I have shot competitively 22LR for two decades. Started shooting prone with sling, but eventually transitioned to small bore f class.
My sling rifle was built by Howard Pitts. It had a .960" straight, tight bore Lilja barrel, Anschutz 54 action epoxied in Eliseo chassis, 6" bloop tube, and Eliseo tuner. The rifle was super accurate but not suitable for SBFC (small bore f-class). The targets used in SBFC are so small, that accuracy alone is not enough to be competitive at regional and National level matches. A purpose build system is required. The rifle must be stable in the bags, comfortable, because matches are usually 160 shots for record plus sighters, and it has to be capable of being shot fast when needed. With that in mind, I decided to build the ultimate SBFC rifle for myself. For advice on reamer, barrel and chamber specs I reached out to best in the business. Howard Pitts ( Pitts Precision) told me to go with Calfee 2 reamer and Benchmark 3 groove barrel. Jim Murphy (F class centerfire and rimfire National Champion) suggested that I get Stiller 2500X receiver. Jerry Stiller recommended Shilen Ratchet barrel, and gave me tips on the chambering. I already knew that I was going to use Masterclass stock and hardware because I really like the ergonomics and look, so the final specs of the pictured rifle are:
-Masterclass Lowboy stock pained midnight blue. The barrel channel and bottom of fore end were re-enforced with carbon fiber.
-Stiller 2500 X action
-Two stage CG Jackson trigger
-Shilen Ratchet barrel
-KMT (Kovan Myers Tuner)
-Nightforce ATACR 7 x 35 scope in March rings.
Jerry Stiller told me that on average, one out of six barrels will be a "hummer". Given the life of a small bore barrel (tens of thousands of rounds) and the cheaper cost (compared to centerfire) of barrel blanks that's actually not as bad (expansive) as it sounds. With that being said, I got lucky because the first barrel that I chambered shot lights out. What's interesting about this barrel, is that it clocked initially at the "worst" possible position- 3 o'clock. I decided to shoot it as is, then to index the bore at 6 o'clock and shoot it again. The barrel shot good at both bore positions , but when indexed at 6, the group sizes were little smaller and more consistent. That's maybe due to the fact, that the blank was pretty straight to begin with. I plan doing a lot of testing (tuner weights, sizes, settings )as soon as get the ammo I ordered, and will post the results, so stay tuned.
In conclusion , SBFC is a lot of fun, but can also be super frustrating if half- assed. Get the best equipment and ammo you can afford, and lets make SB F- Class Great Again!