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Hi guys, this is my very first post on here so be gentle with me ?

I've been thinking for a while about whether to get my own FAC and join in the fun hubby seems to have with his rifle and last week took the plunge and signed up for probationary membership at Bisley. Hurrah! I've decided FTR is the discipline for me and spent a lot of time recently doing research (while getting thoroughly sunburnt watching the CSR matches at Bisley lol). Anyway, my plan is to start off focusing on 300-600yrd distances and work my way up to 1000, and I would like to compete eventually too. Below is my "kit list" so far and I would greatly appreciate any comments / advice / constructive criticism:

 

Rifle & scope: I'm looking at the Savage model 12 ftr 308 and a Vortex golden eagle. While I'd love to go for a custom gun straight off I don't know enough yet to be confident in putting a spec together and I don't really have the money either. The Savage seems like a good compromise between being pretty good "off the shelf", customisable in the future and ultimately saleable if/when I do go down the custom route. Vortex would be my first choice for a scope anyway, I've read lots of good things about the golden eagle and having gotten my hands on one yesterday for a look through I really like it. Scope mounts/rail I have yet to decide on so any advice there would be appreciated. Hubby swears by his Warne mounts but he is in to CSR rather than FTR so maybe the same rules,especially don't apply (and he has a whopping great Razor Gen II). 

 

Loads: although I don't have my own FAC yet I'm not a stranger to hand loading. I am Chief Deprimer-er and Weigher of Powder for hubby's loads and because I'm ridiculously curious about most things I pepper him with questions every loading session so I'm reasonably confident with the process, although working out bullet seating I'm still a bit unsure on. Research suggests the Berger 155.5gr bullets are the best, although I'd be interested to hear anything on the 155gr Sierra TMK,  and our loading manual suggests Vit N540 as a good velocity producing powder in the absence of Varget. That said I have seen people recommending a whole variety of powders, including other Vit grades, so this I am less sure on. Is it just trial and error? We always have N150 floating around the house but that's way down the list in the loading manual for this bullet weight.

 

Bipod: the two that jump out at me as being available/affordable/good to use are the flexpod and dolphin's carbon fibre one. I know the joypod is "the" thing to have but I'm not sure I like the joystick idea. This is all complicated enough without adding something else to fiddle with! I haven't looked at butt bags yet so any recommendations there (bag and filling) would be really appreciated. 

 

So, apologies for what is possibly the world's longest first post but I'm one of these people who likes to research the hell out of things in advance and have a clear plan right from the start. I'm certain there are things I haven't even thought of and I'm hoping those of you with lots of wisdom will help and share with a newcomer. Thanks in advance!

 

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My advice would be go along and ask advice at the first F class match you can 

second to that Ide recommend buying a FTR rifle from Dolphins it will be specked and ready to go. A lot of guys shooting FTR ( I shoot open ) are going over to heavyweight bullets  this  would effect the spec of your barrel in the first place  again Mick  at dolphins would be able to advise.

 Scopes are very personal choice look through as many as possible and decide 

 I can recommend dolphin mounts or third I tactical both are  excellent.

 BiPods and rear  bags are also going to be personal look at as many as possible and keep it simple.

 A lot of people are using reloader Swiss as it is consistent and well supplied   There's also lots of lode data available.Try to use Lapu brass and a quality prima.

 Good luck and I hope this helps  

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I would 2nd the Dolphin suggestion. Good value and Mik will be v helpful. (He was to me anyway) Not crazy money either for a rifle that is shot by many of the GB team.

I started with the dolphin carbon bipod but now have a joypod and will never look back! Mik can supply rear bag as well as pretty much everything you need. Visit the firing line at a match and you will find a very friendly and helpful group of people. Don't see many Vortex sights on the firing line. Weight is very important. Nightforce prob the most common and also March ( which I use) due to low weight and superb quality I think. RS and Vit are the main powders.

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My partner started off with a Savage mod 12 F/TR 308, and she loves it..................barrels are easy to swap, so she went from 308 to 6BR, and now it's a  6.5x47.

Re-Pete

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Thanks guys, advice is much appreciated. As it happens we're planning on heading up to Bisley to watch some of the imperial meeting matches later this month so hopefully a good opportunity to ask questions and have a look at what setups people are using.

I must confess I am torn really between the Savage and talking to Dolphin about what they could do, although I know deep down I probably can't afford it. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to at least ask... 

Admittedly the vortex scope is a little heavier than the March and Nightforce ones (about 100g I think) but it's also about £800 cheaper and I worked out that putting it on the Savage I should still have plenty of spare weight for bipod, decent mounts, etc.Believe me, I would love to be able to spend thousands on a properly top notch setup but sadly the day job just doesn't pay enough and I think the bank would like me to keep paying my mortgage lol

 

I do have one other thing I meant to ask about - safes. We currently have 2 (hubby's rifles and a shared shotgun one) and I will have to install a third but neither of the ones we have will take a 30" barrel. Any recommendations for extra tall ones?

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Personally MrsP, I think you're dead right with your choice.  The Savage FTR is a great rifle for the money and so is your choice of scope.  The Vortex weighs about 29 ounces but your rifle will be well 'in weight' with one of the popular F Class bi-pods.  After 12 months shooting, you'll have the choice of a custom re-barrel if you think need more accuracy but I doubt it - all the FTR Savages I've seen have shot very well.

The Joypod is not so 'complicated' - set it up and forget the joystick.  Use a squeezy back-bag for adjustment.  I'm using the Cordura Lyman - which comes ready filled and costs about £20.

Load-wise, start off with some new Lapua small primer brass, Berger 155 bullets and Vit 140 powder (stay away from the 540 - it is hard on barrels).

 

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Although the Savage is an excellent rifle “out of the box “ I know four shooters who have had severe problems with the accu-trigger. I did, gave up and sold the rifle. If you know anyone who has a Savage, ask if you can have try.

I’ll second the recommendation for Dolphin rifles. You will more of these at an F Class competition than any other. They are accurate and extremely good value; cheaper than a Savage, which risen in price of late.

Although many F TR guys have invested in a SEB joypod, you don’t need that level of sophistication to get started. The Dolphin bipod is excellent and half the price.

Whatever you do, do not rush it. A mistaken purchase is an expensive mistake.

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Brattonsound do a very tall one. My 34inch Dolphin fits no problem!

 

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I believe RS52 is the powder to launch the 155gr Berger hybrid.

Lots of good advice from previous posts which there isn't much too add.

There's always plenty of ftr equipment in classifieds on a weekly basis.

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The price gap between the Dolphin FTR and Savage FTR is not as great as it once was as Savages are not the bargain they used to be and cost around £1,800 new these days. The 'basic' Dolphin with Nesika E action adds up to £2,650 if you avoid bling extras such as barrel fluting, or £2,550 for the same rifle with the Barnard 'S' action. If you do need to rebarrel the Savage after a year's experience, the cost will be the difference between new rifle prices, ie £750 (or more these days from many gunsmiths).

When you go to an F match see if you can lie down with each type, ideally dry fire or take a shot to see how you like the very different stock configurations. (I'm a fan of the Dolphin but not everybody is.) Also as Brillo says, not everybody cares for the Savage AccuTrigger even in its match version. (I get on fine with it, but it is a real Marmite component, and it has a habit of unadjusting itself over time / recoil inevitably needing readjustment mid match and producing misfires.)

The Savage 12 PTA rifles work well, sometimes excpetionally well, but it is a clunky action and trigger compared to many, and I say that as one who has used PTAs in various form and calibres for many years and still own two rifles using this action/trigger which I'm very fond of. A common derogatory nickname for the breed on the US Accurate Shooter forum is 'the Salvage' amongst its detractors. So far as Savage factory competition rifle barrels go, a fair percenhtage shoot brilliantly once the very lengthy running-in period is over, far better than any factory component should; most shoot adequately for a competition rifle, ie still good but not exceptionally; a small minority are 'dogs' and never perform well.

See if you can find a good secondhand Sightron 8-32X56 Series III scope, an excellent starter model for FTR, and what you save on the Vortex will let you buy a more expensive base rifle.

And ......... good luck and shooting. Any new FTR shooter is welcome, especially another lady to add to the growing field of female 'Effers'.

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And I’ll second Laurie’s comment about the Sightron scope. Amazing piece of kit for the price. It isn’t up to a March but the latter is almost £1800 dearer.

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Thank you again guys, absolutely loads of great advice which is very much appreciated. Plenty of things for me to think about!

I am convinced and definitely going to speak to Dolphin. I figure its worth asking and at least then I'll know for certain if they're out of my price range or not. Hubby is In full on enabling mode too - he has a really rather expensive rifle built and modified to his spec so he sees no reason why I shouldn't too. 

I didn't realise there were classifieds on here (doh!) but will certainly take a look there too.

Thanks again everyone, and I'll keep you posted on how I get on :)

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