March 12th, 2019

Transformer — Stunning F-TR Rig Built from Factory Varmint Rifle

Brandon .223 Rem F-TR Pac-Nor PacNor Varmint Remington VSSF John Pierce Hydro-dip Hydrographics
This rifle started life as a factory Remington VSSF in .204 Ruger. With new stock, new barrel, and other upgrades it is now an ultra-accurate .223 Rem competition rifle.

Flames in the Snow…

Forum Member Brandon Schlund (aka “Bois Blanc Boy”), photographed this handsome flame-themed F-TR rifle against the snowy background of Michigan’s Bois Blanc Island. Brandon posted this to our long-running Pride and Joy Rifle Forum thread. He notes: “This is my first F-TR build, which started out as a stock Remington .204 Ruger. I had the action blue-printed, firing pin was bushed by Speedy, and I had a new bolt handle and knob installed by John Pierce.” This rifle is now fitted with a 3-groove Pac-Nor 1:6.5″-twist barrel chambered in .223 Remington to shoot the 90gr Bergers. Other components are: Kelbly KTS stock, Phoenix bipod, and Sightron 8-32x56mm SIII scope. Brandon says: “It took a long time to get this gun where it is now but I’m truly happy with it!” Here’s the “before” photo:

Brandon .223 Rem F-TR Pac-Nor PacNor Varmint Remington VSSF John Pierce Hydro-dip Hydrographics

The Transformation — F-TR Comp Rig Made from Rem .204 Ruger Varminter
This rifle started out as a “plain Jane”, factory Remington VSSF II. I shot it on varmint hunts in factory configuration. Then I decided to transform the rifle into a .223 Rem F-TR gun. As the .204 has the same bolt face as a .223 made sense to go in that direction since I would be able to use the gun for varmint hunting as well as F-TR.

While I had shot some F-Class matches with my dad (Joe Schlund aka Bench on AccurateShooter) it wasnt much. When we did a PD hunt in Wyoming I primarily shot my .204 but I decided I wanted a cartridge that could reach out a little further and also do double duty — competition and varminting.

Brandon .223 Rem F-TR Pac-Nor PacNor Varmint Remington VSSF John Pierce Hydro-dip Hydrographics
CLICK HERE for full-screen photo.

The first step in transforming this rifle was selecting a barrel. We ordered a Pac-Nor, 1:6.5″-twist, 3 groove, 30.5″ heavy Palma contour. This was then chambered with a PTG .223 ISSF reamer with 0.169″ freebore to run the .224 caliber heavies. I went with Pac-Nor because both my father and my brother Mark (aka Labrador2 on AccurateShooter) owned Kelbly-built F-TR rifles with the same barrels. Mark and my father couldn’t be happier with the results. Pac-Nor has great customer service along with a short wait time.

I sent the barrel and the factory Remington 700 action down to Kelbly’s where they did the chambering and cut the threads. While Kelbly’s had my action I had them blueprint it. A Kelbly KTS stock with the three-way buttplate and adjustable cheek piece came next. After getting behind Dad’s rifle and Mark’s gun there was no reason to look any further. With all its adjustments, the KTS stock fits very comfortably.

Loading for the .223 Rem with H4895 and 90gr Bergers
As a .223 Rem, this rifle has proven very accurate — it’s a bullet-hole cutter at 100 yards (low twos easy). Our best load is with Hodgdon H4895, 90gr Berger VLDs, CCI BR4 primers. This load is running at about 2835 FPS but YMMV (remember this is a LONG 30.5″ barrel). The Bergers are loaded .008″ into the lands with base-to-ogive of 2.035″.

Our loading technique may be tedious — with lots of sorting and measuring. But brother Mark, father Joe, and I all enjoy the steps. Our three .223 Rem match guns all love the same load which makes loading much easier. Believe it or not we use a Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive ammo plant, which is great when loading for three guns. Our consistency is fantastic with run-out a mere .001-.0015.

We also turn necks and weigh our primers. Does neck-turning and primer weighing really make a difference? Who knows but we try to eliminate more variables since we have to the time to do it, and we actually enjoy the procedures.

Pierce Engineering Installed Action and Modified Bolt
Being from Michigan, Pierce Engineering has done a lot of work for my family’s guns. For this project the Pierce team bedded the action and glued in a single-shot follower. The stock bolt handle/knob was too short for comfort in the KTS stock. Pierce added a longer handle and tactical knob to the bolt. I then installed a .223 Rem Lapua case base into the knob.

Brandon .223 Rem F-TR Pac-Nor PacNor Varmint Remington VSSF John Pierce Hydro-dip Hydrographics
The complete .223 Rem rifle ready to shoot F-TR, as fitted with 8-32X56mm Sightron and Phoenix Bipod, weighs 17 pounds, 15 ounces.

Brandon .223 Rem F-TR Pac-Nor PacNor Varmint Remington VSSF John Pierce Hydro-dip HydrographicsFlame Graphics by Camo Creek Hydrographics
After the action was bedded by Pierce, the stock was sent to Camo Creek Hydrographics in Fenton, Michigan. I selected a flame-style design which Camo Creek applied through hydro-dipping. The stock went back to Pierce’s shop, which applied three coats of clear over the entire stock. The clear-coating really enhanced the flame graphics.

Firing Pin Bushed by Speedy
I sent the bolt to Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez to have the firing pin hole bushed as otherwise the load could crater the primers pretty bad. Knowing I’d be shooting heavy-weight .22-Cal bullets with a stout load this was a good idea. Speedy also cut his trademark grooves into the bolt shroud which looks amazing. His work is top notch! There is zero cratering now, even with the hottest of loads.

Competition Components — 8-32x56mm Sightron and Phoenix Bipod
For an F-TR rig you need a quality high-magnification optic and a premium, wide-base bipod. I installed a 8-32x56mm SIII Sightron. This was another easy choice because of the attractive price and because my family has four other Sightrons that work great.

I installed a fore-end Picatinny rail to attach a Phoenix Bipod. I extended the Mariners wheel handles by adding short sections from an aluminum arrow shaft. This lets me adjust elevation without stretching forward. I also installed a Calvin Elite Timney Trigger set at 6 ounces.

How much did this all cost? Brandon tells us “I have roughly $2500 into the rebuild of the gun from a .204 Ruger to the .223 Rem.”

Bois Blanc Island in Michigan
Here on Bois Blanc Island we don’t have many amenities, but we do have the ability to shoot 550 yards at our local gravel pit on state land. It’s snow-bound right now as you can see. But later in the year this will be our close-to-home training center.

Brandon .223 Rem F-TR Pac-Nor PacNor Varmint Remington VSSF John Pierce Hydro-dip Hydrographics

Winter at Bois Blanc Island, Michigan — Here’s the gravel pit where we can load test during
warmer weather. When I took this photo, it was a “balmy” 10-degree day.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
March 12th, 2019

Handguns in Carry-Ons — Don’t Let An Oversight Land You in Jail

TSA Airport security baggage pistol revolver handguns confiscation seize violation arrest airline

Many of our readers carry handguns for personal protection, and many of those folks travel regularly through airports. It IS legal to take a handgun on an airline flight in checked baggage (if you follow the rules). But for goodness sake — declare the weapon as required by law and comply with all TSA and Federal regulations. Do NOT just toss your pistol in your carry-on and expect to board the plane. About 4,000 pistols were discovered in carry-on luggage in 2017. That can result in seizure and confiscation of the weapon, and just might land you in jail!

Gun writer Dean Weingarten recently wrote an article about handgun seizures at airports. Remarkably, in a single week (5/18/18 to 6/3/18), 97 handguns were found in carry-on bags at U.S. airports.

Handguns in Carry-On Baggage

Report by Dean Weingarten, ©2018 by Dean Weingarten, GunWatch Blog
During the week of 28 May to June 3rd, 2018, the TSA discovered 97 pistols in carry-ons at airports where security is controlled by the TSA. The collage of pistols shown above is a sample of those found.

TSA gives a list of the pistols found. The list shows the make, model and caliber of most of the pistols. There were 93 pistols where the caliber was identified.

9mm pistols were still the most common, with 36 represented. .380 pistols, known in Europe as 9X17, 9mm Kurtz, or 9mm Corto, were the next represented, with 24 present. That is 70 pistols, or 75% of the pistols found. There were a smattering of other calibers. There were eight .40 caliber pistols, seven .22 LR rimfire, six .45 caliber, five .32 caliber, four .38 caliber, one .410, and one .22 magnum.

Most of the pistols were semi-autos, there were a few revolvers, and three derringers.

How does this happen? It is the principle of rare occurrences. While an event may be extremely rare for each individual, if enough individuals are involved, the occurrence of rare events becomes a statistical certainty. About 4,000 pistols were discovered in carry-on luggage in 2017. There were about 770 million travelers passing through TSA checkpoints in that year. That is one pistol found for about 194,000 passengers. Each passenger presumably went through TSA checkpoints at least twice, once going, once returning. Some passengers go through multiple checkpoints, depending on the route taken.

Let us use the 194,000 figure for simplicity. A person would have to go on a trip every day for 531 years, and only miss a pistol in their luggage once to match that percentage.

(more…)

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March 12th, 2019

Download FREE St. Patrick’s Day Targets

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, is just five days away. Why not plan a trip to the range with your buddies to celebrate. Here are two free Shamrock-themed targets to add to the fun. Shoot these Shamrocks and see if you have the “luck of the Irish”.

To help celebrate this traditional day of Irish pride, parades, and green beer, the NRA has created two (2) fun targets you can download, print, and shoot. Try out these free targets. Click each Irish target photo below to open a high-rez PDF file you can download and print.

The first target features a large four-leaf clover in the middle, with 17 other smaller three-leaf shamrocks around the outside. With five black bulls-eyes in the center graphic, that gives you a total of 22 aiming points for shooting fun. For added challenge we suggest you set this target at 100 yards for rimfire rifle and 200 years for a centerfire gun.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Shamrock Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

The second target offers the legendary Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow. Along with a big bullseye on the pot, there are 15 shamrocks in gold circles, plus five small gold bars with tiny bullseyes. Those smallest bulls will be a challenge even at 100 yards. You’ll need a half-MOA (or better) rifle to “clean” this target, hitting the smallest red dots.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Pot of Gold Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

Whether you’re Irish or not, these targets will hopefully bring you a bit of luck. Click each image above to open a high-rez PDF file that you can print out. Then, this St. Patty’s day, wear your green, grab your gear, and head to range for some fun shooting.

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