chassis, some use stocks. Calibers are all over the place, 6 Dasher, .284 Win, 6.5x284, 7 SAUM, Creedmoors, the list goes on.

The only off-the-shelf F-class rifle I know of is Savage, and the asking price for a Savage 12 F-class in 6 Norma BR is north of $1,300.

How do I find a gunsmith that can turn a pile of parts into a sub 1/2 MOA rifle?

Do I typically bring the parts to them? Do I tell them what parts I want and they order it? If the former, do they give me a checklist?
 

bgavin

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What's your budget?

I shoot something like this with a tikka ctr 6.5 creedmoor sometimes so you can do it with a factory rifle.

You can buy a barreled action from maybe Core or buy an action and send it to keystone accuracy (what I did on last rifle) and have a barrel installed. Then just slap it in a chassis and go shoot.

Could give better suggestions with a budget.
 

spife7980

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You can do either, depends on the particular smith and his preferences. Usually if you provide them all of the parts required it will go quicker. If the smith is stuck waiting on something with his funds invested in a particular part that just means youre waiting on it too so cast a wide net and get it all together first for what is usually an easier experience.
 

Racer88

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I did this on my 2nd time shooting my RPR at 600 yards at an F-class match. Nothing to brag about, and I came in 6th place out of 8 shooters. I was "unclassified" and the two I beat were an "Expert" and a "Master." :)

1571535280678.png

For the 2nd and 3rd targets, I zoomed the e-target on my ipad before doing the screen capture.

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Target #3

1571535630703.png
 

strat81

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What's your budget?

I shoot something like this with a tikka ctr 6.5 creedmoor sometimes so you can do it with a factory rifle.

You can buy a barreled action from maybe Core or buy an action and send it to keystone accuracy (what I did on last rifle) and have a barrel installed. Then just slap it in a chassis and go shoot.

Could give better suggestions with a budget.
Under $2,000.
 

Tony1320

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KW Precision is the guy you want to build it without a doubt. Keith is building many world-class rifles for the US Rifle Team for the 2021 F-Class World Championships. He's meticulous and does incredible work.

I'm assuming you shoot F-Open. A Borden BRMXD and Cerus stock is a winning combination. Bartlein, Krieger or Brux Barrel. SEB rest, Jewell or Bix n Andy trigger.

You buy the parts and ship them to KW Precision. You can talk to him about a build list

Consider the reloading side of F-Class. If you want to be competitive you will need to have your reloading down.

If you have any questions about F-Class send me a pm.


 

bgavin

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You could do
Bighorn Origin
Trigger tech special
Keystone GM barrel
KRG Bravo
 

strat81

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Is this something I could do at home with basic hand tools? I've assembled an AR without blowing myself up.

It seems like certain actions are more amenable to DIY than others.
 

hereinaz

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Is this something I could do at home with basic hand tools? I've assembled an AR without blowing myself up.

It seems like certain actions are more amenable to DIY than others.
You can buy a shouldered barrel from Proof, and torque it onto a Bighorn. Easy peasy...
 

Jmcmath

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I would steer away from a bighorn for a benchrest rifle. Most I’ve ever heard of (including mine) have a lot of cock on close and while that doesn’t matter for tactical applications it’s avoided by a lot of benchrest types because upsetting the rifle in any way is the last thing you want to do.

Alex wheeler builds winners

if you want to save money there is a savage f class 308 on gunbroker right now that shot a 4.13” at hawks ridge Target and full load data right there for you to roll with
 
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Vodoun daVinci

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I started in the same direction a couple years ago with a Savage 10 FCP-SR 24" in 6.5 Creedmoor...plastic stock, AccuTrigger. Threw the stock away and went with an MDT LSS-XLGen2 chassis and XLR Extreme buttstock and went from there. Always been sub MOA gun even with the original stock. Now with the Goodies and handloads I'm .5 MOA at 100 yards. Only shot steel at 600 and 1000....shoots palm sized groups consistently at 600 with handloads.

AthlononBipod.jpg

I have roughly $2000 invested with the Athlon Argos BTR 10-40X56 scope and just added an MDT Vertical Grip not shown. MDT and Savage is a drop in and go arrangement and I have done everything without the help of a gunsmith or anyone. I never intended to be competitive but some guys at my Club are soliciting me. Not sure about weight requirements for the various disciplines.

VooDoo
 

Tony1320

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If you want to be competitive in f-class it will demand more than what prs requires.

If you want to build something competitive talk to a gunsmith who knows what it takes to win in f-class.
 

strat81

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I would steer away from a bighorn for a benchrest rifle. Most I’ve ever heard of (including mine) have a lot of cock on close and while that doesn’t matter for tactical applications it’s avoided by a lot of benchrest types because upsetting the rifle in any way is the last thing you want to do.
Huh? Bighorn actions are cock-on-open designs.

Do you just mean they have a heavy bolt lift?
 

Jmcmath

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Huh? Bighorn actions are cock-on-open designs.

Do you just mean they have a heavy bolt lift?
They are cock on open designs that have like 40 thou of cock on close. As is common with factory remingtons and bergaras when you close the bolt it has a hitch you have to force through. A properly timed Borden/Bat will close like butter.

you can file the cocking piece to reduce this at the cost of firing pin travel.
 

Sheldon N

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My club shoots 600 yards off the bench at 600 yard F-class targets. Most of the winners shoot real F-class and use their F-class rifles with are typically single-shot bolt actions, no magazines, with straight cylinder contour barrels (~1.25" at the muzzle), and weights around 15-20 pounds. Some use chassis, some use stocks. Calibers are all over the place, 6 Dasher, .284 Win, 6.5x284, 7 SAUM, Creedmoors, the list goes on.
First step is that you need to decide whether you want this to be an all-purpose rifle that you just happen to dabble in F-Class/Benchrest with, or if this is a dedicated build for that style of shooting.

Big fork in the road there. Repeater action, mag fed, general purpose stock with a bipod VS single feed action, long straight "tracker" style stock for riding in a rabbit ear rear bag on some sort of front rest.

From there you can start to drill down to which action, which caliber etc.
 

strat81

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First step is that you need to decide whether you want this to be an all-purpose rifle that you just happen to dabble in F-Class/Benchrest with, or if this is a dedicated build for that style of shooting.

Big fork in the road there. Repeater action, mag fed, general purpose stock with a bipod VS single feed action, long straight "tracker" style stock for riding in a rabbit ear rear bag on some sort of front rest.

From there you can start to drill down to which action, which caliber etc.
Dedicated bench gun.

Caliber will be either 6.5CM since I'm already setup for it, or maybe .284 Winchester.
 

Vodoun daVinci

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If Dude/OP is going to compete with an intention of placing/winning in F-Class/Benchrest he's gonna have $2K invested in optics. At least. I guess I'm curious as to if he wants to win or just shoot "that style"....cause if he expects to compete or win $2K in a rifle is just getting started.

I'm shooting "that style" and I'm being solicited as a competitor because I'm shooting sub MOA at range and the competitors who win would like me to contribute to the fund. Not being snarky - I'm not competitive but folks who are competitive are wanting me to compete and pay to play so they can beat me.

Being competitive in that game is way more expensive than $2K in a rifle. Just sayin'.

VooDoo
 

Sheldon N

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Dedicated bench gun.

Caliber will be either 6.5CM since I'm already setup for it, or maybe .284 Winchester.
Not many bench guns running 6.5 Creed in that world. Not that there's anything wrong with it, just kinda a contradiction in style. The F-class guys would all likely scoff at a 6.5 Creed F-Class build. Bench rest guys wouldn't be caught dead shooting 6.5 Creed.

284 Win is the dominant F-class cartridge, but that's more for 1000 yard shooting. At a 600 yard range would probably be more caliber than needed but not a bad choice.

If you are shooting for tiny groups rather than score, the benchrest guys all play with the 6BR variants. One of my friends who is primarily an F-class shooter built himself a 6BRA and cleaned up at 600 yard F-Class with it.

Heck, at your budget of $2k for the rifle something like this is not a bad choice at all.... 1/3 MOA at 600 yards. If you can live with purple color :)

 
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strat81

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If Dude/OP is going to compete with an intention of placing/winning in F-Class/Benchrest he's gonna have $2K invested in optics. At least. I guess I'm curious as to if he wants to win or just shoot "that style"....cause if he expects to compete or win $2K in a rifle is just getting started.

I'm shooting "that style" and I'm being solicited as a competitor because I'm shooting sub MOA at range and the competitors who win would like me to contribute to the fund. Not being snarky - I'm not competitive but folks who are competitive are wanting me to compete and pay to play so they can beat me.

Being competitive in that game is way more expensive than $2K in a rifle. Just sayin'.

VooDoo
Dude, duder, duderino.

I'm just looking to have fun and step out from the bottom third. No intentions of travelling the country hustling F-class guys out of their lunch money.

Probably end up with a Golden Eagle for optics.
 
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ZiaHunter

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Not many bench guns running 6.5 Creed in that world. Not that there's anything wrong with it, just kinda a contradiction in style. The F-class guys would all likely scoff at a 6.5 Creed F-Class build. Bench rest guys wouldn't be caught dead shooting 6.5 Creed.

284 Win is the dominant F-class cartridge, but that's more for 1000 yard shooting. At a 600 yard range would probably be more caliber than needed but not a bad choice.

If you are shooting for tiny groups rather than score, the benchrest guys all play with the 6BR variants. One of my friends who is primarily an F-class shooter built himself a 6BRA and cleaned up at 600 yard F-Class with it.

Heck, at your budget of $2k for the rifle something like this is not a bad choice at all.... 1/3 MOA at 600 yards. If you can live with purple color :)

This.

The 7mm calibers with 284 Win being the predominant F Class rifles for 1000 yds and many shoot them at 600 yards. The 7mm won't run with the 6BR variants at 600 yards unless the conditions get bad. I started with a 284 and added a 6 Dasher for mid range. For a little over 2K you can put together a good rifle with good action, barrel and decent stock. Kelbly, Defiance, Borden, Pierce are all good actions and you see any number of them at a match. You can always find good used glass for sale and upgrade over time. The predominant glass in F Class is the NF Competition. Bartlein, Kreiger and Brux are most used barrels. To be competitive the rifle will need to shoot sub .5 MOA at the distance you plan on shooting. Although the rifle is important, the quality of your hand loads is paramount. Most F class shooters including myself are pretty anal when it comes to reloading. When chambering the rifle you will need a reamer that has enough free bore to handle the heavy bullets.

Find a mentor who is a High Master and listen and learn from them. This will save you both time and money when putting your equipment together. They can be a source of good used equipment. Best of luck and if you have any questions feel free to send me a PM.

F
 

strat81

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I've been doing a lot of reading on this. The more I read, the more inadequate my $2k rifle budget becomes.

BAT Action and a McMillan F-class stock should blow through that $2k and I'd still need a barrel, a trigger, and a gunsmith to put it all together. A Stiller action or blueprinted R700 from PTG would be a little cheaper, but not much.

Used is always an option, but I'm at the mercy of what's available.

Keeping in mind this is for club-level competition and maybe (MAYBE) state level... is it foolish to do something PRS-ish? Something in a KRG Bravo but with a 26"-30" near-straight contour barrel and bagriders front and back?

Base rifle could be a pawn shop R700 or Savage or my existing Tikka CTR. I'm not married to the Bravo, it just seems like a decent choice do to the relatively flat rear of the stock. It can also handle something like a 1.100" barrel. A used RPR and an aftermarket heavy bull barrel is another option along those lines.

I also need to upgrade my rest. The Rock BR I'm using is crude. I can't justify a SEB, but a Sinclair Varmint or Competition rest I think would be a worthwhile upgrade.

Do you know the guy that shows up at the range with a 10-40x power Counter-Sniper scope, XM193, and chicom bipod bolted to the barrel of his DPMS Oracle? I don't want to be that guy's cousin.