February 25th, 2018

The Cut-Rifling Process — A Short History and Demonstration

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

You’ve probably heard of cut-rifling, but did you know this process was invented in Germany nearly 500 years ago? Read on to learn more about how a cut-rifled barrel is made…

The cut-rifling process, used by leading barrel-makers such as Bartlein, Border, Brux, Krieger, and Obermeyer, can yield a very high-quality barrel with a long useful life. Cut-rifled barrels have been at the top in short- and long-range benchrest competition in recent years, and cut-rifled barrels have long been popular with F-Class and High Power shooters.

You may be surprised to learn that cut-rifling is probably the oldest method of rifling a barrel. Invented in Nuremberg around 1520, the cut-rifling technique creates spiral grooves in the barrel by removing steel using some form of cutter. In its traditional form, cut rifling may be described as a single-point cutting system using a “hook” cutter. The cutter rests in the cutter box, a hardened steel cylinder made so it will just fit the reamed barrel blank and which also contains the cutter raising mechanism.

Above is a computer animation of an older style, sine-bar cut-rifling machine. Some machine features have been simplified for the purposes of illustration, but the basic operation is correctly shown. No, the cut-rifling machines at Krieger don’t use a hand-crank, but the mechanical process shown in this video is very similar to the way cut-rifling is done with more modern machines.

Kolbe Border Barrels Firearms ID

Read About Cut-Rifling Process at Border-Barrels.com
To learn more about the barrel-making process, and cut-rifling in particular, visit FirearmsID.com. There you’ll find a “must-read” article by Dr. Geoffrey Kolbe: The Making of a Rifled Barrel. This article describes in detail how barrels are crafted, using both cut-rifling and button-rifling methods. Kolbe (past owner of Border Barrels) covers all the important processes: steel selection, hole drilling, hole reaming, and rifling (by various means). You’ll find a very extensive discussion of how rifling machines work. Here’s a short sample:

“At the start of World War Two, Pratt & Whitney developed a new, ‘B’ series of hydraulically-powered rifling machines, which were in fact two machines on the same bed. They weighed in at three tons and required the concrete floors now generally seen in workshops by this time. About two thousand were built to satisfy the new demand for rifle barrels, but many were broken up after the war or sold to emerging third world countries building up their own arms industry.

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

Very few of these hydraulic machines subsequently became available on the surplus market and now it is these machines which are sought after and used by barrel makers like John Krieger and ‘Boots’ Obermeyer. In fact, there are probably less of the ‘B’ series hydraulic riflers around today than of the older ‘Sine Bar’ universal riflers.

The techniques of cut rifling have not stood still since the end of the war though. Largely due to the efforts of Boots Obermeyer the design, manufacture and maintenance of the hook cutter and the cutter box have been refined and developed so that barrels of superb accuracy have come from his shop. Cut rifled barrel makers like John Krieger (Krieger Barrels), Mark Chanlyn (Rocky Mountain Rifle Works) and Cliff Labounty (Labounty Precision Reboring)… learned much of their art from Boots Obermeyer, as did I.” — Geoffrey Kolbe

Video find by Boyd Allen. Archive photos from Border-Barrels.com. In June 2013, Birmingham Gunmakers Ltd. acquired Border Barrels. Dr. Geoffrey Kolbe has set up a new company called BBT Ltd. which produces chamber reamers and other gunsmithing tools and gauges. (Thanks to L. Holland for the Kolbe update).
Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
February 16th, 2018

A Slice of (Barrel) Life — Inside Look at Barrel Erosion

So what does a “worn-out” barrel really look like? Tom Myers answered that question when he removed a 6.5-284 barrel and cut it down the middle to reveal throat wear. As you can see, there is a gap of about 5mm before the lands begin and you can see how the lands have thinned at the ends. (Note: even in a new barrel, there would be a section of freebore, so not all the 5mm gap represents wear.) There is actually just about 2mm of lands worn away. Tom notes: “Since I started out, I’ve chased the lands, moving out the seating depth .086″ (2.18 mm). I always seat to touch. My final touch dimension was 2.440″ with a Stoney Point .26 cal collet.”

Except for the 2mm of wear, the rifling otherwise looks decent, suggesting that setting back and rechambering this barrel could extend its useful life. Tom reports: “This was something I just thought I’d share if anyone was interested. I recently had to re-barrel my favorite prone rifle after its scores at 1,000 started to slip. I only ever shot Sierra 142gr MatchKings with VV N165 out of this barrel. It is a Hart and of course is button-rifled. I documented every round through the gun and got 2,300 over four years. Since I have the facilities, I used wire EDM (Electro Discharge Machining) to section the shot-out barrel in half. It was in amazingly good shape upon close inspection.”

Tom could have had this barrel set back, but he observed, “Lately I have had to increase powder charge to maintain 2,950 fps muzzle velocity. So to set it back would have only increased that problem. [And] I had a brand new 30″ Krieger all ready to screw on. I figured it was unlikely I’d get another full season on the old barrel, so I took it off.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
February 8th, 2018

6.5 Creedmoor Cut-Down Test — Velocity Per Inch Revealed

Rifleshooter.com 6.5 Creedmoor cut-down test

Rifleshooter.com does some great original research — providing “hard data” you can’t find anywhere else. Here are the eye-opening results of Rifleshooter.com’s 6.5 Creedmoor barrel cut-down test. You may be surprised at the results. Read on…

What do you get when you cut a 6.5 Creedmoor-chambered barrel down to just over 16 inches? A lot more velocity than you might think. Our friends at Rifleshooter.com recently did a barrel cut-down test with 6.5 Creedmoor test rifle, shortening the barrel from 27 to 16.1 inches in one-inch increments. Surprisingly, with a 142gr Sierra MK, the total velocity loss (as measured with a Magnetospeed) was just 158 FPS, an average of 14.4 FPS per inch of barrel length. With the lighter 120gr A-Max bullet, the total velocity loss was 233 FPS, or 21.8 FPS average loss per inch of barrel.

» CLICK HERE to SEE All Velocity Values at All Barrel Lengths

To perform this velocity test, our friend Bill, Rifleshooter.com’s editor, built up a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle using a Remington Model 7 action, 1:8″ twist Green Mountain CM barrel, and MDT LSS Chassis, all obtained from Brownells.com.

Test Procedure
Five (5) rounds of each type of cartridge were fired at each barrel length and the velocity data was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed V3 barrel-mounted chronograph. The rifle was then cleared and the barrel was cut back one inch at a time from 27″ to just over 16″. NOTE: During this winter test, the air temperature was a very chilly 23° F. One would expect higher velocities across the board had the outside temperature been higher.

» Read Full Story with All Test Results at Rifleshooter.com

The photo below shows how the barrel was cut down, inch-by-inch, using a rotary saw. The barrel was pre-scored at inch intervals. As the main purpose of the test was to measure velocity (not accuracy) the testers did not attempt to create perfect crowns.

Rifleshooter.com 6.5 Creedmoor cut-down test

6.5 Creedmoor vs. Other Mid-Sized 6.5mm Cartridges
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very popular cartridge with the tactical and PRS crowd. This mid-size cartridge offers good ballistics, with less recoil than a .308 Winchester. There’s an excellent selection of 6.5mm bullets, and many good powder choices for this cartridge. When compared to the very accurate 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers similar performance with less expensive brass. For a tactical shooter who must sometimes leave brass on the ground, brass cost is a factor to consider. Here’s a selection of various 6.5mm mid-sized cartridges. Left to right are: 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor with 120gr A-Max, 6.5 Creedmoor with 142gr Sierra MK, and .260 Remington.

6.5 Creedmoor Rifleshooter.com velocity barrel cut cut-down test saw blade

When asked to compare the 6.5 Creedmoor to the 6.5×47 Lapua, Rifleshooter.com’s editor stated: “If you don’t hand load, or are new to precision rifle shooting, get a 6.5 Creedmoor. If you shoot a lot, reload, have more disposable income, and like more esoteric cartridges, get a 6.5×47 Lapua. I am a big fan of the 6.5×47 Lapua. In my personal experience, the 6.5×47 Lapua seems to be slightly more accurate than the 6.5 Creedmoor. I attribute this to the quality of Lapua brass.” Now that Lapua offers 6.5 Creedmoor brass with small primer pockets, the 6.5 Creedmoor is even more attractive.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
February 6th, 2018

Weakside Bolt Placement — The Competitive Advantages

left port McMillan Rifle

Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.

This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:

As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.

Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
Derek Rodgers, the current F-TR World Champion, the reigning King of 2 Miles, and the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR U.S. National Championships, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up. Yep, Derek shoots right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld. He places his right hand on the grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand.

Current King of 2 Miles (and F-TR World Champion) Derek Rodgers
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

This is the rifle with which Derek won the 2013 F-TR National Championship.
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

*For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
February 4th, 2018

Forum Faves — Pride and Joy Rifles for February

AccurateShooter.com Pride Joy F-Open KW Precision wood stock
Here is beautiful F-Open rig crafted by Forum member CigarCop of KW Precision LLC. It features a laminated wood stock with stunning figured walnut on the outside.

One of the most popular items in our Shooters’ Forum is the ongoing “Pride and Joy” thread. Since 2009, Forum members have posted photos and descriptions of their most prized rifles. Here are some of the most recent “Pride and Joy” rifles showcased in our Forum. Do you have a gun you’d like to see featured there? Just Register for the Forum and you can add your favorite gun to the list.

New 600/1000 Benchrest Light Gun for Richard Schatz in 6 BRA

Alex Wheeler Pride Joy Richard Schatz Benchrest IBS

This blue benchrest rig was crafted by Alex Wheeler for ace benchrest competitor Richard Schatz, a past 600-yard IBS Shooter of the Year. Richard’s new 600/1000-yard Light Gun features a Krieger barrel chambered in 6 BRA (40° Ackley version of 6mmBR Norma). That Krieger is mated to a 1.550″ BAT B action, ignition-timed for smooth bolt close and increased accuracy. The trigger is the sophisticated Bix’n Andy. Schatz’s BAT is glued and screwed into a Wheeler LRB stock, with aluminum rails and adjustable metal “tracking rudder” on the toe of the stock. The rudder can be adjusted side to side to ensure optimal tracking, while the rudder’s vertical angle can be adjusted slightly with shims.

Hand-Crafted Thumbhole-Stocked Rifle Chambered in 6 PPC

Grimstod 6mm 6 PPC thumbhole wood stock Kelbly Panda

Forum Member Grimstod offered this handsome 6 PCC custom with a beautiful, hand-made thumbhole stock: “This was fully accurized with Premier Accuracy recoil lug installed. Really makes these shoot a lot better. It features a Kelbly Panda action with Hart barrel and glass bedding. Trigger fall was perfect to start and we have to give Ian Kelbly big thumbs up for making every action perfectly timed.” On top is a March competition scope. See more photos at www.premieraccuracy.com.

A Wicked Accurate Big Dawg in 28 Nosler

28 Nosler Benchrest Big Dawg

This 28 Nosler Benchrest rifle looks good and shoots even better — check out that 20-shot target shot at 200 yards! You can’t argue with that…

Alex Wheeler Pride Joy Richard Schatz Benchrest IBS

Belonging to Forum member LA50Shooter, this rig is chambered in 28 Nosler, with metal work by Gre-Tan Rifles. The action is a BAT Model “L” 1.650 Octagon with a 30 MOA scope rail, running a Jewell BR Trigger. The stock, from D&B Supply, is a Shehane Big Dawg Tracker with 5″ fore-end. Color scheme is “Field & Stream” Rutland laminate. This big rig boasts FOUR 34″ Benchmark barrels (1.5″ for seven inches tapering to 1.225″ at muzzle).

A Pair of Score Benchrest Beauties

benchrest for score 30 BR Kriger Nightforce March

Forum member JimPag showcased two new Benchrest-for-Score rifles. The rig on the left, smithed by Dwight Scott, features a Farley Black Widow RBLPRE (with Bix’n Andy trigger). It features Pistachio and Carbon Terry Leonard stock glued and screwed by Sid Goodling. The barrel is a Krieger 23.5″ chambered in 30BR with a Mike Ezell tuner. It’s topped with a Goodling-built 1-piece Davidson base and a Nightforce 42X Comp scope. The rifle on the right, smithed by Sid Goodling, features a Marsh Saguaro RBLPRE Action with Bix’n Andy trigger, and March 36-55X scope. This rifle boasts a rare Screwbean Mesquite and carbon stock by Terry Leonard. The 23″ Lilja bbl is chambered in 30 Thrasher with a Goodling tuner. (30 Thrasher is longer 30 BR case developed by Joe Entrekin). Jim also has two other barrels for this action in 30 BR and 6 BRAI. On top is a Sid Goodling-built one-piece Davidson base with a March 36-55X scope.

Rem 700 in Manners Stock — .284 Winchester for Hunting

Remington 700 Tom Manners STOCK U.S. Optics hunting rifle .284 Win Winchester

Here’s a Rem 700 enhanced with a Manners Elite TA stock and other upgrades. Forum Member NickB1075 says: “Here is a rifle I finished for hunting this year. It’s a bit heavy for New York woods carry but it just shoots great. Maybe I will have to get one of those fancy Proof Research barrels to lighten it up a bit.” Nick is running a Benchmark 1:8.5″-twist barrel chambered in .284 Win with 0.315 neck for shooting 150gr Barnes bullets. Nick added a Jewell trigger and on top is a U.S. Optics B10 Scope.

When Only the Biggest and Boldest Will Do — .50 BMG

.50 Fifty BMG Barnard Action Ordnance barrel muzzle brake

No “Pride and Joy” feature would be complete without a Big Boomer. This impressive .50 BMG, “61 inches of big bore goodness”, weighs a whopping 49 pounds (95 lbs. complete with case and accessories). This rifle’s proud owner, forum member 6MT, says everything on this black beast is jumbo-sized: “Yes, I can stick my finger clear through the ports in the muzzle brake!” The rifle boasts a U.S. Ordnance 31″ heavy-contour barrel fitted to Barnard GP action. The stock is a “Big Mac” from McMillan. No optics yet — 6MT says he is “looking at an ATACR 7-35x56mm with a Spuhr mount… As soon as my wallet recovers!”

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing No Comments »
January 29th, 2018

Carbon Fiber for the Latest Generation of Rifles and Barrels

Sako 85 Carbon Fiber Wolf Hunting Rifle

Gun-makers and barrel builders have adopted aerospace technology, using carbon fiber in their stocks and composite barrels. At SHOT Show 2018, we saw carbon applications on dozens of rifle brands. Some rifles sported full carbon stocks AND carbon-wrapped barrels. Others sported a carbon stock with steel barrel, or a carbon-wrapped barrel in a conventional stock. Carbon is definitely here to stay. This advanced material allows rifles to be lighter yet stronger. The advantages for the hunter in the field are real — a carbon-wrapped barrel can save quite a few pounds. Here are some of the most notable carbon applications we saw at SHOT Show.

Sako 85 Carbon Wolf

Sako 85 Carbon Fiber Wolf Hunting Rifle

Possibly the best-looking carbon-stocked rifle at SHOT Show was the Sako 85 Carbon Wolf, featured in our Top Photo. New for 2018, this rifle features a full carbon composite stock, with the signature carbon fiber weave visible throughout. We found this new-for-2018 rig very ergonomic and nice to handle. The advanced-design RTW carbon fiber stock offers quick, push-button adjustments for comb height and LOP. Though not carbon-wrapped, the conventional 24″ blued steel barrel is fluted, reducing the overall weight of the rifle. Without optics, this rifle weighs well under 8 pounds. We were impressed by the Carbon Wolf, but choked on the steep $3600.00 MSRP. Street price will be lower — EuroOptic.com is listing a $3148.00 price for the Sako 85 Carbon Wolf.

The Firearm Blog says: “The stock features Soft Touch coating. Is is not at all slippery or loud like some carbon stocks can be. The barrels are factory threaded as well. Both the weight and the balance of the Carbon Wolf rifle felt perfect. I may have to add one to my Finnish rifle collection.” This is offered in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg, 7mm Mag, and .300 Win Mag.

Nosler M48 Long-Range Carbon Rifle

Nosler M48 Long Range Carbon Fiber Hunting Rifle

Nosler recently introduced the M48 Long-Range Carbon rifle with the addition of a PROOF Research, carbon fiber-wrapped, match-grade barrel that significantly reduces the overall weight of the rifle. The carbon-wrapped Proof barrel is mated to a trued M48 receiver and bedded in a Manners MCS-T carbon fiber-strengthened stock. Nosler says: “The Model 48 Long-Range Carbon is an excellent choice for mountain hunting, backcountry excursions and long range competition where weight is a concern.” Initially, this rifle will be offered for 6.5 Creedmoor, 26 Nosler, 28 Nosler, 30 Nosler, .300 Win Mag, and 33 Nosler.

Christensen Arms TFM — Carbon Galore for 7.3-lb Rifle

Christensen Arms TFM Carbon Fiber Hunting Rifle
Christensen Arms TFM Carbon Fiber Hunting Rifle

As you can see there’s a whole lot of carbon fiber in the Christensen Arms TFM rifle. With a carbon-wrapped barrel and full carbon-fiber stock, this handsome rig weighs just 7.3 pounds (short action) or 7.8 pounds (long action). The carbon-wrapped stainless barrel and fully-adjustable Aerograde carbon-fiber stock are mated to a precision-machined action via integrated carbon fiber pillars. In addition, the TFM includes an integrated, 20-MOA optics rail, detachable magazine, and a titanium side-port brake. Impressively, Christensen Arms guarantees 0.5 MOA (half-MOA) accuracy.

Manners Full-Carbon F-Class Stock

Manners F-Class Stock
Manners F-Class Carbon Fiber Stock

For many years now, Manners Composite Stocks has offered an ultra-stiff, Low-Profile ‘Fish Belly’ F-Class Stock. The shell is 100% carbon fiber with a very long, stiff fore-end. From the back of the action to the tip of the fore-end the stock measures 27″ long which is around 7 1/2″ longer than the Manners T4 stock. The idea is to provide a longer wheelbase to better balance the long, 30-32″ barrels favored by many F-Class competitors. The front half of the fore-end is very thin (from top to bottom) to achieve a low profile on the bags. Much thought has gone into controlling fore-end flex. The stock achieves greater vertical rigidity (less deflection under load) through an innovative “fish belly” design. The rounded undersection, like a canoe hull, strengthens the fore-end considerably.

Weatherby Mark V with Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

Weatherby Proof Research Carbon Barrel
Proof Research Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

Weatherby now offers rifles with Proof Research carbon fiber-wrapped barrels. The aerospace-grade carbon fiber in the Mark V Carbon barrel makes the barrel up to 64% lighter than traditional steel barrels of the same contour. Weatherby claims the carbon-fiber technology improves heat dissipation — so the barrel does not heat up as quickly with extended strings of fire. The 26” #4 contour carbon-wrapped barrel has a cut-rifled, hand-lapped 416R grade stainless steel core with a flush thread cap and 5/8-24 muzzle threads. It’s finished in tactical grey Cerakote. The Mark V Carbon carries Weatherby’s SUB-MOA (at 100 yards) accuracy guarantee when used with Weatherby factory or premium ammunition.

Carbon Edge from Fierce Firearms

Proof Research Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

Fierce Firearms also offers a long-range hunting rig with a carbon-wrapped barrel. This is an extremely light rig. Without scope or optional muzzle brake, the short-action version weighs just 6.4 pounds. It is available in Black/gray, Green/black and a variety of Camo finishes including Kryptec Highlander and Typhon patterns. All this lightweight tech doesn’t come cheap. The Carbon Edge retails for $3250.00 and a left-hand version is $250.00 more. Fierce does offer a 0.5 MOA (half-MOA) accuracy guarantee, which is something.

How Good Are Proof Research Barrels? — Commentary by Mike Davis

Over the past 15 years Davis Custom Rifle has installed barrels from most major barrel manufacturers. We are very fortunate to have such quality barrel makers. I think Proof Research falls into that top-of-the-line category. Proof Research carbon-wrapped steel barrels are super light-weight, yet offer rigidity and superb accuracy. I have used them for 22-250, 6mm/6.5mm Creedmoor, .308 Win builds and multiple long range hunting rifles in .280, .280 AI, .300 WSM, .300 Win Mag, 28 Nosler, and 30 Nosler. These builds with Proof Research barrels typically deliver quarter-MOA accuracy or better.

Manners F-Class Carbon Fiber Stock

The Proof Research technology allows us to build lighter rifles with outstanding accuracy, easy cleaning, and the ability to shoot long strings without point of impact shift. It’s not hard to understand why hunting rifles with these capabilities are in high demand. Combined with other light-weight components (such as Titanium actions), it’s not difficult to get these rifles down to 6.25 to 7 pounds total weight before optics.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
January 28th, 2018

Stunning New F-TR Rifle for James Crofts

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

A past F-TR National Champion, James “Jimmy” Crofts is one of America’s top F-Class competitors. And now this F-TR ace has a stunning new rifle in his arsenal. AccurateShooter Forum member CigarCop, head honcho of KW Precision LLC, recently completed a new F-TR rig for Crofts. This handsome, state-of-the-art rifle features top-tier components: Borden action, twin Brux barrels, Cerus RifleWorks F-TR Stock, and Jewell trigger, all resting on a wide-base Phoenix Bipod.

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

James Jim Crofts f-class f-tr rifle brux borden cerus
James Crofts photo by Kent Reeve.

Have a good look at these photos below. Yes, envy is the appropriate reaction. With the smooth operation of the Borden action and the predictable accuracy of Brux barrels, we bet James’s new rig will shoot as good as it looks.

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

CigarCop actually chambered two barrels for James, with different fluting patterns — conventional linear flutes for one tube, and lines of staggered ovals for the other. Finished length for both barrels is 30″. Yes it looks cool, but the fluting was done mainly to save weight with the 30″-long lengths. CigarCop tells us the complete rifle, without scope and rings, weighs just under 15 pounds. Max allowed weight for an F-TR rifle, with scope, is 18.18 pounds (8.25 kg).

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

To learn more about this impressive F-TR rifle build by CigarCop, visit our AccurateShooter Forum and read KW Precision’s F-TR Gun-Building Thread. The stock was created on an automated CNC milling machine by Cerus Rifleworks.

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 5 Comments »
January 27th, 2018

Weatherby to Wyoming — California Loses Another Business

Weatherby leaves california Sheridan Wyoming Mark V rifle company factory WY

Weatherby Inc., a major name in the rifle business, is abandoning California, leaving the Golden State for friendlier climes in Wyoming. Based in Paso Robles, CA for many decades, Weatherby announced last week that it will relocate its production facilities and headquarters to Sheridan, Wyoming. The respected rifle manufacturer, founded in 1945, was welcomed by Wyoming state officials. In fact Wyoming Governor Matt Mead was present for Weatherby’s announcement, made at Shot Show 2018. By contrast, California’s state leaders, given their anti-gun bias, are no doubt happy to see Weatherby leave. The Democratic Party now controls both houses of California’s State Legislature, as well as the Governor’s office. Weatherby’s departure is just the latest exodus of a major firearms industry company from California. In the past year, Berger Bullets, now part of Capstone Precision Group, relocated from Southern California to Arizona.

Weatherby leaves california Sheridan Wyoming Mark V rifle company factory WY

“We wanted a place where we could retain a great workforce, and where our employees could live an outdoor lifestyle”, said Adam Weatherby, Chief Executive Officer. “We wanted to move to a state where we can grow into our brand. Wyoming means new opportunities. We are not interested in [just] maintaining — we are growing.”

Weatherby leaves california Sheridan Wyoming Mark V rifle company factory WY

Weatherby Leaves Hostile Political Environment
Is Weatherby’s Wyoming move all about dollars and cents? Not entirely. California has become increasingly hostile to firearms manufacturers. TheFireamRack.com’s Dan Zimmerman observes: “[Weatherby] wanted to do business in a state that isn’t at war with the very products they make. A state that respects the Second Amendment and won’t try to claw back every single cent it can wring out of businesses located there. So Weatherby made the entirely rational choice to take their company to a place that values what they do.”

The Wyoming Business Council heralded Weatherby’s relocation: “The move is expected to create 70 to 90 jobs and more than $5 million annually in payroll in the next five years.” Recognizing the benefits to Wyoming, Governor Matt Mead and the Business Council began recruiting Weatherby a year ago. Governor Mead declared: “Wyoming is a great place to do business and is excited to welcome Weatherby to Sheridan. For over 70 years, Weatherby has been an innovator in firearms design and manufacturing. The company will add to our manufacturing base and fit well with our diversification objectives.”

Weatherby leaves california Sheridan Wyoming Mark V rifle company factory WY

Weatherby will locate its new production facility in Sheridan, Wyoming. Sheridan is a beautiful location in Northern Wyoming, a verdant plain with mountains to the West. Sheridan has just under 18,000 residents. But there will be another 100 or so soon. Local County10 News reports: “Sources shared with County 10 that Weatherby, located in California since the mid 1940s, has been considering locating in a state with a more favorable pro-firearms industry culture and citing a frustration with California’s tax structure.”

Weatherby leaves california Sheridan Wyoming Mark V rifle company factory WY

Top Five Reasons Firearms Businesses Leave California

Weatherby leaves california Sheridan Wyoming Mark V rifle company factory WY1. High California Taxes. California’s Corporate Tax Rate is 8.84% — among the highest in the nation. Wyoming, by contrast, has ZERO state corporate taxes. California Sales Tax starts at 8% while Wyoming Sales Tax ranges from 4-6%. California was ranked 48th overall (third worst) in Tax Climate by the Tax Foundation. Wyoming was rated Number One Overall (best). This ranking considers corporate tax, personal income tax, sales tax, and property tax.

2. High Cost of Living in California (all factors). It is expensive to live in California. One Cost-of-Living index rated Paso Robles, CA 144.5 compared to 101.8 for Sheridan, Wyoming (higher is worse). Another Cost of Living Calculator states that, including housing, Paso Robles, CA is 41.9% more expensive than Sheridan, WY. Ironically, howevever, median income in the two cities is not that different: $28,358.00 for Paso Robles (CA) vs. $26,491.00 for Sheridan (WY). Money definitely goes farther in Wyoming. In terms of buying power, one study suggests a $35,535/year salary in Sheridan, WY equates to a $50,000/year salary in Paso Robles, CA.

3. Bad Roads and Infrastructure in California. Among all states, California has the fourth worst roads in the country with 50% of roads in “poor condition”. In fact, the Los Angeles Regional area road system has been deemed the worst in the nation according to a Federal Highway Administration Report. By contrast, Wyoming’s highway system was ranked number one, best in the USA, in the 21st Annual Reason.org Highway Report. And this was despite the fact that state gas taxes per gallon are much less in Wyoming than in California*. California’s roads and infrastructure are only going to get worse as the population grows.

4. Anti-Business California State Government. California is now a one-party state, with the Democratic Party controlling the State Senate, State Assembly, AND the Governor’s office. This has created an anti-business governmental culture, with a left-leaning bias. California also has many more business regulations, and more restrictive gun and ammo laws. The situation is unlikely to change because there is undeniable evidence of massive voter fraud in California which favors Democratic candidates. For example, in Los Angeles County “the total number of registered voters now stands at a number that is a whopping 144% of the total number of resident citizens of voting age”, according to Judicial Watch. 10 other California counties have significantly more registered voters than voting-age citizens. (SOURCE: Judicial Watch Report.)

5. Out-of-Control California Housing Costs. Coastal counties in California have some of the highest average home prices in the country. The median home price in Paso Robles, CA is $486,100. By contrast, the median home price in Sheridan, WY is $217,100 — well under HALF the California price! And rental housing is cheaper in Wyoming too. Median Rent in Paso Robles, CA is $2150.00 per month, while Median Rent in Sheridan, WY is $1250.00 per month.


* All five of the top-ranked states for highway system performance (Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, South Carolina and Kansas) have state gasoline taxes at or below the national average. Source:
Los Angeles Times.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 7 Comments »
January 20th, 2018

Five Great Tech Articles: Bedding, Target Software, Case Prep, Action Torque, Stock Painting

Technical Article AccurateShooter OnTarget, Stock painting, Pillar Bedding

AccurateShooter.comReaders who have just recently discovered the Daily Bulletin may not realize that AccurateShooter.com has hundreds of reference articles in our archives. These authoritative articles are divided into mutiple categories, so you can easily view stories by topic (such as competition, tactical, rimfire, optics, shooting skills etc.). One of the most popular categories is our Technical Articles Collection. On a handy index page (with thumbnails for every story), you’ll find over 100 articles covering technical and gunsmithing topics. These articles can help you with major projects (such as stock painting), and they can also help you build more accurate ammo. Here are five popular selections from our Technical Articles archive.

pillar Bedding

Stress-Free Pillar Bedding.
Richard Franklin explains how to do a top-quality bedding job, start to finish.

On Target Software Review

OnTarget Software Review.
Our Editors test free software that measures shot groups with great precision. We explain how to use the program and configure advanced features.

Savage Action Tuning Torque Settings

Savage Action Tuning.
Top F-TR shooter Stan Pate explains how to enhance the performance of your Savage rifle by optimizing the torque settings of the action screws.

Precision Case Prep for Reloading

Complete Precision Case Prep.
Jake Gottfredson covers the complete case prep process, including brass weight sorting, case trimming, primer pocket uniforming, neck-sizing, and, case-neck turning.

rifle stock painting and spraying

Stock Painting Instructions.
Step-by-step guide for stock painting by expert Mike Ricklefs. Mike shows both simple coverage and fancy effects.

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January 8th, 2018

Headspace 101: What You Need to Know

Can you list all the serious problems that excessive headspace can cause? For that matter, could you even explain what, exactly, is meant by the term “headspace”? If not, you should watch this instructional video from Brownells. This video defines the term “headspace”, explains why proper headspacing is critically important, and illustrates how headspace gauges work.

Headspace is a measurement from the bolt-face to a point in the chamber. This point of measurement will vary based on the type of cartridge. Improper headspace, either excessive or (conversely) under SAAMI specifications, can cause a variety of problems, many serious.

headspace brownells video barrel chamber

Problems Caused by Too Much Headspace
Excessive headspace issues can include: light primer strikes, failure to fire, bulged/blown cases, case separations, split shoulders, or unseated primers after firing. Case ruptures caused by excessive headspace can lead to catastrophic failures causing serious injury. That is why headspace is such an important measurement.

Problems Cause by Too Little Headspace
Insufficent (or excessively tight) headspace can prevent the firearm from going into battery, resulting in failure to fire or deformation of the cartridge case. Various feeding and functioning problems can be caused by cases with too little headspace, even if a round can be chambered (with effort).

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January 5th, 2018

GUN TECH — How to Build a Truly Accurate AR-Platform Rifle

AR-X AR15 Upper

A lot of claims are made about accuracy for AR-platform rifles, but much of that is just “sales talk”. But if you want a truly accurate black rifle, there are some key upgrades that, collectively, can transform a plain jane AR into a true tack-driver. Here’s an article by a genuine AR expert that will help you identify those components that really make a difference — the parts that can deliver true “match-grade” accuracy. Built right, a modern AR can deliver half-MOA accuracy with handloads. In this article, Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises explains how that’s done.

In our Shooters’ Forum, one member recently asked: “What makes an AR accurate? What parts on an AR can really affect accuracy — such as free-floating handguards, barrels, bolts, bolt carriers?” Robert Whitley posted a very comprehensive answer to this question, based on his experience building and testing dozens of AR-platform rifles. Robert runs AR-X Enterprises, which produces match-grade uppers for High Power competitors, tactical shooters, and varminters.

AR-X AR15 Upper

Building an Accurate AR — What is Most Important

by Robert Whitley
There are a lot of things that can be done to an AR to enhance consistent accuracy, and I use the words “consistent accuracy” because consistency is a part of it (i.e. plenty of guns will give a couple great 5-shot groups, but won’t do a very good 10- or 20-shot groups, and some guns will shoot great one day and not so good on others).

Here are 14 key things we think are important to accuracy.

1. Great Barrel: You’ll want a premium match-grade barrel, well-machined with a good crown and a match-type chambering, true to the bore and well cut. The extension threads must also be cut true to the bore, with everything true and in proper alignment.

2. Rigid Upper: A rigid, heavy-walled upper receiver aids accuracy. The typical AR upper receiver was made for a lightweight carry rifle and they stripped all the metal they could off it to make it light to carry (which is advantageous for the military). The net result are upper receivers that are so thin you can flex them with your bare hands. These flexible uppers are “strong enough” for general use, but they are not ideal for accuracy. Accuracy improves with a more rigid upper receiver.

3. True Receiver Face: We’ve found that truing the receiver face is valuable. Some may argue this point but it is always best to keep everything related to the barrel and the bore in complete alignment with the bore (i.e. barrel extension, bolt, upper receiver, carrier, etc.).

4. Barrel Extension: You should Loctite or glue the barrel extension into the upper receiver. This holds it in place all the way front to back in the upper receiver. Otherwise if there is any play (and there typically is) it just hangs on the face of the upper receiver completely dependent on the face of the upper receiver as the sole source of support for the barrel as opposed to being made more an integral part of the upper receiver by being glued-in.

AR-X AR15 Upper5. Gas Block: You want a gas block that does not impose pointed stress on the barrel. Clamp-on types that grab all the way around the barrel are excellent. The blocks that are pinned on with tapered pins that wedge against the barrel or the slip on type of block with set screws that push up from underneath (or directly on the barrel) can deform the bore inside of the barrel and can wreck the accuracy of an otherwise great barrel.

6. Free-Float Handguard: A rigid, free-float handguard (and I emphasize the word rigid) really makes a difference. There are many types of free-float handguards and a free-float handguard is, in and of itself, a huge improvement over a non-free-float set up, but best is a rigid set-up. Some of the ones on the market are small diameter, thin and/or flexible and if you are shooting off any type of rest, bipod, front bag, etc., a rigid fore-end is best since ARs want to jump, bounce and twist when you let a shot go, as the carrier starts to begin its cycle before the bullet exits the bore.

Savage MSR 10 Long Range

7. Barrel Contour: You want some meat on the barrel. Between the upper receiver and the gas block don’t go real thin with a barrel (we like 1″ diameter if it’s workable weight-wise). When you touch off a round and the bullet passes the gas port, the gas system immediately starts pressuring up with a gas impulse that provides vibrations and stress on the barrel, especially between the gas block back to the receiver. A heavier barrel here dampens that. Staying a little heavier with barrel contour through the gas block area and out to the muzzle is good for the same reasons. ARs have a lot going on when you touch off a round and the gas system pressures up and the carrier starts moving (all before the bullet exits the bore) so the more things are made heavier and rigid to counteract that the better — within reason (I’m not advocating a 12-lb barrel).

8. Gas Tube Routing Clearance: You want a gas tube that runs freely through the barrel nut, through the front of the upper receiver, and through the gas key in the carrier. Ensure the gas tube is not impinged by any of them, so that it does not load the carrier in a stressed orientation. You don’t want the gas tube bound up so that when the gas tube pressures up it immediately wants to transmit more force and impulse to the barrel than would normally occur. We sometimes spend a lot of time moving the gas block with gas tube on and off new build uppers and tweaking gas tubes to get proper clearance and alignment. Most gas tubes do need a little “tweaking” to get them right — factory tubes may work OK but they typically do not function optimally without hand-fitting.

9. Gas Port Tuning: You want to avoid over-porting the gas port. Being over-gassed makes the gas system pressure up earlier and more aggressively. This causes more impulse, and increases forces and vibration affecting the top end and the barrel. Tune the gas port to give the amount of pressure needed to function properly and adequately but no more.

10. Front/Back Bolt Play: If accuracy is the game, don’t leave a lot of front/back bolt play (keep it .003″ but no more than .005″). We’ve seen factory rifles run .012″ to .015″ play, which is OK if you need to leave room for dirt and grime in a military application. However, that amount of play is not ideal for a high-accuracy AR build. A lot of front/back bolt play allows rounds to be hammered into the chamber and actually re-formed in a non-consistent way, as they are loaded into the chamber.

11. Component Quality: Use good parts from a reputable source and be wary of “gun show specials”. All parts are NOT the same. Some are good, some are not so good, and some aftermarket parts are simply bad. Don’t be afraid to use mil-spec-type carriers; by and large they are excellent for an accuracy build. Also, remember that just because a carrier says “National Match” or something else on it does not necessarily mean it’s any better. Be wary of chrome-plated parts as the chrome plating can change the parts dimensionally and can also make it hard to do hand-fitting for fit and function.

AR-X AR15 Upper

12. Upper to Lower Fit: A good upper/lower fit is helpful. For quick and dirty fit enhancement, an Accu-Wedge in the rear helps a lot. The ultimate solution is to bed the upper to a specific lower so that the upper and lower, when together, are more like one integral unit. For the upper receivers we produce, we try to get the specs as close as we can, but still fit the various lowers in the market place.

13. Muzzle Attachments: Don’t screw up the muzzle (literally). Leave as much metal on the barrel at the muzzle as you can. People like to thread the muzzle for a flash hider, suppressor, muzzle brake, or some other attachment, but if you really want accuracy, leave as much metal as you can there. And, if you have something that screws on, set it up so that it can be put on and have it stay there without putting a lot of torque and stress on it right where the bullet exits the bore. If you are going to thread the end of the barrel, make it concentric with the bore and make sure what you screw on there is as well. For all muzzle attachments, also ensure that the holes through which the bullet passes through are dead true to the bore. Many aftermarket screw-on things are not so good that way. Anything that vents gas should vent symmetrically (i.e. if it vents left, it should vent equally right, and likewise, if it vents up, it should vent down equally). Uneven venting of gas can wreck accuracy.

14. Quality Ammunition: Ammo is a whole story by itself, but loads that are too hot typically shoot poorly in an AR-15. If you want accuracy out of an AR-15, avoid overly hot loads. Shown below are test groups shot with four (4) different uppers, all with moderate loads. These four uppers all pretty much had the same features and things done to them as explained in this article, and they all shot great.

AR-X AR15 Upper

Robert Whitley
www.6mmAR.com

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
January 1st, 2018

Beautiful Rifles for the New Year

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot
This stunning Celtic Engraved Double Bolt Action rifle is from Fuchs Fine Guns.

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

As a New Year’s gift to our readers, we thought we’d share some beauty pictures — rifle beauty that is. In our Shooters’ Forum, a Gun Glamour thread recently started entitled: “Show me what a beautiful gun looks like!” Well here are some very handsome rifles featured in that Forum Thread. Enjoy.

Beautiful Rifles from our Shooters’ Forum

Forum member Kurz posted a dream gun owned by a friend in England. Kurz included a quote from a book created by the rifle’s owner: “There, with my father’s words ringing in my ears, I shall take that ‘step forward’ and order a perfect machine based on the Mauser ’98 action, built from metal and wood by master craftsmen who truly understand that ‘reliable’ and ‘mechanical integrity’ have as much relevance today as they did all those years ago.”

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

A gun can “shoot dots” and still be handsome. Here is a short-range benchrest rifle with a stunning, exhibition-grade Walnut stock. Forum member Josh B found this beauty.

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

This “old school” rimfire sports a Stolle Swindlehurst Chrome Moly action, Unertl 20X scope, Krieger barrel, and Kelbly trigger. Forum Member FFEMT tells us this rifle “has a nice little piece of English Walnut”. Yes indeed — the stock is from John Maxon

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

Forum member JRS submitted a stunner from Europe. This beauty features a truly exquisite piece of wood with elaborately engraved receiver. It also has escutcheons and special metal work on the grip.

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

Lever-action Falling Block rifles can be beautiful too. This one features a color case-hardened receiver and handsome two-piece fancy wood stock. This was submitted by Forum member Kurz who notes: “Besides exhibition grade walnut, I like the variations available in spalted maple for rifle stocks.”

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

A competition rifle must be “performance first”. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be handsome too. Forum member XTR’s rifle, an F-TR rig, features Maple wood with Bubinga tips.

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

“Wood is Good” — as demonstrated by all the rifles showcased above. But, as a “parting shot”, we’ll add a blue British beauty from the long-running Pride and Joy Forum Thread we started a decade ago. This eye-catching 270-7mm WSM F-Classer belongs to Forum member Elwood from the UK. A well-executed hydro-dip finish can really dress up a competition rifle.

Click Photo to See Hundreds More ‘Pride and Joy’ Rifles…
Pride and Joy Hydro dip F-Class

Permalink Gunsmithing No Comments »
December 31st, 2017

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

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Tactical 2 Comments »
December 23rd, 2017

Ultimate Versatility: Rimfire .22 LR Conversion for Centerfire Rifle

sauer 202 varmint rifle 22LR

Shoot Rimfire Ammo from your Centerfire Rifle

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could shoot .22 LR rimfire ammo from your regular hunting/tactical rifle. That would be ideal for low-cost training right? Well, this IS possible, provided you have a rifle that was designed with a .22 LR conversion in mind. One such firearm is the Sauer 202 from Germany. This impressive centerfire rifle is available with a factory-engineered .22 LR rimfire conversion. Read on to learn how it works…

Sauer 202 Rifle: .308 Win/6.5×55 with .22 LR Conversion
Forum member “Tooms” sent us a report on his very special Sauer 202 with a .22 LR conversion kit. Sauer 202 rifles feature a “Quick-change barrel system”. The barrel is clamped into the receiver with crossbolts providing tension. This allows barrels to be swapped in a few minutes with simple tools. Tooms, from Denmark, explains: “The rifle began as a Sauer 202 Avantgarde Gold in .308 Win. I have added a 6.5×55 match barrel, plus a wide flat-bottom match fore-arm with rail for handstop and bipod. The .22 LR system [originally] cost $1000.00 [including] barrel, bolt, magazine well assembly, and magazine. The barrel is attached by three cross-bolts and the magazine well assembly is attached by one screw that fits into the barrel.”

sauer 202 varmint rifle 22LR

sauer 202 varmint rifle 22LR

Using this “Quick-change system”, Tooms can easily remove his centerfire barrel and swap in a .22 LR barrel. Then he places the factory conversion kit into the magazine well. This kit provides a rimfire bolt, a fitted sleeve for the rimfire bolt, and a magazine housing. This is a full Sauer factory-designed system so it works flawlessly. With the bolt closed, you can see the “new” .22 LR chamber in the front section of the loading port. On the silver section of the bolt you can see the rimfire extractor on the side.

sauer 202 varmint rifle 22LR

The 22LR Conversion Really Works
The Sauer 202 Varmint rifle shoots very well with the 22LR conversion, as the 50m target at right shows. Though quite expensive, the conversion kit essentially transforms your centerfire rifle into fully functional, mag-fed precision rimfire. That makes the Sauer 202 much more versatile as a hunting platform. It also allows you to cross-train with inexpensive ammo. You don’t have to purchase another scope, trigger, or stock. And you enjoy the exact same stock fit and ergonomics whether you’re shooting centerfire or rimfire. In some countries where gun ownership is severely restricted, it may be easier, from a legal standpoint, to purchase a 22LR conversion kit than to obtain a permit for a second rifle.

To learn more about the complete line of Sauer 202 rifles visit the J.P. Sauer USA website. You’ll also find more information on the primary J.P. Sauer & Sohn German website, www.Sauer.de.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 7 Comments »
December 15th, 2017

FREE Christmas Tree Fun Target from Sierra Bullets

Sierra Christmas Tree Target

CLICK HERE for printable PDF version of this target.

NOTE: The contest is OVER, so ignore information on the PDF about submitting targets — that’s from back in 2013.

Here’s a target for the holidays that can provide some fun at the range. This Christmas Tree Target was created by Sierra Bullets for a 2013 contest. This contest is now over, but you can still have fun with the target. This tree target is designed to be shot at 15 yards with pistol, or at 100 yards with rifle.

Sierra Christmas Tree TargetSanta’s Extra Accuracy Challenge
Start with the big circles, and then work your way down to the small circles (7,8,9,10) as you build your confidence. Shoot the gifts for bonus points.

For an extra challenge (with a real accurate rifle), try working your way back up to the top, aiming for the X-Marks in the circles and finishing with the small, inset star at the top. Try to hit each X-Mark and then put your final shot in the inner star. Have fun!

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December 14th, 2017

Tuning Barrels for Enhanced Precision and Accuracy

Anschutz Tuner

When a shot is fired through it, a barrel will exhibit harmonics. Tuning these harmonics (the “waves” that propagate through the barrel) can alter point of impact and, if you’re lucky, reduce group size. Barrel tuners have been used successfully in rimfire benchrest for many years (see photo above). While there are competing theories as to how and why barrel tuners work on rimfire rifles, there is no question that the accuracy of some rimfire barrels can be improved with the addition of a tuner. By changing the position of weights at the end of the barrel, we’ve seen shooters shrink their average group size as well as adjust the “sweet spot” for different lots of rimfire ammo. On the other hand, tuners can be the source of great frustration; some installations may yield little or no benefit. A shooter may have to experiment with a variety of different tuner designs (and weights) to find the optimal configuration.

Gene Bukys Barrel Tuner 333smittyCenterfire Tuners–Still a Work in Progress
In centerfire benchrest competition, the vast majority of competitors do not use tuners, though a few short-range shooters such as Gene Bukys and Jackie Schmidt have enjoyed considerable success. Gene has won major championships with tuned rifles. In 2011 Gene won both the Super Shoot and World Benchrest Championship (WBC), and Gene recently set a new NBRSA Sporter Class Grand Agg Record.

Centerfire benchrest guns typically employ shorter barrels with a much fatter contour (larger diameter) than rimfire rifles. Because centerfire rounds produce much higher pressures and velocities that a 22LR, a centerfire barrel also exhibits much different vibration characteristics than a typical rimfire barrel. Nonetheless, there are pioneers working with centerfire tuners who believe that tuning may be the “next leap forward” in centerfire accuracy.

Shown below is a switch-barrel benchrest rifle built by Forum member Eddie W. of Texas. It features a dual-port Hall “M” action with a ShadeTree Engineering Tuner crafted by Butch Lambert. The gun is designed to take both a 6PPC barrel for group shooting and a 30BR barrel for score shooting. The gun was barreled by Wayne Shaw, and Eddie did the stock work himself. Eddie reports: “It is a very accurate rifle.”

Lambert Tuner

Will we see more tuners on centerfire rifles? Only time will tell. Some folks believe that, since one can easily adjust the loads shot by centerfire guns (by tinkering with the powder charge and seating depth), tuners have limited utility. On the other hand, tuner advocates such as Gene Beggs believe tuners can help keep your group sizes small even as conditions (temperature, humidity) change. Gene believes that, with an appropriate tuner, you can spend less time fiddling with the load specs (changing your powder charge) and instead “dial in” your sweet spot using the tuner.

Lambert Tuner

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
December 12th, 2017

Four Great Firearms Animations

Firearms 3D Animation Gun Videos Schematic

1. How an AR-15 Works

Ever wondered how the parts inside an AR-15 work together? Just exactly how does the reciprocating bolt carrier feed rounds from the magazine? How do the elements in the trigger group work and reset after each shot? How does the gas system bleed gas from the barrel and operate the bolt carrier? These and other questions are answered in this eye-opening video from 45Snipers. Using “cutaway” 3D computer animation, this 5-minute video shows all features of an AR15 inside and out. This fascinating firearms animation allows the viewer to look inside the upper and lower receivers, into the bolt carrier, chamber, barrel, and magazine. There’s a second AR-15 Video that shows all the internal and external parts of the AR-15 Rifle. CLICK HERE for AR Parts Animation.

2. How an AK-47 Works — With Parts Assembly

This animation shows how the AK-47 (officially Avtomat Kalasnikova model 1947) rifle functions. This very realistic video shows the component parts of the AK47 coming together. They you can see how the fire control system works to ignite the primer, sending the bullet down the barrel. Next you see how the gas piston pushes the bolt carrier rearward to chamber a new 7.62x39mm cartridge.

Tech Note: This high-quality 3D animation was created by Matt Rittman using Cinema 4D and After Effects software. Corona renderer was used in order to create realistic materials and reflections. Credit Forum member Captain Dave F. for finding this video.

3. How a Pistol Cartridge Fires

This cool 3D video from German ammo-maker GECO (part of the Swiss RUAG group of companies) unveils the inside of a pistol cartridge, showing jacket, lead core, case, powder and primer. Uusing advanced CGI rendering, the video shows an X-ray view of ammo being loaded in a handgun, feeding from a magazine. Then it really gets interesting. At 1:32 – 1:50 you’ll see the firing pin strike the primer cup, the primer’s hot jet streaming through the flash-hole, and the powder igniting. Finally you can see the bullet as it moves down the barrel and spins its way to a target. If you’ve ever wondered what happens inside a cartridge when you pull the trigger, this video shows all.

For Best Viewing, Click Gear Symbol and Select HD Playback Mode

4. How a Rifle Cartridge Fires

This CGI video shows what happens inside a rifle chamber and barrel when a cartridge fires. The 3D computer animation reveals every stage in the process of a rifle round being fired. X-Ray-style animation illustrates the primer igniting, the propellant burning, and the bullet moving through the barrel. The video then shows how the bullet spins as it flies along its trajectory. Finally, this animation shows the bullet impacting ballistic gelatin. Watch the bullet mushroom and deform as it creates a “wound channel” in the gelatin.

3D animation bullet ammunition in rifle

Watch Video – Cartridge Ignition Sequence Starts at 1:45 Time-Mark

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December 12th, 2017

Possible Progress on ITAR Regulation of Gunsmiths

ITAR Department of State Rule Change

If you are a gunsmith, or do any machine works on firearms, you need to know about ITAR, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations which are enforced through the U.S. Department of State (DOS). ITAR applies to companies that create sophisticated weapons systems. However, under DOS interpretations in recent years, ITAR may also apply to persons and businesses that do simple, basic gunsmithing tasks. That could require filling out lots of paperwork, and paying the Fed’s hefty fees, starting at $2250 per year. A Guidance Statement issued by the DOS Directorate of Defense Trade Counsels (DDTC) in July, 2016 (under the Obama Administration) gave rise to serious concerns that DOS was going to require every gunsmith to register under ITAR, under threat of massive fines and penalties. READ About DDTC ITAR Guidance.

Thankfully, it appears that the Trump Administration is working to narrow the scope of ITAR so that it would NOT apply to basic gunsmithing activities, and not apply to common gun accessories that are not exported. IMPORTANT: Changes have NOT been made yet, but it appears the Feds are heading in the right direction, with the DOS willing to modify its definition of “manufacturing” so ITAR would not embrace basic gunsmithing tasks such as threading a muzzle.

The Gun Collective reports that: “The Directorate of Defense Trade Counsels (DDTC) is working on revising the ITAR regulations which will help the gun industry[.] Gunsmiths having to pay hefty fees, register and comply with ITAR may no longer be a problem if this goes through as planned. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for Congress to take action, but rather an agency, which appears to be taking initiative to get it done. As always, time will tell, so be sure to keep your eye on the Federal Register….”

While nothing has happened yet, it appears that this administration is working to revise ITAR. For members of the firearms industry, this is a big deal and will be beneficial to all. There is no reason that a gunsmith should be required to register and comply with ITAR to simply thread a muzzle. It will also allow companies to more easily export their products around the world. (Source: The Gun Collective)

The Gun Collective further noted that: “The topic that will be of the most interest to us would be the definition of manufacturing[.] You may remember DDTC’s July 2016 letter, which issued “Guidance” as to who would have to register under ITAR [and suggested] that now gunsmiths would have to register as well. The definition of manufacturing is an important one to define and one that had broad ranging implications as the industries covered under ITAR are wide ranging, everything from the firearms industry to airplanes and missiles. The Guidance stated that ITAR registration was required for gunsmiths who machined or cut firearms, such as the threading of muzzles or muzzle brake installation which required machining. At a hefty $2,250 a year to register, ignoring all of the other things that go along with ITAR, it is easy to see why this would be problematic for most small businesses.”

AECA DDTC Federal export manufacturer registration requirement criminal sanctions Annual fee NRA-ILA

Here is the key language in the DDTC’s “ITAR Registration Requirements – Consolidated Guidance” Ruling of 7/22/2016:

2. Registration Required – Manufacturing: In response to questions from persons engaged in the business of gunsmithing, DDTC has found in specific cases that ITAR registration is required because the following activities meet the ordinary, contemporary, common meaning of “manufacturing” and, therefore, constitute “manufacturing” for ITAR purposes:

a) Use of any special tooling or equipment upgrading in order to improve the capability of assembled or repaired firearms;

b) Modifications to a firearm that change round capacity;

c) The production of firearm parts (including, but not limited to, barrels, stocks, cylinders, breech mechanisms, triggers, silencers, or suppressors);

d) The systemized production of ammunition, including the automated loading or reloading of ammunition;

e) The machining or cutting of firearms, e.g., threading of muzzles or muzzle brake installation requiring machining, that results in an enhanced capability;

f) Rechambering firearms through machining, cutting, or drilling;

g) Chambering, cutting, or threading barrel blanks; and

h) Blueprinting firearms by machining the barrel.

Resources for ITAR Issues:

1. Proposed ITAR Revisions to Definitions of Defense Services and Technical Data LINK
2. DDTC 2016 ITAR Registration Guidance Letter LINK
3. Export Control Reform Act of 2016 LINK

Legal Brief ITAR Episode (August 2016):

Attribution: GunCollective.com and Ammoland.com under Creative Commons license.

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December 9th, 2017

Remington May Face Bankruptcy Reports Fox News

Remington Fox News Bankruptcy credit rating sales declines

There are tough times ahead for Remington. Fox News reports that: “Privately-held Remington Outdoor is now at risk of declaring bankruptcy after a collapse in sales and profits. Saddled with debt, the historic gun manufacturer is short on avenues for escape.” (LINK). Fox News adds:

“The rifle and shotgun manufacturer’s third-quarter sales plunged 41% as demand for firearms dried up. That led Remington to report adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization that were 78% lower year over year. Over the first nine months of 2017, the company has produced a $60.5 million net loss, compared to a $19.1 million gain in the prior-year period.

And with its credit rating in the trash bin, the future is bleak for ‘America’s oldest gunmaker’. Today, debt on the company’s books has ballooned to almost $1 billion[.]”

Read Full Remington Report on FoxBusiness.com »

Financial analysts report that Remington’s earnings decline will further harm the company’s already poor corporate credit rating. That means Remington must pay even higher interest rates to borrow money, further bleeding cash and decreasing profitability. This, in turn, accelerates the momentum towards filing bankruptcy. Fox explains: “With the firearms and ammunition manufacturer burning through cash as a result of falling sales, S&P expects it will undertake a restructuring within the next year.”

Other large American gun industry companies have seen their stock value drop dramatically this year. Vista Outdoor (Savage, RCBS, CCI etc.) is down 62% since December 9, 2016, while American Outdoor Brands (Smith & Wesson) has dropped 36%.

Remington Has a Storied History
Founded in 1816, Remington is the oldest continuously-operating gun manufacturer in the United States, and remains one of the USA’s oldest commercial enterprises. Even with its present difficulties, Remington still sells more sporting rifles and shotguns than any other American company. Remington has developed more cartridges than any other U.S. company. And it is the only American company that sells firearms AND ammunition under its own name.

Remington Fox News Bankruptcy credit rating sales declines

The Remington enterprise was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, as E. Remington and Sons. In 2016 Remington celebrated 200 years of history. American Rifleman TV explored the history of Remington Arms Company in a TV special which focuses on many of the company’s most noted firearms. Here is a preview:

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December 5th, 2017

Competition Hardware — The Modern F-Open Rifle

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Emil Kovan is one of the top F-Class shooters in the world. He won the 2014 United States F-Open Championship. Earlier this month Emil finished second in F-Open Division at the 2016 Canadian National F-Class Championship in Ontario. Emil actually tied Open-class winner Shiraz Balolia for overall score AND “V”-count, but Emil was awarded second on the tie-breaker.

The Anatomy of a Modern F-Class Open Rifle

Report by Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

“What are the best components for an F-Open class rifle, and why?” That’s a question that I get asked all the time and will try to answer in this article. Two months ago, I was contacted by Duane, a gentleman I met at the 2015 F-Class Nationals. He was interested in building a rifle with the new Master Class Low Profile F-Open Stock, created by Carl Bernosky and Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks.

I have known Alex Sitman for many years, and use his stocks exclusively, but was not very familiar with his new Low Profile F-Open stock. After a brief conversation with Alex, I placed an order, and had the stock inletted and bedded at my shop in a month. My first impression was “Wow that’s a long stock” — the forearm is significantly longer than on the original Master Class F-Class prone stock. I bolted the barreled action in, and squeezed the end of the forearm and barrel together, the stock flexed a little bit, but not as much as other designs that I have tested. I think that’s due to having “more meat” in the receiver area. The full stock depth continues farther forward that on some other “low profile” designs. That makes the stock stiffer in the vertical plane, reducing the hinging effect forward of the action. The stock was finished in gloss black per the customer’s request. Interestingly, I found that the multiple layers of paint and clearcoat stiffened the stock up quite a bit.

CLICK IMAGE below for full-screen version
.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Low Center of Gravity Tames Torque
Compared to the original Master Class F-Open stock, the barrel sits about an inch lower. Lower center of gravity equals less torque, and that is very important when shooting heavy bullets in fast twist barrels. Another significant improvement is that the toe of the stock is flat and parallel to the forearm. I added a 3/4″ track rail in the rear, and milled the underside of the fore-end to create two parallel “rails” in the front to help the stock track better.

One of the biggest reasons why I like Master Class stocks, is the pistol grip. I don’t shoot “free recoil” and a comfortable pistol grip is super important to me when selecting a stock. The new Master Class Low Profile stock shares the same grip as the old model. This allows the stock to accommodate either a “hard hold” style or a more free-recoil style of shooting — whatever the rifle’s owner prefers. This design versatility is one reason I recommend Master Class stocks. Shooters may experiment with either shooting style to find what suits them best.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Cartridge Choice — A 40° .284 Win Improved
Duane decided to have the barrel chambered for my 284 KMR IMP (Improved) wildcat. What is .284 KMR IMP and why choose it over the straight .284 Winchester? Improved by definition means “made better”, I took a great cartridge, and modified it to increase capacity, reduce pressure, and increase brass life.

There are many “improved” variants of the original .284 Winchester: 7mm Walker, .284 Shehane, .284 Ackley and so on. My version, the 284 KMR IMP, shares the .010″ blown-out sidewalls of the .284 Shehane, but I have further increased the case capacity by changing the shoulder angle from 35 to 40 degrees. The 284 KMR IMP allows you to almost match magnum cartridge velocity in a standard-bolt-face action. If you want to run 180gr-class 7mm bullets over 2900 FPS, it is cheaper and more convenient to have a barrel chambered in 284 KMR IMP than to spend $650 for a magnum bolt.

Tuning Loads for the .284 Win Improved Cartridges
The 284 KMR IMP seems to have two nodes, one around 2820 fps and other at 2940 fps. My match load clocks at 2935 fps with single-digit ES. Note –I selected that load based on accuracy, NOT raw speed. A lot of novice (or hard-headed) shooters make the mistake to push their cartridges to the max, and disregard more accurate loads at lower velocity.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

The sport of F-Class is rapidly growing, and the equipment used is improving constantly. I remember that only few years ago, an F-Open rifle that could shoot sub-one-inch of vertical at 300 yards was considered competitive. Now, we are pursuing sub-one-inch vertical at 600 yards! It takes a great rifle to approach that goal, but it is also up to the shooter to learn and experiment as much as possible in order to achieve success.

Dies for an Improved .284 Win Cartridge
One of the biggest challenges in campaigning a wildcat cartridge has been obtaining great dies. When searching for custom dies, it almost seems like that the odds are stacked against us. The most common problem is wait-time — custom die orders can take months to be completed. Also, most custom die makers want you to send them two or three cases, each fire-formed three times. I find that funny because if could somehow properly size the cases for three fire-forming cycles, I would not need a sizing die.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Custom-made dies should size the case just right, but sometimes the die’s internal dimensions are slightly off, and this leads to problem number two: dies sizing too much (or even worse) too little. I had a one “custom” die that would not size the bottom of the case enough. This made the extraction of fired cases very difficult. I feel that the best option (if available) for shooters interested in wildcat chambers is to have their gunsmiths make the dies. I offer that die-making service in addition to barrel chambering.

BAT Machine “M” Action
Duane decided to use a BAT M action for this rifle, and I think that he could not have made a better choice. We are blessed with many good match-quality receivers: Barnard, BAT, Borden, Kelbly, Nesika, and Stiller just to mention a few. These are all very well-made and suitable for F-Class. Among BAT Machine Co.actions, I like BAT models M, MB, and 3LL best. I prefer these because because of their size (large bedding footprint) smoothness, timing, options available, and last but not least visual appearance.

Trigger: I recommend and use Jewell triggers. Other good options are: Kelbly, CG Jackson (good 2-Stage) Anschutz (best 2-Stage for Bat and Kelbly actions), Bix’N Andy, and David Tubb.

Barrel: Duane made another good choice here. He decided to go with a Brux 1:8.5″-twist, 4-groove cut-rifled barrel. If you look at the F-Class and Long Range benchrest equipment lists, you will see that cut-rifled barrels are currently dominating. Many records have been shot with both button-rifled, and cut-rifled barrels. I have shot both, and prefer cut-rifled barrels. I am not saying that button-rifled barrels are not capable of shooting as well as cut-rifled barrels, but on average, in my experience, four out of five cut-rifled barrels (from top makers) will shoot well, vs. three out of five buttoned barrels. YMMV, but this is what I’ve observed.

Brux Barrels is not the only company that produces very accurate cut-rifled barrels. We know that Krieger, Bartlein, Satern, and Hawk Hill Custom all make fine cut-rifled barrels as well.

Scope: Duane’s rifle was fitted with a Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition scope with DDR-2 reticle. This optic is ultra clear, reasonably lightweight (28 oz.), super reliable, and has 1/8 MOA clicks — what you want for long range F-Class competition. In this 15-55X NF model, I like the DDR-2 reticle best, because fine cross hairs (FCH) are hard to see in heavy mirage. The DDR-2 has a heavier horizontal line, with a center dot. March scopes are also very popular and very well-made.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Thanks for reading, and keep ‘em in the middle…

Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoEmil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2016 F-Class Open Canadian Championship, Silver Medal (tied for first on score)

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member

– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

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