July 24th, 2007

BoreScope Video–Factory vs. Custom Barrels

In this video by Dan Lilja, you can see the difference between a factory barrel and a hand-lapped custom barrel with your own eyes. The borescope reveals the tooling marks, rough surface, and flaws in the lands that are not uncommon in a factory barrel. Conversely, the custom barrel (shown in the image below), shows sharp lands, a smooth surface (without excess machining marks), and rifling without scratches or cuts. If you haven’t watched this video before, you may be amazed.

You can learn more about borescopes by reading the Hawkeye Borescope Review by top UK shooter Vince Bottomley. Vince put a Hawkeye unit through its paces and concludes that it is an invaluable tool for diagnosing barrel problems and monitoring barrel wear. Vince writes: “With a borescope, you can tell immediately if your cleaning regime is effective, or inspect for throat-erosion and the general condition of the rifling. In addition, I have found that it is very useful for inspecting newly-cut chambers–making sure they are free from scoring and other machining defects and you can even have a good look at the muzzle-crown from the inside–one of the most important parts of any barrel. Tiny burrs can often be present on newly-cut crowns and even the most minute damage to a crown (often caused by careless cleaning) can play havoc with accuracy. For the professional gunsmith, you could say that a borescope is the equivalent of a doctor’s stethoscope.”

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July 24th, 2007

Friedrich Shoots ARA 2500 with Calfee Pistol

This may be a first in ARA 50-yard competition. Using a Calfee-built Rem XP100 pistol with 20″ barrel, Joe Friedrich shot a perfect 2500 score at the Open Grove range in California this past weekend. His four-target total was 9650 (2350, 2450, 2500, 2350). The pistol was supported by a skeletal bipod in front with a conventional sandbag in the rear. The group was shot at night in very stable conditions. Joe told us: “This pistol is incredible. I’ve only had it a couple of weeks, and I’m still learning the technique.”

joe friedrich calfee pistol

We find it very interesting that Joe was able to achieve this kind of accuracy with a relatively short barrel. Conventional wisdom (at least with rimfire rifles) dictates that one needs a barrel 25″ or longer to work optimally with the tuner systems. Many folks also believe that the longer barrels tend to “iron out” shot to shot velocity differences. It will be interesting to see if some ARA shooters now experiment with shorter barrels on their rifles.

Joe credits much of his recent hot shooting to a new wind indicator product he’s using: “Snuffy” Sail Tails. These use nylon ripstop sailcloth material and maintain a tubular shape (like a long cigar) when attached to a wind flag. They rise and fall with velocity changes, and are much easier to read. Joe says these don’t flutter around like conventional wind tails or surveyors’ tape. They are sensitive enough for small zephyrs but they don’t swing back and forth erratically giving potential false reads. You can order the Sail Tails from Howard “Snuffy” Smith in Macon, GA, (478) 477-2829. A set of five Sail Tails in a PVC tube is $24.50 delivered. Link to Advert.

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