July 16th, 2017

Tactical .260 Rem from Short Action Customs in Ohio

260 rem tactical rifle

260 rem tactical rifleA popular feature of our Shooters’ Forum is the long-running Pride and Joy thread. There you’ll find photos and descriptions of dozens of interesting rifles — from rimfire rigs to big-bore boomers. Forum member Ryan M. (aka “Dieselgeek”) posted a handsome .260 Remington tactical rifle built by Short Action Customs in Wellington, Ohio. The rifle features top-of-the-line hardware. The coated, stainless Alpha 11 action (from Defiance Machine) carries a Bartlein M24-contour 26″ barrel with muzzle brake. The stock is a thumbhole T5A from Manners Composites, fitted with APA bottom metal for AW magazines. On top is a Bushnell ERS 3-21x50mm scope with G2 reticle. Riding on an under-mounted rail is an Atlas bipod with quick-release lever.

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Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical 3 Comments »
May 9th, 2017

High-Tech Honing — Major Advance in Barrel Making

Sunnen honing barrel hone CNC computer honer machine Pac-nor

Some custom barrel makers are now honing barrels (after drilling) to improve bore diameter uniformity, smooth the interior finish, and reduce barrel lapping times. For years, large-scale manufacturers of hammer-forged barrels have employed honing. Now the process is being used by smaller, “boutique” barrel-makers. This article explains how and why barrel honing is done. Take the time to watch the video. For anyone with an interest in barrel-making, this video is an eye-opener…

Barrel Honing Process Demonstrated (Worth Watching!):

Barrel Bore honing cut-rifled rifling hammer forging accurateshooter.com

For custom barrel makers, honing is a time-saver and cost cutter. A few minutes on a honing machine can cut lapping times in half, leaving a cross-hatched surface finish in single or low double-digit Ra. Honing is the same process used to make diesel fuel injectors with bore roundness and straightness controlled to fractions of a micron (<0.000040″), with surface finish Ra ≤0.15 µm (6 µin).

A key manufacturing process used for hammer-forged barrels is now getting attention from the makers of custom button-rifled barrels. This process is precision bore-honing. Honing produces a high-quality bore surface fast, which is critical to hammer forging. (Why is honing so important with hammer forging? Surface finish is the one feature of the barrel that cannot be controlled in hammer forging. Surface imperfections in a barrel blank tend to be amplified as the blank is formed on the rifling mandrel. And if the bore is chromed afterwards, imperfections in the surface finish become even more obvious.)

Honing dramatically improves bore diameter size uniformity and accuracy, surface finish and roundness throughout the length of the barrel. It can certainly be used in place of a pre-rifling lap. The chief difference between a lapped and honed bore is the direction of the finish lines in the bore. Honing leaves fine spiraling crosshatch lines, while a lap leaves lines going longitudinally in the bore. After rifling the manufacturer can remove the crosshatch finish with a quick lap if desired. Honing is fast, accurate, and can be automated. Its surface quality and geometry can duplicate lapping, except for the longitudinal lines of the lapped finish.

Frank Green of Bartlein Barrels told us: “We worked with Sunnen and we did all the initial testing on the prototype machine for them. The machine works great! We ordered and received last year a new manufactured machine with the changes we wanted on it and we just ordered a second one a month or so ago. Should be here next month.”

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Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 8 Comments »
September 18th, 2014

Video Animation Shows How the Cut-Rifling Process Works

Have you ever wondered how a cut-rifled barrel is made? This 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.

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

Read About Cut-Rifling Process at Border-Barrels.com
To learn more about the barrel-making process, and cut-rifling in particular, visit German Salazar’s Rifleman’s Journal website. 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 Koble continues to work for Border Barrels, which maintains operations in Scotland.
Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
November 13th, 2013

Bumblebee .300 WSM F-Open Rig with Defiance ‘Deviant’ Action

Steven Blair’s recent report on the .300 WSM for F-Class stirred quite a bit of interest. If you’re a serious F-Open competitor, you’ll definitely want to read that article, which covers the pros and cons of the .30-Cal WSM loaded with the ultra-high-BC 230gr Berger Hybrid bullets.

If you’re thinking about building a .300 WSM for F-Class, here’s a rig that can give you some design and hardware ideas. This eye-catching custom .300 WSM F-Open rig belongs to Forum member Keith T. (aka “KT”). With its striking “bumblebee” color scheme, it will certainly get noticed on the firing line.

Click Photos to see full-screen versions.
F-Open Defiance Action .300 WSM F Class PR&T Brux Batlein rifle

Bold Bumblebee .300 WSM for F-Class
Forum member Keith T. (aka “KT”) just got his hands on his new .300 WSM for F-Class and long-range competition. It’s a handsome brute, decked out in a “bumblebee” (yellow and black) laminated stock. Keith’s rifle features a Defiance Machine Deviant Long Magnum action (with Jewell trigger) in a Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) F-Class Lowboy stock. Keith has two 30″-long, 1:9″-twist barrels for the gun, one made by Brux Barrels, and the other by Bartlein. Both barrels have identical .300 WSM chambers cut with the same reamer. Keith will test both and then use the best-performing of the two in competition. Riding on top is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm Benchrest Model scope. All the work was done by Accurate Ordnance (AO), based in Winder, Georgia.

F-Open Defiance Action .300 WSM F Class PR&T Brux Batlein rifle

F-Open Defiance Action .300 WSM F Class PR&T Brux Batlein rifle

Keith reports: “This one took a while to get built due to parts availability issues, but I’m glad it’s done! Thanks to Accurate Ordnance and Nightforce and all their help.” NOTE: Accurate Ordnance tells us that a rifle like this can normally be completed in 6-8 weeks, once all key parts are in hand.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
April 18th, 2013

Bob’s March Madness Dasher F-Classer — Accuracy on a Budget

In most of the country “March Madness” is all about hoops. But in the Sacramento (CA) area, “March Madness” is a popular multi-match shootfest that brings out some of the top F-Class and sling shooters in the region. During this year’s Folsom Shooting Club March Madness series, Forum member Bob A. (aka “Killshot”) brought out his “Forum Classifieds Special” and beat all comers in the F-Class Division in both the American-Canadian Match and the Long Range Regional Match (See Results). Bob’s 6mm Dasher sports a blue-printed Rem 700 action. Who says you need a high-dollar custom action to run with the big dogs? In fact, this same gun, built with components sourced from Forum Classifieds, set a Sacramento F-Class range record of 200-17X. In this story, Bob talks about the build, and he explains his methods for loading ultra-accurate Dasher ammo.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

Bob’s Budget-Build Dasher F-Classer
I’m a newcomer to F-Class competition and shot my first match in 2010. After getting accustomed to the match format and seeing what others were using, I wanted to build a proper rifle for F-Open but needed to keep it simple and, well, cheap. I found a solid “base” to build on in the form of a Dave Bruno-built, “pre-owned” 6-6.5×47 Lapua that I located in the AccurateShooter Forum classifieds in late 2011. The base action was a trued and blue-printed Remington 700 receiver circa 1971 with a spiral-fluted bolt. It was in a Shehane ST1000 stock painted sky blue and had a Jewell 1.5-oz BR trigger. I sent the bolt to Greg Tannel (Gretanrifles.com) to have the firing pin hole bushed and sleeved, the ejector removed and the hole filled and the face trued. I ugraded to Tannel’s Light Steel firing pin assembly while it was out.

Having the working bits completed, I needed a barrel. So I went to the AccurateShooter classifieds again and found a 1:8″-twist, 30″ x 1.25″ (diam.) Bartlein with a 0.236″-land bore. I called Dave Kiff and explained my pursuit and he recommended his PT&G “world record” 6 Dasher reamer (.2704″ no-turn neck and .104″ freebore). A month or so later the reamer and gauges arrived.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

I had the barrel chambered by Marc Soulie of Spartan Precision Rifles (510-755-5293, Concord, CA). Marc is a great builder and I’m pleased to call him a friend. He is an outstanding shooter himself and developed his lathe skills from several “name smiths” I won’t mention here, all while he continued in his previous profession. Marc went into building custom rifles full-time a couple of years ago and is at the point in his career that word of his work has spread. He was recently selected by Frank Galli to create 25 rifles, each customized to the buyer’s specs, for the Sniper’s Hide 2013 Group Build. Marc has also built a number of tactical-style rifles for the Northern California Practical Precision Rifle Club’s shooters, several of whom have won or placed high in major matches.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

After his great shooting in March, Bob reports: “I could not be happier with my little budget build. With a few more good scores I might even stop looking at BAT Machine’s website — my little old Remington action seems able to hold its own with the BATs and Kelblys just fine.

The rifle got its good looks from a Pennsylvania artist named Kenny Prahl. His Prahl Designs shop (724-478-2538) added the white ghost-flames over the existing sky blue metallic paint. Kenny’s work with an airbrush floored me, he does everything from stocks to mailboxes to gas tanks equally well.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

“I use a Nightforce Benchrest 12-42x56mm with a NP-2DD reticle. To help my aging eyes I use a 3.5X BulzEyePro lens booster, I found it helped with mirage and target clarity enough that I rarely dial down the magnification even when mirage is bad.”

Looks Great, Shoots Better
Fire-forming showed great promise — ten-shot groups of half an inch at 200 yards were typical. I lost only one case to a split neck and the “blow lengths” are good and consistent.This was followed up with load development which saw 100-yard, five-shot groups in the .1s and .2s as the rifle showed its preference for Reloder 15 over Varget powder, and for CCI 450s over all other primers. The bullet of choice is the ever-popular Berger 105gr Hybrid Target.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

In February 2012 I began shooting the Dasher in monthly club matches at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center, the home range of a number of excellent F-Class, Benchrest and High Power shooters. Using a Farley Coaxial rest up front (also picked up from a WTB ad on AccurateShooter’s Forum) and an Edgewood bag in the back, I gradually improved my gun-handling to the point where I could shoot a respectable score. This was very different from the bipod shooting I’d done in the past in F/TR.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

Like many others, I settled on the high-node dose of Reloder 15. Shooting F-Class puts a good number of rounds down the tube in a short time-frame. That can be hard on throats. At roughly the 1,200-round mark the groups started to grow as the throat wore. So, a barrel set-back was needed. The barrel was rechambered by another great California gunsmith, Ken Breda (831-334-2386, Aptos, CA). Ken, a sling shooter and all-around good guy, was able to get me back shooting with little down-time. When I went back to the range, I found the now 1.25″-shorter barrel shot equally well, even with the same load I had previously used.

An October Surprise — New Range Record, 200-17X
The chamber setback and muzzle cleanup brought the Dasher back to life and it was was really shooting well with several “cleans” shot at a few distances at club matches this summer. I shot the Folsom Shooting Club’s October match, this one a 3×600. I drew relay number two and settled in to spot and score for the shooter who drew relay one. The wind was very light and good scores were being posted. I set up for my first string and fired four sighters: three 10s and one X.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness“Here we go”, I thought as I went for record. Happily, the first six shots found the X-Ring before a 10 came up out of the pits. The next six shots also found the X-Ring, then another 10 came up. Shots 15 thru 19 were all Xs and I finished the string of twenty shots with a final 10. I’d cleaned the 600-yard F-Class target with 17 Xs! This was by far my best “clean” at any distance.

I followed the first string up with a 199-6X and a 195-7X as the wind was beginning to harrass everyone on their third strings. My final score of 594-30X gave me my first win in F-Open by one point. I was very happy and received many congratulations from fellow shooters after the match. It wasn’t until I arrived at the range for November’s match that I learned that my 200-17X was a new range F-Class record.

I couldn’t believe it. Considering the quality of shooters and the number of big matches held at Sacramento Valley, setting a range record of ANY type there is an accomplishment. I have been fortunate to meet and shoot with some absolutely fantastic people at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center. It took a little while to find out just how talented some of them were — several are national champions and record-holders but you’d never know it talking to them. These guys have always been helpful to others. Likewise, I try to help out when new shooters need a hand.


Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March MadnessDasher Loading Tips
My chamber is set up for Lapua’s current iteration of 6mmBR brass, in the blue plastic boxes. My case preparation is straight-forward. I fire-form with virgin cases right out of the box. I don’t size them but I will give the primer holes a good look and clean up the flash hole with a .058″ bit in a pin vise. To fire-form, I seat a Berger 108gr BT .030″ into the lands over a standard 6mmBR load of Varget.

For my match load, I use Alliant Reloder 15. We shoot year-’round in Northern California. It was a brisk 28º at the start of our January match this year. Your load needs to be able to carry you from that cold to the 100º+ heat we get in the summer months. While Varget is less sensitive to temperature changes, RL15 gives me lower spreads and better long range control.

I clean my fired cases with stainless steel media in a Thumler’s rotary tumbler after every firing. I anneal after every other firing using a Bench-Source machine which is very well made and easy to operate. I use a Whidden full length bushing die with Redding bushings for sizing.

After sizing, I chamfer the inside of the neck with the K&M tool which has a pilot rod centered in the flash hole. Then I’ll give the neck and mouth a “once over” with some 0000 steel wool. I finish loading off with a Redding Competition Seating Die with the micrometer top.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March MadnessI use a carbide ball on the expander rod of the full length sizing die. I use a .266″ TiN-coated bushing and the ball just kisses the inside walls of the sized neck. I get very consistent neck tension this way and have had no issue with split necks.

Seating Depth Considerations
With fire-formed brass, the junction of the bullet’s bearing surface and boat-tail is above the neck/shoulder junction of the case, so I have no issues with donuts. You can see how a loaded round looks in the photo at left. For occasional trimming, I use a very nice little Possum Hollow trimmer that indexes on the case shoulder.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 6 Comments »
March 20th, 2012

Wow — Claunch Shoots 0.156 MOA, 0.981" Group at 600 Yards

Tim Claunch 6BRX“Holy Mother of Mercy…” was this Editor’s reaction when I saw the “screamer” group shot by Forum member Tim Claunch this weekend in Memphis, at the inaugural MSSA 600-yard IBS match. Shooting his amazingly accurate 6BRX Light Gun, Tim nailed a 0.981″ group, centered up for an impressive 50-2X score. Conditions were favorable, with a light 3-5 mph wind and 70° temps. Shooting on the first target, first relay, Tim took his final sighter with 10 seconds to go, then drilled five shots “right down the middle” in about 20-25 seconds. The results were spectacular. Tim’s 0.981″ group works out to 0.156 MOA, and three of the shots clustered in about half an inch! This isn’t a new IBS small group record (Sam Hall holds that record with a mind-blowing 0.699″/50 shot in 2010), but it is still one of the best centered-up groups ever shot in IBS 600-yard competition.

Tim was shooting the same 6BRX we featured last month in the Daily Bulletin. It has a 26″ Bartlein 1.250″ straight contour barrel fitted to a Borden action in a Shehane fiberglass Tracker stock. Tim was running Varget powder with CCI 450 primers and pointed Berger 105gr VLD bullets. Tim anneals his Lapua brass after every firing though he does NOT uniform his primer pockets or ream flash-holes.


Just how impressive was Tim’s 0.981″, 50-score-value group?
Well, consider this comment from Forum member JeffG
:

A .981″ group at 600 yards = .981/6.2832 = (H#LY $H*T) = .156 MOA…

Try doing that at 600 yards with wind and mirage and who knows how many little flying insects that might potentially disrupt the bullet… pulling the trigger when the crosshairs are at EXACTLY the same spot (give or take 1/10th the thickness of the crosshairs) EVERY TIME.

CLICK Buttons to HEAR Tim Claunch Talk about Shooting his 0.981″ group.
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With his 0.981″ small group, Tim did take top honors for Light Gun Group. However, he had one shot go wide on another target that raised his Light Gun Group Agg to 2.335″. You’d think that would be good enough to win, but a shooter from Birmingham, Alabama posted a 2.299″ Agg to claim the best Light Gun Agg for the day. Charlie Macke won Heavy Gun group and HG score. The Two-Gun Overall winner was Forum member Stephen Hall. Congrats to all the great shooters at the inaugural MSSA event.

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
February 19th, 2012

Forum Member Averages 1.677″ for Six Targets at 600 Yards

Tim Claunch (aka tclaunch) recently put on an amazing display of precision shooting. At an MSSA 600-yard Benchrest Score match in Memphis, TN, Forum member Tim shot six targets in a row, with an average 5-shot group size of 1.677″. Tim’s stellar performance began with a two-target shoot-off for club Shooter of the Year honors (he won). Then Tim shot four more targets as part of the club’s regular 4-target score match. NOTE: this is NOT an official six-target match result. The actual match that day was four (4) targets only, and Tim’s Agg for those four was about 1.8″, still darn impressive. No one is claiming any records here. Still give credit where credit is due — Tim put together six targets in a row, in competition, averaging 0.267 MOA for all six. Tim’s small group (of the six) was 1.351″ and his large group was 2.088″. That shows amazing consistency. This is spectacular shooting by any measure*.

Tim Claunch 6BRX Agg

Tim tells us: “I can check off one of the items on my ‘bucket list’ now — shooting a sub-two-inch Agg. We shot our monthly match here in Memphis at our awesome MSSA range. Though this was a score match, and the first two targets were part of a club shoot-off, I wondered about the average group size of all six. We measured all six targets I shot in sequence on Sunday. I was some kind of happy when I saw it was a 1.677″ 6-target average. That Bartlein and the .140″ FB BRX reamer are a good match. I used Varget with Berger 105gr VLDs and CCI 450 primers. I had never Agged under two inches before in my life (the 4-target Agg was 1.8″). Sure was nice to do it at home the first time.”

Tim Claunch 6BRX Agg

Tim shoots a 6mm BRX Light Gun with Shehane ST1000 Tracker stock, Borden Rimrock BR action, and Bartlein 6mm cut-rifled barrel. He uses a Leupold 45X scope in Burris Signature Zee rings sitting on a +20 MOA rail. Tim jokes: “People might laugh at my cheapo Burris rings. Well I guess those Signatures hold zero just fine.” Tim tried a power-booster lens on his Leupold for a while, but this altered eye relief, producing the occasional smack in the forehead. Not surprisingly, Tim removed the booster.

Borden Action with Dwight Scott Bolt and Firing Pin Upgrade
The action is a Borden Rimrock BR dual-port. “This action is smooth, and it allows me to rip ‘em when the conditions are good. For these six targets I shot fast.” The Borden action has some interesting mods: “The firing pin and bolt body were re-worked by Dwight Scott. He has a weight of pin to power of spring he worked out with Tony Boyer. I could tell a significant difference in performance.”


For better target resolution, click the gear-shaped icon and select 480p playback.

The stock is a Shehane fiberglass ST1000 Tracker bedded by TM Stockworks (Tom Meredith). The metalwork was done by Stephen Hall of Dyersburg, Tennessee. Tim reports: “I can’t say enough about this highly-talented guy. He’s a great smith and a great point-blank benchrest shooter himself. I’ve had four chambers cut by him and couldn’t be happier”. The barrel is a 1.250″ straight contour, finished at 26″. That’s a bit shorter than you’ll find on most 600-yard rigs these days, but Tim wanted some weight off the nose so he could add weight to the butt to balance the gun better (and still make weight). Tim raves about this Bartlein barrel: “Readers should not give up on maybe that next barrel being the one barrel a guy gets in a lifetime. I have tried all the cut-rifling barrel-makers, but I’ve recently gone to Bartlein. Based on my ratio of great-shooting barrels to average barrels I am there to stay.”

Tim’s Accurate Reloading Methods
Tim’s reloading procedures could rightly be described as the “relentless pursuit of perfection”. After two firings, once “the brass has settled down and conformed to the chamber”, Tim anneals his cases. He then re-anneals after EVERY subsequent firing. The brass he shot at the MSSA match had eight firings, so it had been annealed many times. Tim uses current-generation (blue box) Lapua 6mmBR brass, and he lightly turns his necks for an 0.269″-necked chamber. Tim points his bullets, but does not trim them: “These were pointed, no trimming, just point and shoot. I have shot a few of the new Berger hybrids, but I keep going back to the Berger VLDs.”

Superior accuracy, Tim believes, requires ultra-consistent neck tension. Tim uses a K&M arbor press with a force gauge. If the needle shows any notable variance in seating force, Tim will pull the round apart, run a mandrel in the neck, resize the neck, and re-seat the bullet. If the bullet still doesn’t seat smoothly, he won’t shoot the round for record. Tim is also particular about seating depth: “I measure every loaded round base to ogive using a comparator. All my match ammo is held to plus/minus .0005″ (i.e. one thousandth total spread) in base to ogive length. Yes, this is possible if you anneal regularly and monitor bullet-seating force carefully. If you can’t hold .001″ [base-to-ogive] tolerances with good bullets, that’s probably because of inconsistent neck tension.”

Secret of Success — Improved ‘Bench Manners’ and Gun Handling
Tim had a personal break-through not so long ago that improved his accuracy dramatically. Previously he got down on the gun, and would use some cheek pressure. But he noticed some erratic horizontal in his groups. Tim changed his shooting position, getting his head completely off the stock. The change worked: “After cleaning up my ‘bench manners’ and getting my head off the gun, my groups started shrinking. It was a real eye-opener.” Tim shoots with minimal hand contact (“just touching”) on the stock, and he doesn’t pin the gun to the stop. Tim explained: “I run the gun up to touch the stop before each shot, but I don’t use any shoulder pressure. I don’t push on the gun at all.”

Tim Claunch 6BRX Agg

You can learn more about Tim’s amazing six-target display of accuracy in this Forum thread. Registered Forum members can post questions about Tim’s rifle and the shooting conditions, and Tim will answer them when he has the opportunity.

* Just for comparison sake, the NBRSA official Light Gun 600-yard, 6-Target (30-shot) Agg record is 2.092″ (Robert Hoppe, 2006). The IBS official Light Gun 600-yard, 4-Target (20-shot) record is 1.6068″ (Sam Hall, 2011). The IBS does not list a LG 6-target Agg record for 600 yards.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
December 26th, 2011

Bottomley Builds a Winner — 2011 Euro F-TR Champ Gun

Ace UK shooter Vince Bottomley decided he wanted to build a new F-TR rifle for the 2011 season. Vince selected all the best components: Stolle Action, Bartlein Barrel, Precision Rifle & Tool Stock. The build came together superbly, producing a .308 Win rifle that shoots bugholes at 100 yards, and holds sub-half-MOA (or better) to 1000. After building the rifle, Vince decided to shoot Open Class at the 2011 European Championship. So, he graciously loaned his purple F-TR rig to his friend, Stuart Anselm. The rest, as they say, “is history”. Despite having just one day’s practice with the gun, Stuart drove Vince’s rifle to victory, winning the 2011 European F-Class Championship (F-TR division) by a sizable margin.

READ Full Story about European Championship-Winning F-TR Rifle.

Vince Bottomley F-TR European championship rifle .308 Win bipod Leupold

Superb Accuracy with VV N150 and Berger 185gr Bullets
This 2011 Euro Championship-winning F-TR rifle is the star of our latest Gun of the Week Feature Story. In that article, Vince explains how he modified the long PR&T stock to make weight, and how he developed an accurate load with Vihtavuori N150 and Berger 185gr Target Long-Range Bullets. Vince notes that many UK F-Class shooters are moving back to single-base powders, after trying out double-base powders such as VV N550 and Reloder 17. What’s the reason? Barrel life. Vince feels that the single-base powders can give somewhat better barrel life, even if you lose a little velocity.

Bottomley F-TR .308 Win

New F-TR Champion Reviews Bottomley’s Stolle-Action Rifle
Stuart Anselm tells us: “I only shot the rifle a couple of days before the Europeans — two sighters and then five rounds at 800 yards which went into a 3.75-inch group. That gave me a lot of confidence in the rifle. The bi-pod is very light and looked a bit flimsy but it’s well-engineered, so it worked well. That long Precision Rifle & Tool stock is definitely the way to go and helps the rifle to track nicely under recoil. Of course, the Stolle action was perfect with the right-bolt, left-port set-up and the 10-60X March is just about the ultimate F-Class scope.”

Winning Performance: Scoring 452 points out of a possible 475, Stuart won the F-TR Euro Championship convincingly, finishing 10 points ahead of F-TR runner-up Adam Bagnall (also from Great Britain). Stuart also had the highest V-Bull count with 33.

Stuart Anselm F-TR European championship rifle .308 Win target accuracy

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
May 1st, 2011

Best Wallet Group Ever? 1.86" 5-Shot Group at 1000 Yards

What’s a “wallet group”? It’s a singularly spectacular proof target that entitles its bearer to bragging rights. The wallet group may or may not have been shot in competition, and, by definition, it may not be repeatable. But it exists as incontrovertible proof that, at least once, the stars aligned, and the wind gods smiled on the shooter.

1000-yard record groupFive Shots in 0.178 MOA at 1000 Yards
A couple seasons back, Forum member and F-Class shooter Gary Wood was testing his 6.5-284 rifle at the 1000-yard range in Coalinga, California, getting ready for an up-coming long range match. In practice, Gary nailed a witnessed 1.859″ five-shot group, with four of the five shots well under an inch. Use this as proof to win those club-house arguments about whether it is possible to shoot “in the ones” at 1000 yards. Gary’s group worked out to 0.178 MOA!

Gary reports: “I was load testing with 5-shot groups. Each group was shot on a new F-Class center and pulled by Ret. Master Chief Jerry Pullens and spotted by an other long-range shooter. The second 5-shot load group looked really small … by our reckoning four out of five shots measured under an inch. I was amazed. What’s more, when I shot the group, the 4th shot blew the spindle out of the 3rd shot. My spotter saw that in his scope and Jerry Pullens told me about it afterwards”.

As measured with the OnTarget Software, using a scan of the target, Gary plotted the group size at 1.859″ total for five shots, or 0.178 MOA. Gary noted: “I had everyone sign the target which I saved and photographed.” Yes, Gary, this may be the wallet group to end all wallet groups. You should have that target framed.

1000-yard record group

Gary’s Load and 6.5-284 Rifle Specs
Gary’s load was 48 grains of Hodgdon H4350 and CCI BR-2 primers, pushing 142gr Sierra MKs, in Lapua 6.5-284 brass. The rifle features an F-class, single-shot Surgeon action with a Bartlein 5R barrel chambered with a no-turn neck. Gary says “The barrel only has 70 rounds through it… yep, I think it will shoot.” Gary did all of the gunsmithing and barrel work himself.

Did Gary have any special reloading tricks? Apparently not: “Other than weighing the cases and the powder very carefully, there really were no magical reloading secrets used. The Sierra 142s were moly-coated straight from the box of 500, but they were not weighed or checked for bearing surface. The powder was dropped with a RCBS ChargeMaster then checked with an Acculab scale (to under a tenth). The Lapua cases were not neck-turned, but I did weight-sort them. The five cases for the small group weighed: 195.05, 195.03, 195.03, 195.03, 195.01.”

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November 28th, 2010

Dear Santa: Send Me a 300 WSM Ultimate Varminter

If you’re wondering what to ask Santa to deliver this holiday season, how about a Quilted Maple 300 WSM Varminter? That’s what Santa brought Barry O. (aka TheBlueEyedBear) last December. Barry, a respected long-time member of our Shooters Forum, ordered a new 300 WSM Varminter in 2009 and it arrived just in time for Christmas. The beautiful rifle, smithed by Richard Franklin, features a BAT Action, Bartlein 30″ barrel, and a stunning Quilted Maple wood stock. Barry’s new 300 WSM is capable of delivering 125gr Ballistic Tips at over 4000 fps, with great accuracy.

300 WSM Varminter Richard Franklin
300 WSM Varminter

Barry reports: “Here is my 300WSM Varminter built by Richard Franklin of Richards Custom Rifles. This is one awesome piece of work — And YES, it shoots! I expected a lot when I asked Richard to build this gun, and believe me; I got more than I expected. I am not a machinist, nor am I an engineer, but I can tell you for certain that this is the finest quality work you can expect from a gun builder.

300 WSM Varminter Richard Franklin

As you can imagine, my reason for building this gun was for long range varminting. I had read articles about the flat-shooting 300 WSM Varminter on AccurateShooter.com, and how it could launch a projectile at over 4000 fps with great accuracy. I also read some of the brutal articles on other sites from the nay-sayers. So, I had to have one. Simply put: THE NAY-SAYERS ARE WRONG! You CAN launch a 125gr Ballistic Tip bullet over 4000 fps and terrorize those little fury creatures way far away. I love this thing… I think I’ll ask Richard to build me another!” [Editor’s Note: Anyone wanting Richard Franklin to build a custom rifle had better act quickly. Richard is retiring and he will not work on any orders submitted after January 1, 2011.]

300 WSM Varminter Richard Franklin

Franklin 300 WSM Vaminter Specifications:

BAT Machine SS Model ‘B’ action, RB/RP, Diamond fluted bolt
BARTLEIN 30″ SS str. 1.25″-diam. barrel (polished) 1:16″ tw, .337 neck
BAT Machine polished aluminum trigger guard
HOLLAND recoil lug
JEWELL BR trigger set at 1.5 oz.
HARRELL’s muzzle brake
UNDERTAKER stock in Quilted Maple, clearcoated
RCR polished SS pillar bedding
LIMBSAVER recoil pad (I hate recoil)
BAT Machine SS 20moa scope base
NIGHTFORCE 30mm scope rings
NIGHTFORCE 8x32x56 NSX with NP-2DD reeticle
NIGHTFORCE angle meter
U.S OPTICS cant indicator

Richard Franklin To Retire — Final Order Deadline Announced
Richard Franklin, builder of the beautiful rifle shown above, has announced his retirement. He will be taking orders for custom rifles through January 1, 2011, but that’s it — he’s giving up the business. Orders received after January 1st will be built by Richard’s protégé Tommy Shurley. Read on…

Richard Franklin Will Retire. Order Cut-Off Date is 1/1/2011

Richard Franklin gunsmithI will be taking orders for custom rifles and muzzle loaders until the 1st of January, 2011. When these orders are completed by me in 2011 I will be officially retired from building rifles as a business. After Jan. 1st, 2011 Tommy Shurley of Shurley Bros. Custom Rifles will be taking over my business known as Richards Custom Rifles. I will retain my website and answer questions as usual. Any rifle orders coming in after Jan. 1st will be directed to Tommy Shurley. Tommy has been working with me for some time now here in my shop and I will continue to work with Tommy in his shop in Heber Springs, Arkansas until I am satisfied that Tommy can build rifles as I have been building them. Tommy will have a full service shop and be able to meet all your shooting needs. — Richard Franklin

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January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: The Boys from Bartlein

Bartlein BarrelsWisconsin’s Bartlein Barrels currently produces some of the most accurate cut-rifled rifle barrels in the world. We had a chance to chat with Bartlein barrel-makers Tracy Bartlein and Frank Green shortly after the doors opened at the 2010 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Frank and Tracy weighed in on some of the “hot topics” in the barrel-making business: Gain Twist and the advantages of single-point cut rifling. In this interview, the “boys from Bartlein” discuss current trends in barrel-making, including what’s “hot” in short-range benchrest and the emergence of 7mm barrels for F-Class Open competition. Tracy also offers his opinions on cut rifling vs. button rifling, and he explains how modern technology has helped make modern barrels “better than ever”.

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March 12th, 2009

Gun Deals in Classifieds — Matt's 6-6.5×47 and Turnkey Dasher

We spotted a couple excellent deals in our Shooters’ Forum Classifieds, if you are looking for a 17-lb class BR gun for 300 to 1000-yard varminting and competition.

DEAL ONE — Matt’s 6-6.5×47 for $2100.00
Matt Dienes is a very well-known and respected shooter at the Williamsport Club. He’s decided to part with his Black 6-6.5×47 Light gun that has performed very well at 1000 yards. Only 125 rounds through the Bartlein barrel. Here are the specs:

6-6.5×47 Lapua Light Gun
Panda RB/LP polished action with Jewell trigger
Bartlein HV Contour 1:8″ twist, 4-groove with nuzzle brake
Chambered as 6-6.5×47 Lapua with a .273″, no-turn neck.
McMillan MBR Tooley stock, black color
Polished Shehane +20 MOA Rings.

CLICK HERE for more info and photos.

Matt notes: “The chamber work and muzzle brake were done by Springman rifles. This rifle has shot 3″ at 1000 yards, and that was backed up with a 5.1″ at the Nationals. With only approximately 125 rounds through the barrel, this gun is ready for the 2009 season.”

DEAL TWO — Turnkey 6mm Dasher Package for $2800.00
Here’s an attractive package deal for someone who wants a 6mm Dasher
bench gun. Seller Brandon has a complete rifle, with fire-formed brass, dies, bullets, and even a spare, new Krieger barrel. Brandon says he’s spent nearly $4000 on the rifle and associated tools and components, but he will part with the whole package for $2800.00. Note, though the action has a left bolt, the stock is ambidextrous, so a right-hander could shoot this from the bench — but you’d have to load with your right hand. There’s a lot of value in this package… heck the Kelbly BR trigger is worth $240.00 by itself.

6mm Dasher FS

CLICK HERE for more info and Larger Photos.

Dasher Gun Specs:
Stolle Panda (polished bolt) Left bolt/Right Port, No Ejector
Kelbly BR trigger
Stolle polished four-screw 1″ scope rings
Shehane Tooley-style stock: grey, yellow, blue, purple
Shehane Tracker aluminum buttplate
26″ Krieger barrel, .236″ bore, 1:8″ twist, chambered with .272″ no-turn neck,.104″ freebore
31″ Brand New un-chambered Krieger blank, .236″ bore. 1:8″ twist

6mm DasherReloading Tools & Components:
Forster BR Microm.-top Dasher seater die
Forster Dasher full-length sizing die
Wilson inline Dasher neck-sizing die
Lucas Bore Guide
Close to 200 Lapua 6mmbr cases (Approx. 170 fire-formed Dasher cases; 30 more un-formed cases.)
Approx. 250 Berger 105gr VLDs
50 105gr Lapua Scenars
25 107gr Sierra MKs

Brandon would like to keep the rifle, but the current economy dictates otherwise. Brandon tells us: “I have several groups in the .1s and .2s at 100 yards working up loads and several under an inch at 300 yards. the rifle has been shot less than 350 times, possibly less than 300. And there is a brand new 31″ Krieger waiting to go on as well. The rifle was built by a well-known smith from the recommended gunsmith list on this site last summer. This is a great opportunity to get a very Accurate rifle with everything you need to reload and start shooting tiny groups at long range. Asking $2,800.”

If you’re interested, contact Brandon via our Shooters’ Forum Classifieds.

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