September 30th, 2016

John Whidden’s Anschutz-Barnard .308 Win Palma Rifle

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

This feature story is the third (and final) installment of a three-part series by 2016 National Long-Range Champion John Whidden. In this article John, who runs Whidden Gunworks, talks about the Palma rifle he used at the 2016 Camp Perry National Matches. This unique .308 Win prone rifle features a Barnard “P” action in a converted aluminum Anschutz “Precise” smallbore (rimfire) stock. The combo of Barnard action and Anchutz ergonomics is hard to beat, says John, who told us: “this is easily the best Palma rifle I’ve ever had.”

As a bonus, the Barnard “drop-in” required no modification of the Anschutz Precise stock. This means John can actually swap in his rimfire barreled action and shoot smallbore with the same stock.

Sling Rifle Evolved: The Ultra-Accurate Hybrid Palma Rifle

by John Whidden
The mental component of Long Range competitive shooting is always challenging but having tremendous confidence in the accuracy of your equipment is a huge benefit. There’s nothing to start your Palma match off well like knowing that you are shooting the most accurate Palma rifle you’ve ever owned.

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

After winning the 2016 NRA Long Range National Championships at Camp Perry, there are always plenty of questions about the equipment used by those at the top. Shooters are always looking to learn what is the best equipment at any given time so that when the time comes to spend our own hard earned dollars we can make the best choices. Even if you shoot an entirely different discipline knowing which manufacturers are making winning gear is very valuable.

Whidden 2016 Palma Rifle
Action: Barnard “P” (three lugs, 60° bolt lift)
Barrel: Bartlein 32″, Light Palma contour, cryo-treated by 300 Below.
Stock: Anschutz Precise aluminum smallbore stock, set up for centerfire barreled action.
Trigger: Barnard Two-Stage adjustable

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

Whidden’s Wonder-Gun: German Stock, New Zealand Action, American Barrel
The Palma rifle I shot this year at Camp Perry is one that I have been super pleased with. I built the rifle early this year and the major components are a Barnard P action, Anschutz Precise smallbore stock, and Bartlein barrel. The caliber is .308 Win, as dictated by the Palma rules. Palma matches are fired from 800, 900, and 1000 yards utilizing iron sights only. No optical sights are allowed.

The Anchutz Precise stock is so well-designed that once I finished adjusting the details, I realized that my hold was about 1/3 smaller than with the stocks I shot previously. While in recoil the gun will track vertically and fall back down right on my own target just as it should. In the past, with my other Palma rifles, it was frankly sometimes a struggle to get them to settle back on target after a shot.

Whidden Gunworks has installed a variety of different actions in the Anschutz Precise stocks. Though the stocks are designed for the .22 LR caliber 2013 action rifles, we’ve successfully installed Barnard, Kelbly, Bat, Nesika, and Remington clone actions into them. The Barnard Model P makes a particularly simple installation because there is no modification necessary to the stock at all. A competitor can then shoot both his centerfire rifle as well as his smallbore gun in the exact same stock. The location of the trigger and bolt handle on the Barnard are positioned just right to make this work. Other actions do require at least some amount of modification to the stock, and we have found the Barnard works the best.

Barnard manufactures several models of actions as part of their lineup. All of the actions in the lineup use three lug bolts which give a shorter 60-degree bolt lift when opening and closing. All of the critical surfaces are machined after heat treating. This means that they are exceptionally true and square, more so than other actions. The Model P action is most familiar to Palma and F-Class shooters and are commonly seen on the firing line. The fact that Model P actions include an excellent two-stage trigger makes also the pricing very attractive.

Based on my previous excellent experiences, I selected Bartlein barrels for this rifle. When shooting internationally in the Palma matches we are restricted to 155 grain .308 bullets, but I made the unusual choice of a 1-10″ twist for these bullets. I’ve shot this fast twist for some years with the 155s with good success and it’s pleasing to know that Bryan Litz is finding benefits in some cartridges to shooting faster twist rates than we previously thought we needed. The chamber is the 2011 Palma and the barrel is a Light Palma contour finished at 32” length. The barrel was cryo-treated by 300 Below. The point of impact isn’t changed at all by barrel heating and the accuracy is incredible regardless of the temperature of the barrel. This can’t be said of all the barrels I’ve owned.

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

Get Your Own Whidden Wonder-Gun for $4500.00
Like what you see — but wonder how much it will cost? Whidden Gunworks can build you a rig like this, fitting a centerfire barreled action in the Anschutz Precise stock. John tells us: “The price of a rifle like this one but without sights or mounts would be just under $4500.00. We attempt to keep all of the parts except the stock in inventory, so lead time should be under eight (8) weeks.”

Stock Offers Great Adjustability
John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stockOne thing that is quickly noticed about the Anschutz Precise stock is its adjustability. The engineers did a very good job of allowing many of these adjustments to be made while in the shooting position, most notably the cheekpiece adjustments. When a shooter picks up a Precise stock for the first time they also notice how narrow the fore-end is. This really contributes to reducing the pain in the forward hand in prone when shooting with a sling. This stock is, by far, the most comfortable sling stock I’ve ever handled.

This rifle was very accurate right away and very comfortable to shoot. I’ve built some really good shooting Palma rifles but this is easily the best Palma rifle I’ve ever had. The Barnard action with its superb quality and excellent two-stage trigger has been the best choice I could have made. When you can go to the firing line knowing that you have the very best, the foundation for success has been set.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
September 30th, 2016

Forum Member Offers Hand-Crafted Oak Cartridge Caddies

Cartridge Caddy Caddies .308 6mm Red oak wook F-Class

Forum member Alex M. (aka Nando-AS) has crafted some very nice wood Cartridge Caddies fitted with timers. He’s made these for competitors at the F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin, and he’s now taking orders for other shooters who might want one. The caddies are made from Oak, hold 25 rounds, and feature a battery-powered shot timer. Price is $75.00 shipped for the 6mm and .308 caddies and $85.00 shipped for the Magnum size. Forum members can contact Alex via our Forum Classifieds Board, or you can email alextek [at] charter.net.

Alex tells us: “Several forum members and shooting buddies suggested that I should make more Cartridge Caddies with Timers, so I made over a dozen to take to Lodi and to offer to Forum members.”

These Caddies are made of solid red Oak and are finished with five coats of clear Polyurethane. Each has 25 holes, which consist of a counter-bore of the appropriate diameter and depth for the cartridge, and a Ø0.40″ through-hole to allow the bullet and/or the neck of the cartridge to fit through. The Timers are a Silver color normally, but Alex has a few in black.

Alex offers three sizes of caddies: 6MM for 6mm cartridges with .308-size rim; 308W for .308 Win/.284 Win size cartridges; and Magnum for 300 WSM and similar magnum diameter cases.

Cartridge Caddy Caddies .308 6mm Red oak wook F-Class

6MM – For 6mm family, which will accommodate 6mmBR, 30BR, 6×47, and other cartridges based on the .308 base. (Counter bore is Ø0.50” x 0.8” deep)
Price: $75 including USPS priority shipping with tracking number provided.

308W
– For .308 Win, 6.5-284, .284 Win, and similar cartridges based on the .308 and .284 cases. (Counter bore is Ø0.52” x 1.0” deep)
Price: $75 including USPS priority shipping with tracking number provided.

MAGNUM – For 300WSM, 300RUM and similar cartridges with larger diameter bases.
(Counter bore is Ø0.56” x 1.0” deep)
Price: $85 including USPS priority shipping with tracking number provided.

Permalink New Product 4 Comments »
September 30th, 2016

New Compact Ruger American Pistol in 9mm Luger

Ruger Compact American Pistol

Ruger has just introduced a new compact version of its Ruger American Pistol. We predict the new American Compact will become popular with CCW-holders. With a 3.55″ barrel, and 6.65″ length, Ruger’s new 9mm carry gun is similar in size to a S&W M&P9C, and slightly smaller than a Glock 19. At 28.7 ounces, the new Ruger Compact is heavier than the M&P9C (21.7 oz.), and the Glock 19 (23.6 oz.), but the Ruger is the slimmest of the three, with a slide width of just 1.05 inches.

Ruger Compact American Pistol

We’re pleased to see the American Compact is offered either with or without an external frame-mounted safety, to suit the buyer’s preference. Also, the gun offers easy take-down with no trigger pull required (by contrast, you have to pull the trigger to take-down a Glock).

Ruger Compact American PistolRuger’s new Compact American Pistol is offered either with 10+1 capacity*, or 17+1 capacity. The 17+1 version employs magazines from the full-size Ruger American pistol, with a sleeve or “boot” to fit the shorter grip. With either type of magazine, the gun has proven 100% reliable, according to writer Rich Grassi, who tested the new pistol for The Shooting Wire.

The grip ergonomics on the Compact American Pistol could be described as “Walther-esque”. Rich Grassi says that’s a good thing — this little pistol is comfortable in the hand: “You also don’t pinch a finger when inserting a magazine – either magazine – into the American Compact. Like the service-size gun, three grip modules (back strap with palm swells) are included. The gun has the Novak Low Profile carry sights with the ‘3-dot’ pattern thereon.” Grassi said his test pistol shot low with a standard sight picture, but otherwise the accuracy was good.

NRA testers say the new Compact Ruger American Pistol is extremely reliable and very accurate.

Ruger says this pistol “combines a recoil-reducing barrel cam… with a low-mass slide, low center of gravity and a low-bore axis to provide better balance, less felt recoil, and less muzzle flip[.]” The Ruger Compact American Pistol also features a pre-tensioned striker system, which allows for a short-take-up trigger with positive reset. Like its bigger brother, the Compact American Pistol features a modular wrap-around grip system that fits a wide range of hand sizes.

Ruger Compact American Pistol

*Some early reviews have stated the “standard” capacity as 12+1. However Ruger’s website and the official Spec Sheet lists 10+1.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, New Product 1 Comment »