December 16th, 2014
Ernie Paull from California was an active competition shooter for many years. However, his eyesight has declined so he has turned his attention to providing components for shooters and gunsmiths. Through his Ernie the Gunsmith website, Paull sells a variety of useful products including gun trigger springs, pillar-bedding kits, Accu-Risers, and pillar installation tools. This Bulletin post focuses on Ernie’s trigger springs. Ernie offers springs for a wide variety of rifles: Browning (A-Bolt, A-Bolt 22), CZ (m452), Kimber, Remington (XR100, XCR, 7, 700, 722, 788, 7600 and more), Ruger (77, 77-22, LC6), Tikka (T-3), Weatherby (MK-V), and Winchester (M-70).
Springs start at just $6.95. Ernie also sells springs for the Rem-compatible Shilen Benchrest trigger, as well as Rem 700 ejector springs and trigger alignment springs. For Rem 700 rifles, Paull makes a spring that fits all Remington M-7 and M-700 triggers including the 2007-vintage X Mark-PRO trigger (but not the newer X Mark-PRO trigger introduced in 2009). Ernie says: “on average, installation of his Model-700 spring will reduce factory triggers’ weight of pull by 1½ to 2½ lbs with no other changes. The exact amount of creep, over-travel, and weight of pull are dependent upon the type and amount of tuning accomplished by your gunsmith.”
We often hear requests from Tikka T-3 owners asking how they can reduce their trigger pull weight. Paull offers a Tikka T-3 varmint trigger spring which can reduce the pull weight significantly. The photo at left shows the Tikka T-3 trigger assembly.
While there is more to a good trigger job (in most cases) than just a spring swap, you need to have the proper rate spring when adjusting trigger pull weight downwards. NOTE: For safety reasons, we recommend you consult a competent gunsmith before modifying factory triggers. We stress the word competent…
Ernie has observed that some gunsmiths try to lighten trigger pulls by modifying factory springs in questionable ways: “I have worked with gunsmiths in the past who, when the subject turned to trigger springs, preferred to clip them, grind them, heat them, bend them, smash them, or simply back out the weight of pull screw until there was no or almost no pressure on the spring. With any of these methods, you get a spring whose rate is rapidly rising as the trigger is pulled. As the trigger is released, the spring rate rapidly decreases as it approaches full or near-full extension. A more uniform weight of pull will be achieved when the trigger spring is compressed within its normal working range throughout the entire movement of the trigger. In the long run, the benefits of saved time, plus more uniform and reliable results, will more than offset the cost of these [replacement] springs. If you want a lighter trigger pull, you need a lighter trigger spring.”
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December 15th, 2014
The U.S. Patent Office has awarded BoreSmith utility patents for two unique gun cleaning products. Patents were issued for BoreSmith’s triangular Pyramid Patch™ as well as BoreSmith’s dual-diameter JagBrush™. Both products were designed by Shane Smith, a mathematician/physicist who used his scientific and firearms knowledge to create innovative bore-cleaning products that may well work better than conventional patches and brushes.
BoreSmith’s clever Triangle Patch™ (aka Pyramid Patch) presents more cleaning surface area to the bore wall than does a conventional square or round patch (of equivalent size). At the same time, the unique geometry makes Triangle Patches much less likely to jam in the barrel. This is because the notches in the sides of the triangle allow the patch to sit more uniformly on the jag (without bunching up). The Triangle patch can be used with a standard jag but works best when paired with BoreSmith’s patented dual-diameter JagBrush. Order Triangle Patches HERE.
Triangle Patch Function and Geometry Explained (See 1:18 time-mark):
NOTE: Despite what you may see in this video, you should insert brushes and patches from the chamber end first, using a well-fitting cleaning rod bore guide. With bolt-action rifles, NEVER insert a cleaning rod (with brush or jag) in through the muzzle. This may damage the delicate crown of your barrel.
Patent Awarded to Dual-Diameter JagBrush
The JagBrush is like a standard bore brush but has two different diameters on the bristle section. Bristles in the front are smaller, while the rear bristles are similar length to a standard bore brush. When a patch is pushed through the bore using a JagBrush, the smaller bristles will grab the patch, leaving the longer bristles exposed and creating a dual-action wiping + brushing system. JagBrushes are offered in a wide variety of calibers, in both bronze and nylon versions.
Shane Smith, CEO of BoreSmith, was pleased that his designs have been awarded two important patents: “I created these tools to allow the user to get their firearms cleaner, faster, and without causing unnecessary damage in the process. At BoreSmith, we strive to develop and produce superior cleaning tools that help firearm owners protect their investments.” For more info, visit BoreSmith at RigelProducts.com.
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December 15th, 2014
We’re well into December, and that means many readers will be putting guns in storage for a few months. It also means the weather is cold and damp — conditions that encourage corrosion. To ensure your rifles remain rust-free over the winter, we recommend some preventative measures. First clean the bore thoroughly, and remove carbon and gunk from the action areas. Slide a couple oiled patches down the bore and make sure that any bare metal parts (including sights, trigger guard, action, and bolt) are coated with some protective oil. We recommend Eezox, Boeshield T9, or CorrosionX. Eezox leaves a glossy dry film shield with excellent rust resistance. CorrosionX is more like a conventional oil, but with special anti-rust additives. Boeshield T9 leaves a slightly thicker, wax-like coating that blocks all kinds of oxidation, even on aluminum parts.
Laminated Long-Term Storage Bags
Before you put your guns away for the winter, you may want to pack them in long-term storage bags. You can get superior protection with ZCORR long-term storage bags. Used by the USMC for arsenal storage, ZCORR bags are like the ultimate zip-lock baggie. They keep air and moisture out, and the interior is impregnated with corrosion inhibitors that block rust. The basic long-gun bags cost $12-$16, and have a velcro closure. The “Collectors Series” storage bags ($22-$30 for long-guns) feature a foil-adhesive closure that is 100% air and water tight. The deluxe preservation-grade ZCORRs, priced at $32-$39, can be vacuum-sealed for maximum protection — just hook up a vacuum cleaner to the special one-way valve. See photo below of rifle in ZCORR Vacuum storage bag.
Our friend Jim Sheppard of the Shooting Wire, has used ZCORR bags for years. He writes: “I’ve used ZCORR bags in the past, but the latest firearms versions are reusable, equally durable (they’re far tougher than a plastic bag) and available in sizes that will protect pistols, carbines and long rifles. Their Collector Series storage bags and Ammunition and Parts Pouches use zip closures to protect a variety of sizes of parts, ammo or whatever.”
How ZCORR Bags Work
The laminated material used in ZCORR bags is puncture-resistant, tear-resistant, and will not harm any non-metal surfaces. Two key elements in bag’s laminate construction allow ZCORRs to block corrosion: 1) the foil barrier layer; and; 2) the VpCI-impreg-nated sealant layer.
The foil layer in ZCORR FSP Bags™ performs two tasks simultaneously; it keeps harmful corrosion causing elements out of the bag and keeps the corrosion inhibiting VpCI chemistry in the bag
The VpCI-impregnated inner layer provides the anti-corrosive properties. The VpCI chemistry impregnated in the interior layer migrates out of the plastic and forms an invisible gas inside of the bag. This gas is made up of VpCI molecules that are attracted to the interior and exterior metal surfaces of your firearm. The gas coats these metal surfaces with a one-molecule-thick layer of VpCI chemistry that stops corrosion before it can begin. This one-molecule-thick layer of VpCI chemistry dissipates off of the firearm when it is removed from the bag.
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November 26th, 2014
One of our Forum members asked us the question: “Does anybody make a good range box with cradles for cleaning at the bench?” The answer is yes — the MTM model RBMC Range Box offers slide-in plastic cradles that provide a reasonably sturdy platform for a quick clean when you’re done shooting. The RBMC box also offers plenty of storage for jags, brushes, solvents, ammo boxes and other miscellaneous gear you need for the range.
Among the many range boxes available, the MTM model RBMC Range Box leads the pack in terms of versatility. It is rugged, it has plenty of storage space, plus it doubles as a handy cleaning station. This Editor has used the MTM Range Box to clean rifles and as a “range expedient” rifle holder when adjusting scopes and tensioning action screws. It’s a good product that does the job and stands up to rough handling.
Fitted Cleaning Cradles
The key feature setting MTM’s RBMC apart from most range boxes is the rubber-coated cradle system. Wide enough to fit a 3″-wide fore-arm, the cradles slide into vertical slots on either end of the box. This allows your range box to serve as a stable maintenance station. The RBMC is really pretty stable in this role, and the cradles won’t mark your stock. The cradles even feature slots on each side to hold your cleaning rods when not in use. The MTM Range Box is secure enough to stay in place when you’re brushing the barrel. However, if you’re working on a carpeted bench top, you may want to keep one hand on the box when running a cleaning rod through the bore, just to ensure the box doesn’t slide.
Versatile Upper Tray with Dividers
The MTM Range Box has two major components — the box base (with cradles), and a large upper tray with hinged top and carry handle. This large upper tray clamps securely to the bottom unit for transport. The top tray has a long section that holds cleaning rod guides, long brushes, grease syringes and the like. There are two, clear-plastic fitted divider trays. These will hold your patches and jags, plus comparators, ring wrenches, and other small tools.
What Might Be Improved
Though we really like the MTM Range Box, it’s not perfect. First, we wish the box was a bit deeper, to have added carrying capacity. The dimensions of the MTM Range Box are: 25″ long x 11.5″ wide x 8.75″ high. We’d like to see it 12″ high/deep to allow larger solvent bottles to stand upright and to provide more space to carry tools and shooting muffs. However, it is deep enough to hold the large 100-round MTM cartridge boxes that are popular with many shooters (see photo at left).
The cradles are very nicely designed, and will hold your rifle securely without marking the stock. However, we’ve found that sometimes the rear cradle grips the gun so well that the cradle slides out as you lift the gun up. This is not a big deal, but it does demand a little extra attention when you’ve finished cleaning. We really like the twin clear plastic dividers that fit into the large removable top-tray, but we wish the dividers had individual hinged tops. This would keep patches and small parts more secure.
The MTM Range Box costs about $46.00 at most vendors. The MTM Shooting Range Box RBMC-11 (green version) is on sale now for $35.68 at Amazon.com, with FREE shipping. The red RBMC-30 version (shown below) costs slightly more, and may currently be hard to find.
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November 9th, 2014
Do-It-Yourself Joystick Rest — Jeff’s Labor of Love
Quite a few competitors chamber their own barrels, and a few construct their own stocks. But Jeff Godfrey takes the prize for do-it-yourself audacity — he built his own co-axial front rest from scratch. Sam Hall provides this report:
“Jeff, one of Piedmont Gun Club’s regulars, is a talented fabricator. He made one of the smoothest joystick rests that I have ever laid my hands on. Jeff’s home-built coaxial rest rivals the Farley and Seb Max. It will also handle a wide fore-end Heavy Gun. Constructing virtually every part of this rest from scratch, Jeff made his own co-axial to save money. You have to admire his ingenuity and his dedication. Jeff says it took him over 100 hours to make. He said there would be no way he could make another one for profit!”
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October 22nd, 2014
Our take on Bore-Store Gun sleeves is simple: They work great, so buy them and use them — for ALL your valuable firearms.
These thick, synthetic-fleece sacks cushion your guns, preventing nicks and scratches. The breathable fabric wicks away moisture, and the fibers are coating with corrosion inhibitors. I personally use Bore-Stores for in-safe storage with all my guns, and I have never had one of my guns rust inside a Bore-Store, even when I lived a stone’s throw from the ocean.
Bore-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes, so you can find something to fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 32″-barrelled 50 BMG. Rifle-size Bore Stores can be purchased for $12.00 – $21.00 from Brownells. For long F-Class or tactical rifles, we recommend the 10″x52″ Scoped Shotgun Bag, Brownells item 132-000-003. You can also order direct from the Bore-Store manufacturer, Big Spring Enterprises, www.BoreStores.com. Big Spring will also craft custom sizes on request.
Consider Military-Style, Triple-Layer Bags for Long-Term Storage
While we prefer Bore-Stores for regularly-used guns, if you have heirloom firearms that will be kept in storage for very long periods without seeing any use, you may want to grease them up and place them in the thin, but rugged three-layer storage bags sold by Brownells. The bags are made from a three-layer laminate of polyester, aluminum, and polyethylene film, with a shiny silver exterior. Though the laminate is thin, the Brownells storage bags are puncture-resistant, and have a 0% moisture transmission rating so moisture can’t get inside. These bags are also resistant to petroleum-based chemicals and they won’t break down even in contact with soil or moisture.
Here’s one VITAL bit of advice for using these bags. Be absolutely sure, before you seal up the bags, that your guns are DRY and that all metal surfaces have been coated with an effective anti-corrosive, such as BoeShield T9 or Eezox. Brownells’ storage bags are inexpensive. A three-pak of 12″x 60″ rifle sacks (item 083-055-003WB) costs just $22.99 — under eight bucks a gun. That’s cheap insurance for rifles and shotguns that may cost thousands of dollars.
Get Your Guns Out of Foam-lined Cases — They Are Rust Magnets
Just about the worst thing you can do in the winter (short of leaving your rifle outside in the rain) is to store firearms in tight, foam-padded cases. The foam in these cases actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as the perfect breeding ground for rust.
Remember, those plastic-shelled cases with foam interiors are for transport, not for long-term storage. Don’t repeat the mistake of a wealthy gun collector I know. He stored four valuable Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolvers in individual foam-padded cases, and locked these away in his gun safe. A year later, every one of his precious SAAs had rusted, some badly.
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October 18th, 2014
While devotees of this site are hard-core accuracy addicts, who normally shoot tiny groups with sophisticated Benchrest and Varmint rifles, we should not overlook the pure fun of shooting a simple rifle at reactive targets.
Nailing a nice, tight 1/4-moa group is very satisfying. But for pure unadulterated shooting fun, it’s hard to beat a slicked-up “race-ready”, Winchester-clone lever gun. In fact, this editor’s favorite rifle for “fun shooting” is my 20″ Uberti Model 1866 “Yellowboy” Lever gun. Shooting light-loaded 38 SPL rounds at steel targets from a standing position offers old-fashioned shooting satisfaction. On the “fun meter” this tops the scale. My rifle features a slicked-up action and lightened trigger. After a “CodyMatic” action job by cowboy gunsmith Cody Conagher, my Yellowboy’s lever can be cycled with just one finger. Trigger pull is about a pound and a quarter. The high-gloss, blued octagonal barrel is very accurate and the mirror-finish bore cleans up easily.
Based on the Model 1866 Winchester, Uberti’s Yellowboy, and its Model 1873 “older brother”, feature a toggle-link action that is extremely smooth. The toggle action design also keeps the linkages separate from the chamber so the gun runs extremely clean. After firing a hundred rounds or more, all you need to do is wipe off the bolt and breech-face with some solvent and run a bore-snake down the bore a few times. To be honest, the Yellowboy is more fun to shoot at steel than my AR Carbine. And maintenance-wise, for every five minutes I spend maintaining the 1866, I’ll spend an hour detail-stripping and cleaning the AR. The shooting-to-cleaning ratio favors the lever gun by orders of magnitude.
These Italian-made Winchester clones are very handsome, with nicely figured wood under a durable clearcoat. You can polish the brass receiver to keep it shiny, or leave it alone to develop an authentic, dulled patina. Uberti’s Model 1873 features a steel receiver with gorgeous color case-hardening.
After the fun factor, what’s the best thing about Uberti lever guns? Resale value. I can sell my 1866 for quite a bit more than I paid for it. Over the past decade, the price of Italian-made Uberti lever guns has been steadily rising. This means that older rifles fetch a premium on the used market.
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October 2nd, 2014
When does a scope cost as much as a new Harley-Davidson? When it is a top-of-the-line 72mm Hensoldt (by Zeiss). The remarkable Hensoldt ZF 6-24x72mm SAM scope integrates ultra-bright apochromatic fluorite glass with a calculator module that provides ballistic info and weather data to the shooter. This 6-24x72mm SAM Hensoldt may be the most advanced riflescope on the planet. With a street price of $11,982.00, it is certainly one of the most expensive. Take a 360° tour with this cool video from Hensoldt Zeiss.
Hensoldt ZF 6-24x72mm SAM
SAM stands for “Sniper Auxiliary Module”. An integrated ballistics calculator can be programmed for up to four different types of ammo. Sensors in the integrated ring mount measure weather parameters. These values, as well as scope data, are then directly projected into the visual field of the eyepiece. This provides selectable displays of elevation clicks, windage clicks, angle of fire, cant angle, temperature, and air pressure.
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October 1st, 2014
In our Shooters’ Forum thread about Portable Shooting Benches, Forum member John H. of New Mexico (aka “Skratch”) showed off a nicely-crafted mobile shooting bench that he can haul with his ATV. This trailer-mounted, movable bench is built on a central tubular spine that also serves as the tongue for the trailer, which attaches to a standard hitch. The bench offers two (2) shooting positions so it works for both left-handed and right-handed shooters.
Up front, for storage, a surplus .50-Cal ammo can is secured to the trailer frame. The V-shaped middle section of the wood benchtop looks to be reinforced with a metal stiffener frame on the underside. The front section of the bench is supported by twin tubular uprights attached to the box-section axle housing. The two wooden bench-style seats (on left and right) ride on a cross-tube. At the ends of that cross-tube are adjustable legs for additional support.
Great Rig for New Mexico Varmint Hunting
There are plenty of great varmint hunting areas in Skratch’s home state of New Mexico — you’ll find some huge prairie dog fields there. But to get the best results on a varmint-hunting field session, you need a solid shooting station that can be easily hauled to new locations as needed. It looks like John (aka “Scratch”) has come up with an outstanding “War Wagon” for his New Mexico varmint safaris.
Click on image frames to see full-size photos
Some readers wanted to know how John’s War Wagon is positioned in the field and if it is ever detached from John’s ATV. John answers: “We do unhook the 4-wheeler for target-checking unless we have an extra along which is usually the case. That way we can level the table front to rear. We have an umbrella from a patio table to provide shade on extra warm days.”
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September 29th, 2014
“All dressed up and nowhere to go” was the comment our IT guy, Jay Christopherson, sent with this photo. This is Jay’s testing set-up at his home range, complete with PVM-21 chronograph and wireless target-cam. The camera signal is sent, via WiFi, to Jay’s laptop computer. However, even with all that high-tech electronic gear, you can’t make the shot if you can’t see the target through the rifle-scope. On this morning, heavy ground fog completely obscured the target. Jay told us: “I ended up waiting a little over an hour for the fog to burn off enough so that I could see the 600-yard target. What was funny was that I had a perfectly clear picture of the target via the target-cam and monitor. But there was no way to aim the rifle since the riflescope showed nothing but fog.”
This photo was taken by Jay at the Cascade Shooting Facility in Ravensdale, WA. The rifle is Jay’s .284 Shehane F-Class rifle. Jay was testing primers for Extreme Spread (ES) variation around 9:00 am. Nature was not cooperating. Jay was running Hodgdon H4831sc and testing various primers to see which provided the best numbers.
The chronograph is the Kurzzheit PVM-21. Equipped with infrared sensors, the PVM-21 is our “go-to” chron for most velocity testing, with an Oehler 35P for “back-up”. The PVM-21 (now updated with Kurzzheit’s BMC-19 model) sets up quickly and gives reliable results in any light conditions. But there is something even more sophisticated on the horizon — the new Labradar, a “stand-off” chronograph that uses Doppler radar to measure bullet speed.
Jay explains: “I am (somewhat) patiently waiting for the new Labradar to release. The PVM-21 works pretty well most of the time and is easy to setup. I do get odd readings out of it every so often, but they are pretty obvious when they occur.” The advantage of the Labradar (if it ever comes to market) is that the unit sits to the left or right of the rifle. The Labradar is situated out of the bullet path, so there is no chance of shooting the chronograph by accident. Another advantage of the Labradar is that you can set it up without needing to go forward of the firing line, which would require a safety break.
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September 21st, 2014
Brass jags perform well for their intended purpose — with one hitch. Strong copper solvents can actually leech metal from the jag itself, leaving the tell-tale blue tint on your patches. This “false positive” can be frustrating, and may lead shooters to over-clean their barrels.
Gunslick Nylon Spire-Point Jags
There are now some good alternatives to brass jags. The best may be the Gunslick® Nylon Snap-Lock™ jags shown at right. These never leave a “false positive”. A while back, Larry Bartholome, past USA F-Class Team Captain told us: “The best spear-type jags I have used are the GunSlick black nylon tips. I have used the model 92400 for the last couple years in my 6BR and 6.5-284s. Unlike the white plastic jags, these are strong and there’s no brass to worry about.” You can purchase these nylon jags directly from GunSlick just $1.49 each. At that price, they’re worth a try.
#92400 for 22 through 270 calibers: $1.49
#92421 for 30 through 375/8mm calibers: $1.49
#92423 for 38 through 38/9mm calibers: $1.49
Tipton Nickel-Coated Jags
If you prefer a metal jag, consider the Tipton Nickel-coated Ultra Jags, sold both individually and as a boxed set. All Tipton nickel-plated jags have 8-32 thread, except for the .17 caliber jag which has a 5-40 thread. The vast majority of user reviews have been very positive. A few guys have complained that the nickel-plated Tipton jags run oversize, but we use a .22-caliber jag in our 6mms anyway, so this hasn’t been a problem for us. The 6mm (.243 caliber) nickel-plated jag (MidwayUSA item 259834) costs $4.79. The complete 12-jag set, covering .17 to .45 calibers, including a flip-top carry case, is offered by Midsouth Shooters Supply for $17.56 (Midsouth item 094-500012).
For a couple dollars more, you can get the new-style, 12-Jag Kit from MidwayUSA (Midway item, 812503, $19.99). This features an easy-to-use, clear-topped fitted caddy that can lie flat on your bench, or be attached vertically (to save space).
Clear-Coating Your Brass Jags
If you’re reluctant to give up your collection of brass jags (after all they’ve worked pretty well so far), try covering the jag itself with a thin, transparent coating. Forum Member BillPA says: “I give the brass jags a coat of clear lacquer or acrylic; that works for me”. You may need to experiment to find a coating that stands up to your favorite solvent. BillPA says: “The only solvent I’ve found that eats the lacquer off is TM Solution. Butch’s, Shooter’s Choice, or Wipe-Out don’t seem to bother it. Most of the time I use rattle-can clear lacquer”. If you’re feeling creative, you could even color-code your jags by adding tints to the clear-coat.
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September 17th, 2014
Most of us are familiar with McMillan’s popular “A” series of tactical gunstocks. The original A-2 is a still-popular “tactical classic”. The A-3, a modified, lighter version of the A-2, is probably the most widely-used field sniper stock. The A-4, originally designed for the USMC, features a butthook on the underside of the stock — a feature you now see on many other tactical designs.
In addition to its conventional A-series stocks (A2-A5), McMillan now offers two very different tactical stock designs: the A-TH and the TPR. These stocks are designed to work well for off-hand as well as prone shooting. They offer many of the advantages of a chassis-style stock with durable, user-friendly fiberglass construction. If you are planning a tactical rifle project for the Precision Rifle Series or other application, you may want to consider the A-TH and the TPR.
McMillan A-TH Thumbhole Stock
The A-TH stock was created after numerous customer requests for a thumbhole stock in McMillan’s tactical line. It uses a flat, square-type forearm very similar to the popular A-3 but with textured grooves on the sides for better grip when shooting off-hand. The butt-hook also has texture and a thumb groove for enhanced grip and control when shooting off a bench or prone. The ergonomics of the pistol grip are designed to put the shooter’s hand in the most natural and comfortable position. The A-TH must be ordered with one of the integral cheekpiece options and is available in right hand only. It can be inletted for most Remington, Sako, Tikka, and Savage blind magazine type actions and for barrel contours up to a 1.250″ straight blank. Color shown: Tan, Dark tan, Olive vertical marbling.
McMillan TPR Stock
In designing the pistol grip TPR stock, McMillan came up with something completely different — not just another “A” series variant. The design evolved from a desire to create a stock that offers everything that a straight line chassis stock offers along with the enhanced accuracy, vibration damping, and recoil reduction characteristics of a fiberglass stock. Fully ambidextrous, the TPR can be inletted for most Remington 700 type actions and Savage blind magazine actions. The forearm can be inletted for most barrel contours up to a 1.350″ diameter straight contour and has enough depth for installation of a Versa-Pod bipod stud. Color shown: 50% olive, 25% black, 25% tan marble.
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