Sturm, Ruger & Co. has created a series of 11 short videos that trace the history of firearms, from matchlocks to modern semi-autos. Ruger’s “History of the Gun” video series provides a fascinating look at firearms technology throughout the years. The host is Garry James, Senior Editor of Guns & Ammo magazine. Featured here is Segment 7 on Rifling. Other installments in the series are linked below.
July 24th, 2015
Jay Christopherson, our Forum admin and dedicated F-Open shooter, recently ventured to the “dark side”, crossing disciplines and trying his hand at F-TR, shooting off a bipod. Jay wasn’t using just any old F-TR rig. He used a purpose-built rifle, designed to mimic the handling of his Open rifle. With this rig, Jay won two of the three matches he’s shot in, including the F-TR division at the Washington State Long Range Championships. Jay’s last 600-yard match featured two clean scores with excellent X-Counts, including a 200-13X and a 200-15X (one off the national record) for a total score of 599-36X.
The 2015 Washington State Long Range Championships was held at the infamous “Rattlesnake” range in Richland, WA, which has some of the most challenging wind conditions in the USA. At the LR Championships, shooting his .308 Win F-TR rig, Jay was right up there with the F-Open shooters. Until the final relay, Jay was within three points of the overall F-Open leader, and still finished second overall in X-Count and score. This demonstrates the capability of a state-of-the-art F-TR rig.
In this story, Jay describes his F-TR rifle and set-up. Knowledgeable readers will recognize that Jay’s gun is similar to John Pierce-built rigs successfully fielded by Michigan F-TR Team shooters.
JOINING THE “DARK SIDE”
by Jay Christopherson
I’d been kicking around the idea of shooting F-TR for a couple of years, but I didn’t want an F-TR rig that handled completely different than my Open gun. I didn’t want to learn different habits from a different stock or position that would cause issues on race day. I use a Terry Leonard/Speedy Gonzales designed F-Class Open stock that is designed more along benchrest lines than the traditional prone stocks you see most F-Class shooters using. I don’t like to use any hand grip at all and my preferred position is very light pressure into the shoulder and just enough cheek touch to index. So, when I saw Eric Stecker at the 2014 Berger SWN (and later Bryan Litz) shooting an F-TR rig that was designed along the same lines, I decided to get serious about it.
The Stock is the Secret
I modified my Phoenix bipod based on some of the pictures I’ve seen of John Pierce’s modifications and after talking to John at the 2015 Berger SWN. I sure do appreciate how open he is with the modifications he’s done. I doubt I would have thought of putting together a rifle like this without his example.
Proofing at Mid-Range
Below is a 300-yard target shot while proofing my load in preparation for 600-yard matches. I decided to shoot a “match” string (2 “sighters” + 20 “record” shots). Looking at this target, I’m thinking that if I had clicked left one or two clicks, this might have been a 200-20X.
On Race Day
July 24th, 2015
USA F-TR Team Captain has a new competition rifle, which features the brand new McMillan F-TR stock. Ray is very pleased… “It’s like Christmas”, he says. The reduced mass of the new McMillan stock helps F-TR shooters “make weight” more easily. Ray tells us:
“This McMillan stock really changes the weight budget. Kelly McMillan updated his three-way buttplate design to make it substantially lighter and the stock itself has a very light fill. Fully assembled, with a 29″ HV-contour barrel (.900″ at muzzle), Duplin bipod, and Nightforce NXS scope, the rig is about 10 ounces under weight. Switch to a Nightforce Competition scope and it will be 14-15 ounces under.” Ray says he could run a slightly longer barrel and still make weight.
Initially, Ray will install a Jewell trigger in the rifle, but he hopes to try out a Bix ‘N Andy trigger in the future. Made in Austria, the advanced Bix ‘N Andy trigger (shown below), features ball bearing internals for an ultra-smooth, creep-free pull and very short lock time.
July 21st, 2015
We recently published our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide, researched by the 6.5 Guys. In case you’ve been wondering what kind of accuracy is possible for a tactical-type rifle chambered for this mid-sized cartridge, check out this tack-driver built by gunsmith Ryan Pierce. That’s a mighty impressive 0.206″ five-shot group fired with Berger 140gr Hybrids using a Brux cut-rifled barrel. The powder was Hodgdon H4350, a very good choice for this cartridge.
Ryan reports: “Here is a 6.5×47 I built for a customer. It features a trued Rem 700 action, Brux 1:8″ Rem varmint-contour barrel, Mcmillan thumbhole stock, Surgeon bottom metal, and 3-port muzzle brake. The customer’s preferred load is the same that has worked in the last couple dozen 6.5x47s I’ve built: 41.1-41.3 grains of H4350 with 140 hybrids .050″ off the lands. This should run about 2810-2815 fps from a 26″ barrel. The 3.128″ refers to length of a loaded round from the base to ogive including the Hornady ogive comparator tool.”
July 19th, 2015
Garand matches are among the most popular and well-attended of the CMP competition disciplines. When obtained directly from the CMP, Garands are fun to shoot and affordable. However, with these classic battle rifles, you need to ensure that the headspace is set properly to ensure safe function and good brass life.
In the archives of The FIRST SHOT, the CMP’s online magazine, CMP Armorer John McLean has written an excellent article entitled: “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Checking M1 Garand Head Space.” We recommend all Garand shooters read the article.
McClean explains: “Excessive headspace will cause the brass to stretch more than it should and increases the likelihood of a case failure. Insufficient headspace may contribute to slam fires, light strikes on primers, misfires and more wear on parts due to the additional force needed to chamber the rounds.”
Garand Head Space Gauges
How to Check for Proper Headspace
July 11th, 2015
Article by Bill, Editor of Rifleshooter.com
Initially drawn to the 6mmBR and 6mm Dasher, I realized these cartridges wouldn’t feed from an AICS magazine system without extensive modification. I took a look at the 6mm Creedmoor, 6XC, and 6mm-6.5×47 Lapua (aka 6×47 Lapua), all of which feed well from a detachable magazine. At right you can see the 6×47 Lapua in an AICS magazine. It has the “Goldilocks factor” — not too long, not too short.
The ability to simply convert 6.5×47 Lapua brass to 6×47 brass by running the parent 6.5mm brass through a full-length Forster sizing die in a single step was what made me choose the 6×47 Lapua over the 6mm Creedmoor and 6XC (both excellent cartridges in their own right). I also own a 6.5×47 Lapua rifle, so I had a supply of 6.5×47 brass ready to neck-down. Being able to create 6×47 brass easily (one pass and done) was very appealing.
Left to right, below: 6mmBR, 6-6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5×47 Lapua, and .243 Winchester.
I cut the chamber end off my .243 Win barrel, threaded and chambered my rifle for the 6×47 Lapua cartridge. I have written a lengthy article on this cutting and re-chambering process. Home gunsmiths interested in this process can READ MORE HERE.
When the re-chambering was complete, I headed to the range and worked up a set of eight loads using Berger 108 BTHPs, H4350, Lapua brass, and CCI 450 primers.
Load development was a little trickier than with the 6.5×47 Lapua parent cartridge. The accuracy nodes were smaller. However, once I dialed in a load with Hodgdon H4350 and the 108-grain Berger BTHP, the rest was history. The 6×47 rig is now one of the most consistent rifles I own, holding just above 0.3 MOA for 5-round groups. Below is a 100-yard test target with 108-grain Berger BT in the 6×47 Lapua. Five-shot group sizes are (L to R): .369″, .289″, and .405″. The average size was .354″ or .338 MOA. [Editor: We think that is excellent accuracy for a tactical-type rifle shot from bipod.]
About the author: Bill has been a serious shooter for over 20 years. A former Marine Corps Sergeant, he’s competed and placed in High Power Rifle, ISPC, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, F-Class, and precision rifle disciplines. In addition to being an NRA-certified firearms instructor and range officer, Bill has hunted big game in North America, South America, and Africa. Bill writes extensively about gunsmithing, precision rifles, and the shooting sports on his blog, Rifleshooter.com.
July 11th, 2015
Want to see new-born Pandas? No, not the furry kind — rather Stolle Panda actions produced with state-of-the-art CNC machinery. If you’ve ever wondered how precision benchrest, long-range, and tactical rifles are built, check out video from Kelbly’s. You’ll see actions finished, barrels chambered and crowned, pillars installed in stocks, barreled actions bedded, plus a host of other services performed by Kelbly’s gunsmiths and machinists.
CLICK Triangle to Launch Kelbly’s Video
If you’re a fan of fine machine-work, this video should be both informative and entertaining. You can see how precision gun work is done with 21st-Century technology. Tip of the hat to Ian Kelbly and crew for producing this excellent video visit to the Kelbly’s production center.
July 10th, 2015
So what does a “worn-out” barrel really look like? Tom Myers answered that question when he removed a 6.5-284 barrel and cut it down the middle to reveal throat wear. As you can see, there is a gap of about 5mm before the lands begin and you can see how the lands have thinned at the ends. (Note: even in a new barrel, there would be a section of freebore, so not all the 5mm gap represents wear.) There is actually just about 2mm of lands worn away. Tom notes: “Since I started out, I’ve chased the lands, moving out the seating depth .086″ (2.18 mm). I always seat to touch. My final touch dimension was 2.440″ with a Stoney Point .26 cal collet.”
Except for the 2mm of wear, the rifling otherwise looks decent, suggesting that setting back and rechambering this barrel could extend its useful life. Tom reports: “This was something I just thought I’d share if anyone was interested. I recently had to re-barrel my favorite prone rifle after its scores at 1,000 started to slip. I only ever shot Sierra 142gr MatchKings with VV N165 out of this barrel. It is a Hart and of course is button-rifled. I documented every round through the gun and got 2,300 over four years. Since I have the facilities, I used wire EDM (Electro Discharge Machining) to section the shot-out barrel in half. It was in amazingly good shape upon close inspection.”
Tom could have had this barrel set back, but he observed, “Lately I have had to increase powder charge to maintain 2,950 fps muzzle velocity. So to set it back would have only increased that problem. [And] I had a brand new 30″ Krieger all ready to screw on. I figured it was unlikely I’d get another full season on the old barrel, so I took it off.”
July 9th, 2015
REMAGE Project Report by Bill, Rifleshooter.com Editor
Using a few tools from Brownells: Remington 700 Action Wrench, Barrel Vise, Go and No-Go Gauges, Recoil Lug Alignment Tool, and a Savage Barrel Nut Wrench, I was able to swap the .308 Winchester barrel off of my Remington 700 short action and install the new McGowen pre-fit, pre-chambered barrel, converting it to a tack-driving 6BR (aka 6mmBR Norma).
The existing barrel is simply removed from the action (normally the hardest part) and the new barrel is screwed on with the Go Gauge in place. The barrel nut is tightened against the action, headspace verified with the Go Gauge, and you are off to the range. It takes all of the machine work out of the barreling process. Note: the barrel nut has a slightly larger diameter and some stocks may require minor inletting. Also if you are shooting fired brass from another rifle with the same chambering, you should FL-size the brass before loading it for your new pre-fit barrel.
My McGowen Remage barrel looks and shoots great. I’ve written two longer articles that provide greater detail about this project. To learn more about how the barrel was installed, read: Rebarrel a Remington 700 without a lathe: McGowen’s Remage barrel conversion. To see how the rifle performed at the range, read: McGowen Remage Barrel Review: Spoiler Alert- It Shoots!.
July 8th, 2015
The July 8th (Wednesday night) episode of Shooting USA features the 1874 Sharps rifle, a lever-action breech-loader favored by plains buffalo hunters. Christian Sharps patented his signature rifle design in 1848. The Sharps Model 1874 was an updated version, chambered for metallic cartridges. According to firearms historian/author Garry James, the Sharps rifle “came in all sorts of different calibers from .40 all the way up to .50, and jillions of different case lengths and styles and configurations”.
Sharps rifles have enjoyed a new-found notoriety, thanks to Hollywood. Tom Selleck starred as Matthew Quigley in the hit movie Quigley Down-Under. In a famous scene (watch below), Quigley used his 1874 Sharps to hit a wooden bucket at very long range*. In this movie clip, Selleck explains the 45-110 cartridge, the rifle’s double-set trigger, and the Vernier rear sight. (45-110 refers to .45 caliber and case capacity of 110 grains of black powder).
The Sharps rifles used in the movie were made by Shiloh Rifle company (Powder River Rifle Company). There were actually three (3) Sharps rifles made for the movie. One went to the NRA’s National Firearms Museum while another was raffled off to support NRA shooting programs. The headline photo shows the third rifle, Selleck’s favorite, which the actor retained for some years until deciding to sell it. This third rifle (with spare barrel and associated items) were sold at auction in 2008.
* Based on the way the movie is edited, we figure the bucket is placed at about 800 yards. A typical speed for a horse galloping is 35 mph, and the horse ran (with rider holding bucket) for 46.5 seconds (0.775 minutes). To calculate yardage, divide 35 by 60 to get miles per minute, times 0.775 for distance traveled over time. Then multiply by 1760, the number of yards in a mile. That gives us 795.66 yards.
July 1st, 2015
In our Forum recently, there was a discussion about “improved” cartridges based on the .243 Winchester parent case. One popular such cartridge is the Super LR, a 30° long-necked wildcat. The 6mm Super LR was developed by Robert Whitley, who wanted something similar to the 6XC, but with “more boiler room” to push the 115-grain bullets comfortably at 2950-3050 fps.
To illustrate the Super LR for interested readers, we dug into our archives and found a report on a 6mm Super LR varmint rifle belonging to Barry O. (aka “TheBlueEyedBear”), a long-time AccurateShooter Forum member. A few years back, Barry put together an impressive 6mm Super LR long-range varminter on a BAT SV action. Barry actually sourced many of the components for this rifle through our AccurateShooter Forum Free Classifieds. CLICK HERE to read all about Barry’s Super LR BAT-Actioned varmint rifle, featured in our popular Gun of the Week Series.
The Richard Franklin walnut LowRider stock (above) for Barry’s rifle came from fellow Forum member “Preacher”, who also did most of the metal work. The gun is chambered as a 6mm Super LR.
June 26th, 2015
Benchrest shooter Ronnie Smith had the folks at S&S Precision craft a barrel block benchrest gun with a McMillan 50 LBR stock. While the metal work (and block installation) is impressive, the rig’s jaw-dropping feature is an amazing paint job applied by artist David Tidwell of Dallas Airbrush. Ronnie wanted a stock that didn’t look like anything else you’ve ever seen. Working from Ronnie’s concept of a junkyard-sourced rifle, Tidwell created a masterpiece of airbrushing. The finished stock looks like it was hammered from old beat-up metal, complete with dents, grind marks, hollows, Bondo, and wire-mesh patches. Watch the video below to see how this amazing paint job was applied, from start to finish. (Definitely worth watching!)
If you have a stock you’d like painted by David Tidwell, visit DallasAirbrush.com, call 214-529-4410 or email: david [at] dallasairbrush.com. Dallas Airbrush currently sprays out of Texas Body Works, 2415 Midway Rd Suite 111, Plano, TX 75025.
June 25th, 2015
OK, admit it — you’ve always wondered how they get those color swirls and camo patterns in McMillan stocks. (You’ll be surprised at the answer). And how does McMillan manage to inlet stocks so precisely for so many different action types?
McMillan Stocks is one of the leading fiberglass stock producers, cranking out 8,000-10,000 stocks every year for hunters, target shooters, and members of the military. McMillan employs state-of-the-art, high-tech machinery. At the same time, many processes are still done by hand — such as applying colors to the stocks.
In the videos below, Kelly McMillan hosts Bob Beck of Extreme Outer Limits TV in a tour of the McMillan stock-making facility. We think all avid “gun guys” will be fascinated by these high-quality videos.
McMillan Custom Stock Production
The first video shows the stock-building operation from start to finish — You’ll see the lay-up, color application, molding, and “stuffing”. Watch carefully at 0:16 to see colors being applied.
June 20th, 2015
Paul Fakenbridge of Pro Precision Rifles (PPR) is running a “Group Buy” promotion for AccurateShooter.com readers. For the next month, you can enjoy significant savings on a bolt-fluting job OR on the installation of a custom bolt knob. For Rem 700 bolts, the fluting is now $55 ($30 off), while a new custom PPR knob, installed, is $65 ($30 off). (NOTE: Knob installation does NOT include bolt fluting, and vice-versa.) Paul does excellent work, with a wide variety of fluting options. All fluting is done on a Haas TM1 with four-axis capability. Here is how the Group Buy, a limited-time offer, works:
June 20th, 2015
Geissele Automatics manufactures a line of two-stage triggers favored by top Service Rifle, High Power, and 3-Gun shooters. Geissele now offers a variety of trigger models for both large-pin and small-pin lowers, with pull weights from 1.8 lbs to 6.0 lbs. You select the Geissele trigger with the appropriate first and second stage pull for your discipline (refer to chart below for trigger model specs).
Video Shows Geiselle Trigger Installation in AR15
AR15 Trigger Installation Video
June 19th, 2015
Production wood rifle stocks, both laminates and hardwoods, are commonly made with stock duplicating machines. Stock duplicators allow a stock-maker to copy a master design faithfully and efficiently. The video below, from Colorado rifle-maker Michael Cuypers, shows a stock duplicator (in automatic mode) cutting a piece of Turkish Walnut, for a mauser 98. This machine rotates the blank while a spinning vertical cutting head shapes and trims the blank. This duplicator manually tracks the shape/profile of the master blank. To make another stock, this process needs to be repeated, with the master in place. For more information about this duplicating machine, visit www.riflebuilders.com.
Watch Stock Duplicator in Progress
Future Technology: We are starting to see stocks made with CNC milling machines that cut stock profiles based on three-dimensional scans of master stock designs. However, the traditional mechanical duplicator process in the video is still most commonly used by most of today’s stock-makers.
Turkish Walnut — Where to Get a Beautiful Blank
Video find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
June 12th, 2015
A popular feature of our Shooters’ Forum is the long-running Pride and Joy thread. There you’ll find photos and descriptions of dozens of interesting rifles — from rimfire rigs to big-bore boomers. Forum member Ryan M. (aka “Dieselgeek”) posted a handsome .260 Remington tactical rifle built by Short Action Customs in Wellington, Ohio. The rifle features top-of-the-line hardware. The coated, stainless Alpha 11 action (from Defiance Machine) carries a Bartlein M24-contour 26″ barrel with muzzle brake. The stock is a thumbhole T5A from Manners Composites, fitted with APA bottom metal for AW magazines. On top is a Bushnell ERS 3-21x50mm scope with G2 reticle. Riding on an under-mounted rail is an Atlas bipod with quick-release lever.
June 12th, 2015
We know that many of our readers have never seen a “Hammerhead” benchrest stock before. This is a design with an extra wide section in the very front, tapering to a narrow width starting about 6″ back. When paired with a super-wide front sandbag, the hammerhead design provides added stability — just like having a wider track on a racing car. Some folks think mid-range and long-range benchrest stocks can only be 3″ wide. Not so — IBS and NBRSA rules now allow much wider fore-ends. While F-Class Open rules limit fore-end width to 3″ max, there is not such restriction on IBS or NBRSA Light Guns or Heavy Guns for 600- and 1000-yard competition. Here’s a 5″-wide Hammerhead design from Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T).
Ray Bowman of PR&T sent us some photos of another hammerhead benchrest rig. Ray reports: “Here’s another benchrest rifle that Precision Rifle & Tool crafted. The customer shot this rifle at the 2014 IBS 1000-yard Nationals in West Virginia.” This IBS Light Gun sports PR&T’s “Low Boy Hammer Head” stock in red/black laminate. Other components are a 6mm BRUX 30″, 1:8″-twist barrel, Borden BR Action, and a PR&T 20 MOA scope rail.
June 7th, 2015
You never want your barrel to get too hot. Accuracy suffers when barrels over-heat, and excessive heat is not good for barrel life. So how do you monitor your barrel’s temperature? You can check if the barrel is “warm to the touch” — but that method is not particularly precise. There is a better way — using temperature-sensitive strips. McMaster.com (a large industrial supply house) offers stick-on temp strips with values from 86° F to 140° F. A pack of ten (10) of these strips (item 59535K13) costs $10.71. So figure it’ll cost you about a buck per barrel for strips. That’s cheap insurance for your precious barrels.
June 4th, 2015
With barrels, one wonders “Can a little more length provide a meaningful velocity gain?” To answer that question, Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting a .308 Win barrel from 28″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .308 Win factory ammunition were chronographed at each barrel length.
Test Barrel Lost 22.7 FPS Per Inch (.308 Win Chambering)
Summary of Findings: The average velocity loss per inch, for all four ammo types combined, was 22.7 FPS. By ammo type, the average loss per inch was: 24.6 (Win 147 FMJ), 22.8 (IMI 150 FMJ), 20.9 (Fed GMM 168gr), and 22.5 (Win 180PP).
Interestingly, these numbers jive pretty well with estimates found in reloading manuals. The testers observed: “The Berger Reloading manual says for the 308 Winchester, ‘muzzle velocity will increase (or decrease) by approximately 20 fps per inch from a standard 24″ barrel’.”
How the Test Was Done
CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers, multiple line charts, and complete data sets for each type of ammo. Rifleshooter.com also offers ballistics graphs showing trajectories with different barrel lengths. All in all, this was a very thorough test by the folks at RifleShooter.com.