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 No 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 4 Comments »