January 12th, 2008

Kelbly Kodiak in Kodiak, AK

We recently received an email from a Hunter Class competitor, Mike Kenwood, who extolled the merits of Kelbly Kodiak actions, and told us the Kodiak deserved more coverage on the site. We did a double-take when we saw the email came from, of all places, Kodiak, Alaska.

Mike wrote: “Ralph Stolle-designed actions have been named after bears, the Teddy, the Panda, the Grizzly, and of course the Kodiak, with the Panda being the hands-down favorite in short-range BR until recently. Yes Kodiak Island is home of the world’s largest land-based carnivore, the sub-species of Grizzly, and known as ‘Kodiak Brown Bear’.

As a resident of Kodiak, AK, I admit to being partial to the name, but that’s not what drove me to try this model in my project guns.

Kelbly’s Kodiak action is a favorite in the IBS “Hunter Class” rifles. Though not so popular in the long-range game, the Kodiak is set up with a magazine cut-out, and big footprint for bedding. I own two Kodiak actions, along with five Kelbly Pandas, and the ability to interchange barrels between them is very useful. If you provide Greg Walley at Kelbly’s the serial number of your action, he can chamber the barrel and fit it to your gun based on recorded dimensions — you don’t need to send in the action. So your gun need not be out-of-commission for months while waiting on a chambering job.

Kelbly's Kodiak Action

While many folks now favor BAT Machine and other actions in the long- and short-range accuracy quest, I think the Kodiak action, as a repeater or single-shot, deserves more credit. Hunter Class participation levels seem to be declining at IBS matches. I hope this will not influence Kelbly’s to stop making Kodiak actions. The accuracy of the Kodiak, along with its wide footprint and functional magazine, make the Kodiak a great choice for long-range shooting. The Kodiak’s magazine length is well-suited for 6 BR, 6 XC, and 6 Dasher cartridges. This makes the Kodiak a perfect contender for a long-range Benchrest repeater. As a Kodiak action owner familiar with the accuracy Kodiaks deliver, I believe your readers will benefit from a close look at the Kodiak option.

Kelbly's Kodiak Action

My Kodiak in 30 BR features a 1:18″ twist Krieger barrel, Kelbly’s stock, and Jewell trigger. My preferred bullet is the 118gr BIB (with 34.8 grains of H4198), but in the picture below one group is with Ronnie Cheeks 118gr bullets with 36.0 grains of Benchmark. My Kodiak with a Rock Creek barrel in .308 Win shoots the same size groups with 155gr BIB bullets and 47.3 grains of Varget. My .308 Win Kodiak features a Kelbly’s Benchrest trigger for short and consitent ignition. Both loads use Federal Match primers, and of course Lapua brass. All metal work on my Kodiaks was done by Kelbly’s Greg Walley. All bedding was done by Tom Meredith at TM Stockworks. Both Greg and Tom do fantastic work.”

Kelbly's Kodiak Action

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January 12th, 2008

Grafs has 7.5×55 RUAG Ammo

At many shooting clubs nationwide, “fun matches” are offered for surplus, iron-sight, military bolt-action rifles. These club-level competitions may be shot from the bench, prone, standing, or a combination of positions. It’s a rewarding, low-cost form of competition. You can find a decent-shooting rifle from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), or surplus rifle vendor for under $250, though “all-matching” collectible rifles can cost many times that amount.

Three of the most popular and competitive rifles used in these bolt-action matches are the 6.5×55 Swedish Mauser, 1903 Springfield in 30-06, and the 7.5×55 Swiss K-31. With its quality barrel, precision-machined action, and unique straight-pull bolt, a good Schmidt-Rubin K-31 can run with the best of the Springfields and Mausers. Until recently, however, finding quality loaded ammunition was difficult. Thanks to Graf & Sons, however, you can now purchase high-quality RUAG 7.5×55 ammo for under $0.60 per round. The RUAG 7.5×55 (GP-11) 174gr FMJ ammunition costs $5.99 for a ten-round box. This ammo features quality annealed brass, loaded with a non-corrosive Berdan primer. (NOTE: Berdan-primer brass can be reloaded, but it is generally not worth the effort compared to conventional Boxer-primed brass). RUAG ammo is good stuff, made in Switzerland to exacting standards. It is quite accurate in K-31s with a decent bore.

Other sources for 7.5×55 loaded ammo include Wideners.com and Ammoman.com. Wideners offers Wolf “Gold Line” Boxer-primed 7.5×55 ammo, loaded with either FMJ or Soft Point bullets. This features fully reloadable brass, with a non-corrosive Boxer primer, and all-copper jacketed bullet. The 174gr SP ammo costs $11.40 per box of 20, while the 174gr FMJ costs $11.20 per 20-count box.

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