July 14th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: “We the People” .284 Shehane F-Open Rifle

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine
Jason Cohen’s “We the People” patriotic .284 Shehane F-Class rifle. It has already demonstrated great promise, scoring second place in its very first match, a 3×20 at 1000 yards in Wyoming.

Rifle Report by Jason Cohen
The rifle began its life as a Will McClosky Cerus stock. I approached Will at the Berger SW Nationals about a rifle I wanted to build. I wanted to do something different — PAINT it. He said he had just the stock that I could use, and sent that to Bryan Blake at Blake Machine. I chose Bryan for two reasons — first, I have shot with him a few times at National matches and he is approachable and very helpful. Second I visited his shop during the SWN in February and liked what I observed and how he approached things. Bryan never seems to be happy with the status quo. He is always trying new ideas.

I noticed that Bryan had been adding aluminum rails to the front of Cerus stocks to lower the center of gravity and improve tracking. I asked him to modify my stock and fit it with the new forearm rails, shown in the photo below. I sent him a Panda F-Class action with a +20 MOA Picatinny rail. Bryan did all the stock work and fitted the action, rails, and RAD recoil pad. Everything turned out flawless.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The barrel is a Blake Machine 1:8″-twist finished at 32 inches. It was fitted to my action by Dale Woolum of Woolum Accuracy. Dale chambers all my barrels on all my rifles. Dale also threaded the barrel for a Woolum Accuracy tuner. This has proven to be a valuable tool in my load development. On this build, I am trying a Bix’N Andy trigger for the first time.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The 284 Shehane has a proven record of accomplishments and that is why I have chosen it. I use Lapua brass (6.5-284 necked-up), CCI BR-2 primers, Hodgdon H4350 powder, and Berger 184gr bullets. All these components have been a successful combination that has worked flawlessly in my other rifle.

.284 Shehane Load Development
Load development for me starts with each new barrel. I screw on the new barrel, fire 25 rounds of whatever I have left over and then clean it. I push out to 600 yds and do a ladder test in round-robin format. I start 0.6 grains lower than my last charge that worked. I work up from that reduced charge weight in increments of 0.3 grains. The paper tells the rest of the story. Once I get something that works well at 600 yards I go back in work around that by 0.1 grains. After that I play a little with seating depth and look for a change. I will occasionally mess with the tuner and tighten things up if possible.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

About the Patriotic Paint Job
So I had the idea of painting the stock because there are so many wood stocks with clear coat these days. Unless you really get some exotic woods they all seem to blend together. I have nothing against clear-coated wood, but I wanted something different, as this was my first all-wood rifle. (For short-range benchrest, I was shooting a Bob Scoville carbon stock and Terry Leonard laminate).

We started with all white on the stock and came up with the idea of an American Flag on the buttstock. I was thinking of ribbons on the front in red and blue but we could not get the layout right. Then the idea of “We the People” popped into the head. My painter said “awesome!” and he was able to airbrush the stock with a little yellow and brown to give it that vintage paper look.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The front rest is a SEB Max (see above). I chose the Max because I was shooting Group Benchrest first then made the transition to F-Class. This rest proves to be versatile in all my shooting — Short- and Long-Range Benchrest AND F-Class. The rear bag is a Edgewood EDGEbag Gator. The gun gets transported in a Pelican Hard case when I travel. Locally, I use a Champions Choice soft bag.

Jason Jumped to Open Class after Starting with F-TR
This “We the People” rifle will be one of my primary rifles for F-Open competition. I will run it through its paces shortly and see how well it does. I have high hopes of it being an great gun. I shoot primarily local and regional matches — Colorado, Wyoming, and possibly Nebraska this summer. I will travel to the F-Class Nationals in Raton as well. I used to shoot F-TR before this and made the transition to Open last season. This is my second season shooting F-Open. 2018 was my first National event and was a learning experience for me. But I was hooked after that match.

Tips for F-Class Competitors
Get some good equipment and eliminate having issues that can be caused by budget builds. It’s OK to be frugal, but sometimes cutting corners will cause you more problems and have you chasing your tail. If you’re looking for the “recipe for success”, get a good action plus a top-tier barrel and great glass.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The .284 Shehane — Accurate and Forgiving Wildcat
The 284 Shehane is amazing, very forgiving and not temperamental. I choose this because I really did not know otherwise and was steered to the Shehane by a friend. Its proven track record helped as well. Straight .284 or Shehane — you cannot go wrong. I run a 184gr Berger at about 2850 FPS and get great brass life in my other rifles. I usually start to consider tossing the brass around 15 firings. Primer pockets start to get a little looser and the brass seems to need more sizing than the newer brass with less firings.

.284 Shehane Win Winchester F-class F-Open wildcat load development

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May 26th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Old Savage Becomes 300M Match Rifle

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

Editor: This story by Tommy C. (aka “dc.fireman”) comes from our Shooters’ Forum. It’s fascinating to see how a relatively inexpensive Savage M12 BVSS varmint rig was transformed into a sophisticated 300M match rifle with a modern chassis, Shilen barrel, and top-of-line sights. With some ingenuity, and careful parts selection, Tommy created a rifle that can compete with match rifles costing many thousands of dollars more. American ingenuity at work!

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

Savage Reborn — Old BVSS Transformed into 300M Match Rifle

by Tommy C. (aka “dc.fireman”)
So, I began the project of building a 300M International competition gun, about a year ago, intending to compete at the 300M Nationals this year in Minnesota at the Minneapolis Rifle Club. Realistically, I didn’t want to pay the price-tag demanded of the Bleikers, Grunig & Elmigers, Hammerlis, or Tanners that (infrequently) pop-up for sale from time to time. So I decided to build my own 300M Match rifle with an American action, barrel, chassis, and trigger.

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle
Here is Tommy’s completed 300M Match rifle with Savage action in PDC Custom chassis.

I had decided on the .260 Remington (aka 6.5-08) as the caliber choice. This beat out 6.5×47 Lapua simply due to the cost/availability of brass. The .260 Rem cartridge is based on the .308 Win parent. I made my first batch of brass by necking down some Federal .308, and it worked great. [Editor: We do recommend Lapua .260 Remington brass for match purposes for those who don’t have a supply of good .308 brass.]

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

I had an older Savage M12 stagger-feed action, originally from an old .22-250 BVSS. I contacted James at Northland Shooter Supply, and he walked me through the game plan and equipment I needed: Shilen Select Match 26″ barrel, NSS Stainless recoil lug and nut, a set of Forster headspace gauges, and the NSS action wrench.

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle
Catalog photo of current Savage M12 BVSS in .22-250 Rem.

A few months later, I replaced the original Accu-trigger with a Rifle Basix SAV-II trigger, and immediately wondered why I waited so long to do that. The Rifle Basix is perfect for my application. Mind you the he safety DOES NOT work now, but, I don’t need it for my application.

Another member on the AccurateShooter Forum sold me a BVSS stock that has been re-worked by Alex Sitman of Masterclass Stocks, and it served as a placeholder, until I could find a maker who could nearly replicate my Feinwerkbau 2700 Alu stock in my smallbore match gun.

After scouring the AccurateShooter Forum, and multiple internet searches, I found PDC Custom in Michigan. I spoke with Craig Kierstadt a few times, before finally deciding to pull the proverbial trigger on his chassis. He had a few of the older chassis stocks with spacing for the Savage stagger-feed action. He machined an Anschutz rail into the fore-end for my hand stop and sling. Then he powder-coated the chassis black, and sent it to me sans grip and butt plate.

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle
Photo of action/chassis. Tommy says: “It locks up really tightly, and you can tell Craig spent some time on the CNC work need to make this all fit.”

There are a few minor issues with the PDC chassis, but overall, I would rate this a 9.5 out of a possible 10. The price, and the features built into it, plus the ease of which everything fit together, far outweigh any minor issues. And two of the issues I quickly corrected with Teflon tape. I will need to make a walnut cheek piece — a curved one isn’t conducive to aperture iron sight shooting.

Savage Action .260 Rem 300M Match Rifle Components:

Action, Barrel, Stock, Grip
Savage M12 stagger-feed action, 4.27″ spacing
Shilen Select Match Barrel, 26″
Rifle Basix SAV-II Trigger
PDC Custom Chassis — tool-less adjustments
Bobsled SLED for single loading (required)
MEC Contact III Butt plate (German)
MEC handstop/sling swivel (German)
Walnut Target grip for AR-15 (eBay sourced)

Sight Components and Hardware
MEC Spy Long rear sight (German)
Centra front sight tunnel (German)
Centra adjustable aperture (German)
Medesha sight extension tube + collar
Champion’s Choice front sight base
Champion’s Choice mirage band

For his practice load, Tommy shot 123gr Hornady ELD-M bullets with H4831 powder and CCI BR2 primers. This load performed well — Tommy posted: “My 25-shot initial prone test today shows promise. There are five sighter shots, and 20 record shots. One of the 9s at 9 o’clock is my first sighter, the other one I own. The 8 out at 4 O’clock was a round that was difficult to chamber. My initial scoring puts me somewhere in the vicinity of 193-7X.”

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

The target used is the NRA C2, “300M International Rifle Target, reduced for 200 yards”.
The 10 Ring is 2.40″ in diameter, while the Inner 10 (X-Ring) is 1.24″.

Varget powder 300m .260 RemingtonMatch Load — Varget and Nosler Bullets
For his match load, Tommy switched to Varget and Nosler bullets: “My match load uses 37.9 grains Hodgdon Varget with a Nosler 123gr bullet. This was a recommendation by a gentleman with a lot of experience in 300M shooting.”

Tommy adds: “The amount of knowledge gained via the AccurateShooter Forum has made this all a reality, instead of just a passing thought.”

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April 21st, 2019

Sunday GunDay — Forum Fan Favorites

6 PPC flame paint nude forearm surprise killerpaint.com
This 6 PPC features a Nesika Extended ‘C’ action, Krieger 1:13.5″-twist LV barrel, Kelbly stock, and stunning paint by Mike Lavalle of killerpaint.com. For an eye-catching R-Rated paint surprise, Click HERE.

One of the most popular items in our Shooters’ Forum is the ongoing “Pride and Joy” thread. Since 2009, Forum members have posted photos and descriptions of their most prized firearms. Here are some of the most recent “Pride and Joy” rifles showcased in our Forum. Do you have a gun you’d like to see featured there? Register for the Forum and you can add your favorite gun to the list.

30 BR Roy Hunter Curly Maple stock wood Bat action James Lederer barrel
Click image to view large, full-screen photo!

For this week’s Sunday GunDay we’ve selected fiver fan favorites from the Pride and Joy archives. First up is this custom 30 BR brought to you by ANSHUTER2013 and built by Dave Bruno. We were captivated by the clean lines and handsome looks of the Roy Hunter Curly Maple stock. Nestled in that stock is a BAT B action fronted by a 1:17″-twist James Lederer 24″ HV barrel. A Jewell trigger with fixed 42x44mm Nightforce scope round out this beauty.

6 PPC benchrest Seb NEO Lenzi bad Bat action Bix'N Andy Bartlein barrel
6 PPC benchrest Seb NEO Lenzi bad Bat action Bix'N Andy Bartlein barrel

This state-of-the-art 6 PPC boasts all top-tier components. And owner Wes R. shoots it with a superb rest/bag/pad set-up that inspires envy. This “Bughole 6 PPC” features a Bat DS action, Bix’N Andy trigger, with Bartlein 1:13.75″-twist barrel. The stock is a super-low-profile Scoville with carbon strengthening. The front rest is a SEB NEO, while in the rear is the new Lenzi sandbag. Folks tell us the Lenzi is super stable, which improves tracking from shot to shot. Note the timer attached to the front rest as well as the nice Edgewood leather bench “blanket” and arm-rest pad.

Eliseo R1 tube gun tubegun chassis F-Class F-Open .284 Winchester

Eliseo R1 tube gun tubegun chassis F-Class F-Open .284 Winchester

Forum Member Killick attached PickleForks to his handsome blue Eliseo R1 TubeGun now chambered in .284 Winchester, a top choice for the F-Open discipline. Killick explains: “Behold! An Eliseo R1 F-Classer. This started out as an R1 Long Range sling rifle (6XC) with a Borden TubeGun action. It is now rebarreled in .284 Win with Gary’s PickleFork fore-end adaptor. Props to Gary Eliseo at Competition Machine LLC.

.308 Win Rifle Manners Stock
.308 Win Rifle Manners Stock

Sometimes clean and simple is the way to go — particularly with a hunting rifle. WEATHERBYFAN’s 6.5 Creedmoor is built around a Stiller Predator single-shot action in a texturd, green Wildcat Var-Tac stock. The 1:8″-twist Bartlein barrel is finished at 28″. That’s pretty long for a hunting rig, but it delivers added velocity. Finishing off this nice rigle is a Zeiss 6-24x50mm optic. Sometimes less is more and this is a perfect example of that.

.308 Win Rifle Manners Stock
.308 Win Rifle Manners Stock

Our final offering is from Forum member 300_WHISPER. Completed just months ago by gunsmith CALEB85, this .308 Win rifle features a Bighorn TL3 action with a Bartlein M40 26″ 1:10″-twist barrel, and Manners TA Elite stock. Other components include Trigger Tech Special, Area 419 self-timing muzzle brake, and a Weaver Tactical 3-15x50mm FFP mil/mil optic. When test-fired by Caleb with ammo using Berger 175gr OTM Tactical bullets, this nice .308 Win delivered a 1.6″ 5-shot group at 400 yards. The owner says “It’s my dream rifle. I couldn’t be happier”.

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