Sunday Gunday: 7mm-6.5 PRC F-Open Rifle on Eliseo Chassis By:

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[[{“value”:”June 30th, 2024

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Sunday Gunday: 7mm-6.5 PRC F-Open Rifle on Eliseo Chassis

F-Open Eliseo competition machine F1 rifle pro-mod feature

Mike Kurtz’s Competition Machine F1 “Pro-Mod” F-Open Rifle
Today’s Sunday GunDay article showcases a modern F-Open Rifle built on a Competition Machine Aluminum Chassis. This is quite a bit different than a typical F-Open rifle with a laminated wood or wood/carbon stock. But the rifle shoots extremely well, and has already won some mid-range F-Open matches.

The rifle’s owner, a highly respected vehicle mechanic, explained his objective with this rifle: “I wanted to build a second F-Open rifle to shoot primarily 600-yard Mid-Range and also serve as my back-up long range rifle. That way I can use the same brass, bullets, and primers. So it would be chambered in 7mm-6.5 PRC, the same as my other F-Open rifle. That rig is a 7mm-6.5 PRC with Cerus XR stock, BAT Neuvo action, and Bartlein 1:9-8.7″ gain-twist barrel. I absolutely love that rifle and it has achieved several top honors. But for this project, I wanted to try some different rifle components to see how they performed in this same caliber. So I decided to go with Brux barrels, BAT Neuvo aluminum action (but see below), and an Eliseo Competition Machine F1 aluminum alloy chassis.”

F-Open Eliseo competition machine F1 rifle pro-mod feature

BARREL SPECIFICATIONS: I ordered two Brux 7mm x 33″ barrels with 1:8.5″ twist. The contour was supposed to be 1.350″ diameter for 5″, tapered-down to 1.150″ diameter at the muzzle end. However, when the barrels arrived they were tapered down to 1.050″, a bit smaller. The folks at Brux admitted the work order was mis-read and offered to take back the barrels and make me two more. Or, I could keep the barrels with nice discount. I contacted my gunsmith, Omar Alonzo, for his advice and he said to keep them, they would shoot just fine. That turned out to be a blessing because the total rifle weight is now just three ounces under 22 pounds with one of these barrels. Omar chambered it with his 7mm-6.5PRC “no-turn” reamer that was used on my Cerus rifle. The Brux barrel was finished at 32″ with the muzzle end threaded for a V2 tuner.

F-Open Eliseo competition machine F1 rifle pro-mod feature
F-Open Eliseo competition machine F1 rifle pro-mod feature

ACTION and TRIGGER: I intended to use an aluminum BAT Neuvo action because I anticipated weight may be a concern, but they were on back-order with no lead time in sight. So for now I went with a used steel BAT Model M, 1.47 Octagon action that I acquired via the AccurateShooter Forum marketplace. This is a RBLP Right Eject action with magnum bolt face and 20 MOA integral Picatinny rail. The trigger is a Bix’N Andy Competition also scored on the Forum, set at 3 ounces. [NOTE: I now have an aluminum Neuvo AL in my possession. However, the F1 rifle is shooting so well, I’ll save the aluminum Neuvo for a future build.]

STOCK and FINISH: When I was planning my second F-Open 7mm-6.5 PRC rifle build, Gary Eliseo’s F1 aluminum chassis was my immediate choice. I was already familiar with Gary’s products since I started out three years ago with a used 6BR-chambered R1 tube gun. I purchased it from a Forum member and I adapted it for Mid-Range F-Open very successfully. Being a long-time drag racer and fabricator piqued my interest in these aluminum chassis combos. I contacted Gary Eliseo at Competition Machine and ordered his F1 F-Open Chassis System with one of his custom-machined bedding blocks for the Bat M action I acquired off the Forum.

Video of F1 Chassis Rifle in Action

Turn-around time was just about eight weeks, including aligning and epoxying the action bedding block into the chassis. Gary Eliseo offers full custom Cerakote services for his customers but I had something else in mind so I had the chassis sent to me “raw”, i.e. with a bare aluminum finish. At first I thought about polishing some or all the entire chassis but that would be too high maintenance. I decided to go with anodizing as I have done in the past with many race car components. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a decorative, very durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish that’s pretty tough and looks great!. This finish is available in many colors and in clear.

While I was surfing the internet looking for some color/combo ideas I stumbled on a local custom anodizer who had dozens of some really wild and crazy anodizing patters and color mash-ups. I messaged Stephen @ Caustic Customs and told him about my project. He replied that his specialty is paint-ball guns and this would be his first long gun but, hey, it’s aluminum! I gave him all the pieces of my F1 chassis. There were a couple of his patterns I really liked so I asked his opinion which he thought might look best for my project. He replied why not both? So I instructed him take both patterns and “run with it”. The end result is the Icy-Hot blue/red finish as seen in the pictures.

It all came together at Alonzo’s Custom Rifles in Pasadena, Texas. Omar hand-lapped the action bedding block surface to smooth-out some tiny high spots. He then skim-bedded the action with an epoxy filler to make sure the action made 100% contact with the bedding block. Barrel chambering, action fitting, trigger tuning, and final assembly was performed by Omar.

F-Open Eliseo competition machine F1 rifle pro-mod feature

I finished the rifle with a hydraulic recoil pad from Falcon Strike and Anarchy Outdoor’s Penguin Precision Grip. Gary designed the F1 to utilize AR15-style grips. The Falcon Strike pad is not as sexy as the R.A.D. unit I have on my Cerus-stocked rifle, but I think its recoil-absorbing performance is up there with the R.A.D. unit. So, if a RAD is not in your budget or if weight is a concern, you can’t go wrong with a Falcon Strike recoil pad.

SCOPE/RINGS: My intention was to switch my March-X 8-80x56mm Majesta High Master scope between my two rifles. However the hefty stainless Bat M action nixed that idea. So to ensure the new rifle would be F-Open legal weight I went with a used March-X 10-60x56mm High Master scope that I acquired through the AccurateShooter Forum Marketplace. That 10-60X March, shown in the video, is almost 11 oz. lighter that my 8-80X March-X Majesta HM. NOTE: In some of the photos here, the rifle is fitted with an older March 8-80X scope (NOT the latest Majesta). The rings are March Superlight Titanium Ghost Rings — under 5 oz. for the set, the lightest I could find.

F-Open F1 Chassis Rifle Specifications

Chambered for: 7mm-6.5 PRC Wildcat
Stock: Competition Machine F1, F-Open Chassis, Falcon Strike Recoil Pad, Anarchy Outdoors Penguin Grip. Custom anodizing by Caustic Customs.
Trigger: Bix’N Andy Competition trigger
Action: Bat Model M — Right Bolt, Left Port, Right Eject with 20 MOA scope rail
Barrel: Brux 7mm, 1:8.5″ twist, 32″ overall, 1.350″ x 5″, tapering down to 1.050″, V2 Tuner
Scope: March-X 10-60 High Master, MTR-1 reticle. March Ultra-Lite Titanium Ghost scope rings.
Gunsmith: Alonzo Custom Rifles

F-Open Eliseo competition machine F1 rifle pro-mod feature
This animated image includes three successive ShotMarker screen-captures from the February 2024 Bayou Rifles 600-yard match that Mike won with this F1 rifle, posting a 600-42X final score.

CARTRIDGE COMPONENTS and LOADING METHOD: I use Lapua 6.5 PRC brass, Berger 180gr Hybrid bullets and Federal 210M primers. New brass necks are expanded to 7mm and skim-turned to get a consistent .014″ neck thickness. I use a 35-degree cutter and go just a slight bit into the shoulder to ward off donuts. I then chamfer the flash holes, uniform the primer pockets, full-length size the cases, then expand and trim/chamfer the necks. My fired brass gets annealed, wet-tumble cleaned, full-length sized/expanded, and trimmed in that order. Bullets are pointed and then sorted by OAL. Primers are sorted by height and then by weight. I apply Neo-Lube to the inside of the necks with a foam Q-Tip for consistent seating psi.

F-Open Eliseo competition machine F1 rifle pro-mod feature
This is from a 600-yard match shot with the F1 rifle a few months ago.
Despite a strong wind from behind constantly switching right to left,
I scored a 200-12X — good enough for Second Place.

LOAD DEVELOPMENT PROCESS: Thanks to some good 7mm-6.5 PRC load data posted on AccurateShooter.com, it helped me with a starting point to find a nice velocity node at 2865 fps using Hodgdon H4350. I did this by shooting some 2-shot groups seated .010″ off the lands. my focus was to find a node where the velocity leveled-out in at least two 0.5 grain increments in the 2850-2880 fps range. I then did a seating depth test at 100 yards to find my ideal seating depth which ended up at .024″ jumped. Next, I did some 3-shot groups at 100 yards to dial-in he barrel tuner until I got at least two consecutive ultra-tight groups. I verified that setting with a one-hole, three-shot group.

F-Open Eliseo competition machine F1 rifle pro-mod feature

About Mike Kurtz
Michael Kurtz is owner/operator of Century Automotive & Transmission. An ASE Master L1 Technician since 1983, Mike has been an avid drag racer over the last 40 years. Mike notes: “I never owed any kind of rifle until I retired from racing. Got bit by the accuracy bug and learned about F-Class in 2021. I read several reloading and long range shooting books while I scoured the AccurateShooter Forum Marketplace for a rifle, scope, rests, and reloading equipment for my first F-Open rig. Most all of my major components I acquired via online Forums. I have to attribute the early success of my F-Open accomplishments to the vast content found on AccurateShooter.com.

F-Open Eliseo competition machine F1 rifle pro-mod featureI am also a member at Bayou Rifles Inc. in Houston Texas where I’ve learned from some of the best shooters in the country. The competition here is fierce but the camaraderie is second to none!”

For more information, contact:
Mike Kurtz
Century Automotive & Transmission
281-633-8155
Member “makurtz” on AccurateShooter Forum

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Tags: BAT action, Brux Barrel, Competition Machine, F-Class, F-Open, Gary Eliseo, Mike Kurtz

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