March 8th, 2021

Building Your Own AR-15 from Components — How-To DVD

AR-MPR-Build-2-AR-15-Tools
Here are the main tools you’ll need to assemble an AR-platform rifle

With the anti-gun agenda pushed by radical Democrats in Washington, many Americans are anxious to buy an AR-15, or put together an AR-platform rifle while it is still legal to do so. In Canada, the government ordered confiscation of AR-type modern sporting rifles, and both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris applauded that Executive Order. And Joe Biden recently called for a complete ban on semi-auto ARs and full-capacity magazines. With the prospect of radical gun control, we understand why many Americans are looking to buy, and/or build an AR-15. This article explains how.

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

AR-15 DVD ultimatereloder.com

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

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

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

UltimateReloader.com’s AR-15 Build DVD is available just $9.90 (plus $3.80 shipping/handling). This DVD can pay for itself many times over by showing you how to do your own gunsmithing (and get quality AR components at attractive prices).

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March 2nd, 2021

Upgrade Your Tikka T3 with Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

We have always liked Tikka actions, and now there is a great re-barreling option for Tikka T3 owners. Criterion Barrels Inc. (CBI), makers of “pre-fit” barrels for Savage, Remington, and Rem-clone actions, also produces Tikka pre-fits. These pre-chambered barrels for Tikka T3 actions will be headspaced with a barrel nut, just like a Savage.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels
Click image for full-screen version

Criterion’s Tikka T3 pre-fit barrels are currently sold through Solid Accuracy, a respected Texas-based outfit that sells high-end scopes, stocks, barrels and other rifle components. Solid Accuracy states: “Each Solid Accuracy/Criterion pre-fit barrel features a hand-lapped bore and meets extreme quality control standards. Utilizing a proven barrel nut design, these barrels can be swapped in just a few minutes using only a barrel nut wrench and the appropriate headspace gauge set. Solid Accuracy offers finished lengths up to 30″ with multiple contour options.”

These Tikka pre-fits were first introduced in 2017, and the accuracy results were impressive. Solid Accuracy’s initial test rifle featured a Tikka T3 action mounted in a KRG X-Ray chassis, with Criterion barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The group below was shot with a stout load of H4350 and Sierra 140 grain MatchKings seated .009″ in the lands.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

Criterion is proud of how well the Tikka pre-fit project turned out. These barrels work great in the Tikka platform. One of Criterion’s staffers was so impressed with the initial test results that he is built his own Tikka T3 rifle, with a Criterion pre-fit of course…

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February 25th, 2021

Shiraz Balolia Book Recounts Remarkable Business Success Story

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly Industrial F-Class

If you are a F-Class competitor or use machine tools, chances are you know Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz is one of America’s top F-Class shooters, an all-star competitor who has won major titles, including three straight Canadian F-Open National Championships. Shiraz also owns Grizzly Industrial Inc., a large, successful enterprise he founded in 1983. For 38 years, Grizzly has provided quality tools to wood-workers and metal workers. Grizzly’s catalog is now over 700 pages.

Shiraz’s life story is an interesting one. He came to the USA from Kenya, and then became a very successful businessman, building Grizzly Industrial into a major player in the tools/parts/machinery business. Shiraz also founded Bullets.com, which sold firearms accessories and reloading components for some years. Shiraz’s effort to start Bullets.com was an outgrowth of his desire to “give back” to the shooting sports, the hobby he loves.

To cover his noteworthy business career and life, Shiraz has written an impressive 288-page autobiography, entitled A Bad Case of Capitalism (referring to his love for the world of selling products). This book covers Shiraz’s early years though the present, providing a “tale of travel through war-torn countries, courtroom battles, success, failure, and everything in between.” It explains the challenges of starting direct-to-consumer businesses, first via mail-order and then adapting to the new online world.

We enjoyed the book because it provides a clear inside look at the challenges of starting a business. And we are grateful that Shiraz, through his businesses, has been a strong supporter of AccurateShooter.com for more than a decade. Balolia’s autobiography has been described as “equal parts business primer, history, and collection of life lessons”. The book shows how vision and determination can create a true American success story.

Readers have enjoyed the book and the lessons it offers on how to build a business:

“As someone who loves to create things with his hands, I was immediately drawn to this book, as Mr. Balolia is basically the father of machinery for woodworkers like me. It’s a great read that opens your eyes to a place and time I’d never heard of before, and it paints a great picture of determination and grit…. This book is certainly a motivating tale, and it shows that with a supportive family and vision (and a ton of hard work) you can do anything you dream.” — Jameson H.

“This is as much a story of Mr. Balolia as it is of Grizzly Industrial. In this book, and probably real life, the two are inseparable. From humble beginnings to a substantial empire of industrial equipment you have to admire and applaud the success story and this chronicle of hard work and perseverance. Impressive, very impressive.” — Own One

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Grizzly Lathes for Gunsmiths

In this video, Shiraz talks about Gunsmithing Lathes sold by Grizzly.com:

Shiraz Uses the Machines That He Sells
Shiraz is not just a talented business leader and ace marksman. He is also a very skilled fabricator and woodworker. He has crafted guitars, and worked on his own gunstocks. This shows an F-Class Stock Shiraz upgraded using Grizzly Industrial machinery. The modified stock has a significantly lower Center of Gravity, riding 1/2″ lower in the front bag. Shiraz says the modified stock performed great.

Shiraz Balolia biography book

Shiraz Balolia lathe press tools stock

Shiraz Balolia (left) and Norma Managing Director Paul-Erik Toivo.
Shiraz Balolia

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February 22nd, 2021

AR-15 Critical Failure — Bolt Breaks into Two Pieces

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

A while back, our friend Dennis Santiago was conducting training for a Southern California Police Department. During a training session one of the unit’s AR15s stopped functioning. The problem — the bolt in the AR rifle broke in half. Dennis states: “They ran the gun dry, broke for lunch, shot it again. They don’t like that. I personally like to flood the bolt wet with lube on training days. It prevents stuff like this. Given that, it’s a simple remove-and-replace fix.”

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

Here are some of the more interesting comments about this parts failure — an AR bolt that literally sheared in half:

“If I was a betting man [the steel] wasn’t made by Carpenter Steel. They are one of the few companies that use the correct [milspec-steel, C-158] called out on the drawing which they coincidentally developed. Most of the other companies that make [AR Bolts] use different steel with the same heat treat specification as what is called out which gives them the potential of being a little on the brittle side at the upper end of the tolerance. When it comes to the AR platform, bolts are probably the only part of the entire gun where I must admit to being a little bit of a brand snob.” David O’N.

[Editor’s Note: Actually Carpenter Steel does not make AR bolts. They are a steel supplier, and yes Carpenter did develop the original C-158 steel for AR bolts. Here is a contrary view, claiming that AISI 9310 Steel is actually stronger than milspec Carpenter C-158: 9310 Steel for AR Bolts.]

“Dry bolt and carrier shouldn’t cause that. Looks like a big pressure spike. What kind of ammo…?” Guy G.
Reply from Dennis: “55gr factory ammo. Piles of it.

“Is that the new two-piece bolt everyone’s been talking about LOL?” — Darren R.

“Let me guess…the PD called you in cause they didn’t know why it stopped going ‘pew pew’?” — Jim O.
Reply from Dennis: “I was there today for qualifications. It broke during the rifle phase. Simple enough to fish the bolt parts out of the action. The training didn’t miss a beat. I have an armory full of the things.”

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February 21st, 2021

Erratic POI? Check Your Scope — But It Could Be a Loose Barrel

loose barrel vortex scope optics point of impact change fix

Are you seeing unpredictable changes in Point of Impact on your target? Think you may have a scope issue? Well maybe not — when was the last time you checked your BARREL?

Yes scopes do fail, and scope bases/rings do get loose. But sometimes problems with erratic POI shifts are caused by a LOOSE BARREL. This issue came up recently in our Shooter’s Forum. One member complained that his zero was shifting from day to day — by as much as two inches at 100 yards. He was convinced he had a scope problem, based on erratic POI:

“I think my scope loses 1 to 3 MOA per day. When I shot my rifle Monday it was dead on. On Tuesday it was 1″ low. Then on Wednesday it was 1 or 2″ lower. I don’t get it. — the elevation knob never touched. Scope will track and return to zero that day perfect. Yes EVERYTHING has been checked, nothing loose. What is the chance the erector tube spring has gone south? For the record this is a Vortex GE. Never had a bad scope, but this has me wondering”. — LB

On Forum member told LB to send the scope right back to the manufacturer. Two other members suggested mounting the scope on a different rifle to test. Good advice. That’s generally a smart strategy before you conclude a scope has gone bad…

Could Problem Be the Scope Base?
Two Forum members, ExPiper and Dickn52, suggested checking the scope base, recounting their past experiences with troublesome bases. This was intelligent — anyone with a POI problem should check all the optics attachments:

“Went crazy one day chasing my impacts on a 100-yard target. Shots would group fine for three then go nuts for 4-5. I cranked and un-cranked for about an hour. Then I reached up and the base wobbled on the rifle. Removed scope, tightened base screws and back in business.” — Dickn52

“Years ago I had a problem [where] shots were climbing with almost every shot. I was blaming the scope. However, when removing the scope I noticed that the 20 MOA base was cracked and getting wider with every shot. Needless to say I replaced the base and the problem was solved. — ExPiper

Eureka Moment — The problem was the BARREL, not the Scope

There were many helpful suggestions, but member PirateAmmo steered LB to the real problem — a loose BARREL: “We had a problem on a home-built AR-platform rifle once, barrel was loose a tad…”

Member Snert chimed in: “Yep — I had a PPC that suddenly went 19″ low. Picked up gun off bench by barrel and felt a wiggle. I tightened the barrel and the POI went 19 inches up”.

Problem Solved — Barrel Tightened up and POI Back to Normal
The gentleman with the POI problem took the advice of PirateAmmo and checked his barrel. BINGO! Low and behold, the barrel WAS loose.

LB posted: “Barrel loose by about 2%, checked it twice before and didn’t find it the first two times”.

After LB re-tightened his barrel, his rifle started shooting normally again. No more shooting low by 1-2 inches. Problem solved. The fix didn’t cost a penny and now LB doesn’t have to send a perfectly good optic back to the manufacturer.

Lesson learned? Check ALL the variables before you assume a scope has gone bad. Along with the barrel, also check your action screw tension, and of course the scope base and rings.

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February 18th, 2021

Genesis of a Tactical Rifle — The Process of Creation

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

How is a modern, metal-chassis rifle built? This very cool video from Masterpiece Arms answers that question. The nicely-edited video shows the creation of a Masterpiece Arms tactical rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the manufacturing process are illustrated: 3D CAD modeling, CNC milling of the chassis, barrel threading/contouring, chamber-reaming, barrel lapping, laser engraving, and stock coating. If you love to see machines at work, you will enjoy this video…

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

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February 17th, 2021

How to Blueprint a Rem 700 Action — Rifleshooter.com Reveals

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizingYou may have heard the phrase “blueprinting an action”, but do you know what that really means? Do you know what operations are done to an action during the blueprinting process? To help you understand, gunsmith Bill Marr of RifleShooter.com has created a helpful article showing a Rem 700 blueprinting job start to finish. This article spotlights how the procedures can be done with manual tools. Bill, who runs 782 Custom Gunworks Ltd., can also perform many of these operations with modern automated machinery. In fact, Bill has written a follow-up article on Truing a Rem 700 receiver with a Lathe.

READ Full Action Blueprinting Article HERE with 30+ Photos »

Bill explains: “Blue-printing, or truing a rifle action, ensures the receiver face, threads, lugs, bolt lugs, and bolt face are square to the center line of the receiver.” In Bill’s informative article, Bill shows how he blueprints a Remington 700 short action receiver with .308 Win bolt face. He covers the following procedures step by step:

Action Disassembly
Ream Minor Diameter of Receiver Threads
Square the Receiver Lugs
Square the Face of the Receiver
Lap the Bolt Lugs
Square the Bolt Face

Bill employed a variety of tools from Brownells to complete the blueprinting job, including: Remington 700 Armorer’s Kit; Manson Receiver Accurizing Kit; Bolt Lapping Kit; Bolt Face Truing Tool; Manson Receiver Ring Facing Cutter; Multi-Vise with Jaw Pads; Silicone Carbide Abrasive; and Do-Drill Cutting Oil.

Highlights from the Rifleshooter.com article:

1. Chasing the Threads

We use the bushings to guide the receiver tap. This chases the threads and ensures they are square.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

2. Truing the Receiver Face

Using the receiver facing tool, the front of the receiver is trued. The tool is placed over the tap and turned by hand. We used Do Drill to lubricate it.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

3. Lapping the Lugs

The bolt lapping tool screws into the front of the action and applies rearward pressure on the bolt face. A little bit of lapping compound is placed on the front of the receiver lugs. The bolt handle is then raised and lowered repeatedly. Note — it is critical that we do not get any lapping compound on any other surfaces.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

4. Truing the Bolt Face

On this bolt, the central part of the bolt face was low. After the truing operation, this Rem 700 bolt face is now completely square to the action.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

READ Blueprinting Rem 700 Action with Lathe Article HERE »

IMPORTANT: Rifleshooter.com states: “This article highlights our project and is presented for information purposes only. This provides an overview of the process and should not be attempted without the guidance and supervision of an experienced gunsmith“.

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February 16th, 2021

CZ Acquires Colt’s Manufacturing Co. LLC and Colt Canada Corp.

Colt Manufacturing LLC CZ acquires gun maker

Colt Manufacturing LLC, the legendary American gun-maker, is being sold to CZ, the Czech firearms manufacturer. Česká zbrojovka Group SE (“CZG”) has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the outstanding equity in Colt Holding Company LLC (“Colt”), the parent of U.S. firearms manufacturer Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC as well as its Canadian subsidiary, Colt Canada Corporation.

CZG will acquire a 100% stake in Colt for $220 million in cash plus 1,098,620 shares of newly-issued CZG common stock. The deal will close in Q2 2021. After the merger, the combined group will become a global gun-making powerhouse with revenues in excess of $600 million USD.

Colt Manufacturing LLC CZ acquires gun maker

CZG President/Chairman Lubomír Kovařík stated: “This merger is a strategic step for both companies. The acquisition of Colt, an iconic brand and a benchmark for the military, law enforcement and commercial markets globally, fits perfectly in our strategy to become the leader in the firearms manufacturing industry and a key partner for the armed forces. We are proud to include Colt, which has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. Army for over 175 years, in our portfolio. We believe in the successful connection of our corporate cultures, the proven track record of the current management team and the complementary nature of the CZ and Colt brands.”

Colt Manufacturing LLC CZ acquires gun maker

Dennis Veilleux, President/CEO of Colt, agreed: Having completed a historic turn-around of the operations and financial performance at Colt over the past five years, this important next step with CZG positions the company to take advantage of significant growth opportunities. We are excited to join forces with CZG which will be a powerful combination for both brands and for our customers.”

With this strategic move, CZG will acquire significant production capacity in the United States and Canada and substantially expand its global customer base. Colt is a traditional supplier to global military and law enforcement customers. Colt is a long-term supplier to the U.S. Army and, through its Canadian subsidiary, Colt is a designated exclusive supplier of AR-type small arms to the Canadian military.

About Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC

Colt’s Manufacturing Company, LLC (formerly Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company) is an American firearms manufacturer founded in 1855 by Samuel Colt. It is the successor corporation to Samuel Colt’s earlier firearms-making efforts started in 1836. For over 175 years, Colt Mfg. has supplied civilian, military and law enforcement customers in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Colt Manufacturing LLC CZ acquires gun maker

Colt is a supplier to the U.S. military, a primary supplier to the Canadian military* and it also supplies its products to other armed forces around the world. Colt firearms enjoy a reputation throughout the world for accuracy and quality. Colt pistols are carried by military and law enforcement personnel in numerous countries, and Colt handguns are popular with private gunowners throughout the world. In 2020 Colt released a new version of its vaunted .357 Magnum Python Revolver.

About CZG – Česká zbrojovka Group SE

Česká zbrojovka Group SE (CZG), together with its subsidiaries, is one of the leading European producers of firearms for military and law enforcement, personal defense, hunting, sport shooting and other civilian use. CZG markets and sells its products mainly under the CZ (Česká zbrojovka), CZ-USA, Dan Wesson, Brno Rifles and 4M Systems brands. CZG’s subsidiaries include Česká zbrojovka, CZ-USA, 4M Systems and CZ Export Praha. CZG owns a minority stake in Spuhr i Dalby, a Swedish manufacturer of optical mounting solutions for weapons.

Colt Manufacturing LLC CZ acquires gun maker

Headquartered in the Czech Republic, CZG has production facilities in the Czech Republic and in the USA. CZG employs around 1,650 people in the Czech Republic, the USA and Germany.

*Colt Canada is an exclusive supplier of primary issue rifles for the Canadian military. Cadex and PGW Defense supply some bolt-action and sniper-type rifles.

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February 15th, 2021

Video Shows How to Replace Remington 700 Trigger

Remington 700 trigger replacement Timney installation

Many Remington 700 rifle owners swap out the factory trigger. This is not a difficult task, but you need to follow the proper procedure so you don’t damage any important parts during installation, and so that you don’t interfere with the operation of the bolt and safety. This Do-It-Yourself video from Brownells leads you through step by step how to safely and correctly replace your Remington 700 trigger. This installation video covers the common methods used to install most of the popular after-market Rem 700 triggers. Importantly, the video also shows how to function test after installation, and how to make sure your safety is working properly.

Many Rem 700 owners fit Timney triggers to their rifles.
Remington 700 trigger replacement Timney installation

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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February 14th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: 5 lb. Titanium-Action Carbon-Stock Hunting Rifle

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock
Here is Tom Mousel with Whitetail taken with his ultra-light hunting rifle fitted with 6mm Creedmoor Lilja barrel. Friend Cody (right) actually took the shot. This gun has a second barrel in 6.5 Creedmoor.

“Light is Right” when it comes to carrying deer rifles long distances in the backcountry. A lighter rifle DOES make a difference when you’re hiking many miles and carrying other gear including binoculars, laser rangefinders, food/water, and packs. And then, if you are successful, you’ll be carrying out game meat, so a lighter rifle translates to a lighter overall load.

When Forum member Tom Mousel (a top 1000-yard competitor) considered a new hunting rifle, he wanted a very light-weight rig. What he got was a low mass masterpiece — an ultra-accurate, five-pound hunting rifle. Not only does this twin-barrel rifle, as built by Alex Wheeler, come in under five pounds (before optics), but it has produced some quarter-MOA 3-shot groups at 1000 yards. The 6mm Creedmoor version of this rifle has demonstrated truly stellar accuracy at long range. The 6.5 Creedmoor barrel also shoots well and packs more punch for hunting use.

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Ultra-Light Rifle Specifications:
Pierce Engineering 100% Titanium action — Titanium Receiver, Bolt, Lug
Manners Composite Stocks UC Carbon Fiber Stock
Barrel ONE: Lilja 6mm 21″ 1:7″-twist 3-groove, No. 1 Contour, Chambered 6mm Creedmoor
Barrel TWO: Rock Creek 6.5mm 21″ 1:8″-twist, No. 2 Contour, Chambered 6.5 Creedmoor
Leupold Mark AR 4-12x40mm scope in Talley Rings
Jewell Trigger

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock
CLICK HERE to view full-screen large version of photo.

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Here is Tom’s rifle weighing in at 4 pounds, 14 ounces with 21″ Lilja #1 contour 6mm barrel. Tom says: “Here’s the rifle with full Titanium action, bolt, and lug, in a Tom Manners 17 oz. carbon fiber stock. It’s exactly one pound heavier fitted with my Leupold Mark AR 4-12x40mm scope in Talley rings.”

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Tom has two barrels for the rifle, one chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor and the other for 6mm Creedmoor. Tom reports: “The 6.5mm is a bit lighter being fluted. But I won’t be switching back now that I’ve shot the 6mm version. Neither has too much recoil, but the 6mm CM just kills the 6.5mm at distance for groups.”

Tom tells us: “What I like about this rifle is there were no corners cut to make it light. On some other ultra-lights, the fore-end has no strength or they are cut down really short. This is a full-sized stock, pillar-bedded with aluminum-filled epoxy and free-floated barrel. The ignition is set up with a TON of firing pin fall to function in the coldest temps.”

Gunsmith Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy is pleased with how this project turned out: “Tom has shot a bunch of sub-5″ groups and a couple one-inchers back-to-back at 1K. He has the Berger 115gr VLD going about 3050 fps.” Tom noted the 6mm barrel picked up about 50-60 FPS after the first 50 rounds. He shoots 115gr Berger VLDs with CCI 450s and Reloder 16, with the Bergers about .005″-.008″ in the lands.

Groups at 1000 Yards with 6mm Creedmoor Barrel, 115gr Bergers

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock
Here are two of Tom’s 1000-yard targets. This is with the 6mm Creedmoor barrel shooting 115gr Berger VLDs pushed by Alliant Reloder 16 at about 3050 FPS. The average of the two groups is 0.246 MOA. Pretty amazing for an ultra-light rifle shot off a bipod. Tom acknowledges that he can’t do this every day. He says that “shooting 871 yards at my home range, the rifle typically shoots 4″ to 5″ 3-shot groups”.

Q & A with Tom Mousel About his Ultra-Light Hunting Rifle

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stockQ: Why did you choose to build this rig?
Tom: I just wanted to do it to see how light we could build an accurate, good-shooting rifle.

Q: What are your favorite things about the rifle, and is there anything you would change?
Tom: Definitely the light weight, and the overall size — it has a pretty short barrel (21″), so it’s just handy. I wouldn’t change anything about the rifle, now that I have the Titanium bolt. When I bought the action originally it had the steel bolt.

Q: How does this rifle handle?
Tom: It points well considering it is a light rifle. The 6mm Creedmoor version has very little recoil. On a good bipod I can sight in at 1000 without a spotter.

Q: What are your favorite accessories?
I use a Solo Hntr Mtn Lite stretchy cover. You can see it in the photo at right showing me on a hunt. I like this because you can roll it up like a sock and and use it for a rear support.

Q: Why did you choose Alliant Reloder 16 powder?
Tom: Lonnie Anderson, a fellow Deep Creek shooter, did a 6mm Creedmoor and he said RL16 was absolutely the most accurate. We have also found that Reloder 16 is really consistent on velocities through the seasons — from 90 above to teens below zero.

Q: Could this ultra-light set-up work for a bigger caliber also?
Tom: I’ve tried bigger calibers, but I’ve never been satisfied with the consistency of the groups. There’s a cut-off — there’s too much torque and recoil. We see a limit — you don’t want “too much gun” for the platform. Even here, the 6.5 barrel just doesn’t shoot as well as the 6mm.

Q: What advice do you have for hunters considering ultra-light rifles?
Tom: Be careful about falling in love with ballistics and trying to build too much bang for too small a platform. If I built a 7mm WSM for example, I’d want to rifle to weigh at least two pounds more.

Full Titanium Action from Pierce Engineering
This photo shows the Pierce Engineering Titanium Featherweight short action featuring Titanium (Ti) receiver, Ti bolt, and Ti lug. This unit is a mere 15.90 ounces complete. (NOTE: with Titanium body and STEEL bolt the weight is 18.5 ounces). The long action version is 17.4 ounces for the complete Titanium action with Ti bolt and Ti lug.

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Jud at Pierce Engineering tells us: “Both the Ti action body and Ti bolt are DLC-coated. This action also has an anti-bind rail for added smoothness and ease of functioning. This really is one of the lightest actions on the market. If you’re looking into building an ultra-light rifle I would seriously check one out! We make these with the highest level of detail, pride, and machining tolerances. They’re just sweet actions… and our Ti Featherweight short action is roughly half the weight of a Remington Model 7. So there’s a significant weight savings with the Pierce Ti Featherweight over a Model 7.”

Tom Mousel 6mm 6.5mm Creedmoor deer hunting rifle Pierce engineering Titanium Ti action Lilja Barrel Manners composite Carbon Fiber stock

Owner Profile — Tom Mousel, Hunter AND Long-Range Benchrest Ace
Tom Mousel knows a few things about accurate rifles. He is a top 1000-yard competitor at IBS matches and at the Deep Creek range near Missoula, Montana. In 2016 Tom set a remarkable 6-match Light Gun Group World Record, with a 2.9540″ group size Aggregate for SIX matches. And a year later, in 2017, Mousel set a 10-Match Heavy Gun World Record with a 5.3376″ Aggregate. NOTE: that is for TEN-shot groups in Heavy Gun. That’s an average ten-shot group under 6 inches for 10 matches! Over the past decade, Tom has remained at the top of the 1000-yard game, with many match wins at Deep Creek and other ranges.

Tom Mousel 1000-yard
Tom Mousel 1000-yard

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
February 5th, 2021

Beretta Acquires Legendary Holland & Holland Gunmaker

Holland & Holland Ltd. London England UK Beretta Holding

Beretta Holding has acquired Holland & Holland (H&H), a legendary British gunmaker founded in 1835. H&H has built guns for Royalty, and some of its high-end rifles and shotguns top $170,000.00 in price. H&H still builds guns with exquisite hand craftsmanship, including elaborate engraving. The purchase agreement, effective 2/1/2021, transfers 100% ownership of Holland & Holland Ltd. to Beretta Holding.

Beretta Holding stated: “One of the most iconic gunmakers in the World, Holland & Holland is steeped in history and represents the pinnacle of handmade premium firearms. To become custodians of this famous name is an enormous honor and bears a huge responsibility, as we wish to preserve its precious heritage and dedication to skilled craftsmanship. This acquisition further solidifies the Beretta Holding Group’s commitment to the key UK market in this post Brexit era.” Included in the agreement are the prestigious Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds in West London, England, UK.

Holland & Holland Double Rifle with Fitted Case
Holland and Holland Video gunsmithing

Holland & Holland Ltd. London England UK Beretta Holding PietroBeretta Will Preserve Holland & Holland Heritage
Pietro Gussalli Beretta, Chairman and CEO of Beretta Holding stated: “In Beretta Holding’s quest to acquire a luxury brand, Holland & Holland proved to be the ideal partner to meet all aspects of the most sophisticated gun manufacturing: a rich history, independent manufacturing facilities, and exceptional products. Beretta Holding is keen to preserve Holland & Holland’s valuable heritage in the UK and its unrivalled tradition of craftsmanship.”

“This is a very exciting development and a great achievement for the Beretta family, which further enhances the Group’s international presence. Faced with the challenges of Brexit, I am very pleased to increase our direct involvement in the important UK market, where we are already active with our well-established distribution subsidiary.”

Holland and Holland Video gunsmithing

Holland & Holland Craftsmanship — Video Showcase
What goes into a £125,000.00 ‘Royal’ model hand-crafted side-by-side shotgun? Watch this remarkable video from Holland & Holland to find out. Filmed in the Holland & Holland factory, this nine-minute video shows all the key stages in the creation of H&H’s prized shotguns and rifles. The video shows barrel-making, stock checkering, metal engraving and more…

Holland & Holland ‘Royal’ Side-by-Side Shotgun

Holland & Holland Ltd. London England UK Beretta Holding Pietro

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January 31st, 2021

Sunday GunDay: 7.5-lb AR for CMP’s Modern Military Matches

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Retro is back — at least in the CMP’s Standard Modern Military Rifle AR class. Though Service Rifle competition has evolved to allow optics and heavy barrel profiles, the Standard Modern Military Rifle (AR category) is truly a “blast from the past”. Overall weight is limited to 7.5 pounds, and the rifle must be equipped with iron sights (Rule 5.2.3). In addition, the rifle “be based on the M-16 rifle or be based on an AR design” with “exterior configuration similar [to] the original military or military-type rifle”. See Rules.

With this in mind our friend Dennis Santiago recently put together his own AR-platform Standard Modern Military Rifle for matches run under CMP Competition Rules. This is not quite a classic AR, as it has a metal free-float handguard (vs. plastic handguards), but it IS light (7.3 pounds), and it does have iron sights — a key requirement for Standard Modern Military class rifles.

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Here is Santiago’s CMP Modern Military Rifle (Standard Class) with an ultralight free float tube that has a titanium barrel nut, and mechanical, center-able front sight. The barrel is an AR-Stoner brand 20″-long 1:7″ Government contour chambered in 5.56×45 NATO. Dennis says: “This makes the 7.5-lb weight limit with a few ounces to spare. We’ll see how well it drives soon enough.”

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Dennis explains: “The Standard Modern Military (AR) is a category of military-style rifle that shoots the 200-yard, 30- or 50-shot courses alongside the M1 Garands, Springfields, Vintage, and M1 Carbines. This one boasts a Midwest Industries (MI) ultralight Free-float Handguard and a Yankee Hill folding front sight. Any Government contour or thinner profile rifle-length gas tube barrel with a 0.750″ gas block will work.” Colt makes a suitable Government Contour 20″-long, 1:7″-twist barrel, sold by MidwayUSA.

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

To test the accuracy of his rifle, Dennis fitted a Mantis-X unit on the top of the float tube. The Mantis-X records the movement of the rifle to interpolate shot placements. Dennis reports: “I spent some extra time at the range grabbing a decent zero for my Modern Military rifle. I stuck a Mantis-X on it to record a few shots shooting offhand at the plates at 200 yards. It drives very easily even with no shooting coat or glove.” The Mantis-X is attached just forward of the carry handle, on top of the MI free-float handguard. The Mantis-X works with live fire as well as dry fire. It communicates via BlueTooth to a smartphone App.

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago
AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Rifle Shoots Well with 77gr Sierra MatchKings
The gun is presently zeroed with 77gr Sierra MatchKing ammunition. Dennis reports his rifle “can easily hold the X-Ring on an SR target for both 100-yard and 200-yard CMP Modern Military Games matches. And it’s fun to shoot!”

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

CMP Standard Modern Military Rifle (AR Class)
This rifle is built from carefully selected and fitted parts to conform to the CMP’s 7.5-pound weight limit iron-sighted rifle rule. Officially, this is a CMP Standard Modern Military Rifle, Class “A” (AR type).

1. S&W M&P lower receiver
2. White Oak Armament match upper receiver with 1/4×1/4-MOA pinned rear sights
3. AR-Stoner 20″ 1:7″-twist 5.56x45mm NATO Government contour barrel from MidwayUSA*
4. MidWest Industries ultralight free-float handguard with a Titanium barrel nut
5. Yankee Hill Machine folding front sight with a 0.072″ square front pin
6. RRA 2-stage trigger
7. A2 length buttstock

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Easy Rifle Build Using Mostly Existing AR Parts, Plus New Barrel and Free-Float Handguard
Dennis was able to put his Modern Military AR together using components he had collected over the years: “Most of these parts were already in my bin of old AR parts available to be recycled. The barrel and free-float handguard were the only new acquisitions.” And with the AR’s modular format, this was an easy build: “Assembly time was about 30 minutes. I’ve done these parts swaps so many times now.”

Key Rules for Standard Modern Military Rifle (AR Type)

Dennis Santiago’s new AR rifle was built as a “Standard U.S. Modern Military Rifle”, Class A (AR Type), as specified in the CMP Competition Rules.

5.2.3 Standard U.S. Modern Military Rifles, Class A
Category A Standard Modern Military Rifles must comply with these requirements:

a) Rifles must be based on the M-16 rifle or be based on an AR design;
b) Rifles must be manufactured by a USA manufacturer;
c) Rifles must be equipped with issue-type metallic front and rear sights; rear sights with adjustments finer than one minute of angle are permitted;
d) Total rifle weight, with sights and without sling, may not exceed 7.5 pounds;
e) Rifles may be fitted with a float tube or free-floating handguard. A nonadjustable sling swivel may be attached to the forward end of the handguard; and…
f) The rifle must be chambered for the 5.56x45mm or .223 Remington cartridge.

Also, from Rule 5.2.2:
a) The exterior configuration of the rifle must be the similar to that of the
original military or military-type rifle;
b) The trigger pull may not be less than 4.5 lbs.;

Comments from other Modern Military Rifle Shooters:

“I built a Modern Military [Standard]. It was tough getting below the 7.5-lb [limit]. I had to carve off a bunch of the 20″ barrel diameter but wanted to stay with it for sight radius (over a 16″). I would just as soon shoot that little iron-sighted rifle at 200 yards as my 15-lb Nightforce-scoped Service Rifle. I love that little rifle.” — Kenneth S.

“I’m building one of these that will make 7.5-lb [Standard Modern Military] weight limit, with the long barrel and long sight radius. This has been on my list this winter.” — Tom K.

“We found that turning down a National Match barrel and taking a few inches off of it made a very accurate rifle.” — Jack A.

“My old (complete) A2 upper has been sitting forlorn on a shelf for a couple of years now. Perhaps I need to do a [Standard Modern Military] build of my own.” — Derek D.

Dennis Santiago replied: “Derek — that’s the reason I was attracted to this. I had bought a brand new WOA A2 pin upper receiver to make a new upper then the scope rule was adopted and it was all flat tops. This gives new purpose to the old parts.”

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Standard vs. Unlimited, Class A vs. Class B

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

There are actually two different classes of Standard Modern Military Rifles, Class A for AR-type rifles and Class B for other military-style rifles, such as the M1A and FN-FAL. Ok, got that? Now, in addition, there is also a second division for UNLIMITED Modern Military Rifles, again with two classes (Class A — AR-type and Class B — other military rifles). These unlimited rifles can have optics, heavier weights, modern-design adjustable-length stocks, and other upgrades. Here is Rule 5.2.2 from the current CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules:

(more…)

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January 29th, 2021

Technology Insight: How Carbon-Wrapped Barrels Are Made

Proof Reseach carbon fiber barrel wrap aerospace composites

Montana-based PROOF Research has released a revealing video showcasing carbon fiber firearms technology and the company’s barrel-making process. Viewers will find the 8-minute film an intriguing introduction to composite barrel-making, which employs aerospace carbon fiber wrapped around a steel barrel core. The video showcases the high-tech machines used at PROOF’s production facilities.


This video shows how PROOF Research employs aerospace-grade, high-temperature composite materials to build match-grade carbon fiber-wrapped barrels.

Proof Reseach carbon fiber barrel wrap aerospace composites

Proof Reseach carbon fiber barrel wrap aerospace composites

Dr. David Curliss, General Manager of PROOF Research’s Advanced Composite Division, and former head of the U.S. Air Force High Temperature Composites Laboratory, explains how aerospace expertise helps in the development of PROOF’s firearms-related products: “We are able to provide premier materials for PROOF Research for firearms barrels applications as well as the aerospace market. We’re probably the only firearms technology company that has composite materials in orbit around the earth.”

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January 24th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Rimfire Rifle Multi-Discipline Showcase

rimfire .22 LR accurateshooter forum
Rimfire benchrest rifle of Forum member Peebles24.

With the variety of rimfire disciplines, from cowboy action to Olympic three-position smallbore, there are countless different rimfire designs on the market — bolt guns, lever guns, single-shots, toggle-links and more. These may shoot the same ammo, but they certainly vary in looks and ergonomics. This is testimony to human creativity.

In our Shooters’ Forum, you’ll find a long-running thread showcasing rimfire rifles for plinking, hunting, 3P Target Shooting, Silhouette, Rimfire F-Class, NRL22 and more. Here are some of the notable rifles in that Forum thread, with brief build/component details.

Anschutz BR-50 Benchrest Rifle with Upgrades

This is member BHarvey’s rare Anschutz 2013 BR50, with upgrades. This is actually a factory BR-50 stock, but the owner fitted a custom Benchmark barrel, along with a Fudd barrel tuner. That massive butt-plate is three POUNDS of custom-crafted copper, which helps with balance. This rifle was also featured in our popular Guns of the Week collection.

Anschutz 2013 .22 LR BR-50

Rimfire F-Class Rig with Curly Maple Stock

Stiller Holeshot 2500X smallbore F-Class Cerus stock.22 LR rimfire prone rifleThis handsome, ultra-accurate Smallbore F-Class rig belongs to member RMist of Team Pro-Shot Products. It has a Holeshot (Stiller) 2500X, stunning Cerus Curly Maple wood stock, Nightforce scope. Up front is the joystick co-axial SEB Joy-Pod.

How does this impressive rimfire F-Classer shoot? Amazingly well. That target at right shows TEN (10) rounds fired at 100 yards. Most centerfire rifles would have trouble beating that level of accuracy.

Stiller Holeshot 2500X smallbore F-Class Cerus stock.22 LR rimfire prone rifle

Rimfire Tactical Rig with CZ Action and McRees Precision Chassis

Here’s a modern chassis rig built with a CZ 455 action. Forum member A-Rob upgraded the CZ 455 with a SCAR 2-stage trigger. This rifle features a Keystone Accuracy-fitted glue-in barrel, Athlon 10-40x scope and McRees Precision chassis. As you can see from the target, it shoots great. Note: CZ has replaced its 455s with the new CZ 457 series with available metal chassis precision model. CLICK HERE to see full target sheet with six 5-shot groups at 50 yards, averaging 0.270″.

Remington 513T M37 82G CMP Kimber .22 LR rimfire prone rifle

IR 50/50 Sporter with 2500 XS Action and Muller 7R Barrel

Here is member doclu60’s Holeshot Arms (Stiller) 2500XS IR 50/50 Sporter. It features a polished action, barrel, rings/bases, trigger guard, and bolt knob. There are premium components: Bix ‘N Andy trigger, Peightal stock, and Muller 7R barrel. The optic is a Leupold Custom Shop VX3i 6.5-20x40mm wearing Rick Averill custom leather scope caps.

Stiller 2500 XS IR 50/50 .22 LR rimfire prone rifle

Rampro .22 LR Pistol by Gre-Tan

This is a very rare .22 LR bolt-action silhouette pistol. It is a RamPro 22 LR single-shot crafted by Greg Tannel of Gre-Tan Rifles. Member Tonedaddy says this is the only .22 LR Rampro bolt-action pistol built by Gre-Tan in existence. Not the beautifully-figured wood stock.

Rampro Gre-Tan greg tannel.22 LR rimfire bolt action single-shot

Benchrest Rimfire with Turbo V3 Action and Owner-Crafted Stock

Member J.J. Coe reports: “Here is a little side project I recently finished. It features a
Turbo V3 action, Benchmark 3-groove barrel chambered by Mark Penrod, Jewell trigger, and Leupold 40X barrel in Harrell’s offset rings.” Notably, J.J. made the 5-piece laminate stock himself. Nice work! Yes this gun is very accurate as you can see from the match target. Below that is another one of J.J.’s rimfires, an Anschutz 54 in another handsome stock he made himself. This guy has talent!

Turbo V3 leupold 40x benchmark rimfire .22 LR be3nchrest rifle

SAKO P94S Rimfire Trio

This trio of SAKO P94S rimfire rifles belongs to Forum member “Thomasconnor”. He tells us: “The one in the middle is probably the most accurate .22 LR rifle I’ve owned. It was about 6 pounds (without the scope or rings) before I made a heavy buttplate for it. In its current configuration it’s under 8 pounds with a giant scope and steel rings. It now has a Jewell trigger, Benchmark barrel, oversized action screws, and Alex Sitman stock”.

Sako p94s finland smallbore .22 LR rimfire prone rifle

Springfield Model 1922s

Member SnapDraw posted: “Here are my Springfield Model 1922s. One is an M1 I got from a shooting club back East. It has an NRA stock with upgraded M2 bolt and Lyman super target spot 15X scope. And the other (below) is an unmolested (except front sight) M2 with military stock. Both are amazing shooters!”

Springfield 1922 M2 M1 CMP Kimber .22 LR rimfire prone rifle

Benchrest Modified Anschutz 2013

Member Esk308 Picked up this pre-owned rifle in the summer of 2020. Along with the Anschutz 2013 action it features a 27″ Lilja barrel, laminated Shehane stock, and Nightforce 15-55x52mm scope in Kelbly rings. On the end of the barrel is a Harrels tuner with Don Blue tube. Esk308 now uses a John Loh front rest with SEB Bigfoot rear bag.

.22 LR benchrest anschutz 2013 lilja barrel shehane stock rifle

Anschutz 2013 in M. Werks Stock

Here is another Anschutz model 2013, but in a completely different configuration. This is a rimfire prone match rifle upgraded with a Bartlein gain-twist barrel and an M. Werks tuner stock. Note how the barreled action is secured. This handsome rig belongs to Forum member Jeffrey.

Anschutz 2013 .22 LR M. Werks rimfire prone rifle

Factory-Class Ruger with Big Bipod

Forum member DavidJoe from Texas put together this rig for a local factory-class rimfire series. He reports: “There’s a discipline where a factory rifle under $1000.00 gets to shoot at a bigger-ringed target. I’m going to try out this new Ruger combination in those limited matches, weighed down with an enormous Valdada scope on a Sinclair bipod.”

ruger rimfire smallbore .22 LR Sinclair bipod DavidJoe

Wood-Stocked Trio — Two Remingtons and a Kimber

Here are three .22 LR rigs belonging to member Alamo308. Note the competition iron sights on the middle rifle, a Remington M37 which features a Custom Birdseye Maple stock. The Kimber 82G was sold directly by the CMP as a training rifle. These CMP Kimbers were often extremely accurate.

Remington 513T M37 82G CMP Kimber .22 LR rimfire prone rifleCZ 455 McCrees Precision tactical rimfire

Marlin 980S Custom with Owner-Crafted Stock

The rifle is based off a Marlin 980S action with a Green Mountain 20″ fluted barrel. The action was bedded with a one-piece aluminum bedding block and Devcon 10110. Owner Kakotoch tells us: “Trigger is a Rifle Basix I took down to just over 16 oz. by using a different pull weight screw. The scope is a Japanese-made Tasco 36x that I picked up NIB for $100 and is surprisingly clear. The stock was my winter project — it’s laminated carbon fiber and walnut, finished with Tru-Oil. I cut, shaped, and polished the buttplate by hand.”

Marlin 980S Green Mountain .22 LR rimfire prone rifle

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Handguns 2 Comments »
January 16th, 2021

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Continues with New Ownership

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Bob Beck Extreme Outer Limits MOA stocks

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks (“McMillan FS”) has been sold. This notable company, the number 1 name in fiberglass stocks for decades, was started by Gale McMillan and then run by his able son Kelly McMillan. Under Kelly’s leadership, the company expanded its product line, producing outstanding stocks for benchrest shooters, F-Class competitors, sling shooters, hunters, and military marksmen. McMillan also has a modern Mc3 (“McCubed”) division which produces outstanding molded stocks using a state-of-the-art polymer called Zenolite.

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Bob Beck Extreme Outer Limits MOA stocks

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Bob Beck Extreme Outer Limits MOA stocksMcMillan Sold to Bob Beck Group
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks has been sold to Bob Beck of Extreme Outer Limits, MOA Rifles, and Rugged Ridge Outdoor Gear. Beck is a longtime customer and friend of Kelly McMillan. Bob’s plan is to continue the success of the legendary brand Kelly and the McMillan family built. He is committing resources to reduce delivery times and maintain McMillan’s dominance as the premium brand for fiberglass and synthetic rifle stocks on the market.

The new owner promises to maintain the advanced designs and top quality of McMillan stocks: “With former President of Berger Bullets Eric Stecker as General Manager, and McMillan’s highly experienced staff staying with the company, [we] will carry on the McMillan brand legacy well into the future. We have many exciting plans and new products coming that will appeal to all long gun enthusiasts.”

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Bob Beck Extreme Outer Limits MOA stocks

To order a new McMillan stock, visit McMillanUSA.com or call 623-582-9635. These great stocks are still protected by the famous McMillan lifetime guarantee. Check out other company products at Extreme Outer Limits, MOA Rifles, and Rugged Ridge Outdoor Gear.

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Bob Beck Extreme Outer Limits MOA stocks

Over the years McMillan Fiberglass Stocks supported competitive shooting in a major way — providing sponsorship for individual competitors as well as teams. McMillan was a major sponsor of F-Class Team USA. We want to thank Kelly McMillan and his company for being such a strong supporter of the shooting sports. The success of F-Class Team USA in international competition was aided immensely by the support of Kelly and his company.

Kelly McMillan Fiberglass Stocks
Kelly McMillan at the 2018 Berger SW Nationals.

About McMillan Fiberglass Stocks
Gale McMillan, founder of the McMillan companies, began producing stocks in 1973 for himself for the demanding benchrest matches in which he competed. Fellow competitors, always in search of the next competitive edge, asked the inventor to produce some stocks for their rifles. From these roots, the McMillan family of companies has grown into one of the most well-known and respected brands in the firearms industry.

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks manufactures custom rifle stocks and accessories. Product areas include Tactical, Competition, Benchrest, Hunting & Sport, and Ultralight. Customers include shooters, military, law enforcement, government agencies, custom gunsmiths, and OEM rifle manufacturers.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product, News 4 Comments »
January 16th, 2021

Jim Borden Explains “Blueprinting” for Barrel Shoulders & Lugs

Jim borden accuracy blueprinting action receiver prussian blue shoulder lug barrel

Jim Borden, the very knowledgeable owner of Borden Accuracy, provided an interesting historical insight about barrel fitting and the term “blueprinting”. Jim recently posted on the Borden Accuracy Facebook page an explanation of the term “blueprinting” as it originally was used with respect to barrel/shoulder/lug fitting.

Jim borden accuracy blueprinting action receiver prussian blue shoulder lug barrelBarrel/Shoulder Fit and Blue-Printing
Jim told us: “Something often overlooked on barrel installation is the shoulder fit. Many are so overly obsessed with doing a crank-on fit of threads that the shoulder contact is overlooked. Full, solid barrel shoulder to recoil lug or action face is critical to optimum accuracy and precision.

Many years ago part of the ‘blueprinting’ of an action was the use of Prussian blue to ‘blueprint’ lug fit, thread fit, and barrel shoulder fit. It was a colloquial expression that had nothing to do referring to a blueprint or drawing of the action.” Bet you didn’t know that!

About the photo below, Jim noted: “the fuzzy look on the threads is a liberal coating of Never-Seez thread lubricant.”

Jim borden accuracy blueprinting action receiver prussian blue shoulder lug barrel
Look carefully to see the Prussian Blue applied to the barrel shoulder, plus Never Seez on threads.

Jim borden accuracy blueprinting action receiver prussian blue shoulder lug barrel

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 10th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: New Straight-Pull Savage Impulse Rifle

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Savage Arms has just introduced the new Impulse series of straight-pull bolt rifles. This is the first American-designed and crafted straight-pull centerfire rifle. The new Impulse features an innovative Hexlock bolt-locking mechanism with six spherical bearings that move radially outward into a ring in the barrel extension, thereby locking the bolt in place. That barrel extension is held in the receiver assembly by four cross-bolts on the lower front section. Ahead of the barrel extension is a conventional recoil lug and a familiar Savage barrel nut.

Savage Impulse Straight-Pull Rifle — Overview

Savage claims the new system offers the cycling speed of a semi-auto, with the accuracy of a bolt-action. There have been some initial field tests, and it looks like the performance has been good. However, based on the videos that Savage has posted, the cycling of the Impulse’s straight-pull bolt does not seem to be as smooth as some European straight-pulls, such as the Blaser R8, Merkel RX Helix, and Strasser RS 14. We’ve tried those Austrian/German rifles and you really can cycle them very smoothly. From the video the Savage Impulse appears to require somewhat more muscle and effort. Watch below. The video will launch at the 15-second mark for a comparison between the Impulse and a conventional Savage bolt-action:

Savage Speed Comparison — Impulse vs. Regular Bolt Action

Savage says: “Conventional bolt-actions require four steps to cycle the bolt. Impulse simplifies the process with a simple back-and-forth motion.”

Advantages of Straight-Pull Cycling System
What is the advantage of a straight-pull system? You should be able to cycle faster, and (ideally) maintain your cheek-weld and target view. Savage says: “The smooth bolt throw allows a shooter to cycle rounds intuitively, without the need for the standard four changes-of-direction common to a conventional bolt’s path-of-travel. Impulse reduces split times and allows a shooter to manipulate the bolt without losing [his] cheek weld. The bolt travels out and back and shooters don’t have to take their eyes off the target.” Sounds good, but if you watch the above videos, it’s not as wonderful as claimed. That said, if one slows down a bit, a straight pull should allow the shooter to maintain his cheek weld.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Savage’s Impulse “will redefine the way you think about straight-pull rifles”, said Al Kasper, President/CEO of Savage Arms. These new Impulse rifles are built for speed — faster bolt cycling while maintaining ones cheek-weld. This increase in speed can help a hunter make effective follow-up shots.

Major Engineering Features of New Savage Impulse

Hexlock Bolt | Barrel Extension | 4-Bolt Barrel Clamp | Ambidextrous Rotary Bolt Handle

When the bolt is closed, the Hexlock system holds it in place instead of conventional lugs. With the Hexlock, six (6) hardened steel bearings lock the bolt in place inside the receiver’s barrel extension. Savage says “As pressure increases, Hexlock’s hold tightens, ensuring that there can be no rearward movement of the bolt. Once the round has left the barrel, the pressure subsides, and the action can safely open again with the straight pull of the bolt handle.”

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Savage Impulse — Hexlock System (Bolt Locks in Barrel Extension)

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

The cleverly-designed, modular Impulse bolt can be disassembled without tools. And the bolt-handle can be moved to either side easily. NOTE: In this diagram it may appear that the barrel does not have threads on the chamber end. Actually, Impulse barrels DO have threads on that end, which are used by the barrel nut. However, these threads are covered by a barrel extension which is held in the action/receiver by a lower-side four-bolt barrel clamp.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

To design and craft the Savage Impulse, Savage employed advanced engineering with computer modeling. Savage also uses advanced, computer-controlled machinery to build these rifles The video below shows the design/engineering process by which Savage brought the Impulse from concept to finished product in just two years — a very short time by firearms industry standards.

This Video Shows How the Savage Impulse Was Engineered

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Savage Impulse — Ambidextrous, Adjustable Angle Bolt Handle

One of the key features of the new Savage Impulse is an ambidextrous bolt handle that can be quickly and easily moved from one side to the other. This allows Impulse rifles to work for both left-handed and right-handed shooters. In addition, the angle of the bolt handle can be adjusted by simply pushing a spring-loaded pin and removing a side coverpin. This is demonstrated in the video below.

Savage Impulse Models: Predator, Big Game, Hog Hunter

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 newSavage currently offers three Impulse models, all equipped with Savage AccuStock, Accufit, and AccuTrigger. All Impulse actions feature a Picatinny rail on top along with a central safety. Because the bolt handle can be placed on either side, all Impulse rifles are essentially ambidextrous — good for lefties as well as righties. There are both short-action and long-action versions of the Impulse rifle. Seven different chamberings are offered, from .22-250 to .300 Win Magnum.

IMPULSE Predator: Varmint Rifle, medium contour 24″ barrel. AICS 10-rd detachable magazine. Available chamberings: .22-250 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

IMPULSE Big Game: Primary Hunting Rifle, short- and long-action. Flush detachable magazine. Available chamberings: .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .300 WSM, .30-06 SPRG, .300 Win Magnum.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

IMPULSE Hog Hunter: Hunting Rifle, heavy contour 24″ barrel. Flush 4-rd detachable magazine. Available chamberings: 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .30-06 SPRG, .300 Win Magnum.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News 3 Comments »
January 7th, 2021

Videos Show How to Maintain and Optimize M1A Rifles

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA

Do you own an M1A rifle? If so, you’ll want to view a new video from Springfield Armory (SA). As part of SA’s new Workbench Video Series, this 9-minute video is a detailed guide to the M1A rifle. The video can benefit any M1A owner or shooter: “These in-depth videos were developed to help new gun owners safely care for and maintain their firearms, as well as provide a useful resource for seasoned gun owners”, notes Steve Kramer of Springfield Armory. In the video, firearms expert Steve Horsman provides a step-by-step guide for the popular M1A semi-auto rifle.

Springfield Armory M1A Workbench Video:

“Descended from the M1 Garand, the M14 utilized multiple improvements that made it a far superior firearm for combat and a much better rifle for competition.” — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA.

Ray Gross M1A service rifle

An evolution of the M1 Garand, the M14 was designed to shoot the 7.62×51 (.308 Win) round instead of the larger .30-06 Springfield cartridge used in WWI, WWII and Korea. While the vast majority of today’s M1As are chambered for .308 Win/7.62×51, Springfield Armory also produces a 6.5 Creedmoor version

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA

For many years, the semi-auto version of the M14 was “top dog” in iron sights Service Rifle competition. Now that discipline is dominated by .223 Rem (5.56×45) AR-type rifles, but the bigger .308-caliber rifle, now sold as the M1A, remains popular. Each summer, the CMP hosts a major M1A Match at Camp Perry, sponsored by Springfield Armory. This is a popular event with 100+ competitors and significant cash prizes.

See how the modern M1A is built in this Springfield Armory Video:

As racing improves automobiles, competition improves firearms, and the current crop of Springfield M1As, from the Basic to the top-of-the-line Super Match and Loaded models, reflects the years of development. The M14 and its variants are … still considered by many to be the best battle rifle in the history of the U.S. Military. — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA

Military Version Operation Revealed — M14 Training Film

The original military version of the M1A was the select-fire M14. The 27-minute official U.S. Army video below demonstrates the operation of the M14. Field-stripping is shown from the 5:13 time-mark through 8:30. Cut-away drawings show the M14’s gas operation at 8:40.

Watch M14 Functioning Cycle Starting at 9:25 Mark:

The M14’s complete 8-step functioning cycle is demonstrated from the 9:25 time-mark through 22:41. These eight operations are: 1) Feeding; 2) Chambering; 3) Locking; 4) Firing; 5) Unlocking; 6) Extracting; 7) Ejecting; and 8) Cocking. This movie is fairly long, but every M1A owner should definitely watch this video start to finish.

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December 31st, 2020

AR-15 Rifle Maintenance — How to Keep Your AR Running Right

Barrel cleaning AR15 bolt carrier carbon Jerry Miculek gas key direct impingement

Let’s face it, AR-platform rifles run dirty, at least compared to typical bolt-action rifles. The AR-15 works by piping gas from the barrel back into the bolt carrier, causing the bolt to unlock and the carrier to move the bolt backward. The “exhaust gas” from the barrel contains soot and carbon. The carbon will form hard deposits on the bolt. In addition, the carbon can combine with lube on the bolt carrier to make a nasty, paste-like sludge. This can be particularly problematic when the black paste pollutes the ejector and extractor recess.

This Editor has inspected dozens of ARs over the years. Other than mag-related malfunctions, the most common cause of AR cycling problems I found was oily gunk in the extractor and ejector areas. Many AR owners overlook these critical areas. Look at an AR that hasn’t been cleaned properly and you’ll probably find black gunk (and small brass shavings) in the ejector and extractor recesses.

If you want to keep your black rifle running smoothly and reliably, you must clean it regularly and follow the correct maintenance procedures. Here are three videos that explain how to properly disassemble and clean AR-platform rifles. And then they cover the essential lubrication ARs need to run reliably.

Take-Down and Full Cleaning of AR15 by Jerry Miculek

Here ace shooter Jerry Miculek takes down and cleans an AR-platform rifle belonging to his daughter Lena. This is a good video because Lena’s rifle was “run hard and packed up dirty” so you can see where carbon and grease build up. This 35-minute video is very thorough. Jerry is one of the nation’s top action carbine shooters, so listen carefully to his advice on cleaning and lubrication.

General AR-15 Maintenance and Lubrication

There are various schools of thought on AR lubrication. Some guys like to run “wet” with lots of CLP, while others choose to focus lubrication on the key spots that receive the most friction and wear, such as the contact point for the bolt carrier. We do advice check the ejector recess and extractor spring recess frequently as gunk can get in there, causing malfunctions. Here is a good video from Pew Pew Tactical — a 7-minute guide to cleaning and lubricating AR-platform rifles. This shows important details for both the upper and the lower.

How to Clean Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Assembly

This video offers very specific advice on the bolt carrier group, which receives the dirty gas directly from the barrel. Be sure to check the extractor and ejector recesses. That’s where old lube, brass shavings, and carbon accumulate. Follow the directions in this video for lubrication, and don’t over-lubricate the bolt carrier — that will only capture more carbon.

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December 30th, 2020

Gundies Awards — Vote for Your Favorite Gun Content Creators

Gundies video social media awards

There is a new Gundies Award program for gun-centric social media content creators. Modeled after the Oscars or Emmys, the Gundies Awards focus on the world of guns, shooting, and hunting. Nominees include those who write about guns on Facebook, who post photos on Instagram, and who make videos for YouTube. The annual community-voted Gundies awards spotlight notable firearms-centric content creators. You can register on Gundies.com and then vote for your favorite “influencers” and video-makers. The last day to vote is 12/31/2020.

Mixed Bag of Nominees — Some Good, Some Laughable
To be honest, some of the female “influencers” are just narcissistic social media queens who trade on their looks. They get dolled up in revealing outfits and lots of make-up for posed shots with guns. And on the male side there are plenty of tattooed tactical poseurs with almost no technical knowledge. But there ARE some solid nominees, especially in the Best Shooter and Best Gun Reviewer categories. We showcase videos from five Gundies candidates below. NOTE: These are NOT the category winners — the actual winners will be decided by popular voting which closes December 31, 2020 (better vote soon).

There are 15 Gundies Categories:
YouTuber of the Year
Best Gun Reviewer
Best Shooter
Best Cross-over Creator
Breakout Creator of the Year
Influencer of the Year
Influencer Turned Entrepreneur
Best Outdoorsman
Most Innovative Content of the Year
Most Influential Female of the Year
Most Influential Male of the Year
Most Creative Content of the Year
Most Entertaining Content Creator
Most Likely to Survive an Apocalypse
Best Gun Store/Shooting Range

1. Gundies Nominee — Mrgunsngear
YouTuber of the Year Category

The Mrrgunsngear Channel has nearly 550,000 subscribers and we know why. This YouTube channel offers a combination of gun-centric content and complimentary reviews of outdoor gear (such as generators, lamps, backpacks, body armor). The host is articulate and a pretty good shooter. He also comments on recent gun law developments, such as the ATF Pistol Brace controversy. Here are four videos that showcase the variety of content from this capable Gundies nominee:


2. Gundies Nominee — Dustin Ellermann
Best Shooter Category

Our friend Dustin Ellermann is a past Top Shot TV Show Champion. He is a very capable shooter who also runs a Christian-focused Camp for kids. Dustin produces multiple videos every month for his Top Shot Dustin YouTube Channel. Here we feature Dustin’s review of the the Volquartsen Summit rimfire rifle. This is a straight-pull bolt rifle available in .22 LR, .17 Mach2 and .17 WSM. Dustin reports: “[The Summit] is extremely accurate as well as a perfect suppressor host.”

3. Gundies Nominee — Caleb Savant (Brownells)
Breakout Creator of the Year Category

While many Gundies nominees have very little technical knowledge of firearms, Brownells Firearm Support Technician Caleb Savant is the exception. Caleb’s Brownells videos cover a variety of technical topics — including sight installation, cartridge terminology, dry-firing, gun maintenance, tool selection, and much more. Honestly, you can really learn a lot from Caleb’s videos for Brownells. In this video Caleb Savant shows how to install a pre-fit barrel on a Savage bolt action. Pre-fits come with the chambers pre-cut, and they have a simple barrel nut that makes installation extremely easy.

4. Gundies Nominee — Pew Pew Tactical
Best Gun Reviewer Category

Pew Pew Tactical (PPT) has a good website with useful content, such as a very thorough Review of Nine Long-Range Scopes. Along with its Blog articles, PPT offers dozens of videos on the PPT YouTube Channel. You’ll find many reviews of ARs, military-style rifles, and pistols. But in addition, PPT offers many good product reviews that are honest about product pros AND cons — that’s pretty rare these days. Here is one of PPT’s most informative videos, a 7-minute guide to cleaning and lubricating AR-platform rifles. This shows important details for the bolt and bolt carrier group.

5. Gundies Nominee — MrBigKid
Best Cross-Over Category

MrBigKid is not a typical gun-centric YouTube creator. That’s because his videos focus on two main topics — GUNS and BBQ. Since both those topics — shooting and eating — appeal to a broad audience, MrBigKid’s YouTube channel is growing quickly. When you get tired of the “bang and clang” of guns shooting steel, you can switch to pro-level barbecue methodology shared by a talented cook. Here are TWO of MrBigKid’s recent videos, one featuring a .50 BMG rifle and the other serving up delicious smoked Beef Ribs. Be honest… which video did you click first?

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