April 25th, 2020

Bartlein Barrels Now Offers Carbon-Wrapped Barrels

Bartlein carbon carbon-wrapped barrel contour GA Precision tactical hunting barrels

Look for a lighter barrel for your latest hunting or PRS/NRL rifle? Well there’s a new option on the market. Bartlein Barrels, makers of premium benchrest, F-Class, tactical, ELR and hunting barrels, is now offering carbon fiber-wrapped barrels. These will be available in a variety of lengths/contours, and multiple carbon colors. Bartlein posted on Facebook: “We are thrilled to announce that Bartlein Barrels is now offering carbon fiber-wrapped barrels! With the help of Mission Specific Worldwide LLC, another Wisconsin-based company, we will be offering these barrels in limited contours and calibers.

Bartlein carbon carbon-wrapped barrel contour GA Precision tactical hunting barrels

Bartlein’s Matt Buettgen told our Forum: “Bartlein Barrels is proud to introduce its new line of Carbon Fiber-wrapped barrels. We will start off with three (3) contours, the #4 Bull Sporter, #13 Rem Varmint, and the #14 M24/M40. Lengths will be 20″, 22″, 24″, and 26″ finished lengths in any twist you like including Gain Twist and Left-Hand Twists. And just to make it a little more interesting, there are four colors: Black, Red, Green, and white/black marble. For more information give us a call at the shop or check out our Facebook Page.”

READ Forum Thread on Bartlein Carbon Fiber-Wrapped Barrels

CLICK HERE for Bartlein Carbon Fiber-Wrapped Barrel Available Stock List

Here is more information from George Gardner of GA Precision:

It’s been a hard thing to keep under wraps, no pun intended. But Bartlein Barrels is now offering carbon-wrapped barrels! We have been helping test these for a few months now and all I can say is they are very impressive. Same Bartlein accuracy and no point of impact shift at all as the barrel warms. Plus as a bonus, GA Precision will be offering colors: Red/Brown, Green and White. These colors really pop against the sunlight and accent various colors offered by composite and painted chassis stocks (see below). These color-wrap barrels are special order for 4-month delivery.

Bartlein carbon carbon-wrapped barrel contour GA Precision tactical hunting barrels

GA Precision already has good inventory of Standard Black Carbon barrels in all four contours in popular calibers and twists. See GA Precision website for details. These are available for immediate delivery.

NOTE: GA Precision currently offers FOUR (4) contours:

Bartlein #4 B Sporter | Bartlein #13 Remington Varmint

Bartlein #14 M/24-M40 | Bartlein 1.200″ Straight

Price is $700 + shipping for standard black carbon wrap, or $750 + shipping for colored carbon wraps.

Bartlein carbon carbon-wrapped barrel contour GA Precision tactical hunting barrels

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product, News 4 Comments »
November 3rd, 2019

Sunday GunDay: .300 WSM Hunter with Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

300 WSM winchester short magnum carbon manners hunter hunting

High-Tech Hunter in 300 WSM

Since its introduction in 2001, the .300 Winchester Short Magnum (.300 WSM), has proven very popular for hunting and long-range competition. The case has ample capacity to drive the heavy .30-caliber bullets, and with proper case prep and annealing, the WSM is capable of outstanding accuracy. When Nebraskan Greg Anderson decided to build his “ultimate long-range hunter”, he selected the .300 WSM for its accuracy and its ability to drop large game at long distances. Teaming up with Chris Matthews of LongShot Rifles, Greg developed an impressive long-range hunting rig, with high-tech components to reduce weight. The 26″ barrel is a carbon-wrapped composite over a Rock Creek stainless blank. The carbon technology saved about 3 pounds over an all-steel barrel of similar length/contour.

300 WSM winchester short magnum carbon manners hunter hunting

The Manners Composite stock also features carbon fiber construction for stiffness and reduced weight. Greg’s carbon/carbon rifle tips the scales at just 10.8 pounds, including scope and bipod. A conventional rig could easily weigh 15 pounds or more. Greg’s carbon hunter has proven accurate as well as innovative. With 175gr Sierra MKs, the gun shoots well under 1/2-MOA out to 600 yards and beyond.

The Ideal Spot and Stalk Rifle

by Greg Anderson
The purpose of this project was to create a hunting rifle that would be inherently accurate at long range and have an acceptable weight for hunting in rough country. I researched the question of overall weight with several gunsmiths. The smiths confirmed that while fat-contour barrels could deliver improved accuracy, there was a price to pay and a lot more weight. With a heavy barrel, the finished rifle would be most likely weigh about 15 pounds. That’s more than I wanted to haul around in the field. To reduce barrel weight, the suggested “traditional” solutions were fluting, which would reduce barrel weight by at least one-half pound, or going with a smaller diameter barrel.

The Quest for Reduced Weight without Accuracy Loss
Fluting didn’t promise enough weight savings, and a slim, sporter barrel probably wasn’t going to deliver the kind of consistent accuracy I wanted (particularly as the barrel heated up). Accordingly, I decided to “think outside the box”. My research on lightweight barrel options lead me to Advanced Barrel Systems, (ABS) a company in Lincoln, Nebraska that once produced custom carbon-wrapped barrels. ABS President Mike Degerness could wrap a barrel to virtually any shape and diameter, allowing great stiffness even with a huge reduction in barrel weight. As the “core” for his carbon-wrapped barrels, Mike recommends a cut-rifled blank made by any of the quality cut-barrel makers. [NOTE: ABS is not taking orders at this time. You cannow get excellent carbon-wrapped barrels from Proof Research].

Proof reasearch carbon barrel

Significant Weight Saving with Carbon
How much weight can you save with a carbon-wrapped barrel? Well a 24-inch, #7 contour ABS carbon-wrapped barrel will weigh about 2.5 pounds compared to about 5.5 pounds for a steel barrel of the same length and contour. So, this means that you can put a fat, stiff competition-contour barrel on your hunting rifle and save over half the barrel weight compared to an all-steel barrel. Saving three pounds is a blessing when you’re carrying the rifle all day long in the field. I placed an order for a 30-caliber Rock Creek barrel blank with an 1:11.25″ twist and a finished length of 26″. Mike wrapped the barrel and finished it to an M24 contour.

Carbon Can Also Improve Barrel Vibration Damping
One interesting benefit of carbon barrel-wrapping is that the carbon components have a vibration-dampening effect. According to ABS, the extreme rigidity of the finished composite barrel dampens the vibration nodes of the barrel making it shoot like a plain steel barrel of much greater mass. Carbon fiber has a high modulus of elasticity that has the effect of lowering the amplitude of the vibration of the barrel when fired. This is what makes the ABS barrels perform so well, according to Mike.

300 WSM winchester short magnum carbon manners hunter hunting

Impressive Accuracy For a Hunting Rifle
Looking at the targets below, one may ask, “Does the rifle always shoot this well?” The answer, not surprisingly, is: “it depends on the trigger-puller”. The rifle is capable of outstanding accuracy. But it took some time and effort for me to develop the skills required to shoot up to the rifle’s inherent accuracy. I nearly always practice prone from bipod. Initially, I was getting horizontal stringing until I changed my grip and learned to be more consistent from shot to shot. Shooting a heavy-recoiling .30-caliber rifle from the ground is not the same as shooting a .223 Rem from the bench.

3-Shot Group at 200 yards | 6-Shot Group at 500 Yards

300 WSM winchester short magnum carbon manners hunter hunting

Completing the Project Build
To smith the rifle, I selected Chris Matthews of LongShot Rifles, LLC because of his expertise with the WSM cartridges and long-range shooting equipment. Because cost was a factor, we decided to use a donor Remington long action that had been used on a Remington 7mm magnum. Chris trued the action and we had Dave Kiff from Pacific Tool & Gauge grind us a bolt to fit the action more perfectly. Chris chambered the Rock barrel and installed a .300 Badger recoil lug.

Carbon-reinforced Hunting Stock from Tom Manners
Being a fan of carbon fiber technology, I selected an MCS-T stock from Manners Composite Stocks. These stocks have an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio and the high comb of the MCS-T gave an almost perfect alignment with the scope. The finished rifle was topped off with a Leupold 4.5-14x40mm LR scope equipped with M1 windage and elevation turrets. A Harris bipod completed the package. All up, including scope, steel rings, and bipod, my .300 WSM rifle with 26″ barrel weighs 10.8 pounds.

300 WSM Carbon hunting hunter rifle Manners stocks

Load Development for Accuracy
I developed a load using 63.0 grains of H4350, 175gr Sierra Match Kings with Federal 210M primers in Winchester-brand brass. This load gives 2960 FPS out of my rifle. The load would shoot sub-MOA from bipod from 100 yards to 600 yards and was adopted as the “go to” load. I have also tried the 208gr Hornady A-Max in this gun. The A-Maxs shot well but the Sierras work well for everything (paper punching and hunting) so the 175gr SMK is my bullet of choice.

300 WSM Carbon hunting hunter rifle

Brass Prep and Annealing Are Very Important
The Winchester-brand brass is good, but you have to prep it thoroughly if you want good results. My brass prep consisted of turning the necks, de-burring the flash holes (inside and out), and chamfering the case necks. Using a Sinclair neck-turning tool, I turn the necks to .0135″ per side. That provides a complete clean-up of the necks, which run about .015″ neck-wall thickness out of the box.

anneal annealing tempilaqOne thing I’ve learned to do is anneal the brass every 3-4 firings. I started to do that after I noticed that the force required to seat bullets became inconsistent after just a few loading cycles. I also experienced flyers that were going out of the group for no apparent reason. Annealing the cases every 3-4 firings has eliminated most of the unexplained flyers and annealing has also made bullet seating much, much more consistent. I’ve also noticed a significant improvement in my groups at 500 and 600 yards now that I anneal regularly. Group sizes at 600 yards can be as much as 2″ smaller with annealed brass than with un-annealed, work-hardened brass.

Greg Anderson was successful with his .300 WSM on his very first hunt, dropping a nice buck at 364 yards. Chris reports: This was on some private land in Nebraska. As daylight faded… there were a couple of bucks, but one looked to be the best of the lot. The buck gave me a broadside shot ranged at 364 yards. I settled behind the scope and took one shot. It hit right where I aimed and the buck just folded.”

deer hunting buck 300 WSM

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
May 25th, 2019

New Carbon-Wrapped Barrels from Helix 6 Precision

Helix 6 Precision Barrel carbon fiber proof research

Are you looking to shave POUNDS from your hunting rig or varmint rifle? There is a new option for folks looking for a weight-saving, carbon fiber-wrapped barrel. You’ve probably heard about Proof Research. That’s a good company that crafts good products. But now Proof Research has some competition — Helix 6 Precision in Washington State.

Helix 6 Precision Barrel carbon fiber proof research

Helix 6 Precision crafts button-rifled, carbon-wrapped barrels in both conventional and “pre-fit” configurations. Pre-fits are offered for Savage rifles as well as the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) series. These pre-fit barrels are not cheap. A 6.5 Creedmoor RPR pre-fit costs $995.00, while the Savage pre-fits are also just under a grand. The conventional barrel blanks cost $895.00 in .224, .243, .264, .284, and .308 calibers. The larger .338 caliber barrels run $945.00.

Helix 6 Precision Barrel carbon fiber proof research

While Helix 6 barrels do offer significant weight savings, the founders of Helix 6 say low mass wasn’t the number one design goal: “Accuracy was paramount and weight reduction was secondary. We’ve taken the industry’s most advanced carbon fiber engineering and pushed the technology further with our proprietary … carbon fiber process.”

The founders of Helix 6 Precision say they build some of the best carbon/steel hybrid barrels on the market: “Our unique carbon fiber-layup design dampens barrel harmonics for better accuracy. Each barrel is cut from a 416R stainless steel core, and carbon fiber-wrapped using the Helix 6 Precision’s advanced process. This creates match-grade accuracy barrels with high heat dispersion that are 30% lighter than a steel barrel of the same contour. The bores are … hand-lapped for precision accuracy.” Helix 6 claims its barrels are “lighter, stronger, and faster cooling than anything else available on the market.”

Myth vs. Reality — What Carbon Can and Cannot Do

Carbon fiber is formed using thin strands of carbon bonded together with a plastic polymer resin. The resulting material is very strong and light weight. There’s a reason Formula 1 cars are crafted with carbon-fiber composites. But is a carbon-wrapped barrel the right option for you? Here are some factors to consider:

Weight Savings — There’s no doubt that a carbon-wrapped barrel will weigh less than an unfluted stainless steel barrel with identical length and contour (outside diameters). Helix 6 claims a 30% weight reduction compared to a conventional stainless steel barrel. That’s significant.

Accuracy — Carbon-wrapped barrels are NOT commonly being used for F-Class or Benchrest competition. However, Proof Research carbon-wrapped barrels have performed well in PRS competitions in the hands of top shooters. So, we can conclude that carbon accuracy is good enough for the PRS/NRL tactical game, at least at the local club level.

Heat Dispersion — Carbon-wrapped barrel-makers claim their hybrid design disperses heat better than an all-steel barrel. Some independent testers disagree, saying: “hold on now — the carbon actually acts as an insulator, so more heat is retained in the barrel”. The jury is still out. One thing that is true is that the carbon barrels seem to generate less mirage from barrel heat. Ask yourself, “if less heat is coming OFF the barrel, where is that heat retained?” But the reduced mirage could be a function of the black woven surface which may release heat differently than polished steel.

Standard, Pre-Fit, and Custom Barrel Options
Helix 6 Precision barrels are available as pre-fit barrels for both Savage and the Ruger Precision Rifle in many popular long-range cartridges. Barrel blanks are sold in five calibers from .224 to .338. Helix 6 can also thread and chamber a barrel for any precision rifle. Helix 6 Precision also builds one-off barrels to fit individual needs.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 2 Comments »
May 2nd, 2018

PROOF Research Video Reveals Carbon-Wrap Barrel Technology

Proof Reseach carbon fiber barrel wrap aerospace composites

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

Proof Reseach carbon fiber barrel wrap aerospace composites

PROOF’s CEO Larry Murphy explains that PROOF’s barrel technology is state-of-the-art: “What PROOF Research is doing is bringing disruption into our industry. We’re doing things that have never been done here before. That’s going to help the warfighter, and it’s going to help the average hunter … it’s going to do a lot of things.” The video shows how the company employs aerospace-grade, high-temperature composite materials to build match-grade carbon fiber-wrapped barrels, and composite rifle systems.

Proof Reseach carbon fiber barrel wrap aerospace composites

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

Proof Reseach carbon fiber barrel wrap aerospace composites

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, New Product 6 Comments »
January 4th, 2018

More New-for-2018 Guns and Gear

Tikka T1X TAC A1 left left-hand tactical PRS Rifle

Tikka T1X TAC A1 left left-hand tactical PRS RifleOur recent “Sneak Previews” of new-for-2018 guns and shooting products have been very popular with our readers. Following on that, here are more New Rifles. These eight rifle selections (plus a new stock) were revealed in the 50-Page 2018 New Product Showcase in Shooting Industry Magazine’s January issue. This January Product Showcase, which you can access for free online, features products from 183 companies. And the December 2017 issue unveiled many more. Combined, the two Shooting Industry New Business Year editions have revealed new products from more than 240 brands.

CLICK HERE to SEE 50-Page 2018 NEW PRODUCT Showcase »

Here we spotlight some of the more interesting New-for-2018 Firearms and Accessories. All these products are found in Shooting Industry’s 2018 New Product Showcase.

New Tactical Rifles from Legacy International

Lithgow LA 105 Howa 1500 Bravo tactical rifle

Legacy Sports is offering two new tactical rifles, both well-suited for PRS matches and tac comps. The Lithgow LA105 (top, above) comes in both 6.5 Creedmoor (1:8″) and .308 Win (1:10″) chamberings, with 24″ barrels with Lithgow muzzle brakes. The new Howa Bravo (tan stock above), is offered with 20″, 24″, and 26″ barrels in three chamberings: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win. The Howa 1500 action rides in a KRG Bravo Chassis with adjustable comb and adjustable LOP. We’re please to note this rig accepts AICS mags.

Mossberg MVP Precision — Affordable PRS Factory Class Rifle

Mossberg MVP Precision

The New Mossberg MVP Precision is another rifle targeting the PRS Crowd. It features an all-new chassis with a longer fore-end up front and a fully-adjustable LUTH-AR MBA-3 stock in the back. This should be popular. Every rifle comes with an LBA trigger, and 20″ or 24″ threaded and free-floated medium bull barrels are standard. The action features an oversize bolt handle with a Picatinny rail on top. Available chamberings include the 6.5 Creedmoor (no surprise) and 7.62×51 (.308 Win). Mossberg will also offer combo packages fitted with Vortex Viper HS-T riflescope.

New T1x Rimfire Rifle from Tikka — Plus a Lefty TAC A1

Tikka T1X .22 LR rimfire 17 HMR

Tikka is introducing a new Rimfire rifle, the Tikka T1x. It features a medium-contour 20″ barrel with threaded muzzle, 10-round detachable magazine, and a smooth bolt throw. This will be offered in Both .22 LR and .17 HMR. The rifle boasts the feel and balance of Tikka’s centerfire line, so this can serve as a nice small-bore option for fans of Tikka hunting rifles. MSRP for the T1X is $499.00.

Tikka T1X TAC A1 left left-hand tactical PRS Rifle

Tikka will also be introducing a 6.5 Creedmoor version of its popular T3X hunting rifle for 2018, along with a left-hand version of the Tikka TAC A1 Rifle, an impressive modular rig priced at $1999.00 to qualify for PRS factory class. South-paws should be happy.

New Rimfire Rig from Europe — Steyr’s Handsome Zephyr II

steyr Zephyr II Rimfire smallbore .22 LR 17 HMR .22 WMR

Steyr’s new Rimfire rifle, the Zephyr II, is offered in .22 LR, and .22 WMR, and .17 HMR. The Zephyr II features a classic European walnut stock with a Bavarian cheek piece, and nice checkering on the grips and handguard. We think this would make a good carry-around varminter, as we bet the Zephyr has good balance and excellent accuracy (based on our experience with other Steyrs). Zephyr II has a smooth-running action, tang safety, and cold-hammer-forged 19.7-inch barrel. Without scope, the Zephyr II weighs 5.8 lbs., including 5-rd detachable magazine.

AR with Proof Research Carbon Composite Barrels from LWRC International

AR10 AR15 Proof Research Carbon Barrel

You can’t have a SHOT Show without some interesting new Black Rifles. LWRC International (LWRCI) will unveil some new AR-platform rifles in interesting chamberings. The smaller IC-DI (AR15) line will be offered .223 Wylde and the impressive .224 Valkyrie chamberings, along with the typical 5.56 NATO. What really caught our eye, however, was the larger AR10-platform REPR model, shown above. This will be available in two new variants: 6.5 Creedmoor (all-steel barrel) and 6.5 Creedmoor with a PROOF Research carbon fiber composite barrel. Weighing just 9 lbs., the PROOF Research model is a full 2.8 lbs. lighter than the standard model. Each features an LWRCI tunable gas block, Monoforge upper receiver with integrated rail-base, and ambidextrous lower receiver controls.

Grayboe Ridgeback Stock — Innovative Tactical/Practical Design

Grayboe Ridgeback Stock CAD Drawing PRS

The Grayboe RIDGEBACK is a new stock specifically designed for PRS and tactical-style shooting. The Ridgeback is made of a solid, fiberglass epoxy material and features M-LOK sections built into the fore-end, a bubble level behind the action and an adjustable comb that can be re-positioned easily with one hand. NOTE: This preview shows a CAD rendering; production model may vary slightly.

New Savage 110 Models with Adjustable Stocks

Savage AccuStock AccuFit Adjustable stock internal Chassis

For 2018, Savage’s model 110 line-up boasts higher-quality, user-adjustable stocks. The all-new AccuFit system allows shooters to customize length of pull and comb height. The new AccuStock features a rigid chassis embedded in the stock. Savage has a full line of revamped 110s with these enhanced stocks. For example, the Savage 110 Long Range Hunter shown here features a 26″ barrel with brake, and is offered in six calibers: 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, .308 Win, 300 WSM, and .338 Federal.

How To Carry All These New Rifles…
So how do you hold all these new-for-2018 rifles — and transport them safely back from SHOT Show? Here’s a recently-introduced product that can help — the CaseCruzer Mini 2N2 GunPOD:

CaseCruzer GunPOD rifle case

We love this thing — it will hold two rifles (up to 35″ OAL) and two handguns, plus mags and a whole lot more — muffs, ammo boxes, you name it. This CaseCruzer Mini 2N2 GunPOD is all you need to transport all your gear to a three-gun match. The case is airline-approved and even has wheels. It ain’t cheap though — MSRP is $535.00. There is also a larger version, the 3N3 GunPod (below) that holds THREE Rifles up to 41″ OAL plus three handguns. Priced at $582.00, the 3N3 holds more but it’s pretty heavy (29 lbs. empty). We like the versatility and sturdiness of these CaseCruzer GunPODs.

CaseCruzer GunPOD rifle case

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Tactical No Comments »
July 14th, 2016

Carbon-Wrapped Savage Pre-Fit Barrels Now Available

Proof research carbon wrap barrels composite

Here’s a new barrel option for Savage shooters. Proof Research, a leader in composite barrel production, now offers “Pre-Fit” barrels for Savages. These barrels come chambered and threaded for Savage actions. Pre-Fits are easy to install — just spin them on, set the headspace with gauges, and tension the barrel nut. (Proof Research does recommend enlisting a gunsmith to help with the process.)

With a finished weight under three pounds, these new Pre-Fit barrels are much lighter than conventional all-steel barrels. Proof Research claims that they are “less than half the weight of comparably-sized steel barrels.” But you will pay dearly for that weight savings. As sold by Stocky’s Stocks, these Proof Research Pre-Fits cost $846.99, more than twice what all-steel Pre-Fit barrels from Criterion or Pac-Nor cost. Criterion Barrels currently charges $370.00 for a 26″ Savage or Rem/Age Pre-Fit.

Proof Research claims that its carbon-wrapped barrels shed heat faster than an all-steel barrel. Jason Lincoln, Proof Research’s VP of Engineering, claims that his company’s composite barrels can cool 50% faster than steel barrels, offering reduced point-of-impact shift during extended strings of fire. Is this marketing hype? We have yet to see a definitive test that validates the claims of enhanced cooling…

Proof Research Savage Pre-Fit Options Available
Initially the Pre-Fit barrels will be offered in a “Sendero” profile, very similar to an M24 contour. Available barrel lengths (up to 28″) vary by caliber/chambering (in some cases 24″ is all you can get). The following chamberings and twist rates are currently offered by Stocky’s Stocks:

.223 Rem, 1:8″ Twist
.22-250 Rem, 1:8″ Twist
.243 Win, 1:8″ Twist
6.5 Creedmoor, 1:8″ Twist
6.5×284, 1:8″ Twist

280 Ackley, 1:9″ Twist
7mm Rem Mag, 1:9″ Twist
.308 Win Match, 1:10″ Twist
.300 Win Mag, 1:9.4″ Twist

Proof Research Carbon Technology
Proof research carbon wrap barrels composite

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 5 Comments »