September 13th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Home-Built 7.62×25 Tokarev Custom Rifle

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle customHere’s something you’ve never seen before — a full-size rifle chambered for the tiny 7.62×25 Tokarev round. This rifle was a fun project by Les E., aka “scasa” in our AccurateShooter Forum. This is a true “home-built” rifle. Les machined the action himself (receiver AND bolt), chambered the barrel, and crafted the stock from a blank. You’ll find complete build details (with machining photos) in this Forum Thread.

Why did Les build this unique rifle? He tells us: “I just thought it would make a nice little rifle cartridge with light bullets and subsonic with heavier ones. D.J. Jones had something similar as the ‘Mini Whisper’.”

Les designed and built the action and bolt to fit the tiny 7.62×25 Tokarev cartridge. He told us: “Once upon a time I got this idea to make a bolt action with front locking lugs, full diameter bolt, Remington trigger. It took me years to get it all figured out and make all the tooling, then it took about six months to build the gun”. The rifle features a 1:10″-twist Adams & Bennett barrel that Les chambered himself.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les designed and crafted the receiver and bolt assembly himself. The bolt features an extractor but not an ejector — the empty case stays on the end of the bolt. The extractor slot cuts through one lug, but Les says it still has 10 times the required strength.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Details of Action Design and Machining
Les explained: “The action started as a piece of 4160 bar stock. I drilled and reamed all the holes in my 12×36 Craftsman lathe. Cutting the slot inside for the locking lugs to pass through was the most difficult part. There were no blueprints for this and just a couple of sketches to get the slots right for the bolt handle slot and extraction cams. Everything is design on the fly. I used a grade 8 bolt for the bolt which did not require any hardening, they’re pretty hard already. Although I did make several receivers before I got it figured out, I only made one bolt.”

Surprisingly, Les is not a machinist by trade. He is just a very smart guy who learned by doing: “I’ve never had any machinist training. I mostly learned by trying different things until I found what works.”

NOTE: Under Federal law, it is legal to build an action or complete rifle for personal use (not for resale). Refer to ATF Regulations.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

As you might expect, this cartridge is naturally pretty quiet. Les says it “makes less noise than a .17 HMR”. Recoil is also minimal. In a 9-lb rifle (with scope), shooting free recoil, the rifle moves only about three inches. Considering this is a tiny pistol cartridge, the accuracy is pretty good, as you can see:

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Loading for the 7.62×25 Tokarev in a Rifle

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle customThe cartridge brass comes from Sellier & Bellot pistol ammo. Les currently loads with AA #7 and AA #9 powders, but he may try some others. His favorite load so far has Hornady 168gr A-Max bullets pushed by AA #9 powder and CCI 400 primers. This produced a 0.437″ group at 50 yards.

How does Les like the cartridge? He says: “I wish the 7.62×25 had a longer neck. At 0.140″ it’s pretty short. I think a longer neck would help getting things lined up better.” He notes that boat-tail bullets seem to load easier than flat-base projectiles.

Ammo is loaded with inexpensive Lee dies: “I’m using Lee dies and they seem to work OK. I’d like a better seater die and I may modify this one.”

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les reports: “The 168gr Berger moly LTB didn’t do as well as the 168gr A-Max so I started working with the A-Max. I’m loaded really long and the Tokarev evidently has a pretty long freebore but I managed to get it into the lands. The target photo above is the best this gun has ever shot. I’ve gotten mostly two-inch groups at 50 yards (my max home range distance). Recently I made some progress. My best group was a little less than 1/2 inch at 50 yards.”

Special Features of the Stock

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les built the stock himself from a laminated blank. For this project, Les added some interesting features to the stock. He created his own adjustable cheekpiece using all home-crafted hardware.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les also fitted a barrel tension adjustment system in the stock to help tune the barrel harmonics. There is a hex-head machine screw in the bottom of the stock for adjusting the upward tension on the barrel.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les crafted this stock with a thumbhole pattern with finger grooves. He has used this design on other stocks he has built as he likes the look and “feel”.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 13th, 2020

Neck-Turning Brass with Milling Machine — High-Speed Solution

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Here’s the super-speedy way to turn case-necks. Our friend Erik Cortina figured out how to turn his match cartridge case-necks using his milling machine. Erik told us: “While in Raton [a while back], Mid Tompkins told me that he turns his brass on milling machine. He said he could do about 500 in two hours, so I decided to try it.”

Erik fitted a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turner to the mill, and he used a modified 21st Century case holder to secure the brass. As you can see from this video, Erik was very successful with the process. The tool spins at 1500 rpm, turning Lapua 6.5-284 cases that have been necked up to 7mm.

Video Shows Eric Cortina Neck-Turning Cases with Milling Machine:

Cartridge Brass: Lapua 6.5-284 necked up to 7mm
Lubricant: Lithium grease inside and outside of neck
Neck-Turner: Nielson Pumpkin running at 1500 RPM

It’s hard to argue with Erik’s results. Here are his turned Lapua cases, which have neck-wall thickness consistent to two ten-thousandths of an inch. Think you could do better turning manually?

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Some of Erik’s Facebook friends had questions about this process:

Q: Who makes the shell-holder?

Erik Cortina: I did! The shell-holder you can get from 21st Century. I Tig-welded a punch as a handle.

Q: I love the idea of working smarter not harder! Any galling issues? What are your mitigation techniques?

Erik Cortina: No issues. I use lithium grease in spray can. Makes a foam that I dip necks into.

Q: Shouldn’t either the case or the cutter be floating to allow most precise neck turning?

Erik Cortina: Up until [I tried this] I believed the same thing. I was going to build a floating case holder but decided to try rigid setup on a few cases before I built it. Results were great. Neck thickness doesn’t vary more than .0002″, which is same as when I was doing it with floating case holder on the lathe.

Q: Any problems with the Pumpkin changing the cut as it heats up?

Erik Cortina: No — there were no issues with that.

NOTE: Erik Cortina is a very skilled machinist who custom-crafted fittings used for this process. This kind of neck-turning with a milling machine may not be for the everyday hand-loader!

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Nielson “Pumpkin” Neck-Turner

The circular orange cutting fixture on Erik’s Milling Machine is a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turning tool. Don designed this tool to be used by hand or with power. The Pumpkin boasts an eccentric mandrel that allows the cut to be adjusted easily in precise .0001″ increments. Benchresters like this as it allows for very precise control of cut depth and neck-wall thickness.

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina
Nielson Neck Turner with carbide mandrel. Photo Courtesy Butch’s Reloading.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 13th, 2020

The Successful Hunt — Tips & Tactics with Kristy Titus

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

As part of NRA Women TV, hunting guide Kristy Titus hosts a series of videos that explain important strategies and shooting skills for hunters. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show, is a certified instructor who has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In these videos, Kristy discusses demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt. She also explains preparation for a hunt, including fitness training.

Click each link below to watch other Kristy Titus Hunting Videos.

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

Kristy Titus preparing for hunt positional shooting hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

Kristy Titus follow up shots hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting ethical shots position

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

“When it comes to bolt-action rifle fit, there is no ‘one size fits all’,” says Titus. “When picking out your rifle [consider options] after the purchase to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.”

Kristy Titus hunter hunting video bipod shooting position

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