January 25th, 2015

Cortina’s Corner: Installing Jewell Trigger in Panda F-Class Action

Eric Cortina Lapua Jewell Trigger Panda Stolle Action Kelbly Kelbly's

In the video below, Forum member Eric Cortina shows how to install a Jewell Benchrest trigger into a Kelbly F-Class Panda action. You could follow the same simple procedure to install a Jewell in a standard Panda action. Kelbly’s sell both standard and long versions of the F-Class Panda action. Both versions feature integral recoil lugs in the front.

To see more detail in this “how-to” video, you can zoom it to full-screen size. Simply click the full-screen icon (4-cornered frame) just to the right of the YouTube logo in the lower right.

Eric Cortina Lapua Jewell Trigger Panda Stolle Action Kelbly Kelbly's

Eric Cortina Lapua Jewell Trigger Panda Stolle Action Kelbly Kelbly's

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 24th, 2015

Bleiker — Don’t Ask the Price…

You don’t want to inquire about the price of a Bleiker competition rifle. As the expression goes, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it”. At the Pardini USA booth at SHOT Show we saw a pair of black beauties — two “full-race” Bleikers, one a smallbore match rifle (.22 LR) and the other a 300m position rifle chambered in 6mmBR Norma. The combined price for the two rifles was a jaw-dropping $20,100.00. Yep, over $20K for the two. The 6mmBR rig was $10,200 while the smallbore rifle was $9,900.00.

Bleikers command such high prices because they win. At recent ISSF 300m and Smallbore Championships, Bleikers have been used by many of the medal winners. A gun is worth $10K if it can really put you on the podium or, better yet, deliver a world championship.

You are looking at $20,100 of Competition Rifles here. (Click Image for full-screen version.)
Bleiker 300m rifle smallbore championship

Take a look at this slick feature on the 300m gun. The adjustable cheek-pad automatically tilts up (for clearance) when you retract the bolt. That’s clever Swiss Engineering.

Bleiker 300m rifle smallbore championship

Bleiker 300m rifle smallbore championship

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
January 21st, 2015

Preacher Builds Stock the Old-Fashioned Way — with Hand Tools

Forum member Preacher recently crafted a nice varmint rifle for fellow Forum member Dave 0. (aka “Waskawood”). But rather than buy an off-the-shelf stock, Preacher crafted this stock all by hand, starting from a laminated blank panel. He calls this stock project his “Axe Job”.

CLICK for Full-size Photo
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

This stock is being used on a prairie dog rifle, chambered for a 17-caliber wildcat, the 17 VHA, which is based on an H&K 4.6x30mm parent case. With about nine grains of 300 MP pistol powder, the 17 VHA drives 20-grainers at about 3850 fps. (SEE details at end of article).

The ‘Axe Job’

Report by Preacher
I like carving with the laminates because all the lines are right there in front of my eyes, so it’s easy to follow along and get it just right, until it’s pleasing to the eye. I never use a template, I just keep checking the lines as I go along. I have all the needed equipment to power build one of these, but I really enjoy the time spent on the hand work. From start to completely ready-to-install, I’ll have about six (6) weeks into one of these stock projects. A lot of that is drying time for the clear coats.

A little work with the hand axe, after a trip through the band saw…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

The majority of the laminated blank panels I use for my gunstocks are purchased directly from Cousineau Wood Products or from Rutply.com. You have to buy at least four full panels at a time, all the same color, but that will yield eight (8) stocks. Seems like I have a little over $150.00 in a blank large enough to start making a full-sized, benchrest-style stock.

A little work with a chisel…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A little work with a rasp. (Before I was rich and famous and could afford really good rasps, I used a good old horse shoe rasp.)
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A little more work with the chisel…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Preacher’s Advice on Carving Your Own Stock
The one main advantage of being older that dirt, and tormented with MS the past 40 years, is lots of free time to enjoy what ever I can do these days, as long as I can set down to do it, and I can make a lot of wood chips setting down.

Any one can do this if they have the time to devote to it. All it takes is time and a good eye for details. I made a lot of firewood over the years, until I got the hang of it. Most all those problems were inletting, and screw hole spacing. Get those right the first time and you’re on your way….

A little more work with the rasp…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A few coats of Auto clear has it about buttoned up…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Micro 17 VHA Wildcat
Here’s the finished rifle built by Preacher for Dave, using the ‘Axe Job’ stock. Dave tells us: “Preacher chambered the rifle for the 17 VHA, a wildcat based on the H&K 4.6x30mm MP7 PDW case necked down to 17 caliber. There are numerous articles in the Varmint Hunter’s Magazine about it. This efficient little round shoots 20gr ballistic tips at 3850+ fps. That’s not too shabby for ‘nine point something’ grains of pistol powder.”

“My intentions for my 17 VHA rifle are to plop down in the middle of a PD town with my swivel bench and shoot prairie dogs. I also thought it would be a nice platform to test the accuracy of the cartridge. If I like the little round as well as I think, I plan to build a more practical rifle that I can carry. I really want to thank Preacher for his patience with me through this project, as it was my first custom build.”

hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
January 15th, 2015

What Would SHOT Show Have Been Like in 1855?

Story by T. Logan Metesh for NRABlog.com
Since beginning in 1979, SHOT Show has become one of the premier firearms industry event of the year. As I was packing up amazing and historic guns from the NRA Museums for SHOT Show, I was led down a path of historical whimsy — what would SHOT Show have been like 160 years ago in 1855?

Treeby NRA Museum Antique Rifle

Treeby NRA Museum Antique RifleAll of the today’s household names in firearms would have been in attendance: Remington, Colt, Smith & Wesson, Winchester, and others. Some of them were already well established; others were on the edge of greatness. Eliphalet Remington (right) would have been there. Already a well-known and respected businessman, he would have been representing the company he founded 39 years before in 1816.

Samuel Colt would have been in very good spirits. He had just renamed his company — Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company — and had broken ground on a new factory that would open the following year in 1856. His revolver patent was also set to expire in 1856. Colt had recently fired Rollin White, a trivial matter at the time, but it would come back to haunt him.

Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson would have been there, too. At this point, the now-venerable firearms company had only been a partnership for three years. They would likely have been joined by one of their investors, Oliver Winchester, and showcasing their lever-action “Volcanic” arms.

Treeby NRA Museum Antique Rifle

Very shortly, Winchester would buy Volcanic, Rollin White would patent a bored-through cylinder that Colt had rejected, and Smith and Wesson would form Smith & Wesson Revolver Company utilizing White’s new patent.

As you can see, many of the technologies we consider antiquated were, at the time, revolutionary. Some of the designs we take for granted today were in their infancy in 1855.

Other lesser-known (and less successful) gunmakers hoping to capitalize on their new products would have been there as well. After all, there’s no better place to unveil new designs than at SHOT Show!

Thomas Wright Gardener Treeby (often known as T.W. Treeby) would likely have been at SHOT Show displaying his new 14-shot, .54 caliber chain rifle. Designed in 1854 and patented in 1855, these rifles were made in an attempt to create a successful repeating rifle design. The British military tested the gun with a 30-round chain, but the idea never caught on.

Treeby NRA Museum Antique Rifle

Rare, Antique Firearms on ForgottenWeapons.com
See the Treeby Chain Gun and other rare firearms on ForgottenWeapons.com. It is believed that only two Treeby Chain rifles were ever made. The 14 chain-linked “chambers” rotated into place via a sprocket (like on a bicycle), and each had a separate percussion cap. Watch this ForgottenWeapons.com video to see how it worked.

Treeby NRA Museum Antique Rifle

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January 14th, 2015

NRA Gunsmithing Guide Contains 116 Articles

NRA Gunsmithing GuideThe NRA Gunsmithing Guide contains 336 pages of solid, comprehensive gunsmithing info drawn from articles originally published in the American Rifleman magazine.

The $24.95 book includes 116 articles by expert smiths who build, repair, accurize, and customize all types of firearms (with a strong emphasis on rifles). The three main subject areas are: improving rifle accuracy, customizing fine rifles, and restoring old rifles. Roughly one-third of the articles cover these three topics.

As you would expect from content that first ran in American Rifleman magazine, the articles in the NRA Gunsmithing Guide are richly illustrated with photographs, charts, drawings, diagrams, and data tables. Not Available in bookstores, the NRA Gunsmithing Guide is sold online through Palladium Press, the NRA’s Book Publishing Affiliate.

Click Here for NRA Gunsmithing Guide ORDER Page

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January 13th, 2015

Calculate Barrel Weight with FREE Software from Dan Lilja

Dan Lilja Rifle BarrelsAre you re-barreling a match rifle and need to know if you will still make weight? Or perhaps you want to select the right contour to hit an optimal carry weight for a new varmint rifle? Dan Lilja offers FREE software that will calculate barrel weight for straight contour, straight taper, and radius-tapered barrels. Dan’s software even calculates how fluting alters barrel weight.

For general info on barrel weight calculation for straight and straight tapers, read this article on Lilja’s website. Click HERE for another article explaining weight calculation with barrels that have a radiused (curved) contour section.

Here are the free software programs offered by Dan Lilja. Right click and “Save As”:

Straight Contour (.exe file) | Straight Contour (Excel file) | Contoured Barrels with Radius (Excel file)

Dan Lilja Barrel Contour diagram

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
January 11th, 2015

Master Gun-Maker (with CNC Mill) Builds a 22-250 Varminter

22-250 Coyote Rifle Chris Dixon LongRifles

22-250 Coyote Rifle Chris Dixon LongRiflesJust another YouTube video … NOT. This video is a winner. If you want to see state-of-the-art 21st Century rifle-building, with advanced CNC milling operations, watch this clip. It shows how man and machine combine to create a fine custom rifle.

One of the best short features of its kind, this video shows the creation of a high-end, 22-250 varmint rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the build are covered. The rifle was crafted by Chad Dixon for O’Neill Ops. Once the build is complete, the video shows the rifle being tested at 440 yards. With the camera filming through the scope, you can even watch the trace, starting at the 2:36″ time mark (this is very cool).

Watch this Video in HD!
Any person with an interest in gunsmithing should watch this video. It shows barrel profiling, tenon-thread cutting, chambering, CNC stock inletting, bedding, and stock painting.

For this build, Chad Dixon of LongRifles, Inc. teamed up with O’Neill Ops. The video shows the “Coyote Rifle” build, step by step, from the cutting of the tenon threads, to the 440-yard field test at the end of the build. To learn more about this rifle’s components and its performance in the field, contact James O’Neill, www.oneillops.com, (605) 685-6085.

Chad Dixon of LongRifles, Inc.
Chad Dixon’s introduction to firearms began in 1991 as a marksmanship instructor and competitive shooter in the U.S. Marine Corps. Chad began building rifles in 2000 at the Anschutz National Service Center, where he worked with U.S. Olympic shooters. In 2003 Chad took a position with Nesika Bay Precision/Dakota Arms. After leaving Nesika, Chad deployed to the Middle East as a security contractor for the U.S. Dept. of State. On his return to the USA, Chad started LongRifles Inc., a custom rifle-building company.

22-250 Coyote Rifle Chris Dixon LongRifles

Dixon-built rifles combine modern CNC manufacturing methods with traditional expert craftsmanship. Chad’s rifles have won major int’l and national level competitions in Smallbore, Smallbore Silhouette, High Power, and Long Range Palma disciplines.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
January 8th, 2015

Building an AR-Platform Rifle DVD on Sale

Planning to put together an AR-platform rifle? Or are you looking to upgrade your AR with a new barrel, stock, or trigger group? Then you should check out the AR-15 Rifle Build DVD from our friends at UltimateReloader.com. This DVD covers all the details of a custom build, using high-resolution video sequences, and helpful supporting graphics.

In this DVD, Gavin Gear guides you through the entire process including selecting components, acquiring and using the necessary tools, assembly steps and details for each component, and even mounting a scope. Building an AR-15 can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and help it’s not difficult and is a lot of fun. With this DVD you’ll be able to build your AR-15 with confidence.

Right now, as a New Year’s promotion, the AR-15 Build DVD is on sale for just $9.90 (plus $3.80 shipping/handling). This DVD can pay for itself many times over by showing you how to do your own gunsmithing (and get quality AR components at attractive prices).


AR-15 DVD ultimatereloder.com

Tools: AR-15 and general tools required
AR-MPR-Build-2-AR-15-Tools

Upper: Barrel / Gas Block / Gas Tube
AR-MPR-Build-4-Barrel-and-Gas-Tube-2

Upper: Handguard Installation:
AR-MPR-Build-5-Handguard

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical No Comments »
January 7th, 2015

Murdica’s Masterpiece — Just About as Good as It Gets

Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action

Sometimes superlatives really aren’t necessary. Just look at that target. Yes that is FIVE shots (although it truly appears like one hole). And it is centered! This remarkable group, measured at 0.039″, was shot by Lou Murdica in Phoenix on January 3, 2015. Lou drilled this group with his 6 PPC railgun. Rounds were loaded with Accurate LT-32 powder and Berger 65gr BT bullets. The target will be submitted to the NBRSA as a potential new 100-yard Benchrest record in the Unlimited (Railgun) Class. The current NBRSA record small group (Unlimited) is a 0.049 shot by Hall-of-Famer Gary Ocock in 2009.

Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action
This is a file photo with a different railgun.

This wasn’t the only tiny group shot by Lou over the weekend. Murdica shot a sizzling 0.1262 five-target 100-yard Unlimited Aggregate. That 0.1262 Agg will also be submitted for consideration as a possible record. Here are the individual group sizes: 0.104, 0.183, 0.201, 0.104, 0.039. At this match Lou won both the Unlimited and Sporter class. “It was a great weekend” Lou reported.

Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action

About the Gun
What kind of rifle can put five shots in one hole? Lou was shooting an Unlimited-class railgun. This return-to-battery rig (a Kensler railgun) allows the shooter to focus on firing at the perfect time for the conditions. Lou’s Kensler railgun (see below) features a Kelbly top-loader Grizzly action, Shilen 6-groove barrel, and March 10-60X scope. The Shilen is chambered for the 6 PPC cartridge. But there’s something special about this particular 6 PPC — read on….

Click photo for larger version:
Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action

Radical New Reamer Design from PT&G
Lou used a new chamber reamer from Pacific Tool & Gauge (PT&G) with special geometry in the leade/throat section. Called a “Bore Rider” (or sometimes “bore-runner”), this new reamer design cuts a staged, variable taper in the leade/throat area that is quite different than the taper in a typical throat. It’s a little hard to explain, so we’ve included the 6 PPC Bore Rider reamer print below. (Download the PDF file for a better view.) Experts should look at the leade angle(s), freebore, and throat dimensions. You may be surprised. Dave Kiff of PT&G says this Bore Rider design has worked successfully for other cartridge types/calibers as well. Apparently this design helps the bullet center up smoothly in the bore before the bullet engages “hard” in the rifling — or so we’ve been told.

CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD Reamer Print as PDF File.
6 PPC Railgun Bore Rider Lou Murdica world record

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 11 Comments »
January 1st, 2015

Black Beauty — A Bat-Actioned, Brux-Barreled .284 Win

Forum member K.W., aka ‘CigarCop’, has spotlighted his handsome long-range F-Class and Bench Rifle in our Forum’s Show Off Your Bat! thread. This is built with a BAT Multi-Flat action, Brux barrel, and a fiberglass McMillan F-Class stock. As you can see, it’s one handsome rifle. Be sure to click the image below to see the much more impressive wide-screen image!

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

The smithing was done by Bob Green and CigarCop was full of praise for Bob’s work: “I can’t really say enough about Bob Green, his attention to every detail and his ability to build an awesome shooting rifle… but once again he turned a pile of parts into a masterpiece! This irf was built on a Bat MB Multi-flat in .284 Win with a Brux 1:8.5″ twist barrel. It’s almost identical to my 6.5x47L that [Bob] also built. Once again, thanks Bob!”

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

Bob Green told us: “There was nothing really unusual about this build — this is the quality we try to maintain on all our guns. The barrel was chambered with the client’s reamer to a min-spec SAAMI .284 Win. The Multi-Flat BAT is pillar-bedded and bolted in, with no extra weight added to the stock. CigarCop provided the nice metal spacers on the buttstock and I polished them up. The finish is plain black but it looks good.”

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

Based in York, Pennsylvania, Bob Green is one of AccurateShooter.com’s recommended gunsmiths. To learn more about his Bob’s work visit GreensRifles.com, email Bob [at] Greensrifles.com, or call (717) 792-1069.

Permalink Gunsmithing No Comments »
December 30th, 2014

Life and Death of a Barrel — Can Barrel Useful Life Be Predicted?

We can predict, with some certainty, how long a light bulb will last (in use), or a shingle roof, or even a nuclear reactor. But how about barrels? Is there a way to reliably estimate barrel life based on known characteristics? This article explains one effort to quantify barrel life…

Rifle Barrel Life CalculatorHow long will a barrel last before the accuracy “goes south”? There are so many variables involved (powder type, bore diameter, bullet coatings etc.) that it’s hard to predict. You might say “Well, my buddy has a .243 and he got 1500 rounds before the throat was shot out” — those kind of comparisons can be useful, but they’re not very scientific, and they won’t help much if you’ve got a gun in a new chambering (such as the 6.5×47) for which long-term test results are lacking.

Is there a more reliable way to predict barrel life — one that will work for a broad range of calibers? Well, Forum member MikeCr has developed an Excel spreadsheet that accounts for a number of variables, and gives a pretty good estimate of useful barrel life, whether you’re shooting a .223 Rem or a 338 Lapua Magnum. Mike’s program predicts barrel life using five variables: 1) Bullet Diameter; 2) Powder Charge weight; 3) Powder Heat Potential (KJ/kg); 4) Pressure (in psi); and 5) Bullet Coating (yes/no). Mike provides a table with Heat Potential ratings for most popular powder types. The user needs to know the pressure of his load. This can be estimated with QuickLOAD.

You can download the lastest version of Mike’s spreadsheet below. You’ll need Excel or an Excel viewer to open the file.

Click to Download Spreadsheet: Barrel Life Spreadsheet (Latest Version)

Shown below is Mike’s Spreadsheet, with variables for a 6BR shooting 105gr “naked” bullets with 30.3 grains of Hodgdon Varget powder. The formula predicts 2401 rounds of barrel life. That corresponds pretty well to what we’d expect for a 6BR — about 2500 rounds.

Barrel Life ProgramBarrel Life Program

Mike observes: “There has been a lot of discussion lately related to cartridge design and resulting barrel life. This is a really important factor to consider amongst a myriad of choices. Barrel life is controversial, and subjective. There are no clear-cut standards for comparison. But a few years ago, I put together a spreadsheet based on Bart Bobbit’s rule of thumb. It worked pretty good, only occasionally failing some tests when validated against posted barrel lives.

According to Ken Howell, I had to account for pressure. And Henry Child’s powder temperature testing provided another piece needed. So, I’ve tweaked it here and there to pass more tests. From 223 Rem to 300 UltraMagnum. Another element added, but turned off, is shot interval. I would need way more tests to lock in on this. But everyone knows, the faster you shoot, the worse the barrel life.

Anyway, another factor hard to define is ‘accurate’ barrel life. This cannot be quantified without standards. Barrels are replaced when expectations are no longer met. I feel that a [barrel] passes peak potential in a finite period due to throat erosion. But that don’t mean it’s toast, if it still shoots well enough. It’s just as likely that many of us never see that peak potential anyway. It’s a slippery thing. Point-blank BR competitors will toss a barrel when it leaves the 1s. I could get another 4000 rounds from it, and be content with its performance, I’m sure.”

NOTE: Mike says: “This spreadsheet may show a lower barrel life than you prefer. But it pretty well spotlights cartridges to stay away from if you plan much time at the range or in dog town.”

Editor’s Comment: Mike’s spreadsheet is a helpful tool, but it is NOT a definitive “take-it-to-the-bank” indicator of barrel life. Mike cautions that predicting barrel life involves so many different factors (including how hot the barrel is run), that the task is a bit like predicting tread life on car tires. Still, the spreadsheet is very helpful. It can certainly warn us that some chamberings (such as the 6-284) are likely to be barrel burners. That can help you make a smart decision when choosing a chambering for your next rifle.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
December 28th, 2014

Mysteries of Cut Rifling Revealed in Krieger Barrel-Making Video

This video shows the process of cut-rifled barrel-making by one of the world’s best barrel manufacturers. See Krieger barrels being made, start to finish. Krieger cut-rifled barrels have set numerous world records and are favored by many top shooters. The video show the huge, complex machines used — bore-drilling equipment and hydraulic riflers. You can also see how barrels are contoured, polished, and inspected.

For anyone interested in accurate rifles, this is absolutely a “must-watch” video. Watch blanks being cryogenically treated, then drilled and lathe-turned. Next comes the big stuff — the massive rifling machines that single-point-cut the rifling in a precise, time-consuming process. Following that you can see barrels being contoured, polished, and inspected (with air gauge and bore-scope). There is even a sequence showing chambers being cut.

Here is a time-line of the important barrel-making processes shown in the video. You may want to use the “Pause” button, or repeat some segments to get a better look at particular operations. The numbers on the left represent playback minutes and seconds.

Krieger Barrel-Making Processes Shown in Video:

00:24 – Cryogenic treatment of steel blanks
00:38 – Pre-contour Barrels on CNC lathe
01:14 – Drilling Barrels
01:28 – Finish Turning on CNC lathe
01:40 – Reaming
01:50 – Cut Rifling
02:12 – Hand Lapping
02:25 – Cut Rifling
02:40 – Finish Lapping
02:55 – Outside Contour Inspection
03:10 – Engraving
03:22 – Polish
03:50 – Fluting
03:56 – Chambering
04:16 – Final Inspection

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