October 6th, 2018

Prize Rifle for IBS Shooters in the Southeast Region

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope
If you’ve never been to a benchrest match, visit the IBS website to find an affiliated club in your area. You’ll find schedules for upcoming events where you can learn about the sport.

This article describes an impressive complete benchrest rifle that will be awarded next month to an IBS competitor in the IBS Southeastern Region. This premium benchrest rig was a collaborative effort, with components and build labor donated by many companies. The rifle and scope prize will be awarded at a Banquet on November 10, 2018. The winner will be chosen from shooters who have accumulated “tickets” (essentially prize credits) over the course of the year. Tickets are earned through match attendance and shooting performance: 1 ticket for each match attended in the SE region ranges listed above (AFTER attending five matches). Shooters get additional tickets for a perfect 2,500 score, plus 10 additional tickets for attending at least one match at each and every participating range.

A Magnificent Prize
by Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
Coming up with prizes for shooting events is always a challenge, and results can vary considerably from match to match. This rifle is at the apex of the prize pyramid. Few complete rifles are seen on prize tables, because of their cost, and because they are generally built to order from select components, produced by multiple manufacturers. There are no off-the-shelf benchrest rifles, and if there were, the price of one, complete with a quality scope, would be too great to ask of a single source, given the size of the typical businesses that serve this sport.

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

Any score shooter would be glad to have this rifle and feel quite fortunate to win it. It is a fine example of its type, made of top components, and stocked with a “Indian Blanket” pattern Obeche laminate that will not be seen again once the supply runs out, because the factory that produced it burned down. As you would expect for this type of competition, it is chambered for the 30 BR.

This prize rifle was built to increase interest and participation in centerfire score shooting in the Southeast Region of the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS), as well as to encourage competitors to visit more ranges and attend more IBS matches. Ranges participating in this prize campaign are:

Bluegrass Sportsmen’s League (Wilmore, KY), Buck Creek Gun Club (Somerset, KY), Georgia Mountain Shooting Association (Eastanollee, GA), Mid-Carolina Gun Club (Orangeburg, SC), Piedmont Gun Club (Rutherfordton, NC), and Palmetto Gun Club (Ridgeville, SC).

Good luck to everyone for the remainder of the 2018 season. NOTE: There are more detailed rules than we can reproduce here (for space reasons). If you intend on taking a serious run at this prize, take the time to inquire about all of the specifics.

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope
Left to Right: Jim Cline, Doyle Anglin, and Ronnie Milford.

Background of the IBS Rifle Prize
Ronnie Milford explained: “Near the completion of the Southeastern Regional, I [asked] some of our fellow shooters about increasing participation. One of them suggested that we have one big prize that would be participation-based. I ran the idea of building a complete rifle by my personal gunsmith Doyle Anglin. He warned me that he had seen others try to do the same thing, and that it would be hard to get people to donate products. That lit a fire. First phone call was to Jim Kelbly who offered to donate the action. For the trigger Jim recommended a Bix & Andy from Chris at Bullet Central. I then called Jim Cline, and he got Brux to donate the barrel. Then, I talked to my NightForce contacts, Allen Stillwell and Wayne Dayberry. They donated a competition scope.

My next phone call was back to Doyle Anglin and I told him what had been donated. He then talked about ‘fitting and chambering, pillar bedding, and stock by Dixie Guns’. When Dave Short heard what we were doing, he donated a trigger guard, chamber cleaning kit, and a barrel tuner. Jim called Linwood Harrell who donated our scope rings. We were almost complete, and I told them that I would spray the finish on the stock. When this news got out, it caused a great deal of excitement.”

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

Prize Rifle Eligibility and Award Procedures
This custom rifle will be given away at the awards banquet on November 10, 2018 in Orangeburg, SC. The winner will be chosen using tickets earned during the season. A shooter will “earn” 1 prize chance ticket for each match attended in the SE region ranges listed above, AFTER attending five (5) matches. (If you attend four matches or less you will receive 0 tickets for attendance.) You can get 5 additional tickets for a perfect 2,500 score and 10 additional tickets for attending one match minimum at each participating range. We will keep track of the tickets earned and they will be passed out at the banquet for you to personally place them in the container.

Prize Rifle Being Constructed at Doyle Anglin and Ronnie Milford shops:

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

Support the Sponsors — This is a very impressive prize. Keep the generosity of all who donated to the project in mind the next time that you are in the market for products they make or sell. In the future we may offer a follow-up story about the rifle winner and his/her first competition with this 30 BR benchrest rifle. In any case, on November 10, 2018, someone is going to be very happy with their valuable prize.

Built to Shoot — Remember this rifle was created by donations, to grow the sport, and promote shooting, not to sell for monetary gain. If you do not plan on shooting this rifle, please donate it to an upcoming shooter. Ronnie Milford, and Jim Cline worked hard to make this dream become a reality. Let’s not let down the sponsors who continue to support us.

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
July 8th, 2018

F-Class Beauty from KW Precision LLC

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action

Forum member Keith W. (aka “Cigarcop”) of KW Precision LLC is a talented riflesmith whose projects display outstanding finish work and attention to detail. Keith does some of the best bedding work we’ve ever seen. Here is one of his latest creations. Keith recently completed a stunning F-Class rig for a shooter in Delaware. It’s a beauty, that’s for sure. Keith has posted more details about this rifle in a Shooters’ Forum Thread.

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action

This handsome rifle features a polished Stolle (Kelbly) Panda Action, and two (2) Brux barrels, both chambered for the .284 Winchester cartridge. The real eye-catching component of this rifle is the stunning Cerus F-Open stock. This features multiple laminations with highly-figured Walnut on the sides. This certainly ain’t your “off-the-shelf” laminated stock. This just shows the beauty that can be achieved with carefully-chosen lamination layers (plus 12 coats of clear).

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action
This beautiful F-Open rig features a laminated wood stock with stunning figured walnut on the outside.

Keith of KW Precision LLC is renowned for his bedding work, and this rifle shows why. Keith takes great pride in his work, and his attention to detail is second to none. This bedding job is as good as it gets.

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action

Bringing out the figure in the wood requires multiple finish coats (and careful sanding between coats). But the results are worth it. Shown below is the Cerus stock, BEFORE the finish coats were applied. It took time and effort to transform the “naked” Cerus stock into a true stunner. Keith applied twelve (12) coats of PPG Automotive Clear with wet sanding between each coat.

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
May 31st, 2018

6.5×47 Tactical Tack-Driver — The Non-Creedmoor ‘Six-Five’

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

A couple seasons back we published our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide, researched by the 6.5 Guys. In case you’ve been wondering what kind of accuracy is possible for a tactical-type rifle chambered for this mid-sized cartridge, check out this tack-driver built by gunsmith Ryan Pierce. That’s a mighty impressive 0.206″ five-shot group fired with Berger 140gr Hybrids using a Brux cut-rifled barrel. The powder was Hodgdon H4350, a very good choice for this cartridge.

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Ryan reports: “Here is a 6.5×47 I built for a customer. It features a trued Rem 700 action, Brux 1:8″ Rem varmint-contour barrel, Mcmillan thumbhole stock, Surgeon bottom metal, and 3-port muzzle brake. The customer’s preferred load is the same that has worked in the last couple dozen 6.5x47s I’ve built: 41.1-41.3 grains of H4350 with 140 hybrids .050″ off the lands. This should run about 2810-2815 fps from a 26″ barrel. The 3.128″ refers to length of a loaded round from the base to ogive including the Hornady ogive comparator tool.”

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Yep, It Measures Up…
Lest anyone dispute Ryan’s measurement of this group (the internet is full of nay-sayers), 0.206″ is EXACTLY what we got when we measured this group using OnTarget software. See for yourself:

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tactical No Comments »
December 17th, 2016

How Brux Barrels Are Made — The Pursuit of Perfection

Brux Barrels, based in Lodi, Wisconsin, has earned a reputation for producing great-shooting tubes. Brux-made barrels have won their fair share of matches, and set some notable records in the process. A few years back, Rodney Wagner shot the smallest five-shot, 600-yard group (0.336″) in the history of rifle competition, using a Brux barrel chambered for the 6mm Dasher.

Folks often ask us why Brux barrels shoot so well. “What’s the secret?” they ask. We can only answer with what Brux explains on its own website: “To make a cut-rifled barrel you have to start off with the proper ingredients: the best steel available, skill, and experience. Since there are really only two main suppliers of barrel-quality steel, the skill and experience is what really makes a barrel maker stand out.” Here is how Brux’s co-owners, Norman Brux and Ken Liebetrau, explain all the procedures involved in making a Brux cut-rifled barrel:

Brux Barrel-Making Process, Start to Finish

We start out with either 4150 chrome-moly or 416R stainless steel double stress-relieved bar stock. The bar stock starts out at 1-9/32″ in diameter and 20-24 feet long so we cut it to length.

Step two is to rough-contour the outside of the barrel blank in a lathe.

Thirdly, the blank gets mounted into a Barnes gun drill. The cutter bit has holes through which oil or coolant is injected under pressure to allow the evacuation of chips formed during the cutting process. This is called “oil-through” or “coolant-through”. Without this, you wouldn’t want to even attempt drilling a hole 30” long and under ¼” in diameter. The combination of a 3600rpm and good flushing allows us to drill a beautifully straight and centered hole .005” under “land” diameter at a rate of 1” per minute.

Clean the barrel.

Next the blank is sent back to the lathe to machine the finished contour of the outside.

Clean the barrel again.

Now, the blank is sent on to the Pratt & Whitney reamer in which an “oil through” reaming tool is used to cut away the extra .005” left in the drilling process. The reamer makes an extremely accurate bore size and after it is finished the bore will have a better surface finish and will be at the proper “land” diameter.

Clean the barrel again.

In the sixth step we hand lap each barrel to remove any slight tool marks that may have been left by the reamer and inspect every one with a bore scope. If the barrel doesn’t meet our standards for surface finish and tolerance it doesn’t get any further.

Clean the barrel again.

The barrels then go onto the rifling machine which is responsible for cutting the all so familiar grooves in the bore. A caliber/land configuration-specific rifling head is used to progressively shave away small amounts of steel to form the rifling grooves. This is accomplished by simultaneously pulling the rifling head through the reamed blank as the blank is spun at a controlled rate. After each cut, the blank is rotated 90 degrees (for a four-land configuration) and after one full rotation (360 degrees) the rifling head is slightly raised to shave off the next bit of material. This process is repeated until we reach groove diameter.

Clean the barrel again.

Lastly, the barrel is hand-lapped again (to ensure a smooth bore), and a final inspection is performed with the bore scope.

The barrel is cleaned one last time, wrapped, packed, and shipped to [the customer].

Anyone reading this detailed description of the Brux barrel-making process will doubtless come away with a new appreciation for the time, effort, and dedication required to produce a premium match-grade cut-rifled barrel. Obviously, there are no easy shortcuts and great attention to detail is required each step of the way. As shooters we’re lucky that we have barrel-makers so dedicated to their craft.

Credit James Mock for steering us to this Barrel Making 101 feature on the Brux website.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
August 31st, 2016

Anatomy of the Modern F-Open Rifle

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

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

The Anatomy of a Modern F-Class Open Rifle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

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

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

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

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

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
March 19th, 2016

6.5×47 Lapua — Accuracy to Spare for Tactical Applications

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Last summer we published our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide, researched by the 6.5 Guys. In case you’ve been wondering what kind of accuracy is possible for a tactical-type rifle chambered for this mid-sized cartridge, check out this tack-driver built by gunsmith Ryan Pierce. That’s a mighty impressive 0.206″ five-shot group fired with Berger 140gr Hybrids using a Brux cut-rifled barrel. The powder was Hodgdon H4350, a very good choice for this cartridge.

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Ryan reports: “Here is a 6.5×47 I built for a customer. It features a trued Rem 700 action, Brux 1:8″ Rem varmint-contour barrel, Mcmillan thumbhole stock, Surgeon bottom metal, and 3-port muzzle brake. The customer’s preferred load is the same that has worked in the last couple dozen 6.5x47s I’ve built: 41.1-41.3 grains of H4350 with 140 hybrids .050″ off the lands. This should run about 2810-2815 fps from a 26″ barrel. The 3.128″ refers to length of a loaded round from the base to ogive including the Hornady ogive comparator tool.”

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical 13 Comments »
January 1st, 2015

Black Beauty — A Bat-Actioned, Brux-Barreled .284 Win

Forum member K.W., aka ‘CigarCop’, has spotlighted his handsome long-range F-Class and Bench Rifle in our Forum’s Show Off Your Bat! thread. This is built with a BAT Multi-Flat action, Brux barrel, and a fiberglass McMillan F-Class stock. As you can see, it’s one handsome rifle. Be sure to click the image below to see the much more impressive wide-screen image!

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

The smithing was done by Bob Green and CigarCop was full of praise for Bob’s work: “I can’t really say enough about Bob Green, his attention to every detail and his ability to build an awesome shooting rifle… but once again he turned a pile of parts into a masterpiece! This irf was built on a Bat MB Multi-flat in .284 Win with a Brux 1:8.5″ twist barrel. It’s almost identical to my 6.5x47L that [Bob] also built. Once again, thanks Bob!”

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

Bob Green told us: “There was nothing really unusual about this build — this is the quality we try to maintain on all our guns. The barrel was chambered with the client’s reamer to a min-spec SAAMI .284 Win. The Multi-Flat BAT is pillar-bedded and bolted in, with no extra weight added to the stock. CigarCop provided the nice metal spacers on the buttstock and I polished them up. The finish is plain black but it looks good.”

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

Based in York, Pennsylvania, Bob Green is one of AccurateShooter.com’s recommended gunsmiths. To learn more about his Bob’s work visit GreensRifles.com, email Bob [at] Greensrifles.com, or call (717) 792-1069.

Permalink Gunsmithing No Comments »
August 2nd, 2014

How Brux Barrels are Made — Precision Start to Finish

Brux Barrels, based in Lodi, Wisconsin, has earned a reputation for producing great-shooting tubes. Brux-made barrels have won their fair share of matches, and set some notable records in the process. Last year, Rodney Wagner shot the smallest five-shot, 600-yard group (.0349″) in the history of rifle competition, using a Brux barrel chambered for the 6mm Dasher.

Folks often ask us why Brux barrels shoot so well. “What’s the secret?” they ask. We can only answer with what Brux explains on its own website: “To make a cut-rifled barrel you have to start off with the proper ingredients: the best steel available, skill, and experience. Since there are really only two main suppliers of barrel-quality steel, the skill and experience is what really makes a barrel maker stand out.” Here is how Brux’s co-owners, Norman Brux and Ken Liebetrau, explain all the procedures involved in making a Brux cut-rifled barrel:

Brux Barrel-Making Process, Start to Finish

We start out with either 4150 chrome-moly or 416R stainless steel double stress-relieved bar stock. The bar stock starts out at 1-9/32″ in diameter and 20-24 feet long so we cut it to length.

Step two is to rough-contour the outside of the barrel blank in a lathe.

Thirdly, the blank gets mounted into a Barnes gun drill. The cutter bit has holes through which oil or coolant is injected under pressure to allow the evacuation of chips formed during the cutting process. This is called “oil-through” or “coolant-through”. Without this, you wouldn’t want to even attempt drilling a hole 30” long and under ¼” in diameter. The combination of a 3600rpm and good flushing allows us to drill a beautifully straight and centered hole .005” under “land” diameter at a rate of 1” per minute.

Clean the barrel.

Next the blank is sent back to the lathe to machine the finished contour of the outside.

Clean the barrel again.

Now, the blank is sent on to the Pratt & Whitney reamer in which an “oil through” reaming tool is used to cut away the extra .005” left in the drilling process. The reamer makes an extremely accurate bore size and after it is finished the bore will have a better surface finish and will be at the proper “land” diameter.

Clean the barrel again.

In the sixth step we hand lap each barrel to remove any slight tool marks that may have been left by the reamer and inspect every one with a bore scope. If the barrel doesn’t meet our standards for surface finish and tolerance it doesn’t get any further.

Clean the barrel again.

The barrels then go onto the rifling machine which is responsible for cutting the all so familiar grooves in the bore. A caliber/land configuration-specific rifling head is used to progressively shave away small amounts of steel to form the rifling grooves. This is accomplished by simultaneously pulling the rifling head through the reamed blank as the blank is spun at a controlled rate. After each cut, the blank is rotated 90 degrees (for a four-land configuration) and after one full rotation (360 degrees) the rifling head is slightly raised to shave off the next bit of material. This process is repeated until we reach groove diameter.

Clean the barrel again.

Lastly, the barrel is hand-lapped again (to ensure a smooth bore), and a final inspection is performed with the bore scope.

The barrel is cleaned one last time, wrapped, packed, and shipped to [the customer].

Anyone reading this detailed description of the Brux barrel-making process will doubtless come away with a new appreciation for the time, effort, and dedication required to produce a premium match-grade cut-rifled barrel. Obviously, there are no easy shortcuts and great attention to detail is required each step of the way. As shooters we’re lucky that we have barrel-makers so dedicated to their craft.

Credit James Mock for steering us to this Barrel Making 101 feature on the Brux website.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing 8 Comments »
October 29th, 2013

Extreme Long-Range Accuracy — Making the Mile Shot

As a member of the World Champion Team USA F/TR squad, Paul Phillips regularly competes (and wins) at 1000 yards. Paul is also a long-range hunter. Here’s his story about developing his ultimate long-range hunting rifle. Chambered for the .338 Lapua Magnum, this rig is accurate out to 1800 yards.

The Long-Range Challenge By Paul Phillips
Being an avid big game rifle hunter, my goal was to build the most accurate long-range hunting rifle possible that would still be light enough to carry. My thought was to use the same type of high-quality components as what I used on my US F/TR Team Rifle, except in a bigger caliber — a caliber that would have plenty of knock-down power at very long ranges. After extensive research, including both ballistic data analysis, as well as discussion with top gunsmiths and champion long-range shooters, I chose the .338 Lapua Magnum. My past experience from being a member of a USMC Scout Sniper Platoon and a shooting member of two World Champion U.S. F-Class F/TR teams, I knew that this rifle was more than capable of performing the task. After establishing that the rifle had half-MOA accuracy at 600 yards, we wanted to see how far the rifle could maintain sub-MOA accuracy, to see what the cartridge and rifle could achieve. Could this gun shoot sub-MOA at a mile? That was our challenge.

Paul Phillips .338 Lapua Magnum rifle one mile Brux Barrel McMillan A5 stock

Rifle Components and Gunsmithing
My rifle was built on a Stiller Tac-338 single-shot action. It has a 30″, 1:10″-twist Brux barrel, a McMillan A-5 stock with Magnum fill, a Sinclair Bipod, and a Remington X-Mark trigger set at two pounds. The rifle wears a Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope in Nightforce rings on a +40 MOA rail. I chose David Tooley to install the barrel, custom brake, apply a Cerakote dark earth finish and bed the stock. After speaking with Mr. Tooley in great length, I chose his no-neck-turn match .338 Lapua chamber specifically designed for the 300 grain Berger Bullet. This rifle weighs 17 pounds and, with the muzzle brake, it recoils like a standard .308 Winchester.

Paul Phillips .338 Lapua Magnum rifle one mile Brux Barrel McMillan A5 stock

Load Development and Accuracy Testing
I used the 600-yard range at the Midland County Sportsman’s Club. If I was going to have any chance of hitting small targets at a mile, I would need to find a load that could produce half-minute (0.5 MOA) or better accuracy. I found an accurate load that gave me consistent half-minute groups that chronographed at 2825 FPS. My load consisted of Lapua brass, Federal 215M Primer, Alliant Reloder 25, and Berger 300gr Hybrid OTM bullet. With the Berger 300-grainer’s listed 0.419 G7 BC, this load would be good enough to reach 1880 yards before going subsonic. This load’s calculated energy at one mile is 960 ft/pounds. This is similar to a .44 magnum pistol round at point-blank range.

Paul Phillips .338 Lapua Magnum rifle one mile Brux Barrel McMillan A5 stock

With my +40 MOA scope rail, my 100-yard zero ended up with the elevation at the bottom of the tube and the windage just 2 MOA left of center. This left a full 65 Minutes of Elevation — enough to get out to 1800 yards. This gave me the capability to aim and shoot from 100 yards to 1800 yards with a projectile that is still supersonic at 1800.

Hitting a 10″ Balloon at One Mile
For a one-mile target, I chose a balloon inflated to 10″ in diameter. The balloon would be a challenging, reactive target that would show up well on video. I teamed up with a fellow long-range shooter, John Droelle and friend Justin Fargo to attempt this feat. Using my known 600-yard Zero, my ballistics program showed my come-up for 1783 yards to be 53 MOA. After two sighters that measured 4 inches apart, I adjusted up one minute from my spotter shot and nailed my 10″ balloon at one mile. This video was recorded with my iPhone attached to my 25-power Kowa spotting scope, so it may seem a lot closer than it really is. Below is a video of the shot. Needless to say I achieved my goal and was very excited.

Watch Hit on 10″-Diameter Balloon at One Mile with .338 Lapua Magnum

After my balloon shot, I let my friend Justin Fargo, a novice shooter, try his skills. Justin told me that he had never shot past 100 yards using a common deer rifle. Surprisingly, Justin not only kept all his shots under 1 MOA, he hit the 9-inch white circle in the middle of the target. This bullet hole measured only 4.3 inches from the center of where he was aiming. Truly amazing! The target below shows Justin’s shots at one mile. Note that All the hits are located within the 24-inch black circle.

Paul Phillips .338 Lapua Magnum rifle one mile Brux Barrel McMillan A5 stock

What I Learned — With the Right Equipment, Even a Novice Can Make Hits at a Mile
The above results demonstrate that even a novice shooter with a high-quality, custom rifle and match-grade ammo can make extreme long range shots with great accuracy. It is very important to understand the ballistics of the bullet and the effect of wind drift to make precision, first-shot hits on your target. It is also important that you know your target, backstop and beyond when making these shots. To date, I have shot approximately 40 shots at a mile in calm conditions while averaging 3-shot groups between ½ to 1 MOA (1 MOA is about 18.5″ at that distance). My next experiment is to see how well these bullets perform traveling at subsonic speeds out to 1.5 – 2 miles. Stay tuned!

Special thanks to the following people that helped out with this project: Geoff Esterline, David Tooley, Dick Davis, John Droelle, Ray Gross and Bryan Litz.

Editor’s Comment: The point of this article is to show the kind of accuracy a precision rifle system can achieve, consistently, at extreme long range. Though this rifle will do duty as a hunting arm, Phillips is not advocating that a .338 LM be used to harvest animals at the full limit of its supersonic range. Because winds are hard to predict at extreme long range in a hunting situation, Phillips cautions that the practical distance at which he would shoot game with a rig like this is much, much shorter.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 9 Comments »
May 9th, 2012

Ryan Pierce Sets 450-24X F-Open Record with Home-Built Gun

Forum member Ryan Pierce set a pending new F-Class Open National Long-Range record this past Sunday at a Long Range Regional Palma Match in Lodi, Wisconsin. Ryan shot a “clean” 450 with 24 Xs in a 800/900/1000 match at Winnequah Gun Club. Once certified, Ryan’s 450-24X score tops the 449-33X record set by Robert Bock in 2008. To make the story even better, Ryan smithed the gun himself, doing his own metal and stock work! Ryan’s record-setting rig is a .284 Win with BAT action, Brux barrel, and Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) stock. Ryan shot Berger 180gr Hybrids pushed by H4831SC and CCI BR2s. Interestingly, Ryan set the record with a ‘dirty barrel’. By the time he finished the 1000-yard stage on Sunday, he had put over 150 rounds through his barrel since its last cleaning. Ryan wasn’t just being lazy — he had noted that the vertical tightened up the more rounds he shot.

Ryan Reveals How Record Was Set
Ryan tells us: “I had actually debated using my 6BR last weekend but didn’t and used up my last box of 180 Hybrids. They are seated .025″ off the lands with 56.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831SC and a BR2 primer. This load is running 2900 fps. I had 1 1/2 min of wind on and was favoring another half minute. I had excellent pit service, 6 seconds, by Jeff Dick. I knew he was fast so I figured ‘let’s rock and roll’. I was done in 3 to 3.5 minutes. I was pretty stoked. Halfway through the relay I started shaking pretty bad. After my last shot came up a 10 I was all smiles and couldnt believe I’d shot the 450.”

Ryan Pierce F-Class Record Open Lodi

Above is Ryan with his rifle and 1000-yard target. He had two (2) sighters in the 9-ring, but the rest were 10s and Xs. Jim tells us: “As the string went on Ryan started flirting with the bottom of the 10 ring. Those pasters were removed to validate that they were indeed solid 10s.” Jim adds: “I witnessed Ryan’s 900- and 1000-yard strings and had the pleasure of signing the score card on the 1000-yard string, it was amazing to watch and see Ryan so excited about accomplishing this.”

Ryan Pierce F-Class Open Record

Ryan Pierce SPEAKS OUT

CLICK “PLAY” to hear Ryan TALK about setting Nat’l Record with .284 Win at Lodi.

[haiku url=”http://accurateshooter.net/Video/pierceaudio215.mp3″ title=”Ryan Pierce Talk About F-Class Record”]

Ryan Pierce F-Class Record Open Lodi

Above you can see Ryan’s 800- and 900-yard strings on the same target. Jim See reports that: “Due to the rain delay, and some relay jockeying, Ryan ended up being the last shooter at 800 and the first shooter at 900, all on a clean target. So when [Ryan] hit the pits he took the picture, not knowing what was in his near future.” NOTE: The 800-yard stage allowed unlimited sighters, so there are a few shots out of 10 Ring. At the 900- and 1000-yard distances, two sighters were allowed at each yardage.

We congratulate Ryan for his great shooting. This was a tough record to beat. Forum member Nodak7mm says: “This was great shooting by an awesome up-and-coming shooter in the F-Class arena. Ryan is definitely a force to be reckoned with….”. Click the link below to hear Ryan talk about setting the record, and some surprising changes he made the day of the match.

Ryan Pierce .284 Win F-Open Rig Specifications
Ryan provided this info on his record-setting rifle: “The gun has a BAT ‘M’ action (Jewell trigger), Brux 32″ 1:9″ twist barrel, and a Ray Bowman (PR&T) F-Open ‘low boy’ stock with adjustable cheekpiece and adjustable buttplate. The scope is a Nightforce NXS 12-42x56mm. The barrel has 1300 rounds through it. All the metal and stock work was done by me.” Ryan’s record-setting load consisted of Berger 180gr Hybrids pushed by H4831SC and CCI BR2s at 2900 fps. This was a straight .284 Winchester.

Permalink Competition, News 13 Comments »