April 12th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Ernie Bishop’s Bolt-Action Specialty Pistols

.223 Rem Remington specialty pistol H-S Precision HSP

Specialty Pistols — Report from Ernie Bishop in Wyoming

For those who know of me in the shooting world, you would probably know me in one of two ways: Dealer for SEB Rests or someone who does most of his competing, varminting, and or hunting with specialty pistols. These are typically bolt-action, single-shot rigs that can be used with a bipod. They can seem very similar to a pistol-grip rifle, but without a conventional buttstock.

.223 Rem Remington specialty pistol H-S Precision HSP

My interest in all things specialty pistols (Remington XP-100, TC Contender, MOA Maximum, Pachmayr Dominator, H-S Precision HSP, etc.) goes back to the early 1980s. Most of the specialty pistols listed are no longer made, so when I discovered that Kauger Arms was making two, I was excited. I have not had much time to shoot my new Kauger “Black Widow” chambered in 6.5×47 Lapua. But so far, the experience has been fun, even though I have not taken it prairie dog shooting yet or hunted big game with it. For this report, I went to my friend Dan’s place as one can load in the house, and simply shoot off his back porch.

.223 Rem Remington specialty pistol H-S Precision HSP

When thinking of a precision shooting platform, most of you would not consider a wood back porch as ideal. But we managed a 0.179″ 3-shot group at 100 yards using a Harris bipod and a small leather bag. Yes the Black Widow can shoot! My load was Lapua brass, Federal 205M primers, Varget powder, and the Hornady 123gr A-Max, with a MV of 2514 fps. I selected the Hornady 123s with prairie dogs in mind. As shown in the top photo, the scope on the Black Widow is a Sightron S-III 6-24 with a Holland’s scope level. The Black Widow also sports a Holland’s Radial Baffle brake.

.223 Rem Remington specialty pistol H-S Precision HSP
Here is the Black Widow with a different scope base and scope, ready to go on Dan’s porch.

.223 Rem Remington specialty pistol H-S Precision HSPThe day we planned to shoot prairie dogs was windy, so we headed to public land nearby and set up steel to get ballistics drop info and simply to play at distance. We had 5″ steel at 220 yards, 10″ steel (diamond) at 510 yards, and 10″ steel (square) at 650 yards. Wind was from 8 mph to just over 20 mph, so the little 123 grainer was getting tossed about, while keeping us humble all at the same time. Regardless of the gusty winds, I considered the session a success!

Kauger Arms has been making parts for a number of companies in the firearm industry for over 20 years. In 2014 when things slowed down for them, they decided to start building rifles and decided to make their own actions. Good decision — these actions, which are machined in a single process to keep everything true to the bore, are great. Bolt manipulation with Kauger’s action is the smoothest I have ever experienced.

Tim Kauger explained features of his actions to me. The Kauger cock-on-opening action has a Rem 700 footprint for action holes and trigger shoe. The semi-coned bolt features a floating bolt head which is slightly smaller than the bolt body. The firing pin assembly is 1/4-turn removable. There are user-changeable bolt body and knob options. There is a side bolt release above the stock line. All moving surfaces are nitrided. This can be ordered single shot, feed rails or DBM cut. Also the long action will accept up to a .338 Lapua/.300 Norma Mag if ordered that way (with 1.25″ barrel cylinder).

Kauger Arms offers a right-hand or left-hand grip, which is very comfortable. I shot the Black Widow both right-handed and left-handed with no problems whatsoever. Kauger Arms can build the Black Widow in many more chamberings than the two that are listed on the KaugerArms.com website.

New left-bolt/left port action from Kauger Arms — To the specialty pistol shooters reading and to those considering entering the SP world, Kauger Arms has listened to your requests and is working on a left bolt/left port short action that will be offered either as a single-shot action or with bottom metal. You grip the pistol with your right hand, then run the bolt with your left-hand.

Specialty Pistol 2 — The Camo .223 Remington HSP

Here is another one of Ernie Bishop’s specialty pistols. This eye-catching camo-stocked rig was crafted by H-S Precision. Sadly, H-S Precision is not making these HSP pistols anymore. This .223 Remington features a 1:7″-twist, 15-inch-long H-S barrel fitted with the “H” Brake. On top is a Burris XTR-III 5.5-30x56mm scope with SCR 2 MIL reticle and Burris rings.

.223 Rem Remington specialty pistol H-S Precision HSP

.223 Rem Remington specialty pistol H-S Precision HSPGreat Results with Varget + 77gr Sierra TMKs
Ernie tells us: “For a load, I have been running Lapua brass, Rem 7.5 primers, Varget, and the 77 grain Sierra TMK. Muzzle Velocity is 2675 FPS. As you can see, it shoots pretty well. Shown at right is a measured 0.265″ 3-shot group at 100 yards, shot from Harris bipod and small field bag.

Previous to this, I was shooting Federal Match ammo with the 77 grain SMK (MV was 2500 fps), with prairie dog kills past 600 yards, and have played on steel out to 1000 yards. This H-S specialty pistol is great for young or old alike, for novice shooters or experienced shooters. Everyone needs a fast twist .223 Remington!”

Here is my friend Dan shooting the .223 Rem HSP with factory ammo during a prairie dog trip.
.223 Rem Remington specialty pistol H-S Precision HSP

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Handguns, Hunting/Varminting 4 Comments »
February 10th, 2019

The “Batman” Pistol — Wicked XP-100 in 6-6.5×47 Lapua

Ernie Bishop Specialty Pistol Batman Dasher
Click Photo to View Larger Image

Here is Ernie Bishop’s pride and joy, a specialty pistol nicknamed “Batman” because the black carbon-fiber stock looks like the Batmobile. This is one sophisticated handgun. Complete with scope, the Batman pistol weighs under 7.5 pounds, thanks to the ultra-light stock. The carbon stock is 6 inches wide at the fore-end, yet weighs just one pound. Ernie tells us: “This gun shoots amazing and is easy to shoot especially with my SEB MAX Rest.” Ernie adds, “The gun will soon also have a field-usable rear-grip stock so I can shoot it prone from a bipod as well.”

The Batman pistol is chambered for the 6mm “Long Dasher”, a 6mm 40°-shouldered variant of the 6.5×47 Lapua. Ernie loads Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets pushed by Hodgdon H-4350 powder.

Gun Specifications
6.5x47 Lapua Dasher 40 degree improvedThe gun, crafted by Eric Wallance of Nawaka Firearms, features an XP-100 action, Jewell trigger, and 15″-long, Brux 1:8″-twist barrel with aluminum muzzle brake. Interestingly, this gun does not have a traditional recoil lug. Instead, gunsmith Wallace milled out a lug from the bottom of the XP-100 action to save weight. On top of the action, the rig carries a Sightron Inc S-III 6-24X56mm scope in Kelbly rings on a custom +20 MOA rail.

Long Dasher Wildcat
Shown at right is a “Long Dasher” 40° wildcat created by Forum member Sunbuilder. This is very similar to Ernie Bishop’s chambering, though there may be small variations related to reamer design (such as freebore). Sunbuilder’s 6-6.5×47 Improved (aka “Long Dasher”) reamer was made by Dave Kiff of Pacific, Tool & Gauge. This wildcat cartridge adds about 2.0 grains capacity to the 6.5×47 necked down to 6mm. The case certainly is impressive with that 40° shoulder. We’re just waiting for the tactical guys to starting run this improved cartridge with its original 6.5mm bore.

Here are three FIVE-shot groups at 500 yards, shot by Ernie’s Batman pistol. The first is marked with pink dots, the second with green dots, and the third is being measured with calipers:

Ernie Bishop Specialty Pistol Batman Dasher

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Handguns 2 Comments »
June 1st, 2016

Teaching the Next Generation of Shooters

Ernie Bishop 6.5-284 shooter training
Click for Full-screen Photo

Ernie Bishop, USA dealer for SEB Rests, offered this story about teaching a young boy how to shoot — passing on the heritage of marksmanship to the next generation. Ernie was working with an 8-year-old novice. With Ernie showing him the ropes, the young man was able to make hits at 1440 yards!

Teaching a Young Man about Long-Range Shooting, by Ernie Bishop
I was able to do some coaching with an eight-year-old boy shooting distance with a Savage 6.5-284 rifle (factory 1:9″-twist barrel), 3-12X Huskemaw scope, and MAC brake. Chuck McIntosh was helping as well. I can’t wait to see how this young man develops as a shooter. It was a real pleasure coaching him.

We ended the day’s shooting session with the young man making multiple connections at 1440 yards with the Savage rifle (top photo). We were very proud of this young man. During our session, the young shooter also fired a suppressed 300 Remington Ultra Magnum. The boy made managed a first-shot connection at 500 yards on a 5″ square target.

Click for Full-screen Photo
Ernie Bishop 6.5-284 shooter training

The next day I brought a couple of Specialty Pistols for our young marksman to play with. The photo shows a rear grip XP-100 with McRee chassis, chambered in .284 Winchester for 168gr SMKs. The young man went out to 850 yards with this after he got bored with 10″ targets at 400 and 500 yards (he never missed at 400 and 500!).

Click for Full-screen Photo
Ernie Bishop 6.5-284 shooter training

We ended up having switchy winds, which made things more difficult, but still fun. We also shot at 750 yards with the 6.5-284 bench pistol.

Permalink - Articles, Shooting Skills 5 Comments »
August 31st, 2014

Teaching the Next Generation — Ernie Bishop’s Protégé

Ernie Bishop, USA dealer for SEB Coaxial, offered this story about teaching a young boy how to shoot — passing on the heritage of marksmanship to the next generation. Ernie was working with an 8-year-old novice. With Ernie showing him the ropes, the young man was able to make hits at 1440 yards!

Teaching a Young Man about Long-Range Shooting, by Ernie Bishop
I was able to do some coaching with an eight-year-old boy shooting distance with a Savage 6.5-284 rifle (factory 1:9″-twist barrel), 3-12X Huskemaw scope, and MAC brake. Chuck McIntosh was helping as well. I can’t wait to see how this young man develops as a shooter. It was a real pleasure coaching him.

Click for Full-screen Photo
Ernie Bishop 6.5-284 shooter training

We ended the day’s shooting session with the young man making multiple connections at 1440 yards with the Savage rifle (top photo). We were very proud of this young man. During our session, the young shooter also fired a suppressed 300 Remington Ultra Magnum. The boy made managed a first-shot connection at 500 yards on a 5″ square target.

Click for Full-screen Photo
Ernie Bishop 6.5-284 shooter training

The next day I brought a couple of Specialty Pistols for our young marksman to play with. The photo shows a rear grip XP-100 with McRee chassis, chambered in .284 Winchester for 168gr SMKs. The young man went out to 850 yards with this after he got bored with 10″ targets at 400 and 500 yards (he never missed at 400 and 500!).

Click for Full-screen Photo
Ernie Bishop 6.5-284 shooter training

We ended up having switchy winds, which made things more difficult, but still fun. We also shot at 750 yards with the 6.5-284 bench pistol.

Permalink Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
October 29th, 2012

Gear Review: SEB Front Bag for Pedestal Rest

We’ve had our original SEB coaxial front rest for a few years now and we are impressed with its quality and performance (although the SEB NEO Rest is even more sophisticated). One of the great features of the original SEB Rest is the front sandbag. It employs double-layer construction on the sides and bottom, and has a unique microfiber material on the surfaces contacting the stock. The bottom of the bag is hard and flat, so the bag sits nice and square. We whole-heartedly endorse the SEB front bag — it is an outstanding product, affordably priced at $40.00, shipped (unfilled) anywhere in the lower 48 states. (SEB NEO front bags are $45.00 shipped to lower 48).

SEB coaxial rest bag

We’ve tested both 3″-wide and 2 1/4″-wide SEB front bags and they work great. With guns ranging from 22 lbs. to 10.5 lbs. we’ve found that that SEB front bags perform very, very well. They hold their shape, and don’t “hump up” in the middle. The microfiber material, in our opinion, is superior to either Cordura or untreated leather. Even without stock tape on your gun, the microfiber allows the rifle to slide very easily. With stock tape, friction is super-low. You don’t need to put silicone, sailcloth lube, or powder on the front bag — it’s not necessary.

Less Vertical, Better Groups with SEB Front Bag
One of our testers was experiencing vertical when shooting a 6 PPC with a different front bag. He tried both leather and Cordura front bags, and experimented with various amounts of sand fill, but the results were unsatisfactory. The leather and Cordura bags either did not hold their shape, or, with more sand fill, they were too hard and the gun jumped. Then our tester switched to a SEB front bag. He noticed an immediate improvement in gun handling and his targets showed reduced vertical with the same load. Problem solved.

Bag Works with Other Front Rests Too
field tested productWhile the SEB front bag is optimized for use with the original SEB coaxial rest, it can be adapted to other front rest tops. The standard version is made from black microfiber with brown leather, but it is also available with black leather sides. The standard vertical thickness for the 3″ or 2 1/4″ section between the ears is approximately 1″, but other dimensions are available on request. The latest SEB front bags have a filler spout on each side. SEB front bags are available in the USA from Ernie Bishop in Gillette, Wyoming. Call (307) 257-7431, or email ernieemily [at] yahoo.com. The standard SEB front bag sells for $40.00 including shipping to lower 48. Front bags for SEB NEO rests, either one-piece or Tri-lobe style, cost $45.00 including shipping to lower 48.

SEB coaxial rest bag

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