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Which F-Class Open Calibre is best for Recoil (less is best).

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Firstly, let me say that any advice offered and received is welcomed.


I have been enjoying F Class for 6 months and I love it, I'm hooked. I can honestly say that in the past six months I have not lifted my DT10 once or entered any Trap competitions, not one. Who needs clays when you have 600, 800, 1000 yards to master.


Currently, I have a Savage Model 12 F/TR combined with a Night Force Competition Scope. I can hold my own at club and friendly challenges, and my reloading and wind reading is improving at every outing. Having had the chance at trying A few custom-built rifles, I really want to up my game now. But my disability is “Recoil”, in my case less is best. I have had a lot of reconstructive surgery on my shoulders, and the larger cal's and loads can seriously push me around after a string.


My goal is to have a competitive package for F-Class Open. The best I have shot with and enjoyed was the .284 Shehane, using Berger 180g VLDs. The recoil was manageable and the next day I did not suffer. I also tried .308, 210g Long Range Target, after a string of 10… “”Mannnn” they give me such a kicking, 20 down range and I was in bad shape.


I’m ready to pull the plug and spend the money, but I’d really like to hear back from rifle builders and people in the know. I have some concerns around the Shehane, such as dies and getting the setup right, some people have said that it is hard to get reloading powder and that to get a stable load and combo with our UK powder it is hopeless, others have said a straight .284 is just as good. But I don’t want just as good. I can’t run heavy hitters so I’m thinking I need the extra boiler room. Fire forming… this is just another excuse for me to go to the range J

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Fox,given that you have shot-and been happy with the Shehane,that might be your answer. The Shehane -as you lknow-is really just an improved 284w,with a useful edge in performance for Fclass open,especially at the longer ranges. There just has to be a bit more recoil-of course-but it's not much compared to the 284,and it didn't seem to bother you. A muzzle brake can help,considerably when allowed. Heavy loaded 308w won't beat the Shehane,and you have experience the resulting recoil...no fun at all.

I have a Shehane-in a full weight F Open class rig,there is not a recoil problem-even shot free recoil,but judge on your experience (check the rifle you shot was Open class weight legal). There is no problem with dies-though they will cost more than 'regular' common cartridges (such as 308w) but not prohibitively so....only you can judge if £50-100 more is on. There is no problem with load development-the cartridge is now well established,and using existing data will get you very close-no need to reinvent the wheel on any Open class loadings..the popular powders are US based Hodgdon 4831 s/c (short cut) and increasingly Vihtavuori N150/160 etc. From time to time,though hardly frequently,any US imports can be in short supply-but this is not an issue with Vihtavuori Powders. Likewise other components are not hard to source.Berger Hybrids are not as fussy as some VLDs can be....Some get uptight if their local shop doesn't have everything on the shelf at all times-none do/mine doesn't- but Shehane is no problem (I have 6BR,6.5x55 Ackley;PPCs -no problems,if you plan a little-when did you last see 250 Savage in stock?)

On all these kinds of issues,don't take one person's possibly inaccurate views as the whole story-check it out.As you say,the Shehane is simply the 284w case loaded and fired in a Shehane chamber-really not much issue there-and no forming dies etc etc.

There are some lesser recoilers that can work-noteably perhaps the much lighter loaded 6BR/Dasher class but this is something of a compromise if there is any wind-and there usually is. A switch barrel custom with both barrels is a (longer term)option-at just the cost of the second barrel....

Listen to other advice-but the Shehane is competitive,without the risk of recoil from somewhat more peppy short magnums.... You have shot and liked.....well, it just has to be a real contender... It's not in any way exotic... Accurate shooter site will cover all the contenders (with a US bias in components).

Good shooting,whatever you chose.



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My 2p would be go with a straight .284" Win. My initial thought on reading your post Subject line was "F-open and low/no recoil - well thats a 6mm Dasher." But then you have said that a .284 was OK for you.


My reasoning for the unaltered .284" Win are several fold - but that's to take nothing away from the advice you have had above. The prime motivator for any of the 'improved' versions of the .284" is to get more case capacity and allow you to drive that 180 gr bullet faster - towards magnum velocities (3000 fps or so). 'Normal' .284 velocities are in the order of 2850 fps if you use the traditional Hogden powders. However there are a few powders you can use - both RS60, but even better RS70 - to get to at least 3000 fps quite safely without pressure signs or using a compressed load.


I personally use a straight .284" in the GBFCA, and would normally run velocities in the order of 2950 fps, but I can stoke it up if I need to. Personally I dont feel that need - 2950 was plenty to take a stage at 1000 yards. Any points I dropped were my missing a wind drop off, and in that case your done for regardless of another 50 fps.


People will knock the RS powders and say they wear out barrels quickly etc, but if you are tring to be 'no compromise' then 2000 rounds is about all I think is reasonable to expect of national level accuracy in any case. If you find that your shoulder is suffering then you can back it off to 2800 fps with ease,


Other benefits are:

  • cheap dies (relatively) as they are off the shelf
  • No fireforming
  • good norma straight .284 brass from stock

If low recoil is your aim in F-Open, make sure you use all of the weight allowance. My rig is still 3 lb off the limit and I have used pretty much the heaviest everything! If you then added lead/steel slugs into the but it would be very tolerable indeed.


You could also get the barrel threaded and invisible capped - then run a sideport brake during practice to reduce recoil further (just let me know what county and when your shooting so I can make sure I'm elsewhere!).

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Hi Fox, why Berger I think they are to dam expensive, but I shoot Fclass but gone for 7 mm , straight 284 . My Fclass rig is just under 14lb.

I use Viht 165 with a modest 53.0 gn MV again modest 2691 .

Lapua brass 6.5/284 necked up to 7mm

Lapua Scenar L 180 gn

Funny my rifle stated off as a PSS is now with a full make over a Fclass set up.

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Having had a bit of a go at this F class shooting, I think firstly get the rifle up to weight we shoot all our rifles 3oz under weight this is achieved by putting lead in the butt and the 3oz allow for discrepancies in the various scales used, also play with the butt pad they are adjustable for a reason also try different stocks . I spend much time watching how various stocks track and torque on the firing line. you need more speed than a shehane will give, to be competitive all the time another 150fps does cut the wind drift down , remember 1/4 of an inch at 1000yds is the difference between a 5 and a 4. I would try a saum if you cannot take the recoil of a wsm, watch what calibres dominate 284 are accurate until the wind blows.

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Well, way back in 2005 when the GBFCA League was established, we all shot the 6.5-284. Then someone discovered the 7mmWSM...............


But, the 6.5-284 is still a good 1000 yard cartridge and with a 140gn bullet and a 20lb rifle, recoil is negligible.


OK - it's never going to live with a WSM in a wind but neither is the 284 Shehane.


Alternatively - have you tried a recoil reducer?

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