Looking to shoot an AR-platform rifle out past 500 yards? Then you should read two articles by AR guru Glen Zediker. Author of The New Competitive AR-15 and The Competitive AR15 Builders Guide, Zediker is an expert when it comes to AR-platform rifles. Glen believes ARs have excellent long-range capability, provided they are built to high standards, with good barrels. Glen says: “a properly configured AR-15 is easily capable of good performance at 500+ yards. Good performance means it can hit a 1-foot-square target all the time. Competitive shooters can cut that standard in nearly half (the X-Ring on an MR1 600-yard NRA High Power Rifle target is 6 inches, and high X-counts are commonplace among more skilled shooters).”
Published in the Cheaper than Dirt Shooter’s Log, Zediker’s pair of articles cover the history and upgrading of the AR-15. Part One reviews the AR’s development as an accurate firearm, tracing its evolution from a Vietnam-era combat weapon to what is now a favored target rifle of High Power competitors. READ PART ONE.
Part Two discusses the specifics that make an AR accurate at 500 yards and beyond. Zediker talks about barrel configuration (profile and twist rate), bullet selection, floating handguards, and proper mounting of optics or iron sights. READ PART TWO.
Barrel Twist Rate
To stabilize anything longer than a 68- or 69-grain bullet, the barrel twist rate must be — at minimum– 1-in-8. Twist rates reflect how far the bullet travels along the lands or rifling to make one complete revolution. So, 1-in-8 (or 1-8, 1:8) means “one turn in eight inches.” I think it’s better to go a little faster in twist. There is nothing wrong with a 1:7 twist. The 90-grain bullets require a 1:6.5, and that is getting on the quick side. If you want to shoot Sierra 77s or equivalent, and certainly anything longer, 1:8 is necessary. By the way, it is bullet length, not weight, which constitutes the necessary twist rate to launch a stable bullet.
Correct optical sight positioning can be a challenge. With a flattop upper, I need a good inch additional forward extension at the muzzle side of the upper for the sight mount bases to avoid holding my head “back” to get the optimal view through the scope. A longer rail piece is necessary for my builds as a result.
Buttstock Length and Adjustment
An adjustable buttstock is valuable, and even more valuable if it’s well-designed. Mostly, a standard stock is too short, and the cheek area sits too low. Adding length helps a lot by itself. There are assemblies that replace the standard buttplate to allow for length and, usually, height and rotation adjustments for the buttpad. An elevation-adjustable cheekpiece is a big help to attain a solid position.
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Here’s a triple-threat hardware package for long-range shooting. This cool set-up combines a folded-path spotting scope with a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) and a Kestrel Wind Meter. The LRF is mounted directly to the Hensoldt-Zeiss spotting scope ($4330.00 retail) so the two units stay aligned at all times. That makes it easy to spot and range your target quickly. LRF and weather data is piped into a PDA which automatically generates a firing solution (providing windage and elevation adjustments). That’s slick. Feeding the range and weather data directly into the Ballistics solver eliminates human input error and allows rapid updates to the ballistics solution.
Ashbury Precison Ordnance sent us these photos, noting: “The ingenuity of APO customers never ceases to impress us! This rig has a co-located LRF adjustable for azimuth and elevation, a Kestrel weather station (Bluetooth?) and Trimble NOMAD RPDA. Firing solutions are updated as data is transmitted to the PDA from the LRF and weather station. That Hensoldt Spotter 60 is a nice piece of glass for shooting at extremely long distances.” The spotting scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 410 3-axis geared head.
Click Image to View Full-Screen Version
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6.5 Creedmoor vs. Other Mid-Sized 6.5mm Cartridges
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very popular cartridge with the tactical and PRS crowd. This mid-size cartridge offers good ballistics, with less recoil than a .308 Winchester. There’s an excellent selection of 6.5mm bullets, and many good powder choices for this cartridge. When compared to the very accurate 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers similar performance with less expensive brass options. For a tactical shooter who must sometimes leave brass on the ground, brass cost is a factor to consider. Here’s a selection of various 6.5mm mid-sized cartridges. Left to right are: 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor with 120gr A-Max, 6.5 Creedmoor with 142gr Sierra MK, and .260 Remington.
When asked to compare the 6.5 Creedmoor to the 6.5×47 Lapua, Rifleshooter.com’s Editor stated: “If you don’t hand load, or are new to precision rifle shooting, get a 6.5 Creedmoor. If you shoot a lot, reload, have more disposable income, and like more esoteric cartridges, get a 6.5×47 Lapua. I am a big fan of the 6.5×47 Lapua. In my personal experience, the 6.5×47 Lapua seems to be slightly more accurate than the 6.5 Creedmoor. I attribute this to the quality of Lapua brass.” But now that Lapua is producing top-quality 6.5 Creedmoor brass with small primer pockets, we could have a “second generation” 6.5 Creedmoor that rivals ANY mid-sized cartridge for efficiency AND accuracy. We will soon know how well the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge performs with Lapua brass.
The first shipment of Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass has arrived in the USA. It features a small flash hole and small primer pocket. We have some for testing…
New Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Brass Field Tests Soon
Our friends at 65Guys.com will be testing the new Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass next week. The goal will be to determine if Lapua’s new Small Primer Pocket/Small Flash Hole brass allows higher velocities than American-made brass (Hornady specifically). In addition the 6.5 Guys want to see how well the new Lapua brass holds up after dozen (or more) firing cycles. They’ll hammer the new brass pretty hard to see how it fares with repeated stout loads. Stay tuned…
Here are three tables from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual (5th Edition). IMPORTANT — This is just a sample!! Sierra has load data for many other 6.5mm bullet types, including FB, Spitzer, SBT, HPBT, and Tipped MK from 85 grains to 142 grains. To view ALL 6.5 Creedmoor DATA, CLICK HERE.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
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Sinclair International has a good article on Case Lubrication which shows the various products and application methods available. Part of Sinclair’s Step-By-Step Reloading series, the article shows how to apply Spray Lube, Die Wax, or conventional lube from a Pad. The story also explains how to use dry lube to slick up the inside of your case necks.
High-volume reloaders often turn to spray-on lubricants such as the RCBS Case Slick (#749-001-341) or the Hornady One Shot (#749-001-065) to quickly lubricate large numbers of cases at once. An indispensable piece of gear that helps make spray lubing easy is a lube rack (#749-011-550) — a polymer block that holds cases upright and arranged to maximize their exposure to the spray.
Editor’s Note: Ballistol Aerosol is other good spray product for regular full-length sizing (not heavy case-forming). It goes on clear (no chalky residue), it is ultra-slippery, and it will remove the carbon from your case necks as you apply Ballistol with a patch. This is my primary spray lube — but many folks dislike the distinctive Ballistol smell. Try before you buy.
Sizing Die Wax
Over the years, many benchrest shooters have come to trust Imperial Sizing Die Wax (#749-001-052) for their case lube needs. It offers high lubricity and easily wipes off with a paper towel. In fact, its lubricity makes it a popular choice for case forming, for those wildcat folks who need to form their own unique or obsolete cartridges. Unlike lube pads or spray lubes, sizing wax is applied more naturally. You just put a little on your fingers and transfer it to the cases by handling them. As simple and easy as Imperial Sizing Die Wax is to use, it’s probably best for low-volume applications.
Redding’s Imperial Application Media (#749-001-166) is a dry neck lube used to lube the inside of the neck, whether you’re full-length sizing or neck-sizing only. It consists of ceramic spheres coated with a fine graphite-based powder. You simply dip the neck into the container for a second to pick up the right amount of lube. This lube enables the expander ball to work smoothly throughout the case neck –instead of “grabbing” or “chattering” — to minimize case neck stretching.
Editor’s Note: Dry Lube is also very useful if you ultrasonically clean your cases. After the ultrasound process, the inside of the case neck can be so “squeaky clean” that bullets don’t seat smoothly. A quick application of dry lube will help bullets slide into the neck easier and the neck “grip” on the bullets should be more consistent from round-to-round. Consistent neck tension is key to accuracy and uniform velocities.
Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Forum member Bill Goad’s 6XC II Hunter Rests in a Whitetail Rack taken this past year.
One of the most popular items in our Shooters’ Forum is the ongoing “Pride and Joy” thread. Since 2009, Forum members have posted photos and descriptions of their most prized rifles. Here are some of the most recent “Pride and Joy” rifles showcased in our Forum. Do you have a gun you’d like to see featured there? Just Register for the Forum and you can add your favorite gun to the list.
TT Freestyle’s Husband and Wife Borden Benchrest Rifles
Here’s a pair of “His and Hers” rigs delivered by Santa in December. Forum member TT Freestyle reports: “After our rookie year in Short Range Benchrest with good used equipment, my wife and I decided we liked it enough to get two new Bordens for Christmas!”
FalconPilot’s Fabulous F-Classer in Shurley Claro Walnut Stock
This beauty belongs to Forum member FalconPilot. He tells us that his “Lastest F-Classer features a Shurley Brothers SOD stock in beautiful Claro Walnut.” Components include Bat M action, Bix-N-Andy trigger, and Nightforce Comp scope. FalconPilot has several barrels for this Open-Class rig, including tubes chambered for .284 Win and 6mm Dasher.
Eric’s Blacktical .308 Win for Precision Rifle Series
Forum member Eric32 spent months building out this rifle, “getting it to work just right for PRS”. Designed for practical/tactical matches, this rugged rig features a blue-printed Rem 700 action (with 1.5-lb 40X trigger) in an XLR Element chassis. On the end of the .308 Bartlein 5R barrel is a JP brake. Other components include: PiG skins barricade grips, Atlas Bipod, and GGG bungee sling. On top is a SWFA HD 5-20x50mm optic with Vortex scope level and custom throw-lever.
Forum member Willow reports: “Here is my new F-Open gun. It features a hydro-dipped LowBoy stock and LH Barnard Model P action with ‘V’ bedding block. The barrel is a straight profile 32″, 1:8.5″ twist Bartlein 5R, chambered in 280AI by Matt Paroz”. On top is a Vortex 10-60x52mm Golden Eagle in a Spuhr 3001 mount. Willow says his lightning bolt rig is a shooter: “After 42 rounds through the barrel, I’m liking what I am seeing so far”. Check out that trick aluminum base for his rear Edgewood bag.
Stinnett’s 6.4×47 Lapua Tactical Rig
Forum member Stinnett tells us: “This is my third 6.5×47 Lapua rifle — the 6.5×47 is the best cartridge ever! I’m not a huge fan of muzzle brakes. I look at them as tools — use the correct tool for the job. The ’47 doesn’t need a brake. .308 Winchester and up need muzzle brakes. For this rifle, I’m going to start out with 123gr Scenars and Reloder 15. I also like to shoot the 123gr SMKs and Varget. The SMKs are much less seating-depth sensitive. Very easy to find a load! Also gonna try the Berger 130 Hybrids and H4350.”
Components: McMillan A5 adjustable stock in GAP Camo, Stiller TAC 30 A/W action, Jewell HVR trigger, Badger bottom metal and DBM, Atlas Bipod, Nightforce NXS F1 3.5-15×50 with MLR 2.0 reticle. Metal has been Cerakoted graphite black.
6mm BRX Benchgun with Home-Made Cherry/Redheart Stock
You have to give credit to a guy who crafts his own custom wood stock. This 6mm BRX benchgun features a custom-built laminated stock featuring Cherry wood with vivid Redheart pieces on the sides and Redwood Burl on the buttplate. The front of the stock is 4″ wide. The action is a Benchrest Borden RBLP Right Eject unit, with custom titanium scope rings on top. Owner Erick C. is proud of this stock, saying it is “the best one I’ve built so far”. We agree it’s a beauty.
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A new .22 LR rimfire shooting discipline has been developed, copying the PRS series. Call it “PRS Lite” — a practical-style match shot with .22 LR bolt-action and self-loading rimfire rifles. This series will be called the Practical Rimfire Challenge (PRC) with ELEY as Title Sponsor. The first three matches will be held at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Glengary, West Virginia. Match Dates are March 25, May 13, and September 30, 2017.
PRC Matches Will Feature Multiple Positions and Movement
ELEY Practical Rimfire Challenge series matches are positional shooting events in field conditions out to 300 yards. You can use either a bolt-action or semi-auto .22 LR rimfire rifle. Much like PRS (Precision Rifle Series), competitors will shoot from a variety of positions: prone, strong/weak shoulders, standing, sitting, and kneeling. There will be shots from barricades, and movement from position to position during stages.
PRC rules will, to a large degree, mirror PRS rules. However, shooters will see some different type of stages than what is normally seen at a PRS match. For example, there may be unsupported standing or unsupported kneeling shots in some stages. Peacemaker’s goal, along with ELEY, is not to replicate PRS in Rimfire, but rather to create the ultimate challenge for shooters on the rimfire rifle platform.
Cole McCulloch, owner of Peacemaker, says that the PRC should appeal to a wide variety of shooters: “We expect to see recreational, action, Olympic, NRA and PRS shooters all competing and having fun”. McCulloch also expects rapid evolution in the equipment: “I fully anticipate a Space Race for this sport. Meaning, we already know that the ammunition coming out from ELEY is fully capable of hitting small targets out to 300 yards. What will be fun to watch is the different types of rifles and optics the shooters choose to use. Some examples of this will be: Bolt or semi, heavy or ultra-light weight, MILS or MOA, 10 power or 30 power. The debate will rage and the rifle platform approaches will vary greatly.”
Rimfire Tactical Matches Aren’t Really New
We’re pleased to see this new PRC shooting discipline — it sounds like fun. However, the concept of a rimfire tactical/practical match is not new — at least on the West Coast. California shooting clubs have been running “Rimfire Tactical” matches for a nearly a decade already. CLICK HERE to read our comprehensive Rimfire Tactical report from way back in 2008. This article includes free targets, ballistics charts, and a complete run-down on suitable rimfire rifles.
The Concept Behind the Rimfire Tactical Match by Bill Erwin
Many guys who shoot long-range tactical matches practice with .22 LR rifles of similar configuration. Rimfire ammo is way more affordable than centerfire, you do not need a big range facility, and shooting rimfire saves wear and tear on your centerfire rifle. Further, for learning how to read the wind, there really is no better training tool than a 22 LR, even as close as 50 yards. Check out this table showing how a .22 LR ballistics compare to .308 Win:
22 LR vs. .308, Distances for Equal 10 MPH Wind Drift
This table shows the corresponding distances at which a 10 mph full-value crosswind pushes a .22 LR bullet and .308 projectile the same amount. Values are based on 0.130 BC for a 40gr .22 LR bullet, and 0.496 BC for 175gr .308 bullet.
22 LR 40gr 1050 fps
50 yd Wind 1.0″
75 yd Wind 2.2″
100 yd Wind 3.8″
125 yd Wind 5.8″
150 yd Wind 8.2″
175 yd Wind 11.0″
200 yd Wind 14.3″
.308 Win 175gr 2650 fps
130 yd Wind 1.07″
180 yd Wind 2.15″
230 yd Wind 3.68″
280 yd Wind 5.63″
330 yd Wind 7.98″
380 yd Wind 10.71″
440 yd Wind 14.56″
This table shows how the .22 LR can be an effective substitute for a .308 Win during training. Because the smaller bullet drifts more in the wind, a 22 rimfire shooter will experience roughly the same crosswind effects as if he was shooting a 175gr .308 twice as far out. So, rimfire work can teach you to dope the wind like a .308, but at less than half the distance. Shooting a .22 LR at 100 yards is like shooting a .308 (with 175 SMK) at 230 yards.
Shooting Peacemaker NTC Plate Rack at 100 Yards with Suppressed Rimfire
SPECIAL BONUS–Rimfire Tactical Precision Targets
These FREE targets by DesertFrog are offered in Adobe Acrobat format for easy printing. CLICK HERE to download all six targets as a .ZIP archive.
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At SHOT Show 2017, we had the chance to chat extensively with Eric Mayer, head honcho of Varminter.com. An avid shooter and hunter, Eric loves small, efficient cartridges. Eric told us his current favorite rimfire cartridge is the 17 WSM. “Winchester has continued to improve this cartridge since its introduction. We are seeing very good accuracy now, and performance is impressive in the varmint fields”. Eric notes that the 3000 fps 17 WSM 20-grain ammo (photo above) delivers way more punch downrange than a typical 17 HMR load. In this article, you’ll find the highlights of Varminter.com’s review of the 17 WSM round in the Ruger 77/17 cartridge.
The 17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire (aka Win Super Mag or WSM) is the fastest, most potent modern rimfire round you can buy. This cartridge, which uses a modified nail gun casing, drives 20gr bullets at 3000 fps. The 17 WSM offers superior ballistics to all .22 rimfires, and is a clear step ahead of the 17 HMR. That makes this round a potential “game-changer” in the varmint fields. To gauge the capabilities of the 17 WSM, Varminter.com tested the cartridge in the new Ruger 77/17 bolt-action rifle. Click HERE for Varminter.com Ruger 77/17, 17 WSM Review.
17 WSM shoots faster than the 17 HMR, so the 20gr bullets don’t drift as much in the wind:
Varminter.com reports: “The much-anticipated Ruger 77/17 chambered in the 17 Winchester Super Magnum (17WSM) has been released. Our Review Editor, William Chambers, put it through a full range test with all four currently-available ammunition loads. Afterwards, he took it on a short groundhog hunt[.] We put a lot of rounds through the guns we test, at targets, through chronographs and out in the field. This report includes all currently available 17 WSM ammunition and a sneak peek of the really nice Nikon Prostaff 5 riflescope.” READ REVIEW.
As part of its review, Varminter.com tested four different types of 17 WSM ammo for accuracy: American Eagle (20gr V-Max); Hornady (20gr V-Max), Winchester HV (20gr V-Max); Winchester HE (25gr V-Max). In the little Ruger, which suffered from a very heavy trigger, the most accurate ammo, by far, was the American Eagle, with an average 5-shot group size of 1.135 MOA at 100 yards. The Winchester HV was the worst, with a 2.304 MOA average for three, 5-shot groups. CLICK HERE for full accuracy test results.
After accuracy testing, Varminter.com Review Editor Chambers took the Ruger 77/17 on a Groundhog hunt in Northern Ohio. Chambers was successful, bagging this ‘hog’ at 127 yards. The American Eagle 17 WSM ammo did quick work — the groundhog dropped without a twitch (watch video).
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Here’s a very clever way to store firearms securely. All an intruder will see is an innocent-looking wall mirror. But behind that artifice is a gun cabinet that will hold a rifle or shotgun, a pistol and more. For added security, the firearms in the cabinet are clamped by a rapid biometric locking system that releases the guns only for authorized users.
The patent-pending NRA Home Defense Cabinet is a covert gun cabinet featuring a sliding mirrored front and proprietary biometric securing system. The Cabinet is offered in both dual-firearm and single-firearm configurations. Slide open the cabinet and you can see the guns, securely clamped in place. When an authorized user successfully engages the biometric system, your firearms are unlocked and ready for use. The discrete cabinet doesn’t communicate “guns inside” like a bedside handgun safe. Also, the simple-looking mirror offers nothing to attract the attention of intruders or children.
The interior of the NRA Home Defense Cabinet Features a proprietary biometric locking system.
The NRA Home Defense cabinet is offered in a one-gun version (rifle/shotgun) for $750.00, or a two-gun version for $995.00. There is also a manual lock two-gun version for $549.00. Since this product is recessed into a wall, you also have to figure on installation costs. But if you are building a new house, this is an interesting new security option worth considering.
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Here is AccurateShooter’s Forum Boss with the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). The commercial success of this innovative firearm inspired other gun-makers to release their own “blacktical” bolt-guns.
It looks like 2017 will be the year of the metal-stocked, tactical-style bolt-action rifle. Inspired by the success of the Ruger Precision Rifle, other rifle-makers have built their own Blacktical Bolt-guns. These feature modular chassis systems with adjustable buttstocks. While optimized for PRS and tactical competition, these tough, versatile rifles can also be used for hunting. Popular chamberings are: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, and .308 Winchester. All the rifles showcased here retail for under $2000.00, so they can be campaigned in the new PRS Factory Class.
PRS Production Class Cost Limits
Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD. [Editor: For example, you could have a $2,000 rifle with a $1000.00 scope or vice-versa. The total system cannot exceed $3000. Rifle alone cannot exceed $2000.00 retail sale price.] Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration.
Bergara B14 BMP Chassis Rifle
The Bergara B14 rifle features a modern, modular aluminum chassis. The buttstock assembly offers an adjustable comb and adjustable length of pull. Like Savages, the BMP employs a barrel nut so owners can quickly swap barrels. The new B14 features a good adjustable trigger. Current chamberings are 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester (both fed from AICS-type box mags). Our friends Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) were impressed with the new Bergara: “Bergara has in-sourced chassis and triggers to produce very high-quality offerings at a very competitive price. Handling, shooting and cycling the bolt on the $1150 MSRP Hunting and Match Rifle would lead one to believe the price tag was a mistake (maybe the first digit should have been a 2). We felt the same when we got behind the $1,699 Bergara Match Precision Rifle.”
Howa HCR Modular Rifle
The new Howa HCR Chassis Rifle combines a Howa 1500 barreled action with a modern aluminum chassis and LUTH-AR MBA-3 stock. Length of pull is adjustable from 12.5″ to 16.75″. Comb height is also adjustable. Weight with a 24″ barrel is 10.2 pounds (before optics) so the Howa HCR is lighter that many of its competitors. The Howa’s MSRP is $1299.00, a good value in this category. These guns feature a smooth-running action plus excellent 2-stage HACT adjustable trigger. Available chamberings are: .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. NOTE: If basic black’s not your color, this rifle is also offered with a rugged, Multicam CeraKote finish.
Tikka T3X TAC 1
We got a chance to handle the impressive new Tikka T3X TAC 1 at Media Day at the Range. The ergonomics are good and the rifle balances well. Bolt cycling is smooth and the T3X boasts an excellent, adjustable 2-stage trigger. The Tikka T3X has a nice folding stock, and the T3X accepts other AR-platform buttstock units and pistol grips. The T3X will be offered with choice of 16″, 20″, or 24″ barrels, all threaded at muzzle (factory muzzle brake is standard). There are three chamberings: 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, and .308 Winchester. MSRP is $1899.00, so the T3X is legal for PRS Production Class. We really liked the Tikka T3X, and so did GunsAmerica.com: “Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor or .260 Remington, the barrel is a perfect balance of being thick enough to shoot seriously, while thin enough not to feel like a benchrest gun. It ships with three magazines, which is a bargain for anyone looking to shoot PRS. I see lots of guns at SHOT Show I want to test or review, but few I would write a check for in the booth. The Tikka T3 TAC A1 is an exception to that rule.”
Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis
Weatherby’s new Vanguard® Modular Chassis (VMC) rifle features a Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) aluminum stock, Luth AR MBA-1 buttstock, and 22″ heavy barrel. The Weatherby Vanguard action is fitted with an adjustable 2-stage trigger. Priced at $1519.00 MSRP, this rifle is offered in three chamberings: .223 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.
Winchester Repeating Arms XPC
As reported in the NRA Blog: “The XPC Rifle from Winchester Repeating Arms is a full-house precision chassis rifle based on their proven XPR bolt action. The stock features a Cerakoted fully-machined alloy chassis frame paired with a Magpul PRS Gen III stock. A full-length Picatinny rail allows for mounting optics, and M-LOK and QD mounts grace the XPC for easy attachments. A Magpul MOE-K grip rounds out the furniture, and the rifle comes bundled with one 10-round Magpul AICS PMAG and one five-round MDT metal mag.” The barrel is threaded for muzzle brake or suppressors.
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Here are new Rimfire Cross-Trainer Rifles from Kelbly’s. These feature Anschutz .22LR rimfire actions in full-size, competition stocks. This is a great offering for F-TR, prone, and long-range competitors looking to train with less expensive rimfire ammo. Kelbly’s will sell these as complete rifles with rimfire actions bedded in fiberglass stocks.
SHOT Show, held every year in Las Vegas, is the largest gun show in North America. Thousands of exhibitors showcase hosts of new products — rifles, pistols, shotguns, optics, stocks, reloading tools, bullets, brass, powders, hunting accessories and much more. This is the ultimate “candy store” for gun guys, with literally “miles of aisles” and countless products on display. Here are some of the more interesting items we saw during Day One of SHOT Show.
Howa HCR Chassis Rifle
All decked out in a Camo Cerakote finish, the new Howa HCR Chassis rifle was an eye-catcher. Designed for PRS-type competition, the HCR features a modular aluminum stock with a separate buttstock section with adjustable comb and adjustable length of pull. The HCR will be offered in four chamberings: .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win. There will be standard and heavy barrel options with 20″, 22″, and 24″ lengths. The rear of the stock accepts AR-type furniture (for those guys who need to customize). This new rifle will be sold in Black or Multicam Cerakote finishes. A package will be offered with Nikko Stirling 4-16x50mm scope and EGW 20-MOA, one-piece base and rings.
New Viper PST Gen II Scopes from Vortex
The versatile Viper PST series can work for many disciplines — Target Shooting, 3-Gun, Hunting, or Precision Long Range. The new second generation PSTs offer many improvements, with four new models for 2017: 1-6x24mm, 2-10×32mm, 3-15×44mm, and 5-25×50mm: Vortex offers a wide magnification range with its 2017 line-up of Viper PSTs. These new scopes offer tall tactical turrets and side-focus parallax adjustment with integrated illumination. To ensure reliable return-to-zero, all new models feature the patented RZR Zero Stop from the Razor HD 5-20×50 riflescope. Reticles include Vortex’s new EBR-4 and EBR-2C with MOA or MRAD stadia to match your turrets. First Focal Plane reticles are available on select models.
Savage AR10-Type MSR in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win
Our friends Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) visited the Savage booth to take a look at the new Savage MSR Long-Range model, an AR10-type modular semi-auto rifle with a Magpul PRS Gen3 buttstock. The 6.5 Guys report: “Savage’s new MSR 10 Long Range Rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Win. It appears to be a terrific option for those wanted to compete in the new PRS Gas Gun Series. It is built on a compact frame with a non-reciprocating side-charging handle that is particularly useful for left-handed shooters. The Blackhawk AR Blaze™ two-stage target trigger was light and crisp. It features an upgraded Savage barrel, with 5R rifling and a Melonite QPQ finish. Read more new practical/tactical product reports at www.65guys.com.
New Accurate No. 11FS Low-Flash Pistol Powder Western Powders showcased a new Accurate powder that delivers 90% less muzzle flash, while still offering good consistency and accuracy. Accurate No. 11FS (for Flash Suppressed) is designed for magnum pistols, and small rifle rounds such as the Hornet. The advanced flash-suppressing formula dramatically reduces muzzle flash in many large pistol cartridges. Notably, this Accurate 11FS was specifically designed to work with the .300 Blackout cartridge.
Enhanced Bluetooth Connectivity for Kestrel
At the Kestrel booth, we learned that Kestrel will be offering an enhanced LiNK Bluetooth low-energy enabled protocol that will allow wireless connections with a greater variety of devices. This will allow Kestrels to share data with Bushnell, Wilcox, and Vectronix Laser Rangefinders, Steiner LRF Binoculars and many other devices. This kind of connectivity allows Kestrel windmeters to be more versatile than ever.
Big Boomer Brass from Peterson Cartridge
For those who shoot the .408 or .375 Cheytac, sourcing top-quality brass has been a challenge in the past. That’s changed with the introduction of premium Cheytac brass from Peterson Cartridge Company. Along with the new Cheytac brass, Peterson produces quality casings for other large rifle cartridges including: .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and 7mm Rem Magnum. Peterson’s brass offerings for smaller match cartridges include: 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, .308 Win Palma (Small Primer Pocket), and .308 Win Match.
Shown is a new .338 Lapua Magnum rifle from Israel’s IWI. Impressively beefy rig.
For folks in the gun industry, the third Monday in January is the best day of the year. Held in conjunction with SHOT Show, Media Day at the Range lets us try out dozens of new rifles and pistols, as well as meet top gun designers and friends in the shooting sports. We saw some very interesting new products this year. Here are some of the most interesting “take-aways” from Media Day at the Range 2017 on January 16th.
Most Innovative — “The FIX” Rifle from Q
The star of Media Day, at least in the rifle category, was “The FIX”, a new modular rifle from the Q Team. This innovative rig features a totally unique bolt system with a 45° lift and a bolt housing that runs on rails (literally). This thing cycles fast and smoothly.
The trigger, set at 2.5 pounds, was one of the best we’ve ever tried on a centerfire factory rifle. One has to admire the engineering on “The FIX”. This new rifle has definitely “raised the bar” for tactical-style rifles. It’s different, it works, and it offers real advantages for both hunters and tactical style shooters.
Savage 10 with Ergonomic GRS Stock
Perhaps the most ergonomic rifle we shot all day was the new Savage GRS-10 in a stiff, composite GRS stock. European-crafted GRS stocks feature a very comfortable hand-grip, plus fully adjustable cheek-piece and adjustable length of pull. As shown this rifle is very affordable for PRS production-class competition.
To be frank, this Editor liked this rifle more than the Ruger Precision Rifle. A lot more. The GRS stock fit better, the Savage bolt cycled much more smoothly, the trigger was better, and the magazine seated more easily. If you don’t have to be “tacticool” with a metal stock, you should definitely consider this Savage. The new Savage GRS-10 will be offered in 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win chamberings. Here’s a video review by Guns America.
Blacktical Bolt-Action Rifles — The PRS Influence
We saw many new (or upgraded) PRS-style bolt action rifles in modular aluminum frames. There were offerings from Savage, Bergara, Tikka, and more. We’ll provide a more thorough run-down on these new guns next week. We really liked the new Tikka T3x TAC A1, while tactical shooters Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) were impressed with the new Bergara: “Bergara has in-sourced chassis and triggers to produce very high quality offerings at a very competitive price. Handling, shooting and cycling the bolt on the $1150 MSRP Hunting and Match Rifle would lead one to believe the price tag was a mistake (maybe the first digit should have been a 2). We felt the same when we got behind the $1,699 Bergara Match Precision Rifle.”
Tikka T3x TAC A1
Bergara Match Precision
Pistols — The Sounds of Silence
The most interesting handgun on display was SilencerCo’s Maxim 9, which features an integral suppressor. It looks bulky but it felt relatively normal in the hand. The silencer did tame muzzle lift as well as reduce sound levels dramatically. This is an impressive piece of engineering.
There were many other pistols equipped with more conventional screw-on silencers. Here is a special edition Smith & Wesson M&P model.
Optics — High-End Models from Schmidt and Bender
There were many new optics on display at Media Day, none more impressive than the new 5-45x56mm PMII from Schidmt & Bender. Led by our good friend Kyle Brown, Schmidt & Bender USA had a strong presence at Range Day, with many optics models fitted to high-end tactical rifles. Jason Baney (shown below with Kyle), used one of these rifle/scope combos to make 5 of 5 hits on steel at 960 yards.
Jason Baney checks out the new 5-45x56mm PM II with help from Kyle Brown (left).
Meeting Old Friends
One of the great things about Media Day is the chance to re-connect with old friends. At the Winchester booth, it was great to see Kim Rhode, a six-time Olympic medalist (including three golds). She is the first Summer Olympian to win an individual medal at six consecutive summer games. Kim, a Californian, is leading efforts to challenge draconian new California laws that will severely restrict how ammo is distributed and sold in California. Kim said that, under the new ammo laws, she will not be able to obtain the special “International Loads” she shoots in competition. We wish Kim well in her efforts. We believe that California’s new laws restricting the purchase of ammunition are unconstitutional and, hopefully, will be challenged successfully in court.
Along with Kim we met with our friends Steve (L) and Ed (R), aka the 6.5 Guys, along with past Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann (in middle below).
World Record AR Speed-Shooting by Jerry Miculek
At the Smith & Wesson shooting bay, we watched the legendary Jerry Miculek set a world speed record for 10 rifle rounds total on three targets. Before a cheering gallery of fans, Jerry drilled multiple sub-two second runs using his S&W M&P 15T semi-auto rifle. The fastest split was a 1.59 (but we’re waiting for final confirmation on that). We’re told that’s definitely a new world record. Jerry may not be getting any younger, but he’s still blazing fast. Jerry calls this 10-shot drill “STL” or Share the Love.
Ammunition — Polymer Jacketed Pistol Bullets
One of the more notable, recent developments in pistol ammo has been synthetic jacketed bullets. With a total polymer shell over a lead core, these are safer when shooting steel targets because they do not fragment like conventional, jacketed bullets. With no exposed lead or copper, there’s minimal contact between these materials and the barrel, so there’s less copper and lead fouling. Moreover, according to Federal’s test engineers, the red Syntech coating produced 12% less friction in the barrel. Here is the American Eagle 9mm Luger 115gr Total Syntec Jacketed ammo provided by Beretta at Media Day.
And that’s a wrap… now on to SHOT Show.
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Shown is the Redding Model 15-P Competition Piloted Inside Chamfering Tool with pilot rod that centers in the case flash hole. Also shown is a Forster 45° Rocket Tool.
There are a wide variety of reloading tools designed to cut a slight chamfer in case necks and deburr the edge of the case mouth. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for an effective tool. A basic “rocket-style” 45° chamfering tool, such as the Forster, actually does a pretty good job taking the sharp edge off case mouths, particularly if you use a little scotch-pad (or steel wool) to smooth the edge of the cut. The Forster chamfer tool, shown below, is a nicely-made product, with sharper cutting blades than you’ll find on most other 45° chamferers. It costs $17.99 at Brownells.com.
Redding sells a handy piloted chamfering tool with a 15° inside cutting angle and removable accessory handle. This Redding Model 15-P chamferer works really well, so long as you have consistent case OALs. The pilot rod (which indexes in the flash hole) is adjustable for different cartridge types (from very short to very long). This ensures the concentricity of the inside neck chamfer to the case mouth. This quality tool works with cases from .22 to .45 Caliber.
Sinclair International offers a 28° carbide chamferer with many handy features (and sharp blades). The $29.99 Sinclair Carbide VLD Case Mouth Chamfering Tool will chamfer cases from .14 through .45 caliber. This tool features a removable 28° carbide cutter mounted in the green plastic Sinclair handle. NOTE: A hex-shaft cutter head power adapter can be purchased separately for $14.99 (Sinclair item 749-002-488WS). This can be chucked in a power screwdriver or used with the Sinclair Case Prep Power Center when doing large volumes of cases.
Many folks feel they can get smoother bullet seating by using a tool that cuts at a steeper angle. We like the 22° cutter sold by Lyman. It has a comfortable handle, and costs just $10.75 at MidsouthShooterssupply.com. The Lyman tool is an excellent value, though we’ve seen examples that needed sharpening even when new. Blade-sharpening is easily done, however.
K&M makes a depth-adjustable, inside-neck chamferer (“Controlled Depth Tapered Reaper”) with ultra-sharp cutting flutes. The latest version, which costs $47.00 at KMShooting.com, features a central pin that indexes via the flash hole to keep the cutter centered. In addition, the tool has a newly-designed handle, improved depth-stop fingers, plus a new set-screw adjustment for precise cutter depth control. We caution, even with all the depth-control features, if you are not careful, it is easy to over-cut, slicing away too much brass and basically ruining your neck. We think that most reloaders will get better results using a more conventional chamfer tool, such as the Forster or Redding 15-P.
One last thing to note — tools like the K&M and the Sinclair chamferer are often described as VLD chamferers. That is really a misnomer, as bullets with long boat-tails actually seat easily with very minimal chamfering. In reality, these high-angle chamferers may be most valuable when preparing brass for flat-base bullets and bullets with pressure rings. Using a 22° or 28° chamferer can reduce the risk of cutting a jacket when using VLD bullets though — so long as you make a smooth cut.
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Savage Arms has joined the black rifle bandwagon with its new MSR Series of gas guns. Savage will offer four AR-style semi-automatic rifles in 2017. Savage will offer a variety of buttstock configurations, barrel lengths, along with some interesting chambering options. The MSR 15 Patrol and Recon feature a .223 Wylde target chamber for use with 223 Rem. or 5.56x45mm. The MSR 10 Hunter and MSR 10 Long Range models are AR-10 platform rigs offered in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win chamberings. The top-of-the-line MSR 10 Long Range model carries a hefty $2284 MSRP price-tag, but it does include a two-stage AR Blaze target trigger, adjustable gas block, and a genuine Magpul® PRS Gen3 buttstock.
While most of the engineering of the MSR series is classic AR, there are some interesting features and notable upgrades. The MSR 10 Long Range offers a non-reciprocating, left-side charging handle (along with conventional rear charging handle). All the MSR rifles have high-quality barrels with a durable surface hardening treatment known as Melonite QPQ. This should make the rifles run longer (with higher round count) before needing replacement barrels. Bill Dermody of Savage states: “These are high-performance barrels you’d have to buy as an upgrade with standard AR-15s.”
Savage MSR Notable Features:
Non-reciprocating SIDE charging handle on MSR 10 LR (plus normal charging handle)
1:8″-twist Barrels, Melonite QPQ hardening, 5R rifling (MSR 15 Patrol and Recon)
1:8″ or 1:10″-twist Barrels, Melonite QPQ hardening, 5R rifling (MSR 10 Hunter and LR)
Conventional AR-Type Gas System (No Op Rod)
Adjustable Gas Block (MSR 10 Hunter and LR)
Flip-up Front and Rear Sights
Field Test of Savage MSR 15 Patrol
YouTube ace .22 Plinkster got his hands on one of the very first Savage MSR 15 Patrol M4 models. In this video, he tests it for function and accuracy, finding the MSR 15 to be “a good shooter”. He adds: “The Patrol is Savage’s entry-level M4. Because this rifle is brand new … you may want to check out Savage’s website at www.SavageArms.com.”
This Twang ‘N Bang video explains the key features of the MSR 10 Long Range, including the side charging handle and QPQ-treated barrel. It also describes the specs of the other three models.
Savage’s new MSR 10 Hunter and MSR 10 Long Range are purpose-built modern sporting rifles for game hunting and long-range shooting. Both are available in .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor chamberings. Both models are built on compact, lightweight frames and feature adjustable gas blocks, plus the MSR 10 Long Range is equipped with a non-reciprocating, side-charging handle (see below).
On the AR-15 platform, the new MSR 15 Patrol and MSR 15 Recon are chambered in .223 Wylde for safe, reliable function with both 223 Rem. and 5.56x45mm ammo. All Savage MSRs offer premium features such as 5R button-rifled barrels with Melonite QPQ surface hardening, new BLACKHAWK! furniture, upgraded sights and more. To learn more about Savage’s new line of MSR rifles, visit www.Savagearms.com/msr.
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Want a preview of the hot new products of 2017? Then check out the January 2016 Digital Edition of Shooting Industry Magazine. This free, digital eZine contains a 32-page Product Showcase with dozens of new products — rifles, pistols, optics, reloading tools, hunting gear and more. The product showcase article reveals many new-for-2017 firearms, including new guns from Bergara, Colt, Savage, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Weatherby (and more). Along with the product guide, the January issue includes a complete listing of 2017 SHOT Show Exhibitors, with booth numbers.
Shooting Industry Buyer’s Guide Lists Thousands of Companies
Shooting Industry Magazine also offers a very comprehensive Shooting Industry Buyer’s Guide. This searchable, online resource lists 2500+ companies, complete with address, phone number(s), email, and website link. All the major precision shooting suppliers, such as Berger Bullets, Lapua, Hodgdon, McMillan, Nightforce, Redding, Sierra etc. are listed. Access this comprehensive directory gun industry companies at http://sibuyersguide.com/.
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A 7mm Snake for Santiago
Our friend Dennis Santiago has a reptilian rig in his arsenal. It’s actually an Eliseo R1 single-shot tubegun chambered in .284 Winchester. The eye-catching aspect of Santiago’s .284 bolt-gun is the snakeskin dip job on the exterior. This really creates a distinctive look. Dennis tells us: “It was Gary Eliseo’s idea to try a water-transfer printing finish for this rifle. There are many patterns to choose from — this is the WTP-260 Snakeskin Illusion-Fall Copper from WaterTransferPrinting.com. For a single shot LR gun, I figured something on the bright side would be interesting and pick up less heat from the sun in the summer.”
Dennis will use his new rifle in prone matches, where a single shot works fine. He says: “Underneath the hood, it’s a Rem 700 Long Action, chambered in .284 Win. Yes it’s a single shot! I don’t need anything else for a prone gun. Nothing to get in the way of building the perfect position.”
Dennis says: “Length of pull, offset and cast initially set the same as my similar RTS .308. My gun, my body dimensions.”
A FFP 6-24x50mm Sightron Rides on Top
The optic is a Sightron 6-24x50mm, FFP MOA-2. Dennis reports: “I looked at many scopes (within my determined price range), and this is the one that had the best combination of features for for this gun’s particular application. The sight line sits about 3 inches above bore line on these guns. It’s been leveled, bore-sighted and pre-dialed for a 200-yard estimated zero for the ammo I plan to use. Those are Gen II A.R.M.S. rings. Super easy to tailor to different rail widths. Same rock-steady steel performance.”
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Our friend, gunsmith/stockmaker Doan Trevor recently created a lovely, one-of-a-kind silhouette stock for an Anschutz rimfire action. Built as a true custom design, this stock combines ideal standing position ergonomics with light weight — the entire stock weighs a mere two pounds. This project really showcases Doan’s remarkable skills with wood. Read the full story about this project (with more photos) at DoanTrever.com.
Doan explains his design process: “A customer came to me wanting to know if I could build a silhouette stock that was 2 pounds or less. I used the Koa wood because it is a lower specific gravity than Walnut (which makes it lighter) and stronger. I was still able to use pillar bedding and keep the weight down. The fore end could be shortened to reduce the weight even more. Since the drops on a silhouette rifle are different than a prone rifle, I kept the pistol grip from the prone rifle which is comfortable and tried to come up with a higher cheek piece and more drop to the buttplate. All of this required lots of hand carving.”
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Our friend and product tester Joe Friedrich is the proud owner of a spectacular Pappas front rest. Built by James Pappas, this rest is used for both air rifle and rimfire benchrest matches. The fancy Pappas front rest is a shortened, front-support-only version of the Pappas one-piece rest, which is popular with rimfire benchresters. Pappas engineered this rest to comply with air rifle benchrest rules which do not allow use of integrated (one-piece) front and rear rests. The end result was a 30.8-lb masterpiece of machining. Sadly, James Pappas passed away in 2014. This beautifully-crafted rest, built in 2011, is one of the finest examples of his work — a fitting legacy.
The workmanship on this Pappas front rest is astounding. Accurately described as a “work of art” by Joe Friedrich, this rest, crafted of aircraft-grade aluminum, sets new standards for “Benchrest BLING”. It looks like it should be on display in an art museum. Nearly all components of this rest, including the adjustment controls, have been polished to a mirror finish.
Convenient Rear Windage and Elevation Controls
The Pappas front rest features separate fine-tuning controls for windage and elevation, plus a central gross-elevation control. Normally, once the rest is centered-up on the target, you can make all needed elevation and windage adjustments with the rear (fine-adjustment) controls. In the video below, Joe explains how the controls work as he practices with his modified Theoben Rapid MFR air rifle. (Note: In the last minute of the video, the back-lighting was so intensely bright that we lost detail in the foreground. We apologize for that flaw, but you can still hear the audio.)
Price for this Masterpiece? Don’t Ask…
If you are interested in getting a similar rest, visit PappasRimfireProducts.com, or call (325) 754-5771. Be forewarned — “If you need to ask about the price, you probably can’t afford it.” This is truly the “Rolls-Royce” of front rests, and it will be priced accordingly.
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Proper eye protection is ‘must-have’ gear for shooting sports. In addition to providing reliable impact protection, good shooting glasses should be comfortable, fog-free, and not interfere with your preferred hearing protection. Those who require corrective lenses also need to consider the various options available. In a recent episode of their Weekly Gear Review, the 6.5 Guys discuss a variety of shooting glasses they have tried, including examples from DeCot, Oakley, and Wiley-X. Ed and Steve outline the key considerations when choosing eye protection, and then review practical aspects of eyewear design and construction that enhance comfort and functionality in the field.
The 6.5 Guys (Ed and Steve) offer a number of smart tips consider safety eyewear, helping you select the most effective safety glasses at an affordable price. Here are the 6.5 Guys’ KEY Take-aways when choosing shooting glasses, including prescription eyewear:
Key Things To Consider When Choosing Eye Protection
1. Avoid polarized lenses or lenses that reduce light transmission significantly (except for action shooting in very bright conditions with large, close targets).
2. Avoid frame designs that interfere with prone shooting.
3. Avoid designs that easily fog.
4. Avoid frame designs with thicker temples that are uncomfortable to wear underneath hearing protection.
5. Select lenses with an appropriate degree of ballistic protection. CLICK HERE to learn more about eyewear safety standards.
6. When you get your prescription, be sure your ophthalmologist includes the interpupillary distance. This is a critical measurement particularly for heavier prescriptions.
7. If you have a complicated prescription select a vendor who will actually spend time with you to address any concerns.
Safety First — Your Eyes Are Irreplaceable
Accurate shooting begins and ends with the human eye. Your career as a marksman could be cut short if you don’t use good eye protection every time you go to the range and/or handle a firearm.
Every year, 1,000,000 people suffer serious eye injuries. Shooting is hazardous; it is estimated that there are 30,000 firearms-related eye injuries each year (if you include paintball sports.) After paintball, general hunting accidents comprise most firearms-related eye injuries.
Quality eye protection need not be expensive. You can find comfortable, ANSI Z87.1-certified shooting glasses for under $10.00.
If you select shooting glasses carefully, and ensure that your eyewear is safety-certified, inexpensive shooting glasses can perform very well. But you need to avoid cheap, soft-plastic lenses that claim “impact resistance” without satisfying a testing standard.
F-Class has become one of the fastest-growing types of mid-range and long-range rifle competition. Because of that popularity, a market for specialty equipment has been created, including stocks. McMillan Fiberglass Stocks offers a variety of stocks for both F-TR and F-Open disciplines. Shown above and below is the new Kestros*, McMillan’s upgraded, second-generation F-Open stock. This is an impressive offering, with good stiffness, a torque-taming low-profile design, and good adjustability for the shooter. Our friend Boyd Allen had the chance to test drive a Kestros recently.
McMillan Kestros “First Look” Range Review by Boyd Allen
McMillan’s first-generation F-Open stock was well-received, and this new GEN II Kestros includes some significant improvements, making it even better. To achieve increased stiffness, the fore-end was filled out and its fill density was increased. (F-Open rifles have a rather generous 22-lb. weight limit, so the slight increase in stock weight should not be a problem.)
Because F-Open Shooters typically shoot long, heavy bullets through fast-twist barrels, torque control is an issue, which is why the base of the front section of the fore-end is close to the barrel. This low-profile design counters torque. By maximizing the angle defined by the bottom corners of the stock and the bore’s centerline, this stock geometry increases resistance to roll.
As tested, this Kestros stock features a nice three-way adjustable butt, as well as an adjustable cheek piece. Symmetrical palm swells and the symmetrical cheek piece make the stock truly ambidextrous. We believe that the cheekpiece locking knob can be switched to either side, adapting to both lefties and righties.
Comments by Tester Boyd Allen
Wanting some visual pop for pictures, and knowing that this was to be a range-only rifle, I ordered a tri-color flame pattern gel coat, the most durable of stock finishes, because it is part of the stock rather than being an applied, surface-only finish.
McMillan has been in the stock business for a long time, and when you sit down behind this one, you understand why. This company really knows what it is doing. The Kestros is a real pleasure to shoot, tracking perfectly. As the saying goes, it falls readily to hand.
My test Kestros stock came very accurately CNC-inletted for my action, with the optional aluminum pillars. The fit is so good that I am doing a full load work-up before doing final bedding, so I can see just how much (if any) bedding improves accuracy. For this test I have chosen a 6PPC barrel (yes it does look short with this stock.) because it will allow me to make finer distinctions in this area. Later I will be working with other calibers (and longer barrels). So far I have been very impressed with this stock — ergonomics, tracking, stability, build quality, and inletting have all been excellent.
* The original Kestros (aka “Kestrosphendone” or “Cestrus”) was an ancient Greek military weapon, a type of sling used to hurl heavy, arrow-like finned projectiles.
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Product innovation is all about “building a better mousetrap”, or in this case, building a better bore-cleaning patch. A real smart guy, Shane Smith, has invented a triangular patch that earned a patent. The U.S. Patent Office has awarded a utility patent for BoreSmith’s triangular Pyramid Patch™. This unique cleaning patch was designed by Shane Smith, a mathematician/physicist who employed his scientific and firearms knowledge to create innovative bore-cleaning products.
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). In addition, the Pyramid patch is must less likely to jam due to pleating. One reason conventional patches get stuck is unwanted 5-layer pleating. The special notches in the Pyramid patch remove all or most 5-layer pleating. As a result the patch does not bunch up and this also reduces rod bowing.
Triangle Patch Function and Geometry Explained (See 1:18 time-mark):
NOTE: Despite what you may see in this video, you should ALWAYS insert brushes and patches from the chamber end first, using a fitted 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.
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