December 3rd, 2017

Howa How-To: Basics of Howa Rifles and Barrel-Swapping Tips

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com
Rifleshooter.com built this tactical rifle (top image) with a Howa 1500 action, Shilen barrel, and MDT chassis. Below is a factory Howa 1500 Multi-Cam rifle.

Many of our readers are thinking of purchasing a Howa rifle or barreled action. These feature smooth-running actions with a good two-stage HACT trigger. But some folks have heard that it may be difficult to find stocks, or to fit an after-market barrel. That’s not true. There are many stock options available, and in this article, Bill of RifleShooter.com shows that it is easy to remove the factory-installed barrel with the right tools. We think a Howa makes a fine basis for a varmint rig or field rifle. Or you can build a tactical as Bill did. You can start with the factory barrel and when you want/need more accuracy, then have a gunsmith install a custom barrel from Krieger, Shilen, or other quality brand.

What You Need to Know About Howa 1500-series Rifles

Tech Feature by RifleShooter.com
Consider this article the “Howa 1500 Overview”. AccurateShooter.com’s editor mentioned there’s been a lot of interest in Howa rifles and barreled actions imported by Legacy Sports International. In addition to being able to buy a complete rifle from a dealer, Brownells sells barreled actions in a wide variety of calibers and configurations. In this post we are going to take a look at the Howa 1500 series.

Howa Rifles — General Background
Howa is a Japanese heavy machinery company. One of its product lines are firearms, which, are imported into the United States of America by two different companies, Legacy Sports International and Weatherby. Legacy sells the 1500 under the manufacturers name while Weatherby re-brands the guns as the Weatherby Vanguard. In general, the finishes on the Weatherby rifles are more refined than the LSI-imported 1500s.

General Evaluation of Howa 1500 Rifles
I’ve found Howa 1500s to be solid, entry-level rifles that are capable of sub-MOA accuracy out of the box. I’ve actually purchased two Howa rifles I’ve tested because I like them so much. The gun below, a Howa Mini-Action in 7.62×39 Russian, is one of my favorite factory guns to shoot. I’m running a Tract Optics Toric on it, these are solid little rifle scopes that offer great performance for the money.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Check out this three-shot group I drilled at 100 yards with the rifle above and 125-grain Sierras. It took a lot of work and load development to get there, but when it did, it worked well.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1600 HACT Two-Stage TriggerHowa 1500 HACT 2-Stage Trigger
Howa 1500s feature the very nice Howa HACT trigger. This is an adjustable, two-stage trigger, set for about 3 pounds (combined stages). Crisp and repeatable, this is an excellent trigger for a factory gun. There is no annoying Glock-style safety lever in the middle of the trigger blade. The 2-stage design and pull weight range works well for a hunting rifle or a rig for PRS competition. Rifleshooter.com says the Howa trigger is “one of the best factory triggers, along with Tikka. I’ve found the Howa trigger superior to a Remington 700 — the Howas doesn’t need to be replaced.

Writing for the Western Outdoor News, WONews.com, Steve Comus has field-tested the new HACT Trigger. Steve writes: “I always liked two-stage triggers, because of the way I could take-up the slack and then actually know when the rifle was going to go off. The take-up on the [HACT] trigger was fast and easy. The crisp, positive release when pressure was put on during the second stage [reminded me] of some of the target rifles I shot through the years.”

Howa Actions — Three Options
Howa offers three action lengths: Mini, Short, and Long. You can see the bolts for the three action lengths in the image below. The Mini-Action has similar external dimensions to the Remington Model Seven, however, the Mini-Action’s bolt does not travel as far to the rear. This is a mixed bag. The upside is you have a quicker action (shorter bolt throw). The downside is you are limited to shorter rounds such as the .223 Remington, 7.62×39mm Russian, and 6.5 Grendel. But if you need a bigger cartridge, just choose the standard or long action Howa variant.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 vs. Remington 700 — Important Differences
Is the Howa 1500 a Remington 700 clone, or some kind of improved Remington 700? No, not really. While the top radius of the Howa 1500 does match the Model 700, and they can both use the same two-piece scope bases, there area number of differences.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

If you look at the Howa 1500 alongside the Remington 700 you’ll note the M700 is a round action, while the Howa is a flat-bottom action. In many ways the Howa’s bottom half reminds me of a push-feed Winchester. This means the chassis and stocks that support a Howa 1500 are not V-block based like you’ll find on a 700, instead they have a flat bottom. While the bolt of the Howa is similar in external appearance to the Model 700, it does offer some improvements, notably an M16-style extractor and a firing pin assembly that can be easily removed without tools.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 action screws are metric and are in a different location from the 700. The Howa 1500 has an integral recoil lug that accepts the front action screw, this means you have more of the front action screw engaging the action. WARNING: If you install it into a poorly-fitted stock or action you may bind it.

Can a Howa Action Be Used for a Custom Rifle Project?
Absolutely! You can either buy a barreled action from Brownells and throw it in a chassis system/stock of your choice or you can use a stripped action to build a custom rifle. If you are in the chassis market, MDT offers a wide variety of chassis in different price ranges. All have worked well for me.

How to Remove Howa Factory Barrel from Action
You may have heard internet grumblings about removing Howa barrels. Some keyboard commandos say they are extremely difficult to remove without a relief cut. Well Bill at Rifleshooter.com demonstrates that Howa barrels can be removed without trouble, provided you have the right tools. Watch this video:

Watch Howa Barrel Removal Video — Quick and Easy (Click Speaker Icon for Audio)

Q: Is it difficult to remove a barrel from a Howa 1500?
A: Not very. I’ve heard from some smiths that worked on Howas (years ago) that the factory barrels are difficult to remove. However of the half dozen or so Howa barrels that I’ve pulled, they’ve been very easy. I use a Brownells action wrench with the top piece for a Rem Model 700 and the flat bottom resting against the flat on the wrench.

Howa Actions Require Metric Barrel Threads
It’s easy to thread a barrel for a Howa Action. You just have to cut metric threads — most lathes out there can cut them. I cut the threads below on a manual lathe using change gears. [Editor: John Whidden cuts metric tenon threads with a CNC lathe. “It’s easy,” John tells us, “No issue whatsoever.”]

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Using Howa Actions for Custom Rifles
I have built a few customs with Howa actions. Below is one of my favorite, a .308 Winchester. It consists of a Howa 1500 action, Shilen Select Match Remington Varmint contour barrel, and Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) ESS chassis. Great rifle and it hammers!

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

To learn more about Howa rifles and actions, visit Legacy Sports International. To buy a Howa barreled action, visit Brownells.com.

To learn more about modular chassis systems for Howa rifles, visit MDTTAC.com

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October 23rd, 2017

Howa HCR Rifle Named NRA Gun of the Week

Howa 1500 HCR Luth stock modular

We like Howa 1500-series rifles. The major attractions are the smooth-running action (feels almost like a custom), a very good two-stage trigger (way better than most domestic factory triggers), pretty decent barrels, and excellent fit and finish. Howa also offers a “mini” action that’s nearly an inch shorter than a conventional short action. The only negative is that the Howa actions have metric barrel threads. That complicates the re-barreling task for some gunsmiths who don’t have the right equipment. All-in-all the Howa 1500 series is still a fine value, offering excellent “bang for the buck”. If we were choosing a new varmint or hunting rifle, the Howa would be one of our first choices.

Given our positive outlook towards Howa rifles, we were pleased to see that American Rifleman just named the Howa 1500 HCR rifle (with scope package) as the NRA Gun of the Week. Check it out:

Designed for PRS “factory class” competition and tactical applications, the Howa HCR offers the smooth-running 1500 action with HACT 2-Stage trigger in a fully-adjustable aluminum chassis. The Howa’s MSRP is $1299.00, with “street price” around $990.00 in black or $1180 with Camo finish so the HCR is directly competitive with the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). Available chamberings are: .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.

Howa 1500 HCR Luth stock modular

Mounted on an AR-style buffer tube system, the Howa HCR utilizes the fully adjustable LUTH-AR MBA-3 stock. Length of Pull is adjustable from 12.5″ to 16.75″. Comb height is also adjustable to fine tune for scope height-over-bore. Weight with a 24″ barrel is 10.2 pounds (before optics), so this Howa HCR is lighter than many similar rifles on the market.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »
October 3rd, 2017

New Savage 10/110 Tactical Rifle with Modular Chassis

Savage 10/110 model 10 PRS Stealth Evolution tactical rifle 6mm 6.5 Creedmoor .338 Lapua Magnum

Savage Introduces 10/110 Stealth Evolution in Six Popular Chamberings
Savage has just introduced the new 10/110 Stealth Evolution Chassis Rifle in six chamberings, including the PRS-pleasing 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. This rifle will be offered in right-hand and left-hand models. Big Boomer fans can order a .300 Winchester Magnum or the .338 Lapua Magnum.

.223 Rem, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua Magnum

Savage 10/110 model 10 PRS Stealth Evolution tactical rifle 6mm 6.5 Creedmoor .338 Lapua Magnum

The 10/110 Stealth Evolution pairs a heavy fluted 5R barrel with a monolithic aluminum chassis finished in bronze Cerakote. The hard polymer-ceramic coating resists abrasion, corrosion, and impact damage. The rifle features a factory-blueprinted 10/110 action, matched with user-adjustable AccuTrigger. The Stealth Evolution comes standard with an extra-long top rail and factory muzzle brake. MSRP for standard calibers is $1799.00 (.300 Win Mag $1999.00 MSRP; .338 Lapua Magnum $2149.00 MSRP).

Savage 10/110 model 10 PRS Stealth Evolution tactical rifle 6mm 6.5 Creedmoor .338 Lapua Magnum

AccurateShooter Comment: We like the availability of the 6mm Creedmoor chambering, which is finding favor among many PRS shooters. The 6mm CM has less recoil and a flatter trajectory — plus 6mm bullets are cheaper. Savage did the 6mm version right. At 26″, the barrel is long enough, and the 1:7.5″ twist can stabilize the new 110gr SMKs. That Magpul PRS GEN3 stock looks good — controls are tucked away and the toe can be used with a sand-bag. Some other tactical stocks have rails and/or other “pointy bits” that snag on a rear bag. In .223 Rem or 6mm Creedmoor, this rifle would be a good choice for Prairie Dog safaris. We do wish Savage offered a front sled for bag use though.

Savage 10/110 model 10 PRS Stealth Evolution tactical rifle 6mm 6.5 Creedmoor .338 Lapua Magnum

Permalink New Product, Tactical 3 Comments »
June 18th, 2017

6.5 Creedmoor with Howa 1500 Barreled Action in MDT Chassis

Howa 6.5 Creedmoor barrel action tactical rifle Sierra RifleShooter.com
RifleShooter.com built this rig with Howa 1500 barreled action and MDT ESS chassis. READ TEST HERE.

We’ve been telling folks that the Japanese Howa 1500 barreled actions are an attractive option for a hunting, varminting, or tactical rifle. Priced at under $450.00, these barreled actions include the excellent HACT two-stage trigger. These Howa 1500 actions are smooth-running (noticeably more so than some “major-brand” domestic receivers).

Our friends at RifleShooter.com recently acquired a Howa 1500 barreled action in 6.5 Creedmoor and installed it in an MDT ESS modular chassis. This project turned out well. The barreled action mated well to the ESS chassis, providing an ergonomic platform with comfortable grip, adjustable cheekpiece, and adjustable LOP. Most importantly the gun shot well. With virtually no load development, the project rifle delivered 3/4-MOA accuracy right out of the gate.

Howa 6.5 Creedmoor barrel action tactical rifle Sierra RifleShooter.com

As tested with Hornady brass and Hodgdon Varget powder pushing Sierra 123gr MatchKings, the Howa 1500 MDT showed good accuracy right from the start. With more load development (and a few more rounds through the new barrel), half-MOA groups may be possible.

Brownells now sells barreled Howa actions in a variety of configurations. Rifleshooter.com acquired a Howa 1500 barreled action with a 24″ #6 contour barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. RifleShooter.com plans to test this barreled action in multiple modular chassis systems. That should provide an interesting comparison test, providing the pros and cons of various stock/chassis configurations.

Read the Full 6.5 Creedmoor Project Review HERE »

RifleShooter.com’s Editor writes: “I was pleasantly surprised by the number of chassis and stock offerings for the Howa barreled action.” For this project rifle, RifleShooter.com chose the Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) Elite Sniper System (ESS) chassis, for the initial build.

Like MDT’s other chassis systems, the ESS uses any AR-15/M16 M4 pistol grip. The ESS departs from the rest of the MDT product line it does not use a standard AR-15/M16 M4 stock. Eliminating this interface allows for a design that does not increase the length of pull. The stock has an adjustable comb, adjustable length of pull, and horizontally adjustable recoil pad. Comb and LOP adjustments are accomplished with a hand wheel, plus a cap screw and clamp system.

RifleShooter.com’s Howa 6.5 Creedmoor rifle has the following components:

While the HACT 2-stage trigger is very good, RifleShooter.com’s Editor replaced the HACT with a Timney because he favors a single-stage design. The Timney adjusts lower than the HACT, allowing a crisp pull at ~1.5 pounds: “You’ll notice I swapped out the factory trigger in favor of a Timney. I’ve had great luck with their products and Timney’s Howa trigger was no exception. Adjusted to 1.5 pounds, it is a pleasure to shoot with.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical No Comments »
October 7th, 2016

Vanguard Modular Chassis Rifle — Half-MOA with Factory Ammo

Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis PRS rifle .308 Winchester American Rifleman

Weatherby has a new modular rifle for PRS comps and other tactical disciplines. Called the Vanguard® Modular Chassis (VMC), this rifle features a Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) aluminum stock, Luth AR MBA-1 buttstock, and 22″ heavy barrel. The Weatherby Vanguard action is fitted with an adjustable 2-stage trigger. Priced at $1519.00 MSRP, this rifle can be campaigned in the PRS “Production Class”, which limits complete rifles to $2000.00 without optics. The rifle is offered in three chamberings: .223 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.

Weatherby says its Vanguard Modular Chassis tactical rifle is very accurate. To back that claim, Weatherby offers a SUB-MOA accuracy guarantee — Weatherby guarantees the rifle will shoot .99” or smaller 3-shot groups at 100 yards when used with Weatherby® factory or premium ammunition.

Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis PRS rifle .308 Winchester American Rifleman

Near Half-MOA Accuracy with Factory Ammo
It turns out Weatherby’s accuracy claims are conservative. This tactical rifle is closer to a half-MOA rig than a 1-MOA gun. American Rifleman recently tested a .308 Win version of this rifle and recorded really stellar accuracy — close to half-MOA. What’s more, this rifle is not fussy — with a 1:10″-twist barrel it proved very accurate with six different types of factory ammo.

In fact, the rifle delivered near-half-inch 5-shot groups with two types of Hornady factory ammo, and the worst group (of six ammo types) was 0.76″, still very impressive for factory fodder. With good hand-loads this gun could go well under half-MOA (for five shots).

Vanguard Modular Chassis FIVE-SHOT Test Groups with Factory Ammo:

0.53 inches | Hornady 168gr Match BTHP (2718 fps)
0.55 inches | Hornady 155gr Steel Match (2612 fps)
0.57 inches | Black Hills 168gr BTHP (2608 fps)
0.66 inches | Federal Premium 168gr MatchKing BTHP (2659 fps)
0.70 inches | Hornady 155gr American Gunner (2697 fps)
0.76 inches | Black Hills 175gr BTHP (2603 fps)

NOTE: Group sizes are for 5-shot groups shot from bench at 100 yards with Caldwell pedestal rest and rear sandbag. Pentax Lightseeker 6-24x50mm scope. Velocities in FPS from PACT Chronograph.

READ American Rifleman’s FULL REVIEW of Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis Rifle

The accuracy testing was done by gunwriter Mike Detty, who notes: “My single best group was fired with Hornady’s Match 168-gr. BTHP ammunition. Five shots measured just slightly more than a half-inch. Hornady’s 155-gr. Steel Match ammo wasn’t far behind with a group of .55″. Also accounting for the small groups is the VMC’s wonderful trigger. It is a two-stage affair and the first stage has about 3/8” take up with about a pound of pressure until it reaches the second stage where another 1 ¾ lbs. was required to break the shot.”

Vanguard Modular Chassis FEATURES:

CNC-machined, hard-anodized, 6061 aluminum chassis
Fully adjustable LUTH-AR MBA-1 buttstock
Hogue Overmolded grip with finger grooves
Adjustable high-quality, Two-stage trigger
Fully Enclosed Bolt Sleeve
Integral Recoil Lug
3-Position Safety

PRS Production Class Cost Limits
Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD. [Editor: For example, you could have a $2,000 rifle with a $1000.00 scope or vice-versa. The total system cannot exceed $3000. Rifle alone cannot exceed $2000.00 retail sale price.]
Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration.

Permalink New Product, Tactical No Comments »
September 16th, 2016

High-Tech Tactical Rifle from Austria’s Ritter & Stark

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

There’s a new long-range precision tactical rifle from Ritter & Stark (R&S) of Austria. The new SX-1 Modular Tactical Rifle (MTR) is designed to allow rapid barrel changes for three chamberings: .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum.

Notably, the scope rail is mounted on the barrel itself, and the bolt locks directly into the barrel. This patented system allows scope, rail, and barrel to be swapped out as one integrated assembly, which should definitely help maintain zero when barrels are exchanged.

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

Ritter & Stark explains: “The MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail is installed directly on the barrel, allowing barrel interchangeability with pre-set scopes for no shift of impact when changing calibers. Easily and quickly done in the field, the patented caliber conversion system allows the barrel to be precisely positioned in the machined aluminum receiver with a greater area of contact allowing for more stability. The bolt is locked directly into the barrel breech[.]”

Video Shows Barrel Swap System, and Bolt Locking in Barrel Breech:

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

CNC-Controlled Rifling Process
Ritter & Stark states: “The rifling is processed in a CNC-controlled electrochemical machine. This avoids the transmission of thermal effects and mechanical stress to the material. Furthermore, this process allows us to produce barrels with unique uniformity and within tolerance zones that were not possible in a serial production before.” This is very interesting technology, and we’d like to learn more about it.

Accuracy Guarantee and Barrel Life Guarantee
Apparently the CNC-controlled rifling process works well as Ritter & Stark guarantees that its barrels maintain accuracy for a long time. The Austrian company states: “Our barrels are guaranteed to at least 5,000 rounds for .308 Win and .338 LM, and 2,000 rounds for .300 WM before noticing any degradation in accuracy.” That kind of claim certainly invites a long-term test. Who’s got enough ammo? Ritter & Stark also claims that “every rifle we manufacture can achieve 0.5 MOA 3-­round groups or better with factory match-grade ammunition.”

The Ritter & Stark SX-1 MTR is designed for adaptability. It will accept third-party Rem 700-compatible triggers as well as a variety of AR-type grips. In addition, the SX-1, in standard configuration, will accept other manufacturers’ AI, SR25, or AR10 magazines. The rifle can also accept other buttstock assemblies compatible with Ritter & Stark’s folding mechanism which, interestingly, can be set to fold to either side.

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Tactical 7 Comments »
January 21st, 2014

Finnish Fire-Power: TRG M10 Multi-Caliber Rifle from Sako

SAKO m10 tactical rifle

Report by Jason Baney, EuroOptic.com
At Media Day at the Range, some of us were privileged to shoot a very accurate new tactical rifle — the Sako TRG M10. People have been clamoring for this “bad-ass” multi-caliber rifle, which has not yet been released to the public. The M10 was one of the top submissions for the PSR (Precision Sniper Rifle) contract and we can see why. The ergonomics, function, and adjustments are very smooth and intuitive. As proof, though I had never previously handled an M10, much less practiced with one, we managed to complete our video in just one take. I was quickly able to figure out the adjustments and get shots on target. That bodes well for a serious tactical rifle designed for combat.

When compared to previous Sako TRG models, the M10 is notable for its modular construction, wide range of adjustments, and, of course, its ability to shoot multiple cartridge types (.308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua Mag). As with other PSR submissions, Sako’s M10 has user-changeable barrels that can be switched easily.

Watch Jason Shoot Sako TRG M10 at 960 Yards

The M10 is currently only available to the military market, but the hope is to push it to the commercial (civilian) market after military orders are filled. When this happens, EuroOptic plans to be one of the first vendors to offer TRG M10s to civilian customers. We do not know the price of the TRG M10 at this time — we asked Sako reps but they wouldn’t even venture a guess.

SAKO m10 tactical rifle

SAKO m10 tactical rifle

This 8-minute Video Covers Sako M10 Features in Great Detail:

Permalink - Videos, New Product 2 Comments »
December 5th, 2013

Nesika Introduces Three New ‘Custom Shop’ Rifles

Nesika is back. Now part of the Freedom Group, Nesika has introduced new ‘custom shop’ Sporter, Long Range, and Tactical rifles. All three rifles feature composite stocks (with aluminum bedding blocks), Douglas barrels, and Timney triggers. Nesika provides a 5-shot, One MOA accuracy guarantee for all three rifles. These are all fairly expensive for factory rifles but Nesika claims they are built “one at a time, by hand” in the Nesika Custom Shop. The Sporter runs $3499.00, the Long Range is $3999.00, and the Tactical is a daunting $4499.00. You can buy a very nice true custom for that money.

Nesika tactical sporter long range rifle

Nesika tactical sporter long range rifle

The green Tactical model has an adjustable cheekpiece and spacer-adjustable buttplate. The Tactical comes with a matte black CeraKote finish, a built-in +15 MOA scope rail, and an AAC Blackout muzzle brake/suppressor adapter on the barrel. The Nesika Tactical is offered in .300 Win Mag (26″ barrel) and .338 Lapua Magnum (28″ barrel), with a 5-round DBM provided.

Nesika tactical sporter long range rifle

Nesika tactical sporter long range rifle

The Long Range Rifle has Nesika’s stainless, open-top Hunter action, with a CeraKote-finished chrome-moly bolt. The Timney trigger breaks at three pounds. Leupold QRW bases come standard, as does a SS
Oberndorf-style hinged floor plate.

Nesika tactical sporter long range rifle

Nesika tactical sporter long range rifle

The Sporter features a Nesika stainless tactical action. A wide variety of regular and magnum chamberings are offered, and barrels are 24″ or 26″ depending on chambering. Like the Long Range Rifle, the Sporter offers Leupold QRW bases. The rifle weighs eight pounds without optics — a reasonable weight for a hunting rifle. It looks nicely built, but will it harvest white-tails any better than a $450.00 Savage? Maybe not.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 9 Comments »
October 5th, 2013

Tech Tip: How to Mount a Scope for a Tactical or Hunting Rifle

scope alignment tactical rifle scope levelIn this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a tactical or hunting rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many shooters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.

Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.

Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)

2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.

3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.

4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.

scope alignment tactical rifle scope level

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics 2 Comments »
November 5th, 2012

New AR30-A1 from Armalite in .300 WM and .338 Lapua Magnum

ArmaLite has just introduced its latest bolt-action rifle, the new AR-30A1. Armalite’s AR-30A1 is available in .300 Win Magnum (24″ barrel) and .338 Lapua Magnum (26″ barrel). Both the .300 WM and .338 LM are offered in two versions: Standard and Target. The Target versions feature an adjustable stock, plus an extended Picatinny rail running forward of the action.

Armalite AR30-a1 rifle

On the surface, the AR-30A1 bears a family resemblance to its predecessor, the AR-30. But, the AR-30A1 actually shares few components from the AR-30: grip, buttpad, trigger, and a few small parts. All other components are new and/or improved. Armalite claims that the new AR30-A1 has better ergonomics, versatility, reliability, and ease of use.

Armalite AR30-a1 rifle

Features of all versions of the new AR-30A1:

  • Muzzle brake threads are suppressor industry standard (5/8 x 24 for the 300 WM and 3/4 x 24 for the 338 LM). Many suppressors can be attached without an adaptor.
  • The bolt-mounted safety mechanism locks the firing pin to the rear. This design is stronger and more secure than a sear- or trigger-blocking safety.
  • Cheek-piece supports contain integral cleaning rod guides to prevent bore damage.
  • Multiple sling installation locations allow simultaneous use of a sling and a bipod. Rear sling swivel can be moved to either left or right side.
  • The entire buttstock assembly can be quickly and easily removed with only one allen wrench. Standard and target buttstocks are interchangeable on any receiver.
  • Steel single-stack magazines. Ambidextrous magazine release.

Features specific to the AR-30A1 Target version:

  • Target rifles feature 18″-long, +20-MOA Picatinny rail over the receiver and barrel, plus rails on both sides of the forearm.
  • The buttstock can be adjusted without tools for lengths of pull from 13.6″ to 15.6″. Buttpad adjusts for height and cheek-piece offers 1″ of vertical adjustment.
Specifications — .300 WM Standard
Caliber: .300 Winchester Magnum
Barrel: 24″ Chrome Moly
Rifling Twist: 1:10
Muzzle Device: Muzzle Brake
Trigger: Single Stage
Stock: Standard
Fixed — nonadjustable
Overall Length: 46.0″
Length of Pull: 13.5″
Weight: 12.8 LBS
Accuracy: 1/4 to 3/4 MOA at 300 Yards
Included: One 5-Round Mag, Detachable Sight Rail, Hard Case, Sling, Manual
Price: $3,264.00
Specifications — .338 LM Target
Caliber: .338 Lapua Magnum
Barrel: 26″ Chrome Moly
Rifling Twist: 1:10
Muzzle Device: Muzzle Brake
Trigger: Single Stage
Stock: Adjustable Cheek Piece (height) & Buttstock (length)
Overall Length: 48.1″ – 50.1″
Length of Pull: 13.6″ – 15.6″
Weight: 15.3 LBS
Accuracy: 1/4 to 3/4 MOA at 300 Yards
Included: One 5-Round Mag, Detachable Sight and Accessory Rails, Hard Case, Sling, Manual
Price: $3,599.00
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October 14th, 2012

Guide to Tactical Rifles from Gun Digest

Gun Digest offers a users’ guide for tactical rifles. Authored by Patrick Sweeney (Guns & Ammo Handguns Editor), the 224-page Gun Digest Book of the Tactical Rifle covers tactical rifle types, ammo, reloading, and tactical accessories. Most of the book’s sixteen chapters are gun-specific — detailed discussions of particular rifles such as the M15/M1A, the FN-FAL, and the Sig 556. There are also dedicated chapters on Bullpups, Rimfires, and “Sniper Rifles” (both bolt-action and semi-auto).

While the book sports an AR15 on its cover, AR-platform rifles are NOT the major focus of the book. If you are only interested in ARs, this is not the book for you. However, if you want to learn more about a variety of modern arms, you should find the book a valuable resource. Gun Digest claims: “No other book covers as many different styles of tactical rifles, and is written by a more qualified author.”

Gun Digest Tactical Rifle Book

About the Author
The handguns editor for Guns & Ammo magazine, Patrick Sweeney is a also a credentialed gunsmith and police firearms instructor. He has written many of Gun Digest Books’ best-selling titles including: Gun Digest Book of the 1911, Vols. I and II; Gun Digest Big Fat Book of the .45 ACP, Gun Digest Book of the AR-15, Gun Digest Book of the AK and SKS, among other titles.

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