September 18th, 2020

SHOT Show 2021 in Las Vegas — Uncertainty Remains

SHOT Show 2021 January Las Vegas Covid-19 pandemic hotel travel closure

Will there be a 2021 SHOT Show in Las Vegas? The answer is that nobody knows for sure. While the NSSF, the show’s organizer, is proceeding as planned for a big event, there is no clear “green light” decision from Las Vegas government and public health officials. The NSSF has talked about having an event with a more open layout, fewer booth personnel, and social distancing restrictions, but it is unclear how that would work. Also, given the fact that January 2021 SHOT Show might still be cancelled in its entirety, attendees need to be concerned with their hotel reservations, specifically getting deposits back. We know many show attendees are taking a “wait and see” approach, and holding off on making hotel and transportation arrangements.

The Shooting Wire observed recently:

As of today (9/16/2020), we know the NSSF and their SHOT working group are moving forward with plans for a 2021 SHOT Show. We also know it will be bigger physically, and considerably different experience from previous versions.

SHOT Show 2021 will feature a more expansive and “distanced” layout, with larger aisles, smaller numbers of booth workers. It’s likely that social distancing, sanitizing, masks, and a whole COVID-19 compliance regimen — as is mandated by the state and local governments at the time — will be in place.

The real question that will have the largest impact is this: What will the COVID-19 compliance regulations look like by January 2021? If there are still restrictions on gatherings, it would be pretty tough to have an event the magnitude of SHOT for groups of 50 or fewer attendees at a time.

SHOT Show 2021 January Las Vegas Covid-19 pandemic hotel travel closure
That’s NOT social distancing. We can’t imagine this scene in today’s COVID-19 Pandemic environment.

What Will Happen to Hotel Reservations if SHOT Show is Cancelled?
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has issued Information on Hotel Cancellation Policies, regarding the reservations for SHOT Show 2021:

Many people have been reaching out to our team about hotel reservations and policies that are in place during this uncertain time. As you may know, there are two ways in which those coming to SHOT Show can book a room through our official channels — directly through the Venetian|Palazzo link on SHOTshow.org or through onPeak.com for all our other partner hotels.

OnPeak – With respect to hotel rooms booked through onPeak, every reservation is held without deposit until December 16. If the show is not permitted to take place, all reservations will be canceled without a deposit being taken so there will be no cancellation fees due. If you decide not to attend the SHOT Show, you will be able to cancel your reservation up to December 15 without a cancellation fee.

Venetian|Palazzo — The Venetian|Palazzo have always had a one-night nonrefundable deposit policy, and that still holds should someone choose to cancel their reservation. However, if the SHOT Show is not permitted to take place, the Venetian|Palazzo will return the deposit this year.

NSSF hopes this helps clarify the current hotel reservation policies and provides comfort for those planning their stays in January. In the meantime, please continue to visit the SHOT Show Hotel & Travel page as it continues to update with adjusted rates welcoming the SHOT Show community back to Vegas.

SHOT Show Floor image courtesy DKC company a supplier of lead consumables for the firearms industry.

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September 17th, 2020

Weaver Rail vs. Picatinny Rail — What’s the Difference?

Picatinny Rail specifications 1913 Mil-std

Readers often ask “What’s the difference between a Weaver scope rail and a Picatinny Rail?” The answer is not as simple as it seems. The dimensions of a Picatinny Rail should be consistent (from one rail-maker to another), since there IS a government spec. Conversely, there is some variance in “Weaver-style” rails. The width of the groove is the most important difference between Picatinny Rails and Weaver-type rails. “Mil-spec” Picatinny rails will have a grove width of 0.206″ while Weaver rails typically have a narrower, 0.180″ groove width.

Weaver Rail BAT action
Does your rifle have a Weaver Rail or Picatinny Rail? Check the dimensions to be sure.

Brownell’s has a helpful GunTech™ Article that discusses the Picatinny Rail vs. Weaver Rail. That article explains:

What are the differences between the ‘Picatinny’ and the ‘Weaver’ systems? The profile of the two systems is virtually identical. Depending on the quality of the machining done by the manufacturer, the two systems should be indistinguishable from the profile. The key difference lies in the placement of the recoil grooves and with width of the grooves. MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) grooves are .206″ wide and have a center-to-center width of .394”. The placement of these grooves has to be consistent in order for it to be a true Picatinny MIL-STD system. Weaver systems have a .180” width of recoil groove and are not necessarily consistent in a center-to-center measurement from one groove to the next.

In many instances, a Weaver system has a specific application that it is machined for, so interchangeability is not necessarily an issue. A MIL-STD-1913 system must adhere to the specifications listed above in order for it to be considered MIL-STD, since the military desires uniformity in the recoil grooves to allow for different systems to be mounted on the weapon with no concern for compatibility.

Now, what does this mean? Boiled down, it means that accessories designed for a Weaver system will, in most cases, fit on a Picatinny system. The reverse, however, is probably not the case. Due to the larger recoil groove, Picatinny accessories will not fit a Weaver system. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but for a good rule-of-thumb, [full-width] Picatinny won’t fit Weaver, but Weaver accessories WILL fit Picatinny.

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September 13th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Home-Built 7.62×25 Tokarev Custom Rifle

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle customHere’s something you’ve never seen before — a full-size rifle chambered for the tiny 7.62×25 Tokarev round. This rifle was a fun project by Les E., aka “scasa” in our AccurateShooter Forum. This is a true “home-built” rifle. Les machined the action himself (receiver AND bolt), chambered the barrel, and crafted the stock from a blank. You’ll find complete build details (with machining photos) in this Forum Thread.

Why did Les build this unique rifle? He tells us: “I just thought it would make a nice little rifle cartridge with light bullets and subsonic with heavier ones. D.J. Jones had something similar as the ‘Mini Whisper’.”

Les designed and built the action and bolt to fit the tiny 7.62×25 Tokarev cartridge. He told us: “Once upon a time I got this idea to make a bolt action with front locking lugs, full diameter bolt, Remington trigger. It took me years to get it all figured out and make all the tooling, then it took about six months to build the gun”. The rifle features a 1:10″-twist Adams & Bennett barrel that Les chambered himself.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les designed and crafted the receiver and bolt assembly himself. The bolt features an extractor but not an ejector — the empty case stays on the end of the bolt. The extractor slot cuts through one lug, but Les says it still has 10 times the required strength.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Details of Action Design and Machining
Les explained: “The action started as a piece of 4160 bar stock. I drilled and reamed all the holes in my 12×36 Craftsman lathe. Cutting the slot inside for the locking lugs to pass through was the most difficult part. There were no blueprints for this and just a couple of sketches to get the slots right for the bolt handle slot and extraction cams. Everything is design on the fly. I used a grade 8 bolt for the bolt which did not require any hardening, they’re pretty hard already. Although I did make several receivers before I got it figured out, I only made one bolt.”

Surprisingly, Les is not a machinist by trade. He is just a very smart guy who learned by doing: “I’ve never had any machinist training. I mostly learned by trying different things until I found what works.”

NOTE: Under Federal law, it is legal to build an action or complete rifle for personal use (not for resale). Refer to ATF Regulations.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

As you might expect, this cartridge is naturally pretty quiet. Les says it “makes less noise than a .17 HMR”. Recoil is also minimal. In a 9-lb rifle (with scope), shooting free recoil, the rifle moves only about three inches. Considering this is a tiny pistol cartridge, the accuracy is pretty good, as you can see:

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Loading for the 7.62×25 Tokarev in a Rifle

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle customThe cartridge brass comes from Sellier & Bellot pistol ammo. Les currently loads with AA #7 and AA #9 powders, but he may try some others. His favorite load so far has Hornady 168gr A-Max bullets pushed by AA #9 powder and CCI 400 primers. This produced a 0.437″ group at 50 yards.

How does Les like the cartridge? He says: “I wish the 7.62×25 had a longer neck. At 0.140″ it’s pretty short. I think a longer neck would help getting things lined up better.” He notes that boat-tail bullets seem to load easier than flat-base projectiles.

Ammo is loaded with inexpensive Lee dies: “I’m using Lee dies and they seem to work OK. I’d like a better seater die and I may modify this one.”

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les reports: “The 168gr Berger moly LTB didn’t do as well as the 168gr A-Max so I started working with the A-Max. I’m loaded really long and the Tokarev evidently has a pretty long freebore but I managed to get it into the lands. The target photo above is the best this gun has ever shot. I’ve gotten mostly two-inch groups at 50 yards (my max home range distance). Recently I made some progress. My best group was a little less than 1/2 inch at 50 yards.”

Special Features of the Stock

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les built the stock himself from a laminated blank. For this project, Les added some interesting features to the stock. He created his own adjustable cheekpiece using all home-crafted hardware.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les also fitted a barrel tension adjustment system in the stock to help tune the barrel harmonics. There is a hex-head machine screw in the bottom of the stock for adjusting the upward tension on the barrel.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les crafted this stock with a thumbhole pattern with finger grooves. He has used this design on other stocks he has built as he likes the look and “feel”.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

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September 13th, 2020

Neck-Turning Brass with Milling Machine — High-Speed Solution

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Here’s the super-speedy way to turn case-necks. Our friend Erik Cortina figured out how to turn his match cartridge case-necks using his milling machine. Erik told us: “While in Raton [a while back], Mid Tompkins told me that he turns his brass on milling machine. He said he could do about 500 in two hours, so I decided to try it.”

Erik fitted a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turner to the mill, and he used a modified 21st Century case holder to secure the brass. As you can see from this video, Erik was very successful with the process. The tool spins at 1500 rpm, turning Lapua 6.5-284 cases that have been necked up to 7mm.

Video Shows Eric Cortina Neck-Turning Cases with Milling Machine:

Cartridge Brass: Lapua 6.5-284 necked up to 7mm
Lubricant: Lithium grease inside and outside of neck
Neck-Turner: Nielson Pumpkin running at 1500 RPM

It’s hard to argue with Erik’s results. Here are his turned Lapua cases, which have neck-wall thickness consistent to two ten-thousandths of an inch. Think you could do better turning manually?

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Some of Erik’s Facebook friends had questions about this process:

Q: Who makes the shell-holder?

Erik Cortina: I did! The shell-holder you can get from 21st Century. I Tig-welded a punch as a handle.

Q: I love the idea of working smarter not harder! Any galling issues? What are your mitigation techniques?

Erik Cortina: No issues. I use lithium grease in spray can. Makes a foam that I dip necks into.

Q: Shouldn’t either the case or the cutter be floating to allow most precise neck turning?

Erik Cortina: Up until [I tried this] I believed the same thing. I was going to build a floating case holder but decided to try rigid setup on a few cases before I built it. Results were great. Neck thickness doesn’t vary more than .0002″, which is same as when I was doing it with floating case holder on the lathe.

Q: Any problems with the Pumpkin changing the cut as it heats up?

Erik Cortina: No — there were no issues with that.

NOTE: Erik Cortina is a very skilled machinist who custom-crafted fittings used for this process. This kind of neck-turning with a milling machine may not be for the everyday hand-loader!

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Nielson “Pumpkin” Neck-Turner

The circular orange cutting fixture on Erik’s Milling Machine is a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turning tool. Don designed this tool to be used by hand or with power. The Pumpkin boasts an eccentric mandrel that allows the cut to be adjusted easily in precise .0001″ increments. Benchresters like this as it allows for very precise control of cut depth and neck-wall thickness.

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina
Nielson Neck Turner with carbide mandrel. Photo Courtesy Butch’s Reloading.

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September 6th, 2020

Sunday Gunday: .375 CheyTac ELR Rig and Cartridge Info

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

This Extreme Long Range (“ELR”) rifle features a massive BAT “L” Round Action, McMillan Beast Stock, 38″ Bartlein 1:7″-twist Barrel, T5 Terminator Muzzle Brake, R.A.D. Recoil Reduction unit, and a customized Cheek Riser. The “Beast” stock name is appropriate — this rifle weighs a massive 38 pounds. Including the T5 brake, the finished barrel, chambered in .375 CheyTac, is 44″ long! All the work was done by Hall-of-Fame shooter and gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzales, of S.G. Precision LLC in San Antonio, Texas. If you want a rifle like this, Speedy says the lead time is 6-9 months. CONTACT SPEEDY, or call (210) 368-9010, or (972) 672-6630.

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision
Speedy milled vents in the fore-end. He told us “when you’re burning 150+ grains of powder you need all the ventilation you can get to help reduce the barrel heat.”

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision
There are many good brakes out there, then there’s the “TERMINATOR”! — Speedy

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision
The Phoenix Bipod employs a lowering modification.

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

About the .375 CheyTac Cartridge

Peterson .375 Cartridge Brass Cheytac K02M

Some of the most successful ELR cartridges are based on the CheyTac family, including the .375 CheyTac (9.5×77) and .408 CheyTac (10.36 x 77). Brass for both these jumbo cartridges is offered by Peterson Cartridge Co.. This Peterson Cheytac brass has proven to be tough and long-lived. And it is capable of winning — our friend Derek Rodgers won the 2017 King of 2 Miles (K02M) event shooting a .375 Cheytac with Peterson brass.

.375 CheyTac — K02M-Winning, World-Beating Cartridge

Derek Rodgers is the 2017 King of 2 Miles. He is also the first-ever human to ever hit the maximum distance target target at 3368 yards (1.91 miles). His cartridge choice? The .375 CheyTac. Derek ran Cutting Edge Bullets in Peterson brass with Hodgdon H50BMG powder.

Q: Why did you choose the .375 CheyTac cartridge?

Derek: When I was asked to join the Applied Ballistics Team, I needed to get an ELR rifle built in a short period of time. I was under a very tight time schedule to get the project complete. In an effort to eliminate variables, I decided to keep things standard and as simple as possible. I chose the .375 CheyTac for the ease of getting components. The larger rifles are more difficult to get components quickly and I felt like the .375 CheyTac had enough attributes to be competitive at ELR distances.

.375 Cheytac Derek Rodgers KO2M King 2 miles

.375 Cheytac Derek Rodgers KO2M King 2 miles

Developing and Testing CheyTac Brass

Peterson Cartridge’s president, Derek Peterson, live-tested the company’s .375 CheyTac (aka 9.5 X 77) brass. He started with five casings, with a full-body resizing after each firing. He got 17 firings out of each before seeing early signs of case head separation. [Editor: These were with extremely high pressure loads.] He then took another set of casings and after each firing he just bumped the shoulder back, as a typical reloader would. He got 20 firings out of those casings.

Peterson .375 Cartridge Brass Cheytac K02M
Note: CheyTac® is a registered trademark of CheyTac USA, LLC. Peterson Cartridge has no affiliation.

No SAAMI Spec for CheyTac Cartridges
Peterson notes: “As many of you probably already know there is no SAAMI spec on these calibers. So, without a SAAMI spec there is no stated maximum pressure for a service load. However, there IS an international spec on the .408 [promulgated by the] CIP (Commission International Permanente). And the CIP max pressure for this round is extremely high. Our partner in Europe tells us it is probably unnecessarily high. Our partner loads these rounds and they have a standard load for the .375s which is also quite high. So that is the pressure we did our testing at. To even achieve that pressure, we had to use a compressed load.” In actual ELR competition any sane shooter will use a lowerp-pressure load that should provide even greater case life, and better barrel life.

Peterson .375 Cartridge Brass Cheytac K02M

Peterson Brass Goes Through 11 Dimensional Tests
With all the brass types Peterson produces, the company performs a battery of in-process, real-time dimensional checks. Peterson tests 11 different dimensions continuously throughout each shift. Some of these are tube cylindricity, mouth to body concentricity, primer pocket diameter, length to shoulder, overall length, and more. These measurements are automatically fed into Statistical Process Control software. If a dimension begins to drift from nominal Peterson can catch it immediately and correct it.

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September 4th, 2020

Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time — Do You Agree with List?

Ten 10 best bolt action rifles shooter

A while back, RifleShooter online magazine published a list of the purported Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time. Ten classic rifle designs (including the Remington 700, Winchester Model 70, Weatherby V, and Mauser 98) were featured with a paragraph or two explaining their notable features.

“Best” Lists Stir Controversy…
These Top 10 lists are always controversial. While most readers might approve of half the entries, there are always some items on the Top 10 list that some readers would challenge. Here is RifleShooter’s Top 10 list. What do you think? Are there some other bolt-actions that are more deserving?

1. Springfield M1903
2. Mauser 98
3. Winchester Model 70
4. Remington Model 700
5. Weatherby V

6. Sako L61/AV
7. Savage Model 110
8. Ruger M77
9. Tikka T3
10. Mannlicher-Schonauer

10bolt1402.

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September 2nd, 2020

BAT Machine Actions — Video Reveals How They Are Made

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

If you have ANY interest in custom rifle actions, you MUST watch this video from UltimateReloader.com. Folks, definitely watch the video — it is VERY informative! To produce this video, Ultimate Reloader’s Gavin Gear visited the BAT Machine facility in Post Falls, Idaho, and interviewed BAT owner Bruce Thom.

In the video Bruce Thom demonstrates how BAT Machine actions are created from start to finish. Bruce shows every stage of the process, employing multiple high-tech machines. It’s impressive — Forum members say that this is a “must-watch” video. Gunsmith Jackie Schmidt noted: “Great Video. Even though I have been in the machine shop business for 50 years, I still marvel at the new innovations in precision machining. Bruce has a very down-to-earth, common sense approach to explaining what to many seems like machining wizardry.” And Mark T. posted: “Watched it last night. Excellent video and excellent machining practices — precision from beginning to end.”

Click Arrow to Watch Video

For further explanation of the action production processes, with step-by-step listing of how receivers and bolt assemblies are created, read Gavin Gear’s full BAT Machine Article on UltimateReloader.com.

READ FULL BAT Machine Story HERE (More Photos) »

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

BAT Machine Company Was Started 29 Years Ago
Back in 1991, Bruce Thom started BAT Machine Company, which was incorporated later in 1996. Bruce’s shop stared with manual machines, quickly moving to CNC machines later in the 1990s. BAT Machine quickly achieved a following among benchrest shooters for crafting superb actions that exhibited flawless function and superb machining. Those qualities, benchrest competitors realized, helped produce tiny groups, win matches, and set benchrest records. BAT Machine now makes rifle actions for a wide variety of disciplines: F-Class, PRS, ELR, hunting, and of course short- and long-range benchrest.

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

BAT Action Body Machining Stages
As shown in the video, here are the major stages for the fabrication of a BAT Machine receiver body:

1. Start: raw 17-4 stainless round bar (higher toughness than typical barrel/receiver steel)
2. Heat treat
3. Bore central hole (for EDM wire), face ends
4. EDM machining (cut bore and raceways)
5. True OD, cut receiver threads and lug seats
6. Cut tang and related features
7. Finish machining including body OD, integral lug (if equipped)

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

Final Production Stages — Polishing and Deburring
After the receiver body and bolt are machined, they go through a deburring and polishing process.

In the image above you can see the stages. At left is a receiver body straight from machining. Some hand work is typically performed to break interior edges that are sharp from machining. In the center, the receiver shows can see the initial polish stage. During this stage, machining marks are removed by coarse polishing. Additionally for receivers that will be nitrided, that will be done next. But for actions that are NOT nitrided, a final polish brings the parts up to a high luster, as show on the right.

After polish (and nitriding if that applies) the bolts and receivers get a finish assembly, and testing for proper smooth functioning. The receivers are then registered with the ATF and shipped to the customer.

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September 2nd, 2020

Gun Makers Support NSSF and NRA-ILA Election Programs

2020 Election November Trump biden second amendment gun rights

Election Day is just 61 days away. On November 3, 2020, Americans will head to the polls. For gun owners, this may be the most significant Presidential election in a generation. The Democratic Party, as stated in the DNC platform, intends to severely restrict gun rights, and ban whole classes of firearms.

Nearly 5 million Americans are first-time gun buyers. We hope they, along with ALL gun owners, will vote on November 3rd, and remember which candidates support the Second Amendment. As the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) states: “Current events across the United States demonstrate why the Founding Fathers 230 years ago had the foresight to recognize why the right to keep and bear arms would still be vital today.”

Smith & Wesson Contributes $500,000 to 2020 Gunvote Effort

#GUNVOTE is a vital NSSF campaign to encourage America’s gun owners to register to vote and vote for candidates who support the Second Amendment and gun rights. Go to Action.gunvote.org to learn how to register to vote in your state, and find your polling place.

Firearm manufacturer Smith & Wesson has contributed $500,000 to the NSSF’s #GUNVOTE® voter registration and education campaign. This is the largest donation the campaign has received to date.

2020 Election November Trump biden second amendment gun rights

“This election cycle marks a crossroads in the future of the firearms industry and of our very freedom to bear arms,” said Mark Smith, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson. “We must ensure the Second Amendment is protected at every level. It is critical that hunters, recreational target shooters, and all those seeking to exercise their constitutional right to protect themselves and their families be educated and vote in November. [Voters’] choices at the polls will impact the future of all Americans’ free exercise of their constitutional rights.”

Six Companies Will Match NRA-ILA Donations Dollar-for-Dollar

The NRA-ILA has joined forces with with six companies that have pledged to match $1 million in donations made to NRA-ILA through November 15, 2020. The six participating companies are: SIG SAUER, Kel-Tec, Credova, Rock Island Auction Company, Taurus, and Davidson’s Gallery of Guns. If you make a donation to the NRA-ILA, your donation will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by these six companies. If you give $50, they give $50. If you give $100, they give $100. The maximum matching is $1,000,000.

2020 Election November Trump biden second amendment gun rights

“These patriotic businesses are pledging vital resources to support and defend the Second Amendment because they understand that our right to own a gun in defense of ourselves and our families is on the ballot in November. By working together with such partners, our membership intends to defeat those … trying to strip our rights away”, said Jason Ouimet, executive director, NRA-ILA.

2020 Election November Trump biden second amendment gun rights

Through this Partners for Patriotism campaign, anyone who makes a donation to NRA-ILA between now and 11/15/2020 will have their donation matched. Folks can make donations of any size — whatever they can spare. Whatever individuals donate will automatically be doubled by the six participating companies.

With the Presidential election looming, the stakes have never been higher. Joe Biden and his VP candidate Kamala Harris have pledged to enact new laws that could result in rifle confiscation, criminalization of private sales, and banning of online guns and ammo purchases. In addition, Biden and Harris have called for new gun taxes, while Harris has advocated banning guns by Executive Action — rule by fiat, bypassing the legislative process.

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August 30th, 2020

How to Kill a Barrel in One Afternoon — Firing Rate and Heat

barrel life test rapid fire cooling

Can sustained rapid-fire shooting with no cool-down period wear out a quality barrel more quickly? The answer is “Yes” according to Forum member LCazador, who did an interesting comparison test with two .243 Winchester barrels. He started off with two, identical, match-grade HV taper stainless barrels. Both were NEW at the start of testing, and LCazador shot the same load through each: 95gr match bullets with 38 grains of Hodgdon Varget. After giving both barrels the same, gentle 20-round break-in, 300 rounds were then fired through each barrel — in very different ways. Barrel condition and wear were monitored with a borescope.

Barrel One — Slow Fire, Cool Down Periods, Cleaning Every 50 Rounds
At the end of the 300-round test, Barrel One looked brand new. There was none of the severe fire cracking found in Barrel Two. This barrel was shot no more than 10 times without a cool down and firing was done at a much slower pace. Cleaning for this barrel was done every 50 shots.

Barrel Two — Fast Firing, No Waiting, Cleaning Every 100 Rounds
The second barrel, which received hard use and minimal cleaning, was severely damaged with severe fire cracking at the leade and throat. As a result, the barrel had to be re-chambered. This barrel was shot 100 rounds at time without cleaning and was shot up to 20 times in succession without a cool down.

LESSON LEARNED — Heat Kills Barrel Life
Don’t let your barrel get too hot, and keep it clean. One afternoon can ruin a barrel!

Hawkeye Borescope imageMonitoring Barrel Wear with Borescope
Some folks worry too much about what their borescopes reveal — many barrels do not have to be “squeaky clean” to perform well. In fact some barrels run better after ten or more fouling shots. However, a borescope can be very helpful when your barrel starts losing accuracy for no apparent reason. Forum member FdShuster writes:

“A borescope is a positive way of backing up your suspicions when the rifle starts to throw an occasional (soon followed by more frequent) wild shot. Using the scope is also an excellent way to determine that the cause is barrel wear and not simply a need for a concentrated cleaning session to remove built up copper and more importantly, carbon fouling.

I’ve had a few barrels that gave every indication of being shot out. But I ‘scoped them out and found the cause to be nothing more than requiring a good cleaning. They then returned to their usual performance. There’s no guessing involved when you are able to get ‘up close and personal’ using the scope. The borescope also provides an excellent view of the all-important condition of the crown. My borescope is one of the most valuable investments I’ve ever made.”

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August 28th, 2020

Kevin Nevius — Smallbore and LR Champion and Gun Builder

On the Shooting Sports USA website, there’s a great profile of Kevin Nevius, one of America’s leading competitive marksmen. Kevin is best known for his smallbore success — Kevin won smallbore National Championships in 2008, 2010, and 2014. Kevin also has also an impressive record in long-range centerfire competition. He won the NRA 2018 Long Range Championship, while in 2005 and 2006 he won the Sierra Trophy at Camp Perry in 1000-yard competition. This story, penned by gunwriter Hap Rocketto, covers Kevin’s career, which has included multiple championships and many records.

“My brother got me into long range varmint hunting and I started building my own guns very early,” Nevius told Dan Holmes in a Pronematch.com interview. “I had a hunting friend who shot indoor smallbore who started me in three position and I was hooked.”

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

At the 2018 NRA Long Range Championships, Kevin Nevius went head to head against the nation’s top long-range aces this past week, and emerged on top. Besting the likes of past multi-time Long Range Champions David Tubb and John Whidden, Kevin Nevius shot superbly at Camp Atterbury to win his first NRA National Long Range Championship.Kevin built his own rifles for the match, using Kelbly centerfire actions in a Grunig & Elmiger smallbore stock. Here is Kevin’s first-hand report of his 2018 LR Championship victory.

Smallbore shooting is where I learned to build a good position, and so much of that carries forward to Long Range High Power. It was a huge shock though, the first time I looked at a 44” aiming black through aperture sights at 1000 yards! Smallbore aiming blacks are twice as big, at one tenth the distance — the fact that we can hit something at 1000 yards with that sight picture still amazes me!

» READ Kevin Nevius Profile in Shooting Sports USA

Here are highlights from Hap Rocketto’s Profile of Kevin Nevius:

Shooting Sports USAChampion shooter Kevin Nevius grew up in a household that did not allow firearms, an unlikely beginning for one of the United States’ premier prone rifleman and gunsmiths. Once out on his own he fell in with his brother who enjoyed long-range varmint hunting. His natural bent for things mechanical (he is a professional structural engineer) soon had him tinkering with rifles, which eventually led him to building his own.

Everything fell into line for him in smallbore during the 2008 season. After shooting a series of training matches in which he was most successful, he arrived at Camp Perry at the peak of performance and won his first National Smallbore Rifle Conventional Prone Championship. Kevin came back strong in 2010, winning the inaugural individual National Smallbore Rifle Metric Prone Championship, as well as the team title at Bristol, IN. [Kevin then won the Smallbore Conventional Prone Championship in 2014 with a practically perfect score of 4799-390X (LINK).]

Along the way, Nevius has won some impressive national records. In conventional competition he co-holds the 1200-shot metallic sight aggregate record of 1200-102X. He was just one shot short of perfection in the 480 aggregate, where he holds the civilian record of 4799-412X, just one point behind, and 11 Xs ahead of, Joe Hein’s 4800-401X open record.

Kevin Nevius hopes to build a smallbore rig capable of 3/8-MOA at 100 yards.
Kevin Nevius smallbore gunsmith

Building the Ultimate Rimfire Prone Rifle
Kevin is not just a great trigger-puller. He also smiths his own rifles. His current goal as a gunsmith is to build a rimfire rifle that will shoot 3/8″ groups at 100 yards. That’s a big challenge — 3/8-MOA represents very good accuracy for a centerfire rifle with handloaded ammo. But if any rimfire smith can build a rifle that will shoot that well at 100, it’s probably Kevin.

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August 25th, 2020

How to Clear-Coat Laminated Wood Stocks

Laminated wood stocks offer an excellent combination of price and performance, and they can be obtained in a myriad of styles to suit your discipline — hunting, benchrest, tactical, silhouette, or high power. Laminated stocks can be a little trickier to finish compared to a hardwood such as walnut, as laminates are often delivered in bright or highly contrasting colors. Traditional wood finishes can alter the colors. Also, filling the pores in laminated stocks is an issue.

Automotive clear-coat products have become popular for finishing laminated wood stocks because they won’t alter the stock’s colors, and the clear-coat provides a durable weather-resistant finish. Clear-coat is also easy to “touch up” and it fills pores better than some other alternatives. Mike Ricklefs has written a comprehensive article on stock painting that includes a special section on clear-coating over laminated woods. If you want to clear-coat a stock, Mike’s article is a must-read!

In that Stock Painting Article, Mike offers these tips:

1. When finishing laminated stocks with clear-coat, you need to prepare the wood carefully, and build up quite a few thin layers one at a time. Begin by sanding, with progressively finer paper, all the way to 400 grit. Certain laminated stocks are so rough when they come from the stock-maker, that you may have to be very aggressive at first. But be careful with angles and the edges of flats. You don’t want to round these off as you sand.

2. After sanding, use compressed air to blow out all dust from the pores of the wood. This is very important to avoid a “muddy” looking finish. If you don’t blow the dust out with air before spraying the clear it will migrate out as you apply the clear. Also, after each sanding session, clean your painting area to remove excess dust. I also wet down the floor of my spray booth to keep the dust down.

3. Some painters recommended using a filler to close the pores. That’s one technique, but the filler can detract from the clarity of the final finish. Rather than use a pore-filling sealer, I use a high solids or “build” clear for the initial applications. This is slightly thicker than “finish” clear and does a good job of sealing the pores. Three (3) fairly heavy coats of “build” clear are applied. If you get a thick spot or a run in the finish at this point, it is not the end of the world but this does create more sanding work.”

There is a helpful thread in our Shooters’ Forum that discusses the use of clear-coating on laminated stocks. Member BHoges offered this advice: “Stick with Diamont, Glassurit, and Spies. If anyone has questions, I painted cars for a long time.”

Clear-coat Laminated woodForum member Preacher, whose bolt-action pistol is shown at right, states: “I buy my two-part clear-coat from the local NAPA dealer. They recommended Crossfire mixed 4:1. I really like the end results. There are six coats on that stock that were sanded down to bare wood for the first two, and then 600 wet-sanded for the other four coats. Two to three coats would be sufficient if the pores were filled first, but I would rather fill ‘em with the clear as it seems to make it appear deeper and I have the time to devote to it. I have PPG’s Deltron DC 3000 clear-coat on a few stocks of mine, but I like the NAPA better price wise, and it seems to hold up just as good as the Deltron.”

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August 23rd, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Whidden’s Title-Winning .308 Win Palma Rifle

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

This feature story comes from 5-time NRA National Long-Range Champion John Whidden. In this article John, who runs Whidden Gunworks, talks about the Palma rifle he has used at the Camp Perry and Camp Atterbury National Matches and other major competitions. This unique .308 Win prone rifle features a Barnard “P” action in a converted aluminum Anschutz “Precise” smallbore (rimfire) stock. The combo of Barnard action and Anschutz ergonomics is hard to beat, says John, who told us: “this is easily the best Palma rifle I’ve ever had.”

As a bonus, the Barnard “drop-in” required no modification of the Anschutz Precise stock. This means John can actually swap in his rimfire barreled action and shoot smallbore with the same stock.

Whidden’s Perfect Palma Match
Whidden secured his 2017 NRA Long Range National Championship title by shooting “clean” (not dropping a point) in the tough Palma competition. In the NRA Palma match, rifles must be .223 Rem or .308 Winchester, with metallic sights (no scopes). The match is conducted at three yardages, 15 shots at each distance of 800/900/1000 yards, with unlimited sighters at 800 and two sighters at 900 and 1000.

Whidden’s Championship-Winning Rifle
Since John captured his fifth Long Range crown with a superb performance in the Palma match, we thought we’d give readers a look at John’s very special Palma rifle. This unique .308 Win prone rifle features a Barnard “P” action in a converted aluminum Anschutz “Precise” smallbore (rimfire) stock. John told us this gun handles like no other: “After recoil, with this Anschutz stock, the sights fall right back on target — better than any other prone rifle I’ve shot”.

As a bonus, the Barnard “drop-in” required no modification of the Anschutz Precise stock. This means John can actually swap in his rimfire barreled action and shoot smallbore with the same stock.

Sling Rifle Evolved: The Ultra-Accurate Hybrid Palma Rifle

by John Whidden
The mental component of Long Range competitive shooting is always challenging but having tremendous confidence in the accuracy of your equipment is a huge benefit. There’s nothing to start your Palma match off well like knowing that you are shooting the most accurate Palma rifle you’ve ever owned.

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

After winning an NRA Long Range National Championship at Camp Perry, there are always plenty of questions about the equipment used by those at the top. Shooters are always looking to learn what is the best equipment at any given time so that when the time comes to spend our own hard earned dollars we can make the best choices. Even if you shoot an entirely different discipline knowing which manufacturers are making winning gear is very valuable.

Whidden .308 Winchester Palma Rifle
Action: Barnard “P” (three lugs, 60° bolt lift)
Barrel: Bartlein 32″, Light Palma contour, cryo-treated by 300 Below
Stock: Anschutz Precise aluminum smallbore stock, set up for centerfire barreled action
Trigger: Barnard Two-Stage adjustable

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

Whidden’s Wonder-Gun: German Stock, New Zealand Action, American Barrel
The Palma rifle I shot this year at Camp Perry is one that I have been super pleased with. I built the rifle early this year and the major components are a Barnard P action, Anschutz Precise smallbore stock, and Bartlein barrel. The caliber is .308 Win, as dictated by the Palma rules. Palma matches are fired from 800, 900, and 1000 yards utilizing iron sights only. No optical sights are allowed.

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

The Anchutz Precise stock is so well-designed that once I finished adjusting the details, I realized that my hold was about 1/3 smaller than with the stocks I shot previously. While in recoil the gun will track vertically and fall back down right on my own target just as it should. In the past, with my other Palma rifles, it was frankly sometimes a struggle to get them to settle back on target after a shot.

Whidden Gunworks has installed a variety of different actions in the Anschutz Precise stocks. Though the stocks are designed for the .22 LR caliber 2013 action rifles, we’ve successfully installed Barnard, Kelbly, Bat, Nesika, and Remington clone actions into them. The Barnard Model P makes a particularly simple installation because there is no modification necessary to the stock at all. A competitor can then shoot both his centerfire rifle as well as his smallbore gun in the exact same stock. The location of the trigger and bolt handle on the Barnard are positioned just right to make this work. Other actions do require at least some amount of modification to the stock, and we have found the Barnard works the best.

Barnard manufactures several models of actions as part of their lineup. All of the actions in the lineup use three lug bolts which give a shorter 60-degree bolt lift when opening and closing. All of the critical surfaces are machined after heat treating. This means that they are exceptionally true and square, more so than other actions. The Model P action is most familiar to Palma and F-Class shooters and are commonly seen on the firing line. The fact that Model P actions include an excellent two-stage trigger makes also the pricing very attractive.

Based on my previous excellent experiences, I selected Bartlein barrels for this rifle. When shooting internationally in the Palma matches we are restricted to 155 grain .308 bullets, but I made the unusual choice of a 1-10″ twist for these bullets. I’ve shot this fast twist for some years with the 155s with good success and it’s pleasing to know that Bryan Litz is finding benefits in some cartridges to shooting faster twist rates than we previously thought we needed. The chamber is the 2011 Palma and the barrel is a Light Palma contour finished at 32” length. The barrel was cryo-treated by 300 Below. The point of impact isn’t changed at all by barrel heating and the accuracy is incredible regardless of the temperature of the barrel. This can’t be said of all the barrels I’ve owned.

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

Get Your Own Wonder-Gun from Whidden Gunsworks
Like what you see? Whidden Gunworks can build you a rig like this, fitting a centerfire barreled action in the Anschutz Precise stock. John tells us: “Call us to find the current all-up price for a special rifle like this with Barnard or other suitable custom action, and Anschutz stock. We attempt to keep all of the parts except the stock in inventory, so lead time should be under eight (8) weeks.”

Stock Offers Great Adjustability
John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stockOne thing that is quickly noticed about the Anschutz Precise stock is its adjustability. The engineers did a very good job of allowing many of these adjustments to be made while in the shooting position, most notably the cheekpiece adjustments. When a shooter picks up a Precise stock for the first time they also notice how narrow the fore-end is. This really contributes to reducing the pain in the forward hand in prone when shooting with a sling. This stock is, by far, the most comfortable sling stock I’ve ever handled.

This rifle was very accurate right away and very comfortable to shoot. I’ve built some really good shooting Palma rifles but this is easily the best Palma rifle I’ve ever had. The Barnard action with its superb quality and excellent two-stage trigger has been the best choice I could have made. When you can go to the firing line knowing that you have the very best, the foundation for success has been set.

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August 21st, 2020

.300 Blackout Fired in .223 Rem — Mistake Is Disasterous

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56
Photos and Facebook post by Tactical Rifle Shooters

Yet another .300 Blackout disaster. Unfortunately, that .300 Blackout cartridge can fit in a .223 Rem chamber. Shooting a .308-caliber bullet in .223 bore is a recipe for disaster.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56The .300 AAC Blackout aka “300 BLK”, is a compact 30-caliber cartridge designed to work in AR-15 rifles. It has a shorter cartridge case to accommodate the bigger 30-caliber bullet while still fitting in a standard AR-15 magazine. Unfortunately, that’s the danger. A careless shooter can toss a .300 Blackout cartridge in with .223 Rem rounds without noting. And because the case-head size is the same as the .223 Rem (5.56×45) the rifle’s bolt assembly will happily chamber and fire the .300 BLK round. Problem is, that forces a .308 diameter bullet down an undersized .223-caliber bore. Not good!

This images were provided by Tactical Rifle Shooters on Facebook. The message was clear: “Don’t try to run 300 Blackout in your .223/5.56mm. It won’t end well. The problem is identical rifles and identical magazines but different calibers.”

For those who MUST have a .300 Blackout, here are some things you can do:

1. Use different colored magazines for .300 Blackout vs. .223 Rem.
2. Fit all your uppers with caliber-labeled ejection port covers.
3. Mark .223 Rem upper handguards with the caliber in bright paint.
4. Mark all .300 BLK Rounds with heavy black marker.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

Comments by Folks Who Viewed these .300 Blackout Disaster Photos:

“The .300 Blackout is simply a badly-designed round. A properly-designed round would have had a feature in the shape that would have prevented cross loading in the first place.” — D. Santiago

“I almost made that mistake… I had a magazine of 300 BLK inserted in my .223/5.56 all night. Fortunately, I never pulled the trigger. Once I realized the mistake, I almost got ill. [After that incident] I no longer own a 300 BLK.” — B. Welch

“Happened to me hog hunting from a helo. Gun exploded in my face.” — B. Hood

“Fire-forming projectiles [is] so wrong in centerfire!” — M. Stres

“Had some dude come into the store the other day wanting .300 Blackout ammo to shoot in his 5.56 AR. It took 15 minutes of explaining for him to understand you got to have a .300 Blackout Upper!” — R. Williams

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August 20th, 2020

6mm Creedmoor — Barrel Length Velocity Test — 24″ to 16.1″

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 »

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August 18th, 2020

F-Class Wow Factor — Borden Action, Cerus Stock, Brux Barrel

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle
Note the owner’s name, “S. Limbourne” was engraved on the bolt release (and trigger guard, see below).

Competition rifles don’t need to be beautiful, as long as they shoot. But who doesn’t like a spectacular figured-wood stock, particularly when it is combined with a superb custom action and a tack-driving barrel. This custom .284 Winchester F-Class Open division rig was crafted by gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez for competitive shooter Scott Limbourne. The handsome Bacote wood stock comes from Cerus Rifleworks, while the action is a polished Borden RBRP BRMXD. Two Brux 1:9″-twist barrels were chambered for the project, both finished at 32″. The stock is also fitted with a R.A.D. Recoil System. This rig has top-of-the-line hardware all around.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Action: Borden BRMXD – Polished
Rail: 20 MOA Polished
Chambering: .284 Winchester
Trigger: Jewell BR – Blueprinted
Barrel: (2x) Brux 32″ 1:9″ Twist
Stock: Cerus F-Open in Exhibition Grade Bacote
Recoil System: R.A.D. System
Extras: Carbon Fiber Tunnel Plate, Custom Engraving Work on Action, Trigger Guard, and Bolt Release.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

You’ll find other impressive rigs on Speedy’s Facebook Page. If you’d like a superb custom rifle like this, call Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez at 972-672-6630, or send email to: speedy.godzilla [at] msn.com.

SPEEDY GONZALEZ
9023 HUEBNER RD. STE 102
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240

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August 17th, 2020

REMAGE Pre-Fit 6mmBR Conversion — How to Do It

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr
Barrel nut system allows “Pre-Fit” barrel installation on a Remington action. CLICK photo to zoom.

REMAGE Project Report by Bill, Rifleshooter.com Editor
Installing a new barrel on your Remington 700 (especially without a lathe) may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to companies like McGowen Precision Barrels and Criterion, there are easier alternatives. By adopting a Savage-style barrel nut on a 1 1/16″ thread for a Remington 700 receiver, pre-chambered (aka “pre-fit”) barrels can be easily swapped with just a few hand tools. This system is sometimes called a REMAGE conversion (for “REMington savAGE”). With simple tools a “Pre-fit” 6mmBR-chambered barrel was installed on the author’s Remington action — no machining or lathe-work required.

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr

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. After headspace is verified with the Go Gauge, the barrel nut is tightened against the action and you are off to the range. It takes all of the machine work out of the barreling process.

Note: Because barrel nut has a slightly larger diameter, 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. And always check the set-up with a dummy round loaded to normal cartridge length BEFORE you head to the range. With Pre-Fits, the freebore should be adequate for your cartridge, but always check and adjust your seating depth as needed.

remage 6mm BR 108 berger best group 360

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!.

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 Rifleshooter.com website.

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August 16th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Patriot 1000-Yard Rifles for Williamsport

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

Report by Andrew Murtagh
I’ve been a long range shooter for the past 17 years. Like most shooters in this game I’ve built, bought, and sold numerous rifles during my tenure. Here’s my tale of two special rifles, a Heavy Gun and a Light Gun, both sporting Patriotic stock graphics. I shoot both of these rifles in competition at Reade Range and The Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Club, aka “Williamsport”, where I serve as Club Vice-President.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

My two Patriots were both acquired second-hand from a fellow shooter, Mike Bonchack. As purchased, they were very different from what they are now. I first decided to rechamber them using my reamers. The Light Gun (LG) is now chambered in 6×47 Lapua with 0.267″ neck, while the Heavy Gun (HG) is a 6mm Dasher with 0.266″ neck. After re-chambering the barrels, next I decided to get both guns up to maximum weight. The LG already had an adjustable weight system so it was easy to get it to 17 pounds. For the HG, I added an additional 25 pounds of lead/epoxy fill which was milled into the barrel channel and butt stock.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

The Story Behind the Patriotic Graphics
I was initially going to have the LG painted until a close friend and fellow shooter, Tom Murtiff, suggested hydrographics. I landed on the patriotic theme because I’m a right-wing leaning Constitutionalist who still believes in the principles upon which our Founding Fathers built this nation. I wanted to express my support of our country’s Constitution and its Amendments. The search for the perfect patriot print was on.

This was my first hydrographic print experience and I was overwhelmed with the sheer number and variety of prints available. I spent a few days searching when I found the Amendment print. I then contacted Rick Schuh, owner of Boyzhid Hydrographics. He then prepped, hydro-dipped, and clear-coated the LG. Late in 2017 I purchased the HG and through a lengthy process in 2018 the metal work and stock additions were completed. I was now back in search of the perfect print. This was also lengthy, and I couldn’t find anything that spoke to me except for a suggestion to have “twin” rifles. I liked the idea — a pair of “Patriots!”

Rick was again employed to dip the Heavy Gun. That became a real undertaking because the stock alone (no metal attached) now weighed 35 pounds. He had to manufacture reinforced hangers to apply the graphics without flaw. The stock came out perfect to my eye, but not to his. On the bottom, which is rarely seen on any HG, he airbrushed a small flag to cover an area that stretched the print. Rick also made a jeweled plate for the toe of the butt.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

I’m including this image so everyone can see Rick’s extra effort to make the HG perfect. I often joke with him about the added work no one would see. Well now the world can view his workmanship.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

1000-Yard Heavy Gun Specifications:

Kelbly Stolle F-Class Panda dual-port, right eject with Kelbly Picatinny rail
Modified Ryan Miller HG stock bedded/pillared/weighted by David Powley
Bartlein 1:8.5-8″ gain-twist 0.236″ bore barrel
— chambered in 6mm Dasher 0.266″ neck by David Powley
Ryan Miller barrel-block fitted with nylon bushing by David Powley
Harrell’s muzzle brake
Jewell trigger
Optic One: NightForce 12-42x56mm NXS in Vortex rings
Optic Two: Leupold 7-35x56mm Mark 5 HD in Leupold rings

1000-Yard Light Gun Specifications:

BAT Machine B Action RB/LP/RE
McMillan MBR stock bedded by David Powley
Bartlein 1:8″-twist 0.237″ bore 30″ barrel
— chambered in 6×47 Lapua 0.267″ neck by David Powley
Harrell’s radial muzzle brake
Jewell trigger
NightForce 15-55x52mm Competition Scope in Harrell’s rings

Stock Graphics: Both rifles share a Patriot Constitution Hydrographic print (and clear-coat) by Rick Schuh of BoyzHid Hygrogaphics.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

How to Succeed in the 1K Benchrest Games — Q & A with Andrew

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

Q: How Do You Choose a Chambering/Cartridge for a particular Match or Relay?

Andrew: Cartridge choice depends on the wind forecast. I always have several rifles with particular cartridge/loads for each depending on the forecast. If it’s a light wind day, say 4 to 8 mph with light gusts, I’ll be shooting either a 6×47 Lapua or a 6mm Dasher. If it’s blowing around 10 to 12 mph, I’ll campaign a 6×47 on its high node to get it down range flat. But if it’s really blowing or constantly changing direction, I shoot a big .300 WSM with either 200gr or 210gr bullet.

Q: What Is Your Load Development Method?

Andrew: Initial load development is always done over the chronograph at 100 yards until I get low ES/SD for 5 shots utilizing the same 10 pieces of absolutely perfect brass. Once I’m satisfied with the raw data I move to 1000 yards with a set of match brass and shoot 5-shot strings to find the best-performing exact powder charge. I have found this is usually within 0.20 grains of what performs well over the chronograph.

Q: What Brass, Primers, Powders, and Bullets Do You Use?

Andrew: I use Lapua brass for all things 6mm and Norma brass for my big .30 Cal stuff. I never change primers and shoot CCI BR2s or BR4s. I’m a Varget and H4350 fan. I’ve tried other powders, but they never were fruitful at 1K. Currently the only bullets I shoot are Sierra Match Kings. In the 6mm Dasher and 6×47 Lapua I use the 6mm 107gr SMK. In my .300 WSM I use .308-cal 200gr and 210gr SMKs.

Q: What Advice Do You Have for Novice 1000-Yard Competitors?

Andrew: Leave your ego at home and be willing to learn each and every time you come to the range. The discipline evolves rapidly and so must the shooter. It won’t take long to get left behind and become extremely frustrated with the game if you are not willing to learn and adapt. Find a tutor who is a great shooter and who is willing to mentor you. John Hoover and Tom Murtiff helped me and are very dear friends and great 1000-yard shooters. Believe me, having a good mentor takes years off the learning curve. Lastly, enroll in the Benchrest Shooting School offered by The Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club. I’m an instructor there and I, along with all the cadre, will help new shooters rapidly advance their skills.

Q: What’s the Secret to Judging the Wind? (In this discipline there are no target markers after each shot.)

Andrew: That’s the million-dollar question. What I do is find the condition that seems to hold. Once I’m committed into the record string, I follow it to the end. At Williamsport the wind flags can change at every distance so you simply need to pick one flag and hope it’s the one that remains truthful.

Long Range Competition Advice from a Leading 1K Benchrest Competitor

FIVE Key points to remember when shooting 1000-Yard benchrest

1. Be positive and have a clear state of mind when competing.

2. Bench set-up and shooting mechanics must always be the same — every shot. Then follow the shot through your optic.

3. Shoot two (2) shots before making a scope adjustment unless you’re under a minute of the sighter period.

4. Trust yourself and your equipment. You never want to second guess anything you put on the line.

5. Once you commit to shooting your record string, DO NOT STOP.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

Invitation to Join Andrew at Williamsport in Pennsylvania
I currently serve as Vice President of The Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club, PA1000yard.com. Situated near the municipality of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, it has become known as the “Williamsport Club”. We would like to invite any shooting enthusiast to come out and visit our club during a match weekend. My rifles are only a sampling of the beauty and craftsmanship that is often on display at Williamsport’s 1000-yard line. Please stop by and visit with us.

Here are UPCOMING EVENTS at our club this summer and in 2021:

Light Gun and Heavy Gun Match #5, August 22/23, 2020
Light Gun and Heavy Gun Match Match #6, September 12/13, 2020
Light Gun and Heavy Gun Match Match #7, September 26/27, 2020

Long Range Benchrest School June, 2021
Annual 1000-Yard World Open Match July, 2021

Andrew wanted to give credit to the many talented guys who have helped with his rifle builds and his reloading equipment. In alphabetical order, these are Mike Bonchack, John Hoover, Tom Murtiff, David Powley, and Rich Schuh (Boyzhid Hydrographics).

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

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August 15th, 2020

Criterion Chambered Barrels — Under $200 for M1 Garand, 1903 Springfield, 1903A3

M1 Garand Criterion barrel
1903 Rifle Barrels CMP Criterion

Here’s good news for owners of M1 Garands, 1903 Springfields, and 1903A3s. The CMP eStore sells brand new Criterion chrome-moly barrels for these rifles for $200.00 or less. In addition there are M1 Carbine barrels for $229.50. These authentic-profile barrels are made by Criterion Barrels in Richfield, WI, using the button-rifling process. They are “semi-finished” meaning they come chambered and headspaced within .010″ of finished size, with final fitting to be done by a competent gunsmith. The barrels are also externally Parkerized to match the finish of your vintage ’03, Garand, or M1 Carbine. To order, go to the CMP eStore and click the Barrels Link in the upper left.

NOTE: Final assembly and headspacing by a qualified gunsmith is required!

New Criterion M1903 Springfield RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Item: 065CRI/03 | $199.95

New 1903 barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc., 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. These comply with CMP competition rules and are legal for the 1903 Matches. Parkerized like the original 1903 and chambered .010″ from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions.

New Criterion M1903A3 RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Item: 065CRI/A3 | Price: $199.95

New 1903A3 barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc., 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. These comply with CMP competition rules and are legal for the 1903A3 Matches. Parkerized like the original 1903A3 and chambered .010″ from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions.

m1 Garand  Rifle Barrels CMP Criterion

New Criterion M1 Garand (.30-06) RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Item: 065CRI/M1 | Price $189.95

New .30-06 M1 Garand barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc. 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. These complyl with CMP Competition Rule 7.2.4 (6) and are legal for M1 Garand Matches. Parkerized like the original M1 and chambered .010″ from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions. Barrel is .30-06.

New Criterion M1 Garand (.308) RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Item: 065CRI/308 | Price $199.95

New .308 Win Garand barrels by Criterion Barrels, 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Parkerized finish and chambered .010″ from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions. NOTE: Barrel is chambered for .308 Winchester.

New Criterion M1 Carbine RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Item: 065CRI/CARBINE | Price $229.50

New Carbine barrels by Criterion Barrels, 4140 chrome moly Steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Comply with CMP Competition Rules and are legal for the CMP M1 Carbine Matches. Parkerized like the original M1 Carbine and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and head-spaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions. Barrel is .30 Carbine.

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August 15th, 2020

RetroMOD Project — Old eBay Rimfire Stock Reborn for F-Open

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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August 12th, 2020

Go Low: Extreme Low-Profile F-TR Rifles from Pierce Engineering

F-TR Scoville Stock F-Class Rifle

One recent trend in F-TR competition is the use of low-profile, benchrest-type stocks shot with a light hand-hold and little or no face contact. For this method of F-TR shooting to work, you need the right equipment, and practice a “minimalist” shooting technique. One of the pioneers in this style of F-TR shooting is action-maker John Pierce of Pierce Engineering. Above you can see John shooting one of his F-TR rifles at the 2015 Canadian F-Class Championships. Note the straight-line stock and see how the adjustable bipod is set quite low to the ground (in fact the bipod’s arms are almost straight out).

F-TR Scoville Stock F-Class Rifle

Members of the Michigan F-TR Team, including Bryan Litz, have used similar rigs with success. Bryan said it took a while to adapt his shooting technique to this kind of rig, but there is a pay-off. Armed with a Pierce-built F-TR rifle, Bryan won his first-ever F-TR Match. Bryan explains the technique he uses when shooting this kind of rifle:

“Coming over from sling shooting, I knew there would be unique challenges to F-TR which I wanted to learn prior to (not during) a major tournament. I learned a new shooting position which doesn’t involve drawing the right knee up. For F-TR I get more straight behind the gun rather than at an angle. I found that the rifle shoots best with very light cheek, shoulder and grip pressure, approaching free recoil. This is how Eric Stecker shot his similar rifle into second place in the SW Nationals [with high X-Count by a large margin]. I learned the rifle’s sensitivity to different bipod and rear bag supports, and found the best buttplate position to allow the rifle to track and stay on target after recoil. This set-up shot best with a mostly free-recoil approach, that means ‘hovering’ over the comb, rather than resting your head on the stock. This took some ‘getting used to’ in terms of neck and back muscle tone. These are the kind of details I think it’s important to focus on when entering a new discipline.”

Bryan’s Pierce-built F-TR rig is a tack-driver: “I can certainly vouch for this set-up! In [a 2015] mid-range State Championship in Midland, MI, I shot my Pierce rifle into first place with a 598-44X (20 shots at 300, 500 and 600). Once you get used to the positioning and way of shooting these rifles, they just pour shots through the center of the target.”

Pierce F-TR Rifles with Scoville Stocks
Shown below are three complete Pierce F-TR rifles, along with a barreled action for comparison. The carbon-fiber/composite stocks are built by Bob Scoville. These Scoville stocks are very light, yet very strong and very stiff.

F-TR Scoville Stock F-Class Rifle

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