September 10th, 2020

Cartridge Comparions from Brownells Video Vault

Brownells video archive youtube channel AR15 6.5 Creedmoor Grendel SPC .308 Winchester 7.62x51

Brownells is a well-known retailer of guns, gun parts, tools, accessories, ammo, and pretty much everything gun related. Brownells has a very active video production department that releases new “how-to” and product information videos every week. These videos offer helpful advice on gun cleaning/maintenance, reloading, as well as selecting/assembling components for various kinds of rifles. There now over 1000 videos on the Brownells YouTube Channel, this really is a remarkable resource.

One of our favorite regular Brownells video features are the Quick Tip Cartridge Comparisons. Brownells tech staffers look at a pair of cartridge types and reveal the noteworthy differences. Here are three recent Cartridge Comparison videos from Brownells.

1. 6.5 Creedmoor vs. .260 Remington

Brownells Gun Tech Caleb Savant compares and contrasts the 6.5 Creedmoor rifle cartridge with the older .260 Remington. Both cartridges are often loaded to nearly the same overall length (OAL), but with more of the bullet inside the neck for the .260 Rem. The .260 Remington is basically a .308 Winchester necked down to 6.5mm (.264″). The 6.5 Creedmoor has a shorter case, with a more modern 30-degree shoulder angle. With the same cartridge OAL, that can make it possible to load longer-ogive, higher-BC bullets. However, with a long-freebore chamber, the .260 Rem can certainly run any high-BC 6.5mm bullet made.

The .260 Remington can, theoretically, generate a bit more velocity at the muzzle because its longer case holds a bit more powder. However, with high-quality Lapua brass, in the real world, the 6.5 Creedmoor comes pretty darn close to .260 Rem performance with any given bullet weight. Moreover, the 6.5 Creedmoor is available with small primer pocket brass from Lapua. This brass may give a higher number of reloading cycles before case-head expansion becomes a problem. For the hunter, both choices are good, but the older .260 Rem may feed a bit better from a magazine, given the .260’s case taper and longer body. Overall, we favor the 6.5 Creedmoor for its versatility and efficiency, but the .260 Rem is a good cartridge too.

2. 6.8 SPC vs. 6.5 Grendel

Brownells Gun Tech Caleb Savant compares two medium-caliber cartridges that can work in AR15-platform rifles: the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.8 SPC (aka 6.8mm Remington “Special Purpose Cartridge”). The 6.5 Grendel is typically loaded with a high-BC .264″ bullet, while the 6.8 SPC has a larger-diameter .277″ bullet. Both have the same 2.26″ OAL as the AR-15’s standard .223 Remington / 5.56 NATO round. The big difference is the 6.5 Grendel’s faster velocity and flatter trajectory. With the same bullet weight, Brownells says the 6.5 Grendel will be about 100 fps faster than the 6.8 SPC. Given a 100-yard zero, the 6.5 Grendel will drop about 8.5″ at 300 yards, while the 6.8 SPC will drop 10.5″ at the same range. The 6.5 Grendel is probably a better choice for long-range targets, at least when loaded with a higher-BC bullet. A big difference is brass. You can get superb Lapua brass for the 6.5 Grendel. Not so for the 6.8 SPC, which really has never developed into a widely popular accuracy round.

3. 7.62×51 NATO vs. .308 Winchester (Subtle differences)

Brownells Technician Caleb Savant talks about the .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO. Most shooters know that both rounds have the same external dimensions. In fact, the military 7.62×51 was developed from the civilian .308 Winchester. So… can they be used interchangeably? The 7.62×51 cartridge normally can be fired from any rifle chambered in .308 Winchester because the 7.62 is spec’d for a lower pressure than SAAMI max in the .308 Win. However, we have encountered some British and Austrian 7.62×51 NATO milsurp ammo that was VERY hot — more than a typical commercial .308 Win Load. Accordingly you should always be careful when shooting new 7.62×51 ammo in your rifles. Likewise you should be careful about shooting higher-pressure .308 Win in some 7.62 NATO rifles. The 7.62×51 NATO chamber is slightly longer, and the cartridge’s case is typically a bit thicker, so it will “flow” and expand into the extra space. NOTE: Some newer rifles with 7.62×51 NATO chambers ARE made to handle .308 Win ammo. Check the owner’s manual or contact your rifle’s manufacturer to find out for sure.

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August 14th, 2020

Yes Both Velocity and Pressure Can Vary with Primer Choice

Primer Wolf CCI Federal Muzzle velocity FPS reloading

We are often asked “Can I get more velocity by switching primer types?” The answer is “maybe”. The important thing to know is that changing primer types can alter your load’s performance in many ways — velocity average, velocity variance (ES/SD), accuracy, and pressure. Because there are so many variables involved you can’t really predict whether one primer type is going to be better or worse than another. This will depend on your cartridge, your powder, your barrel, and even the mechanics of your firing pin system.

BE SAFE: Glen Zediker recommends decreasing your load ONE FULL GRAIN when changing to a different primer type, one that you haven’t used before.

Interestingly, however, a shooter on another forum did a test with his .308 Win semi-auto. Using Hodgdon Varget powder and Sierra 155gr Palma MatchKing (item 2156) bullets, he found that Wolf Large Rifle primers gave slightly higher velocities than did CCI-BR2s. Interestingly, the amount of extra speed (provided by the Wolfs) increased as charge weight went up, though the middle value had the largest speed variance. The shooter observed: “The Wolf primers seemed to be obviously hotter and they had about the same or possibly better ES average.” See table:

Varget .308 load 45.5 grains 46.0 grains 46.5 grains
CCI BR2 Primers 2751 fps 2761 fps 2783 fps
Wolf LR Primers 2757 fps 2780 fps 2798 fps
Speed Delta 6 fps 19 fps 15 fps

You can’t extrapolate too much from the table above. This describes just one gun, one powder, and one bullet. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) as they say. However, this illustration does show that by substituting one component you may see significant changes. Provided it can be repeated in multiple chrono runs, an increase of 19 fps (with the 46.0 grain powder load) is meaningful. An extra 20 fps or so may yield a more optimal accuracy node or “sweet spot” that produces better groups. (Though faster is certainly NOT always better for accuracy — you have to test to find out.)

WARNING: When switching primers, you should exercise caution. More speed may be attractive, but you have to consider that the “speedier” primer choice may also produce more pressure. Therefore, you must carefully monitor pressure signs whenever changing ANY component in a load. Glen Zediker recommends decreasing your load ONE FULL GRAIN when changing to a different primer type, one that you haven’t used before.

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August 11th, 2020

Ammo Reference Book Covers 200+ Cartridge Types

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Do you use factory ammo in your hunting rifles? Perhaps you buy bulk centerfire ammo for your AR15 or varmint rifle. Then this book is for you.

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 6. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 200+ cartridge types from .17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). In this updated-for-2020 Sixth Edition, there are over 3,000 tables covering virtually every caliber and every load for all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the USA. Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficients up to 1,000 yards.

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Ammo & Ballistics 6 helps you select ammo for a hunt — quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various commercial ammo. This book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig.

Verified Book Purchaser Reviews
“Outstanding reference guide for shooters and ballistic enthusiasts alike. Has data on velocity, energy delivered, Taylor KO index, windage and elevation on numerous loadings for hundreds of [cartridge types]. Each cartridge has all dimensions labeled (i.e rim, case length, neck, etc.), and has an informative description of the cartridges history/relevance.” — S. Step, 2017

“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe

Ammo & Ballistics 6 contains data and illustrations on virtually every sporting cartridge sold in the USA. This 2020 Edition covers 200-plus cartridge types from .17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express.

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June 14th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Handsome F-TR Rig Built for James Crofts

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

A multi-time 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

When James Crofts is not shooting his .308 Win F-TR rig,
he often trains with a .22 LR Rimfire rifle. Read on…

Rimfire Training for F-Class Competitors

2014 and 2012 U.S. National F-TR Champion James Crofts is one of America’s top F-Class shooters. A member of 2013 World Championship-winning F-TR Team USA squad, James knows a thing or two about long-range shooting. But you may be surprised to learn how James sharpens his shooting skills at relatively short distances. You see, James often practices with a .22 LR rimfire rifle at distances from 50 to 200 yards. James tells us: “Shooting my F-Class rimfire trainer saves me money and improves my shot process and wind-reading abilities.”

Remington rimfire 40X barreled action in PR&T LowBoy stock with PT&G bolt.
James Crofts F-TR Rimfire .22 LR

Rimfire Training Teaches Wind-Reading Skills by James Crofts
Training with the rimfire is extremely useful and can be done from 25 yards out to 200 yards. I am lucky and can shoot 50 yards right off my back deck. That is far enough that any miscue on rifle handling will show up on the target. I use a two dry-fire to one actual shot routine for my practices. This gives me much more positive reinforcement without any negative reinforcement.

Wind reading is extremely important with a .22 LR rifle. I use a set of smallbore flags to aid my wind calls. The smallbore flags are a must and force you to look at the flags and mirage on each and every shot.

James Crofts F-TR Rimfire .22 LR
This Rimfire rifle features a CMP-sourced Rem 40X barreled action, PR&T Low Boy stock, Jewell trigger, and Phoenix bipod. The gun was built by Ray Bowman of Precision Rifle & Tool. James Crofts told us: “The project turned out awesome — the rifle was a hammer from the beginning even with the stock barrel.”

Rimfire Training Is Cost-Effective
Rimfire ammunition is much less costly than centerfire ammo. Though .22 LR prices have risen, you can still get a 500-round brick of very good .22 LR match ammo for around $75.00. That works out to fifteen cents a round. That’s a fraction of the cost of handloading .308 Win match ammo. The top match-grade, .308-cal centerfire bullets can cost around $60 per hundred. Then you have to figure in brass, primers, and powder. Finally you have to consider your precious centerfire barrel life lost to practice.

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April 7th, 2020

How Ammo Temp Can Affect Velocity — Freezing to 130 degrees F

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot F-Class Ammo cold
In this .308 Win test, 70° F ammo shot 96 FPS slower than ammo heated to 130.5° F. And the 130.5° ammunition was 145 fps faster than ammo taken right out of the freezer (at 25.5° F). That’s a huge difference…

EDITOR’s NOTE: The Sierra tester does not reveal the brand of powder tested here. Some powders are much more temp sensitive than others. Accordingly, you cannot extrapolate test results from one propellant to another. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see the actual recorded velocity shift with ammo temperature variations in a .308 Win.

Written by Sierra Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd
This story originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog
A few weeks ago I was attending the Missouri State F-Class Match. This was a two-day event during the summer and temperatures were hot one day and hotter the next. I shot next to a gentleman who was relatively new to the sport. He was shooting a basically factory rifle and was enjoying himself with the exception that his scores were not as good as he hoped they would be and he was experiencing pressure issues with his ammunition. I noticed that he was having to force the bolt open on a couple of rounds. During a break, I visited with him and offered a couple of suggestions which helped his situation somewhat and he was able to finish the match without major issues.

He was shooting factory ammunition, which is normally loaded to upper levels of allowable pressures. While this ammunition showed no problems during “normal” testing, it was definitely showing issues during a 20-round string of fire in the temperatures we were competing in. My first suggestion was that he keep his ammunition out of the direct sun and shade it as much as possible. My second suggestion was to not close the bolt on a cartridge until he was ready to fire. He had his ammo in the direct sunlight and was chambering a round while waiting on the target to be pulled and scored which can take from a few seconds to almost a minute sometimes.

This time frame allowed the bullet and powder to absorb chamber [heat] and build pressure/velocity above normal conditions. Making my recommended changes lowered the pressures enough for the rifle and cartridge to function normally.

Testing Effects of Ammunition Temperature on Velocity and POI
After thinking about this situation, I decided to perform a test in the Sierra Bullets underground range to see what temperature changes will do to a rifle/cartridge combination. I acquired thirty consecutive .30 caliber 175 grain MatchKing bullets #2275 right off one of our bullet assembly presses and loaded them into .308 Winchester ammunition. I utilized an unnamed powder manufacturer’s product that is appropriate for the .308 Winchester cartridge. This load is not at the maximum for this cartridge, but it gives consistent velocities and accuracy for testing.

I took ten of the cartridges and placed them in a freezer to condition.

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot F-Class Ammo cold

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot F-Class Ammo cold

I set ten of them on my loading bench, and since it was cool and cloudy the day I performed this test I utilized a floodlight and stand to simulate ammunition being heated in the sun.

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot F-Class Ammo cold

I kept track of the temperatures of the three ammunition samples with a non-contact laser thermometer.

The rifle was fired at room temperature (70 degrees) with all three sets of ammunition. I fired this test at 200 yards out of a return-to-battery machine rest. The aiming point was a leveled line drawn on a sheet of paper. I fired one group with the scope aimed at the line and then moved the aiming point across the paper from left to right for the subsequent groups.

NOTE that the velocity increased as the temperature of the ammunition did.

The ammunition from the freezer shot at 2451 fps.

Frozen FPS

The room temperature ammunition shot at 2500 fps.

Room Temperature FPS

The heated ammunition shot at 2596 fps.

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot cold

The tune window of the particular rifle is fairly wide as is shown by the accuracy of the three pressure/velocity levels and good accuracy was achieved across the board. However, notice the point of impact shift with the third group? There is enough shift at 200 yards to cause a miss if you were shooting a target or animal at longer ranges. While the pressure and velocities changed this load was far enough from maximum that perceived over pressure issues such as flattened primer, ejector marks on the case head, or sticky extraction did not appear. If you load to maximum and then subject your ammunition to this test your results will probably be magnified in comparison.

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot cold

This test showed that pressures, velocities, and point-of-impact can be affected by temperatures of your ammunition at the time of firing. It’s really not a bad idea to test in the conditions that you plan on utilizing the ammo/firearm in if at all possible. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to also test to see what condition changes do to your particular gun and ammunition combination so that you can make allowances as needed. Any personal testing along these lines should be done with caution as some powder and cartridge combination could become unsafe with relatively small changes in conditions.

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April 6th, 2020

Loading for the AR10 Using a Progressive Press

Lock and Load Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader AR-10
Gavin Gear tests .308 Win ammo with his DPMS LR-308B, AR10-type rifle.

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com owns a DPMS LR-308B, an AR10-type semi-auto rifle. Gavin finds that his DPMS has a healthy appetite for ammunition. So, he set up his Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive press to produce .308 Win ammo. This video shows the process of press set-up and operation, complete with Hornady’s automated Case Feeder and Bullet Feeder. Employing elevated rotary hoppers, the case feed and bullet feed systems really speed up production. The automated feeders allow the operator to produce cartridges without ever touching case or bullet with his hands.

If you need large quantities of .308 Win ammo for 3-Gun matches or tactical games, and if you value your time, a progressive press may be a wise investment. The progressive can load a complete round with every cycle of the press handle. With Case Feeder and Bullet Feeder in place, the Hornady L-N-L can easily crank out a new .308 round every 3-4 seconds (watch video at 5:25). Conservatively speaking, that’s 15 rounds per minute sustained production (and some guys can go even faster).

To learn more about the Hornady Lock-N-Load Progressive Press (with case/bullet feed options), and to see a list of the dies and accessories Gavin uses, click the link below:

Hornady Rifle Bullet Feeder Part 5: Loading .308 for the AR-10

Lock and Load Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader AR-10

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January 1st, 2020

2020 Gun Video Fest — Eight Great Videos for a New Decade

AccurateShooter video 2020 gun youtube Erik Cortina Borden PRS Mike Bryant
Image courtesy Nightforce Optics.

It’s 2020! Welcome the new year and a new decade. We know many of our readers will be spending the winter day indoors. If you need a break from the bowl games on TV, here are eight interesting and informative videos that are worth watching. The subject matter runs the gamut from benchrest gunsmithing to long-range varmint silhouette competition. There are also reviews of some of the best precision rifle options for PRS and NRL22 disciplines. Enjoy our New Year 2020 Video Fest.

1. UltimateReloader — 14 Reloading Presses Compared

Epic Reloading Hardware Test — 14 Single-Stage Presses. In this remarkable video, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com reviews fourteen (14) single-stage reloading presses. This is the most comprehensive reloading press comparison test ever done by anyone, anywhere. The presses range from compact units to large-frame exotics from Europe. If you are in the market for a single-stage press in 2020 this is a MUST-watch video. Brands include Forster, Hornady, Lyman, MEC, RCBS, Redding, Turban (Prazipress).

2. Precision Riflesmith — Profile of Benchrest Smith Mike Bryant

Texas gunsmith Mike Bryant is a talented benchrest shooter and a highly respected builder of competition and hunting rifles. In this wide-ranging interview, Mike talks about benchrest competition, the key factors that contribute to rifle accuracy, and about his career as a gunsmith.

3. Erik Cortina — Mag-Feed Testing Borden Action with 6BR


Click the Speaker Icon (lower right) to HEAR AUDIO

Our friend Erik Cortina has built a new PRS/NRL rifle based on the new Borden Super Short 6 Action. This video show Erik’s first mag-feeding test with ten 6BR loaded rounds. You’ll see there is NO problem speed-feeding the short 6BR case. Erik tells us: “I removed the firing pin from bolt for safety. The magazine has not been modified in any way. I would say there is no need to do anything to it, she’s ready to run!” Impressive indeed.

4. Shooting USA — Texas Varmint Benchrest Match

Varmint Benchrest silhouette TexasThis episode of Shooting USA TV features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas. This discipline combine the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond.

In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests. NOTE: This video shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen.

5. Vickers Tactical — .308 Win Bolt Gun Vs. .308 Win Gas Gun

This interesting video from Vickers tactical compares and contrasts two tactical style rifles both chambered for the .308 Winchester. The test team compares functionality, accuracy, ergonomics, and versatility. Each platform has its advantages, as the video reveals.

6. Outdoor Life — The Best New Affordable Precision Rifles

This video showcases three modern tactical-style rifles suitable for the PRS Production (Factory) Class which is limited to $2000 for rifle alone, not counting optics (Rule 2.3.1). Outdoor Life Shooting Editor John Snow puts three capable rifles through their paces: Patriot Valley Arms John Hancock, BadRock Precision SouthFork, and Seekins Precision Havoc Bravo.

7. Aerial View of Deep Creek Shooting Range in Montana

The Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana, is one of the best 1000-yard ranges in the country. Many long-range benchrest records have been set in this scenic, tree-lined facility. Now, thanks to Forum member David Gosnell (aka “Zilla”), you can see Deep Creek from the air. David flew a camera drone over the Deep Creek Range, soaring from firing line to the target bay and back again. This video gives you a “birds-eye view” of one of America’s elite ranges.

8. Nat’l Rifle League — Intro to NRL22 Rimfire Tactical Matches

NRL22 is a great way to get into competition shooting with minimal expense. There are Five (5) classes: Open, Base, Ladies, Young Guns (8-16), and Air Rifle. Base Class is for the budget-minded shooter — the combined MSRP of Rifle and Optic may not exceed $1050.00 (so you could spend $550 on a rifle and $500 on a scope for example). That keeps the sport affordable. Open, Youth, and Ladies Classes have no price limits on Rifle and Optic. Visit NRL22.org to find an NRL22 match near you.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product, Reloading, Tactical 1 Comment »
December 15th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: John Whidden’s .308 Win Wonder-Gun

Whidden Gunworks 2017 Long Range High Power National Champion Camp Atterbury Indiana

John Whidden’s Championship-Winning Rifle
For this Sunday GunDay we feature John Whidden’s very special Palma rifle, the rig that carried him to his 5th NRA Long Range National Championship in 2017. John captured his fifth Long Range crown with a superb performance in the Palma match. The caliber is .308 Win, as dictated by the Palma rules.

This unique .308 Win prone rifle from Whidden Gunworks features a Barnard “P” action in a converted aluminum Anschutz “Precise” smallbore (rimfire) stock. The combo of Barnard action and Anschutz ergonomics is hard to beat, says John, who told us: “this is easily the best Palma rifle I’ve ever had.” John told us this gun handles like no other: “After recoil, with this Anschutz stock, the sights fall right back on target — better than any other prone rifle I’ve shot”.

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

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

Sling Rifle Evolved: The Ultra-Accurate Hybrid Palma Rifle

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

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

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

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

Whidden’s Wonder-Gun: German Stock, New Zealand Action, American Barrel
John built this Palma rifle in early 2016. With it, John won back-to-back long-range Championships in 2016 (Camp Perry) and 2017 (Camp Atterbury). The major components are: Barnard ‘P’ action, Anschutz Precise smallbore stock, and Bartlein barrel. The caliber is .308 Win, as dictated by the Palma rules. Palma matches are fired from 800, 900, and 1000 yards utilizing iron sights only. No optical sights are allowed.

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

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stockWhidden Gunworks has installed a variety of different actions in the Anschutz Precise stocks. Though the stocks are designed for the .22 LR caliber 2013 action rifles, we’ve successfully installed Barnard, Kelbly, Bat, Nesika, and Remington clone actions into them. The Barnard Model P makes a particularly simple installation because there is no modification necessary to the stock at all. A competitor can then shoot both his centerfire rifle as well as his smallbore gun in the exact same stock. The location of the trigger and bolt handle on the Barnard are positioned just right to make this work. Other actions do require at least some amount of modification to the stock, and we have found the Barnard works the best.

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

Based on my previous excellent experiences, I selected Bartlein barrels for this rifle. When shooting internationally in the Palma matches we are restricted to 155 grain .308 bullets, but I made the unusual choice of a 1-10″ twist for these bullets. I’ve shot this fast twist for some years with the 155s with good success and it’s pleasing to know that Bryan Litz is finding benefits in some cartridges to shooting faster twist rates than we previously thought we needed. The load is Vihtavuori N140 Powder with Berger 155gr Hybrid bullets. The chamber is the 2011 Palma and the barrel is a Light Palma contour finished at 32” length. The barrel was cryo-treated by 300 Below. The point of impact isn’t changed at all by barrel heating and the accuracy is incredible regardless of the temperature of the barrel. This can’t be said of all the barrels I’ve owned.

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

Get Your Own Whidden Wonder-Gun
Like this Anschutz-Barnard hybrid rifle? Whidden Gunworks can build you a rig like this, fitting a centerfire barreled action in the Anschutz Precise stock. John tells us: “The price of a rifle like this one but without sights or mounts would be under $5000.00. We attempt to keep all of the parts except the stock in inventory, so lead time should be under eight (8) weeks.”

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

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

John Whidden gunsorks .308 Win Palma 10% Off Christmas discount sale

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December 9th, 2019

Bargain Finder 220: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Walmart — 80th Anniversary Red Ryder BB Gun, $24.47

teslong digital borescope

Who can forget the 1983 movie “The Christmas Story” which focused on young Ralphie Parker’s overwhelming desire for a Red Ryder BB gun. The year 2020 marks the 80th year in production for Daisy’s classic Red Ryder BB gun. And now it is available in an 80th Anniversary Special Edition for just $24.47 at Walmart. If you want one of these for a young shooter in the family, act soon — these are selling fast.

2. Amazon — Teslong Borescope $49.99 or NEW $74.99 WiFi Version (iOS Apple, Android, and Windows Capable)

teslong digital borescope

Video Review of Teslong WiFi Version:

The impressive Teslong digital borescope has been a huge success. This compact, electro-optical, cable-type borescope outputs sharp, high-resolution images and VIDEO to desktop computers, laptops, as well as Android tablets and smartphones. Check out our Full Teslong Review complete with inside-the-barrel videos. NOTE: There is a NEW WiFi Version that works with Apple iPhones and iPads, as well as all other WiFi devices and tablets. Get the Wifi Teslong for $74.99.

3. Midsouth Shooters — Berger Bullets 10% Off Sale

berger bullets 10% off sale

Berger Bullets are proven winners for all forms of centerfire rifle competition and Berger hunting projectiles are also excellent. Now you can save on high-quality Berger bullets through the end of this December. Visit Midsouth Shooters this month to get 10% Off All Berger Bullets in stock. This sale covers both competition and hunting bullets.

4. Gander Outdoors — .308 Win Ruger Precision Rifle, $783.82

ruger precision

The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) is hard to beat for the price among entry-level chassis rifles. And here is one of the best prices for an RPR that we’ve ever seen. If you’re in the market for an RPR, grab this .308 Win RPR for a just $783.82. If you’re looking for a 6mm version, check out this Ruger Precision Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor for $995.99.

5. Tractor Supply — Cannon 40-Gun Safe $649.99

Cannon 40-gun security safe gunsafe fire rated

The Cannon TS5934 40-Gun Safe, has a large 19.1-cubic foot capacity with an impressive 45-minute fire rating. This beefy 497-lb safe features 8 locking bolts and TRUlock internal hinges. This safe includes a door organizer kit and attractive interior upholstery, adjustable shelving, and a chrome 5-spoke handle. This is a great value at $649.99. On the outside, the safe is 59″ high and 34″ inches wide.

6. EuroOptic.com — HUGE Nikon Scope Close-Out Sale

Nikon tactical scope close-out sale

EuroOptic.com is running a huge close-out sale on quality Nikon riflescopes. This sale includes the excellent Black FX1000 (FFP), and Black X1000 (SFP) tactical scopes, plus the M-Tactical and P-Tactical series optics. If you are looking for a great tactical or hunting scope at a crazy low price, head over to EuroOptic this week. For example the 4-16x50mm FX1000 MRAD is marked down from $749.95 to just $369.95, a 50% savings! And the 2-7x32mm P-Tactical and M-Tactical series scopes are just $99.95! Nikon scope mounts are also discounted.

7. Amazon — RCBS Explorer Plus Reloading Kit, $373.99

Nikon tactical scope close-out sale

Here’s a great Reloading Kit for someone getting started in reloading, or for folks who need a compact secondary press plus accessories. Right now you can get the RCBS Plus Reloading Kit for just $373.99 on Amazon.

8. Midsouth Shooters — Lyman Case Prep Center, $114.99

Lyman Case Prep Center Sale

Case prep is key to consistent accuracy, so a powered prep center is a good investment. Midsouth Shooters now has the 5-station Lyman Case Prep Center for $114.99 on SALE. With this Case Prep Center you can save time, and reduce repetitive hand fatigue dramatically. This is a real bargain — this unit sells for up to $150.00 elsewhere.

9. Midsouth — Frankford Arsenal Perfect Primer Seater, $56.99

As part of its Christmas Sale, Midsouth has the Frankford Perfect Primer Seater Tool for $56.99 (21% Off). This is a GREAT primer seating tool. It has good feel, plenty of leverage, and the primer feed-from-tray works well. Importantly, it has a click-adjust wheel for precise primer seating depth control. Read our Frankford Primer Seating Tool Product Review by gunsmith Jim See. The tool comes complete with 12 precision shell holders.

10. Midsouth — Tipton 13-Piece Jag Kit, $11.99

Lyman Case Prep Center Sale

The 13-piece Tipton Brass Jag Kit includes jags sized to fit all popular calibers from .17 to .45. Priced at just $11.99 at Midsouth, this handy Jag Kit is a perfect stocking stuffer for shooters in the family.

11. Amazon — Samsung 10.1″ Tablet plus 64GB card, $156.32

samsung android tablet mobile wifi computer Android 64 gb

Need a budget-priced tablet for your TargetCam, Ballistics Apps, and Endoscope? Check out this Samsung 10.1″ Tablet Computer. It’s just $157.64 complete with 80GB of Ram (16GB onboard plus 64GB on MicroSD card). Or, if you don’t need the extra RAM, get the same tablet with 16GB onboard for $147.99. These are 2019 production tablets with modern Android OS.

12. CDNN — Zebra Muffs and Fashion Safety Glasses Set, $4.99

Champion Zebra Muffs tortoise shell sunglasses safety glasses eyewear

Here’s a great “stocking stuffer” gift for your wife or girlfriend who enjoys shooting. For just $4.99 you can get a combo set of “high-fashion” ear muffs and ANSI-rated safety glasses. The comfortable, zebra-print muffs provide 21 dB of noise reduction. The stylish, tortoise-shell pattern Bella Ballistica™ shooting eyewear has passed MIL-PRF-31013 ballistic tests and meets ANSI Z87+ high-velocity requirements with a chic designer appearance. The lady in your life just might appreciate the stylish eyewear and distinctive muffs, earning you “bonus points”. And she’ll never suspect you only spent five bucks!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
December 8th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: 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, and finished second in F-Open Division at the 2016 Canadian National F-Class Championship in Ontario. He is a great shooter and a great gun-builder as well.

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

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
December 1st, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Dennis Builds an Eliseo Tubegun Palma Rig

Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

Our friend Dennis Santiago is a talented Service Rifle shooter, who normally competes with an AR shooting the .223 Rem cartridge. Recently he decided to go over to the “dark side”, putting together a Palma (fullbore) rifle chambered for the .308 Winchester. Dennis selected a Competition Machine (Gary Eliseo) R1 Chassis for the project. Here’s Santiago’s account of his “true blue” Palma build…

Palma Rifle Report by Dennis Santiago
“Here’s my new project — a .308 Win Palma rifle with an Eliseo R1 chassis, Rem 700 action (blue-printed with PT&G upgrades), Jewell trigger, Boots Obermeyer 1:11″-twist barrel, and Phoenix sights holding Gehmann apertures. Next comes chassis and sling set-up, initial mechanical zeroing, and load development. Yup, I have a bunch of Peterson small primer .308 brass, Sierra #2156 155gr MKs, and Varget to get started with. I’m told I can drive 155gr pills to stay supersonic to 1K. Should make for an interesting 2020. My goal is to be cozy with this blue beast by the time the Berger Southwest Nationals kick off in February 2020. Hey, you gotta have goals!”

Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals
CLICK Image for full-screen photo with more detail.

Pinning the Picatinny — For a Super-Solid Mount
Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

One of the key parts of the build, Dennis explains, is mounting the top rail with pins: “Once the rail is aligned using a spin-centered optic, it locks down with three 3/16″ roll pins. That way there is no reliance on screws that can come loose. Above is a photo of the top of the Eliseo tube chassis showing the three, 3/16″ roll pins that unitize the Picatinny rail. You can also see the four brass screws that just kiss the action to fully stabilize it in the tube. The recoil ring buttresses completely around the action with metal to metal contact. There are a million details hidden inside a Gary gun.”

Phoenix Sights Front and Rear
Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

Rise of the Phoenix — Here are the sights for the Eliseo R1. There are very few manufacturers left making these kinds of ultra-precise and repeatable iron sights.

Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

These Ray-Vin tools help set mechanical zero on the sights. Dennis notes: “Finally a reason to pull out the Ray-Vin calibration paraphernalia to set up a mechanical zero. This photo is for all of you who still remember that those barrel flats and screws in our sight towers actually had a purpose once upon a time.”

Sling ‘N Irons — Classic Palma Configuration
Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals
Dennis plans to use an Eric Hollis sling with his new blue Palma rifle.

Peterson Small Primer .308 Win Brass for Santiago’s Rig
Berger southwest SW Nationals

Dennis plans to use Peterson Cartridge Small Rifle primer .308 Win brass. Peterson offers a “Select” version weight-sorted and length-sorted at the factory. All Select casings (in a 50ct box) are guaranteed to be within 1 grain in weight and .001″ in OAL. Peterson Select brass is available for 20 different cartridge types, including .308 Win both small primer/small flash hole and large primer/large flash hole.

Getting the Blue Rifle Ready for the 2020 Berger SW Nationals

Berger southwest SW Nationals

Dennis plans to campaign his rifle at the 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). He may shoot iron sights, or fit a scope and shoot in the “Any Sights” category. That’s not yet decided. The week-long Berger SWN is the biggest rifle match in the Western United States. Hundreds of shooters compete in both individual and team events. The SWN begins with the Mid-Range Nationals at 600 yards. Then the Long-Range matches are held, with targets out to 1000 yards. Watch the video to see the Ben Avery facility, home of the Berger SWN:

Chassis-maker Gary Elesio at the 2017 Berger SW Nationals. Gary shoots what he sells:

Gary Eliseo Chassis Dennis Santiago Palma .308 Win

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
June 2nd, 2019

Sunday GunDay: .308 Win for PRS and NRL Tactical Division

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

This .308 Win was purpose-built for PRS/NRL tactical competition. With all the focus on the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor, and smaller 6mm cartridges, it’s easy to forget that the PRS has a Tactical Division limited to .223 Rem and .308 Winchester. This gun was built by Jim See of Elite Accuracy LLC to compete in that class, which also has a .308 bullet-weight limit of 178 grains, and a velocity limit of 2800 fps.

With those restrictions, this is truly a Tactical Tack-Driver, as you can see from those 100-yard targets in the photo above. This gun seems to shot great with everything Jim has tried. He started the season with Sierra 168gr Tipped MatchKings. Later he switched to 168gr Berger Hybrids. For both bullet types he uses Varget powder, CCI 200 primers, and Lapua large primer .308 Win brass. His current match load runs about 2765 FPS, with impressive 5-7 FPS standard deviation. The gun hammers — even at very long range. Jim told us: “That soda bottle was shot at one mile with a 168gr Berger Hybrid on top of Varget.” Jim says the 1:9″ twist rate helps deliver a “clean sub-sonic transition” at that distance.

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger
With its heavy-contour barrel, the gun weighs in at a hefty 22 pounds, including optics and bipod. If you like this rig, Jim See can build you one just like it, or with the chambering of your choice. Visit EliteAccuracy.com to learn more about Jim’s gunsmithing services.

This rig features a RBRP Impact Precision 737 Action which was designed specifically for PRS-type tactical applications. This action features an integral lug, and built-in +20 MOA Picatinny rail. Both receiver and bolt are black-nitrided for slickness and durability. Jim loves the action: “It is really slick operating. It functions really well and doesn’t get gummed up with dirt or grit, so it has caught on for the PRS/NRL game. This action has won a major share of 2-day PRS matches this past season.”

Barrel Is a Resurrected .300 WSM
This rifle has one “resurrected” component — the barrel. The 1.25″ straight-contour, 1:9″-twist Brux was originally chambered as a .300 WSM finished at 30 inches. As acquired from Pat Scully, the barrel had 1200 WSM rounds through it. See then re-chambered the Brux as a .308 Winchester, finished it at 25 inches, and attached a 4-baffle side-discharge muzzle brake. Jim says the brake really helps control muzzle lift.

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

Jim See .308 Win Tactical Rifle Specifications:

Action: Impact Precision 737R
Action Finish: Black Nitride (bolt + body)
Barrel: Brux 1:9″ twist, 25″ finished
Chambering: .308 Win, PT&G Std. Match Reamer
Muzzle Brake: Custom 4 baffle, side discharge
Trigger: Trigger-Tech Diamond, straight shoe
Magazine: Accuracy International

Scope: Vortex Razor HD Gen II, 4.5-27x56mm FFP EBR reticle
Scope Base: Integral +20 MOA rail
Stock: J. Allen Enterprises (JAE) chassis
Front Rail: JAE Swiss ARCA rail
(extends bipod mount 2″ forward)
Bipod: Atlas PSR

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

Running the Rifle in Competition
Jim says this rifle performed well right out of the gate: “For about three years I wanted to shoot Tactical division and in 2018 it happened to work out. I decided it was a good year to test the .308 Win waters and see how the .308 could stack up competitively against the Open Class rifles.

I dug around the shop and found an 11-twist 30″ M-24 from an old F-class rifle and chopped it down to 23″ and fit it to an Impact action. [EDITOR: This barrel was later replaced with the 1:9″ Brux finished at 25 inches.] I had not received my 168gr Berger Hybrids yet so I ran the Sierra 168gr Tipped MatchKings in the first couple matches of the season. Those SMKs were used for the target and chrono pictures here.

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

The first spring match was ‘The Battle for Breakneck’ in Nebraska. This is a true field match with mostly prone stages with a few natural rock barricades thrown in for positional shooting. The yardages went out to a little over 1400 yards. I went in feeling good and shot very well in the windy conditions, hitting targets out to 1350 yards. I finished with a score of around 105 out of 135 points. The Open Class winner shot a 117 score I believe. I ended up being First-Place Tactical and 16th overall in a field of 100 shooters.”

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

Consistency and Preparation — Keys to Success in PRS/NRL Competition
Through his Elite Accuracy LLC company, Jim offers skills training for tactical shooters. When we asked Jim if he had any advice for PRS/NRL competitors, Jim replied: “Consistency is what will continually put you at the top of a match. In addition, your gear needs to be prepared (100% sorted out) and your mind needs to be prepared and ready. Don’t let your mind get in your own way. Mental preparation and confidence will be key to success.”

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills 5 Comments »
June 1st, 2019

Change Out Your Barrels Quickly and Easily with Muzzle Mod

Warren Dean Hex Barrel John Whidden Larry Racine

Competitor Warren Dean has employed a hex-end barrel to permit rapid barrel changes on his F-Class rig. Warren wrote: “I have been running what is commonly known as a switch barrel on my F-T/R rifle. Basically it allows for removal and reinstallation of the barrel with basic hand tools and with no, or very minimal, shift in zero. The two gunsmiths that I trust, Larry Racine and John Whidden, both told me that the switch barrel system would return to a very close zero with no problems. [This system] can be a great benefit to the traveling shooter and a money-saver for the shooter wanting to shoot different calibers on the same chassis.” READ Dean Switch-Barrel Report.

Larry Racine Barrel Sytem
Larry Racine is a respected gunsmith based in New Hampshire. He is also a two-time member of the U.S. Palma Team, and a five-time New Hampshire State Highpower rifle champion. Larry, who runs LPR Gunsmithing, has developed a brilliantly simple means of switching rifle barrels with an ordinary spanner or open-end wrench. With this set-up you can switch barrels in the field in seconds without the need for a barrel vise.

For most barrels, Larry mills a hex with six flats on the end of the barrel. This allows a shooter to change barrels quickly at home or on the line with a simple box-head wrench or a socket wrench. Larry says: “You don’t even have to take the barreled action out of the gun. Just set the buttstock on the ground, between your feet, put a wrench on it, hit it with the palm of your hand — and off comes the barrel.” For barrels fitted with a muzzle brake, Larry has a slightly different system. He mills two flats behind the brake so you can use an open-end wrench to do the job.

With either a hex on the end, or two flats for a brake-equipped rifle, the system works with any medium- to heavy-contour barrel with a muzzle-diameter of at least 0.700″. This will even work for high-power rigs using clamp-on sights or bloop tubes. Larry explains: “A lot of us here in New England use clamp-on front sights. The barrel will be turned to 0.750 for the sight, with the hex on the end. A bloop tube can go right over the end, no problem.”

Larry has used this system over the past few years to win a number of matches. In one 600-yard 3 by 20 prone match, Larry used three different barrels, with three different chamberings, on the same Savage rifle. Larry changed the barrels on the line.

Larry was able to do this because the system has little to no loss of zero from one installation of a given barrel to the next installation of that barrel. This lets the shooter start the match with confidence that the first sighter will be on paper. Larry reports that the simple system works great: “To date we have used this system on Savage, Remington, Winchester, RPA, and Nesika actions.”

Varminters Take Note — This Is Great in the Field
If you are a varminter shooting hundreds of rounds in a day, consider this system. We know some guys who bring 3 or 4 rifles into the field because their barrels get hot during long days of prarie dog hunting. With this smart system, you can easily swap barrels in a couple minutes. And no special equipment or barrel vises are required.

Modifying Barrels is Affordable
Racine’s system for rapid barrel removal/changing is very affordable. If Larry does the chamber work on your barrel he charges $45.00 extra to mill a hex or two flats on your barrel. The customer chooses the configuration.

If you only want the hex or flats done, Larry may charge a higher fee — call for current rates. Note this can also work for barrels with muzzle brakes or threads for suppressors. For more info, visit LPRGunsmith.com or call Larry at (603) 357-0055.

E-mail: Larry[at]LPRGunSmith.com
LPR Gunsmithing
11 Suburban Acres
N. Swanzey, NH 03431

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
May 15th, 2019

Peterson Cartridge Now Produces Loaded Ammunition

Peterson Cartridge ammo ammunition
Peterson now offers 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, and .300 Norma Mag loaded ammo.

Peterson Cartridge, a leading USA-based cartridge brass maker, is expanding its product line. Peterson recently announced that it will produce loaded ammunition. This new Peterson Precision Ammunition, of course, features Peterson brass, along with bullets from Berger, Hornady, and Sierra. There will be four (4) ammo types initially: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win Match, and .300 Norma Mag. (NOTE: We’ve also seen a photo labeled “7mm” so perhaps a .284 Win is on its way, or maybe a 7mm SAUM?)

The ammo is reasonably priced. For example, the 6.5 Creedmoor ammo costs $35.00 for 20 cartridges, or $1.75 per round. Here are the product specs for the four cartridge types currently offered. You can access Full DROP CHARTS by clicking each photo below.

6mm Creedmoor Peterson cartridge ammo Ammunition

6mm Creedmoor
Projectile: Hornady 108 Grain ELDM
Velocity: 3080 FPS (24″ bbl)
G1 BC: 0.536

6.5 Creedmoor Peterson Cartridge ammo ammunition

6.5 Creedmoor
Projectile 1: Sierra 142 Grain SMK
Velocity: 2700 FPS (24″ bbl)
G1 BC: 0.595
Projectile 2: Hornady 140 Grain ELDM
Velocity: 2750 FPS (24″ bbl)
G1 BC: 0.646
Projectile 3: Hornady 147 Grain ELDM
Velocity: 2650 FPS (24″ bbl)
G1 BC: 0.697

Peterson Cartridge .308 Win Winchester ammo ammunition

.308 Win Match
Projectile 1: Sierra 168 Grain Tipped MatchKing
Velocity: 2803 FPS (24″ bbl)
G1 BC: 0.535
Projectile 2: Sierra 175 Grain Tipped MatchKing
Velocity: N/A
G1 BC: 0.545

Peterson Cartridge .300 300 Norma mag magnum ammunition ammo

.300 Norma Magnum
Projectile: Berger 215 Grain Hybrid Target
Velocity: 2950 FPS (24″ bbl)
G1 BC: 0.696

This ammo is all assembled in the USA, using Peterson brass and American components: “The entire manufacturing process, from creating the brass to loading the full rounds of precision ammunition takes place in our manufacturing facility located in Warrendale, Pennsylvania. Peterson Cartridge is dedicated to producing the best American-Made ammunition possible.”

Peterson Cartridge
761 Commonwealth Drive, Suite 201
Warrendale, PA 15086
Phone: (724) 940-7552
Email: info@petersoncartridge.com

Peterson ammo tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

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May 4th, 2019

Super Deal — Lake City 7.62×51 Primed Brass $49.99/250

Midsouth Shooters Lake City Surplus pull-down primed .308 Win 7.62x51 brass sale bulk 250

Do you shoot a Springfield M1A rifle chambered for the .308 Win/7.62×51? Or maybe you have a rugged, semi-auto FN-FAL in 7.62×51 NATO? Are you looking for very strong, durable brass you can shoot in these semi-auto battle rifles, without breaking the bank?

M1A Camp Perry 2009 6.5 Creedmoor .308 Win Winchester
Photo of 2009 M1A Match at Camp Perry. Shooter is Nick Till, 2007 Service Rifle Champion.

Semi-autos such as the M1A are tough on brass. You want brass that isn’t too costly, but at the same time is very strong and durable. For decades, USA-made Lake City brass have been a solid choice for 7.62×51 semis, and now you can get quality, unfired 7.62×51 Lake City brass for just $49.99 for 250 cases at Midsouth. That’s just $0.20 (twenty cents) per case! That’s a fourth what you’ll pay for premium, virgin .308 Winchester brass. These cases are never-fired brass, with CCI #34 primers seated in crimped, military-style primer pockets.

Midsouth Shooters Lake City Surplus pull-down primed .308 Win 7.62x51 brass sale bulk 250
springfield armory M1a service rifle m14 6.5 CM Creedmoor

This 7.62×51 Lake City brass comes from disassembled “pull-down” ammunition. It has NOT been fired, but it has been previously assembled. So, there may be some cosmetic issues with the brass. Note that these are primed cases. If you choose to neck-size or FL-size the brass before loading for the first time, REMOVE the decapping rod in your sizing die. This brass has LIVE PRIMERS!! Do NOT use a die with a decapping rod for the first loading of this brass. Got that guys? This is important!!

Midsouth Shooters Lake City Surplus pull-down primed .308 Win 7.62x51 brass sale bulk 250

We have shot FN-FAL-type rifles built on DS Arms semi-auto lowers with European uppers. Those beasts were tough on brass, so we relied on Lake City brass when available. If you have a FN-FAL or STG-58, you should give this Lake City primed, pull-down brass a try. (Federal Gold Medal Match ammo shot great in our DSA/STG-58 but the brass was toast after a few firings).

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April 5th, 2019

Half-MOA with Factory Ammo? Weatherby VMC Comes Close

Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis PRS rifle .308 Winchester American Rifleman
Three factory ammo types shot 0.53″, 0.55″, and 0.57″ respectively. That’s impressive.

Chassis rifles are hugely popular for PRS/NRL practical rifle competition. There are many good options for Production Class. You may not know that Weatherby, a company that built its reputation on hunting rifles, offers a great-shooting chassis rifle for PRS comps and other tactical disciplines.

Called the Vanguard® Modular Chassis (VMC), this rig has shown remarkable accuracy. Vanguard’s VMC features a Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) aluminum stock, Luth AR MBA-1 buttstock, and 22″ heavy barrel. The Weatherby Vanguard action is fitted with an adjustable 2-stage trigger. Priced at $1519.00 MSRP, this rifle can be campaigned in the PRS “Production Class”, which limits complete rifles to $2000.00 without optics. The rifle is offered in three chamberings: .223 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.

Weatherby says its Vanguard Modular Chassis tactical rifle is very accurate. To back that claim, Weatherby offers a SUB-MOA accuracy guarantee — Weatherby guarantees the rifle will shoot .99” or smaller 3-shot groups at 100 yards when used with Weatherby® factory or premium ammunition.

Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis PRS rifle .308 Winchester American Rifleman

Near Half-MOA Accuracy with Factory Ammo (5-Shot Groups)
It turns out Weatherby’s accuracy claims are conservative. This tactical rifle is closer to a half-MOA rig than a 1-MOA gun. American Rifleman tested a .308 Win version of this rifle and recorded really stellar accuracy — close to half-MOA. What’s more, this rifle is not fussy — with a 1:10″-twist barrel it proved very accurate with six types of factory ammo, with three of types registering 0.57″ or better.

The rifle delivered near-half-inch 5-shot groups with two types of Hornady ammo along with Black Hills 168gr. The worst group of six ammo types tested, Black Hills 175gr, was 0.76″, still very impressive for factory fodder. With good hand-loads this gun could go well under half-MOA (for five shots).

Vanguard Modular Chassis FIVE-SHOT Factory Ammo Test Groups:

0.53 inches | Hornady 168gr Match BTHP (2718 fps)
0.55 inches | Hornady 155gr Steel Match (2612 fps)
0.57 inches | Black Hills 168gr BTHP (2608 fps)
0.66 inches | Federal Premium 168gr MatchKing BTHP (2659 fps)
0.70 inches | Hornady 155gr American Gunner (2697 fps)
0.76 inches | Black Hills 175gr BTHP (2603 fps)

NOTE: Group sizes are for 5-shot groups shot from bench at 100 yards with Caldwell pedestal rest and rear sandbag. Pentax Lightseeker 6-24x50mm scope. Velocities in FPS from PACT Chronograph.

READ American Rifleman’s FULL REVIEW of Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis Rifle

The accuracy testing was done by gunwriter Mike Detty, who notes: “My single best group was fired with Hornady’s Match 168-gr. BTHP ammunition. Five shots measured just slightly more than a half-inch. Hornady’s 155-gr. Steel Match ammo wasn’t far behind with a group of .55″. Also accounting for the small groups is the VMC’s wonderful trigger. It is a two-stage affair and the first stage has about 3/8” take up with about a pound of pressure until it reaches the second stage where another 1 ¾ lbs. was required to break the shot.”

Vanguard Modular Chassis FEATURES:
Action with Fully Enclosed Bolt Sleeve, Integral Recoil Lug
CNC-machined, hard-anodized, 6061 aluminum chassis
Fully adjustable LUTH-AR MBA-1 buttstock
Adjustable 2-stage trigger with 3-Position Safety

PRS Production Class Cost Limits
Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD. [Editor: For example, you could have a $2,000 rifle with a $1000.00 scope or vice-versa. The total system cannot exceed $3000. Rifle alone cannot exceed $2000.00 retail sale price.]
Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration.

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April 1st, 2019

NRA Approves E-Class Competition — F-Class on a Budget

F-Class E-Class E-Open claming rules cost limit high power NRA

First there was F-Class, and now there will be E-Class, the “E” standing for “Economy”. The NRA Competitive Shooting Division has just approved a new form of rifle competition starting in 2020: E-Class. Unlike F-Class, E-Class will have tight rifle and gear cost controls. This is a clear response to rising F-Class costs, which have spiraled out of control. The first major E-Class National event will be a preview match held this summer at Camp Atterbury in Indiana.

READ NRA Proposed NRA E-Class Rules HERE »

The NRA’s sanctioning of E-Class competition makes sense. Let’s face it, top-level F-Class competition, both F-TR and F-Open, has become just too expensive. A modern F-Open rifle capable of winning a championship can now cost $9000.00 or more, including rest, premium trigger, and optics. Under the NRA’s new E-Class Rules, rifles can cost no more than $2000.00 total, including optics and rest (E-Open) or bipod (E-TR). In addition, new E-Class rules will recognize a special division, called E-Factory, that is limited to factory rifles, such as the Savage F-Class rig and Ruger Precision Rifle. Factory Class will be restricted to .223 Remington to keep costs down.

COST COMPARISON — F-Open, E-Open, and E-Factory

F-Open (Current High End)
Action: $1500
Barrel (chambered): $700
Stock: $1600
Trigger: $450
Optics: $3000 (10-50X)
Front Rest: $1300
Rear Bag: $200
Total: $8750.00

E-Class Open
Action: $400
Barrel (Rem/Age Pre-Fit): $370
Stock: $200 (Stocky’s)
Optics: $500
Trigger: $0 (factory)
Front Rest: $200
Rear Bag: $50
Total: $1720.00

E-Class Factory Division
Complete Rifle RPR: $1200
Barrel: Included
Stock: Included
Optics: $400
Trigger: Included
Bipod: $100
Rear Bag: $50
Total: $1750.00

Under the new E-Class rules, TOTAL Cost for an E-Open or E-TR Rifle is limited to $2000.00, including optics, front rest or bipod, and rear bag. There are specific gear limits. Scope maximum is $500.00. Front rest or bipod is limited to $200.00. In the chart above you see how an E-Open rifle could be built for under $1800 with a factory action (such as Howa or Savage) and a $400.00 optic. In the third column we’ve priced out an E-Factory rifle, based on a Ruger Precision Rifle, at $1750.00.

F-Class E-Class NRA competition
A top-of-the-line F-Open set-up like this can cost more than $8000.00 with custom stock, high-end optic, and coax front rest. All new E-Class rifles must cost less than $2000 including rests and scope.

Either way these E-Class rigs cost ONE-FIFTH of the Top-of-the-line $8750.00 F-Open Rig. That’s a huge savings, that will allow more shooters to enjoy competitive shooting. E-Class combines the fun challenge of the F-Class course of fire, with a vastly lower investment. With the rising costs of taxes, food, fuel, and everything else, it’s high time we get serious about the money we throw away on competition rifles. We know the wives will approve!

F-Class E-Class E-Open claming rules cost limit high power NRA

Keeping on Lid on Expenses

In the Wings — Controls on Ammo Costs as Well
Shooters know that the price of the rifle, optics, and rests is only part of the cost equation. The price of ammunition is also significant. Currently, in F-Open, competitors can easily pay $1.00 per round just for the expendables — bullets, powder, and primer. Add in the cost of premium .284 Win brass and the cost per shot goes up significantly. One competitor lamented “Shooting a match these days really empties your wallet. I cringe every time I pull the trigger, knowing what it costs.”

Therefore, the NRA is considering E-Class ammo restrictions. Starting in 2021, E-Factory class competitors would be required to shoot recycled bulk brass and blem bullets. Bulk Lake City 5.56 brass will be offered by ARMorAlly.com, and blem bullets will be offered by Midsouth Shooters Supply. Purists may complain about using surplus brass, but it only costs $93 for 500 cases! That’s a huge savings.

F-Class E-Class E-Open claming rules cost limit high power NRA

The Final Step — Claiming Rules for E-Class
As in every competitive endeavor, there may be temptation to bend or even break the rules. Predictably, some E-Class competitors may try to substitute more expensive components, such as high-cost triggers, or modified actions. To prevent this, the NRA plans to impose claiming rules for E-Class matches. This means that any rifle that captures first or second place in a major match can be claimed by another competitor for the fee of $2000.00. This procedure may seem radical but it is used in other sports to ensure parity among the competitors. If a shooter wins with a “cheater” $5000.00 rifle, he can be forced to sell it to a competitor for $2000.00.

Photos courtesy Bankstown-Chatswood Rifle Clug, Australia.

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 17 Comments »
January 21st, 2019

RifleShooter.com .308 Win Barrel Cut-Down Velocity Test

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

With barrels, one wonders “Can a little more length provide a meaningful velocity gain?” To answer that question, Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting a .308 Win barrel from 28″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .308 Win factory ammunition were chronographed at each barrel length.

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

READ RifleShooter.com .308 Win Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 22.7 FPS Per Inch (.308 Win Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. With a barrel reduction from 28″ to 16.5″, the average speed loss of the four types of .308 ammo was 261 fps total. That works out to an average loss of 22.7 fps per inch. This chart shows velocity changes for all four ammo varieties:

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

Summary of Findings: The average velocity loss per inch, for all four ammo types combined, was 22.7 FPS. By ammo type, the average loss per inch was: 24.6 (Win 147 FMJ), 22.8 (IMI 150 FMJ), 20.9 (Fed GMM 168gr), and 22.5 (Win 180PP).

Interestingly, these numbers jive pretty well with estimates found in reloading manuals. The testers observed: “The Berger Reloading manual says for the 308 Winchester, ‘muzzle velocity will increase (or decrease) by approximately 20 fps per inch from a standard 24″ barrel’.”

How the Test Was Done
The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Since we would be gathering data on 52 different barrel length and ammunition combinations and would not be crowning the barrel after each cut, we decided to eliminate gathering data on group sizes. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 47° F.”

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers, multiple line charts, and complete data sets for each type of ammo. Rifleshooter.com also offers ballistics graphs showing trajectories with different barrel lengths. All in all, this was a very thorough test by the folks at RifleShooter.com.

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .308 barrel cut-down test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″, we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was 5″ longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .308 Win start length. Velocity loss can be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths (and bigger cartridges). Powder burn rates can also make a difference.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
December 13th, 2018

Just in Time for Christmas — Stunning Ruby Red F-TR Rig

X-Max Barnard Action V-block Welgemoed action Mostert carbon stock
Proud owner Dirk L. says: “This is my first build — never thought it would be a .308!”

Here’s a handsome F-TR rifle with a beautiful red stock that suits the holiday season. This ruby red beauty was a recent addition to the long-running Pride and Joy Rifle thread in our Shooters’ Forum. The rifle belongs to Forum member Dirk L. (aka “Pinkes”) who hails from South Africa. This is a .308 Win, with 30″ Bartlein barrel, and X-Max action. The stock is a custom composite with carbon fiber for strength and lightness. And yes this rifle shoots as good as it looks. Check out the impressive 5-shot groups below…

X-Max Barnard Action V-block Welgemoed action Mostert carbon stock

X-Max for Xmas — Impressive Metal-work
Along with that beautiful red stock, this F-TR rig has some very cool features, including a South African-crafted X-Max Action. The action designer Piet Welgemoed explains: “The X-Max action body is 17-4PH stainless steel pre-hardened to 44° Rockwell. Bolt and handle are one-piece stainless steel, nitrated to 55° Rockwell 0.2mm deep. Bolt is also fluted. Inside is the firing pin with washers (see below). The washer cuts the lock-time almost by half and also weighs less. The bolt-knob and bolt shroud are CNC aluminum. The action has very tight tolerances.” The complete action with +20 MOA rail and trigger weighs 1.475 kg (3.25 lbs).” Owner Dirk notes that the competition trigger, set at 3.0 ounces, is also Welgemoed’s design.

X-Max Barnard Action V-block Welgemoed action Mostert carbon stock

Wicked Accuracy with Bartlein Barrel, Varget, and 220gr SMKs
This gun has already proven to be a great shooter. Below are two FIVE-shot groups at 100 meters. The group on the left is in the low threes, with three of five shots essentially in one hole. Dirk loads Lapua .308 Palma brass and #2231 200gr Sierra Matchkings, seated 20 thousandths off the lands. The Varget powder and CCI primers drives the 200gr SMKs at 2620 fps.

X-Max Barnard Action V-block Welgemoed action Mostert carbon stock

Brass: Lapua .308 Win Palma (small primer) | Primers: CCI 450 | Powder: Varget
Bullet: New 200gr SMK #2231 | Seating: 0.020″ Off | Velocity: 2620fps

Composite Stock — One of Three by Renier Mostert
And what about that beautiful red stock? The rifle’s owner told us: “This was one of three similar stocks built as a test run by Renier Mostert, a professional composite stock builder and former benchrest shooter from Pretoria, South Africa. Renier was approached by three friends, who were all looking for decent, custom-built FTR composite stocks. There were a number of stocks available to them (mostly imported), but [those] were either made of wood or aluminum. The requirements for the composite stock build was very specific. Aluminum V-Blocks for the actions were required. The stocks had to be light enough to carry some beefy barrels and optics without compromising rigidity and still be within the F-TR weight limit. The three friends supplied Renier with an imported wooden stock as their shape of choice. Although the shape was quite straight-forward, Renier made a few dimensional changes to features which were not symmetrically correct on the sample, and then built a mold from it.”

X-Max Barnard Action V-block Welgemoed action Mostert carbon stock

Renier uses several methods to craft composite stocks for various disciplines: F-Class, benchrest, competition rimfire, hunting, and tactical. For this build he chose to build a shell constructed of a well-planned mix of woven fiberglass cloth and bi-directionally woven carbon fiber with aerospace quality epoxy resin to reduce weight in some areas and increase stiffness in other areas. He used a wet lay-up process where the two halves gets laid up and joined together while still wet to form a complete, continuous shell. The closed mold gets cured under pressure in an oven for several hours at very specific temperatures. After curing, the shell is filled with a high-tech mix of lightweight filler and epoxy resin. The composition of the mix varies in different areas of the stock to facilitate more strength or reduced weight where applicable.

X-Max Barnard Action V-block Welgemoed action Mostert carbon stock

After the initial build, the aluminum hardware was installed. An adjustable cheek piece, Anschutz rail, and adjustable recoil pad mechanism were installed. The stocks were inletted by Renier, while the final fitting and bedding procedures were left for each customer’s gunsmith to complete. The stocks were light enough for the rifles to comfortably be within the F-TR weight limit. A barrel tuner was mounted on one of the rifles, and the rifle still made the F-TR Class weight limit, 8.25 kg (including bipod). The bipod shown in photos in the SEB Joy-Pod.

X-Max Barnard Action V-block Welgemoed action Mostert carbon stock

Paint — Candy Apple Red over Metallic Silver Base
After final gunsmithing, the stocks were returned to Renier Mostert for custom painting. The rifle featured in this article was done in Candy-Apple Red paint from DNA Paints (an Australian company). To get the desired effect, a metallic silver base coat was used, enhanced with a modest amount of medium coarse glitter, followed with multiple layers of candy until the correct shade was achieved. A high-quality automotive clear coat was used to finish off the paintwork.

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November 8th, 2018

Great Accuracy — Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel and Creedmoor Ammo

criterion barrel black creedmoor sports .308 Win Ammunition ammo

Check out that 0.188″ group. Can you believe that was shot with factory .308 Win ammo? A couple seasons ago our friends at Criterion Barrels tested some .308 ammo from Creedmoor Sports. This was loaded with Lapua’s 175gr Scenar HPBT bullet. The results speak for themselves. Any time factory ammo can shoot inside quarter-MOA, that’s impressive. This ammo was used in a “Rem/Age” project rifle. That term refers to a Remington action rifle that has been re-barreled with a pre-fit Criterion barrel. The new barrel is secured with a Savage-style barrel nut. Hence the term “Rem/Age” or “Rem-Age”.

shooting target accurateshooter load developmentCriterion posted: “I think we may have a new favorite factory match load for the nitrided Rem/Age build.” Another reader added: “[Creedmoor’s] 175 Scenar .308 ammunition is top notch.” FYI, this group was shot on our load development target, which you can download for free from our Targets Page.

Why do Criterion barrels shoot so well? One reason is that Criterion’s barrel steel is carefully stress-relieved. In the photo below, Criterion Rack 1A (aka the “Coffin”) has been loaded with barrel blanks — made ready for the stress-relieving process.

criterion barrel black creedmoor sports .308 Win Ammunition ammo

Working with Pre-Fit Barrels
While they may require the purchase of some additional tools and a bit of a learning curve to install, using Rem/Age pre-fit barrels offer advantages over gunsmith chambering and barrel-fitting. In this video, 8541 Tactical explains how to install a Criterion 6.5 Creedmoor “pre-fit” barrel. You save money and time — you don’t have to wait for a gunsmith to chamber the barrel. While Criterion recommends that a competent gunsmith oversee the pre-fit installation, if you understand the use of go/no-go gauges and you have a barrel vise and action wrench set up to remove the original barrel, putting on a pre-fit barrel CAN be a DIY project. You don’t have to pack up your rifle to ship it off to a smith.

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