August 2nd, 2014

How Brux Barrels are Made — Precision Start to Finish

Brux Barrels, based in Lodi, Wisconsin, has earned a reputation for producing great-shooting tubes. Brux-made barrels have won their fair share of matches, and set some notable records in the process. Last year, Rodney Wagner shot the smallest five-shot, 600-yard group (.0349″) in the history of rifle competition, using a Brux barrel chambered for the 6mm Dasher.

Folks often ask us why Brux barrels shoot so well. “What’s the secret?” they ask. We can only answer with what Brux explains on its own website: “To make a cut-rifled barrel you have to start off with the proper ingredients: the best steel available, skill, and experience. Since there are really only two main suppliers of barrel-quality steel, the skill and experience is what really makes a barrel maker stand out.” Here is how Brux’s co-owners, Norman Brux and Ken Liebetrau, explain all the procedures involved in making a Brux cut-rifled barrel:

Brux Barrel-Making Process, Start to Finish

We start out with either 4150 chrome-moly or 416R stainless steel double stress-relieved bar stock. The bar stock starts out at 1-9/32″ in diameter and 20-24 feet long so we cut it to length.

Step two is to rough-contour the outside of the barrel blank in a lathe.

Thirdly, the blank gets mounted into a Barnes gun drill. The cutter bit has holes through which oil or coolant is injected under pressure to allow the evacuation of chips formed during the cutting process. This is called “oil-through” or “coolant-through”. Without this, you wouldn’t want to even attempt drilling a hole 30” long and under ¼” in diameter. The combination of a 3600rpm and good flushing allows us to drill a beautifully straight and centered hole .005” under “land” diameter at a rate of 1” per minute.

Clean the barrel.

Next the blank is sent back to the lathe to machine the finished contour of the outside.

Clean the barrel again.

Now, the blank is sent on to the Pratt & Whitney reamer in which an “oil through” reaming tool is used to cut away the extra .005” left in the drilling process. The reamer makes an extremely accurate bore size and after it is finished the bore will have a better surface finish and will be at the proper “land” diameter.

Clean the barrel again.

In the sixth step we hand lap each barrel to remove any slight tool marks that may have been left by the reamer and inspect every one with a bore scope. If the barrel doesn’t meet our standards for surface finish and tolerance it doesn’t get any further.

Clean the barrel again.

The barrels then go onto the rifling machine which is responsible for cutting the all so familiar grooves in the bore. A caliber/land configuration-specific rifling head is used to progressively shave away small amounts of steel to form the rifling grooves. This is accomplished by simultaneously pulling the rifling head through the reamed blank as the blank is spun at a controlled rate. After each cut, the blank is rotated 90 degrees (for a four-land configuration) and after one full rotation (360 degrees) the rifling head is slightly raised to shave off the next bit of material. This process is repeated until we reach groove diameter.

Clean the barrel again.

Lastly, the barrel is hand-lapped again (to ensure a smooth bore), and a final inspection is performed with the bore scope.

The barrel is cleaned one last time, wrapped, packed, and shipped to [the customer].

Anyone reading this detailed description of the Brux barrel-making process will doubtless come away with a new appreciation for the time, effort, and dedication required to produce a premium match-grade cut-rifled barrel. Obviously, there are no easy shortcuts and great attention to detail is required each step of the way. As shooters we’re lucky that we have barrel-makers so dedicated to their craft.

Credit James Mock for steering us to this Barrel Making 101 feature on the Brux website.

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August 2nd, 2014

Close Battle at National Long Range Championship

by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog.com
There are five days in the NRA’s National Long Range High Power Rifle Championship. Five days of firing round after round at 6’ by 6’ targets up to 1,000 yards away. Five days of Camp Perry’s wind bouncing off Lake Erie while the sun fights to break through the occasional cloud.

This report was filed on Friday, August 1, 2014. CLICK HERE for the latest results.

Long Range Championships Camp Perry Gallagher Sherri Jo Nancy Thompkins

Two sets of relays have already taken their respective Shooter Shuttles out to the pits, home of those 6’ by 6’ targets. There competitors take their turn at lifting and lowering the behemoth squares with every shot. Once fired upon, the target is lowered, scored, and raised back into place.

Long Range Championships Camp Perry Gallagher Sherri Jo Nancy Thompkins

[As of Friday morning], only one round of relays is in the score books. Already, this is shaping up as a tightly-fought match. Only one point (and X-count) separates the top five shooters. Philip Crowe is currently in first with 798-47X. Just one X back, at 798-46X, is past champion Nancy Tompkins. A point behind Nancy are USAMU Shooter SSG Brandon Green, the legendary David Tubb, and Waylon Burbach. Nancy’s daughter Michelle Gallagher is in sixth. The other “Gallagher Girl”, SSG Sherri Jo Gallagher (below) is also competing this year.

Long Range Championships Camp Perry Gallagher Sherri Jo Nancy Thompkins

CLICK HERE for Latest 2014 Long Range National Championship Results.

Long Range Championships Camp Perry Gallagher Sherri Jo Nancy Thompkins

Photos courtesy NRABlog.com.

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