March 13th, 2018

Wind Reading Basics for PRS and Tactical Shooters

Sniper's Hide Frank Galli Wind Reading Book Basics

For many riflemen, reading the wind is the toughest challenge in long-range shooting. Wind speeds and directions can change rapidly, mirage can be misleading, and terrain features can cause hard-to-predict effects. To become a competent wind reader, you need range-time and expert mentoring. In the latter department, Frank Galli, founder of Sniper’s Hide, offers a detailed digital resource: Wind Reading Basics for the Tactical Shooter.

Wind Reading Basics is much more than a 47-page eBook — it has charts, instructions for ballistic calculators, and even embedded videos. Galli explains: “We break down the formulas, walk you through using a ballistic computer, and give you all the information in one place. From videos, to useful charts, we make it simple to get started. It’s all about having a plan, and we give you that plan.”

Galli’s Wind Reading Basics, priced at $7.99, can be downloaded from iTunes for iPads, iPhones and iOS compatible devices. Here are sample sections from the eBook (which includes videos):

(more…)

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tactical No Comments »
June 29th, 2016

2016 Sniper’s Hide Cup — Northwest Shoot-Out

2016 Colorado Steve 6.5 Guys Frank Galli Sniper's Hide Cup Tactical
Location: Overlooking Columbia River in Colville, Washington area, (North of Spokane, WA)

The annual precision tactical rifle event known as the Sniper’s Hide Cup (SHC) wrapped up on Sunday and it was quite an adventure this year. The match, held in a stunningly beautiful corner of Washington State, offered plenty of challenge for the competitors, along with memorable scenery. On the podium this year were: Nick Gadarzi (1st), 2nd Jesse Redell (2nd), and 3rd Brent Webley (3rd). Congrats guys!

2016 Colorado Steve 6.5 Guys Frank Galli Sniper's Hide Cup Tactical

These photos come from Frank Galli, Sniper’s Hide Founder, and our friend Steve Lawrence from 6.5Guys.com. Steve competed in Squad 8 with other members of the Northwest precision shooting community. Three members of the squad placed in the top 20. Steve placed 34th out of 148 shooters registered for the event.

2016 Colorado Steve 6.5 Guys Frank Galli Sniper's Hide Cup Tactical

2016 Colorado Steve 6.5 Guys Frank Galli Sniper's Hide Cup Tactical

Credit goes to Frank Galli of Sniper’s Hide, LLC, Mile High Shooting Accessories, and Carl Taylor of In Motion Targets for organizing, sponsoring, and hosting this event, as well as the dozens of Range Officers, volunteers, and companies who donated to the prize table which made this such a memorable match. The ‘Hide Cup will be featured on the Long Range Reality TV series.

2016 Colorado Steve 6.5 Guys Frank Galli Sniper's Hide Cup Tactical

Match Director’s Report — Sniper’s Hide Cup 2016
The 2016 Sniper’s Hide Cup was held in Colville, Washington in one of the most picturesque settings I have ever attended. We had 24 stages, 50 Range Officers, and 148 competitors at this year’s 2.5-day event. Starting off with heavy rain and fog, we quickly rolled in cool temps and partly sunny skies. It made for a great weekend of shooting.

Because Carl Taylor owns and operates In Motion Targets, we had 5 mover (moving target) stages. So every segment included a moving target stage, which was anywhere from 400 to 800 yards. This was a more traditional Field Course-type event, but the SHC was part of the PRS Series. Targets averaged from 300 to 1100 yards during the match, under challenging and unpredictable conditions thanks to the varied terrain. Competitors shot 360 degrees so they were subject to wind from every direction.

Congratulations to the Top 3, Nick Gadarzi, Jesse Redell, and Brent Webley. We thank key Sponsors Sig Optics, Swarovski, and Proof Research, along with Falkor, Prime Ammo, GA Precision, and Kasey Beltz with B&T Industries. They were Segment Sponsors.

We look forward to doing more in the Colville area next year. It was a laid back fun event.

— Frank Galli, Sniper’s Hide Cup Match Director

2016 Colorado Steve 6.5 Guys Frank Galli Sniper's Hide Cup Tactical
Steve Lawrence takes aim on a down-angle shot amidst the pines.

Steve (shown above) gave a shout-out to his sponsors: “We want to acknowledge the 6.5 Guys partners/sponsors who make it possible for us to bring viewers along with us on our precision rifle marksmanship quest. Travis Redell of R Bros Rifles who built me a superbly accurate, ultra-dependable match rifle, Jake Vibbert of JC Steel Targets, Glen Harrison and Mike Lee of Defiance Machine, Michael Ryan of Midsouth Shooters Supply, and Kevin Thomas and Adam Braverman of Lapua.

2016 Colorado Steve 6.5 Guys Frank Galli Sniper's Hide Cup Tactical

2016 Colorado Steve 6.5 Guys Frank Galli Sniper's Hide Cup Tactical

Permalink Competition, Tactical No Comments »
April 8th, 2016

Big-Bore Blast: .338 Lapua Magnum Cleaning Rod Kaboom

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

We first ran this eye-opening story two years ago. We’re republishing it today as a reminder that safety should always be a shooter’s #1 concern at the range. Avoid distractions and always check your barrel for obstructions before you chamber a round or pull the trigger. A moment of inattention can result in a catastrophic kaboom …

Discharging a .338 Lapua Magnum round with a cleaning rod in the barrel — that’s a recipe for disaster. What happens when a fired .338 caliber bullet and a cleaning rod try to occupy the same place at the same time? Well you get a catastrophic kaboom, with metal pieces flying all over the place, and a shooter very lucky to escape without serious injury. This incident occurred recently in Manatee, Florida, as reported by Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg. We thank SnipersHide.com for granting permission to publish these revealing images in the Daily Bulletin.

This story should serve as a chilling reminder to follow proper safety practices whenever you are at the range. Always check to make sure there is no obstruction in the bore BEFORE loading a live round.

.338 Lapua Magnum + Cleaning Rod + Inattention = Kaboom!

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom at Manatee!
A while back, Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg published shocking photos of a catastrophic kaboom involving a .338 Lapua Magnum (Savage action). The action was blown off the rifle, shrapnel went through the roof, and the barrel split at the tenon before taking an excursion downrange. The action did crack in the front but the lugs remained engaged so the bolt did not slam to the rear (luckily for the shooter).

Here’s the report: “This happened [January 20, 2014] at the Manatee Gun and Archery Club. Al, Ren and myself were there with a couple other folks. Ren was at bench 12, I was at 13. The fellow at 11 was running a Savage .338 Lapua. He had a very bad day! He damn sure could have killed himself and quite likely Ren as well.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Queeqeg added: “After the boom, I heard Ren ask ‘Are you alright’ and then turned to look in time to see the fellow reacting in total shock — literally stunned. Ren and I went over to him and could not see any major injuries. Ren was uninjured as well but had a lot of fiberglass splinters on him. The barrel nut is what I presume punched the two holes in the roof. The shooter is a regular there[.] He had been having a problem with sticky cases though he said he was certain the loads were mild. That’s why he was content to knock the sticky ones out with the rod. He simply forgot to remove the rod after knocking out the last stuck case. You can see what happened next.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

The Important Lesson Here
What did the .338 LM shooter do wrong here? You will say — “Well that’s obvious, he left a cleaning rod in the barrel and then shot a round.” Yes, that was a potentially fatal error. But that was his second mistake — one that occurred only because he made a more fundamental judgment error first.

The FIRST mistake was not acknowledging the problem with his ammo. Had he heeded the warning signs, he would still have a rifle (and an unsoiled pair of trousers). When he first observed that he was having problems with extracting cases, a warning light should have gone off in his head. Presuming his extractor was not broken (and that the chamber was cut properly) he should have been able to extract his brass if he was running safe loads. The lesson here we all need to learn is that if you observe a serious ammo-related issue, it is time to stop shooting. Don’t try to invent work-arounds just to extend your range session, when there are clear signs that something is wrong, very wrong.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 20th, 2015

Sniper’s Hide Boss Hot Rods His Ruger Precision Rifle

Ruger Precision Rifle Frank Galli Snipers Hide RPR K&P Magpul PRS Seekins

If you own a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR), or are considering purchasing one, you should watch this short video from Sniper’s Hide. The Hide’s head honcho, Frank Galli (aka “LowLight”), added some upgrades to his RPR, to enhance looks and ergonomics. Frankly we think the RPR is pretty good right out of the box. Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com is seeing near-half-MOA accuracy with his “box-stock” RPR in .243 Winchester. Nonetheless we know some RPR owners will want to swap barrels or otherwise “hot rod” their rifle. Here’s how it’s done…

Video Shows New Barrel, Stock, Grip and Handguards Installed on Ruger Precision Rifle:

Galli unbolted quite a few factory parts, replacing them with proven aftermarket components. That’s one of the advantages of the RPR — it’s modular nature allows the owner to make changes with simple tools. Off came the handguards, stock, and grip. While we’ve been fairly impressed with the accuracy of some RPR factory barrels, Galli decided to fit a custom barrel, courtesy Chad Dixon of LongRifles Inc. (LRI). All totaled, the new components cost more than the original rifle. Galli figures he now has about $2400 in the gun. A new RPR (if you can find one) will run you about $1100-$1200.00.

The new barrel was a good investment, but the other items could be considered indulgences. But we like the fact that Galli demonstrated how easily the RPR can be modified by anyone with basic mechanical skills. (The Ruger’s barrel-mounting system allows you to run a “Pre-fit” barrel with headspace set by clamping nuts.) CLICK HERE for details of the build.

Ruger Precision Rifle Frank Galli Snipers Hide RPR K&P Magpul PRS Seekins

New Components for LowLight’s Ruger Precision Rifle

Magpul MOE Grip
Magpul PRS Stock
Seekins Precision “Triangle” Handguards
LongRifles Inc. (LRI) Aluminum Bolt Shroud
Custom K&P “Pre-Fit” Barrel from LRI (chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor)

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical No Comments »
July 21st, 2015

New Ruger Precision Rifle Is a Game-Changer

Ruger Precision Rifle PRS tactical 6.5 Creedmoor .308 Win

Ruger has introduced one of the most important factory rifles in years — the new Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). The new RPR features the three-lug (70° bolt throw) action from the Ruger American Rifle mounted in a modular chassis system with many innovative features, such as cam-lock buttstock adjustments, and a “universal” mag well. Even with a hammer-forged barrel, the gun is very accurate. Everybody who has shot this gun so far has been impressed. This is a smart design, well executed. We predict Ruger will sell a ton of these guns. The new RPR is logical step up for AR owners seeking better long-range accuracy (and easier maintenance).

CLICK HERE for Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) Spec Sheet | CLICK HERE for RPR Users’ Manual

Click photo for full-screen view:
Ruger Precision Rifle PRS tactical 6.5 Creedmoor .308 Win

The RPR is currently offered in three chamberings with three different barrel lengths: .308 Win (20″ bbl, 1:10″-twist, 9.7 lbs); 6.5 Creedmoor (24″ bbl, 1:8″ twist, 10.6 lbs); and .243 Win (26″ bbl, 1:7.7″-twist, 11.0 lbs). All barrels are hammer-forged with 5R rifling, and are threaded 5/8″-24 at muzzle for brakes and suppressors. MSRP for all three models is $1399, so expect street price to be under $1200. You could pay that much for some tactical chassis systems by themselves, and then you’d still have to purchase action, barrel, and trigger!

So how does it shoot? Ruger designed the RPR to deliver sub-MOA 5-shot groups. At the media preview, using Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor factory ammo, test rifles shot well under 1 MOA, and in many cases closer to half-MOA. Frank Galli of Snipers’ Hide had a few three-shot groups in the twos. We would like to test this rifle with .308 Win hand-loads and a custom barrel — now THAT would be interesting…

Video Shows Features of Ruger Precision Rifle Receiver:

The lower receiver is CNC-machined from a 7075-T6 aluminum forging, Type III hard-anodized. The mag well front is contoured for bracing against shooting supports. The rifle even comes with a built-in +20 MOA tapered Picatinny scope rail. The trigger, unique to this gun, adjusts from 2.25 to 5 lbs. using a special tool that stows in the bolt shroud. The trigger has a Savage-type safety insert.

Ruger Precision Rifle PRS tactical 6.5 Creedmoor .308 Win

The buttstock is fully adjustable with quick-adjust cams. But if you prefer a different style of buttstock, that’s do-able — the left-folding stock hinge is attached to an AR-style buffer tube, so the MPR will accept any AR-style stock. Likewise, you can attach any AR-compatible forearm to the RPR.

Ruger Precision Rifle PRS tactical 6.5 Creedmoor .308 Win

Seven Patents Pending for RPR
Notably, Ruger has seven patents pending for this new rifle — that shows the design innovation packed into the RPR. Ruger is pursuing patents on the universal magazine latch system, dual barrel nut system, trigger system, dual-action stock cam levers, bolt body design and other features.

The RPR boasts a Universal Mag Well that works with front-latch AND side-latch mags.
Ruger Precision Rifle Frank Galli Snipers Hide Review AR15 PRS

Forum member Steven Blair notes the barrel attachment system is different than an AR: “It doesn’t incorporate a barrel extension, the bolt locks in the receiver. It does have a shoulder larger than the main barrel diameter that would require turning the full barrel length.”

Ruger Precision Rifle Frank Galli Snipers Hide Review AR15 PRS

Sniper’s Hide Boss Tests Ruger Precision Rifle
Frank Galli, head honcho of Snipers’ Hide, recently tested the 6.5 Creedmoor version of the RPR. Galli says the rifle offers excellent accuracy and an impressive feature set. Galli believes the RPR offers great value compared to a custom-built tactical rifle that could cost $3500 or more. Read Galli’s detailed review on the Sniper’s Hide website.

Click image to read Snipers’ Hide RPR Review…
Ruger Precision Rifle Frank Galli Snipers Hide Review AR15 PRS

Sniper’s Hide Boss Frank Galli reports:

This is a full-featured, precision rifle with an entry-level price tag. The feature list of this rifle is huge. I could probably write 1800 words and still not explain everything packed into this rifle. But suffice to say, it’s customizable. If you wanted to change the stock, use any AR15-capable stock, Magpul PRS, no problem. Want to change the fore-end, same thing, you can add any AR15 fore-end…. The only feature you cannot change is the trigger.

At distance, it’s easy to say, this rifle performs, in the video we [show] a 1/2 MOA Group at 850 yards on steel. The muzzle velocity with factory 140gr AMAX is 2810 fps out of this rifle.

This is the entry-level precision rifle that can put you in the mix of any precision rifle competition held anywhere in the US for under $2500 with scope. What is your excuse now?

Permalink News 15 Comments »
January 12th, 2015

Accuracy International AX AICS Chassis — The New Hotness

Here’s an item for the tactical operators out there. On the new SnipersHide Forum you’ll find a thread titled AX AICS: The New Hotness. This is a very thorough Owner’s Review of the Accuracy International AX Chassis by “TriggerMonkey”. With eight large, detailed photos, this “show-all, tell-all” thread does a great job of describing and illustrating the AX chassis system. Here’s a short sample:

2014 AX AICS Chassis
A couple of years ago I took a chance and purchased my first Accuracy International chassis, specifically the AX AICS, for my Remington 700. I say I took a chance because there was the possibility that I wouldn’t like it, I’ve never really considered myself a chassis system type of guy beforehand but it had features that appealed to me. I had nothing to worry about as it turns out because I got great accuracy out of the rifle without having to bed it and the adjustability of the stock made it very comfortable to shoot. When I saw that Accuracy International was rolling a new version of the AX AICS last year I knew that I had to have one for an upcoming build. Well now that I have one in hand I can see that the differences go far beyond just the addition of a right-hand folding stock. Nearly every part has been revised from the previous generation so let’s go through some of them.

The 2014 AX AICS comes in a pretty non-descript cardboard box in two pieces, neatly packaged in closed cell foam to protect of dings and such in transit. I would say this is a step up from my first AX AICS where the packaging was sufficient but not nearly as nice.

With the 2014 AX AICS you get the following:

2014 AX AICS “Main Body”
KeySlot Forend
2 Short Picatinny Rails w/ QD Sockets
1 Long Picatinny Rail w/ QD Socket
1 Short Picatinny Rail
1 Harris Bipod Adapter
Assembly Instructions

Permalink Tactical 3 Comments »
October 10th, 2014

Sniper’s Hide Boss Builds a Tactical Tack-Driver in Gunsmith Class

Frank Galli, aka “Lowlight”, runs the popular SnipersHide.com website. A while back, Frank completed a gunsmithing course with Robert Gradous. Frank recounts the learning process in an informative, nicely-illustrated article on the ‘Hide. Frank explains how he put together a new 6.5 Creedmoor tactical rifle using a Bartlein barrel, Bighorn Action (Rem clone with floating bolt-head), and a “lightly used” Accuracy International 1.5 chassis. The HD video below shows the process start-to-finish. READ Full Article.

During Frank’s “hands-on” training sessions with Gradous, Frank learned to thread and chamber a barrel, fit a recoil lug, and install the barreled action in the AI chassis. Chambering was done with great care: “We spent the better part of the day working the barrel. I feel this is a critical component and seeing the attention to detail in Robert’s approach confirmed it for me. When it came time to chamber Robert had a custom tight chamber reamer there for a 6.5CM but I’m shooting a tactical rifle, tight chambers aren’t for me, and this was clear, as out came the standard SAAMI reamer.”


Frank also learned how to modify an aluminum chassis: “the AI chassis had the recoil lug opened up, but it was opened in the wrong direction. This was going to require milling increasing the gap to at least a 1/2″ in size. Robert was really leery of this, but my attitude was, ‘it’s just a chassis and nothing a little Marine Tex can’t handle’.” Thankfully the chassis mod came out OK.

Once the barreled action was complete and the AI chassis was successfully milled, Frank applied a tan Cerakote finish to the barreled action. This would give a proper tactical look to the rifle, while providing superior corrosion resistance for the metal parts. To learn more about Cerakote finishing, check out the Cerakote Application Video, published last week in the Daily Bulletin.

When the rifle was complete, Frank took it out for testing with a variety of ammo, both factory fodder and handloads. There were some initial worries about accuracy as it took a while for the barrel to break in. A few sessions of bore cleaning were required before the barrel stopped fouling and then — like magic — the rifle started printing really small groups.

By the end of his load testing session, Frank was getting good groups with Hornady 120gr GMX factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, and really superb groups with handloads. The 120gr GMX ammo “was going 3100 fps with no ill effects”. The best handloads were approaching 1/4 MOA for three shots, and Frank’s load with Berger 130 VLDs shot even smaller than that: “In my opinion the load development we did was worth its weight in gold. Where else can you build in a rifle in two days, then go out and develop a baseline load using everything from 120gr ammo to 140gr ammo with a few in between? My favorite load and clearly the rifle’s too, was the [Berger] 130gr VLD. This gave us great velocity, awesome groups [with some one-holers] and really nice results at distance.”


Lowlight’s Gunsmithing Story is a ‘Must-Read’
We recommend you read Frank’s story. It shows that, with the right tools, and the supervision of a master smith, even a novice can produce an ultra-accurate rifle. For those of you who have considered taking a gunsmithing class, Frank’s successful experience with gunsmith Robert Gradous should give you plenty of motivation.

CLICK HERE to Read Lowlight’s Gunsmithing Course Article
CLICK HERE for Info on Gradous Rifles Gunsmithing Class

Photos courtesy SnipersHide.com and Frank Galli, used by permission.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
February 24th, 2014

Cleaning Rod in Barrel Causes Catastrophic .338 LM Kaboom!

Discharging a .338 Lapua Magnum round with a cleaning rod in the barrel — that’s a recipe for disaster. What happens when a fired .338 caliber bullet and a cleaning rod try to occupy the same place at the same time? Well you get a catastrophic kaboom, with metal pieces flying all over the place, and a shooter very lucky to escape without serious injury. This incident occurred recently in Manatee, Florida, as reported by Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg. We thank SnipersHide.com for granting permission to publish these revealing images in the Daily Bulletin. CLICK HERE for more Kaboom info on the ‘Hide.

This story should serve as a chilling reminder to follow proper safety practices whenever you are at the range. Always check to make sure there is no obstruction in the bore BEFORE loading a live round.

.338 Lapua Magnum + Cleaning Rod + Inattention = Kaboom!

Click to zoom image
Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom at Manatee!
Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg recently published shocking photos of a catastrophic kaboom involving a .338 Lapua Magnum (Savage action). The action was blown off the rifle, shrapnel went through the roof, and the barrel split at the tenon before taking an excursion downrange. The action did crack in the front but the lugs remained engaged so the bolt did not slam to the rear (luckily for the shooter).

Here’s the report: “This happened [January 20, 2014] at the Manatee Gun and Archery Club. Al, Ren and myself were there with a couple other folks. Ren was at bench 12, I was at 13. The fellow at 11 was running a Savage .338 Lapua. He had a very bad day! He damn sure could have killed himself and quite likely Ren as well.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Queeqeg added: “After the boom, I heard Ren ask ‘Are you alright’ and then turned to look in time to see the fellow reacting in total shock — literally stunned. Ren and I went over to him and could not see any major injuries. Ren was uninjured as well but had a lot of fiberglass splinters on him. The barrel nut is what I presume punched the two holes in the roof. The shooter is a regular there[.] He had been having a problem with sticky cases though he said he was certain the loads were mild. That’s why he was content to knock the sticky ones out with the rod. He simply forgot to remove the rod after knocking out the last stuck case. You can see what happened next.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

To learn more about this incident, go to the original Snipers Hide Forum Thread. There you’ll find more details and over four pages of related discussions.

The Important Lesson Here
What did the .338 LM shooter do wrong here? You will say — “Well that’s obvious, he left a cleaning rod in the barrel and then shot a round.” Yes, that was a potentially fatal error. But that was his second mistake — one that occurred only because he made a more fundamental judgment error first.

The FIRST mistake was not acknowledging the problem with his ammo. Had he heeded the warning signs, he would still have a rifle (and an unsoiled pair of trousers). When he first observed that he was having problems with extracting cases, a warning light should have gone off in his head. Presuming his extractor was not broken (and that the chamber was cut properly) he should have been able to extract his brass if he was running safe loads. The lesson here we all need to learn is that if you observe a serious ammo-related issue, it is time to stop shooting. Don’t try to invent work-arounds just to extend your range session, when there are clear signs that something is wrong, very wrong.

Permalink News, Shooting Skills 14 Comments »
August 10th, 2011

Lowlight Goes to Gunsmithing Class — And Builds a Tack-Driver

Frank Galli, aka “Lowlight”, runs the popular SnipersHide.com website. Frank recently completed a gunsmithing course with Robert Gradous. Frank recounts the learning process in an informative, nicely-illustrated article on the ‘Hide. Frank explains how he put together a new 6.5 Creedmoor tactical rifle using a Bartlein barrel, Bighorn Action (Rem clone with floating bolt-head), and a “lightly used” Accuracy International 1.5 chassis. The HD video below shows the process start-to-finish. READ Full Article.

During Frank’s “hands-on” training sessions with Gradous, Frank learned to thread and chamber a barrel, fit a recoil lug, and install the barreled action in the AI chassis. Chambering was done with great care: “We spent the better part of the day working the barrel. I feel this is a critical component and seeing the attention to detail in Robert’s approach confirmed it for me. When it came time to chamber Robert had a custom tight chamber reamer there for a 6.5CM but I’m shooting a tactical rifle, tight chambers aren’t for me, and this was clear, as out came the standard SAAMI reamer.”


Frank also learned how to modify an aluminum chassis: “the AI chassis had the recoil lug opened up, but it was opened in the wrong direction. This was going to require milling increasing the gap to at least a 1/2″ in size. Robert was really leery of this, but my attitude was, ‘it’s just a chassis and nothing a little Marine Tex can’t handle’.” Thankfully the chassis mod came out OK.

Once the barreled action was complete and the AI chassis was successfully milled, Frank applied a tan Cerakote finish to the barreled action. This would give a proper tactical look to the rifle, while providing superior corrosion resistance for the metal parts. To learn more about Cerakote finishing, check out the Cerakote Application Video, published last week in the Daily Bulletin.

When the rifle was complete, Frank took it out for testing with a variety of ammo, both factory fodder and handloads. There were some initial worries about accuracy as it took a while for the barrel to break in. A few sessions of bore cleaning were required before the barrel stopped fouling and then — like magic — the rifle started printing really small groups.

By the end of his load testing session, Frank was getting good groups with Hornady 120gr GMX factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, and really superb groups with handloads. The 120gr GMX ammo “was going 3100 fps with no ill effects”. The best handloads were approaching 1/4 MOA for three shots, and Frank’s load with Berger 130 VLDs shot even smaller than that: “In my opinion the load development we did was worth its weight in gold. Where else can you build in a rifle in two days, then go out and develop a baseline load using everything from 120gr ammo to 140gr ammo with a few in between? My favorite load and clearly the rifle’s too, was the [Berger] 130gr VLD. This gave us great velocity, awesome groups [with some one-holers] and really nice results at distance.”


Lowlight’s Gunsmithing Story is a ‘Must-Read’
We recommend you read Frank’s story. It shows that, with the right tools, and the supervision of a master smith, even a novice can produce an ultra-accurate rifle. For those of you who have considered taking a gunsmithing class, Frank’s successful experience with gunsmith Robert Gradous should give you plenty of motivation.

CLICK HERE to Read Lowlight’s Gunsmithing Course Article
CLICK HERE for Info on Gradous Rifles Gunsmithing Class

Photos courtesy SnipersHide.com and Frank Galli, used by permission.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »