Got fifty bucks? Well that’ll buy you an AR Lower this week. Quite simply, this is the best AR deal we’ve seen this year, and one of the best values on a firearm receiver we can remember. Right now, while supplies last, Brownells.com is offering Bushmaster-brand AR-15 stripped lower receivers for just $49.99. You read that right — you can get a major manufacturer AR lower for under fifty bucks. That’s a savings of $120.00 off the normal price. Get them while you can.
NOTE: Stripped lowers are considered the firearm, so this must be delivered to an FFL-holder. It is fairly easy to complete the lower with readily available parts and the trigger group of your choice.
Bushmaster Stripped Lower Receiver Product Description
Receiver is a rigid 7075 T6 aluminum forging with extra metal in the right places for added strength without unnecessary bulk. Features a beefy, M16A2-pattern reinforced area around the front pivot pin, a strengthening ridge over the receiver extension threads, and a ridge around the mag release button to guard against accidental magazine drop by preventing unintentional button activation. Bead blasted after machining to ensure a uniform, non-reflective surface before application of lusterless black military hardcoat A8625, Type III, Class 2 anodized finish that adds surface strength and resists abrasion. A final, nickel acetate seal coat provides extra protection against corrosion. Stripped lower is the perfect companion for Bushmaster Lower Receiver Parts Kit, available separately
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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.
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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Can you guess what your next barrel will weigh? In many competition disciplines, “making weight” is a serious concern when putting together a new match rifle. A Light Varmint short-range Benchrest rifle cannot exceed 10.5 pounds including scope. An F-TR rifle is limited to 18 pounds, 2 oz. (8.25 kg) with bipod.
One of the heaviest items on most rifles is the barrel. If your barrel comes in much heavier than expected, it can boost the overall weight of the gun significantly. Then you may have to resort to cutting the barrel, or worse yet, re-barreling, to make weight for your class. In some cases, you can remove material from the stock to save weight, but if that’s not practical, the barrel will need to go on a diet. (As a last resort, you can try fitting a lighter scope.)
Is there a reliable way to predict, in advance, how much a finished barrel will weigh? The answer is “yes”. PAC-NOR Barreling of Brookings, Oregon has created a handy, web-based Barrel Weight Calculator. Just log on to Pac-Nor’s website and the calculator is free to use. Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is pretty sophisticated, with separate data fields for Shank Diameter, Barrel Length, Bore Diameter — even length and number of flutes. Punch in your numbers, and the Barrel Weight Calculator then automatically generates the weight for 16 different “standard” contours.
Calculator Handles Custom Contours
What about custom contours? Well the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator can handle those as well. The program allows input of eight different dimensional measurements taken along the barrel’s finished length, from breech to muzzle. You can use this “custom contour” feature when calculating the weight of another manufacturer’s barrel that doesn’t match any of Pac-Nor’s “standard” contours.
Smart Advice — Give Yourself Some Leeway
While Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is very precise (because barrel steel is quite uniform by volume), you will see some small variances in finished weight based on the final chambering process. The length of the threaded section (tenon) will vary from one action type to another. In addition, the size and shape of the chamber can make a difference in barrel weight, even with two barrels of the same nominal caliber. Even the type of crown can make a slight difference in overall weight. This means that the barrel your smith puts on your gun may end up slightly heavier or lighter than the Pac-Nor calculation. That’s not a fault of the program — it’s simply because the program isn’t set up to account for chamber volume or tenon length.
What does this mean? In practical terms — you should give yourself some “wiggle room” in your planned rifle build. Unless you’re able to shave weight from your stock, do NOT spec your gun at one or two ounces under max based on the Pac-Nor calculator output. That said, the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator is still a very helpful, important tool. When laying out the specs for a rifle in any weight-restricted class, you should always “run the numbers” through a weight calculator such as the one provided by Pac-Nor. This can avoid costly and frustrating problems down the road.
Caution: Same-Name Contours from Different Makers May Not be Exactly the Same
One final thing to remember when using the Barrel Weight Calculator is that not all “standard” contours are exactly the same, as produced by different barrel-makers. A Medium Palma contour from Pac-Nor may be slightly different dimensionally from a Krieger Medium Palma barrel. When using the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator to “spec out” the weight of a barrel from a different manufacturer, we recommend you get the exact dimensions from your barrel-maker. If these are different that Pac-Nor’s default dimensions, use the “custom contour” calculator fields to enter the true specs for your brand of barrel.
Credit Edlongrange for finding the Pac-Nor Calculator
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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.
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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.
A 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.
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.
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…
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.
Forum member Erick C. (aka cncmill) has produced a very nice laminated stock featuring wood inlays. A tool and die maker from Pennsylvania, Erick is justifiably proud of his handiwork. Erick tells us: “Here is my latest build — just finished. The rifle features a Kelbly’s Atlas action, with Hawk Hill custom barrel chambered for the .284 Winchester. The stock is made from three types of wood: Birdseye Maple, African Padauk wood, and Wenge wood (for the dark stripes).” Erick explained that the Wenge inlays served a useful (as well as aesthetic) purpose: “I put the Wenge stripes in to fix two cracks in the Birdseye Maple. I was not sure about it at the time but it turned out well.”
Home-built Laminated Stock features three different woods.
Stock before final finishing.
Detail of Fore-End.
If you like this example of rifle-building, check out the ‘Pride and Joy’ thread in the AccurateShooter Forum to see other “home-built” project guns.
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Craters may look interesting on the moon, but you don’t want to see them on your primers. Certain mechanical issues that cause primer craters can also cause primer piercing — a serious safety problem that needs to be addressed. If you have a gun that is cratering primers (even at moderate pressure levels), there is a solution that works with many rifles — send your bolt to Greg Tannel to have the firing pin hole bushed.
Shooters who convert factory actions to run 6BRs, 6PPCs or other high-pressure cartridges should consider having the firing pin bushed. These modern cartridges like to run at high pressures. When running stout loads, you can get cratering caused by primer flow around the firing pin hole in the bolt face. The reason is a little complicated, but basically the larger the hole, the less hydraulic pressure is required to crater the primer. A limited amount of cratering is normally not a big issue, but you can reduce the problem significantly by having a smith fit a bushing in the firing pin hole. In addition to reduced cratering, bushing the firing pin often produces more consistent ignition.
This is a highly recommended procedure that our editors have had done to their own rifles. Greg Tannel (Gre-Tan Rifles) is an expert at this procedure, and his turnaround time is fast — usually 2-3 days (shop time). Current price for a bushing job, which includes turning the firing pin to .062″, is $87.00 including USPS Priority Mail return shipping.
If you have a factory rifle, a bushed firing pin is the way to go if you are shooting the high-pressure cartridges such as 6PPC, 6BR, 6-6.5×47 and 6.5×47. This is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial upgrades you can do to your factory rifle. For more info on the Firing Pin Bushing process, visit GreTanRifles.com, or email greg [at] gretanrifles.com. (After clicking the link for GreTanRifles.com, Click on “Services” > “Shop Services” > “Bolt Work”, and you’ll see a listing for “Bush Firing Pin Hole & Turn Pin”. Select “View Details”.)
Firing Pin Hole Bushing by Greg Tannel
Work Done: Bush firing pin hole and turn pin.
Functions: Fixes your cratering and piercing problems.
Price: $80.00 + $7.00 return shipping Total Price: $87.00
Actions for which Bushing is Offered: Remington, Winchester, Savage, Sako, Kimber, Cooper, Nesika, Stiller, Bat, Kelbly, Lawton, Surgeon, Borden, Wichita, Hall, CZ, Ruger, Mauser, Howa, Weatherby, Dakota, Pacific Tool, Phoenix, RPA Quadlite, and Defiant bolt action rifle or pistol. Note: There may be extra tooling charges for case-hardened style bolts (Mauser, CZ, and similar) .
Actions for which Bushing is NOT Available: ARs, Accuracy International, Desert Tactical Arms, Big Horn, Rim fires, Falling block, Break open, Lever, Pump rifles.
How to send your bolt in to be bushed:
You can send your bolt snail mail, priority mail, UPS, Fed-Ex. What ever you prefer. Please include your name, phone number, and return shipping address. Turn around is normally 1 to 3 days shop time (plus shipping time). We usually do them the day that we get them in. Total cost is $87.00 for one bolt or $167.00 for two (this includes return shipping, priority mail.) Three or more will be sent back to you UPS and we will have to calculate extra shipping. We can overnight them at your expense. Check, money order, or credit card is fine with us.
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Have a good look at the photos below — this may be one of the most noteworthy target strings we’ve ever published. What you can see is the effect of barrel tuner position on point of impact (POI). You can clearly see that the tuner position alters the up/down POI location in a predictable fashion.
This remarkable 15-shot sequence was shot by French benchrester Pascal Fischbach using his 6 PPC fitted with a CG (Carlito Gonzales) action and a Bukys barrel tuner.
Pascal reports: “After [bullet] seating and load validation, I put the Bukys tuner on, screwing it out 10 turns. According to Carlito, the CG’s super stiff action-to-barrel fit gives a faster vibration modulus that is detrimental below 10 turns [position of the tuner].” Pascal’s procedure was to screw out the tuner 1/4 turn progressively from one shot to the next. He shot one bullet at each tuner position, with a total of 15 shots.
Left Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
Right Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
Pascal observed: “Note the point of impact displacement [from shot to shot] tracks clearly along a sinusoide (sine wave curve).” This is indeed notable and significant! This shows how the tuner’s ability to change barrel harmonics can alter the position of the muzzle as each bullet exits, resulting in a higher or lower POI. Pascal sent his results to Carlito Gonzales in Argentina for analysis.
Pascal poses this question to readers: “Guess which three positions Carlito recommends to try?”
Editor’s Note: While this target sequence clearly shows how tuner position can alter bullet point of impact, this, by itself, does not tell us which tuner position(s) are best for accuracy. That will require further multi-shot group testing, involving careful experimentation with tuner position (and powder charge weights). But for those folks who doubt that a tuner can make a difference on a short, fat barrel, just take another look at the photos. The up/down changes are undeniable, and noteworthy in the wave pattern they follow.
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Classic American battle rifles have regained popularity via M1 Garand matches, service rifle matches, the M1A Match at Camp Perry, and Vintage Sniper competitions. If you own a classic M1 Garand, or an M1A, the modern semi-auto descendant of the M14, you should enjoy the two videos presented here. With help from our friend Grant G., we managed to located two original U.S. Army training films, one for the M1 Garand, and one for the M14. Both films use clever animated drawings to show the gas guns’ internal operations and cycling processes.
M1 Garand Training Film
Here is a U.S. Army training film for the M1 Garand (officially the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1). The M1 Garand was the first semi-automatic battle rifle to be generally issued to the infantry of a major nation, though other countries issued semi-auto rifles to special units. Gen. George S. Patton called the Garand “The greatest battle implement ever devised.”
Animated Diagrams Show M1 Garand Operational Cycle starting at 2:00-Minute Mark:
M14 Training Film
The successor to the M1 Garand was the M14. The 27-minute official U.S. Army video below demonstrates the operation of the M14. Field-stripping is shown from the 5:13 time-mark through 8:30. Cut-away drawings show the M14′s gas operation at 8:40.
The complete 8-step functioning cycle is demonstrated from the 9:25 time-mark through 22:41. These eight operations are: 1) Feeding; 2) Chambering; 3) Locking; 4) Firing; 5) Unlocking; 6) Extracting; 7) Ejecting; and 8) Cocking. This movie is fairly long, but fans of battle rifles will find it well worth their time. Every M1A owner should definitely watch this video start to finish.
Watch M14 Functioning Cycle Starting at 9:25 Mark:
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This video, produced for the folks at S&S Precision in Argyle, Texas, shows a full custom 6.5×47 bench rifle being crafted from start to finish. It is a fantastic video, one of the best precision rifles video you’ll find on YouTube. It shows every aspect of the job — action bedding, chambering, barrel-fitting, muzzle crowning, and stock finishing.
You’ll be amazed at the paint job on this rig — complete with flames and four playing cards: the 6, 5, 4, and 7 of spades. Everyone should take the time to watch this 13-minute video from start to finish, particularly if you are interested in stock painting or precision gunsmithing. And the video has a “happy ending”. This custom 6.5×47 proves to be a real tack-driver, shooting a 0.274″ three-shot group at 400 yards to win “small group” in its first fun match. NOTE: If you have a fast internet connection, we recommend you watch this video in 720p HD.
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“How do silencers work?” We hear that question often. Now, thanks to Silencerco.com, we can answer that question. Here’s a helpful infographic that illustrates the features of a suppressor (aka “silencer”, “can”, or “sound moderator”). Silencers reduce gunshot noise by providing a contained space where hot gases can dissipate and cool before exiting. Silencers are typically divided into multiple, internal expansion chambers. A quality suppressor can reduce gunshot noise by 30 decibels (db) or more. See the chart for comparative firearm noise levels (suppressed vs. un-suppressed).
In the United States, suppressors have become much more popular in recent years. In fact, the number of licensed silencers has doubled since 2011. Over 571,750 suppressors are now lawfully registered in the USA. Firearm sound moderators can now be purchased legally in 39 states, provided one obtains the requisite Federal tax stamp. (Texas is the leading suppressor state.) Seven European countries also allow suppressor ownership.
Suppressors Featured in Modern Shooter
Legal for private ownership in 39 states, suppressors are more popular than ever (though many gun owners are still not aware that silencers can be acquired without much difficulty). The Fall 2014 issue of Modern Shooter focuses on the popularity of today’s suppressors and sound-moderating technology available for handguns, rifles, and shotguns. This entire issue is dedicated to suppressors and their benefits. This comprehensive guide explains how suppressors work and how gun owners can easily (and lawfully) purchase them. The issue includes a detailed history of the suppressor, which was first patented in 1909 by the son of the inventor of the machine gun. There is also a feature story on hunting with suppressors in Europe. Modern Shooter is available on newsstands and as a digital download at GunDigestStore.com.
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