June 10th, 2019

Tech Tip: Figuring Out Barrel Twist Rates

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Sometimes you’ll get a barrel that doesn’t stabilize bullets the way you’d anticipate, based on the stated (or presumed) twist rate. A barrel might have 1:10″ stamped on the side but it is, in truth, a 1:10.5″ twist or even a 1:9.5″. Cut-rifled barrels, such as Kriegers and Bartleins, normally hold very true to the specified twist rate. With buttoned barrels, due to the nature of the rifling process, there’s a greater chance of a small variation in twist rate. And yes, factory barrels can be slightly out of spec as well.

After buying a new barrel, you should determine the true twist rate BEFORE you start load development. You don’t want to invest in a large supply of expensive bullets only to find that that won’t stabilize because your “8 twist” barrel is really a 1:8.5″. Sinclair International provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel.

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle. Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8 twist barrel.

Determining Barrel Twist Rate Empirically
Twist rate is defined as the distance in inches of barrel that the rifling takes to make one complete revolution. An example would be a 1:10″ twist rate. A 1:10″ barrel has rifling that makes one complete revolution in 10 inches of barrel length. Rifle manufacturers usually publish twist rates for their standard rifle offerings and custom barrels are always ordered by caliber, contour, and twist rate. If you are having a custom barrel chambered you can ask the gunsmith to mark the barrel with the twist rate.

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June 9th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: 1000-Yard Prone Rifle — Corbin’s “Maple Marvel”

.243 Win 1000 yard Maple rifle

“I have molested that rifle on several different occasions over the years. It is more beautiful in person if that is possible. Fine craftsmanship in every aspect.” — Forum Member Matt K.

.243 Win prone rifle Corbin ShellToday’s Sunday GunDay feature is a “blast from the past”, part of our big Guns of the Week archive. Some years back, Forum member Corbin Shell told us he had a new, full-custom 1000-yard prone rifle. When he sent some photos of the maple-stocked masterpiece, our collective jaws dropped. Check it out — this is truly a “Maple Marvel”.

.243 Win 1000 yard Maple rifle

Corbin’s GunDay rig is an eye-catcher for sure. This is one handsome rifle, built with all-premium components and a stunning Curly Maple thumbhole stock with adjustable cheekpiece. The rifle is chambered in .243 Winchester. It features a custom stainless RBRP action Nesika R action, with keycuts in the bottom instead of recoil lug. A Grünig & Elmiger trigger has been specially modified (milled and pinned) to work with the Nesika action. The primary barrel is a 30″ Broughton 5R Palma-contour tube. Interestingly, Corbin has a second 30″ Broughton barrel chambered in 6mmBR for use at shorter ranges.

The trigger guard, fore-arm rail, cheek adjuster, and 4-way adjustable butt assembly are all custom metal, designed by Dan Gleason. The stock is cut from exhibition-grade fiddleback maple (from Cecil Fredi Gunstocks in Las Vegas) with a Gaboon Ebony tip wood and butt-plate spacer.

.243 Win Maple rifle

Fast and Accurate
Corbin tells us the gun will put five shots into the size of a quarter at 300 yards “when he does his part.” Corbin shoots pointed Berger 105gr VLDs and 45.5 grains of H4831SC. That load runs 3180 fps. He can push it faster, but “that’s where the node was and where it shoots best”, according to Corbin.

Forum member Jim Hardy has seen (and shot against) this beautiful rifle. Jim reports: “A casual observer might think that the trigger guard, cheek plate and butt plate hardware are Anschutz — as the stock takes on the Anschutz prone pattern. However, this is ALL custom metal. The G&E trigger breaks like a glass rod and will makes my BR triggers feel inferior at best. I had the pleasure of holding, shouldering, and lusting over this gun at Camp Perry last year, and it is even more impressive in person. The killer is that there is yet ANOTHER one in a beautiful, dark figured walnut owned by Corbin’s shooting partner. BTW, both guns will hammer at 1000 yards prone.”

.243 Win 1000 yard Maple rifle

Long Range Prone Shooting with the .243 Winchester
Is the .243 Winchester capable at 1000 yards? Absolutely. John Whidden has used the .243 Win to capture multiple NRA National Long-Range Championships. John selected the .243 Win because it offers excellent ballistics with manageable recoil. John says that, at least for a sling shooter, the .243 Win is hard to beat at long range. John explains that, while you CAN get somewhat better ballistics with a .284 Win or .300 WSM, you’ll pay a heavy price in increased recoil with those bigger cartridges.

John Whidden .243 Winchester Win National Championship Long Range Reloading Caliber Barnard Action Anshutz

Running at an impressive 3275 FPS from his .243 Win, Berger 6mm 105 grain Hybrids are hard to beat, according to Whidden: “My .243 Win shoots inside a 6.5-284 with 142-grainers. Nothing out there is really ahead of [the .243], in 1000-yard ballistics unless you get into the short magnums or .284s and those carry a very significant recoil penalty.” John has tried bigger cases: “In the past I did shoot the 6.5-284. I went to the .243 Win because it had similar ballistics but had much less recoil. It doesn’t beat me up as much and is not as fatiguing.” READ Whidden .243 Winchester Report.

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June 1st, 2019

Change Out Your Barrels Quickly and Easily with Muzzle Mod

Warren Dean Hex Barrel John Whidden Larry Racine

Competitor Warren Dean has employed a hex-end barrel to permit rapid barrel changes on his F-Class rig. Warren wrote: “I have been running what is commonly known as a switch barrel on my F-T/R rifle. Basically it allows for removal and reinstallation of the barrel with basic hand tools and with no, or very minimal, shift in zero. The two gunsmiths that I trust, Larry Racine and John Whidden, both told me that the switch barrel system would return to a very close zero with no problems. [This system] can be a great benefit to the traveling shooter and a money-saver for the shooter wanting to shoot different calibers on the same chassis.” READ Dean Switch-Barrel Report.

Larry Racine Barrel Sytem
Larry Racine is a respected gunsmith based in New Hampshire. He is also a two-time member of the U.S. Palma Team, and a five-time New Hampshire State Highpower rifle champion. Larry, who runs LPR Gunsmithing, has developed a brilliantly simple means of switching rifle barrels with an ordinary spanner or open-end wrench. With this set-up you can switch barrels in the field in seconds without the need for a barrel vise.

For most barrels, Larry mills a hex with six flats on the end of the barrel. This allows a shooter to change barrels quickly at home or on the line with a simple box-head wrench or a socket wrench. Larry says: “You don’t even have to take the barreled action out of the gun. Just set the buttstock on the ground, between your feet, put a wrench on it, hit it with the palm of your hand — and off comes the barrel.” For barrels fitted with a muzzle brake, Larry has a slightly different system. He mills two flats behind the brake so you can use an open-end wrench to do the job.

With either a hex on the end, or two flats for a brake-equipped rifle, the system works with any medium- to heavy-contour barrel with a muzzle-diameter of at least 0.700″. This will even work for high-power rigs using clamp-on sights or bloop tubes. Larry explains: “A lot of us here in New England use clamp-on front sights. The barrel will be turned to 0.750 for the sight, with the hex on the end. A bloop tube can go right over the end, no problem.”

Larry has used this system over the past few years to win a number of matches. In one 600-yard 3 by 20 prone match, Larry used three different barrels, with three different chamberings, on the same Savage rifle. Larry changed the barrels on the line.

Larry was able to do this because the system has little to no loss of zero from one installation of a given barrel to the next installation of that barrel. This lets the shooter start the match with confidence that the first sighter will be on paper. Larry reports that the simple system works great: “To date we have used this system on Savage, Remington, Winchester, RPA, and Nesika actions.”

Varminters Take Note — This Is Great in the Field
If you are a varminter shooting hundreds of rounds in a day, consider this system. We know some guys who bring 3 or 4 rifles into the field because their barrels get hot during long days of prarie dog hunting. With this smart system, you can easily swap barrels in a couple minutes. And no special equipment or barrel vises are required.

Modifying Barrels is Affordable
Racine’s system for rapid barrel removal/changing is very affordable. If Larry does the chamber work on your barrel he charges $45.00 extra to mill a hex or two flats on your barrel. The customer chooses the configuration.

If you only want the hex or flats done, Larry may charge a higher fee — call for current rates. Note this can also work for barrels with muzzle brakes or threads for suppressors. For more info, visit LPRGunsmith.com or call Larry at (603) 357-0055.

E-mail: Larry[at]LPRGunSmith.com
LPR Gunsmithing
11 Suburban Acres
N. Swanzey, NH 03431

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May 28th, 2019

AR Feed Failure — What Is Your Diagnosis?

AR AR15 mag magazine magpul jam misfeed short-stroking jam cartridge

Posting on the 6.5 Creedmoor Group Facebook Page, Russel T. complained that his AR magazine doesn’t like to feed that last few rounds. Russell asked: “Full magazine, no problem cycling. But with five (5) or less in the magazine… this happens. What can cause this?”

It sure looks like he could use a new magazine spring, but there may be buffer-related problems as well. Or maybe a gas system issue. What’s your call? Here are some responses posted by Facebook folks:

“Weak mag spring.” — Josh N.

“Weak mag spring or too heavy of a buffer spring.” — Justin G.

“Try a different mag, if it still jams it’s probably a gas problem, if not chuck the bad mag.” — Otto G.

“Weak mag spring or literally anything that would cause the Bolt Carrier Group to short cycle.” — Reggie W.

“I’ve had the same issue with my 300 BLK when my buffer tube came apart. It would still cycle cheap rounds fine but [not] the Hornadys. Took it apart and found the buffer tube was in pieces.” — Hunter R.

“Could be a weak mag spring or buffer spring, both at the same time.” — John S.

“As mentioned it could be a list of things. However, bolt velocity is too fast/hard and the usual (but not always) culprit is over-gassing.” — Bill F.

“Short cycle — clean and LUBRICATE the weapon.” — Mark H.

“Look to see where the brass is ejecting. That will tell if it’s an over or under gas issue. If that’s ok then look at the mag spring. See Diagram” — Teddy G.

AR AR15 mag magazine magpul jam misfeed short-stroking jam cartridge

“Weak magazine spring, I tossed four brand new ‘bargain mags’ [due to] that very problem.” — John V.E.

“May not be a weak spring or bad mag. Check out a Tubb Precision flatware spring. I swapped mine in a new rifle and solved the problem of short stroking and double feeds.” — Anthony T.

“It might be the follower as well, some designs will dip in the front/rear as rounds are expended. It’s the reason why we didn’t use some service mags with the green followers.” — Chris J.

“Weak spring… time for a new magazine…or add a 5-round block and make it a 25-round magazine. But I’m positive it’s a weak spring, which means it’s just a matter of time for failure.” — Steve M.

“Without the weapon in hand I would hate to guess….
Start with the simple stuff and go from there. Trying to diagnose a problem from a photo is just like when your wife or girlfriend tells you the car won’t start. LOL.” — Mark T.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
May 26th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Old Savage Becomes 300M Match Rifle

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

Editor: This story by Tommy C. (aka “dc.fireman”) comes from our Shooters’ Forum. It’s fascinating to see how a relatively inexpensive Savage M12 BVSS varmint rig was transformed into a sophisticated 300M match rifle with a modern chassis, Shilen barrel, and top-of-line sights. With some ingenuity, and careful parts selection, Tommy created a rifle that can compete with match rifles costing many thousands of dollars more. American ingenuity at work!

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

Savage Reborn — Old BVSS Transformed into 300M Match Rifle

by Tommy C. (aka “dc.fireman”)
So, I began the project of building a 300M International competition gun, about a year ago, intending to compete at the 300M Nationals this year in Minnesota at the Minneapolis Rifle Club. Realistically, I didn’t want to pay the price-tag demanded of the Bleikers, Grunig & Elmigers, Hammerlis, or Tanners that (infrequently) pop-up for sale from time to time. So I decided to build my own 300M Match rifle with an American action, barrel, chassis, and trigger.

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle
Here is Tommy’s completed 300M Match rifle with Savage action in PDC Custom chassis.

I had decided on the .260 Remington (aka 6.5-08) as the caliber choice. This beat out 6.5×47 Lapua simply due to the cost/availability of brass. The .260 Rem cartridge is based on the .308 Win parent. I made my first batch of brass by necking down some Federal .308, and it worked great. [Editor: We do recommend Lapua .260 Remington brass for match purposes for those who don’t have a supply of good .308 brass.]

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

I had an older Savage M12 stagger-feed action, originally from an old .22-250 BVSS. I contacted James at Northland Shooter Supply, and he walked me through the game plan and equipment I needed: Shilen Select Match 26″ barrel, NSS Stainless recoil lug and nut, a set of Forster headspace gauges, and the NSS action wrench.

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle
Catalog photo of current Savage M12 BVSS in .22-250 Rem.

A few months later, I replaced the original Accu-trigger with a Rifle Basix SAV-II trigger, and immediately wondered why I waited so long to do that. The Rifle Basix is perfect for my application. Mind you the he safety DOES NOT work now, but, I don’t need it for my application.

Another member on the AccurateShooter Forum sold me a BVSS stock that has been re-worked by Alex Sitman of Masterclass Stocks, and it served as a placeholder, until I could find a maker who could nearly replicate my Feinwerkbau 2700 Alu stock in my smallbore match gun.

After scouring the AccurateShooter Forum, and multiple internet searches, I found PDC Custom in Michigan. I spoke with Craig Kierstadt a few times, before finally deciding to pull the proverbial trigger on his chassis. He had a few of the older chassis stocks with spacing for the Savage stagger-feed action. He machined an Anschutz rail into the fore-end for my hand stop and sling. Then he powder-coated the chassis black, and sent it to me sans grip and butt plate.

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle
Photo of action/chassis. Tommy says: “It locks up really tightly, and you can tell Craig spent some time on the CNC work need to make this all fit.”

There are a few minor issues with the PDC chassis, but overall, I would rate this a 9.5 out of a possible 10. The price, and the features built into it, plus the ease of which everything fit together, far outweigh any minor issues. And two of the issues I quickly corrected with Teflon tape. I will need to make a walnut cheek piece — a curved one isn’t conducive to aperture iron sight shooting.

Savage Action .260 Rem 300M Match Rifle Components:

Action, Barrel, Stock, Grip
Savage M12 stagger-feed action, 4.27″ spacing
Shilen Select Match Barrel, 26″
Rifle Basix SAV-II Trigger
PDC Custom Chassis — tool-less adjustments
Bobsled SLED for single loading (required)
MEC Contact III Butt plate (German)
MEC handstop/sling swivel (German)
Walnut Target grip for AR-15 (eBay sourced)

Sight Components and Hardware
MEC Spy Long rear sight (German)
Centra front sight tunnel (German)
Centra adjustable aperture (German)
Medesha sight extension tube + collar
Champion’s Choice front sight base
Champion’s Choice mirage band

For his practice load, Tommy shot 123gr Hornady ELD-M bullets with H4831 powder and CCI BR2 primers. This load performed well — Tommy posted: “My 25-shot initial prone test today shows promise. There are five sighter shots, and 20 record shots. One of the 9s at 9 o’clock is my first sighter, the other one I own. The 8 out at 4 O’clock was a round that was difficult to chamber. My initial scoring puts me somewhere in the vicinity of 193-7X.”

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

The target used is the NRA C2, “300M International Rifle Target, reduced for 200 yards”.
The 10 Ring is 2.40″ in diameter, while the Inner 10 (X-Ring) is 1.24″.

Varget powder 300m .260 RemingtonMatch Load — Varget and Nosler Bullets
For his match load, Tommy switched to Varget and Nosler bullets: “My match load uses 37.9 grains Hodgdon Varget with a Nosler 123gr bullet. This was a recommendation by a gentleman with a lot of experience in 300M shooting.”

Tommy adds: “The amount of knowledge gained via the AccurateShooter Forum has made this all a reality, instead of just a passing thought.”

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May 21st, 2019

Brit Teen Excels with New Rifle She Helped Build

Bexi britain british UK Savage benchrest Diggle gunsmithing 1000-yard 6mmBr 6BR

How often does this happen — a teen-aged girl helps build her own long-range benchrest competition rifle. And then she wins her first 1000-yard match with that new pink rifle! And yes, she hand-loaded her own 6mmBR ammo (naturally). Here is the remarkable story of 15-year-old Bexi from Britain, courtesy TargetShooter Magazine.

Brit Teen Competes with Rifle She Helped Build

Bexi is a talented young British lady who was introduced to shooting by her father Nick. As part of a UK skills honors program, 15-year-old Bexi decided to help build a new Savage-action benchrest rifle.

Our friend Vince Bottomley reports: “The first time Bexi actually shot her rifle I also happened to be present and I couldn’t believe how well she adapted to the bench to shoot the 6BR cartridges she had loaded. It was time for her first competition with the rifle — the UKBRA’s opening 600-yard benchrest shoot. At the end of the day she actually finished in third place in Light Gun Class, beating a host of experienced guys — including me. It was an astonishing performance and one that she would repeat throughout the season. In fact, Bexi finished second place in the UKBRA Championship.”

Bexi britain british UK Savage benchrest Diggle gunsmithing 1000-yard 6mmBr 6BR
Bexi shoots her new rifle at 600 yards at the Diggle Ranges.

Bexi proved a “natural” at long range benchrest competition. At Bexi’s first 1000-yard match she beat all competitors, taking first place in Light Gun Class. Vince Bottomley reported from the range: “It’s a beautiful spring day, but the mirage is seriously blurring the target. Again I’m wondering — will she cope. Cope? I can’t believe it — Bexi lays down four sub-MOA groups and beats all of the Light Gun shooters with a superb 7-inch Agg at 1000! Wow!”

Bexi Helps Build 6mmBR Benchrest Rifle

Young Bexi helped build her great-shooting pink Light Gun as part of an honors program effort. In the UK, young persons age 14-24 can pursue special honors — the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Awards in three levels (Bronze, Silver, and Gold). See www.DOFE.org.*

A few years ago, Bexi started working towards her Bronze DofE award and opted to use shooting as a skill. She joined the Young Rascals Shooting Academy at the Diggle Ranges, progressing through rimfire to .223 centerfire, taking in a couple of adult F-Class shoots along the way.

Bexi britain british UK Savage benchrest Diggle gunsmithing 1000-yard 6mmBr 6BR
Gunsmith Pete Walker spins up Bexi’s barrel in the lathe, showing her how to chamber a barrel.

To help Bexi earn her Silver DofE Award, gunsmith friend Pete Walker WalkerRifles.co.uk offered to sponsor Bexi and help her build her own rifle. Bexi wanted to further her involvement with shooting and help construct her own rifle to shoot in benchrest competition with her father. Ambitious? Yes, but that is exactly what the DofE Award is all about — achieving something you wouldn’t think possible. Benchrest appealed to Bexi — because of the precision involved. And yes she earned her Silver DofE Medal!

In total, Bexi spent 58 hours in Pete’s workshop over several Saturdays. Clearly, the machining work required in building a rifle was beyond Bexi’s skill level but she was present at every stage and Pete made sure that she actually did get to cut metal on the lathe. Bexi also polished the barrel and helped with assembly as the barreled action was bedded into the benchrest stock.

Bexi britain british UK Savage benchrest Diggle gunsmithing 1000-yard 6mmBr 6BR

Rifle Specs: Savage Model 12 twin-port action, Benchmark 30″ barrel, Rifle Basics trigger, pink-painted laminated stock, Vortex Golden Eagle scope, and a custom butt-plate (hand-polished by Bexi).

Read Full Story with More Photos HERE »

Whilst the rifle was in its final stages of the build, it was time for Bexi to learn the art of reloading — under the close supervision of Dad Nick. Yes Bexi reloads all her ammunition. She preps her own brass, seats her own bullets, carries out a final weight check, make the entries in the reloading log, and enters the results and velocities from testing.

Vince comments: “When Bexi starts college and begins her Gold DofE Award efforts, she will continue shooting but now has ambitious plans to build a full custom rifle. Yes, Bexi wants a BAT but honestly, she’s doing pretty well with that Savage!”


*The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (commonly abbreviated DofE), is a youth awards program with three progressive levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. With assistance from adult Leaders, participants select and set objectives in the following areas: Skills, Volunteering, Sport/Fitness, and Expedition. The DofE Award program was started in 1956, and now operates in over 140 countries along with the UK. As of 2017, over 6 million young people in the UK have taken part in the DofE programs, and 8 million worldwide. To achieve an award, the participant must work on each section for a minimum period of time, and must be monitored and assessed by qualified supervisors. Each progressive level demands more time and commitment from participants: Bronze 3–6 months; Silver: 6–9 months; Gold: 12–18 months.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
May 20th, 2019

Stock Reborn: Second-Hand Anschutz Becomes F-Open Beauty

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Here is an interesting project by one of our Forum members. Martin C. (aka “Killick”) modified an Anschutz 1411 Match 54 rimfire prone stock to become a comfortable, great-tracking F-Class Open Division Stock. No Killick didn’t sacrifice a perfectly good rimfire rifle for this project — he bought the Anschutz stock by itself on eBay, then transformed it…

Killick explains: “This project started about seven years ago. I bought the Anschutz prone stock on eBay and whittled it a bit into a Palma rifle with a Barnard action and block and a Doan Trevor cheek piece and scope rail. Then about two years ago I decided to re-task the stock/action assembly into an F-Open rig. With more whittling, gluing, sanding, body fillering, sanding, filling, sanding, more sanding…and sanding, forming, priming, sanding, painting, waiting, painting, painting…painting and before you know it, Bob’s your uncle.”

Here is the eBay-sourced Anschutz 1411 stock, with new high-gloss blue finish, as initially modified for use in Killick’s centerfire Palma rifle. Looks nice!

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Next step was the addition of a 3″-wide wood fore-end for F-Open duties with front rest:

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Almost done here… just needs priming and final painting:

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Here is Killick’s completed F-Open rifle with its much-modified Anschutz stock now finished in fire-engine red lacquer. This image shows the detail of the grip and customized cheekpiece.

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

To learn more, visit Killick’s Anschutz Stock F-Class Project Thread on our Shooters’ Forum.

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May 8th, 2019

Shilen Barrels, Actions, and Rifles from the Heart of Texas

Shilen Actions Complete rifles barrel nut Savage Remage

Did you know that Shilen Rifles Inc. (Ennis, TX) offers barreled actions and complete rifles? And that Shilen offers a Savage-style, barrel-nut system for its Rem-clone actions? After several years of development, Shilen now offers custom actions ($950.00), barreled custom actions ($1500.00), and complete rifles ($3200.00 and up).

Shilen Actions Complete rifles

The new Shilen custom actions are CNC-milled from high-grade stainless steel. Two types are offered — the multi-shot DGR (Repeater) or the single-shot DGV (Varminter) action. Both actions will be offered in most common bolt faces and both right-hand and left-hand actions are immediately available. The DGR and DGV actions have a 1.350″ diameter with 8-40 scope base mounting screw holes, and an 0.300″ pinned recoil lug. The spiral-fluted bolts feature a floating bolt head with an interchangeable bolt handle knob. These actions feature a footprint similar to the Remington Model 700. Both DGR and DGV actions will accept many aftermarket components crafted for Rem-700 style actions, including triggers and bottom metal.

Barreled Actions with Barrel-Nut System for Easy Barrel Exchanges
Along with the stand-alone DGR and DGV actions, Shilen is offering barreled action assemblies, chambered and ready to drop into Rem 700-inletted stocks. The actions are fitted with Shilen match-grade barrels. The barrels feature a 1-1/16″x20 barrel thread and are attached to the action by a barrel nut. This Savage-style barrel nut system simplifies headspacing, allowing easy swapping from one barrel to another. With the simple barrel-exchange procedure, you can shoot multiple chamberings with a single action/rifle. For example, shooters can change from a .223 Remington to a .204 Ruger or a .22-250 to a 6mm BR in a matter of minutes.

Complete Rifles with McMillan Stocks
With Shilen’s complete rifles, buyers can choose their chambering, and select barrel and stock configuration. Shooters can choose between a sporter weight wood stock or a variety of McMillan fiberglass stocks. With all complete rifles, the entire package is delivered in a quality gun case and Shilen even includes table mat, cleaning rod, bore guide, jag, bore brush, and cleaning patches. For more info, call (972) 875-5318 or email comments@shilen.com.

Shilen Actions Complete rifles

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May 7th, 2019

6mm Creedmoor — How Many FPS Will a Shorter Barrel Cost You?

6mm 6.5 Creedmoor rifleshooter.com Bill Barr barrel length cut-down velocity test chronograph Magnetospeed chrono

Our friend Bill Marr of Rifleshooter.com has done it again — conducted a fascinating 6mm Creedmoor barrel cut-down test that reveals how velocity changes with barrel length. This time Bill started with a 24″ Proof Research stainless steel barrel on a Howa action. Bill says this was a well-used barrel, with over 1800 rounds through it. So, the velocities might be a bit different than a new barrel of similar length. Bill cut the barrel down in one-inch increments. Here are some results from the test:

24″ Velocity: 2893 FPS | 20″ Velocity: 2755 FPS | 16.1″ Velocity: 2598 FPS

CLICK HERE for FULL TEST REPORT on RifleShooter.com »

6mm 6.5 Creedmoor rifleshooter.com Bill Barr barrel length cut-down velocity test chronograph Magnetospeed chrono

6mm 6.5 Creedmoor rifleshooter.com Bill Barr barrel length cut-down velocity test chronograph Magnetospeed chronoFor this latest test, Rifleshooter cut the barrel in one-inch increments from 24″ to 16.1″ (just over legal minimum). Velocities were measured with a MagnetoSpeed V3 chronograph mounted on arm attached to the stock. This allowed the chrono to be adjusted inwards as the barrel was cut shorter, inch by inch.

For the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, Bill loaded Hornady 108gr ELD Match bullets over 41.5 grains of Hodgdon H4350 with CCI 200 primers in new Starline brass.

The results were interesting to say the least. Bill reports: “Muzzle velocities ranged from 2,893 ft/sec at 24″ to 2,598 ft/sec at 16″ for a decrease in muzzle velocity of 295 ft/sec. Muzzle velocity changes per inch of barrel length ranged from 6 ft/sec per inch between 20 and 19 inches to 63 ft/sec per inch between 19 and 18 inches. Average velocity change per inch of barrel length was 37.9 ft/sec.”

Bill concludes: “An average drop of 37.9 ft/sec/inch of barrel is fairly significant and is what would be expected with a fast moving 6mm cartridge like the 6mm Creedmoor. While I’m used to seeing 6mm Creedmoors with slightly longer barrel lengths than 24″, when coupled with a sound suppressor the additional length can make moving the rifle quickly more difficult.

I’d suggest staying with longer barrel lengths wherever possible with this cartridge. At shorter lengths, it does give up more performance than its big brother the 6.5 Creedmoor.”

More 6mm Creedmoor Velocity Data from 2017 Cut-Down Test

If you’re curious about 6mm Creedmoor velocities at longer barrel lengths, back in 2017 Rifleshooter completed a 6mm Creedmoor barrel cut-down test from 31 inches all the way down to 17 inches. The test included four bullet types from 95 grains to 110 grains. With the 110gr Sierra MK, velocity at 31″ was an impressive 3110 fps. Surprisingly the velocity didn’t decrease that much for the first few inches. Even at 26″ (a five-inch reduction), measured velocity with the 110s was 3073 fps, a loss of 7.4 fps per inch on average. With a barrel shortened all the way to 20″ however, velocity had dropped down to 2949 fps, a significant (161 fps) loss. CLICK HERE for complete results from that 31″-17″ Barrel Cut-Down Test.

6mm 6.5 Creedmoor rifleshooter.com Bill Barr barrel length cut-down velocity test chronograph Magnetospeed chrono

CLICK HERE for 31″ to 17″ 6mm Creedmoor Barrel Test Report »

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tactical No Comments »
April 30th, 2019

Boomer Time — G.A. Precision Upgrades an Armalite .50 BMG

Wide Open Magazine video .50 Caliber 50 BMG Fifty G.A. Precision GA 50-Cal
This Armalite AR-50A1 .50 BMG rifle was modified by G.A. Precision.

If you’re a fan of big boomers, and love shooting steel, then definitely watch this Wide Open Magazine video. This covers a .50 BMG build by our friends at G.A. Precision (GAP). The rifle started as an Armalite AR-50A1 ($3359.00 MSRP). Then GAP fluted the barrel and swapped the factory muzzle brake with a more compact brake from American Precision Arms*. Then, as modified, the entire rig was given a rugged Cerakote finish.

The video has nice background music, great aerial drone footage, and of course some serious firepower. Using Hornady .50 BMG ammo, GA Precision’s George Gardner and his Wide Open friends shoot the big Fifty from the bench as well as prone. Enjoy!

Wide Open Magazine video .50 Caliber 50 BMG Fifty G.A. Precision GA 50-Cal

Wide Open Magazine video .50 Caliber 50 BMG Fifty G.A. Precision GA 50-Cal

About the .50 BMG Cartridge

The .50 Browning Machine Gun (.50 BMG, aka 12.7×99mm NATO or 50 Browning) is a cartridge developed for the Browning .50 caliber machine gun in the late 1910s, entering official service in 1921. Under STANAG 4383, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

.50 Browning Machine Gun 50 BMG Noreen Rifle

John Browning had the idea for this round during World War I in response to a need for an anti-aircraft weapon, based on a scaled-up .30-06 Springfield design, used in a machine gun based on a scaled-up M1919/M1917 design that Browning had initially developed around 1900. According to the American Rifleman: “The Browning .50 originated in the Great War. American interest in an armor-piercing cartridge was influenced by the marginal French 11 mm design, prompting U.S. Army Ordnance officers to consult Browning. They wanted a heavy projectile at 2700 FPS, but the ammunition did not exist. Browning pondered the situation and, according to his son John, replied, ‘Well, the cartridge sounds pretty good to start. You make up some cartridges and we’ll do some shooting’.”

* In the video, George mistakenly says “American Patriot Arms”, but the brake is made by Georgia-based American Precision Arms.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
April 25th, 2019

CZ-USA to Build $90 Million-Dollar Factory in Arkansas

CZ-USA Little Rock Arkansas Port factory gun firearms production

CZ-USA, affiliate of Czech firearms manufacturer Česká Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod (CZUB), plans to locate its North American Headquarters and build a new manufacturing facility near Little Rock, Arkansas. In two phases over a six-year period, CZ-USA plans to invest up to $90 million in the 73-acre facility. Construction will begin immediately, with initial start-up planned for March 2020. Production at the Little Rock facility will proceed in two, three-year phases. By the completion of Phase Two, CZ-USA plans to create 565 jobs in the Little Rock area.

CZ-USA is the first Czech company to have a manufacturing facility in Arkansas. “As CZ looked to increase our presence in North America, it engaged in a multi-state search for the ideal location,” said Bogdan Heczko, CZ-USA chairman of the board. “The Arkansas workforce, culture, business climate and industry support cleared the way for us to choose Little Rock as our new home.”

CZ-USA Little Rock Arkansas Port factory gun firearms production
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announces new CZ-USA production facility at Port of Little Rock.

“We are honored to have a world-renowned brand such as CZ call Arkansas home”, said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “The location in the growing Port of Little Rock, combined with the high-paying jobs created by the company, will improve the quality of life for all Arkansans”.

“We could not be more thrilled to have CZ-USA at the Port of Little Rock. This is the largest jobs announcement in Little Rock in more than a decade[.]” said Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott.

CZ-USA Little Rock Arkansas Port factory gun firearms production

CZ-USA Looking for Skilled Workers at new Little Rock Facility
CZ-USA is currently seeking qualified applicants at littlerockchamber.com/cz. Additional questions regarding hiring can be emailed to CZ-USA at careers@cz-usa.com. Other project inquiries should be directed to general@cz-usa.com.

CZ-USA Little Rock Arkansas Port factory gun firearms production

The History of CZ, a Major European Firearms Maker
CZ-USA’s parent company, Česká zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod (CZUB) Was established in 1936 as a branch of Česká zbrojovka Strakonice. CZUB companies now employ nearly 2,000 worldwide. The expansion of its North American presence in Arkansas will allow CZ-USA to continue to improve, innovate, and add to the CZ-USA line-up of high-quality, affordable handguns, rifles, shotguns, and suppressors, plus handguns from Dan Wesson. For more information, visit CZ-USA.com.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Handguns, News No Comments »
April 21st, 2019

Sunday GunDay — Forum Fan Favorites

6 PPC flame paint nude forearm surprise killerpaint.com
This 6 PPC features a Nesika Extended ‘C’ action, Krieger 1:13.5″-twist LV barrel, Kelbly stock, and stunning paint by Mike Lavalle of killerpaint.com. For an eye-catching R-Rated paint surprise, Click HERE.

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 firearms. 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? Register for the Forum and you can add your favorite gun to the list.

30 BR Roy Hunter Curly Maple stock wood Bat action James Lederer barrel
Click image to view large, full-screen photo!

For this week’s Sunday GunDay we’ve selected fiver fan favorites from the Pride and Joy archives. First up is this custom 30 BR brought to you by ANSHUTER2013 and built by Dave Bruno. We were captivated by the clean lines and handsome looks of the Roy Hunter Curly Maple stock. Nestled in that stock is a BAT B action fronted by a 1:17″-twist James Lederer 24″ HV barrel. A Jewell trigger with fixed 42x44mm Nightforce scope round out this beauty.

6 PPC benchrest Seb NEO Lenzi bad Bat action Bix'N Andy Bartlein barrel
6 PPC benchrest Seb NEO Lenzi bad Bat action Bix'N Andy Bartlein barrel

This state-of-the-art 6 PPC boasts all top-tier components. And owner Wes R. shoots it with a superb rest/bag/pad set-up that inspires envy. This “Bughole 6 PPC” features a Bat DS action, Bix’N Andy trigger, with Bartlein 1:13.75″-twist barrel. The stock is a super-low-profile Scoville with carbon strengthening. The front rest is a SEB NEO, while in the rear is the new Lenzi sandbag. Folks tell us the Lenzi is super stable, which improves tracking from shot to shot. Note the timer attached to the front rest as well as the nice Edgewood leather bench “blanket” and arm-rest pad.

Eliseo R1 tube gun tubegun chassis F-Class F-Open .284 Winchester

Eliseo R1 tube gun tubegun chassis F-Class F-Open .284 Winchester

Forum Member Killick attached PickleForks to his handsome blue Eliseo R1 TubeGun now chambered in .284 Winchester, a top choice for the F-Open discipline. Killick explains: “Behold! An Eliseo R1 F-Classer. This started out as an R1 Long Range sling rifle (6XC) with a Borden TubeGun action. It is now rebarreled in .284 Win with Gary’s PickleFork fore-end adaptor. Props to Gary Eliseo at Competition Machine LLC.

.308 Win Rifle Manners Stock
.308 Win Rifle Manners Stock

Sometimes clean and simple is the way to go — particularly with a hunting rifle. WEATHERBYFAN’s 6.5 Creedmoor is built around a Stiller Predator single-shot action in a texturd, green Wildcat Var-Tac stock. The 1:8″-twist Bartlein barrel is finished at 28″. That’s pretty long for a hunting rig, but it delivers added velocity. Finishing off this nice rigle is a Zeiss 6-24x50mm optic. Sometimes less is more and this is a perfect example of that.

.308 Win Rifle Manners Stock
.308 Win Rifle Manners Stock

Our final offering is from Forum member 300_WHISPER. Completed just months ago by gunsmith CALEB85, this .308 Win rifle features a Bighorn TL3 action with a Bartlein M40 26″ 1:10″-twist barrel, and Manners TA Elite stock. Other components include Trigger Tech Special, Area 419 self-timing muzzle brake, and a Weaver Tactical 3-15x50mm FFP mil/mil optic. When test-fired by Caleb with ammo using Berger 175gr OTM Tactical bullets, this nice .308 Win delivered a 1.6″ 5-shot group at 400 yards. The owner says “It’s my dream rifle. I couldn’t be happier”.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
April 14th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Corbin Shell’s ELR Record-Setting .416 Barrett

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

Today’s Sunday GunDay story features Corbin Shell’s remarkable, record-setting .416 Barrett. With a 40″ Krieger barrel secured in a massive barrel block, this is definitely a big boomer!

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

Last month, Forum member Corbin Shell set a new Extreme Long Range (ELR) record. With no sighters or warm-up shots, Corbin put three (3) shots on a 36″ x 36″ steel plate at 2118 yards, establishing a new Cold Bore ELR World Record. The range was verified with three rangefinders and witnessed by 20+ awestruck shooters. Applied Ballistics reports: “There is a new official ELR World Record. 2118 yards. 3 for 3 cold bore.” This was also recognized as a record by the FCSA (Fifty Caliber Shooting Association).*

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

This record was set at the ELR Southeast Shootout held at the Arena Training Facility in Blakely, Georgia, on March 2, 2019. The World Record attempt was made in compliance with all ELR Central Rules.

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron
Corbin Shell (on right) stands next to Joe Burdick, match director. That’s three hits on 36″ x 36″ plate.

ELR Ain’t Cheap — $6.55 Cost per Shot
Corbin told us: “Each round fired cost approximately $6.55. The breakdown is as follows: bullet $3.05, powder $0.80, primer $0.50, cartridge case $1.00 (based on five firings), barrel wear $1.20 per shot based on 1000 rounds of barrel life. Hitting steel at distance: PRICELESS!”

ELR Record .416 Barrett Rifle Components

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

Action: BAT .50 caliber EX, multi-flat, with hard coat finish, extra CheyTac bolt.
Barrel: Krieger cut-rifled, .416 caliber, 40″ finish length, 1:9″ twist.
Barrel Block: Doyle Anglin Dixie Gunworks, integral Picatinny rail.
Muzzle Brake: Ryan Pierce 5-port magnum.
Stock: Designed and fabricated by Doyle Anglin, Dixie Gunworks. Obeche laminate, Indian Blanket color scheme. 48″ long excluding butt hardware.
Butt and Cheekpiece Hardware: Master Class/Alex Sitman, extended rods.
Scope: Sightron SIII 6-24x50mm MOA reticle item #25127. 100 MOA elevation/windage.
Bipod: Duplin Rifles by Clint Cooper. Weight: One pound, 2 ounces.
Gunsmith: Rifle builder was Doyle Anglin, Dixie Gunworks, Winder, GA.

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

ELR Record .416 Barrett Load

Projectiles: Cutting Edge Bullets 550gr Lazers
Powder: Vihtavuori 20n29
Primers: RWS Large
Cartridge Brass: Barrett .416

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

If you want to learn more about this record-setting rifle, Corbin has prepared a 6-page project history describing all the components and explaining how the rifle was constructed. This Build Document also contains a wealth of information about loading for the .416 Barrett cartridge.

Conditions During Record:
Corbin tells us: “This was shot in Blakely, Georgia at the Arena Training Facility in good Ole dense Southern air. Here are the atmospheric conditions when I shot: 70 degree temperature, 29.70-29.80 inches of mercury, 82% humidity, 1211 Density Altitude (DA).”

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

Corbin noted that the unique barrel block with rail helps with ELR Optics: “This custom-made barrel block is drilled length wise to reduce weight. It incorporates an integral Picatinny rail which… facilitates mounting of … the Tacom Charlie/Delta TARAC prism system, without the need to bridge mount.” Charlie/Delta TARAC units effectively offset the view that comes into the scope, providing up to 625 MOA elevation.

ELR Cold Bore Shot Record Rules
Congratulations to the new ELR World Record Holder Corbin Shell. The record now stands at 2118 yards. This record was shot under a very specific set of rules established by ELR Central and industry leaders. For more ELR record information, go to ELRCentral.com. All ELR World Record results can be seen on the ELR Central’sEvent Results Page.


* Prior to Corbin Shell’s GA record, David Tubb shot a 2200-yard, 3-shot group that has been recognized as a FCSA record. However, because David had made a same-day attempt, within minutes, with a different rifle, this did not comply with the ELR Central Rules. So, at this time only Corbin Shell is recognized as the ELR Central World Record Holder.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gunsmithing, News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
April 13th, 2019

Build Your Own Rifle with Affordable Howa Barreled Actions

Howa 1500 Mini action barreled sale action HACT trigger Brownells deal

Right now, Brownells is running a big sale on Howa Barreled Actions, in a wide variety of chamberings. You may want to pick up one of these barreled actions, which start at $259.99. We like Howa actions — they are smooth, and they feature an excellent two-stage trigger. Howa also offers a unique Mini Action, which is great for a small-caliber varmint rig.

Howa Barreled Action Basics

The above video shows the basics of the Howa barreled actions, which are offered in Mini, Standard, and Long Action versions, with dozens of chamberings, from .204 Ruger all the way up to .300 Winchester Magnum. If you’re not familiar with Howa barreled actions you should be. Each barreled action comes with Howa’s Lifetime Warranty and is guaranteed to deliver sub-MOA performance at 100-yards when using premium factory ammo. The Howa 1500 barreled action also features a crisp two-stage trigger, three-position safety, 70° bolt throw, M16-style extractor, two-lug bolt design and a flat bottom receiver with an integral recoil lug.

Howa 1500 Mini action barreled sale action HACT trigger Brownells deal

Howa Barreled Action Project Videos

Brownells has created a series of helpful videos showing how to put together an accurate rifle using a Howa barreled action. We think this is a sensible, cost-effective option for a varmint rifle, or entry-level tactical rig. Not counting optics, you should be able to assemble a good shooting, general-purpose rifle for under $700.00.

1. Long-Range Precision Rifle Build
Here the Brownells team puts together a nice tactical rifle in an MDT modular aluminum chassis made specifically for the Howa 1500 action. Attached, AR-style, to the back end of the chassis, is a Luth-AR adjustable buttstock also sold by Brownells. An EGW Picatinny rail is fitted to the action for mounting a Nightforce optic. As you can see in the video, the entire build takes less than 10 minutes. Using this Howa 1500 heavy-barreled action, you can save hundreds over the cost of a factory tactical rifle, and we bet the accuracy will be better than you’ll get with some popular brands. We’ve seen heavy-barreled Howas shoot well under 1 MOA.

2. Hunting Rifle Build
In this video, Brownells puts together a general-purpose hunting rifle using the Howa 1500 barreled action. This was attached to a Hogue Overmolded stock with internal aluminum bedding block. Fitted to the top of the action is an EGW Picatinny Rail with a Sig Sauer scope in Leupold rings. As with the Precision Rifle build above, the entire assembly process took less than ten minutes. This was done with a standard-length Howa action, but the same procedure could be used with the Howa Mini Action, or a Long Action. NOTE: No separate bedding compound was used here. That’s an option that would extend build time significantly.

Check out the Prices for Howa Barreled Actions
Here are some of the Howa Barreled Actions currently in stock at Brownells. NOTE: This is just a partial sample — there are many other varieties:

.223 Rem, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Grendel, Mini Heavy Barrel, $389.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 26″ Heavy Barrel, $429.99
7mm-08, Std Cerakote, $579.99
7.62×39, Mini Light Barrel, $259.99
.308 Win, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $289.99
.308 Win, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $299.99
.30-06 Sprg, 22″ Sporter Barrel, Cerakote, $349.99
.300 Win Mag, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $279.99

Howa Barreled action sale Brownells PRS HACT Trigger

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 2 Comments »
April 9th, 2019

Don’t Waste Time (and Ammo) on a Poor Factory Barrel

Savage Criterion BarrelIn our Shooters’ Forum, you’ll find a lengthy thread about accuracy problems with a Savage LRPV, chambered in 6mmBR. The gun would repeatedly split groups at 100 yards, and at 300 yards, the “flyers” would open up the groups to 1.5 MOA or larger. Interestingly, the factory test target (at right) showed a split group — not a good sign.

The gun’s owner, forum member LR_Shooter, tried a variety of tweaks: “I did this, done that… [changed] torque, tang floated, bedded action, recut chamber, and [adjusted firing pin]”. But nothing really helped. Frustrated, LR_Shooter asked his fellow Forum members for help. Much advice was proffered, including the novel idea of removing the middle action screw in the Savage 3-screw target action. Some of the advice proved helpful, but none of the suggested remedies produced a major improvement. This rifle, out of the box, tossed flyers and no amount of tweaking (or changes in shooting technique) really cured the basic problem. That is, until, the factory barrel got replaced…

Savage Criterion Barrel

New Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel Works Wonders
LR_Shooter acquired a Criterion pre-fit barrel from Jim Briggs at Northland Shooters Supply (NSS). These pre-fits are designed for easy installation with the standard Savage barrel nut. Wouldn’t you know it, with a new 30″ heavy-contour barrel on the LRPV, the gun started shooting way better. No more crazy fliers, no more split groups, no more excessive vertical. And the improvement came without any other major modifications.

LR_Shooter reports: “I got a replacement barrel from Jim at NSS. It is a 30″ bull Criterion barrel. So far, without playing with torque screws and having my old setup… I’m very satisfied with the barrel I got. Now I have no problem getting [groups] under 0.25 MOA. Finally this thing can shoot!”

Targets Shot with Savage LRPV Fitted with Criterion Barrel
Savage Criterion Barrel

The targets above, shot with the new Criterion barrel, speak for themselves. The left target was shot at 100 yards, while the target on the right was shot at 300 yards (very impressive).

Moral of the Story — Sometimes A New Barrel Really Is the Right Solution
All of us have struggled at times with a rifle that won’t live up to expectations. This Editor personally struggled for over a year with a .260 Rem Savage with a factory tube. The gun tended to split groups and the POI walked as the barrel heated. I tried one powder/primer combination after another, working through a variety of seating depths over many months. I was persistent. Out of stubbornness, I just believed that sooner or later I’d find the magic load.

Well folks, sometimes there’s really nothing you can do about a sub-par barrel. It is what it is. To really improve a gun’s accuracy (particularly a gun with a factory tube), you may need to open your wallet and get a quality aftermarket barrel. Spending months trying one recipe after another may simply be an overwhelming waste of powder, bullets, and your precious time.

Albert Einstein supposedly said: “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” Well that sort of describes my efforts with my .260 Rem. Once I had enough evidence that my barrel split groups no matter what load combo (and seating depth) I tried, it was time to pony up for a new barrel. When I did finally screw on a nice PacNor 3-groove Supermatch, that Savage suddenly became a true tack-driver. As re-chambered in 6mmBR with the Pac-Nor, in calm conditions, my Savage will now consistently shoot in the twos with heavy bullets, and it can sometimes dip down into the ones with Berger 80gr flat-base bullets. The moral of the story here is simple — don’t waste weeks or months chasing your tail with a barrel that just won’t deliver (after a reasonable amount of testing). Save up for a custom barrel, get it chambered properly, and stop your cycle of frustration.

Contact Information for Northland Shooters Supply:
Northland Shooters Supply
10720 Rose Drive
Bismarck, ND 58503

Email: james@northlandshooterssupply.com
Website: Northlandshooterssupply.com
Telephone: (763) 682-4296; Fax: (763) 682-6098

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
April 4th, 2019

Bump Buster Recoil Reduction System for F-Open Rifles

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open accurateshooter.com

Many of our Forum members have expressed interest in a recoil-reduction system for prone F-Open competition rifles shooting heavy bullets from powerful cartridges. A .300 WSM shooing 200+ grain bullets can definitely take its toll over the course of a match. One system that has been used with considerable success is the hydraulic “Bump Buster” recoil system. This definitely reduces the pounding your shoulder gets during a long match. To illustrate this system, we’ve reprised an article on Brett Soloman’s F-Open rifle from a couple years back. Watch the Videos to see the Bump Buster in action.

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open accurateshooter.comOn his Facebook page, Hall-of-Fame shooter and ace gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez unveiled an impressive new F-Open rifle built for Bret Solomon. The rifle features Speedy’s new low-profile F-Class stock.

Bret’s gun is chambered for his 300 Solomon wildcat, shooting heavy 210gr bullets, so it can can be a real shoulder-buster, without some kind of buffer. The stock is fitted with a Ken Rucker’s Bump Buster hydraulic recoil reduction system to tame the recoil. The Bump Buster was originally designed for shotguns and hard-hitting, big game rifles. It is interesting to see this hydraulic buffer adapted to an F-Open rig.

Here you can see Bret shooting the gun, coached by Nancy Tompkins and Michele Gallagher:

Bret’s gun features a stainless Viper (Stiller) action, barrel tuner, and an innovative Speedy-crafted wood stock. Speedy says this stock design is all-new: “It is a true, low Center-of-Gravity F-Class stock, not a morphed Palma stock merely cut out on the bottom”. See all the details in this short video:

Stock Features: Glue-in or Bolt-In and Optional Carbon Pillars and Cooling Ports
Speedy explained the features of the new stock design: “Terry Leonard and I started working on an F-Class version of his stocks last year during the F-Class Nationals and came up with what he and I consider the first true low-CG stock in the sport. As you can see by the videos, there is very little torqueing of the stock during recoil. I add the carbon fiber tunnel underneath the forearms to save Terry some time. This bonds very well to his carbon fiber skeleton within the stock adding addition stiffness to the forearm to support the heavy barrels found on the F-Class rigs. We are playing with both glue-ins like we benchresters use and bolt-ins as well. The rifles on the videos are glue-ins. Bret just took delivery today of his first bolt-in employing carbon fiber pillars and the first Leonard stock ever to have cooling ports.”

Need for Recoil Reduction Follows F-Class Trend to Bigger Calibers and Heavier Bullets
In recent years we have seen F-Open competitors move to bigger calibers and heavier bullets in pursuit of higher BC. There is no free lunch however. Shooting a 210gr .30-caliber bullet is going to produce much more recoil than a 140gr 6.5mm projectile (when they are shot at similar velocities). Does this mean that more F-Open shooters will add hydraulic buffers to their rigs? Will a recoil-reduction system become “de rigueur” on F-Open rifles shooting heavy bullets?

Our friend Boyd Allen observes: “You may imagine that shooting a short magnum, or even a .284 Win with heavy bullets, involves a fair amount of recoil, and in the prone position this can be more than a little wearing. It can in fact beat you up over the course of a match. Some time back, Lou Murdica told me about having a hydraulic recoil absorbing device installed on one of his F-Class rifles, chambered in .300 WSM. Lou is shooting heavy (210-215gr) bullets so the recoil is stout. According to Lou, the hydraulic recoil-reduction system made all the difference.”

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
March 30th, 2019

F-Open Thumbhole Stock Crafted by Carl Bernosky

F-Class F-Open Rifle stock

Many F-Open shooters favor low-profile benchrest-type stocks. They shoot these with minimal hand and cheek contact. Not “free recoil” mind you, but pretty close. With practice and a high-quality front rest and rear bag, that “minimal hold” style can work very well.

F-Class F-Open Rifle stock
Modern F-Open Rifle designed for “minimalist” grip/hold. Note the complete abscence of cheekpiece.

However, other successful F-Open and F-TR shooters prefer to hold their rifles, with a firm grip and solid cheek weld. If you come from a “hard-holding” Palma rifle background this may seem more natural. In addition, this shooting style may work best for folks who also shoot PRS or tactical matches using a vertical pistol grip and solid hold.

Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpieceFor guys who want to shoot their F-Open rig as they do their prone, tactical or hunting rifles, here is a modern F-Open stock designed for this kind of shooting. And this stock was crafted by a fellow with a pretty good shooting resume — Carl Bernosky.

Most of you know as a great marksman and 10-time National High Power Champion. But you may not realize that Carl is also a superb stock-maker. A true craftsman, Carl produces outstanding laminated and fancy wood stocks for hunters and competitive shooters. Visit CarlBernosky.com to see a selection of Carl’s competition and hunting stocks.

Her is Carl’s thumbhole F-Class stock. Designed for F-Open shooters, this stock features a flat, 3″-wide fore-end, ergonomic grip, and adjustable cheekpiece. The laminated Bernosky stock featured here was crafted for Chesebro Rifles, which offers a turn-key stock package for the Barnard ‘P’ action, one of our favorite custom actions. This particular build features a MT Guns Vee Block Bedding System, MT Guns 3-Way Adjustable Butt Plate, and B&D Precision removable cheek piece.

Click Photo to view full-size image of stock.
Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece
Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece

As you see it, complete with all hardware (including short fore-end rail for bipod) this stock runs $1275.00 ready to ship. Just attach your Barnard barreled action and you’re ready to compete. The stock (by itself) weighs 6.5 pounds. Contact Chesebro Rifles, (661) 557-2442, for more information.

Cheek-piece close-up shows high-quality adjustment hardware.
Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece

Cheek-piece is relieved to allow full bolt travel.
Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece

Short accessory rail on the underside of the fore-end can be used to mount bipod.
Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece

Stock tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
March 27th, 2019

Red Hot Savage Stealth — Putting the Bling in Tactical

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

On the 6.5 Creedmoor Facebook page we found an eye-catching Savage Model 10 BA Stealth. Rifle owner Derek P. has done some important upgrades, starting with a wicked, spiral-fluted McGowen barrel with red-painted flutes. The red theme was carried over to the chassis which combines fire-engine red with matte black in the middle. The scope rings and even the magazine were painted red to match as well. The whole effect is very striking, as you can see.

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

The barrel is a 29-inch 1:8″-twist McGowen. The optic is a 4.5-27x56mm Vortex Razor HD GenII with sunshade. That supper-stable rear sandbag is a Protektor DR Bag, one of our favorites. The front sandbag is also a Protektor. The front Rest is the new Protektor Aluminum Rest with Mariners Wheel. Look carefully and you’ll see a flat 2.5″-wide block on the underside of the forearm. That improves stability and tracking.

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

What we really like is the upgraded rear buttstock section. This is NOT standard by any means. Rifle owner Derek has fitted an aftermarket XLR Tactical Lite Buttstock thats sits properly in that Protektor DR rear bag. This unit combines an adjustable buttpad with a nice cheekrest (with upgraded pad from Tactical Works). And, very importantly, the XLR can be fitted with a “tactical bag rider” or you can easily make your own bag rider.

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

As the Savage 10 BA Stealth Comes from the Factory
This video shows a box-stock Savage 10BA Stealth. Note how different the stock buttstock/cheekpiece assembly is compared to Derek’s Red Hot Savage.

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

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March 26th, 2019

Safety Alert — Smith & Wesson 15-22 Rifle Bolt Issue

M&P Smith Wesson 15-22 Magpul cross training rimfire tactical

Smith & Wesson has issued a CONSUMER SAFETY ALERT for the M&P 15-22, a semi-auto .22LR rimfire rifle with ergonomics like the centerfire AR15. If you own an M&P 15-22, you need to inspect the bolt. A manufacturing problem with the bolt could allow the gun to fire when the bolt closes, even without pulling the trigger. This inspection process is described in this video.

Smith & Wesson states: “The bolt from your M&P 15-22 must be inspected to determine whether it exhibits the condition identified in this notice. To determine whether your firearm is affected by this condition, please inspect your firearm by following the inspection instructions provided here. We are asking consumers of all M&P 15-22 firearms manufactured before February 1, 2019 to inspect their bolt for this condition.”

M&P Smith Wesson 15-22 Magpul cross training rimfire tactical

Smith & Wesson Notice:
M&P 15-22 CONSUMER SAFETY ALERT
AND INSPECTION PROCEDURE

PRODUCT AFFECTED: ALL models of M&P15-22 rifles and pistols manufactured before February 1, 2019.

STOP USING YOUR M&P 15-22 UNTIL IT HAS BEEN INSPECTED AND YOUR BOLT REPLACED (IF NECESSARY).

Smith & Wesson has identified two M&P 15-22 firearms from recent production on which the breech face counter bore depth was not within manufacturing specification. In those firearms, the lack of depth may allow the bolt, upon closing, to crush the rim of the case, causing the round to fire, cycling the bolt, and potentially resulting in multiple discharges without depressing the trigger. This issue can occur in the following two scenarios:

1) With a loaded magazine in the firearm and the bolt locked to the rear, depressing the bolt release to allow the bolt to drop freely may ignite the round as the bolt closes without engaging the trigger and with the safety selector in either the safe or the fire position, and may also result in multiple discharges.

2) With a loaded magazine in the firearm, bolt in the closed position and a round in the chamber and the safety selector in the fire position, depressing the trigger will cause the round to fire normally, however as the bolt cycles, the next round may be ignited by the bolt crushing the rim of the case as it closes, causing multiple discharges.

We believe that these are isolated incidents, however, any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury. Therefore, we have developed this inspection procedure to ensure that all products in the field are safe to use. We are asking customers to perform the following procedure and to refrain from using their M&P15-22 until the bolt has been inspected and replaced as necessary.

REMEDY/ACTION TO BE TAKEN: The bolt from your M&P15-22 must be inspected to determine whether it exhibits the condition identified in this notice. To determine whether your firearm is affected by this condition, please inspect your firearm by following the inspection instructions provided here.

Safety Alert Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

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March 26th, 2019

Sportsman’s Warehouse Now Offers Gunsmithing Services

sportsman's warehouse gunsmith smithing gunsmithing Utah mail chambering stock assemble

This is good news for gun-owners. Sportsman’s Warehouse (SW), which operates 92 retail stores in 23 states, now offers gunsmithing. Gun enthusiasts can get complete firearms gunsmithing services at the new Sportsman’s Warehouse Gunsmith Center in Utah. You can ship your rifles, pistols, or shotguns to the SW Gunsmith Center, or simply drop off your firearm at ANY Sportsman’s Warehouse store. The SW Gunsmith Center, equipped with mills and lathes, offers complete repair, refinishing, threading, metal, and stock work. For more info, visit: www.Sportsmans.com/gunsmith.

sportsman's warehouse gunsmith smithing gunsmithing Utah mail chambering stock assemble

“Customers can quickly and easily drop off their firearms directly at our new Gunsmith Service Center in Utah, take them to any Sportsman’s Warehouse store, or ship them in for service,” states Jon Barker, Sportsman’s Warehouse President/CEO. “Expanding from the Utah market, we now offer this unique service to customers nationwide, including our 92 store locations.” SW has a loyalty program — each dollar spent at the Gunsmith Center gives members a point towards earning SW gift cards.

sportsman's warehouse gunsmith smithing gunsmithing Utah mail chambering stock assemble

Fees Are Reasonable — $200 for Barrel Chambering
There is a $45 minimum charge for guns left overnight, and a $68/hour labor rate. A barrel chambering/fitting job costs $200. Threading a muzzle costs $100.00. Fitting an aftermarket AR trigger is $45. Blue-printing a bolt-action receiver costs $175.00. Glass-bedding an action costs $90-$175. CLICK HERE for Gunsmithing Fee Schedule.

sportsman's warehouse gunsmith smithing gunsmithing Utah mail chambering stock assembleThe new Sportsman’s Warehouse gunsmith shop is located in SW’s Salt Lake City Distribution Center. The workspace features four stations for gunsmiths to work on rifles, shotguns, pistols, and muzzleloaders. They also have added a full production lathe that is designed for 24-hour-a-day operation, as well as a large end mill for a variety of metal working operations.

Finish tanks, a spray booth and oven for Cerakote, along with other pieces of equipment that will allow them to perform almost any gun service or customization are being installed.

“The only thing we won’t offer is custom wood stock building,” said Bill Sturtevant, Head Gunsmith. “The time necessary for that service takes too much time and pulls our gunsmiths off of other projects for too long. But just about anything else, including refinishing stocks, is on the table.”

Sportsman’s Warehouse will offer 1-year and 3-Year Firearm Service Plans supported by the company’s gunsmiths. Plans include: mounting and bore sighting, field cleaning, factory-service augmentation, free shipping to the factory for repair, and discounts on Gunsmith Service Center work.

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

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