Shown is a new .338 Lapua Magnum rifle from Israel’s IWI. Impressively beefy rig.
For folks in the gun industry, the third Monday in January is the best day of the year. Held in conjunction with SHOT Show, Media Day at the Range lets us try out dozens of new rifles and pistols, as well as meet top gun designers and friends in the shooting sports. We saw some very interesting new products this year. Here are some of the most interesting “take-aways” from Media Day at the Range 2017 on January 16th.
Most Innovative — “The FIX” Rifle from Q
The star of Media Day, at least in the rifle category, was “The FIX”, a new modular rifle from the Q Team. This innovative rig features a totally unique bolt system with a 45° lift and a bolt housing that runs on rails (literally). This thing cycles fast and smoothly.
The trigger, set at 2.5 pounds, was one of the best we’ve ever tried on a centerfire factory rifle. One has to admire the engineering on “The FIX”. This new rifle has definitely “raised the bar” for tactical-style rifles. It’s different, it works, and it offers real advantages for both hunters and tactical style shooters.
Savage 10 with Ergonomic GRS Stock
Perhaps the most ergonomic rifle we shot all day was the new Savage GRS-10 in a stiff, composite GRS stock. European-crafted GRS stocks feature a very comfortable hand-grip, plus fully adjustable cheek-piece and adjustable length of pull. As shown this rifle is very affordable for PRS production-class competition.
To be frank, this Editor liked this rifle more than the Ruger Precision Rifle. A lot more. The GRS stock fit better, the Savage bolt cycled much more smoothly, the trigger was better, and the magazine seated more easily. If you don’t have to be “tacticool” with a metal stock, you should definitely consider this Savage. The new Savage GRS-10 will be offered in 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win chamberings. Here’s a video review by Guns America.
Blacktical Bolt-Action Rifles — The PRS Influence
We saw many new (or upgraded) PRS-style bolt action rifles in modular aluminum frames. There were offerings from Savage, Bergara, Tikka, and more. We’ll provide a more thorough run-down on these new guns next week. We really liked the new Tikka T3x TAC A1, while tactical shooters Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) were impressed with the new Bergara: “Bergara has in-sourced chassis and triggers to produce very high quality offerings at a very competitive price. Handling, shooting and cycling the bolt on the $1150 MSRP Hunting and Match Rifle would lead one to believe the price tag was a mistake (maybe the first digit should have been a 2). We felt the same when we got behind the $1,699 Bergara Match Precision Rifle.”
Tikka T3x TAC A1
Bergara Match Precision
Pistols — The Sounds of Silence
The most interesting handgun on display was SilencerCo’s Maxim 9, which features an integral suppressor. It looks bulky but it felt relatively normal in the hand. The silencer did tame muzzle lift as well as reduce sound levels dramatically. This is an impressive piece of engineering.
There were many other pistols equipped with more conventional screw-on silencers. Here is a special edition Smith & Wesson M&P model.
Optics — High-End Models from Schmidt and Bender
There were many new optics on display at Media Day, none more impressive than the new 5-45x56mm PMII from Schidmt & Bender. Led by our good friend Kyle Brown, Schmidt & Bender USA had a strong presence at Range Day, with many optics models fitted to high-end tactical rifles. Jason Baney (shown below with Kyle), used one of these rifle/scope combos to make 5 of 5 hits on steel at 960 yards.
Jason Baney checks out the new 5-45x56mm PM II with help from Kyle Brown (left).
Meeting Old Friends
One of the great things about Media Day is the chance to re-connect with old friends. At the Winchester booth, it was great to see Kim Rhode, a six-time Olympic medalist (including three golds). She is the first Summer Olympian to win an individual medal at six consecutive summer games. Kim, a Californian, is leading efforts to challenge draconian new California laws that will severely restrict how ammo is distributed and sold in California. Kim said that, under the new ammo laws, she will not be able to obtain the special “International Loads” she shoots in competition. We wish Kim well in her efforts. We believe that California’s new laws restricting the purchase of ammunition are unconstitutional and, hopefully, will be challenged successfully in court.
Along with Kim we met with our friends Steve (L) and Ed (R), aka the 6.5 Guys, along with past Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann (in middle below).
World Record AR Speed-Shooting by Jerry Miculek
At the Smith & Wesson shooting bay, we watched the legendary Jerry Miculek set a world speed record for 10 rifle rounds total on three targets. Before a cheering gallery of fans, Jerry drilled multiple sub-two second runs using his S&W M&P 15T semi-auto rifle. The fastest split was a 1.59 (but we’re waiting for final confirmation on that). We’re told that’s definitely a new world record. Jerry may not be getting any younger, but he’s still blazing fast. Jerry calls this 10-shot drill “STL” or Share the Love.
Ammunition — Polymer Jacketed Pistol Bullets
One of the more notable, recent developments in pistol ammo has been synthetic jacketed bullets. With a total polymer shell over a lead core, these are safer when shooting steel targets because they do not fragment like conventional, jacketed bullets. With no exposed lead or copper, there’s minimal contact between these materials and the barrel, so there’s less copper and lead fouling. Moreover, according to Federal’s test engineers, the red Syntech coating produced 12% less friction in the barrel. Here is the American Eagle 9mm Luger 115gr Total Syntec Jacketed ammo provided by Beretta at Media Day.
And that’s a wrap… now on to SHOT Show.
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Sierra Bullets has just released very complete load data for the popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This medium-sized cartridge has become one of the most popular chamberings for tactical and PRS shooters. The 6.5 Creedmoor combines excellent accuracy, good mag-feeding, good barrel life, moderate recoil, and reasonable component cost. That’s why this cartridge has caught on quickly.
Developed in 2007 by Dennis DeMille and Dave Emary, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a shortened and improved 30 TC cartridge case that was inspired by the .308 Winchester design. This short action design was created to maximize case capacity and a wide range of loading lengths, while still fitting in standard short action magazines. With the correct twist barrel, the versatile 6.5 Creedmoor can take advantage of the wide range of bullet weights available in 6.5 mm (i.e. .264 caliber). Reloaders should keep in mind that the 6.5 Creedmoor works best with medium to medium-slow powders such as H4350, Varget, Win 760, and RE-17. The light recoil and adaptability of the efficient 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has already proven itself in high power, precision rifle series and benchrest competitions. Couple that with respectable barrel life and its intrinsic accuracy potential and you have a recipe for success which should insure its legacy for decades to come.
Here are three tables from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual (5th Edition). IMPORTANT — This is just a sample!! Sierra has load data for many other 6.5mm bullet types, including FB, Spitzer, SBT, HPBT, and Tipped MK from 85 grains to 142 grains. To view ALL 6.5 Creedmoor DATA, CLICK HERE.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
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We like binoculars with built-in Laser Rangefinding capability. With rangefinding binoculars, you can carry one less piece of gear, and a binocular optic is much more effective in the field than the monocular on a typical dedicated laser rangefinder (LRF). The stereo view gives better definition and depth perception, and the larger, binocular lenses give better low-light performance than the smaller-diameter monocular optic found in a conventional LRF.
Leica and Swarovski make excellent rangefinding binoculars, with great glass and impressive laser performance. But these European LRF Binoculars are very expensive — the latest Leica 10×42 Geovid is $2600.00 and the Swarovski 10×42 EL hits the three grand ($3000.00) mark. Frankly, that’s just too expensive for the vast majority of consumers.
New Vortex Rangefinding Binoculars at $1199.00 Street Price
Enter Vortex into the HD rangefinding binoculars marketplace with a quality, life-time “unconditional” guaranteed product at less than HALF the price of the Leica Geovid. MSRP of the Vortex’s new Fury HD Laser Rangefinder Binoculars is $1599.00, but “street price” will be hundreds less. Vortex says “expect to pay about $1199.00 at dealers for the Fury HD”. A lot more guys can afford $1200.00 than $2600.00, that’s for sure.
The Vortex Fury has some very cool features. It offers angle compensation as well as line-of-site modes. Scan mode gives readings as you pan or track a moving animal. You can set the distance output to yards or meters. All the controls are on the right side so you can operate the Fury HD easily with one hand. Check out the Fury’s features in the promo video below:
The Fury HD has good glass — fully multicoated HD lenses with good lowlight performance. The armored housing seems pretty tough. We like the fact that Vortex has provided a left eye diopter adjustment so users can fine-tune image focus for their vision.
Vortex says the Fury HD will range “reflective targets to 1600 yards with an ultra-fast readout”. That may be a bit generous. In the real world, we expect the hand-held Fury HD to range deer-sized objects out to 800 yards or so, and larger objects (such as vehicles) out to 1200. This is based on our testing of other similar rangefinding binoculars.
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Bergera Rifles has introduced a new rifle designed for the tactical, PRS, and long-range hunting markets. Bergara’s new B14 Series Hunting and Match Rifle (HMR) features an ergonomic, adjustable stock fitted with an internal aluminum sub-chassis. Initially, the HMR will be offered in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win chamberings, fed with AICS-compatible box magazines. We’re pleased that all HMRs are guaranteed to produce sub-MOA groups at 100 yards using factory match-grade ammunition. Weight, without optics, is 9.15 lbs, about one pound less than the Ruger Precision Rifle. MSRP is $1,150.00.
The Spanish-made HMR boasts a molded synthetic stock with built-in machined aluminum mini-chassis. This mini-chassis allows secure, repeatable bedding for Bergara’s B14 action, which features two-lug bolt wtih coned bolt-head. The Chrome-Moly Bergara barrels are threaded 5/8″ x 24 at the muzzle for brakes or suppressors. The HMR uses a precision-machined bottom metal and is designed to accept AICS-style magazines.
The stock has a multi-stage textured finish, which looks good. Designed for both righties and lefties, the ambidextrous stock features an adjustable cheekpiece, and length of pull is adjustable with simple spacers. For slings and accessories, the HMR stock offers multiple flush cup QD mounts as well as multiple swivel studs for bipods and/or slings.
This should be an interesting addition to the line-up of factory rifles suitable for the PRS Series Production Class. But frankly, we think Bergara went too short with the barrels (or at least should offer longer barrels as options). In 6.5 Creedmoor, at 22″ you’re giving up 90 FPS or so compared to a 27″ (See Barrel Cut-Down Test). Additionally, we think most PRS competitors would prefer a different profile on the fore-end. Nonetheless for tactical guys who don’t like modular metal stocks, this is an interesting (and pretty affordable) new offering.
Bergara B14 HMR Rifle Specifications:
Chamberings: 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester
Action Type: 2-lug action, sliding plate extractor, cone bolt nose and breech
Magazine: AICS style mag compatible – Includes one Magpul® PMAG AICS Magazine
Barrel Specs: 6.5 Creedmoor (1:8″ Twist, 22″); .308 Win (1:10″ twist; 20″)
Mini-Chassis Material: 7075 T6 aluminum
Weight without scope: 9.15 pounds
Learn more about Bergara rifles in this SHOT Show Video by the 6.5 Guys
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What do you get when you cut a 6.5 Creedmoor-chambered barrel down to just over 16 inches? A lot more velocity than you might think. Our friends at Rifleshooter.com recently did a barrel cut-down test with 6.5 Creedmoor test rifle, shortening the barrel from 27 to 16.1 inches in one-inch increments. Surprisingly, with a 142gr Sierra MK, the total velocity loss (as measured with a Magnetospeed) was just 158 FPS, an average of 14.4 FPS per inch of barrel length. With the lighter 120gr A-Max bullet, the total velocity loss was 233 FPS, or 21.8 FPS average loss per inch of barrel.
Five (5) rounds of each type of cartridge were fired at each barrel length and the velocity data was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed V3 barrel-mounted chronograph. The rifle was then cleared and the barrel was cut back one inch at a time from 27″ to just over 16″. NOTE: During this winter test, the air temperature was a very chilly 23° F. One would expect higher velocities across the board had the outside temperature been higher.
The photo below shows how the barrel was cut down, inch-by-inch, using a rotary saw. The barrel was pre-scored at inch intervals. As the main purpose of the test was to measure velocity (not accuracy) the testers did not attempt to create perfect crowns.
6.5 Creedmoor vs. Other Mid-Sized 6.5mm Cartridges
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very popular cartridge with the tactical and PRS crowd. This mid-size cartridge offers good ballistics, with less recoil than a .308 Winchester. There’s an excellent selection of 6.5mm bullets, and many powder choices for this cartridge. When compared to the very accurate 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers similar performance with less expensive brass. For a tactical shooter who must sometimes leave brass on the ground, brass cost is a factor to consider. Here’s a selection of various 6.5 mm mid-sized cartridges. Left to right are: 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor with 120gr A-Max, 6.5 Creedmoor with 142gr Sierra MK, and .260 Remington.
When asked to compare the 6.5 Creedmoor to the 6.5×47 Lapua, Rifleshooter.com’s editor stated: “If you don’t hand load, or are new to precision rifle shooting, get a 6.5 Creedmoor. If you shoot a lot, reload, have more disposable income, and like more esoteric cartridges, get a 6.5×47 Lapua. I am a big fan of the 6.5×47 Lapua. In my personal experience, the 6.5×47 Lapua seems to be slightly more accurate than the 6.5 Creedmoor. I attribute this to the quality of Lapua brass.”
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Here’s a great deal for you tactical guys out there. Now through January 2, 2017, McMillan Fiberglass Stocks is offering $125.00 off its popular A5 Stock. And what’s more, you can even get FREE Shipping: “Take $125 off your purchase of the McMillan A5 – Standard Stock in our online retail store and receive free shipping! Use promo code: HOLIDAYSALE16 . Supplies are limited. Offer is only valid for the online retail store. Hurry, this offer ends Monday, January 2, 2017.”
DROP IN READY FOR:
— Right hand Remington 700 short or long action.
— BDL hinged floor plate or Badger M5 Detachable Box Magazine.
— Remington varmint/sendero/tactical/5R barrel.
On McMillan’s A5 Standard Page, you can select your desired variation of the A5 — select color, action length, inletting type and more. NOTE: Offer is only valid for the online retail store. Free shipping applies to orders in the Continental USA.
McMillan A5 Sale tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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A good sling is a vital accessory for a hunting or tactical rifle. Along with enabling over-the-shoulder carry, a good “tactical” sling will also provide support for shooting from hasty or improvised shooting positions. In fact, in many tactical/practical precision matches there will be at least one positional shooting stage or a stage where only a sling may be used for support (that means no bipod, no tripod, no sandbags, and no shooting sticks). The 6.5 Guys, Ed and Steve, recommend tactical slings that allow quick set-up and easy adjustment. The best slings allow shooters to quickly slip into them and then make rapid fine-tuning adjustments to build a stable shooting position.
Six Tactical/Practical Slings are Reviewed in this Video:
In this episode, Ed and Steve provide an overview and compare/contrast different designs and the functionality of six popular slings from these suppliers: Armageddon Gear, Tab Gear, Rifles Only, Hard Target Interdiction, Short Action Precision, and Accuracy International.
To learn more about tactical/practical shooting disciplines, or to access more shooting gear/accessories reviews by Ed and Steve, visit 65guys.com and subscribe to the 6.5 Guys’ YouTube Channel.
Video Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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Keystone Sporting Arms has created a new rimfire rifle that shares the looks and ergonomics of the Accuracy International AICS. Keystone’s new Crickett Precision Rifle (CPR) is a single-shot .22 LR bolt action rifle that uses the barreled action from the Crickett series of rifles. Trigger pull weight is 2.5-3.0 pounds. The AICS Classic-style stock is ambidextrous, but only a right bolt, right port version of the CPR is offered at this time, model KSA2150. Stock length of pull is adjustable (via spacers) from 11.5 to 13.5 inches, and there is an adjustable cheek-piece.
The Crickett Precision Rifle should be available in January 2017 and retail for approximately $310.00. This small .22 LR bolt action should appeal to Accuracy International fans who want a rimfire rifle for low-cost cross-training. This could also be a good first rifle for a young shooter. And if Dad owns a real Accuracy Int’l AICS rifle, the little AI clone would be a fun rimfire rig for son or daughter. That way the youngster(s) could shoot a smaller version of their parent’s rifle. Like father, like son (or daughter)!
Reader Boyd Allen likes this little rifle, which has a length of pull suitable for younger shooters: “I like seeing parents taking their kid(s) to the range, developing the next generation of shooters. For the price of what some guys spend on a set of fancy rings, you can purchase this little rifle and a youngster can enjoy shooting a rimfire that looks like the real-deal tactical rigs used by the ‘Big Boys’. That’s how you capture a kid’s interest.”
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How is a modern, metal-chassis rifle built? This very cool video from Masterpiece Arms answers that question. The nicely-edited video shows the creation of a Masterpiece Arms tactical rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the manufacturing process are illustrated: 3D CAD modeling, CNC milling of the chassis, barrel threading/contouring, chamber-reaming, barrel lapping, laser engraving, and stock coating. If you love to see machines at work, you will enjoy this video…
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Kevin Muramatsu’s black rifle book, the Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15, is a great resource for fans of AR-platform rifles. All the AR options you can imagine are covered: suppressors, premium barrels, adjustable stocks, free-float handguards, ergonomic grips, buffer systems, tactical lights and much more. Those planning an AR rifle build will find application-specific suggestions for 3-Gun, Service Rifle, High Power (Space Gun), Hunting, and Self-Defense use.
Firearms expert Muramatsu offers advice on choosing the right stock/barrel/optics configuration for your particular game. He also discusses the wide variety of options for slings, grips, magazines and other accessories. With over 520 photos, the book includes a large photo gallery of customized ARs, and includes bonus coverage of the FAL and other “tactical” firearms. The Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15 is available from Amazon.com for $21.87, and a Kindle eBook version is offered for $14.99. The book is also sold by Barnes & Noble, and most other major booksellers.
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Gearlocker.nz, a New Zealand outdoor sports website, recently interviewed our friends Ed and Steve, aka the “6.5 Guys”. In this Gearlocker Video Interview, Ed and Steve cover many topics including Precision Rifle Series matches, gear selection, and effective hand-loading techniques. Kerry, the creator of Gearlocker.nz, writes: “The 6.5 Guys are Steve and Ed, two guys who decided to start documenting their progress in long-range practical precision shooting. They have built a dedicated following on YouTube and Facebook. Consistently putting out high-quality content [covering] their equipment choices and use, the 6.5 Guys have created a fantastic resource for anyone involved in shooting.”
Who are the 6.5 Guys? They are Steve (left) and Ed (right), a pair of avid shooters based in the Pacific Northwest. They have released dozens of helpful videos on the 6.5 Guys YouTube Channel.
You can check out the 6.5 Guys’ website at www.65Guys.com. Below is a sample from one of the 6.5 Guys’ best articles — Five Tips on getting started in practical/tactical matches.
We often meet people who are new to long range precision shooting, and want to improve their knowledge and skill level. However, they aren’t sure if they are ready to sign up to compete in a match. They often ask, “What knowledge or skills [and gear] are necessary to compete in a match?”
TIP ONE: Make Plans and Commit to Go
First you need to start by finding a match to attend. We recommend starting with any match that may be within a reasonable driving distance. This may likely be a local “club” match, many of which are held on a regular basis. Once you decide on the match you want to attend, do your homework. This means finding out if you need to pre-register or pre-pay the match fee. Commit to going by registering for the match and putting it on your schedule.
The 2016 GAP Grind, the biggest Precision Rifle Series event in history, was a huge success. Pro Class winner Jim See reports: “What a weekend! The GAP Grind was one of the best-run matches I have ever shot. George Gardner, Shannon Kay, and some of the best ROs in the sport ran 236 shooters [firing 200+ rounds of ammo each] in about 18 hours over two days. Bushnell Sports Optics and G.A. Precision were the title sponsors. Thank you for your efforts to host matches like the Pro-AM. Congrats to Nick Steder and Matthew Saban for the win on the Team portion of the event. I competed against many friends at this match, some shined and some struggled. All of them are top notch. Thanks guys for the help and support through-out the year.”
Ramia Whitecotton Facebook photo.
Jim See reports: “Day 2 had every shooter on his own point scoring, with the Amateurs getting coaching from their PRO — that’s such a great match format for learning. My Surgeon Rifle in 6.5×47 Lapua ran flawlessly with my Gen 2 Vortex Razor allowing Berger Bullets to find their mark. My new friend Clifton Reasor brought some of the new Game Changer bags to the match and I snagged one Saturday night. Great product and aptly named — this thing has earned a permanent place in my pack.”
Josh Temnnen Facebook photo
Charles R. added: “Shannon Kay & George Gardner did an outstanding job running the largest PRS match in history. The ROs and support staff were exceptional. So much greatness in this match…”
One stage required the use of “human support” by one’s team-mate. Here Shooting USA’s John Scoutten provides a strong shoulder for a female competitor.
Ramia Whitecotton Facebook photo.
LITTLE GIRLS GRIND TOO
There were some very young and very talented junior lady competitors at this year’s GAP Grind. These school-girls had fun and showed the big boys a thing or two.
George Gardner says this little lady (above) can shoot: “300-yard positional mover, 9 years old, 4 hits! This is what it’s all about people — GAP Grind Pro-Am!”
Mike R. says: “I couldn’t be more proud of my daughter (above) shooting the GAP Grind. She had a great time and did pretty well for her first huge match flying solo. The good news is she really likes shooting, the bad news is she really likes shooting! I’m looking forward to taking her to many more matches. Thanks Shannon Kay and George Gardner for letting her shoot the Grind. Thanks Alison T. for being her partner. She had a blast!” (photo by Mike R.)
2016 GAP GRIND Gallery
Enjoy the images from the 2016 GAP Grind. Photos, unless otherwise indicated, come from Ramia Whitecotton’s GAP GRIND 2016 photo album.
Here’s a “Dawn Patrol” shot from Bryan Sikes. He mastered this stage: “6:00 am cold bore…..nailed it!”
The Pipeline Stage was claustrophobic…
With 236 competitors, the firing lines at the 2016 GAP Grind were full.
The shooting platform offered a double-decker challenge…
Editor’s Comment: It’s great to see such a well-attended and well-run event. Many participants reported that this was probably the “best GAP Grind ever”. That said, we notice from the photos that many competitors did not use eye protection. For myriad reasons that should be obvious, we strongly encourage all competitive shooters, no matter what their discipline, to use quality eye protection whenever shooting firearms.
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For a prone shooter, particularly on dusty, dirty or sandy ground, muzzle blast is a major bummer. Muzzle blast can be very disturbing — not just for the trigger-puller but for persons on either side of the gun as well. Some muzzle brakes send a huge shockwave back towards the shooter, and others send blast towards the ground, kicking dirt and debris into the prone shooter’s face. If there was a way to illustrate those factors — shockwave and debris — that might help shooters select one brake design over another.
Cal Zant at PrecisionRifleBlog.com applied a unique blend of creativity and resourcefulness to try to answer that question for 20+ muzzle brakes. Using high-speed photography and household products, he captured the blast pattern of 20+ different brake designs for easy side-by-side comparison. Can you figure out how Cal managed to show muzzle brake blasts so clearly? His “hi-viz” solution, revealed in the article, is very clever. See the eye-opening results for 20+ brakes, with illustrative photos, by visiting the Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Ground Signature Test Page.
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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 offers 180-Alpha Chassis for Savage rifles. This fully-adjustable, light-weight (3.5 lbs) chassis fits Savage short action rifles with 4.4″ action bolt spacing. The 180-Alpha 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 starts at $768.00 for the side bolt-release version. A bottom-release model is slightly more.
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.
Using the KRG Chassis, a take-off Savage action, and a premium pre-fit barrel, you can build a similar system for around $1540.00. Here’s how we get that figure: $370.00 for Criterion pre-fit barrel, $400.00 for action (YMMV), and $768.00 for stock (Total $1538.00).
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 KRG X-RAY Chassis fits the Rem 700 Short Action, and Tikka T3, and the 180 X-RAY fits the CZ-455, Howa 1500, and Weatherby Vanguard platforms.
Product Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Here’s an item for tactical and Precision Rifle Series (PRS) shooters. Howa is releasing a new rifle with a modular metal chassis. The new Howa HCR (Howa Chassis Rifle) combines a Howa 1500 barreled action with a modern, fully-adjustable aluminum chassis. The Howa’s MSRP is $1299.00, 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.
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 form 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 that some similar rifles on the market.
Howa HCR Features
• Howa 1500 Barreled Action with 20″ and 24″ Heavy Barrel options
• Black 6061-T6 Aluminum Chassis with Free-Float M-LOK Forend
• LUTH AR Buttstock with LOP Adjustment (12.5″ to 16.75″) and Adjustable Comb
• 10-RD ACCURATE Detachable, Teflon-coated Steel Magazine
• Two-Stage H.A.C.T. Trigger
• 3 Position Safety
The HOWA HCR features an adjustable, two-stage HACT trigger, set for about 3 pounds (combined stages). Crisp and repeatable, this is an excellent trigger for a factory gun. In our opinion, the HACT trigger is clearly superior to the trigger on the Ruger RPR, as well as the Savage AccuTrigger. And there is no annoying Glock-style safety lever in the middle of the trigger blade.
Available in .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win chamberings.
NOTE: For all chamberings, 24″ barrels are offered, with 20″ options for the .223 Rem and .308 Win as well. Twist rates are 1:9″ for .223 Rem, 1:10″ for .243 Win, 1:8″ for 6.5 Creedmoor, and 1:10″ for .308 Win. We think .243 Win shooters will NOT be happy with the 1:10″ twist. We would prefer to see a 1:8″-twist for the .243 Win so it can shoot the 105-115 grain 6mm bullets. Most competitive 6mm shooters will want a true 8-twist or even a 1:7.5″.
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Looking for a great price on an excellent hunting rifle? Here is the Tikka Deal of the Decade. EuroOptic.com has received nearly 3,500 Tikka T3 rifles, which will be sold at deep discounts as part of an inventory clearance program by Beretta, Tikka’s parent company. The Tikka T3 is a good, stout rifle with a smooth, 3-lug action, crisp trigger, and quality barrel. Accuracy is typically well under 1 MOA (for three shots). T3 barreled actions also are a good “core” for a tactical build. The strong T3 action handles detachable magazines, and fits a variety of third-party stocks such as McRees Precision G7 and G10 chassis systems.
Our friend Jason Baney of EuroOptic.com tells us: “We have two tractor-trailer loads of Tikka T3 rifles (about 3500 units) dropping here today…and the sale prices are amazingly low. I am sure it will take a day or so to get all the rifles in the system, then they will show in stock. Everything currently showing on our site should either be in stock or coming in stock this week. Feel free to order/backorder through the link below, or give us a shout.”
With McMillan’s new “Inlet Ready” series of fiberglass stocks, you can get a customized McMillan stock in just two to four weeks. Use the web-based stock selector in McMillan’s online Retail Store.
To get to the Inlet Ready section, from the McMillan Home Page click “Retail Store“, then select “Stocks in Inventory” from the left-hand column. After clicking “Stocks in Inventory” from the left column, select “Inlet Ready” from the sub-menu. This video explains how to order your Inlet Ready stock for delivery in two to four weeks:
Get Free Shipping with Orders Over $400.00
Here’s another way you can save on purchases of McMillan stocks and shooting accessories. Go to McMillan’s online Retail Store. Choose stocks, bipods, gun cases, ammunition, apparel, triggers, and other items offered for sale. Then, during check-out, use Promo CODE mcm16. This will provide FREE Shipping if your total order is $400.00 or more.
NOTE: Free shipping applies to orders over $400, standard ground delivery in the Continental USA. Shipping charges on previous orders will not be reimbursed. This offer cannot be combined with other promotions or offers.
Product and Sale tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Have you been bitten by the PRS Bug? Our friends, Ed Mobley and Steve Lawrence, aka the “6.5 Guys”, have written an excellent article on getting started in practical/tactical competition. If you are new to the game, these tips can help you save money, progress faster, and have more fun. Here are article highlights, but we recommend you read the full story,5 Tips for Attending Your First Precision Rifle Match, onwww.65guys.com.
We often meet people who are new to long range precision shooting, and want to improve their knowledge and skill level. However, they aren’t sure if they are ready to sign up to compete in a match. They often ask, “What knowledge or skills are necessary to compete in a match?” Others may state, “I need to purchase this gear or that gear before I can attend a match”. For those guys who have a strong interest in precision rifle shooting, and who wish to check out a precision rifle match, below are Five Tips to make it a positive experience.
TIP ONE: Make Plans and Commit to Go
First you need to start by finding a match to attend. This may entail a little bit of research and investigative work on your part to find what matches are scheduled in the next few months. We recommend starting with any match that may be within a reasonable driving distance. This may likely be a local “club” match, many of which are held on a regular basis. These make great venues because it will provide an opportunity to meet some of the regular attendees as well as shooters that are from your geographic area. Additionally, most of the smaller matches are a little more relaxed in terms of level of competitiveness.
Once you decide on the match you want to attend, do your homework. This means finding out if you need to pre-register or pre-pay the match fee. Commit to going by registering for the match and putting it on your schedule. Be sure to find other useful information for questions such as:
— What time should I arrive?
— Is there a mandatory safety briefing for new shooters at that venue?
— What is the travel time required to get to the match site?
— How many stages will there be?
— Is there a description of the stages available before the match?
— How many rounds should you bring?
— Are there special equipment requirements? (E.g. do you need chamber flags, is there a pistol stage?)
TIP TWO: Bring What You Have
(Don’t Spend a Fortune at the Start)
Some new shooters often assume they need a custom match rifle or all of the miscellaneous shooting gear associated with long range precision shooting to compete in match. While having a Kestrel weather meter and a high quality laser range finder and other shooting accoutrements are invaluable kit, you will find other shooters at your first match that will provide you with the information and coaching you need to get on target.
In fact, the only gear you really need to bring is a scoped rifle with a bipod and ammo capable of consistently shooting within one MOA. Also, be sure to know the ballistic drops or have a ballistic drop table prepared for your rifle/ammo to dial the correct DOPE on your scope for different target ranges. Many of the other participants at the match will be willing to let you borrow a support bag, bipod, tripod or other gear if you need one — just ask. Don’t use the excuse of not having the right gear to delay getting out to a match!
One reason not to make a big initial investment in a new rifle and assorted gear before competing, is we’ve seen a number of people come into the sport and try it for a year and then make the decision to move on to something else.
TIP THREE: Be Prepared to Learn
As a new shooter at a match, there is no better opportunity to learn. We often look to our local club matches as a group ‘training’ session to prepare for the bigger matches. You will find competitors at all levels of skill and many of your fellow shooters will enthusiastically provide helpful advice once they learn you are new to the sport. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions if you would like ideas for how to engage a stage, but also be sure to do more listening than talking as you receive guidance and tips from more experienced competitors.
Watch and observe other shooters and how they approach and ‘game’ a specific stage or course of fire. You’ll begin to recognize which shooting positions work best for different scenarios, and maybe even come up with some new ones that no one has thought of before.
Seeing what the better shooters do is an invaluable instructional tool. You can use your smart phone’s video camera to record other shooters (with their permission). When you’re ready to shoot, ask another shooter to record your performance. Watching yourself will point out needed areas of improvement.
After each match conduct an informal after action review and summarize for yourself the things that went well and what you should continue to do. You should also identify the specific shooting skills you should develop and make a plan to integrate the appropriate practice drills into your practice sessions. Finally, if you maintain a shooter’s data book or journal you’ll want to note things such as:
After Action Review – How you did, what went well, things you need to work on in practice. Stage Observations – Successful methods used for specific courses of fire. Note barricades, positions used, specific gear used for stages. Gear Observations – How your rifle/gear performed, what new items you should add to your “buy list”.
TIP FOUR: Be Safe and Have Fun
You’ve all heard a parent or teacher say, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” The same can be said of the shooting sports. Safe handling of firearms is the number one rule at any match, and comes before the FUN part in terms of importance.
Before all matches start there will always be some form of a mandatory safety briefing. Make sure you know, understand, and follow any unique safety protocols for the match you attend. Some matches require all rifles have chamber flags inserted and are stowed in bags/cases while not on the firing line — other matches may not. If you run afoul of any safety rules, you risk the chance of being disqualified from a stage or worse, the entire match.
The second rule is simply have fun. This starts with having a good attitude throughout the day. Keep in mind that as a new competitor you should think of a match as a solid day of practice and training. If you blow a stage, use it as an opportunity to diagnose what you could have done differently or what you need to improve on — then smile and drive on.
Any day at the range or shooting is a good day. A match is an opportunity to hang out with like-minded people who are passionate about shooting and impacting targets far-far away. Life is great when you are doing what you enjoy!
TIP FIVE: Make Friends
There is no better way to meet lots of precision rifle shooters and make friends than at a match. The people that attend the tactical precision matches on a regular basis are those that have ‘fallen into the deep end of the pool’ and are really into the sport. As a result, they have become part of the local precision shooting community. As you strike up conversations at the match, find out if your new-found friends visit specific forum boards or social media outlets, or if there are other matches they attend.
Precision shooters tend to congregate and share information in different corners of the Internet. It will serve you well to meet some of the guys in person at matches and be able to connect a face to a screen name. As you develop your friendships and develop a level of trust, you will find opportunities become available to shoot with others in your local area, or get ‘read-in’ on a secret honey-hole of a spot to shoot long distance. Additionally, the local shooting community will often find it more convenient to sell or trade gear and equipment locally than deal with buyers/sellers that are out of state.
Tactical ace Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms employs a simple, handy means to store his elevation and wind dift data — a laminated data card. To make one, first generate a come-up table, using one of the free online ballistics programs such as JBM Ballistics. You can also put the information in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word table and print it out. You want to keep it pretty small.
Above is a sample of a data card. For each distance, the card includes drop in inches, drop in MOA, drop in mils. It also shows drift for a 10-mph cross wind, expressed three ways–inches, MOA, and mils. Zak explained that “to save space… I printed data every 50 yards. For an actual data-card, I recommend printing data every 20 or 25 yards.” But Zak also advised that you’ll want to customize the card format to keep things simple: “The sample card has multiple sets of data to be more universal. But if you make your own data card, you can reduce the chance of a mistake by keeping it simple. Because I use scopes with MILS, my own card (photo below left) just has three items: range, wind, drop in MILS only.”
Once you have the card you can fold it in half and then have it laminated at a local office store or Kinko’s. You can keep this in your pocket, tape it to your stock, or tie the laminated card to your rifle. If you regularly shoot at both low and high elevations, you may want to create multiple cards (since your ballistics change with altitude). To learn more about ballistic tables and data cards, check out the excellent Practical Long-Range Rifle Shooting–Part 1 article on Zak’s website. This article offers many other insights as well–including valuable tips on caliber and rifle selection.
Scope-Cover Mounted Ballistics Table
Another option is to place your ballistics card on the back of the front flip-up scope cover. This set-up is used by Forum member Greg C. (aka “Rem40X”). With your ‘come-up’ table on the flip-up cover you can check your windage and elevation drops easily without having to move out of shooting position.
Greg tells us: “Placing my trajectory table on the front scope cover has worked well for me for a couple of years and thought I’d share. It’s in plain view and not under my armpit. And the table is far enough away that my aging eyes can read it easily. To apply, just use clear tape on the front objective cover.”
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The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) has been a hot seller since it was first released. All versions (.243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win) have been in high demand, with the 6.5 Creedmoor probably being the hardest to find. The RPR represents a solid value, and it is the logical “default” choice for the new Production Class in the Precision Rifle Series. (NOTE: If you spend around $1400 for the RPR, then add a $950.00 6-24x50mm Viper PST, you’re still well under the $3000.00 Production Class price limit for rifle and optic combined.)
In this video, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, along with Ed and Steve of 6.5Guys.com, review the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) in 6.5 Creedmoor. This particular rifle was fitted with the Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50mm scope. Together, Gavin and the 6.5 Guys give their opinions on the rifle, the 6.5mm chambering, and the Vortex optic. They provide candid evaluations (of rifle and optic) based on field tests with targets from 100 to 1000 yards.
Gavin tells us: “The Ruger Precision Rifle is a great rifle platform. I’ve had some great groups right out of the box, and have had no problems staying on target at ranges of 1000 yards and beyond. To me, the Ruger Precision Rifle is an ‘easy buy’ for the new competitive shooter or practical field shooter. But what about optics? It can be very confusing and overwhelming when shopping for ‘just the right scope’. There are so many great scopes on the market it can be staggering to take in all of the options. We wanted to give you some hands-on impressions of one of the most popular picks for optics for the Ruger Precision Rifle and similar rifles in the ~$1000 price range: the Vortex Viper PST 6-24×50 riflescope.”
Gavin was very pleased with the Vortex Viper PST: “Having used this scope in a variety of scenarios, ranges, and over the course of more than 1/2 of a year, I’m confident with not only the scope itself, but the entire package: Rifle + Scope + Mount (rings).”
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