October 30th, 2014

Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles — Do You Agree with this List?

RifleShooter online magazine has published a list of the Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time. Ten classic rifle designs (including the Remington 700 and Winchester Model 70) are illustrated with a paragraph or two explaining their notable features.

Ten 10 best bolt action rifles shooter

These Top 10 lists are always controversial. While most readers might approve of half the entries, there are always some items on the Top 10 list that some readers would challenge. Here is RifleShooter’s Top 10 list. What do you think? Are there some other bolt-actions that are more deserving?

1. Springfield M1903
2. Mauser 98
3. Winchester Model 70
4. Remington Model 700
5. Weatherby V

6. Sako L61/AV
7. Savage Model 110
8. Ruger M77
9. Tikka T3
10. Mannlicher-Schonauer

10bolt1402.

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October 27th, 2014

Happy Birthday Teddy!

Today, October 27th, is the birthday of President Theodore (“Teddy”) Roosevelt. An avid explorer, hunter, and firearms enthusiast, Teddy Roosevelt (TR) was a larger-than-life figure who lead this nation as it emerged as a world power.

Theodore Roosevelt James Strock Quote

Theodore Roosevelt James Strock Quote

Theodore Roosevelt — A Great Leader
If you want to learn more about TR, we strongly recommend Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership, a book by noted author and political analyst James Strock. This work captures the vision, commitment, and personal courage that marked Theodore Roosevelt’s career. Theodore Roosevelt was a leader of uncommon strength who, through the sheer force of his extraordinary will, turned America into a modern world power. Thrown headfirst into the presidency by the assassination of his predecessor, he led with courage, character, and vision in the face of overwhelming challenges, whether busting corporate trusts or building the Panama Canal. Roosevelt has been a hero to millions of Americans for over a century.

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October 25th, 2014

Resources for Hunters — Websites and Classic Hunting Books

Webyshops.com, a leading online vendor of optics, range gear, and hunting accessories has prepared a helpful guide for new hunters. This “how to” article Before You Start Hunting provides basic information on preparing for a hunt, finding a hunter education class, choosing appropriate gear, and selecting a safe, approved area for hunting.

Hunting Affiliation Groups
There are many good organizations dedicated to promoting hunting and preserving our hunting habitats. These groups all offer valuable information for hunters:

Ducks Unlimited
Mule Deer Foundation
National Wild Turkey Federation
Pheasants Forever
Quail Forever
Rabbits Unlimited
Safari Club International
Squirrels Umlimited
Varmint Hunters Association
Whitetails Unlimited

Recommended Books about Hunting
There’s no shortage of hunting hunting-related reading material. Here are some of the best books written about hunting.

Hemingway on Hunting by Ernest Hemingway

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting by Jim Posewitz

Meditations on Hunting by Jose Ortega y Gasset

Eating Aliens: One Man’s Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species by Jackson Landers

It’s Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It by Bill Heavey

The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food by Jackson Landers

Whitetail Nation: My Season in Pursuit of the Monster Buck by Peter Bodo

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October 23rd, 2014

Varmint Hunter Magazine — Get Free Digital Editions

VHA varmint hunters associationFor many years, the Varmint Hunters Association (VHA) has produced an excellent print periodical, The Varmint Hunter Magazine. Along with hunting stories, the magazine features articles about precision reloading and methods for accurizing rifles. The Varmint Hunter Magazine is available by subscription, and you can also purchase back issues through the VHA Online Store.

Right now the VHA is offering two FREE digital editions of The Varmint Hunter Magazine. Can’t beat that price. Click the links below to view (or download) the latest Fall 2014 Edition (Issue #92) or the previous Summer 2014 Edition (Issue #91). These digital eZines can be read on your computer or by most mobile devices. But since these are complete magazines, it make take a minute or two to download the full PDF files (be patient).

Fall 2014 PDF Summer 2014 PDF
Varmint Hunter Magazine FREE Varmint Hunter Magazine FREE

VHA varmint hunters association

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October 22nd, 2014

Quick Comparison of Popular 6.5mm Rifle Cartridges

6.5 Cartridge Guide Eben Brown EABco e. arthur brown 260 rem 6.5x47 6.5 creedmoor 6.5x55
Chart created with Ammoguide’s Visual Comparison Tool. Visit Ammoguide.com to learn more.

by Eben Brown, EABCO.com, (E. Arthur Brown Co. Inc.)
The current popularity of 6.5mm cartridges in the USA has been a long time in coming. I won’t go into my opinions on why it took so long to catch on. The important thing is that it finally HAS caught on and we’re now so fortunate to have a wide selection of 6.5mm cartridges to choose from!

6.5mm Grendel – Developed by Alexander Arms for the AR15 and military M4 family of rifles. The Grendel fits the dimensional and functional requirements of these rifles while delivering better lethality and downrange performance. There are now similar cartridges from other rifle companies. We chamber for the Les Baer “264 LBC-AR”. Designed for velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 123gr bullets, it shoots the 140-grainers at about 2000 fps (for comparison purposes).

6.5mm BRM – Developed by E. Arthur Brown Company to give “Big Game Performance to Small Framed Rifles” — namely our Model 97D Rifle, TC Contender, and TC Encore. Velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 140gr bullets puts it just under the original 6.5×55 Swede performance.

6.5mm x 47 Lapua – Developed by Lapua specifically for international 300m shooting competitions (with some interest in long-range benchrest as well). Case capacity, body taper, shoulder angle, and small rifle primer are all features requested by top international shooters. You can expect velocities of 2500-2600+ with 140 gr bullets.

6.5mm Creedmoor – Developed by Hornady and Creedmoor Sports, the 6.5mm Creedmoor is designed for efficiency and function. Its shape reaches high velocities while maintaining standard .308 Winchester pressures and its overall length fits well with .308 Win length magazines. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700+ fps with 140gr bullets.

.260 Remington – Developed by Remington to compete with the 6.5mmx55 Swedish Mauser that was (finally) gaining popularity in 1996. By necking down the 7mm-08 Remington to 6.5mm (.264 cal), the .260 Remington was created. It fit the same short-action [receivers] that fit .308 Win, .243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, etc. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700 fps with 140gr bullets in the 260 .Remington.

[Editor's Note: In the .260 Rem, try the Lapua 120gr Scenar-Ls and/or Berger 130gr VLDs for great accuracy and impressive speeds well over 2900 fps.]

6.5mm x 55 Swedish Mauser – This was the cartridge that started the 6.5mm craze in the USA. It is famous for having mild recoil, deadly lethality on even the biggest game animals, and superb accuracy potential. Original ballistics were in the 2500 fps range with 140gr bullets. Nowadays handloaders get 2600-2700+ fps.

[Editor's Note: Tor from Scandinavia offers this bit of 6.5x55mm history: "Contrary to common belief, the 6.5×55 was not developed by Mauser, but was constructed by a joint Norwegian and Swedish military commission in 1891 and introduced as the standard military cartridge in both countries in 1894. Sweden chose to use the cartridge in a Mauser-based rifle, while Norway used the cartridge in the Krag rifles. This led to two different cartridges the 6.5×55 Krag and 6.5×55 Mauser -- the only real difference being safe operating pressure."]

6.5-284 Norma — This comes from necking the .284 Winchester down to .264 caliber. Norma standardized it for commercial ammo sales. The 6.5mm-284 was very popular for F-Class competition and High Power at 1,000 yards. However, many F-Class competitors have switched to the straight .284 Win for improved barrel life. 6.5-284 velocities run 3000-3100+ fps with 140gr bullets.

.264 Winchester Magnum – Developed by Winchester back in 1959, the .264 Win Mag never really caught on and may have delayed the ultimate acceptance of 6.5mm cartridges by US shooters (in my opinion). It missed the whole point and original advantage of 6.5 mm cartridges.

The Original 6.5mm Advantage
The special needs of long-range competition have skewed things a little. However the original advantages of 6.5mm cartridges — how deadly the 6.5mms are on game animals, how little recoil they produce, and how easy they are to shoot well — still hold true today.

6.5 Cartridge Guide Eben Brown EABco e. arthur brown 260 rem 6.5x47 6.5 creedmoor 6.5x55

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October 21st, 2014

Watch and Read: Chris Cheng and Kelly Bachand Explain I-594

Washington State Ballot Initiative 594, otherwise known as I-594, is bad news. This poorly-written proposed law puts dramatic restrictions on gun owners. I-594 could criminalize many traditional types of shooting activities (including training with shared firearms). I-594 is so sweeping and vague that law enforcement groups consider the initiative “unenforceable”. If you live in Washington State, you need to educate yourself about I-594. In this story, two of our shooter friends (and contributors to the Daily Bulletin) analyze I-594 and explain its flaws.

Kelly Bachand: Why is I-594 bad? I-594 is posing as a background check initiative, but that’s not what it is. I-594 limits the legal modes of recreational use by redefining a firearms transfer to include almost any time that a firearm changes hands, even if it’s just for demonstration purposes, a short-term loan, or a bona fide gift.

Top Shot’s Chris Cheng Reveals the Dark Side of I-594
If you believe in Second Amendment rights, you should watch this video. If you believe in gun rights and live in Washington state, you should make sure your friends, neighbors, and family members of voting age watch this video. Chris Cheng does a great job exposing the flaws of I-594:

Kelly Bachand I-594Kelly Bachand Analyzes Washington State Initiatives I-594 and I-591
Since I’m a licensed firearms dealer I’ve had to learn a lot about the law concerning firearms. It makes sense then that close friends have asked me about my position on I-594 and I-591 which are on the ballot in Washington. I’ve read the full text for both a few times. How will I vote? I will vote yes on I-591. I will vote no on I-594.

I opened up my voter’s pamphlet last night and I was incredibly surprised to find that in the Explanatory Statement from the WA Office of Attorney General, there is a statement that is simply untrue. It precedes both initiatives in the voter’s pamphlet and it reads “In Washington, a background check is only required to buy a pistol, and only if the seller is a firearms dealer.” That’s simply untrue. Every time I sell ANY firearm a background check is performed, background checks are not just done for handgun sales. Furthermore, handgun sales in WA require a secondary, redundant background check performed by local law enforcement [which is] reported to the WA DOL. S0, there are actually two background checks performed on a typical handgun sale.

Why is I-594 bad? I-594 is posing as a background check initiative, but that’s not what it is. Background checks are not bad, I-594 is bad because it’s not about background checks. If it was a well-written background check initiative that addressed actual issues with mental health and domestic violence documentation then there could actually be many firearms owners who supported it. Unfortunately, the largest impact on firearms that I-594 will have is to limit the legal modes of recreational use that are available to law abiding citizens. The things it purports to stop are already illegal so it won’t bother criminals at all that there is one more law they are breaking. I-594 limits the legal modes of recreational use by redefining a firearms transfer to include almost any time that a firearm changes hands, even if it’s just for demonstration purposes, a short term loan, or a bona fide gift.

Under I-594 I would no longer be able to borrow my friend’s new pistol to take to the range and test out before I buy one of my own; that would be a criminal act. Nor would I be able to lend my father-in-law a shotgun so that he could go shoot trap with his church group; that would be a criminal act. Why would I make such specific examples of what would be illegal under I-594? Those sorts of simple examples I gave are simple actions that many responsible firearms owners do regularly, and now they would be criminal. It’s already illegal to sell to a felon or anyone you even think may not be able to own a firearm. If I-594 is passed, it won’t bother criminals at all, they will still get firearms from black markets and through theft, but it will really bother those law0abiding citizens who enjoy even the simplest things like target shooting and introducing their friends to the same.

Why is I-591 better? I-591 says that WA State’s background check system will continue to be in line with the ATF’s regulations, the law at a federal/national level. The means background checks are still required for all firearms sales by dealers. It also means that law-abiding gun owners won’t be criminalized for typical recreational activities with firearms. I-591 also restates that confiscating firearms from a citizen by any government agency without due process is illegal. Is this already unlawful? Yes it is. It has been demonstrated, though, that in some states where initiatives like I-594 have passed (California for example) that the increased government oversight on law abiding citizens’ activities has created scenarios where firearms have been confiscated without due process.

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October 20th, 2014

Timney Triggers Made with State-of-the-Art Automated Machinery

For years, Timney triggers have been popular drop-in upgrades for hunting rifles, rimfire rifles, and AR platform rifles. To meet the demand for its many trigger products, Timney Triggers has expanded its operation, adding state-of-the-art CNC machines and other high-end, automated equipment. A far cry from the dank gun factories of the 1950s and 1960s, Timney’s Arizona production center now resembles the squeaky-clean, ultra-modern facilities where electronics are assembled.

Today’s Timney factory is truly a miracle of computerized automation. Timney Triggers’ owner John Vehr states that it would take 60 or more trained machinists and metal-workers to produce as many triggers as can Timney’s modern machines. Timney does employ two dozen workers, but they are assigned tasks that the computerized machines can’t do as well or better.

If you want to see how Timney triggers are made this days, check out Tom McHale’s recent account of his visit to the Timney Factory in Scottsdale, Arizona. McHale explains how the triggers are designed and fabricated, and 20 high-rez photos illustrate the production process and machinery. If you have a passion for fabrication or machining, you’ll really enjoy McHale’s in-depth, 1600-word story.

Timney Triggers Factory Tom McHale Scottsdale Arizona CNC

CLICK HERE to read Timney Triggers Factory Tour Article by Tom McHale.

Timney Triggers Factory Tom McHale Scottsdale Arizona CNC

Timney Triggers Factory Tom McHale Scottsdale Arizona CNC

Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon.com.

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October 20th, 2014

Care and Feeding of the 50 BMG — A Look at Big Bore Shooting

A while back we published an Introduction to .50-Caliber Shooting authored by James Patterson. James has written a companion piece for Sinclair’s Reloading Press that covers the “care and feeding” of the big .50 Cal match rifles.

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Owning and Feeding ‘The Big Bore’

Is The Challenge Of Big Bore Extreme Range Shooting And Hunting Right For You?
By James Patterson

Handling a 50 BMG
Is a 50 BMG caliber rifle difficult to shoot? Not at all. The relatively heavy weight of a standard rifle at 30 pounds or more combined with a very efficient muzzle brake makes it a pleasure to shoot. The typical recoil can be compared to a .243 rifle or a 12 gauge trap load. On the other hand, the burning of a typical load of 230 grains of powder combined with that muzzle brake makes the muzzle blast experience exhilarating. A first time shooter will fire, pause for a moment in awe at the muzzle blast, and then break out into what has become known as “The 50 caliber Grin”, almost impossible to wipe from ones face. My daughter started competing with the 50 BMG at 18 (115 lbs of tall skinny girl) and happily shoots 100+ rounds in the course of a match, her grin on the last round is as wide as on the first! Many members and competitors in the FCSA are women and many have distinguished themselves as excellent marksman having set world records on numerous occasions.

50 BMG

Cost of Big-Bore Shooting
Is owning and shooting a 50 BMG caliber rifle expensive? Relatively speaking yes, but one must put it into perspective. Rifles may run from $2500 to $7000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. A good scope will set you back $500 to $1500. And while excellent commercial ammo is available it runs from $3 to $5 a round. Most serious shooters start reloading for the rifle as soon as practical, not only for the economics of reloading but also for the ability to fine tune custom ammo for their specific rifle. It’s a very rare match that is won shooting commercial ammo. I recently compared the cost of my hobby — owning, shooting, and competing with the 50 BMG — with a friend whose hobby is snowmobiling. Factoring in the cost of equipment, licensing, gasoline, clothing, etc. it was soon obvious that my hobby was significantly less expensive than his.

50 BMG

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Getting Started
FCSA 50 BMG Fifty Caliber Shooting AssociationSo how does one get started? You could do as I did, purchase a rifle not knowing what you were really getting into; or you could come out to a FCSA-sponsored event, shoot a number of different rifles, rub shoulders with those who have already taken the plunge, and see if this sport is right for you. While membership in the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FSCA) is required to compete at a FSCA event, membership is not required to come and experience first hand what is going on. If you have any inclination that you are interested in the extreme sport of long rang, big bore shooting then a year’s membership in the FCSA is only $60 ($20 for active duty military) a significant bargain if it helps you make just one well-informed equipment choice. In addition one of the primary functions of the FCSA is helping to identify active members near you who can help you understand just what is involved and help you ‘get your feet wet’ in this challenging sport.

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Photos courtesy FCSA Photo Gallery.
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October 15th, 2014

Visit to Accuracy International Production Facility in the UK

Accuracy International (AI) is perhaps the most noted manufacturer of bolt-action sniper rifles in the Western world. AI was founded in the 1980s by Dave Caig, Malcolm Cooper, and Dave Walls, three competitive rifle shooters. The company took its name from Cooper’s shop: Accuracy International Shooting Sports. The first project was a smallbore target rifle for civilians. Then the trio decided to build a 7.62×51 sniper rifle, inspired by a UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) competition to replace the venerable L42A1. (That old, wood-stocked design had proven unsatisfactory in the 1982 Falkland Islands conflict.)

Working in a garage workshop, Walls and his partners combined their knowledge of target shooting with input from active military personnel to create the first AI sniper rifle, the L96A1. This ground-breaking design won the MoD contract and immediately proved successful in the field. In an interview with The Telegraph, Walls explained: “The company’s early success was based on not just the what the founders knew from target shooting but also what they learnt from the users, the military users. They went out and they sought inputs from those users, and based on that they designed their very first sniper rifle, and it was very successful.”

Today, “At a discreet location on the outskirts of Portsmouth”, Accuracy International continues to make rugged, versatile, and ultra-accurate sniper rifles for military, law enforcement, and private use. A team from The Telegraph visited the Accuracy International facility in England earlier this year. The video below shows AI’s facilities and the products AI produces:

Watch Accuracy International Video:

Profile of Accuracy International in The Firearm Blog
If you want to learn more about Accuracy International, you’ll find an excellent company history in The Firearm Blog (TFB). Writer Miles Vining visited AI’s Portsmouth facility and toured the factory. His in-depth TFB article provides some fascinating insights. For example, Vining recounts that struggles AI went through before reaching its current success:

“The company wasn’t an immediate success in the beginning. After winning the British Army contract and the MoD realizing the gun was constructed in a garage, Accuracy International had to subcontract many of its parts out to various companies around the UK. In 2000, after over 15 years of production, the company only had two CNC machines, one of which didn’t even work and the other one was making front sight posts…. During the 1990s Accuracy International was surviving on contract to contract, barely making ends meet.”

A major turn-around came with the creation of AI’s Arctic Warfare rifle for the 1993 Swedish trials. As chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum, this AW rifle proved to be a game-changer that “carried the company through the 1990s”. In 2005 the enterprise did go through a re-organization with Tom Irwin and Dave Walls taking over as sole Directors. Since then, AI has been going strong for the past decade. It now produces almost all components in-house, with 30 CNC machines, 70 employees in the UK, and two large-scale manufacturing plants.

Firearm Blog Accuracy International AI Quote

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October 14th, 2014

Shooting a Tubegun in F-Class — German Salazar Talks Equipment

When we recently ran a story about Dennis Santiago’s new snakeskin Eliseo Tubegun, folks asked us if this kind of rifle can be competitive in F-Class competition. Here’s a detailed answer to that question by German Salazar, who runs the Riflemans Journal Website.

German Salazar F-Class TubegunA while back, German Salazar published a three-part article on Shooting The Tubegun in F-Class. Links for all three segments are found below. The article covers some of the hardware German engineered to adapt his tubegun for long-range F-Class shooting with scope. If you’re an F-Classer, or just a fan of tubeguns, you should read German’s article, in all its parts.

READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 1
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 2
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 3

In the intro to his multi-part F-Class Tubegun article, German explains:

Salazar: The tubegun has truly changed the face of High Power shooting over the past five years or so. Specifically, the CSS (Gary Eliseo) tubeguns, which are made for a broad variety of actions and configurable to single-shot or repeater, have truly helped the sport to grow. That’s not just idle talk, the two principal factors that made the tubegun so important to our growth are the ease of transition for AR15 shooters moving into a bolt-action rifle and the absolutely ridiculous length of time it currently takes to get a stock from the conventional stock makers. My last conventional stock took well over two years from order to delivery (plain fiberglass). One of my friends has now been waiting four years for a simple wood stock for a smallbore rifle. By contrast, tubeguns, which are largely CNC machined, are delivered in a reasonably short time — weeks or a couple of months at most.

German Salazar F-Class Tubegun

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the tubegun would never have attained its present success if it weren’t for one simple fact — they are brutally accurate. I have three CSS tubeguns, one chambered in .308 and two in .30-06 and they are my favorite prone rifles due to their accuracy and great ergonomics. Those factors are just as appealing to an F-Class competitor as to a prone shooter, and indeed, the tubegun is making solid inroads into F-Class. READ MORE…

READ MORE of Part 1, The Tubegun in F-Class

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October 11th, 2014

Visit to the Forster Products Factory in Illinois

This article, written by Sinclair’s Phil Hoham, originally appeared in the Sinclair Int’l Reloading Press.

Forster ProductsForster Products’ Heritage
I toured Forster Products’ Lanark, Illinois plant with Forster owners Robert Ruch and Rod Hartman. Forster Products was founded by the Forster brothers in 1935. The company’s first production was in the basement of their home. There, the brothers crafted the famous “Forster 99” model airplane engines, establishing a reputation for quality right from the start. In 1946 the company expanded into firearms reloading products, starting with headspace gauges, universal sight-mounting fixtures, and Forster’s famous case trimmers. All of these tools are still being manufactured and sold by Forster Product today.

Forster Products

In the 1950s, Forster’s reputation for precision allowed it to become a Rolls-Royce subcontractor making fluid and fuel control parts used in Rolls-Royce aircraft engines. Forster also manufactured fluid control parts used at the Hoover Dam and in the United States MX missiles. With this precision background it is no wonder that Forster Products holds an ISO 9001-2008 quality certification!

Forster Acquired Bonanza Reloading Co. in 1984
Forster reloading dies and presses came into being in 1984 when Forster purchased the Bonanza Reloading Company from its owner Clarence Purdie. Mr. Purdie designed the CO-AX press with its floating jaws, easy die installation and tremendous leverage. He also held the patents on the famous “sliding sleeve” featured in the Forster “Ultra” and “Benchrest” seaters. His sizing die design positioned the expander ball high up in the full length and neck dies so the case neck is supported as it resized while it is being withdrawn from the die. This design feature is also unique to the Forster brand. All of these innovations make Forster dies a quality product for producing precision ammunition. No wonder Carl Bernosky and John Whidden (NRA High Power and Long-Range champions) swear by them! It was great seeing that “Made in the USA” quality is still alive and well and that Bob and Rod along with their staff have such a great commitment to precision manufacturing and quality customer service.

Forster’s Time-Saving 3-in-1 Case Trimming/Chamfering Tool
Forster’s CFO, Robert Ruch, demonstrates the 3-in-1 Case Mouth Cutter tool in the video below. This unit trims the case to length, puts a 14-degree chamfer on the INSIDE of the neck, AND (last but not least), it cuts a 30-degree chamfer on the OUTSIDE of the neck. As you can see, the tool turns very smoothly (no chatter) and the job is finished in a few seconds. Forster’s 3-in-1 Carbide cutting tool works with all existing Forster case trimmers and other hand lathes with a .490″ shaft diameter. The tool typically sells for about $60.00 at major vendors, and Robert says it should last for a lifetime of use. The unit fits over the Cutter Shaft and easily secures with one set screw. The 3-in-1 cutter is available for five (5) calibers: .224, .243 (6mm), .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and .308.

Forster 3-in-1 case mouth cutter

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October 10th, 2014

Sniper’s Hide Boss Builds a Tactical Tack-Driver in Gunsmith Class

Frank Galli, aka “Lowlight”, runs the popular SnipersHide.com website. A while back, Frank completed a gunsmithing course with Robert Gradous. Frank recounts the learning process in an informative, nicely-illustrated article on the ‘Hide. Frank explains how he put together a new 6.5 Creedmoor tactical rifle using a Bartlein barrel, Bighorn Action (Rem clone with floating bolt-head), and a “lightly used” Accuracy International 1.5 chassis. The HD video below shows the process start-to-finish. READ Full Article.

During Frank’s “hands-on” training sessions with Gradous, Frank learned to thread and chamber a barrel, fit a recoil lug, and install the barreled action in the AI chassis. Chambering was done with great care: “We spent the better part of the day working the barrel. I feel this is a critical component and seeing the attention to detail in Robert’s approach confirmed it for me. When it came time to chamber Robert had a custom tight chamber reamer there for a 6.5CM but I’m shooting a tactical rifle, tight chambers aren’t for me, and this was clear, as out came the standard SAAMI reamer.”


Frank also learned how to modify an aluminum chassis: “the AI chassis had the recoil lug opened up, but it was opened in the wrong direction. This was going to require milling increasing the gap to at least a 1/2″ in size. Robert was really leery of this, but my attitude was, ‘it’s just a chassis and nothing a little Marine Tex can’t handle’.” Thankfully the chassis mod came out OK.

Once the barreled action was complete and the AI chassis was successfully milled, Frank applied a tan Cerakote finish to the barreled action. This would give a proper tactical look to the rifle, while providing superior corrosion resistance for the metal parts. To learn more about Cerakote finishing, check out the Cerakote Application Video, published last week in the Daily Bulletin.

When the rifle was complete, Frank took it out for testing with a variety of ammo, both factory fodder and handloads. There were some initial worries about accuracy as it took a while for the barrel to break in. A few sessions of bore cleaning were required before the barrel stopped fouling and then — like magic — the rifle started printing really small groups.

By the end of his load testing session, Frank was getting good groups with Hornady 120gr GMX factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, and really superb groups with handloads. The 120gr GMX ammo “was going 3100 fps with no ill effects”. The best handloads were approaching 1/4 MOA for three shots, and Frank’s load with Berger 130 VLDs shot even smaller than that: “In my opinion the load development we did was worth its weight in gold. Where else can you build in a rifle in two days, then go out and develop a baseline load using everything from 120gr ammo to 140gr ammo with a few in between? My favorite load and clearly the rifle’s too, was the [Berger] 130gr VLD. This gave us great velocity, awesome groups [with some one-holers] and really nice results at distance.”


Lowlight’s Gunsmithing Story is a ‘Must-Read’
We recommend you read Frank’s story. It shows that, with the right tools, and the supervision of a master smith, even a novice can produce an ultra-accurate rifle. For those of you who have considered taking a gunsmithing class, Frank’s successful experience with gunsmith Robert Gradous should give you plenty of motivation.

CLICK HERE to Read Lowlight’s Gunsmithing Course Article
CLICK HERE for Info on Gradous Rifles Gunsmithing Class

Photos courtesy SnipersHide.com and Frank Galli, used by permission.

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