November 22nd, 2015

The Company President’s Rifle — Fanciest Savage Ever?

Joseph Falcon Savage Model 1899 99 presentation engraved rifle

This unique Savage 99 rifle was created for Joseph V. Falcon, President of Savage Arms in the 1950s.

Joseph Falcon Savage Model 1899 99 presentation engraved riflePresentation Engraved Savage 99 Rifle
When you run the company, you get some pretty nice stuff — in this case you get what may be the most elegant Savage ever made.

This rifle was created for Joseph V. Falcon, who served as President of Savage Arms in 1956. This highly embellished Savage 99 lever-action rifle is chambered for the .300 Savage cartridge. It features deluxe checkering and gold inlays. This presentation-grade rifle boast deep relief engraving with a golden elk on one side of the receiver and a stalking cougar on the other. This rifle was given to Joseph V. Falcon from his friends at Savage in December of 1967. Falcon later donated the rifle to the NRA. This impressive model 99 is currently showcased at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia.

Savage 99 Quick History
Arthur Savage invented the first “hammerless” lever action rifle with the entire mechanism enclosed in a steel receiver. This rifle featured a rotary magazine with a unique counter that displayed the number of rounds remaining. The Model 99, as it became known, was the gun that launched a company. There is an interesting history of the company’s logo which features an Indian chief in feather head-dress. In 1919, Chief Lame Deer approached Arthur Savage to purchase lever-action rifles for his tribe’s reservation and the two men struck a deal. In return for discounted rifles and support, Savage received the tribe’s endorsement. By virtue of that association, Arthur Savage added the Indian head symbol to the company’s commercial trademark and letterhead.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 1 Comment »
November 16th, 2015

Bargain Finder 9: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. If this proves popular, we’ll try to run this every Monday. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Leupold — $100 Mail-In Rebate with Any VX-3 Scope

Leupold Rebate VX-3 Scope Optics
Purchase any Leupold VX-3 riflescope from November 15th, 2015 to December 31st, 2015 and you will receive a rebate in the form of a $100.00 check.

Here’s one of the best rebates we’ve seen all year. Right now you can get $100.00 back on any Leupold VX-3 Riflescope. The rebate applies to the entire VX-3 line. After purchase you can apply for the rebate online or by mailing in the Leupold VX-3 Rebate Form. For more info, visit

2. Amazon — Stackable, Lockable 85-lb Capacity Ammo Crates

MTM Ammo Crate stackable lockable sale

This is a great product from MTM. These stackable, lockable “Ammo Crates” hold up to 85 pounds of shooting supplies. Choose from two different versions, the Large (7.25″-deep) Ammo Crate will hold rifle ammo in individual boxes, while the Medium (4.5″-deep) Ammo Crate is ideal for shotgun shells. Buyer love these crates. Read the user reviews on Amazon. Here’s just one recent example: “5 Stars — I have purchased four of these over the last several months. Construction, dimensions, lock ability are all outstanding. The ability to store 500 rounds of 12ga in a single crate is fantastic. When I saw them on sale today…I grabbed another four.” — Go Navy (verified purchaser)

3. Cabela’s — Pre-Black Friday Gun Deals

Savage Cabela's cabelas.comGun Sale Black Friday

Cabela’s is offering deep discounts on select guns as part of a pre-Black Friday promotion. Among the best deals is a Savage 12 FV rifle with varmint barrel for just $379.99, $40 off. This is available in four chamberings: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, 22-250, and .308 Win. There are also good deals on handguns, scopes, and shooting accessories.

4. Optics Planet — Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 1.5-4x20mm

AR Service Rifle Leupold MOD Scope 4X Acog Sale Optics Planet

Scopes for Service Rifles. Starting next year, under proposed new NRA Competition Rules, Service Rifle shooters will be able to use optical sights with a max magnification of 4.5X (fixed power or variable). At one-third the cost of a 4X ACOG, the Leupold 1.5-4X Mark AR is a good scope choice for the new optics-legal Service Rifle Class. Optics Planet currently has this on Sale for $299.99. With a Duplex reticle, this is also a fine hunting scope.

5. Stocky’s Stocks — Composite Rifle Stock

AccurateShooter Deals of Week stock Rem 700 $199.99 long action

Here’s a killer deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $199.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel.

6. Precision Reloading — Forster Die Set (.284 Win or 7mm WSM)

Precision Reloading 7mm WSM .284 Win Dies reloading seating die

Getting started in F-Open competition? Here’s a good set-up for those who need to load quality 7mm match ammo with low run-out. Right now Precision Reloading is offering a Forster 2-die set with sizing die and Micrometer-top seater for just $78.69. Precision Reloading also has a 7mm WSM die site with Micrometer seater for the same low price. That’s another popular F-Open and hunting cartridge.

7. — SK Standard Plus at $5.99 per Box

Graf and sons SK standard plus rimfire .22 LR Ammo

This is very good European-made rimfire ammo at an affordable price. SK Standard Plus is much better than most low-priced rimfire ammo. This is a good choice for cross-training, fun plinking, or rimfire tactical matches. When we don’t need ultra-high-quality Eley or Lapua match .22 LR ammo, we’re happy to shoot SK Standard Plus. The price includes shipping (after one flat $7.95 fee).

8. Harbor Freight — Bargain 59″ Safe and Metal Workbench

Harbor Freight Super Coupon Bargain Gun Safe Vault Workbench bench

Harbor Freight has a number of good deals offered through the end of November. Two that caught our eye were “Super Coupon” deals. Get a 59″ Tall Executive Safe for just $298.98 with Super Coupon. Or, if you need a general purpose bench with power outlet, choose this handy Multi-Purpose 2-Drawer Bench for just $84.99 with Coupon. Note, we do NOT recommend this bench for use with reloading presses. However, it is useful for general light duties and storage.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics 2 Comments »
October 4th, 2015

Savage Model 11 Scout Rifle

Savage Scout Rifle Model 11
Click for full-screen photo.

Savage has started to ship its new .308 Win Model 11 Scout rifle. Based on the concept popularized by Col. Jeff Cooper, the Savage Scout is designed to be short and handy, with an 18″ barrel and forward-mounted optic. This new Savage was unveiled at SHOT Show in January, 2015, but production models are just now starting to appear at dealers.

Savage Scout Rifle Model 11

The Model 11 Scout comes complete with iron sights (blade front, Williams peep rear). A cantilevered Picatinny rail accepts forward-mounted, long eye-relief scopes. Available in dark Tan or OD Green*, the Model 11 Scout comes with a 10-round detachable magazine (see below). The only chambering currently offered is .308 Winchester. The gun ships with a screw-on muzzle brake. Rifle weight (without optic) is a modest 7.8 pounds.


Permalink News 6 Comments »
October 3rd, 2015

Are These Really the TEN BEST Bolt-Action Rifles?

A while back, RifleShooter online magazine published a list of the purported Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time. Ten classic rifle designs (including the Remington 700 and Winchester Model 70) were featured with a paragraph or two explaining their notable features.

Ten 10 best bolt action rifles shooter

These Top 10 lists are always controversial. While most readers might approve of half the entries, there are always some items on the Top 10 list that some readers would challenge. Here is RifleShooter’s Top 10 list. What do you think? Are there some other bolt-actions that are more deserving?

1. Springfield M1903
2. Mauser 98
3. Winchester Model 70
4. Remington Model 700
5. Weatherby V

6. Sako L61/AV
7. Savage Model 110
8. Ruger M77
9. Tikka T3
10. Mannlicher-Schonauer


Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing 7 Comments »
September 19th, 2015

Smart Switch-Barrel System from Gunsmith Larry Racine

Larry Racine is a respected gunsmith based in New Hampshire. He is also a two-time member of the U.S. Palma Team, and a five-time New Hampshire State High Power rifle champion. Larry, who runs LPR Gunsmithing, has developed a brilliantly simple means of switching rifle barrels with an ordinary spanner or open-end wrench. With this set-up you can switch barrels in the field in seconds without the need for a barrel vise.

For most barrels, Larry mills a hex with six flats on the end of the barrel. This allows a shooter to change barrels quickly at home or on the line with a simple box-head wrench or a socket wrench. Larry says: “You don’t even have to take the barreled action out of the gun. Just set the buttstock on the ground, between your feet, put a wrench on it, hit it with the palm of your hand — and off comes the barrel.” For barrels fitted with a muzzle brake, Larry has a slightly different system. He mills two flats behind the brake so you can use an open-end wrench to do the job.

With either a hex on the end, or two flats for a brake-equipped rifle, the system works with any medium- to heavy-contour barrel with a muzzle-diameter of at least 0.700″. This will even work for high-power rigs using clamp-on sights or bloop tubes. Larry explains: “A lot of us here in New England use clamp-on front sights. The barrel will be turned to 0.750 for the sight, with the hex on the end. A bloop tube can go right over the end, no problem.”

Larry has used this system over the past few years to win a number of matches. In one 600-yard 3 by 20 prone match, Larry used three different barrels, with three different chamberings, on the same Savage rifle. Larry changed the barrels on the line.

Larry was able to do this because the system has little to no loss of zero from one installation of a given barrel to the next installation of that barrel. This lets the shooter start the match with confidence that the first sighter will be on paper. Larry reports that the simple system works great: “To date we have used this system on Savage, Remington, Winchester, RPA, and Nesika actions.”

Racine’s system is very affordable. If Larry does the chamber work on your barrel he charges $45.00 extra to mill a hex or two flats on your barrel. If you only want the hex or flats done, Larry charges $55.00. For more info, visit or call Larry at (603) 357-0055.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
July 9th, 2015

6mmBR “REMAGE” Conversion by

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel 6BR 6mmbr
Barrel nut system allows “Pre-Fit” barrel installation on a Remington action. CLICK photo to zoom.

REMAGE Project Report by Bill, Editor
Installing a new barrel on your Remington 700 (especially without a lathe) may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to companies like McGowen Precision Barrels, there are easier alternatives. By adopting a Savage-style barrel nut on a 1 1/16″ thread for a Remington 700 receiver, pre-chambered (aka “pre-fit”) barrels can be easily swapped with just a few hand tools. This system is sometimes called a REMAGE conversion (for “REMington savAGE”).

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel 6BR 6mmbr

Using a few tools from Brownells: Remington 700 Action Wrench, Barrel Vise, Go and No-Go Gauges, Recoil Lug Alignment Tool, and a Savage Barrel Nut Wrench, I was able to swap the .308 Winchester barrel off of my Remington 700 short action and install the new McGowen pre-fit, pre-chambered barrel, converting it to a tack-driving 6BR (aka 6mmBR Norma).

The existing barrel is simply removed from the action (normally the hardest part) and the new barrel is screwed on with the Go Gauge in place. The barrel nut is tightened against the action, headspace verified with the Go Gauge, and you are off to the range. It takes all of the machine work out of the barreling process. Note: the barrel nut has a slightly larger diameter and some stocks may require minor inletting. Also if you are shooting fired brass from another rifle with the same chambering, you should FL-size the brass before loading it for your new pre-fit barrel.

remage 6mm BR 108 berger best group 360

My McGowen Remage barrel looks and shoots great. I’ve written two longer articles that provide greater detail about this project. To learn more about how the barrel was installed, read: Rebarrel a Remington 700 without a lathe: McGowen’s Remage barrel conversion. To see how the rifle performed at the range, read: McGowen Remage Barrel Review: Spoiler Alert- It Shoots!.

Bill has been a serious shooter for over 20 years. A former Marine Corps Sergeant, he’s competed and placed in High Power Rifle, ISPC, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, F-Class, and precision rifle disciplines. In addition to being an NRA-certified firearms instructor and range officer, Bill has hunted big game in North America, South America, and Africa. Bill writes extensively about gunsmithing, precision rifles, and the shooting sports on his blog,

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
June 27th, 2015

Semi-Auto .17 HMR: Savage A17 Field Test by

Savage 17 HMR .17  A17 A-17 varmint hunting semi-auto rifle recently released a First Hunt Report on the new Savage A17 rifle. Savage’s new semi-auto .17 HMR has caused quite a stir. Accurate and affordable, the Savage A17 is also the first .17 HMR to feature a delayed blow-back action. We think the A17 may be the most important new rimfire rifle of 2015, so we were pleased to see that Eric Mayer, Editor of, put the new semi-auto Savage through its paces.

CLICK HERE for Savage A17 First Hunt Report on

Mayer wanted to see how the new Savage would perform, accuracy-wise, and he also wanted to see how the A17 fared in the field. Mayer achieved one-MOA accuracy with the Savage A17 using the latest CCI-brand ammo, and he demonstrated the A17 is wickedly effective on ground squirrels. Here are some highlights from’s Savage A17 First Hunt Report:


Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
June 18th, 2015

See Hits at 2000+ Yards with Target Cam System

Mark Dalzell target cam nevada camera video

We’ve seen a huge surge of interest in extreme long-range shooting in the past year. Guys are testing their shooting skills at one mile (1760 yards) and beyond. However, it’s kind of pointless to toss expensive bullets downrange if you can’t see your hits (and plot the misses). For that reason, a good target cam system is an essential piece of kit for any extreme-range shootist. Here is a report on a system developed by Forum member Mark Dalzell (aka “MDSlammer”) a couple years ago. With elevated directional antennas, this system worked reliably at 2300 yards (1.3 miles).

Mark Dalzell likes to shoot at extreme long range in the Nevada Desert. (See 2300-yard Hits in VIDEO). In order to see both hits and misses at ranges out to 2300 yards, Mark assembled a target-cam system that broadcasts multiple video cam feeds wirelessly to a receiver on the firing line. Down-range, Mark positioned a high-gain antenna. This was key — without the antenna the system’s useful range was less than 1000 yards. But with the hi-gain antenna Mark gets very clear signals from 2300 yards.


Permalink - Videos No Comments »
May 21st, 2015

Unique Metal and Wood Hybrid Stock for .284 Shehane Savage

Aluminum Savage Free-float Action Wood Hybrid stock Michigan F-Class F-Open
Click Photo to see large version.

Here is a very interesting rifle, a true metal/wood hybrid that combines an aluminum front section with figured walnut in the rear half. As you can see, this unique rifle also features a barrel block that allows the Savage action to float. You may be wondering “how is the metal section connected to the wood?” The gun’s owner/builder epoxied a stainless steel tube in the wood and that tube is secured in the aluminum fore-end with set screws.

Aluminum Savage Free-float Action Wood Hybrid stock Michigan F-Class F-Open

Forum member Justin V. reports: “Sometime last fall my buddy wanted to build barrel-blocked Bavage. He is a machinist by trade so he was able to build all of the custom components himself. I know he put a ton of time into this thing over the winter, taking his time to get it done right. If you shoot in Cadillac or Midland, Michigan you will probably see him around. He tried to shoot a match this past weekend but was rained out. Hopefully it will stop raining in Michigan so he can see what it can do at 600 yards. Here are the results….” Learn more about this gun in this FORUM Thread.


Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 2 Comments »
May 3rd, 2015

.338 Lapua Magnum at 1.43 Miles — Video Shows Hits on Steel

Savage 110 BA .338 Lapua Magnum Berger Hybrid Bullets

Here’s a report posted by long-range shooter Grizzman on the LiveLeak video hosting site. Grizzman engaged an 18″x24″ steel target at the distance of 2530 yards — 1.43 miles. Grizzman produced a great video that really gives you a sense of the distance (see the zoom footage at the 0:30 time mark). At this distance, the ballistics are remarkable. Grizzman’s .338-cal, 300gr Berger Hybrid bullets went transonic at 2400 yards and dropped 228 feet (69.5 meters) over their 2530-yard trajectory.

WATCH Video — Second camera at target records bullet impacts (see and hear the hits):

You can see more Long-Range Shooting Videos on Grizzman’s Live Leak Channel. Among the interesting videos is a 1K Cinder Block Shoot: .338 LM Shoot Cinder Blocks at 1000 Yards.


Permalink - Videos, Tactical 3 Comments »
March 11th, 2015

Must-Watch Video Provides Look Inside New Savage A17

A17 A-17 savage 17 hmr varmint rifle

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case a video is way more illuminating than anything we can write. The video below, produced by Savage, demonstrates how the new 17 HMR Savage A17 rifle works. The video includes nicely-done 3D Graphics that illustrate the function of the A17’s delayed-blowback action with “interrupter lug”. Using “X-Ray View” animation, the video shows what happens INSIDE the chamber as rounds are fired. The video also explains how the 17 HMR presents a tougher engineering challenge than the lower-pressure .22 LR cartridge.

Watch this Video — You’ll Learn Something about Semi-Auto Rimfires

NOTE to Readers: Watch the video! If you have any interest in how guns work, check this out (full-screen if possible). For some reason (maybe slow connections), most readers skip over the videos we embed in our stories. In this case, take 3 minutes to watch. Click arrows button to view Full-Screen.

A17 A-17 savage 17 hmr varmint rifle

Savage officially launched the A17 this month, after previewing the new 17 HMR rifle at SHOT Show in January. We tested the gun on Media Day and came away very impressed. The A17 fed and functioned flawlessly. It is fun to shoot, and it will be affordable. MSRP is $469.00 so street price should be about $425.00. READ AccurateShooter A17 Report.

A17 A-17 savage 17 hmr varmint rifle

We plan to test one of these very soon. If the field test goes as well as I expect, your Editor will probably buy one of these rifles. The A17 has a barrel nut system just like centerfire Savage rifles. This means it will be easy to fit an aftermarket custom barrel to the A17. We already have some ideas for a suppressed A17 project gun with upgraded stock and barrel(s). Stay tuned….

A17 A-17 savage 17 hmr varmint rifle

The Magic Chicklet
Look below at the A17 bolt. The little black hardened metal piece (called a “chicklet” by the Savage engineers) is the secret ingredient. This “Interrupter Lug” retracts, allowing the A17 to operate in delayed blow-back mode. That permits the A17 to function flawlessly with the 17 HMR cartridge.

Savage A17 bolt chicklet

Permalink - Videos, New Product 12 Comments »
January 22nd, 2015

Savage F-TR Rifle Review from Target Shooter Magazine

We’ll give you a break from SHOT Show coverage by taking you across the Atlantic to Great Britain. There Chris Parkin has been putting a Savage F-TR Rifle through its paces. Chris has reviewed this popular rifle in a field test just published by Target Shooter Magazine. Chris wrote a very detailed and thorough review. If you are considering any factory-based rifle for F-TR competition you should read this article. It is lengthy, but the text and photos are good and it is worth the investment of time.

Target Shooter Savage F-TR Chris Parkin UK

CLICK HERE to Read Savage F-TR Rifle Review

CLICK HERE to Download Savage F-TR Review as PDF File

Target Shooter Savage F-TR Chris Parkin UK

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review 2 Comments »
January 20th, 2015

New Semi-Auto 17 HMR Savage A17 Rifle is a Winner

Savage ATK 
CCI A-17 A17 rimfire 17 HMR varminter

Semi-auto 17 HMR — could this be the perfect light-recoiling fun gun and squirrel slayer? With its new A17, Savage has created a gun that should be hugely popular. If you like the Ruger 10/22, you’ll love the A17. It shoots a more powerful cartridge, and has a stronger action and a better trigger. With a beefy steel action that looks like it belongs on a centerfire, this gun is strong. With quality barrels (fitted, as you’d expect, with a barrel nut), the A17 is accurate. And with the capability to launch 17 HMR rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger this gun is a hoot to shoot. The ability to get a quick second shot (without disturbing the rifle by working the bolt) will be a game-changer in the varmint fields.

Savage ATK 
CCI A-17 A17 rimfire 17 HMR varminter

Watch Us Shoot the New A17 (Rapid-Fire at 1:50):

Star of the Show
Jason and I both felt that the star of this 2015 Industry Range Day was this modestly-priced little Savage A17 in 17 HMR. MSRP is $469.00 we were told. No one knows the “street price” yet but we expect that to be about $370.00. Both of us wanted to own one of these compact new rifles (Jason tried to buy one on the spot) — what does that tell you? With a strong steel action, the A17 is accurate, fun, and ultra-reliable.

Savage ATK 
CCI A-17 A17 rimfire 17 HMR varminter

Savage ATK 
CCI A-17 A17 rimfire 17 HMR varminter

Jason put the gun through three rapid fire drills — firing as fast as he could pull the trigger. We could not get the A17 to malfunction in any way. It just ripped through magazines like a sewing machine. Flawless operation. Bill Dermody of ATK says “this is one of the most thoroughly tested Savage rifles ever. We put over half a million test rounds through the rifle during development. That’s why it’s so reliable.”

The Magic Chicklet
Look below at the A17 bolt. The little black hardened metal piece (called a “chicklet” by the Savage engineers) is the secret ingredient. It works like a retracting lug, allowing the A17 to operate in delayed blow-back mode. That permits the A17 to function flawlessly with the energetic 17 HMR cartridge.

Savage ATK 
CCI A-17 A17 rimfire 17 HMR varminter

Optimized 17 HMR Ammo That’s 100 FPS Faster
CCI has developed new, higher-velocity 17 HMR ammo for the A17. Because Savage is now part of the ATK conglomerate, CCI is now Savage’s sister company. So, CCI and Savage cooperated during the development of the A17. CCI found a way to get more speed from the 17 HMR and Savage engineered an action and bolt that are strong enough to handle the new 17 HMR ammo, which runs 100 fps faster than other 17 HMR ammo on the market.

Savage ATK 
CCI A-17 A17 rimfire 17 HMR varminter

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 39 Comments »
November 29th, 2014

New KRG 180-Alpha Tactical Chassis for Savage

Can a budget-priced Savage shoot like a Sako TRG 22? Well, adding a custom “pre-fit” barrel and a state-of-the-art chassis system can transform a “Plain Jane” Savage into a serious tactical rifle. And now Kinetic Research Group (KRG) offers a new fully-adjustable chassis that’s just the ticket for a Savage tactical conversion. Just get a used Savage action, spin on a Criterion, Pac-Nor, or Shilen pre-fit barrel, and add the new 180-Alpha Chassis from KRG.

KRG 180 alpha Savage Tactical chassis pre-fit PRS

In 2015 KRG will introduce the NEW 180-Alpha Chassis for Savage rifles. This fully-adjustable, light-weight (3.4 lbs) chassis fits Savage short action rifles with 4.4″ action bolt spacing. If you like user-configurable stocks, you’ll love the 180-Alpha. It features tool-less cheek-piece height adjustment, spacer Length-of-Pull (LOP) adjustment, buttpad height adjustment, and plenty of accessory mounting positions. Suggested retail price for the 180-Alpha is $770.00 in either bottom bolt-release or side bolt-release action configuration.

CLICK HERE for Specifications of KRG 180-Alpha Stock for Savages.

Compare KRG’s 180-Alpha Chassis to the hardware on the real deal — a Sako TRG 22 with adjustable, folding stock (model JRSM416, shown below). This SAKO TRG22 rifle in .308 Winchester retails for $5,198.00. With KRG’s 180-Alpha chassis you can put together an ergonomically-similar tactical rifle for thousands less.

KRG 180 alpha Savage Tactical chassis pre-fit PRS

Using the KRG Chassis, a take-off Savage action, and a premium pre-fit barrel, you can build a similar system for under $1600.00. Here’s how we get that figure: $370.00 for Criterion pre-fit barrel, $400.00 for action (YMMV), and $770.00 for stock (Total $1540.00).

KRG produces other adjustable, modular chassis systems for bolt-action rifles. KRG’s popular Whiskey 3 Chassis system fits the Tikka T3, Remington® 700™, Sako M995, Badger M2008, and 700 Long Action. The value-priced KRG X-RAY Chassis fits the Rem 700 Short Action, and Tikka T3.

KRG 180 alpha Savage Tactical chassis pre-fit PRS

New Product Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Tactical 7 Comments »
September 20th, 2014

Life Lesson: Every Barrel is Unique. Same Load Registers 4 Different Velocities in 4 Different Barrels

Put the same load in a variety of barrels (with the same length and chamberings) and you’ll see a wide variance in muzzle velocity. In fact, it’s not unusual to see up to 100 fps difference from one barrel to the next. We demonstrated this with a comparison test of Lapua factory ammo.

Chron Testing Lapua Factory Ammo
At our Southern California test range, we chronographed Lapua 105gr 6mmBR factory ammo in three different 8-twist barrels of similar length. The results were fascinating. Lapua specs this ammo at 2790 fps, based on Lapua’s testing with its own 26″ test barrel. We observed a speed variance of 67 fps based on tests with three aftermarket barrels.

barrel speed testing

Brand ‘S’ and Brand ‘PN’ were pre-fit barrels shot on Savage actions. Brand ‘K’ was fitted to a custom action. All test barrels were throated for the 100-108 grain bullets, though there may have been some slight variances in barrel freebore. With a COAL of 2.330″, the rounds were “jumping” to the rifling in all barrels. Among the four barrels, Brand ‘PN’ was the fastest at 2824 fps average — 67 fps faster than the slowest barrel. Roughly 10 fps can be attributed to the slightly longer length (27″ vs. 26″), but otherwise this particular barrel was simply faster than the rest. (Click Here for results of 6mmBR Barrel Length Velocity Test).

Results Are Barrel-Specific, Not Brand-Specific
These tests demonstrate that the exact same load can perform very differently in different barrels. We aren’t publishing the barrel-makers’ names, because it would be wrong to assume that ‘Brand X’ is always going to be faster than ‘Brand Y’ based on test results from a single barrel. In fact, velocities can vary up to 100 fps with two identical-spec barrels from the SAME manufacturer. That’s right, you can have two 8-twist, 26″ barrels, with the same land-groove configuration and contour, from the same manufacturer, and one can be much faster than another.

Don’t Demand More Than Your Barrel Can Deliver
We often hear guys lament, “I don’t get it… how can you guys get 2900 fps with your 6BRs and I can only get 2840?” The answer may simply be that the barrel is slower than average. If you have a slow barrel, you can try using more powder, but there is a good chance it may never run as fast as an inherently fast barrel. You shouldn’t knock yourself out (and over-stress your brass) trying to duplicate the velocities someone else may be getting. You need to work within the limits of your barrel.

Factory Ammo Provides a Benchmark
If you have a .223 Rem, 6BR, .243 Win, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5×55, .308 Win, 30-06, or 300 WM Rifle, we recommend you buy a box of Lapua factory-loaded ammo. This stuff will shoot great (typically around half-MOA), and it can give you a baseline to determine how your barrel stacks up speedwise. When you complete a new 6BR rifle, it’s wise to get a box of the factory ammo and chronograph it. That will immediately give you a good idea whether you have a slow, average, or fast barrel. Then you can set your velocity goals accordingly. For example, if the factory 6BR ammo runs about 2780-2790 fps in your gun, it has an average barrel. If it runs 2820+ in a 26″ barrel (or 2835 fps in a 28″), you’ve got a fast tube.

Permalink Gunsmithing 8 Comments »
September 9th, 2014

PT&G Replacement Bolt Heads for Savage Bolts

If you own a Savage rifle, here’s a product you should consider. Pacific Tool & Gauge now offers precision-machined replacement bolt heads for Savages. This product, available in a variety of bolt face sizes for $49.50 per unit, can benefit nearly everyone who shoots Savage bolt guns.

Pacific Tool PTG Savage Bolt Head

CLICK HERE for Full Product Review of PT&G Savage Bolt Head

German Salazar’s excellent Rifleman’s Journal website features an in-depth review of the PT&G Replacement Bolt Head for Savage Bolts. Written by Norm Darnell, this detailed review explains the benefits of the PT&G replacements, compared to the standard Savage bolt heads. After polishing, the factory bolt head can become slightly dished. According to Darnell: “The area around the firing pin hole sometimes has an indentation deep enough to allow the primer to flow into this void. This makes an unsightly blemish on a fired primer and can lead to hard extraction or worse. One [Savage] rifle I inspected had a continuing problem with pierced primers despite reasonably mild loads[.]” Even after machining the factory bolt face to make it flat, Darnell encountered problems: “The firing pin hole seemed to wear excessively which was of some concern. Material strength of the … bolt head* appears to be the source of these recurring problems.”

Pacific Tool PTG Savage Bolt Head

After testing out PT&G replacement bolt heads, Darnell found that his problems were solved. With the PT&G replacement bolt head, “the cartridge case heads and primers indicated no case-head rounding or primer damage”. Darnell was convinced, so he proceeded to fit PT&B bolt heads “on all three of my 308 bolts and one 223 with one spare bolt of each.” It appears that PT&G has a winner here — a smart, very affordable product that remedies a commonly-observed problem with factory Savage bolt heads.

* In the article, author Darnell writes that Savage factory bolt heads are investment cast. Fred Moreo of Sharp Shooter Supply says this is not correct: “Savage bolt heads were NEVER investment cast. From the get-go they were machined from solid stock. In 1988 they went to special profiled 41L40 bar stock to save machining operations and heat treated to 35-42 RC.”

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September 2nd, 2014

For Hunters — Four Deer Rifle Combos Starting at $485.00

Hunting season is right around the corner. If you don’t own a worthy deer-hunting rig, there are many affordable options available. You can often save yourself $100.00 or more by purchasing a “turn-key” deer rifle package — a hunting rifle combo complete with rings and rifle-scope.

Deer hunting rifles package American Hunter

The American Hunter magazine website recently published a guide to affordable package hunting rigs. Jon Draper spotlights Four Off-The-Rack Deer Rifle Combos from Howa, Mossberg, Ruger, and Savage. Two of the four rigs, the Mossberg and Savage entries, come in at under $500 including scope/rings. Next up is the Ruger American Rifle, priced at $679.00 MSRP with 3-9x40mm Redfield Revolution scope.

The priciest entry is Howa’s Hunter Zeiss Walnut Package. MSRP is a not insubtantial $1103.00 for the Howa package, but this includes a premium-quality Zeiss Terra 3-9x42mm optic. The Howa also has a very nice two-stage 2.5 to 3.8-lb HACT trigger* that we prefer to the triggers on the other three, lesser-priced rifles.

To learn more, CLICK HERE to read the American Hunter Deer Rifle Combo article.

Deer hunting rifles package American Hunter

* HACT stands for Howa Actuator Controlled Trigger. Howa’s HACT assembly is a trigger and sear unit that works like a two-stage trigger. This allows the shooter to take up trigger creep before squeezing through. HACT trigger pull weight adjusts from 2.5 to 3.8 pounds. We like the lower weight for varmint rifles shot from prone or portable benches, while we prefer the heavier pull weight for a carry rifle.

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May 29th, 2014

Bargain-Priced Hunting Rifles Reviewed In American Rifleman

Looking for an inexpensive hunting rifle — something to harvest a buck this fall? American Rifleman Magazine has done a comparison review of four budget-priced, American-made bolt-action rifles: Mossberg ATR—$290; Remington 783—$320; Ruger American—$300; Savage Axis—$300. The costliest of the four is $320, leading review author John Barsness to write: “Considering inflation since 1950, they all cost considerably less than the Remington 721/722 did, so they really are valued priced.”

Bargain Hunting Rifles American Rifleman

Highlights of Review
The Ruger stood out due to the three-lug bolt and steel bedding blocks, but otherwise the features were mixed up pretty well. Three of the four have adjustable triggers with little tabs in the blades to prevent unintended discharges; the lone exception is the [Savage] Axis. (This is a little strange, since Savage’s Accu-Trigger introduced the concept to American rifle shooters.)

The Mossberg’s action looks a lot like a Remington Model 700, and it’s the only rifle of the four to have a blind magazine. The other three use detachable-box magazines partly made of polymer, though in the Remington polymer parts are combined with sheet steel.

The Mossberg, Remington and Savage all have separate recoil lugs between the barrel and the front of the action, and all four rifles use lock-nuts to attach the barrels, a faster and, thus, less expensive way to set headspace.

All four have “plastic” trigger guards (on the Mossberg and Ruger they are integrally molded with the stock), soft recoil pads and sling-swivel studs.

Bargain Hunting Rifles American Rifleman

All four rifles have more from-the-factory features than the typical “affordable” bolt-action hunting rifles of half a century ago, and better trigger pulls than the average factory rifle of any price 25 years ago. They shoot reasonably accurately to really well with the right ammunition, and none of them malfunctioned in any way during the testing. — John Barsness

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January 22nd, 2014

Mike Miller and Stan Pate Provide Expert F-TR Tips

F-TR Stan Pate SavageOver the past few years, interest in F-Class competition has grown dramatically. At the 2013 SHOT Show we had a chance to talk about F-TR competition with U.S. National F-TR Team members Mike Miller and Stan Pate, two of America’s top F-TR shooters. We are reprising this interview for readers who may have missed it the first time around. If you shoot F-TR (even if you’re a High Master), we think you’ll learn a few things from this interview.

In this interview, Mike and Stan agreed to share their vast store of knowledge about long-range shooting. In a wide-ranging dialog, we discussed many topics of interest to F-Class shooters: position set-up, bipod shooting techniques (and hardware), gun-handling, and bullet selection. In addition, Mike and Stan offer some great advice on wind reading and precision reloading. These general tips will benefit all competitors, no matter what their discipline.

Mike Miller Stan Pate F-TR F-T/R

If you shoot F-TR or you are considering getting involved in this fast-growing shooting sport, definitely watch this 14-minute video interview from start to finish. Mike and Stan are true F-TR gurus whose knowledge of the F-TR game has been gleaned from years of top-level competition. If you shoot a .308 from a bipod, we guarantee you can learn much from Mike and Stan. If you follow their advice, we bet you’ll see your scores improve in future matches.

Watch Video for Tips from U.S. National F-TR Team Members Mike Miller and Stan Pate

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October 12th, 2013

Greatest Hits: Shooting at One Mile with Savage .338 LM

When we first ran this story 18 months ago, it proved immensely popular with our readers. In case you missed it the first time around, check out what can be done with a factory Savage 110 BA at extreme long range — 1760 yards. Shooter Mark Dalzell did a great job with the video, which features multiple camera views so you can see the shooter and the target at the same time. Enjoy!

Savage BA110 .338 Lapua magnum 1 mile

This video by Mark Dalzell demonstrates the long-range capabilities of the Savage 110 BA chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. Mark took his “BadAss” rig out to the southwest Nevada desert just north of Jean Dry Lakes. He placed a 2’x3′ target way, way out there — a full mile (1760 yards) away. At that range, flight time to target was 3.75 seconds! Sighting with a Nightforce 5-22x50mm NXS scope, Mark needed a few shots to get on target, but eventually made multiple hits, using 67 MOA of elevation and 2.25 MOA left windage. You can view the hits starting at 1:56 time-mark on the video. (Mark had a second camera set up closer to the target — this displays frame in frame in the video, and if you watch carefully you can see the strikes.) The ammo was HSM 250gr HPBT match with a 3.600″ COAL. The shooting was done at 8:13 in the morning, with clear conditions, very light winds. Temp was 57°, humidity 24.5, Density Altitude 3666. Video soundtrack is La Grange by ZZ Top.

LISTEN TO MARK TALK about One Mile Shooting:
CLICK Play Button to hear Mark Dalzell TALK about his .338 LM Savage 110 BA and how he scored hits at 1760 yards.

Good Shooting Mark. That’s darn good for a factory rifle. You also had the elevation dialed in real close before the firing started! That shows a good knowledge of your ammo’s long-range ballistics. We also noticed how effective that muzzle brake was. Recoil looked about the same as an un-braked .308 Win.

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