January 5th, 2019

Tack-Drivin’ Wildcat — 6.5 Grendel Necked UP to .30 Caliber

30 Major 6.5 Grendel 30 caliber PPC

Sometimes everything comes together — a great barrel, the right load, good bullets, and, of course, a gifted trigger-puller. Check out this target from Forum member Mike Ezell. That’s five (5) shots at 100 yards from Mike’s 30 Major benchrest rifle. When this group was shot a while back, Mike reported: “I fired a few groups in the great weather. No surprises — it did VERY well! My little wildcat, the 30 Major, has always been a shooter. That target was not a fluke — I shot a few groups today and Agg’d a high One.” Mike is a Kentucky gunsmith who builds his own rifles.

30 Major is Based on 6.5 Grendel
What’s a “30 Major” you ask? This is Mike’s own wildcat, a 6.5 Grendel necked up to .30 caliber. Mike writes: “The 30 Major is essentially a .070″-long 30 PPC. With the great 6.5 Grendel brass available from Lapua, all you need to do is neck-up and turn the necks to prep the brass.” Mike says it is very much like a 30 BR, but you just start with 6.5 Grendel brass instead of 6mmBR brass.

The cartridge has one major benefit — it utilizes a PPC-diameter bolt face. That makes it easy to convert your group-shooting 6 PPC to shoot score with .30-cal bullets. Mike explains: “If you have a PPC, to shoot score, all you have to do is chamber up a [.30 caliber] barrel and screw it on your PPC.”

From 7.62×39 Russian to 30 Major — Full Circle

Arms expert Neil Gibson has an interesting perspective on the lineage of the 30 Major. He reminds us that this wildcat has returned to its roots: “Start off with the 7.62×39 Russian [cartridge]. The Russians then modify it, necking it down to .223 for deer hunting. The U.S. benchrest guys then modify that, necking it up to 6mm and blowing the case out making the 6mm PPC. Someone takes that case, necks it out to 6.5 mm, making the 6.5 PPC. Alexander Arms takes that and makes the 6.5 Grendel. Then finally Mike Ezell takes the Grendel and necks it up to 30 caliber, making the 30 Major. From 30 caliber, back to 30 caliber. OK, the original uses .31 caliber bullets, but the bore is still .300. Talk about almost coming round full circle!”

7.62×39 Russian
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.220 Russian
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6mm PPC
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6.5 PPC
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6.5 Grendel
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30 Major

The 7.62×39 Russian was the Grand-Daddy of the 30 Major…
7.62x39 Russian Kalashnikov 30 Major 6.5 Grendel

Great Accuracy Restored after Solving Mystery Problem
To get his 30 Major rig shooting this well, Mike had to solve a mysterious problem that cropped up last year. Mike explains: “Two years running, I have finished in the top 15 in IBS points shooting [the 30 Major], but last year’s benchrest season was tough.” Mike was having some accuracy issues that defied explanation. But he figured it out: “The front action screw was bottoming out against the barrel extension – just barely. A simple fix brought the gun back to life. It’s a Stiller Viper Drop Port. The action is screwed and glued into the stock, so I was a bit surprised … especially after having checked for [that issue] while looking for the problem. I’m just glad to have found the trouble so I can begin to re-instill some confidence in the gun and myself, after last year.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 6 Comments »
January 5th, 2019

Get a Handle on Your Swivel Bipod — KMW Pod-Loc

KMW pod-lok lock bipod handle swivel

KMW Pod-Loc BipodIf you’ve ever used a Harris Swivel Bipod, you know that, without tools, it is difficult to put enough tension on the swivel locking knob to really lock the unit solid. And, if you do manage to get the knob really tight (perhaps by using pliers), it is difficult to loosen with fingers alone.

That was why Terry Cross and the folks at KMW Long Range Solutions invented the Pod-Loc™. This system replaces the knurled swivel tension knob with a push-button adjustable handle. Using the handle you can easily set the swivel tension at any level from loose to “rock solid”. And you can release tension to adjust the bipod to different terrain just as easily. The genuine KMW Pod-Loc™ retails for $26.99 at Brownells.com.

KMW Podlock Pod-loc bipod swivel locking handle accessory

How to Build Your Own Bipod Swivel Locking System
While we use genuine KMW Pod-Locs on our rifles, readers on a tight budget, or who have a large collection of bipod-equipped rifles, can economize by putting together their own swivel locking systems from off-the-shelf components. You can buy suitable levers from www.T-Nuts.com. This vendor offers a variety of appropriate handles, ranging in price from $7.00 to $10.00. So, by sourcing the parts, you can outfit three bipods with swivel adjusters for the cost of one Pod-Loc.

T-Nuts Bipod Handle lock

We recommend the Nylon/Stainless BPL/NS model ($7.70), but you may prefer the all-metal BPL-ZS ($8.50), or the shorter BPL-Micro model ($8.25). The compact Micro lock does not protrude past the body of the bipod, yet is still easily grasped. T-Nuts supplies one 3/16″ spacer with most of its bipod handles. T-Nuts handles are also available with a metric M6x1.0 thread for use with imported bipods such as Outers and Rockport.

Installation is Easy — With the Right Socket
To install a swivel locking system, first you’ll need a 1/4″ socket to remove the keeper nut from the threaded pivot rod. (During this process, you’ll need to keep pressure on the pivot rod retaining pin on the opposite side of the bipod.) Don’t try to remove the keeper nut with pliers or an open-end wrench. You really need the correct socket. Once that keeper nut is removed, then unscrew the knurled tension knob/ring. This is attached to the same threaded shaft as the keeper nut but you should be able to remove it without tools.

After the knurled tension ring is off, it is easy to put your handle on the bipod. First slip the 3/16″ spacer over the threaded pivot rod. Keeping finger pressure on the pivot rod retaining pin (on reverse side), then spin on the T-Nuts handle. Rotate the handle inwards until it firmly locks the bipod swivel mechanism. By pushing the button in the head of the handle, you can swing the handle left or right to set its position without altering the swivel tension.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical 1 Comment »
January 5th, 2019

New Steel-Frame Walther PPQ Q5 Match SF Pistol

Walther PPQ Q5 match steel frame SF pistol handgun optics ready

What was old is new again — metal pistol frames. Walther, which has focused on polymer-framed pistols in recent decades, has come out with a metal-framed version of its flagship Q5 model, chambered in 9x19mm (9mm Luger). We like this pistol, official called the Walther PPQ Q5 Match Steel Frame (SF). The metal frame adds mass to the gun, and lowers the center of gravity. That reduces muzzle flip somewhat, as you can see in the comparison video below. Ergonomics are very good, reports early tester Graham Baates, who tested the “optics ready” Q5 SF pistol with red dot sights.

It’s puzzling though — we wonder why Walther didn’t increase the slide weight too, by simply doing away with all the superfluous ports in the slide. That would increase gun weight, reduce muzzle flip (and perceived recoil) even more, and presumably the gun would be cheaper to produce. But maybe Walther thinks the slide cuts are a defining Q5 styling feature that needs to remain, like the Q5’s distinctive Blue Trigger. We guess styling trumps logic…

The Q5 Match SF features an optics ready slide that comes with a Trijicon RMR, Leupold Delta Point, and Docter Optics compatible mounting plate in addition to the standard competition iron sights. Along with a ported slide and the Carl Walther signature ergonomics, and a blue quick defense trigger, the Q5 SF is the flattest shooting model to date.

Walther PPQ Q5 match steel frame SF pistol handgun optics ready

TECHNICAL DATA Walther PPQ Q5 Steel Frame Mod. 283001
All Steel Construction
Optics Mounting Plate
Extended Frame Rails
Ported Slide
Model: 2830001
Caliber: 9x19mm
Finish: Tenifer
Magazines Included: 3
Barrel: 5″ long, 1:10″ twist
Trigger Pull: 5.6 lbs
Capacity: 15 rds (or 17 rds mod. 2830418)
Overall Length: 8.7″
Height: 5.4″
Width: 1.3″
Sight Radius: 7.2″
Weight (empty mag): 41.6 oz
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, New Product 4 Comments »