Basic Equipment

One of the most intimidating aspects of the shooting sports is choosing your equipment. None of it is cheap and much of it is less than ideal. Firstly you need to develop an understanding of what you want from the sport. Do you want to be totally competitive right from the start or do you just want to shoot at the club level and have a bit of fun?

Ammunition is one of the more restricted aspects of the sport and they apply to both F-Standard and T/R. For club shooting we are a bit more relaxed but for grade shoots and other formal competition adherence to the rules is required.

Please note that this section does not include prices. The equipment doesn't change but the prices do. Prices for most of this gear can be found in magazine and online adverts and through club price lists. We will try and indicate which options are more expensive than others but listing exact prices is unrealistic.

Basic Equipment for F-Class Standard (F-Standard):

Basic Equipment for Fullbore T/R:

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Detailed Equipment for F-Class Standard (F-Standard):

There are a number of general considerations when choosing a rifle for F-Standard. The main one is... Will it shoot the high BC bullets that are preferred for the long range shooting? With that in mind there are a number of options available both off the shelf, second hand and custom built.

Remington Police .308 in an AICS stock

Scopes are also a serious consideration as a very expensive scope can easily be found to be unsuitable for F-Class because of a simple things like lack of elevation adjustment, a reticle that's too thick or lack of magnification. The other issue with these scopes is MIL's (milliradians) versus MOA (Minutes of angle) for adjustment. Most Mil graduated scopes have .1 Mil adjustments which equals 1/3 MOA. This could reasonably be considered to be too coarse for the modern targets which have a centre ring that's .8 MOA across.

The most critical consideration when selecting a scope is to get one that has clear, easy to read and understand graduated turrets.

The multitude of rear sandbags is almost mind boggling. It's worth browsing a site like Sinclairs to get an idea of what is out there in order to select one which is most suited to the stock that you're using. Locally they can be purchased from BRT.


Below are some recommendations. There are plenty of other options available.

Rifle options
Item Comments
Used Omark .308 or .223

Cheap, accurate, available.
Omarks can be difficult to set up for F-Class because the original omarks are not drilled and tapped for scope mounts and will need a gunsmith to fit one. That can cost in the vicinity of $400 for a rail, rings and fitting.
Omarks also employ a bolt locking mechanism where the bolt locks into the rear of the barrel. This makes rebarreling awkward as the barrel has to be machined to the bolt. A cheaper and simpler way of rebarreling an omark is to make use of an adapter which the bolt locks into and which allows new barrels of all types to be finished in a more conventional fashion and screwed into the adaptor.
Look for one that has been rebarreled if you can as the original sportco barrels are getting a bit long in the tooth. If you can get one that has been rebarreled with an adapter then that is a bonus as future barrel changes are easier.
Used Omarks can be bought through the NSWRA store at Anzac range Malabar. Others are advertised from time to time on the notice boards around Malabar and web sites like usedguns.com.au. Some are even available via word of mouth. Prices $150+ bare with better ones being $500+.

Factory Tikka T3 .308 There are various tikka models which are chambered in .308 and accuracy wise they're all very capable. The heavier barreled versions are preferable as they heat up slower and therefore are less prone to a loss of accuracy during the course of a detail. The 1 in 11" twist rate of these rifles barrels is very good for the 155gr bullets used in F-Standard. The Tikka varmint, super varmint and tactical are all good choices.
Factory Savage .308

There are various Savage models which are chambered in .308 and accuracy wise they range from acceptable to exceptional. The Law enforcement models (i.e. 10FP) are a reasonable start but their varmint (i.e. 12BVSS and 12VLP ) and target models (i.e. 12FTR and 12Palma ) have a reputation for accuracy well beyond their price point.

Savage 10FP Tasco 6-24x Scope

Factory Tikka T3 .223 We have previously endorsed Tikka T3 .223 variants with the 1 in 8" twist barrel but have had to withdraw that endorsement due to the short chambering of these rifles. They are pretty much useless for F-Class as they cannot be loaded with the high BC 22 cal projectiles needed to accurately shoot over distances greater than 600m.
Factory Savage .223

There are various Savage models which are chambered in .223 and accuracy wise they range from acceptable to exceptional. The Law enforcement models (i.e. 10FP) are a reasonable start but their varmint (i.e. 12BVSS and 12VLP ) and target models (i.e. 12LRPV ) and (i.e. 12FTR) have a reputation for accuracy well beyond their price point.
For ideal long range performance the 1 in 7" twist 223 is preferable (where available) as it will be needed to stabilise the high BC, long range Bullets, that are needed to be competitive. For a rifle that will see dual usage both on and off the range the 1 in 9 may be preferable.

Custom build

Expensive. Expensive. Very accurate. Did I say expensive? Not to mention the wait. Waiting for the parts. Waiting for the smith. Waiting for the exchange rate so that you can afford it.
If you want to be competitive at all levels then this is the way to go. The cheapest action for a custom build is a second hand Omark. The ideal action is a Barnard and there's plenty in between. If you can, find a good smith and talk to them about your custom build. They may have preferred action and barrel suppliers.

Scope options
Item Comments
Nightforce The NXS is considered top of the line for F-Class and with a price to match. They have plenty of elevation adjustment available and have a good selection of reticles (NP-R2) preferred.
Leupold VX-3 Long Range Target Not as expensive as the Nightforce but just as capable. Higher end optics.
Nikon Buckmaster Medium level optics which compromise on magnification in order to maintain quality.
Nikko Stirling The 30mm nighteater range is the lower end choice for optics. They have higher magnifications available at the expense of quality.
Scope Mounting Options
Item Comments
Tapered Rail Weaver or Picatinny style tapered rails are probably the most common option. 20MOA is a good size rail for F-Class as it eliminates the need for a scope with extremely large quantities of adjustment. With a tapered rail you can use any of a large selection of rings suitable for weaver bases.
Burris signature Zee rings The burris signature zee rings allow you to use standard non tapered weaver style bases and still get up to 20 MOA of adjustment for 30mm rings ( 30 MOA for 1" rings with the insert kit) . They do this by using plastic inserts which are sized to provide the adjustment and which automatically align with the scope tube without stressing or bending the scope.
Bipod or Pedestal Rest Options
Item Comments
Pedestal Rest

These pedestal rests have a range of adjustment and stability which makes them suitable for F-Class. They will generally need to be modified to include a leg or foot arrangement which does not sink into the ground.

A couple of Pedestal rests of various pedigrees

F-Class Bipod

There is an abundance of Aluminum bipod's around and many are home made. The NSWRA store does sell one for a reasonable price. Typically they require a rail for fitment so it may be necessary to have your stock modified to include one.

Bipod

 

Harris bipod

The standard Harris bipod is suitable for a rifle that will be doing double duty elsewhere. It's light weight and it's ability to fold away is extremely convenient compared to the more specialised F-Class bipod's but it comes at the cost of stability. The Harris will attach to the standard sling swivels present on most factory rifles.

Harris Bipod

 

Rear Sand Bag Options
Item Comments
Rabbit ears bag

Rabbit ears bags are suitable for all but the widest stocks.

 

 

Bunny ears bag

Bunny ears bags are short ears bags. They're more suitable for straight butt stocks or stocks with cheek pieces which interfere with Rabbit eared bags.

 

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Detailed Equipment for Fullbore T/R:

 

Rifle options
Item Comments
Used Omark .308 or .223

Cheap, accurate, available.
Omarks were designed for T/R shooting and saw great success in the international Palma Rifle competitions over many years.
Omarks also employ a bolt locking mechanism where the bolt locks into the rear of the barrel. This makes rebarreling awkward as the barrel has to be machined to the bolt. A cheaper and simpler way of rebarreling an omark is to make use of an adapter which the bolt locks into and which allows new barrels of all types to be finished in a more conventional fashion and screwed into the adaptor.
Look for one that has been rebarreled if you can as the original sportco barrels are getting a bit long in the tooth. If you can get one that has been rebarreled with an adapter then that is a bonus as future barrel changes are easier.
Used Omarks can be bought through the NSWRA store at Anzac range Malabar. Others are advertised from time to time on the notice boards around Malabar and web sites like usedguns.com.au. Some are even available via word of mouth. Prices $150+ bare with better ones being $500+.

 

 

Factory Savage .308

There are various Savage models which are chambered in .308 and accuracy wise they range from acceptable to exceptional. The 12BVSS and 12Palma models are perhaps the most suited for target rifle use with the Palma model being configured for aperture sights.

Custom build

Expensive. Expensive. Very accurate. Did I say expensive? Not to mention the wait. Waiting for the parts. Waiting for the smith. Waiting for the exchange rate so that you can afford it. If you want to be competitive at all levels then this is the way to go.

Aperture Sight
Item Comments
Central Sight

The simplest option which generally comes with the purchase of a second hand rifle is the Central sight.

Rear Central Sight

Central Apeture Sight

 

Foresight Ring Set
Item Comments
Foresight Ring set

It is necessary to purchase a set of firesight rings which are appropriate for your eyesight. Our club can assist you selecting the corect sizes.

Rear Central Sight

Foresight Tube

Rear Central Sight

Foresight Rings of various sizes

 

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Detailed Equipment common for both disciplines:

Ammunition Options
Item Comments
Reloads Handloading ammunition has the potential to produces both the most accurate ammunition and/or significantly reduce the cost of ammunition. If you're shooting regularly then the price difference can quickly cover the cost of a reloading setup.
Reloading components are available from the NSWRA store at prices that you will find difficult for other stores to match.
Factory (club target)

The NSWRA runs a store at Anzac Range which supplies factory ammunition approved for use under the rules. Some of this ammunition is produced specifically for the NRAA and is specifically intended for long range shooting.

HBC Ammunition

NRAA HBC Ammunition

Factory (other target) Many ammunition suppliers produce "Target" loads. These are preferred over general "plinking" or hunting ammunition but are generally more expensive than the ammunition available from the NSWRA store. If you find something that you're happy to use and your club is happy for you to use it then by all means go for it. Be aware that this target ammunition may struggle at some of the longer ranges which we shoot at.
Factory (other) Hunting and plinking ammunition is generally not suitable for long range target work. The main issue is that hunting bullets are usually frangible and can present a safety issue for the people in the butts at some rifle ranges. For this reason they are not advised.
Shooting Mat Options
Item Comments
Standard Mat

Basic shooting mats are available from the NSWRA store at a reasonable price.

A couple of standard shooting mats

Drag Bag

These have the added advantage of doubling as a rifle bag. They aren't cheap though. You may find a standard mat to be more suitable. Generally available through Tactical stores.

Camping Mat

Don't even think about it.

Rifle Case or Bag
Item Comments
Hard Case Hard Cases are a good option but it can be difficult getting one which is long enough to cater for the long barrel lengths commonly found on F-Class and T/R rifles.

 

Soft Bag

Soft cases are a reasonable option and are significantly cheaper than some of the hard cases.

Ear muffs
Item Comments
Peltor Electronic Top of the line and some models are very expensive but you can hear everything going on around you.
Peltor Shotgunner

Standard earmuffs. These work really well for a fraction of the cost of the electronic ones. You don't get to hear everything going on around you but sometimes that's a good thing.

Foam Plugs

Fine for behind the line or shooting 22's but they're not good enough for the .223's and .308's.

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Cleaning Accessories

The topic of Cleaning gear is a very subjective area when it comes to shooting so it's getting it's own section. Cleaning is an area where a lot of people will malign certain equipment and procedures without any basis in reality and then proceed to do something even worse. More barrels are ruined by poor cleaning than by anything else!

So what to buy?

First up you need a good rod. For a 26" barrel you'll want at least a 40" rod. Two great options are Dewey which is a coated rod (available from the NSWRA store) or a proshot rod which is uncoated and is available through BRT. The truth is, one is no better or worse than the other.

There is one excellent brand to avoid and that is Parker Hale. They are excellent quality coated rods but the threads don't seem to match anything, even the Parker Hale jags and brushes. They are endless frustration.

The next contentious issue is pierce jags versus wrap around parker hale style jags. A lot of the older T/R guys like their wrap around jags but you'll see more of the benchrest crowd using the pierce style jags. The pierce style are certainly easier to use for general cleaning though the wraparound ones are good for applying abrasive cleaners like the polishing paste cleaners.

The final contentious issue is what solvent to use. Two good options are Boretech Eliminator and the 1, 2 combination of Hoppes No. 9 and Sweets. There are plenty of other options out there. The only warning. Don't leave sweets in a barrel. It can attract moisture and in the wrong conditions can damage a barrel. Boretech being ammonia free will not damage your barrel.

Now for the non-contentious information...

Buy numerous brushes both Nylon and Bronze. The bronze ones really wear down with lots of use and you'll be replacing them reasonably often. The nylon ones are good for applying copper solvents like Boretech and Sweets because they won't trigger false readings by reacting to the copper in a bronze jag or brush.

Buy a boreguide. The modern delrin ones are cheap and functional. A good bore guide works to protect the throat of your rifle by centering the cleaning rod in the bore. Try to get one that uses o-rings to prevent solvent flowing back into your action.

Chamber mops are handy for cleaning up solvent's that flow into the chamber area. It's worth purchasing a few.

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