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 »
April 12th, 2018

Finger-Painting to CNC Inletting — Inside Look at McMillan Stocks

McMillan Fiberglass stocks factory videosOK, admit it — you’ve always wondered how they get those color swirls and camo patterns in McMillan stocks. (You’ll be surprised at the answer). And how does McMillan manage to inlet stocks so precisely for so many different action types?

McMillan Stocks is one of the leading fiberglass stock producers, cranking out 8,000-10,000 stocks every year for hunters, target shooters, and members of the military. McMillan employs state-of-the-art, high-tech machinery. At the same time, many processes are still done by hand — such as applying colors to the stocks.

In the videos below, Kelly McMillan hosts Bob Beck of Extreme Outer Limits TV in a tour of the McMillan stock-making facility. We think all avid “gun guys” will be fascinated by these high-quality videos.

McMillan Custom Stock Production

The first video shows the stock-building operation from start to finish — You’ll see the lay-up, color application, molding, and “stuffing”. Watch carefully at 0:16 to see colors being applied.

(more…)

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
May 9th, 2016

NEW: Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, Volume II

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Modern Advancements Volume 2 II testing pre-order

There’s an all-new book from Applied Ballistics. Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting – Volume II, is now available for pre-order from the Applied Ballistics eStore. This 356-page hardcover resource is chock full of information, much of it derived through sophisticated field testing. The pre-order price is $34.95, $5.00 off the regular $39.95 price. The books are expected to ship in July, 2016.

AUDIO FILE: Bryan Litz Talks about Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, Volume 2. (Sound file loads when you click button).

Volume II of Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting contains all-new content derived from research by Applied Ballistics. Author Bryan Litz along with contributing authors Nick Vitalbo and Cal Zant use the scientific method and careful testing to answer important questions faced by long range shooters. In particular, this volume explores the subject of bullet dispersion including group convergence. Advanced hand-loading subjects are covered such as: bullet pointing and trimming, powder measurement, flash hole deburring, neck tension, and fill ratio. Each topic is explored with extensive live fire testing, and the resulting information helps to guide hand loaders in a deliberate path to success. The current bullet library of measured G1 and G7 ballistic coefficients is included as an appendix. This library currently has data on 533 bullets in common use by long range shooters.

Bryan tells us that one purpose of this book is to dispel myths and correct commonly-held misconceptions: “Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting aims to end the misinformation which is so prevalent in long range shooting. By applying the scientific method and taking a Myth Buster approach, the state of the art is advanced….”

Bullet Dispersion and Group Convergence
Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Modern Advancements Volume 2 II testing pre-order

Part 1 of this Volume is focused on the details of rifle bullet dispersion. Chapter 1 builds a discussion of dispersion and precision that every shooter will benefit from in terms of understanding how it impacts their particular shooting application. How many shots should you shoot in a group? What kind of 5-shot 100 yard groups correlate to average or winning precision levels in 1000 yard F-Class shooting?

Chapter 2 presents a very detailed investigation of the mysterious concept of group convergence, which is the common idea that some guns can shoot smaller (MOA) groups at longer ranges. This concept is thoroughly tested with extensive live fire, and the results answer a very important question that has baffled shooters for many generations.

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Modern Advancements Volume 2 II testing pre-orderPart 2 of this Volume is focused on various aspects of advanced hand-loading. Modern Advancements (Vol. II) employs live fire testing to answer the important questions that precision hand loaders are asking. What are the best ways to achieve MVs with low ES and SD? Do flash hole deburring, neck tension, primer selection, and fill ratio and powder scales sensitivity make a difference and how much? All of these questions are explored in detail with a clear explanation of test results.

One of the important chapters of Part 2 examines bullet pointing and trimming. Applied Ballistics tested 39 different bullet types from .224 through .338 caliber. Ten samples of each bullet were tested for BC in each of the following configurations: original out of the box, pointed, trimmed, pointed and trimmed. The effect on the average BC as well as the uniformity in BC was measured and tabulated, revealing what works best.

Part 3 covers a variety of general research topics. Contributing author Nick Vitalbo, a laser technology expert, tested 22 different laser rangefinders. Nick’s material on rangefinder performance is a landmark piece of work. Nick shows how shooters can determine the performance of a rangefinder under various lighting conditions, target sizes, and reflectivities.

Chapter 9 is a thorough analysis of rimfire ammunition. Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets, 2nd Edition presented live fire data on 95 different types of .22 rimfire ammunition, each tested in five different barrels having various lengths and twist rates. Where that book just presented the data, Chapter 9 of this book offers detailed analysis of all the test results and shows what properties of rimfire ammunition are favorable, and how the BCs, muzzle velocities and consistency of the ammo are affected by the different barrels.

Chapter 10 is a discussion of aerodynamic drag as it relates to ballistic trajectory modeling. You will learn from the ground up: what an aerodynamic drag model is, how it’s measure and used to predict trajectories. Analysis is presented which shows how the best trajectory models compare to actual measured drop in the real world.

Finally, contributing author Cal Zant of the Precision Rifle Blog presents a study of modern carbon fiber-wrapped barrels in Chapter 11. The science and technology of these modern rifle barrels is discussed, and then everything from point of impact shift to group sizes are compared for several samples of each type of barrel including standard steel barrels.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading No Comments »
September 12th, 2015

Nice Suhl 150-1 Rimfire BR Rig with Home-Built Stock

Suhl 150 IR 50/50 cedar stock

Forum member Evan K. (aka “Katokoch”) has crafted a nice rimfire benchrest rig using a Suhl action fitted into a handsome home-built cedar and carbon fiber stock. This shows what a skilled hobbyist wood-worker can create in his garage. Evan tells us: “Here is my Suhl 150-1 with a factory 1:19″ twist barrel, Leupold 36X scope, Harrell tuner, and my handmade cedar/carbon fiber stock. I started working on the laminate blank a couple years ago and finally finished it earlier this year. I’ve been using it in my IR 50/50 matches this summer. I haven’t shot a 250 with it yet but I know the rifle is very capable — as usual, I am the weak link!”

Suhl 150 IR 50/50 cedar stock

We think Evan did a great job on his stock, though he has limited stock-building experience. Evan explained: “The stock is my first attempt at making a very lightweight laminate and also gluing both vertical and horizontal seams in a blank. The wood is Spanish and Red Cedar and I made the trigger guard and buttplate with carbon fiber too (great use for small scrap pieces). The finish is hand-rubbed spar urethane and the action is semi-glued-in with Devcon 10110 and stainless pillars.”

Suhl 150 IR 50/50 cedar stock

USRA-IR50/50 is a popular .22 rimfire benchrest discipline with three (3) classes: 13.5 lb., 10.5 lb., and 7.5 lb. (Sporter). The matches are shot at 50 yards and 50 meters.

Permalink Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
July 26th, 2015

Big Bore Breakthrough — 30 Dasher for Group Shooting

Roy Hunter 30 Dasher Benchrest Rifle wood carbon fiber stock

Roy Hunter’s Brace of Two 30 Dashers
by Jeff Stover, IBS President
Short range benchrest at 100 and 200 yards is the domain of the 6PPC. Since 1978 that has been the case. Yes, an occasional 30BR, the King of Score Benchrest, will sometimes punch with the 6PPC in group competition. But a .30-caliber benchrest rifle will put you at a disadvantage in group shooting over the long haul — that’s certainly the conventional wisdom. Apparently, no one told Roy Hunter.

6PPC Group vs 30 Dasher Group at 200 yards — the “Fat Dasher” is definitely competitive.
Roy Hunter 30 Dasher Benchrest Rifle wood carbon fiber stock

Roy brought two rifles to the 2015 Group Nationals. Both were 30 Dashers. He did not even go with the milder 30 BR. The Dasher boasts more case capacity and, thus, more velocity. (The 30 Dasher is a 6mmBR improved with the neck expanded to .30 caliber and the shoulder blown forward). Speed comes at a price. That price is recoil, especially in a 10.5-pound rifle, such as Light Varmint and Sporter (same as LV but with at least a 6mm bore). Roy can handle the Dasher even in a 10.5-lb gun. The target above shows a sub-.300” group at 200 yards compared to a 6PPC group at the same distance. The larger cartridge and .308 bore CAN compete with a 6PPC – at least in the hands of a benchrest ace like Roy.

Roy Hunter 30 Dasher Benchrest Rifle wood carbon fiber stock

Roy’s 30 Dasher in 10.5-lb trim boasts a 1:17″-twist Pac-Nor barrel. Roy shoots Euber 116gr .30-Cal bullets over 38 grains of H4198. That load is good for nearly 3300 fps. This rifle, shown above, has a distinctive stained Butternut finish.

The stocks on Roy’s rifles are his own, made in his shop near Gettysburg, PA. Before Roy Hunter was a premier benchrest stockmaker he built museum-quality 18th Century-style furniture, following Chippendale patterns and the like. Now he just makes benchrest-style stocks (benchrest only — there’s no time to make hunting stocks). The fit and finish are as good as it gets. Roy’s stocks combine old world craftsmanship with high-tech construction. Roy uses Butternut wood, English Walnut, and other woods laminated with carbon fiber. His 10.5-lb rifle is Butternut, while his 13.5-lb rifle is Walnut — and they both shoot superbly! If you are interested in a Roy Hunter stock, the best way to reach Roy is by phone: 410-259-7944.

Permalink News 4 Comments »
July 23rd, 2015

Steyr SSG Carbon Rifle with Chipped Carbon SMC Stock

Steyr sniper ssg carbon stock .308 Win trigger

First revealed at SHOT Show 2014, the Steyr SSG Carbon is finally making its way to America. It took Steyr 16 months to fill a large quantity of LEO orders, but now the innovative Steyr SSG Carbon should be available throughout the USA for $3695.00 MSRP. That sounds pretty expensive, but this is a very sophisticated rifle.

Here’s a very cool video — worth watching full-screen in HD.

The SSG Carbon is based on Steyr’s SBS action (with a +20 MOA rail on top). This gun features the same crisp, adjustable single-stage trigger used in the vaunted SSG 08. The rifle has a hammer-forged, four-groove 1:10″-twist barrel (20″ or 22.4″) chambered for the .308 Winchester. The SSG Carbon rifle offers excellent ergos, with adjustable cheek piece, adjustable butt plate, and an integrated adjustable rear mono-pod. But the real selling point for this rifle is the stock — a carbon stock built like a Formula 1 car chassis.

Chipped Carbon Stock Construction
Unlike conventional carbon-fiber stocks made from woven carbon fabric, the SSG Carbon’s stock is made using the same “chipped-carbon” Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) construction used to create load-bearing structures in Formula 1 racecars and high-performance aircraft. The SSG Carbon’s chipped-carbon flakes combine thermally with the binding agent to form the SMC for a distinctive appearance to the stock. The carbon chips interlock with each other to create a “tension net” that is superior to steel, at a fraction of the weight of steel or even aluminum. Steyr claims that the SMC stock material absorbs recoil better than wood, metal, fiberglass or other synthetics.

Steyr SSG Carbon Features
Caliber: .308 Winchester
Magazine type/capacity: Polymer double-stack detachable box/10 rounds
Finish: Mannox
Safety: 3+1 Position Safety
Trigger type: Single-stage, 3 lb. 8 oz. pull-weight
Stock material/type: SMC carbon fiber
Length of pull: 14.25 inches minimum (adjustable with 0.33″ inserts)
Comb adjustments: 0.5 inches longitudinal; 0.133 inch lateral (rotationally adjustable)
Drop at heel: +1.07 to -3.8 inches vertical adjustment
Pistol grip: Polymer with interchangeable rubber inserts

Permalink New Product, Tactical 8 Comments »
February 21st, 2015

Black Beauty: Canadian Carbon-Stocked F-TR Rifle

Here is some serious Saturday “gun glamour” from the folks at Star Shooter Precision, a bipod-builder and stock-maker based in Montreal, Canada. This stunning .308 Win F-TR rifle features a carbon-wrapped Star Shooter stock, angle-adjustable tubular bag-rider, star-shaped escutcheons, and a Kelbly Panda action. Up front is Star Shooter’s signature lightweight bipod.

Click Each Image for Large, Full-Screen Version

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod


Star Shooter Montreal Canada Quebec BipodAbout the Rifle Builders
Star Shooter Precision is a company located on the south shore of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Fred Harvey is the designer. Fred says: “Our goal is to perfect the art of competition shooting the best we can with our custom bipods. The Star Shooter bipod is designed for shooters in F-Class competition, varmint hunting, load testing, tactical shooting and sighting in rifles.”

Star Shooter Montreal Canada Quebec Bipod

Permalink Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
January 19th, 2015

SHOT Show Product Previews — Pick of the Litter

SHOT Show kicks off tomorrow, January 20th. As a sneak preview, here are some new (or newly marketed) products that will be on display in Las Vegas. We’ve reviewed nearly 500 featured products and here are some cool items that caught our eye. The AMP annealing machine is a break-through technology, and we’d love to have one of those AG Composites Carbon stocks for an M1A. The Bix’N Andy trigger isn’t really new, though most American’s haven’t seen one yet. It really is a gem. Enjoy these product snapshots. We’ll provide more “hands-on” reporting over the coming week.

AMP Induction Annealing Machine
Source: Bullet Proof Samples LLC, AmpAnnealing.com
Annealing Made Perfect (“AMP”) is a pre-programmed, fully-calibrated induction annealer. Extensive metallurgy testing has laboratory verified the temperature/time program settings, allowing precise and repeatable neck hardness every time. The AMP can handle cases from .17 to .338 caliber. Change from one cartridge size to another in seconds. The sophisticated calibration eliminates guesswork, so you don’t have to just “burn-off” lacquers and a stop-watch. Just select the correct program, set the pilot, and start annealing. Proper annealing provides more consistent neck tension and that translates to lower ES/SD and better accuracy, particularly at long range.

X-15 Side Charged Upper (SCU)
Source: X Products
The standard AR rear-pull charging handle is annoying, particularly when shooting prone. The folks as X-Products have a smart solution, an upper with a side-charging handle. We’ve seen side-charge uppers before, but these were custom mods. The $299.00 X-15 Side Charged Upper is a turnkey solution that works with a standard AR-15 bolt and carrier. No machining or modification is needed. The elevated charging position allows the bolt carrier to be operated with a proprietary cam pin that is included with the upper. The manufacture claims its X-15 upper offers “Increased performance with a gas slide that covers the charging port preventing gas and debris from hitting the operator when suppressed”.


Bargain-Priced Composite Stock with Bedding Block
Source: Stocky’s Stocks
This $199.00 stock combines the latest glass-filled nylon composite technology with Stocky’s proven AccuBlock aluminum bedding technology for Remington 700 barreled actions. These stocks are offered in varmint, target, tactical, and hunting rifle models. All variants offer a “drop-in” solution for Rem 700 actions. The $199.00 price is makes this a bargain solution for hunters and varminters who want to upgrade from a flexy “tupperware” stock.

Bix’N Andy Match-Grade Triggers
Source: BulletCentral.com
Bix’n Andy is an Austrian company that crafts some of the best triggers on the planet. Gunsmith Andy Atzl uses a unique ball bearing mechanism that allows for incredibly precise trigger pull weight adjustments. BulletCentral’s owners says: “Andy’s work is consistently top quality and we are lucky to be the exclusive North American importer and distributor for his products.”

Peterson Cartridge Brass
Source: Peterson Cartridge Co.
We welcome any company that’s jumping into the brass marketplace. Competition among brass-makers is always a good thing. For 2015, Pennsylvania-based Peterson Cartridge Co. will offer “match-grade” rifle brass for four (4) cartridge types: .308 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, 300 Winchester Magnum, and 338 Lapua Magnum. On Peterson’s website, you’ll find a page that illustrates each stage in the brass-making process, from cupping to final trim and annealing. If you’ve ever been curious about how brass is made, check out Peterson’s Cartridge Manufacturing Process Page.

AG Composites Carbon Fiber Components
Source: AG Composites LLC
AG Composites specializes in the design, development and production of high performance composite components. AG makes carbon fiber rifle stocks, handguards and buttstocks, and AG can also provide carbon fiber OEM components for manufacturers. Check this handsome AG carbon fiber stock on an M1A. That brings an old Battle Rifle design into the 21st Century.

Bulletproof Safari Vest
Source: Miguel Caballero
This “discrete” bulletproof Safari Vest was originally created for celebrities, VIP clients, and business executives. However, this product could also benefit those involved in firearms training or range operations. (It only takes one Accidental Discharge by a newbie to spoil your whole day.) This vest features light, flexible, yet strong ballistic materials that meet NIJ 0101.06 standards. The Safari Vest features a front overlap that functions as an anti-trauma plate protecting the thorax. For increased comfort, the vest is engineered to distribute the weight evenly front to back.

Smith & Wesson Ported M&P Pistols
Source: Smith & Wesson
New from the Smith & Wesson Performance Center are four new Ported M&P pistols. What makes these pistols unique is the fact that they have ported barrels for reduced muzzle flip, as well as an adjustable trigger stop. Stop by S&W SHOT Show Booth #13729 to have closer look at all the features.

Swab-Its 17-Caliber and 22-Caliber Bore-Whips
Source: Super Brush
The Swab-its folks have just made it even easier to clean .177 air rifles, .17 caliber rimfire or centerfire rifles, and .22 caliber lever action and semi-auto rifles. Bore-Whips feature a 45″ polypropylene cord tipped with a durable, reusable swab. This handy, pull-through design allows for cleaning the proper way, from breech to muzzle. The bright-colored Neon Orange (.17 cal) and Neon Green (.22 Cal) plastic cords do double-duty, acting as Empty Chamber Indicators (ECI) at the range. Swab-its Bore-whips are available in 3-packs for both .17 and .22 calibers. Check out samples at SHOT Show Booth #1241.

Thanks to Forum member M500 for Product Tips.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
September 20th, 2014

Slow-Motion Video Shows Bullets Pass Through Muzzle Brakes

Proof Research High speed photography muzzle brakeIf you want to see how a muzzle brake really works, definitely watch this remarkable slow-motion video compiled by Proof Research.

This amazing video features a variety of firearms: suppressed 9mm pistol, .338 Norma rifle, .300 WinMag rifle, 12ga comp’d shotgun, plus an AR15 and AR10.

This Must-Watch Video Has Some Amazing Ultra-Slow-Motion Segments

Watch the ultra-slow motion segment at the 2:55 mark and you can actually see a .30-cal bullet spin its way through the muzzle brake, leaving trail of flame that blows out the ports. Interestingly, at the 3:10 mark, you can also see a bright “afterburn” ball of fire that forms a few inches ahead of the muzzle milliseconds after the bullet has left the barrel. Perhaps this is late ignition of unburned powder?

Video Time Line (Test Firearm Segments)

  • 00:23 – 00:53: Walther 9mm PPQ Pistol, Osprey 45 Suppressor
  • 00:54 – 01:44: Proof Research .338 Norma Rifle, Carbon-wrapped Barrel, 3P Muzzle Brake
  • 01:45 – 02:22: Remington 870 12ga Shotgun, VangComp Ported
  • 02:23 – 03:40: Proof Research 300 WM Rifle, Carbon-wrapped Barrel, 51T Muzzle Brake
  • 03:41 – 04:14: AR15 (M16) Rifle, Vltor A5-A5H2 Buffer
  • 04:15 – 05:23: AR10 .338 RCM

Proof Research High speed photography muzzle brake

Proof Research (PR) sells high-grade hunting and tactical rifles built with PR-made actions and carbon-wrapped barrels. For more information, visit ProofResearch.com.

Credit Steve of TheFirearmBlog.com for this YouTube video. Footage by JNZ for Proof Research.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 3 Comments »
February 23rd, 2014

Range Kit Carbon Calipers for under $10.00 at Midsouth

Every serious hand-loader should have at least one high-quality set of calipers — a serious tool that can reliably (and repeatably) measure to .001″ (and preferably, .0005″). Quality calipers made by Starrett, Mitutoyo (and other good manufacturers) aren’t cheap, but they will work well for decades.

In addition to the quality calipers you keep at home, every shooter have a “range kit” caliper set. This can be used to quickly measure Cartridge OAL, check base-to-ogive lengths of loaded ammo (with a comparator placed on the jaws), measure group size, and perform a myriad of other tasks at the range. You don’t want to spend a fortune on your range calipers — in the event that they are inadvertently left behind (or loaned to a fellow shooter and never returned).

Right now, Midsouth Shooters Supply is selling Electronic Digital Calipers for under $10.00 that fill the “range kit” role very nicely. Constructed with carbon fiber components, these Altraco calipers are light-weight and rust-resistant. Measurements are displayed in large, easy-to-read, high contrast numbers. And with the flick of a button you can switch between English (inch) and Metric (mm) read-outs. For $9.66 these are a bargain “back-up” set of calipers to be kept in a glove compartment or range kit. No they will not replace your Mitutoyo calipers, but you won’t cry if they get lost!

Midsouth Shooters Supply Carbon Fiber Digital Calipers

Permalink Hot Deals No Comments »
February 21st, 2014

Stecker Succeeds at SWN with Radical Benchrest-type F-TR Rig

Most F-TR rifles are essentially prone rifles adapted for use with bipod and rear bags. They feature prone or tactical-style stocks designed to allow a firm grip on the gun, with cheek, hand, and shoulder contact. This has worked very well. Unquestionably, a skilled F-TR shooter can achieve outstanding scores with such a configuration — it works. However, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”.

At the Berger Southwest Nationals, Eric Stecker introduced a new type of rifle, and a new type of gun-handling, to the F-TR ranks. Shooting “free-recoil” style* (i.e. with virtually no contact on his rifle) Eric managed to finished second overall in F-TR (with the highest X-count), beating some past national champions in the process. Thinking “outside the box” worked for Stecker in Phoenix. The success of Eric’s benchrest-style rifle and shooting technique definitely drew the attention of other F-TR shooters.

Click photo to zoom
Eric Stecker Berger Bullets

VOICE FILE: Eric Stecker Talks About the SWN and his Radical F-TR Rifle.

Eric’s F-TR rig was built by John Pierce using a stiff, light Scoville carbon-fiber stock. The stock is so light that Eric’s rifle came in 1.5 pounds under the F-TR maximum weight limit (8.25kg or 18.18 pounds). The gun features a Pierce action, Bartlein barrel, Jewell trigger, and a Gen 1 Nightforce 15-55X52mm Comp scope. From the get-go, Eric’s strategy was to “aim small” and shoot his rig like a bench-gun. He actually focused on shooting really small groups rather that just trying to keep shots within scoring rings and “hold waterline”. With a .308 Win that could shoot bugholes at 100 yards, this strategy paid off.

Rifle builder John Pierce explains the thinking behind this rifle: “The stock choice was mine — I had built two prototype rifles last year based on the premise that the game is Benchrest in the prone position. I still feel very strongly regarding [this concept]. I chose Bob Scoville for obvious reasons — he is an artisan and his stocks have won so much, they just flat work. We built Eric the latest configuration along these lines, and the tool worked for him. Without a doubt, Eric is a shooter, and we were all pleased to watch him perform so well.”

Eric sets up rifle before match. During live fire his hands do not contact the stock.

Eric employed a benchrest-style shooting technique with his F-TR rig — he shot pretty much free recoil, with no cheek pressure, no hand contact, and just a “whisper” of shoulder contact. Eric explains: “I shoot what’s called ‘free recoil’. Now the rifle is butted up against my shoulder very lightly, but no other part of my body touches the rifle except for my finger on the trigger.” Eric has even used this technique when shooting a 7mm cartridge in F-Open at other matches: “Someone suggested that this style wasn’t possible with the larger [7mm] cartridges, but I found it very successful so I continue to do it that way.”

VOICE FILE: Eric Stecker Talks About Shooting F-TR with Benchrest Technique.

Eric also employed an unconventional strategy — he was focused on shooting small groups (not just holding ring values): “Since I have started shooting F-Class, I treat [the target] like a benchrest target. What I mean by that is that I regard the center as my first shot, and so my objective is to create the smallest group. So, I will hold whatever… is required to end up with the bullet ending up in the center — that’s probably true of any F-Class shooter, but I guess the perspective’s a little different when you have a benchrest background.” Eric explained that “maybe I aim a little smaller than others might”, because in the benchrest game, “the slightest miss ends up costing you quite dearly”.

Click to Zoom Photo (This is not Eric Stecker’s rifle, but a “sistership” built by John Pierce.)
Eric Stecker Berger Bullets

Eric Talks about F-TR Trends
Will other F-TR shooters build rifles suited for free-recoil-style shooting? Eric isn’t sure: “I don’t know if this type of rifle is the future of F-TR. I shoot a lot of benchrest, so putting those kinds of components into an F-TR gun made a lot of sense to me. One thing I like about F-TR is that there are a lot of different types of approaches being tried and some of them are successful. So I think it’s still pretty wide-open[.] But I think the really great part of what we found at the Southwest Nationals is that shooting [with] a benchrest-style approach certainly doesn’t hurt you. What I mean by that is … aiming small, trying to make the group as tight as possible rather than trying to hit a particular area. I actually tried to shoot tight groups — that was a focus and that worked for me — I had quite a high X-Count.” NOTE: Eric finished with 51 Xs, 14 more than F-TR Grand Agg winner Radoslaw Czupryna (37X). James Crofts had the second highest X-Count with 48 Xs.

Even Berger’s Boss did pit duty at the Berger SW Nationals.
Eric Stecker Berger Bullets

*”Free Recoil” style shooting has its variations. Some would say “pure free recoil” would not even allow shoulder contact. Eric Stecker lightly touches the back of the stock with his shoulder.

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills 13 Comments »
December 2nd, 2013

Slick F-TR with Adjustable Bag-Rider and Carbon-Metal Bipod

Forum member Jonathan L. (aka ‘Quest-QC’) was a member of the Canadian F-TR team at the F-Class World Championships in Raton, NM this fall. His handsome .308 Winchester rifle features some interesting hardware and a stunning African Padauk-wood stock stiffened with carbon fiber layers. We were impressed by the innovative, adjustable bag-rider assembly Jonathan fitted to the rear of his stock (scroll down for photo). With an Allen wrench, the vertical height and the slope (i.e. fore/aft angle) of the V-shaped bag-rider can be changed easily. This has many advantages. First, Jonathan can set his rifle to the most comfortable height (for his prone position) without using “lifters” under the rear bag. The system also gives him some gross elevation adjustment separate from the bipod. In addition, the angle adjustment allows the bag-rider to better match the geometry of the rear bag. Last but not least, by setting up the bag-rider with some drop (higher in front, lower in back), Jonathan can fine-tune his elevation (while aiming the gun) by simply sliding the rifle fore and aft.

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

Jonathan says: “This year was my second year shooting at 1000 yards and I managed to find a spot on Team Canada for the FCWC at Raton. Here is the rifle that brought me there…”

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

The rifle features a Kelbly Panda F-Class RB-LP action, 34″ Bartlein 1:11″-twist, Heavy Palma contour barrel. Fitted to the red-toned Padauk-wood stock is a 23.2 oz., StarShooter CF-SS light weight bipod with custom bench feet. On top is a March 8-80x56mm scope in Kelbly rings. Total weight of the rifle is 18 pounds, 1 oz., complete with the 24 oz. adjustable brass bag-rider at the back. The bag-rider block was modeled in 3D, then machined afterwards to use up the remaining weight available after all the other components. CLICK for StarShooter CF-SS Bipod Video.

African Padauk Wood is Very Stiff
Jonathan chose the red-toned African Padauk Wood because it is stiff for its weight: “The reason for choosing African Padauk is that the weight of the wood is the same as Maple but 45% more rigid.” The downside of Padauk, as Forum member Gstaylorg notes, is that it is a “very oily wood, which can make it somewhat difficult to finish with something like polyurethane. [Padauk] can generate a lot of bubbles and cause cracking problems around joints and/or seams.” Jonathan did note that he has observed a few bubbles in the auto clear coat on his stock. He plans to refinish the stock in the off-season.

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

Gun Is Extremely Accurate with Berger 200gr Hybrids
Jonathan says this rig was very accurate, at least until his barrel gave up the ghost. He says he has put 15 successive shots in about 1/4 MOA: “I managed to make it twice (1/4 MOA for 15) by taking my time between shots. You don’t want to overheat this barrel. I needed to provide a very strong effort (mentally) to be able to achieve such precision as the rifle is way better than me.” Jonathan shoots Berger 200gr Hybrid bullets (in the lands) with Hodgdon Varget powder, and Federal 205M primers, loaded into neck-turned Lapua .308 Win brass. He has also had good luck with Vihtavuori N150 powder in the past.

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

In compliance with F-Class rules, the adjustable bag-rider system would not be adjusted “on the fly” during record fire. The bag-rider’s vertical rise and fore/aft slope would be optimized before shooting, then locked in place. The bottom photo offers a good view of the V-shaped profile of the metal bag-rider. We have found that this kind of V-profile, closely matching the triangular profile of the rear ears, makes a rifle more secure in the rear bag and often allows the gun to track better.

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

Permalink Gunsmithing No Comments »
October 18th, 2013

NBRSA Changes Sporter Rules — Bukys Builds to New Standards

The National Benchrest Shooters Association (NBRSA) has adopted new rules, loosening restrictions on the Sporter Class of benchrest rifles. Now a Sporter fore-arm may be any width (or angle), and the underside of the buttstock can have any angle. Previously, fore-arm width was limited to three inches, and the bottom of the buttstock had to be angled up. (NBRSA Rules will continue to require this “up-angle” geometry for all Light Varmint (LV) and Heavy Varmint (HV) rifles). In addition, the NBRSA opened the Sporter Class to any caliber “no larger than .308 Winchester”.

The idea behind these changes is to allow greater innovation in at least one class of benchrest bag guns, and to avoid “redundancy”. Currently a 10.5-lb Light Varmint can be shot as a Sporter, so long as the LV complies with caliber rules. For practical purposes, that meant Sporter Class was redundant with the Light Varmint Class, and there was no real reason for the Sporter Class to exist anymore.

The Sporter weight limit remains unchanged at 10.5 pounds (including optics). All current LV and Sporter rifles will remain 100% legal under the new rule, so no one is forced to go out and build a new rifle to shoot in Sporter class. But if you want to try a more radical stock design, now you have the opportunity to do so. Here is the text of the new rule:

NBRSA Rule Book (New Sporter Rule)
B. Definitions: 2. Equipment (d) Sporter Rifle

A Sporter Rifle is defined as any rifle having a safe manually and mechanically operated firing Mechanism and must not weigh more than 10.5 lbs, inclusive of sights. The stock can be flat, or convex, but not concave. The Forearm can be any width and have any angle. The butt stock can have any angle including a reverse angle, the barrel shall not be less that 18″ long forward of the bolt face and can be any diameter or configuration including a straight taper or a reverse taper. The Sporter Rifle can be no larger than .308 Winchester. Sporter Rifles do not have to conform to the Varmint Rifles diagram. All sand bag rules apply to the Sporter Rifle.

View NBRSA Rule Book (Includes New Sporter Definition) PDF

Bukys Explains the Thinking Behind the Sporter Rule Change

NBRSA Gene BukysOn Benchrest Central, leading benchrest shooter Gene Bukys discussed the new NBRSA Sporter Rule Changes: “[This] does not create a new rifle or an experimental class — it simply removes most of the restrictive rules from the existing Sporter class. Every existing LV rifle and every existing Sporter Rifle in this whole world is still legal, and competitive, under these changes.

My purpose in all of this is to make the Sporter class, and the LV rifle, no longer redundant classes, and to have a class where we can have some innovation in Benchrest. If there is a better stock configuration out there or a better barrel profile shouldn’t we benchrest shooters be the leading edge of this innovation? Benchrest used to be the leading edge of virtually all accuracy innovation. I’m not sure if that’s true anymore. I would like that to be… true again.

For right now, I don’t see this as making any huge radical changes to benchrest, but given time and a venue to work in (Sporter Class) there may be some really meaningful innovation that comes about. Let’s have some fun with this.”

Gene Bukys Commissions New Convertible Sporter/LV Stock by Bob Scoville
Under the new NBRSA Sporter standards, stock designers/fabricators can now experiment with a wider variety of stock shapes and geometry. Gene Bukys commissioned a new stock from Bob Scoville that shows what can be done under the new liberalized Sporter stock rules.

Gene’s latest NBRSA Sporter rifle features a stepped forearm that can fit a 5-inch wide bag rider plate. In the rear, this stock can run different size/shape “keels” (buttstock underbellies). The larger keel, shown attached in the photos, exhibits the flatter angle now allowed under the new NBRSA Sporter rule. (In fact, this keel may have a slight reverse angle, i.e. lower in the front than in the back). At any time, this Scoville stock can be switched back to a 100%-legal Light Varmint configuration by: 1) removing the 5″ front bag-rider plate; and 2) changing to the smaller, up-angled rear keel piece.

CLICK Photos to View Full-Screen Version
Bukys Scoville Carbon Fiber Sporter Benchrest Stock

Bukys Scoville Carbon Fiber Sporter Benchrest Stock

Bukys Scoville Carbon Fiber Sporter Benchrest Stock

Bukys Scoville Carbon Fiber Sporter Benchrest Stock

Photos and Links provided by Pascal Fischbach.
Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
May 3rd, 2013

Modular Sporter Chassis with Carbon Fore-End from APO

At the NRA Show in Houston, Ashbury Precision Ordnance (“APO”) will spotlight the new long-action SABER-FORSST Sporter Chassis. For hunters and recreational shooters, the SABER Composite Series Sporter is a “drop in, torque down and shoot upgrade” for long-action rifles with 1.200″ to 1.300″ barrel shank diameters. The SABER Sporter chassis features adjustable shoulder stock and carbon-reinforced fore-end (with traditional sporter shaping and twin swivel studs). You can install your barreled action in the SABER Sporter chassis in minutes using simple tools. No gunsmithing or bedding is required. All metal surfaces are coated for durability.

APO Ashbury SABRE Sporter

APO Ashbury SABER SporterRugged and Fully Adjustable
The SABER Sporter long-action chassis weighs just 5.25 lbs including the box mag, adjustable buttstock, Limbsaver® recoil pad, and ERGO® Sure Grip. This chassis offers full adjustability — length of pull (LOP), cheek-rest height, buttpad position, and even grip-to-trigger distance. APO says this is a very versatile stock, suitable for both hunting and field applications: “The Sporter is a comfortable, low-recoil rifle chassis impervious to all weather conditions and shoots comfortably off-hand, supported, or from a bipod”. APO’s SABER Sporter is offered in four colors for these action types: Rem700 SA and LA; McMillan G30 SA and LA; Surgeon RSR, 591, 1086, 1581.

APO Ashbury SABRE Sporter

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
November 4th, 2012

New Steve Jennings Skeleton F-TR Stock with Integral Bipod

Wow. If James Bond shot F-TR, we think this is what he might use. You’re looking at the radical new Steve Jennings stock for F-TR competition. This skeletonized stock is crafted to fit the Barnard action. As you can see, there is no conventional fore-arm. Instead a carbon fiber tube extends forward of the action. At the front end of the tube, a fixture hold the beefy, forward-angled, girder-style bipod legs. These legs adjust to two heights, for prone or bench shooting. Large Delrin cylinders at the bottom of the legs provide stability and help resist bipod hop. Cost of the Jennings stock, including bipod legs and bag-rider assembly, is $700.00 at Chesebro Rifles.

Chesebro Rifles Steve Jennings F-TR stock

Chesebro Rifles Steve Jennings F-TR stock

The rear bag-rider, which adjusts for height, is also carried by a carbon-fiber tube that runs from the bottom of the pistol grip back to the buttplate. The bag-rider is attached via an eccentric fixture. This way, as you spin it in and out, the vertical position changes. This allows you to get the elevation centered -up on the target, but this system is not designed for fast changes “on the fly”. Small changes in elevation are made by squeezing the bag.

Chesebro Rifles Steve Jennings F-TR stock

Chesebro Rifles Steve Jennings F-TR stockMark Chesebro also offers a complete rifle built around the new Jennings stock. Built with a Barnard Action, Trueflite (NZ) barrel, and Barnard trigger, a complete Jennings F-TR rifle costs $2500.00. For more information on the Steve Jennings F-TR stock, or complete rifles built with this stock, visit ChesebroRifles.com or call (805) 280-5311. We hope to get our hands on one of these rigs for testing very soon!

EDITOR’s COMMENT: Now it would be great if Seb Lambang’s joystick bipod head could somehow be adapted to this rig, with the joystick running under the carbon fiber “fore-end”, but still using the forward-angled Jennings girder-style legs and oversize “Coke-Can” bipod feet. That could definitely be a James Bond-worthy F-TR rig.

Product Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product 12 Comments »
March 20th, 2011

Manners Offers New Stock for CZ 452 and 455

Manners Composite Stocks has released its new MCS-T4 trainer stock for CZ 452 and 455 actions. This should work well for guys who cross-train with a .22LR or who compete in the popular Tactical Rimfire matches now offered by many clubs. The MCS-T4 duplicates the feel, heft, and ergonomics of a full-size tactical stock, making it easy to transition from your centerfire rifle to your smallbore trainer.

Manners CZ training stock MCS-t4

Tom Manners reports: “This is the second .22LR trainer stock we have developed. The design goal is the same as the first stock we built for the SakoQuad. This project was started for the guys that wanted a full-size rimfire training rifle that had the same size and feel as their full-size service gun. The goal was to have a gun that had the same balance, feel, and as close to same ergonomics as a full-size Remington 700. That lets you train effectively with inexpensive .22LR ammo.”

Tom added: “We designed the MCS-T4 so the CZ 452/455 bolt handle and trigger are in the same location as your full-size service rifle”. Manners can also deliver the MCS-T4 with an extra-heavy fill to bring the weight of the complete gun up to about 13 lbs — about the same as a centerfire bolt gun with a medium-contour barrel. With the MCS-T4, a shooter can put together an affordable rimfire cross-trainer without having to spend big bucks on a 40X action or 40X clone. The new Manners MCS-T4 CZ Trainer Stock lists for $475.00 plus shipping. For more info, visit MannersStocks.com or call (816) 283-3334.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 3 Comments »
December 19th, 2010

High-Tech Carbon-Fiber Bipod for F-TR Competition

Two Oregonians, Joe Huddleston and John Weil, have developed one of the most sophisticated bipods you can buy. The new Center Shot carbon-fiber bipod is ultra-light, weighing just 19 ounces (0.55 kg). John Weil used a prototype version at the 2009 F-Class world championships in Bisley, England. John was a member of the USA Team which won the F-TR Team Championship.

Center shot bipod

center shot bipod

The Center Shot bipod offers a very wide “wheelbase” for stability. The bipod’s long feet, shaped like helicopter skids, help the rifle recoil straight back, rather than hop or twist. The bipod is designed to attach securely via a standard accessory rail on the bottom of the rifle’s forearm. The bipod can easily be adjusted for height and cant (tilt angle), allowing the bipod to adjust to uneven terrain. The height adjustment also allows shooters to easily adapt the bipod to their rear bag height and shooting style.

Center shot bipod

Center shot bipod

The Center Shot Bipod comes in two versions. The basic model costs $450.00, while for $465, you can get one with the shooter’s national colors on the top rod assembly (see photo below). For more information, email joe [at] censhot.com or john weil at jhw1 [at] ix.netcom.net. You can also call (503) 622-3815, or write: Center Shot Engineering, 26810 E. Elk Park Rd., Welches, OR 97067.

center shot bipod

Centershot Bipod Specifications
Weight: 19 ounces
Full height to rail: 9.25 inches | Foot Print at 9.25 inches: 16.3 inches
Lowest height to rail: 4.5 inches | Foot Print at 4.5 inches: 20.5 inches
Materials: Aluminum, carbon fiber, stainless hardware
Continuous adjustment from lowest to highest setting.

Permalink New Product, News 7 Comments »
January 26th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Australia's Wild Dog Carbon Riflestocks

Though the use of high-tech materials, such as carbon fiber and kevlar, modern riflestocks have become stiffer, stronger, and lighter. Wild Dog, a small company in Queensland, Australia, is producing some of the nicest carbon-reinforced hunting and tactical stocks you can buy. Wild Dog stocks sport innovative features, such as a trap door for ammo storage in the side of the buttstock. Wild Dog’s hunting stocks are sized right and comfortable to hold — the comb height and drop angles are “just right” for a classic sporter.

wild dog stocks

And when Wild Dog says they can build a stock that’s “ultra-light”, they aren’t kidding. Wild Dog’s Bruce Simms showed us a lightweight sporter stock that weighed just 20 ounces! We were sufficiently impressed that we may choose a Wild Dog stock for an ultra-light, walk-around varminter project AccurateShooter.com has in the works.

YouTube Preview Image

This Editor was also very impressed by Wild Dog’s tactical stocks. The Wild Dog thumbhole will work for shooters with any hand size. The grip section of some other thumbhole stocks (notably the Accuracy Int’l) is very thick and fat (way too fat for this Editor’s hands). By contrast, you’ll find the Wild Dog thumbhole is comfortable and controllable even for shooters with medium to small hands. Wild Dog’s adjustable cheekpiece system on the tactical stocks is better than most — the hardware is simple but sturdy and the cheekpiece fits flush when retracted.

wild dog stocks

wild dog rifle stocks

wild dog rifle stocks

Overall, the Wild Dog stock designs — both hunting and tactical, are carefully crafted and very well thought out. The tactical stocks feel right in both offhand and prone positions. The hunting stocks are easy to handle and the hand-painted camo finishes really do work in the field, as you can see in the photo below.

wild dog rifle stocks

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 13 Comments »
January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Manners Composite Stocks

Manners Composite Stocks builds very strong, stiff stocks employing advanced manufacturing methods and high tech carbon fiber materials. In this video, stock-maker Tom Manners showcases his new products for 2010. These include the handsome new MCST 5A Tactical stock, composed of 30% carbon fiber, 65% fiberglass. Though as strong as any comparable stock on the market, the MCST 5A weighs just 4.1 pounds. Tom also displayed his impressive “long wheelbase” F-Class stock. A full 7″ longer than any other F-Class stock on the market, the Manners F-Class stock features all-carbon construction and a unique “fish-belly” design that provides extra rigidity so the stock tracks smoothly without the “springboard effect” common to some other low profile stock designs.

Manners F-Class stock

Manners F-Class stock

Tom also previewed the new Manners Mini Chassis, an integrated v-block/bottom metal/mag carriage. Manners’ Mini Chassis can be installed in one of Manners stocks or other designs, and it provides a rock-solid, “bolt-in and go” mount for a Rem-700 footprint action. The Mini Chassis takes both 5-round and 10-round AI magazines.

YouTube Preview Image
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October 2nd, 2008

New Manners Stock Debuts at F-Class Nationals

Tom Manners of Manners Composite Stocks has a new F-Class stock that’s long, low, and very stiff. The first three examples get their “trial by fire” this week at the F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin. The stock is derivative of some other familiar designs, particularly in the grip area, but the underside of the stock is radically new, and the stock promises to be very rigid in all planes, without the fore-arm lift or flex found in some other F-Class stocks.

Manners rifle stocks

Tom says: “The shell is 100% carbon fiber with a molded-in action and barrel area. This design features a very long, stiff fore-end. From the back of the action to the tip of the fore-end the stock measures 27″ long which is around 7 1/2″ longer than our T4 stock.” The idea is to provide a “longer wheelbase” to better balance the long, 30-32″ barrels favored by many F-Class competitors.

Manners rifle stocks

The front half of the fore-end is very thin (from top to bottom) to achieve a low profile on the bags. The McMillan F-Class stock uses such a design, and a thin fore-end can definitely lower the center of gravity. However, some other thin-forearm designs have suffered from a springboard effect. This should not be the case with the new Manners stock. Much thought has gone into controlling fore-end flex. Manners’ design achieves greater vertical rigidity (less deflection under load) through an innovative “fish belly” design. The rounded undersection, like a canoe hull, strengthens the fore-end considerably. Carbon fiber construction also adds stiffness.

Manners rifle stocks

Another nice feature of the fore-end are the molded-in “rails”. On the underside of the forearm, an area is relieved for a few inches in the center. This allows the stock to contact the front bag on the two outer edges or rails. The relieved center area can ride above the “hump” typically found in the middle of the front sand-bag. Other stock designs have proven the merits of this “twin rail” feature. It works. Eliminating contact with the “hump” reduces rock and wobble, and the twin rails allow smooth tracking.

Manners rifle stocksManners rifle stocksOverall, we like the stock design very much except for one thing. The stock has a pronounced corner or knuckle at the top rear of the pistol grip. This creates a sharp transition from the tang to the area relieved for your thumb. A similar (though less extreme) knuckle is found on the McMillan A-series designs. Our testers have shot stocks with grips like this and the reaction was mixed. IF you have big hands and can wrap your thumb all the way around the grip, this design can work well with a hard hold. The vertical section right below the knuckle can help distribute some of the recoil into the web of the hand. However, for people with smaller hands, your thumb is forced into an awkward position. Additionally, many shooters use a lighter hold, or prefer to place the thumb parallel to the bore axis, resting on the stock, just behind the tang. This allows you to apply some down-pressure, WITHOUT side force (a shooting style that some rifles prefer). You can do this easily with a Tooley MBR-style stock, or a Franklin low-rider. With a hard knuckle like you find on the Manners stock, resting your thumb behind the tang doesn’t work well at all. Looking at the photos, we also think the pistol grip is quite fat, further causing problems with shooters with small to medium hands. That said, we know many shooters, particularly “tactical” competitors, who like this kind of grip. Tom Manners wants to “get feedback” on the new stock at the Nationals. It will be interesting to learn if some shooters ask for a different style grip.

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