December 2nd, 2013
Forum member Jonathan L. (aka ‘Quest-QC’) was a member of the Canadian F-TR team at the F-Class World Championships in Raton, NM this fall. His handsome .308 Winchester rifle features some interesting hardware and a stunning African Padauk-wood stock stiffened with carbon fiber layers. We were impressed by the innovative, adjustable bag-rider assembly Jonathan fitted to the rear of his stock (scroll down for photo). With an Allen wrench, the vertical height and the slope (i.e. fore/aft angle) of the V-shaped bag-rider can be changed easily. This has many advantages. First, Jonathan can set his rifle to the most comfortable height (for his prone position) without using “lifters” under the rear bag. The system also gives him some gross elevation adjustment separate from the bipod. In addition, the angle adjustment allows the bag-rider to better match the geometry of the rear bag. Last but not least, by setting up the bag-rider with some drop (higher in front, lower in back), Jonathan can fine-tune his elevation (while aiming the gun) by simply sliding the rifle fore and aft.
Jonathan says: “This year was my second year shooting at 1000 yards and I managed to find a spot on Team Canada for the FCWC at Raton. Here is the rifle that brought me there…”
The rifle features a Kelbly Panda F-Class RB-LP action, 34″ Bartlein 1:11″-twist, Heavy Palma contour barrel. Fitted to the red-toned Padauk-wood stock is a 23.2 oz., StarShooter CF-SS light weight bipod with custom bench feet. On top is a March 8-80x56mm scope in Kelbly rings. Total weight of the rifle is 18 pounds, 1 oz., complete with the 24 oz. adjustable brass bag-rider at the back. The bag-rider block was modeled in 3D, then machined afterwards to use up the remaining weight available after all the other components. CLICK for StarShooter CF-SS Bipod Video.
African Padauk Wood is Very Stiff
Jonathan chose the red-toned African Padauk Wood because it is stiff for its weight: “The reason for choosing African Padauk is that the weight of the wood is the same as Maple but 45% more rigid.” The downside of Padauk, as Forum member Gstaylorg notes, is that it is a “very oily wood, which can make it somewhat difficult to finish with something like polyurethane. [Padauk] can generate a lot of bubbles and cause cracking problems around joints and/or seams.” Jonathan did note that he has observed a few bubbles in the auto clear coat on his stock. He plans to refinish the stock in the off-season.
Gun Is Extremely Accurate with Berger 200gr Hybrids
Jonathan says this rig was very accurate, at least until his barrel gave up the ghost. He says he has put 15 successive shots in about 1/4 MOA: “I managed to make it twice (1/4 MOA for 15) by taking my time between shots. You don’t want to overheat this barrel. I needed to provide a very strong effort (mentally) to be able to achieve such precision as the rifle is way better than me.” Jonathan shoots Berger 200gr Hybrid bullets (in the lands) with Hodgdon Varget powder, and Federal 205M primers, loaded into neck-turned Lapua .308 Win brass. He has also had good luck with Vihtavuori N150 powder in the past.
In compliance with F-Class rules, the adjustable bag-rider system would not be adjusted “on the fly” during record fire. The bag-rider’s vertical rise and fore/aft slope would be optimized before shooting, then locked in place. The bottom photo offers a good view of the V-shaped profile of the metal bag-rider. We have found that this kind of V-profile, closely matching the triangular profile of the rear ears, makes a rifle more secure in the rear bag and often allows the gun to track better.
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November 27th, 2013
McMillan will still be making stocks and other components. However, it is selling off its gun-building business. Strategic Armory Corps (SAC) announced it has acquired McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, LLC. McMillan produces quality hunting and tactical rifles including the highly-regarded TAC-50, TAC-416, TAC-308, TAC-300/338, and the new Alias modular rifle system. McMillan produces a full line of hunting rifles, including the Custom Collection, Mountain Extreme Series, and Long Range Hunting Series. McMillan also builds competition and target rifles.
The McMillan Firearms acquisition carries out Strategic Armory Corps’ strategy of acquiring premium firearms manufacturing companies (SAC has previously purchased ArmaLite Inc. and Surgeon Rifles). “The acquisition of McMillan Firearms is consistent with our focus on acquiring the highest quality manufacturers of premium firearms,” said Mark Johnson, Strategic Armory Corps CEO. “This transaction provides the perfect product line complement to the ArmaLite and Surgeon Rifles product lines and will allow us to more effectively serve the needs of the custom bolt action rifle enthusiast.”
Kelly McMillan stated, “Both Ryan and I will continue on as long term consultants with McMillan Firearms. We are proud of our heritage and are confident that Strategic Armory Corps will continue to build the highest quality firearms for our valued customers”.
Strategic Armory Corps is based in Phoenix, Arizona and is a fast-growing firearms and ammunition company that serves the needs of the high end firearms enthusiast. In July of 2013, the company acquired ArmaLite, Inc. one of the oldest names in the AR-style sporting rifle segment of the industry.
Story lead from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 24th, 2013
Can you guess what your next barrel will weigh? In many competition disciplines, “making weight” is a serious concern when putting together a new match rifle. A Light Varmint short-range Benchrest rifle cannot exceed 10.5 pounds including scope. An F-TR rifle is limited to 18 pounds, 2 oz. (8.25 kg) with bipod.
One of the heaviest items on most rifles is the barrel. If your barrel comes in much heavier than expected, it can boost the overall weight of the gun significantly. Then you may have to resort to cutting the barrel, or worse yet, re-barreling, to make weight for your class. In some cases, you can remove material from the stock to save weight, but if that’s not practical, the barrel will need to go on a diet. (As a last resort, you can try fitting a lighter scope.)
Is there a reliable way to predict, in advance, how much a finished barrel will weigh? The answer is “yes”. PAC-NOR Barreling of Brookings, Oregon has created a handy, web-based Barrel Weight Calculator. Just log on to Pac-Nor’s website and the calculator is free to use. Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is pretty sophisticated, with separate data fields for Shank Diameter, Barrel Length, Bore Diameter — even length and number of flutes. Punch in your numbers, and the Barrel Weight Calculator then automatically generates the weight for 16 different “standard” contours.
Calculator Handles Custom Contours
What about custom contours? Well the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator can handle those as well. The program allows input of eight different dimensional measurements taken along the barrel’s finished length, from breech to muzzle. You can use this “custom contour” feature when calculating the weight of another manufacturer’s barrel that doesn’t match any of Pac-Nor’s “standard” contours.
Smart Advice — Give Yourself Some Leeway
While Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is very precise (because barrel steel is quite uniform by volume), you will see some small variances in finished weight based on the final chambering process. The length of the threaded section (tenon) will vary from one action type to another. In addition, the size and shape of the chamber can make a difference in barrel weight, even with two barrels of the same nominal caliber. Even the type of crown can make a slight difference in overall weight. This means that the barrel your smith puts on your gun may end up slightly heavier or lighter than the Pac-Nor calculation. That’s not a fault of the program — it’s simply because the program isn’t set up to account for chamber volume or tenon length.
What does this mean? In practical terms — you should give yourself some “wiggle room” in your planned rifle build. Unless you’re able to shave weight from your stock, do NOT spec your gun at one or two ounces under max based on the Pac-Nor calculator output. That said, the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator is still a very helpful, important tool. When laying out the specs for a rifle in any weight-restricted class, you should always “run the numbers” through a weight calculator such as the one provided by Pac-Nor. This can avoid costly and frustrating problems down the road.
Credit Edlongrange for finding the Pac-Nor Calculator
Caution: Same-Name Contours from Different Makers May Not be Exactly the Same
One final thing to remember when using the Barrel Weight Calculator is that not all “standard” contours are exactly the same, as produced by different barrel-makers. A Medium Palma contour from Pac-Nor may be slightly different dimensionally from a Krieger Medium Palma barrel. When using the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator to “spec out” the weight of a barrel from a different manufacturer, we recommend you get the exact dimensions from your barrel-maker. If these are different that Pac-Nor’s default dimensions, use the “custom contour” calculator fields to enter the true specs for your brand of barrel.
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November 19th, 2013
Here’s some good news for owners of 1903 Springfields, 1903A3s, M1 Garands, and M1 Carbines. The CMP sells brand new chrome-moly barrels for these rifles for $190.00 or less. 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. (NOTE: Currently the only M1 Garand Barrels offered are chambered for the .308 Winchester, NOT the .30-06 Springfield.) To order, go to the CMP eStore and click the Barrels Link in the upper left.
New Criterion 1903 RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
New 1903 barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc., 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Comply with CMP competition rules and are legal for the 1903 Matches. Parkerized like the original 1903 and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions.
Item: 065CRI/03 | $189.95 + $9.95 shipping
New Criterion 1903A3 RIFLE barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
New 1903A3 barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc., 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Comply with CMP competition rules and are legal for the 1903A3 Matches. Parkerized like the original 1903A3 and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions.
Item: 065CRI/A3 | Price: $189.95 + $9.95 shipping
New Criterion Garand (.308) RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
New Garand barrels by Criterion Barrels, 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Parkerized finish and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions. NOTE: Barrel is chambered for .308 Winchester.
Item: 065CRI/M1 | Price $189.95 plus $9.95 shipping
New Criterion Carbine RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
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.
Item: 065CRI/CARBINE | Price $189.95 plus $9.95 shipping
NOTE: For all barrel types, assembly and headspacing by a qualified gunsmith is required.
Credit Forum Member Boyd Allen for finding this CMP Barrel Special
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November 18th, 2013
OK, admit it — you’ve always wondered how they get those color swirls and camo patterns in McMillan stocks. (You’ll be surprised at the answer). And how does McMillan manage to inlet stocks so precisely for so many different action types?
McMillan Stocks is one of the leading fiberglass stock producers, cranking out 8,000-10,000 stocks every year for hunters, target shooters, and members of the military. McMillan employs state-of-the-art, high-tech machinery. At the same time, many processes are still done by hand — such as applying colors to the stocks.
In the videos below, Kelly McMillan hosts Bob Beck of Extreme Outer Limits TV in a tour of the McMillan stock-making facility. We think all avid “gun guys” will be fascinated by these high-quality videos.
McMillan Custom Stock Production
The first video shows the stock-building operation from start to finish — You’ll see the lay-up, color application, molding, and “stuffing”. Watch carefully at 0:16 to see colors being applied.
McMillan Stock Inletting Video
The second video shows how CNC-controlled milling machines create ultra-precise inlets for a variety of barreled actions. McMillan has over 10,000 CNC programs based on different action sizes/shapes, floor-plate dimensions, barrel contours and other stock characteristics. Each program gives precise instructions to the automated, multi-tool milling machines.
McMillan Stock Bedding Video
The third video shows how a barreled action is bedded into a McMillan fiberglass stock. Home gunsmiths will want to watch this segment carefully — maybe more than once. There is a lot to learn.
Videos found by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 17th, 2013
Some folks feel that they don’t have to worry about rust and corrosion on stainless steel barrels, actions, and other components. That’s not really true. “Stainless” is a bit of a misnomer. First, there are different types of stainless steel alloys, with different degrees of rust resistance. 300 series stainless is more corrosion resistant than the 416 stainless commonly used in barrels. The composition (by percentage weight) of 416 stainless is 0.15% carbon, 12-14% chromium and the rest iron. 416 stainless steel lacks the roughly 10% nickel content that makes the 300 series more corrosion resistant in atmospheric conditions. But because 416 handles pressure better and is easier to machine (than 300 series steel), 416 stainless remains the better choice for barrels.
Though some grades of stainless are more corrosion-resistent, ALL varieties of stainless steel can rust if they are not handled and stored properly. Forum reader Kells81 observed: “Wanna see some rusted stainless? Go to the big “C” brand store in Ft. Worth. Every stainless gun they have on the used gun rack is rusted.” Tom Easly of TRE Custom explains: “Sweat is very corrosive. Sweat and blood will rust many stainless steels. I hate to handle my guns or drip on them when I sweat. It really helps to just wipe them good with a wet rag, dry and wipe on a light coating of gun oil. I think most stainless barrels are made from type 416 stainless, and it is generally pretty corrosion resistant, but not when exposed to sweat, blood, or chlorates (corrosive priming), and some other electrolytes.”
Forum member Jacob, who is studying materials science at LSU, provides this technical information: “The basic resistance of stainless steel occurs because of its ability to form a protective coating on the metal surface. This coating is a ‘passive’ film which resists further ‘oxidation’ or rusting. The formation of this film is instantaneous in an oxidizing atmosphere such as air, water, or other fluids that contain oxygen. Once the layer has formed, we say that the metal has become ‘passivated’ and the oxidation or ‘rusting’ rate will slow down to less than 0.002″ per year (0.05 mm per year).
Unlike aluminum or silver, this passive film is invisible in stainless steel. It’s created when oxygen combines with the chrome in the stainless to form chrome oxide which is more commonly called ‘ceramic’. This protective oxide or ceramic coating is common to most corrosion resistant materials.
Halogen salts, especially chlorides, easily penetrate this passive film and will allow corrosive attack to occur. The halogens are easy to recognize because they end in the letters ‘ine’. Listed in order of their activity they are: fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, astatine.
These are the same chemicals that will penetrate Teflon and cause trouble with Teflon coated or encapsulated o-rings and/ or similar coated materials. Chlorides are one of the most common elements in nature and if that isn’t bad enough, they’re also soluble, active ions. These provide the basis for electrolytes. The presence of electrolytic solutions can accelerate corrosion or chemical attack.”
CONCLUSION: Stainless steel barrels and components won’t rust nearly as fast as blued steel, but you still have to take precautions — particularly removing sweat and corrosive salts from the barrel. Also, don’t let moisture build up inside or outside of the barrel. We recommend wiping your barrels and actions with Eezox, or Corrosion-X after each use. These are both extremely effective rust-fighters that go on thin, without leaving a greasy residue. (Eezox leaves a clear finish, while Corrosion-X has a slightly waxy finish.) Also store your guns in Bore-Store bags when the guns go in the safe. Bore-Stores wick away moisture, and the synthetic fleece inner surface is treated with rust-fighting chemicals. Bore-Stores also protect your guns against dings and scratches. To discuss how rust can form on stainless steel, visit this FORUM Thread.
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November 16th, 2013
Kirby Allen of Allen Precision Shooting, www.apsrifles.com, has developed a .30-caliber jumbo-sized magnum he calls the 300 Raptor. The 300 Raptor (center in photo) is based on Allen’s 338 Excalibur parent case (far right in photo), necked down to 30 cal with shoulder moved forward to increase case capacity. Allen states: “This is the largest capacity and performance .30 caliber magnum on the market that can be used in a conventional sized receiver.”
Shoot 200s at 3600 fps
Performance of Allen’s new 300 Raptor is impressive. Allen claims that “200gr Accubonds can be driven to nearly 3600 fps, 230gr Berger Hybrids to 3350 fps, and the 240gr SMK to right at 3300 fps. These loads offered case life in excess of 6-7 firings per case and many of my test cases have over 8 firings on each case so they are not an overly hot load showing the potential of this big .30 caliber.”
To showcase the new cartridge, Allen built up a prototype rifle with a McMillan A5 stock, Raptor LRSS Action with extended tenon, and a Jewell trigger. The first 300 Raptor Rifle is currently on its second barrel, a new 30″, 3-groove 1:9″-twist Lilja in a custom APS “Raptor Contour”. This distinctive dual-fluted contour runs full-diameter almost to the end of the stock, and then steps down and tapers to the muzzle, where a beefy Medium 3-port ‘Painkiller’ Allen Precision brake is fitted.
Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 14th, 2013
Wouldn’t it be great if you could apply a durable, two-part, commercial-grade coating on gun parts, with the ease of “rattle can” spraying. Until recently, you had to have some pro-grade equipment to apply multi-stage coatings. Now that has changed thanks to a new “can-in-a-can” developed in Europe. DuraCoat® can now be applied, in your choice of nine colors, from a single, convenient rattle can. The secret is the new type of twin-chamber can construction. An inner chamber holds the DuraCoat hardener (catalyst), while an outer chamber contains the DuraCoat color coating liquid.
The “can-in-a-can” design keeps the two elements completely separate until you are ready to apply the coating. It’s really quite ingenious. Duracoat’s owner, Steve Lauer, found this innovative dual-chamber aerosol can design in Europe. We believe his company, Lauer Custom Weaponry is the first to introduce this spray can technology in the American gun coating market.
Video Shows How to Apply DuraCoat with New Twin-Chamber Aerosol Can
DuraCoat is a two-part coating system. Once the DuraCoat is mixed with the hardener, a chemical reaction occurs. That is why the two fluids must be kept separated until it’s time to coat a project. When you’re ready, you mix the two products by pushing a plunger in the bottom of the can. This is done by attaching a red button to the bottom of the can. Push down on the can and you’ll here a “pop” that indicates the hardener can migrate into the main chamber. Shake the can for a couple minutes and you are good to go (provided the product to be coated has been prepped properly.)
DuraCoat is Versatile
Duracoat can be used on carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, metal alloys, wood, plastic and many other surfaces. No baking or pre-heating is required. DuraCoat is not just a thin cosmetic layer like conventional paint. When properly applied, DuraCoat offers good abrasion resistance and very effective protection against corrosion. DuraCoat Aerosol is currently offered in nine (9) popular colors: Matte Black, Woodland Green, Parkerized Gray, OD Green, White, Combat Gray, Pink Lady, Magpul Flat Dark Earth, and Blackhawk Coyote Tan. View DuraCoat Color Chart.
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November 13th, 2013
Steven Blair’s recent report on the .300 WSM for F-Class stirred quite a bit of interest. If you’re a serious F-Open competitor, you’ll definitely want to read that article, which covers the pros and cons of the .30-Cal WSM loaded with the ultra-high-BC 230gr Berger Hybrid bullets.
If you’re thinking about building a .300 WSM for F-Class, here’s a rig that can give you some design and hardware ideas. This eye-catching custom .300 WSM F-Open rig belongs to Forum member Keith T. (aka “KT”). With its striking “bumblebee” color scheme, it will certainly get noticed on the firing line.
Click Photos to see full-screen versions.
Bold Bumblebee .300 WSM for F-Class
Forum member Keith T. (aka “KT”) just got his hands on his new .300 WSM for F-Class and long-range competition. It’s a handsome brute, decked out in a “bumblebee” (yellow and black) laminated stock. Keith’s rifle features a Defiance Machine Deviant Long Magnum action (with Jewell trigger) in a Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) F-Class Lowboy stock. Keith has two 30″-long, 1:9″-twist barrels for the gun, one made by Brux Barrels, and the other by Bartlein. Both barrels have identical .300 WSM chambers cut with the same reamer. Keith will test both and then use the best-performing of the two in competition. Riding on top is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm Benchrest Model scope. All the work was done by Accurate Ordnance (AO), based in Winder, Georgia.
Keith reports: “This one took a while to get built due to parts availability issues, but I’m glad it’s done! Thanks to Accurate Ordnance and Nightforce and all their help.” NOTE: Accurate Ordnance tells us that a rifle like this can normally be completed in 6-8 weeks, once all key parts are in hand.
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November 11th, 2013
Are you thinking thinking about a low-budget Remington 700 project? Perhaps you want to build a basic hunting rifle for a young family member. Or maybe you want to re-stock or re-barrel an old Rem 700 that’s sitting in the safe. Well here’s your opportunity. CDNN Investments has attained a large inventory of brand new “Take-Out” factory parts from Remington rifles. You’ll find triggers for $49.99, barrels for $49.99/$69.99, and synthetic stocks for $49.99/$59.99. If you already have a Rem 700 action, this will let you assemble a complete rifle for very little money. These are new Remington-made parts. NOTE: Though chambered as indicated, gunsmithing is required for installation of these barrels.
For more information, or to order, visit CDNNinvestments.com or call (800) 588-9500.
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November 9th, 2013
The first edition of Modern Custom Guns hit bookstores 16 years ago. Next month Gun Digest will release the long-awaited Second Edition of Modern Custom Guns. This is a richly-illustrated, 8.2″x11″ hard-cover book, with approximately 200 color photos. Written by Tom Turpin and published by Gun Digest Books, this 208-page volume is now available for pre-order, with a December 11, 2013 release date.
CLICK for FREE Preview of Modern Custom Guns
This 208-page Second Edition of Modern Custom Guns is not just a coffee-table book. In addition to the nice color photography, the book examines the processes and techniques used to craft ultra-high-end custom rifles. Author Turpin has interviewed many gifted rifle-makers and artisans who create showpiece rifles. Turpin explains how these craftsman work magic with wood and metal. Specific chapters are dedicated to: Stock-making, Metal-smithing, Actions, Barrels, Sights, Engraving/carving, and other topics. Chapter 10 spotlights two dozen master engravers, while Chapter 11 profiles 39 leading custom gun-builders. A helpful Appendix provides contact information for custom gun-makers and engravers.
About the Author – Tom Turpin has been a professional writer in the outdoor industry for over 40 years. He has written several hundred published articles, four books, and he is presently a contributing editor to the Gun Digest Annual.
In this new edition of Modern Custom Guns, Tom Turpin sought to showcase the exceptional craftsmanship found in high-end customs. Tom explains: “My preference runs to classic styling, and I follow the principle that if any one facet of a custom rifle immediately jumps out at you, it is surely overdone. Quiet elegance is best for me.”
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