June 12th, 2018

AR-15 Accuracy with Factory Ammo — Surprising Results

Criterion Barrels AR-15 AR16 ammo ammunition comparison test
Displayed are results with Federal Gold Medal Match — quite impressive accuracy!

Criterion Barrels has published an interesting Ammo Comparison Test, shooting seven (7) different varieties of .223 Rem ammunition out of an AR15 fitted with Criterion Barrel. Each ammo type was chronographed (10-shot string), then five-shot groups were shot at 100 yards. Along with handloads (69gr Sierra MK + Varget), six (6) types of commercial ammo were tested:

PREMIUM Type Ammo:
Federal Gold Medal Match (69gr SMK)
Creedmoor 75gr HPBT
Prime 77gr OTM (Open Tip Match)

BULK Type Ammo:
Federal American Eagle XM193 (55gr FMJ)
Wolf Gold (55gr FMJ)
Wolf Polyformance Steel Case (55gr FMJ)

Here are the results for the four best commercial ammo types tested: Federal Gold Medal Match (GMM) with 69gr SMK, Prime 77gr OTM, Creedmoor 75gr HPBT, and American Eagle XM193 (55gr FMJ). The Gold Medal Match shot the best of all factory ammo tested. In fact, the GMM even shot slightly better than the handloads, which averaged 0.79″ for the three accurized groups.

AR15 Factory Ammo testing

The results are quite interesting. The Federal GMM actually shot the best, beating “untailored” handloads. Basic accurizing efforts and a much better rest set-up showed significant benefits with most ammo types (but not the bulk Wolf Ammo). As you would expect, the more expensive ammo shot best: “Chart 1.2 [below] showcases the average [after accurizing] five-round group sizes with each type of ammunition at 100 yards, while Chart 1.3 lists the price per round of each ammunition type. It becomes immediately evident by reviewing these two graphs that there is an inverse relationship between group size and factory ammunition price.”


READ Full Criterion Barrels AR15 AMMO Comparison Test »

Criterion Barrels AR-15 AR16 ammo ammunition comparison test

Accurizing Improvements — Better Scope, Better Rests, Accu-Wedge
As you would expect, some basic accurizing efforts improved accuracy with the better ammo. The accurizing process included: 1) Swapping to a Vortex Viper PST Gen 1 6-24x50mm optic; 2) Adding an Accu-Wedge; 3) Improving fitment during reassembly, and 4) Switching from Harris bipod to a Sinclair Front Rest and Edgewood rear bag for added stability. The same 1:8″-twist Criterion barrel was used throughout the testing process.

Criterion Barrels AR-15 AR16 ammo ammunition comparison test

If you shoot an AR15, or even shoot a .223 Rem bolt gun with factory ammo, you should probably read this test in full. Criterion put a lot of time into the testing, and experimented with a variety of AR options showcased in a series of YouTube videos. SEE: Accurizing the AR-15 Video Playlist.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tactical 3 Comments »
May 13th, 2017

Tikka TECH — Criterion Pre-Fit Barrels Coming Soon for Tikka T3

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

We have always liked Tikka actions, and now there is a great re-barreling option for Tikka T3 owners. Criterion Barrels Inc. (CBI), makers of “pre-fit” barrels for Savage, Remington, and Rem-clone actions, will soon be offering Tikka pre-fits. These pre-chambered barrels for Tikka T3 actions will be headspaced with a barrel nut, just like a Savage.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels
Click image for full-screen version

The new Tikka T3 pre-fit barrels will be sold through Solid Accuracy, a respected Texas-based outfit that sells high-end scopes, stocks, barrels and other rifle components. Criterion tells us: “The Solid Accuracy barrel nut and wrench design has been finalized, the prototype barrels tested and the barrel nuts are now going through production (with an expected ETA of 2-3 weeks). All orders for these pre-fits barrels are currently heading out to the shop floor for production. Orders placed this week can expect a conservative estimated lead time of 14-16 weeks.”

The accuracy has been impressive with Solid Accuracy’s test rifle, which features a Tikka T3 action mounted in a KRG X-Ray chassis. This prototype rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The group below was shot with a stout load of H4350 and Sierra 140 grain MatchKings seated .009″ in the lands.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

The folks at Criterion are excited about the Tikka pre-fit project: “We’re looking forward to getting these barrels out the door and on to some custom rifle builds.” One of Criterion’s staffers was so impressed with the initial test results that he is building his own T3 project, with a Criterion pre-fit of course…

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product, Tactical 4 Comments »
December 28th, 2016

One Dollar DIY: Make a Mirage Shield from a Venetian Blind

make your own mirage shield for rifle

make your own mirage shield for rifleWant to shoot better scores at your next match? Here’s a smart, inexpensive do-it-yourself project from the good folks at Criterion Barrels. For less than one dollar in materials, in just a few minutes you can create a handy, effective mirage shield, custom-fitted to your favorite rifle.

All precision shooters should be familiar with mirage, a form of optical distortion caused primarily by variations in air temperature. Savvy shooters will use mirage as a valuable tool when gauging wind speed and direction. Natural mirage is unavoidable, but there are many techniques designed to limit its influence in long-range marksmanship.

A form of mirage can be produced by the barrel itself. Heat rising from the barrel may distort sight picture through your optics, leading to erratic results. Mirage caused by barrel heat can be reduced dramatically by a simple, light-weight mirage shield.

How to Make a Mirage Shield

A mirage shield is an extremely cost-effective way to eliminate a commonly-encountered problem. Making your own mirage shield is easy. Using old venetian blind strips and common household materials and tools, you can construct your own mirage shield for under one dollar.

Materials Required:
1. Vertical PVC Venetian blind panel
2. Three 1”x1” pieces adhesive-backed Velcro
3. Ruler or tape measure
4. Scissors or box cutter
5. Pencil or marker

1. Measure the distance from the end of the receiver or rail to the crown of the barrel.

make your own mirage shield for rifle

2. Using a pencil and ruler, measure the same distance and mark an even line across the blind.

make your own mirage shield for rifle

3. Cut across the line using scissors or a box cutter, shortening the blind to the required length. (Remember, measure twice, cut once!)

4. Expose the adhesive backing on the loop side of the Velcro. Center and apply the Velcro strips on the barrel at regular intervals.

make your own mirage shield for rifle

5. Expose the adhesive backing of the fuzzy side of the Velcro.

6. Place the blind on the upper side of the barrel. Apply downward pressure. Once the Velcro has secured itself to the barrel, separate the two sides. Proceed to mold both sides of the Velcro to fit the contour of their respective surfaces.

7. Reaffix the blind. Barrel related mirage is now a thing of the past!

make your own mirage shield for rifle
NOTE: You can attach the Velcro on the opposite side of the blind if you want the blind to curve upwards. Some folks thinks that aids barrel cooling — it’s worth a try.

How to Remove and Re-Attach the Mirage Shield
Removal of your mirage shield is accomplished by simply removing the blind. You can un-install the Velcro by pulling off the strips and then gently removing any adhesive residue left behind using an appropriate solvent. (Simple cooking oil may do the job.) Caution: With fine, high-polish blued barrels, test any solvent on a non-visible section of the barrel. Before storing the gun, re-oil the barrel to remove active solvents and residual fingerprints.

Permalink Competition, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
March 29th, 2016

Set a National Record with a Criterion, Get a Free Barrel

Criterion Barrels

Criterion Barrels Inc. (CBI) has a policy of rewarding excellence. As a way of supporting top shooters, Criterion will provide a new, free barrel to any shooter who sets or ties a national record when using a Criterion product. To explain, you get a new Criterion barrel for free if you set (or tie) a national shooting record using a Criterion barrel on your rifle.

Criterion Barrels hopes to increase awareness of its free barrel for record sectors program. Over the last few years a number of F-Class and vintage military competitors have benefited from this program, receiving a complimentary barrel of their choice after setting a new national record in their shooting discipline. Past record breaking shooters have included David Mark Honeycutt (with a 300-yard F-Class score of 600-50X), Samantha Huhtala (four records set in 600-yard F-TR competition), and Victor Betzold (M1 Carbine with a score of 375-6X).

Criterion may, in the future, create a rewards program for winners of national, regional, and local rifle matches. Potential earned rewards by match winners could include equipment sponsorships, barrel discounts, and free apparel items.

Set a Record with a Criterion Barrel? Then Give Criterion a Call…
If you or someone you know has set a pending national record with a Criterion barrel, have the shooter contact Criterion Barrels. Send email to contact[at]criterionbarrels.com or call (262) 628-8749.

Once the shooter’s information is verified and the record is confirmed by the governing body of their appropriate shooting discipline, the order will be processed and shipped to the new record-holder.

About Criterion Barrels, Inc.:
Criterion Barrels, Inc. was founded in 1999 as a division of Krieger Barrels, Inc. in response to demands of rifle builders and firearms manufacturers for quality match grade barrels at a lower cost. Our company is now completely independent from Krieger Barrels, featuring a separate facility, personnel, and ownership.

Criterion Barrels

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
April 25th, 2015

Yank Barrel-Maker Helps Lady Win NZ Vintage Rifle Title

.303 British Lee Enfield Criterion barrel New Zealand Service Rifle No. 4

You have to love it when a prototype product not only performs well, but actually wins a match. For some time, Criterion Barrels has been working on a match-grade barrel for vintage Lee-Enfield rifles. It looks like they got things right…

Over the Easter weekend the New Zealand Service Rifle Association held its annual national service rifle competition. Coming first in the Classic Bolt Action class was Wellington’s Nicole McKee shooting a Lee-Enfield with a new, prototype Criterion barrel. Nicole’s rifle was built by her husband Duncan, a vintage rifle expert who specializes in accurizing the No. 4 and SMLE actions. Nicole’s .303 British handloads featured Hornady 174gr FMJ Boattail bullets (SKU: 3131) pushed by 47.0 grains of ADI 2209 (H4350). ADI 2209 has become the top go-to powder for .303 British shooters in New Zealand.

(more…)

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 1 Comment »
December 8th, 2014

McRee’s Pre-Fit Barrel Option for Rems and Rem Clones — $412.50

Need a new barrel for your Remington-actioned hunting or tactical rifle? McRee’s Precision has you covered. McRee’s is now offering complete, no-gunsmithing re-barreling kits for Remington and Rem-clone actions. These feature a high-quality, pre-chambered “PRE-FIT” stainless barrel from Criterion, a Savage-style barrel nut, a recoil lug, and a special barrel-nut wrench. With this system you can easily re-barrel your favorite Remington rifle yourself in less than an hour. You don’t need to pay gunsmithing fees, or wait weeks (or months) for a busy smith to do the job.

McRee’s Precision Remington DIY Barrel Kit includes Criterion Pre-Fit Stainless Barrel, Barrel Nut, Recoil Lug, and Barrel Nut Wrench:
Mcree Precision Mcrees Savage Remington pre-fitted pre-chambered pre-fit barrel system kit nut
CLICK HERE for Barrel Specifications PDF Sheet

Right now McRee’s Precision is offering Rem-action Pre-Fit barrel packages (complete with barrel nut, recoil lug, and wrench) starting at just $412.50 (On Sale). Choose from four chamberings: .243 Win, .260 Rem, .308 Win, and .300 Win Mag. These Pre-Fit barrel kits are “100% complete and ready-to-install”. All you need to do is remove your current barrel, place the recoil lug, spin on the new tube, follow the instructions for setting head-space, then torque the barrel nut against the lug. NOTE: You may require a barrel vise and action wrench to remove the original barrel. Minor inletting changes may be needed forward of the action.

Mcree Precision Mcrees Savage Remington pre-fitted pre-chambered pre-fit barrel system kit nut

The folks at McRee’s Precision say their Pre-Fit system offers many advantages: “Remington Pre-Fitted Barrel Kits have become popular over the years. If Savage can do it, why not for our Remingtons? Our [Criterion-supplied] barrels are spec’d to the McRee standard of performance. We require a minimum of 0.5 MOA with good factory ammo and 0.2 MOA with quality handloads. There are several places to get the tools required to remove your factory barrel correctly. Once you have your barrel removed all you have to do is follow the normal Savage procedure to install your new barrel. We recommend that you contact your local gunsmith for the install. Feel free to call us with any questions.”

Product Tip from Ed LongRange. We welcome readers’ submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 5 Comments »
September 14th, 2013

Criterion Barrels Opens New Facility in Germantown, Wisconsin

Criterion barrelsCriterion Barrels, producer of high-quality, button-rifled barrels (with a heritage of barrel-making from Krieger barrels) has opened a large new production facility in Germantown, Wisconsin. Over the past year, Criterion has hired many new skilled technicians to work in the new 72,000 square-foot facility, and new high-tech machinery is on its way.

Criterion reports: “To successfully meet with the recent industry-wide surge in demand, we have increased our production levels with the intent of fulfilling orders in the timeliest possible manner. To meet these manufacturing goals while simultaneously fulfilling our commitment to produce of some of the finest quality rifle barrels available, Criterion has successfully relocated its operations to a new 72,000 square-foot production facility. The phased transition from our Richfield workspace to the now fully-operational Germantown building was completed in November of last year.

Criterion has increased the number of its production personnel by more than 75% over the course of the last year… The purchase of new machinery will also serve to complete orders in a more efficient manner, allowing for improved material handling and reduced turnaround times[.] [R]est assured that Criterion Barrels, Inc. will continue to make all possible efforts toward streamlining and expanding our production potential while retaining the level of quality and precision that our customers have come to expect from our barrels.”

Criterion barrels

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »