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

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
October 30th, 2017

Bargain Finder 110: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Whittaker Guns — Howa 1500 Youth Model in 6.5 Grendel

Hunting gear 1701 father son hunter hunting

Great “Bang for the Buck” — If you’re looking for a hunting rifle for your son or daughter, here’s a very good gun that’s light-weight and sized for youngsters. Right now the Howa Mini Action Youth Model in 6.5 Grendel is just $349.99 at Whittaker Guns. This special Youth model has a shorter stock with 12.5″ length of pull. Weighing under 5.7 pounds with 20″ barrel, this rifle is light enough for a boy or girl to carry easily. Factory hunting ammo is available from Federal, Hornady, and Alexander Arms.

2. MidwayUSA — 1500 Rounds Norma Tac-22 Ammo, $109.99

Deals of Week Norma Tac-22 Tac22 ammo
.22 LR 22LR rimfire smallbore ammo Norma Tac-22

Check out those groups. That’s impressive accuracy at 50 yards. You’d expect to pay $10.00 or more per box for rimfire ammo that can shoot this well. But you can now get the Norma Tac-22 for the equivalent of $3.66 per box in this package deal — 1500 rounds in Ammo Can for $109.99. This works out to just 7 cents a round for very good .22 LR rimfire ammo — that’s a steal. NOTE: The target photos come from Champion Shooters Supply, which may have gotten an exceptional lot. This vendor tells us: “We have found this to run very well in Ruger rifles, handguns, and target pistols. These are 5-shot groups at 50 yards with an Anschutz 1913 rifle. This is an incredible value.”

3. Grafs.com — Caldwell Rock Front Rest, $119.99

Graf's Grafs.com Caldwell Rock Benchrest BR front rest iron with bag

The Caldwell Rock BR Front Rest is sturdy and stable. It ships with two front bags, a wide tri-lobe plus a conventional bag (shown above). The latter works quite well for rifles with narrow forearms — such as hunting rigs or ARs. This is a good option for a young shooter or someone getting started on a tight budget. We’ve used this rest on a varmint hunt and it worked well. Use the Mariner wheel for gross elevation changes and “fine tune” elevation by squeezing your rear sand bag. This same rest costs $139.61 at Amazon. Save $20.00 by purchasing through Grafs which also offers a single, flat $7.95 handling fee per order — no extra shipping charge. Purchase multiple items from Grafs.com and pay just one $7.95 fee.

4. Precision Reloading — Nosler Brass and Bullets 20-25% Off

Nosler brass bullets discount sale Precision Reloading

Here’s a good sale at Precision Reloading. If you are looking for great pricing on Nosler-brand brass and bullets, save now — components are discounted 20-25%. Check out the great pricing on 250-bullet quantities. Here are some of the better deals:

Nosler .204-Cal 40gr B-Tip Varmint Bullet: $40.99 for 250ct (marked down from $51.99)
Nosler .243-Cal 107gr Match Bullet: $40.99 for 250ct (marked down from $51.99)
Nosler .284-Cal (7mm) 175gr Accubond Bullet: $39.99 for 100ct (marked down from $55.99)
Nosler .308-Cal 155gr Match Bullet: $199.99 for 1000ct (marked down from $256.99)
Nosler .308-Cal 190gr Match Bullet: $65.99 for 250ct (marked down from $83.99)

5. GunBuyer.com — S&W M&P 9mm M2.0, $419.00

Smith Wesson M&P pistol handgun 9mm 9x19mm sale rebate

Here’s a good deal on a very reliable, accurate full-size 9x19mm pistol — the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm in handsome Flat Dark Earth finish. We like the distinctive color with contrasting matte black ambidextrous controls. This 9mm pistol is now on sale for $419.00. When we featured this same pistol in September, it proved very popular and sold out at the vendor. If you like it, you might want to act soon.

6. Bruno Shooters Supply — Halloween Sale through 10/31/2017

Bruno Shooters supply Halloween discount sale Sierra Bullets Kreiger barrels

To mark Halloween, Bruno Shooters Supply is running a store-wide sale this Monday and Tuesday (through 10/31/2017 at 11:59 PM). There are notable savings on a wide range of products including powder, bullets, brass, primers and even premium-quality Krieger barrels. If you need reloading components, or a new barrel for your rifle, check out this sale — but don’t dawdle. Sale prices expire on Halloween Night, Tuesday, October 31st at 11:59 pm.

7. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Muffs, $39.00

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Muffs hearing protection Howard Leight earmuffs sale bargain

Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $39.00, with free Prime Shipping. This is good deal — these NRR 22 muffs are currently Amazon’s #1 seller in the category.

8. CDNN Sports — Ruger 17 HMR American Compact, $269.99

Ruger 17 HMR American Compact

This is a good little rifle in our favorite varmint chambering. With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for prairie dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for a very attractive price. CDNN Sports is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire Compact, with 18″ barrel, for just $269.99. That includes two (2) comb units and a FREE padded carry sling. FFL required.

9. Amazon — Mystery Deal of the Week, 37% Savings

Mystery Amazon Deal shooting mat rifle tactical carry case

This double-duty product safeguards your firearms during transport AND provides a comfortable foundation when shooting prone. With a solid 4.5-star rating (240+ reviews) this item has impressed rifle-owning purchasers. Right now this product is being offered for around $52.00, a bargain considering all it can do. This versatile product performs multiple tasks and would be well-suited for PRS competitors. If you read the reviews you’ll see that recent purchasers have been very happy: “Superb for the money”; “Very practical”; “Really nice and well-constructed”; “Heavy Duty and versatile”.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
October 16th, 2017

Bargain Finder 108: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99

RCBS Special 5 Reloading Kit

Looking for a great holiday gift for a family member getting started in metallic cartridge reloading? This RCBS Kit has everything a new reloader needs: single-stage press, powder measure, scale, powder trickler, priming tool, cartridge tray, “rocket” chamfer tool, case lube and more. This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, on sale for just $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supplies. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you may want to add an additional, large heavy press, but this will get the job done. For the combined package, with all the tools one needs to hand-load quality ammo — this is a stunningly good deal at $199.99.

2. Amazon — RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press, $112.49

Amazon.com Amazon RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Reloading Press Sale

We said this was a good deal when priced around $135.00. Well now the Rock Chucker is just $112.49 at Amazon — matching the lowest price we’ve seen in years. The RCBS Rock Chucker remains a classic — a big, strong, versatile press that can handle most reloading chores with ease. And now you can get a genuine Rock Chucker Supreme for $112.49 — an insanely great deal. The Rock Chucker offers plenty of leverage for case-sizing and the “O” is tall enough for long cartridges. The Rock Chucker has a very strong base and should last a lifetime.

3. MidwayUSA — RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine, $104.99

RCBS ultrasound ultrasonic brass cartridge cleaner cleaning machine tank

If you’re looking for an ultrasonic cleaning machine — here’s a very good deal. On sale now at MidwayUSA for $104.99, this same unit sells for $139.99 on Amazon. With a powerful 60-watt transducer, this unit can process hundreds of cases at once. The machine boasts a 3.2 quart stainless tank with drain valve, five temp settings, and a 1-to-30 minute timer. There’s even a built-in sensor showing when to change solution. Here’s a verified buyer’s review: “Worth the money… it can heat the solution up to 140° F. The best thing about this cleaner… is that it has a drain port and valve — SO MUCH EASIER to drain compared to [other units].” NOTE: MidwayUSA has been offering free shipping for orders over $99.00 in recent days — check when you order.

4. Whittaker Guns — Howa Lightning 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle, $329.99

With this deal you can get a complete 6.5 Creedmoor Howa 1500 Rifle with HACT 2-Stage Trigger for just $329.99. That’s $80.00 less than the price of a Howa 1500 barreled action by itself! ($409.99 at Brownells). This is a no-frills rifle, but its hard to beat the $299.99 price for a solid, multi-purpose rifle. Use “As-Is” for hunting or drop it into a modular stock for tactical/practical games.

5. B&H — Kowa TSN-501 20-40X Angled Spotting Scope, $349.00

B&H Kowa TSN 501 Compact spotting scope bargain 20-40X

You don’t need to spend big bucks for an effective spotting scope to view mirage. You can get the Kowa TSN-501 Angled Spotting Scope for just $349.00 from B&H Photo. This is a super-compact scope with 50mm objective and built-in 20-40X eyepiece. Though relatively new, the small, light-weight TSN-501 can perform basic spotting tasks effectively. This doesn’t have the resolution of the $1500+ spotters but this is fine for viewing mirage and shot markers. Put the money you save into barrels and bullets.

6. CMP — ELEY .22 LR CMP Standard Ammo, 7 Cents per Round

CMP Eley Standard Bulk pack

ELEY, the UK-based rimfire ammo-maker, has teamed up with the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) here in the USA. Now you can purchase quality ELEY-made ammo for just seven cents a round. This new “ELEY CMP Standard” ammunition, available exclusively through the CMP, propels an accurate 40-grain bullet with an average velocity of 1090 fps. These particular paraffin-coated bullets are designed feed reliably through all .22 LR firearm platforms.

ELEY CMP standard will be available exclusively through the CMP. Though budget-priced, it “will still be incredibly accurate compared to other ammo at this price point”. There is a limit of two (2) cases per individual per year, priced at $354.95 for 5000 rounds, with Free Shipping to all contiguous U.S. States. NOTE: To purchase this ammo you must register and provide proof of eligibility.

7. MidwayUSA — Packable Shooting Mat, $19.99

MidwayUSA roll packable shooting mat light weight mat

Here’s a heck of a deal on a good light-weight shooting mat. MidwayUSA has slashed the price on its Packable Shooting Mat. Available in Coyote Tan or Olive Drab, this 67″ Long x 31″ Wide padded mat is now just $19.99. This Packable Mat has some nice features, such as 12″ front flap, elbow pads, 0.15″ thick padding, and six staking grommets. It’s easy to transport, rolling up to a 9″ x 4.5″ package, secured with a heavy strap. If you need a low-cost, basic shooting mat, check out this deal. Weighing just 1.5 pounds, this a good, light-weight mat to keep in a vehicle or to use on a “walk-around” varminting hunt.

8. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $16.85

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 3000 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $16.85, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

9. Mystery Deal — Big Name Product with Lifetime Guarantee

Mysterday Deal of the Week Optics hunting scope

If you have a hunting rifle, this item will help you spot your game. With a best-in-industry, transferable lifetime warranty, you can put your trust in this product. It doesn’t have all the “bells and whistles” but it has the key features and performance a hunter needs. For shooters looking for quality construction, simple but 100% reliable controls, this unit (from a big Oregon-based manufacturer) will get the job done, and last a lifetime. CLICK HERE to see Mystery Deal of the Week.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
September 28th, 2017

PT&G — Howa 1500 Barreled Actions with Trigger, $250.00

Howa 1500 Barreled Action HACT Trigger discount sale

GREAT DEAL — Complete Howa Barreled Actions (With Trigger) for $250.00
Howa makes excellent, smooth-running actions, and the Howa HACT 2-stage trigger is WAY better than most domestic factory triggers. Right now you can save big bucks on Howa 1500 barreled actions, complete with HACT trigger and trigger-guard. Pacific Tool & Gauge (PT&G) sourced a truckload of Howa barreled actions, which are now on sale. Available at $250.00 are: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, .22-250. All these chamberings are offered with either light- or heavy-barrel contours. There is no extra charge for factory camo finishes.

Guys, this is an incredible deal — you can get a complete high-quality barreled action for less than the cost of a custom barrel. If you’re looking to put together a varmint rifle project this is a great option — just add the stock and scope of your choice.

Howa 1500 Barreled Action HACT Trigger discount sale

These barreled actions would be great for custom hunting/varmint rifle projects — many have factory camo finishes. Howa barrels typically deliver easy sub-MOA accuracy (and often much better). NOTE: Some of these barreled actions may carry Weatherby or Nosler markings, but they were all made at the Howa factory in Japan.

Howa 1500 Barreled Actions Have Excellent 2-Stage Hact Triggers

Howa HCR Chassis Rifle PRS Tactical Aluminum stock HACT TriggerPT&G’s Howa 1500 barreled actions 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. 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. The 2-stage design and pull weight range works well for a hunting rifle or a rig for PRS competition.

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.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
August 26th, 2017

17 HMR Spotlight — Affordable Ammo and Accurate Varmint Rifles

Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfire

Everyone should own a rifle chambered for the 17 HMR. This is an inherently accurate cartridge, with minimal recoil. The 17 HMR, loaded with 17- or 20-grain bullets, is effective on small varmints well past 150 yards. The ballistics are way better than the .22 LR and .22 WMR. There are also a variety of good factory rifles available, including Savage’s innovative A17, now available in a nice, thumbhole laminated stock. And most importantly, the ammo is becoming more affordable. You can now get good 17 HMR ammo for under twenty cents per round.

The laminated thumbhole stock version of the Savage A17 is a great carry-around varminter.
Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfire

Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfireThere are great deals to be had right now on 17 HMR — you can pick up a 50-round box for under $9.00. A couple seasons back you might have to pay $12-$15 for the same stuff. The best deal we’ve found is at Midsouth Shooters Supply, which has Hornady 17 HMR ammo loaded with 17-grain V-Max bullets, for just $8.69 (17.4 cents/round).

Here are other current good deals, as found with the WikiArms.com ammo search engine:

Federal 17 HMR, 17gr TNT (50 rd), $8.99 at Outdoor Limited
CCI 17 HMR, 17gr V-Max (50 rd), $9.49 at Outdoor Limited
Hornady 17 HMR, 20gr XTP (50 rd), $9.99 at Outdoor Limited.
CCI 17 HMR, 20gr Game Point (50 rd), $10.24 at Bud’s Gun Shop

Volquartsen 17 HMR dustin ellermann

A while back we tested a variety of 17 HMR ammo types in a pair of 17 HMR rifles, a Ruger 77/17 and a Volquartsen (above), chronographing the ammo samples in both guns. Here are our chrono test results.

17 HMR data chrono chronograph

Dustin Ellermann (past Top Shot Champion) has tested both normal and subsonic 17 HMR ammo in another Volquartsen rifle. He got the best accuracy with the CCI-brand A17 ammo, which is optimized for the Savage A17 rifle. This impressive 100-yard group was shot with A17 ammo:

Dustin 17 HMR CCI suppressed ammo ammunition

Dustin 17 HMR CCI suppressed ammo ammunition

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
August 17th, 2017

New Savage Model 10 GRS in 6mm Creedmoor

GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS 6mm Creedmoor 6.5 CM

Savage has added a new chambering, 6mm Creedmoor, to its impressive Model 10 GRS rifle, already sold in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. The 6mm Creedmoor version shoots a slightly lower recoil cartridge that is well-suited for both PRS competitions and varminting. Savage’s Model 10 GRS features a very high-quality, strong, and ergonomic composite stock crafted by GRS Rifle Stocks in Norway.

With outstanding Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass now available that can easily be necked down to 6mm CM, we believe this 26″-barreled rifle could become popular with PRS competitors. We like the longer 26″ barrel length and the 1:7.5″ twist lets you shoot the latest high-BC 6mm match bullets, including Sierra’s new 110gr MatchKing*.

GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS 6mm Creedmoor 6.5 CM

We shot a 6.5 CM Model 10 GRS rifle at SHOT Show Media Day and liked it better than many of the metal-chassis rifles being marketed to the tactical/PRS market. The Model 10 GRS is very comfortable to shoot, and the inherent accuracy is impressive for a rifle with a $1449.00 MSRP and “street price” around $1250.00.

GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS 6mm Creedmoor 6.5 CM

The Model 10 GRS features adjustable cheekpiece and adjustable length of pull. The grip area is very comfortable, filling the hand naturally. The stock has a nice surface texture providing good “traction” on forearm and grip. The stock is fairly light but very strong, being made from 15% fiberglass-reinforced Durethan, with 65% glass bedding material. Only right-hand versions are available.

Savage Model 10 GRS Designations:
22597 / 6mm Creedmoor, 26-inch barrel/ 1:7.5″ twist / $1,449
22596 / 6.5 Creedmoor, 24-inch barrel / 1:8″ twist / $1,449
22599 / 308 Winchester, 20-inch barrel / 1:10″ twist / $1,449

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

* Sierra recommends a 1:7″ twist, but, given the velocities the 6mm Creedmoor can deliver, field testers are reporting success shooting the 110gr SMK with a 1:7.5″ twist.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Tactical 1 Comment »
July 30th, 2017

Howa Mini Action Rifles Reviewed by 6.5 Guys

Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39

We’ve been fans of the Howa Mini Action rifles since they were introduced a couple years ago. With actions that are nearly an inch shorter than typical “short actions”, these Mini Action rigs work great as a compact “truck gun” or carry-around varminter. Current chamberings are: .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62×39. There are 20″ lightweight, 20″ heavy contour, and 22″ standard contour barrel options.

6.5 Guy Ed Mobley Tests the 7.62×39 Howa Mini Action Rifle
Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39

The Howa Mini Action rifles come with the excellent HACT 2-stage trigger and a 5-round or 10-round, synthetic detachable box mag (depending on caliber). The Mini Action’s bolt is 13% shorter than on regular short actions, providing a shorter, faster bolt throw. Weight is also reduced. This makes for a nice, compact (and very shootable) package.

6.5 Guys Test Howa Mini Actions in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39

The 6.5 Guys recently secured a pair of Howa Mini Actions, one chambered in 6.5 Grendel and the other in 7.62×39 Russian: “After trying out the Howa Mini Action rifles at SHOT Show 2017, we got a couple of loaners in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39 courtesy of Legacy Sports. These rifles are known for their smooth cycling and lightweight actions, as well as some unique chamberings for bolt rifles (6.5 Grendel, 7.62×39). Long story short, we really enjoyed them.” In fact Steve liked his 6.5 Grendel enough that he plans to purchase the gun. Get the full scoop in this VIDEO REVIEW:

The folks at Legacy Sports also conducted extensive accuracy tests of commercial ammunition in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39. The most accurate 6.5 Grendel ammo, with a stunning 0.29″ group, was Alexander Arms with Lapua 123gr Scenar; second best (0.56″ group) was Hornady with 123gr A-Max bullet. The most accurate 7.62×39 ammo was Hornady 123gr SST with a 0.62″ group in the 20″ Heavy Barrel version. View Howa’s Test Reports with these links:

6.5 Grendel Factory Ammo Data | 7.62×39mm Factory Ammo Data

Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39
Click HERE for full-screen image.

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February 11th, 2017

Preacher’s ‘Axe Job’ — Crafting a Gunstock with Hand Tools

hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint
A little work with the hand axe, after a trip through the band saw…

A while back, Forum member Preacher crafted a nice varmint rifle for fellow Forum member Dave 0. (aka “Waskawood”). But rather than buy an off-the-shelf stock, Preacher crafted this stock all by hand, starting from a laminated blank panel. He calls this stock project his “Axe Job”.

CLICK for Full-size Photo
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

This stock is being used on a prairie dog rifle, chambered for a 17-caliber wildcat, the 17 VHA, which is based on an H&K 4.6x30mm parent case. With about nine grains of 300 MP pistol powder, the 17 VHA drives 20-grainers at about 3850 fps. (SEE details at end of article).

The ‘Axe Job’

Report by Preacher
I like carving with the laminates because all the lines are right there in front of my eyes, so it’s easy to follow along and get it just right, until it’s pleasing to the eye. I never use a template, I just keep checking the lines as I go along. I have all the needed equipment to power build one of these, but I really enjoy the time spent on the hand work. From start to completely ready-to-install, I’ll have about six (6) weeks into one of these stock projects. A lot of that is drying time for the clear coats.

The majority of the laminated blank panels I use for my gunstocks are purchased directly from Cousineau Wood Products or from Rutply.com. You have to buy at least four full panels at a time, all the same color, but that will yield eight (8) stocks. Seems like I have a little over $150.00 in a blank large enough to start making a full-sized, benchrest-style stock.

A little work with a chisel…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A little work with a rasp. (Before I was rich and famous and could afford really good rasps, I used a good old horse shoe rasp.)
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A little more work with the chisel…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Preacher’s Advice on Carving Your Own Stock
The one main advantage of being older that dirt, and tormented with MS the past 40 years, is lots of free time to enjoy what ever I can do these days, as long as I can set down to do it, and I can make a lot of wood chips setting down.

Any one can do this if they have the time to devote to it. All it takes is time and a good eye for details. I made a lot of firewood over the years, until I got the hang of it. Most all those problems were inletting, and screw hole spacing. Get those right the first time and you’re on your way….

A little more work with the rasp…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A few coats of Auto clear has it about buttoned up…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Micro 17 VHA Wildcat
Here’s the finished rifle built by Preacher for Dave, using the ‘Axe Job’ stock. Dave tells us: “Preacher chambered the rifle for the 17 VHA, a wildcat based on the H&K 4.6x30mm MP7 PDW case necked down to 17 caliber. There are numerous articles in the Varmint Hunter’s Magazine about it. This efficient little round shoots 20gr ballistic tips at 3850+ fps. That’s not too shabby for ‘nine point something’ grains of pistol powder.”

“My intentions for my 17 VHA rifle are to plop down in the middle of a PD town with my swivel bench and shoot prairie dogs. I also thought it would be a nice platform to test the accuracy of the cartridge. If I like the little round as well as I think, I plan to build a more practical rifle that I can carry. I really want to thank Preacher for his patience with me through this project, as it was my first custom build.”

hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
October 8th, 2016

New Savage A22 Magnum For .22 WMR Fans

Savage A22 Magnum A17 auto-loading semi-auto Varmint rifle

The Savage A17 in 17 HMR was American Hunter’s 2016 Rifle of the Year. We weren’t surprised. This little rimfire was the first auto-loader engineered from scratch to handle the pressure of the 17 HMR safely and reliably. The A17 also proved to be very accurate and tons of fun to shoot.

If you like the A17’s award-winning delayed-blowback technology, but prefer to shoot a .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire) cartridge, you’re in luck. Savage just announced the A22 Magnum, a new rifle that uses an A17-type action (with innovative interrupter lug), to shoot the .22 WMR cartridge.

Savage A22 Magnum A17 auto-loading semi-auto Varmint rifle

The A22 Magnum is chambered for .22 WMR and features the same delayed-blowback auto-loading action as the original A17. The A22 Magnum feature a strong steel receiver, chromed bolt, 10-round rotary magazine, and adjustable Savage AccuTrigger. The A22 employs a thread-in headspace system like Savage’s centerfire rifles. This makes it easier to swap in a match-grade barrel down the line. The A22 also comes with two-piece bases for scope mounts

Part No. Description Barrel Weight MSRP
47400 A22 Magnum semi-automatic, .22 WMR 21″ Barrel 5.5 lbs. $473.00

Advantages of .22 WMR over 17 HMR
We like both rimfire cartridges, but we understand why some shooters may prefer the older .22 WMR over the newer, speedier 17 HMR. Here are some of the advantages of the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR):

Savage A22 Magnum A17 auto-loading semi-auto Varmint rifle1. .22 Caliber bores are easier to clean than .17 caliber bores. Good .22-Cal cleaning rods are less flexy than .17-cal rods and a greater range of jags and brushes are offered for the larger caliber.

2. The .22 WMR makes a bigger hole — this makes your groups easier to see at longer range, and the bigger hole can give you a scoring edge in rimfire competitions.

3. The .22 WMR offers a wider choice of ammo manufacturers and bullet types. If a hunter desires a heavier, non-fragmenting bullet, the .22 WMR may be a better choice.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 2 Comments »
October 5th, 2016

New Savage A17 Target Sporters with Laminated Wood Stocks

Savage A17 semi-auto delayed blowback 17 HMR

The Savage A17 earned honors as American Hunter’s 2016 Rifle of the Year. And now this popular auto-loading 17 HMR is even better. Savage Arms has released two new “Target Sporter” versions with heavier barrels and beefier, laminated wood stocks. We particularly like the new Thumbhole version, shown below. MSRP is $631.00 but ‘street price’ will be much lower.

Savage A17 semi-auto delayed blowback 17 HMR

These new models feature 22″ button-rifled heavy barrels for improved accuracy and Boyds’ gray wood laminate stocks for improved ergonomics. As with all A17s, the new wood-stocked Target Sporter models feature a case-hardened receiver, chromed bolt with large charging handle, 10-round rotary magazine, and user-adjustable AccuTrigger.

Features & Benefits
• First reliable semi-automatic rimfire specifically designed from for 17 HMR
• Delayed-blowback action for safe, reliable cycling
• Hard chrome bolt with oversized bolt handle
• Case-hardened receiver and 22-inch button-rifled barrel
• 10-round rotary magazine

The A17 platform is the first delayed-blowback, semi-auto rimfire designed espressly for the 17 HMR cartridge. The unique delayed-blowback action allows safe, reliable semi-auto cycling with normal 17 HMR loads. We tested the original A17 and it proved accurate and reliable (so long as you made sure the magazine is completely seated). In fact, the A17 we tested flawlessly powered through multiple magazines in rapid-fire. Savage has modified the magazine well slightly to enhance reliability (see below). Now it’s easier the get the mag seated — the key to 100% reliable cycling.

Savage A17 semi-auto delayed blowback 17 HMR

How the A17 Works Using Interrupter Lug
For the A17 series of auto-loaders, Savage engineers invented a new delayed-blowback action that employs an interrupter lug to hold the bolt closed for a few milliseconds. Savage engineers scrapped the standard straight-blowback approach, which ejects spent casings via overpressure during firing. In its place, they opted for an interrupter lug that locks the bolt until peak cartridge pressure has passed. The timing system prevents the bolt from opening prematurely, effectively putting an end to ruptured cases. By doubling as a firing pin block, it also prevents out-of-battery firing with an open action.

Savage Interrupter Lug A17

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »
July 29th, 2016

Quality, Affordable Laminated Wood Stocks for Savage A17

Boyds stocks laminate laminated wood varmint thumbhole hunter stock

The Savage A17 17 HMR rifle was named American Hunter’s 2016 Rifle of the Year. And we understand why. This little rifle is a hoot to shoot. The model we tested proved reliable and quite accurate with the new 17 HMR ammo developed by CCI expressly for the A17. After the first production run Savage made a few tweaks to the A17’s magazine well; this has resulted in very good reliability with current models.

When the A17 was released, a rather whimpy, Tupperware stock was the only option. The Length of Pull (LOP) was a bit short for a full-sized adult and the short, narrow fore-arm was less than ideal when used with a front rest or sandbag. Savage now offers laminated wood stocks from the factory, but most of the A17s that have been sold to date have the black plastic stock. But don’t worry… you can re-stock your A17 for under $130.00.

Now, thanks to Boyds Gunstocks, there are some good, very affordable stock options for the A17. Boyds has introduced Savage A17 replacement gunstocks in multiple styles: Savage Classic, Featherweight Thumbhole, Heritage, Platinum, Prairie Hunter, Pro Varmint, and Varmint Thumbhole designs. Five of these styles are shown in the photos above. Nearly all of Boyd’s laminated wood Savage A17 stocks are just $129.00 with a few left-hand versions priced at $144.00 (still a bargain). For field use, we like the Varmint Thumbhole because it has a comfortable grip and a longer, straight fore-end that works well with either sandbags or bipod. For target work, we favor the Pro Varmint stock. This stock features a relatively straight toe on the buttstock that is very steady on a rear bag.

Boyds stocks laminate laminated wood varmint thumbhole hunter stock

Boyds plans to offer a variety of options for their Savage A17 stocks. These will include new custom wood options, custom length of pull, and an adjustable comb. In addition, as with other Boyds stocks, a wide selection of laminated wood colors are available. Boyds recently released eight new laminate wood color options including Sage, Prairie Wind, Ripple Timber, Ripple Forest Camo, Ripple Blaze, Ripple Royal Jacaranda, Ripple Sky and Ripple Zombie.

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June 29th, 2016

Adjustable Gas Port for AR-Platform Rifles from Wilson Combat

Wilson combat adjustable AR AR15 gas block

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could adjust the bolt cycling energy on your AR-platform rifle? Turn down the cycling rate for slow fire at the bench or varmint hunting. Crank up the energy for 3-Gun matches and rapid-fire disciplines. This IS possible with a handy accessory that fits on your barrel. Wilson Combat offers an Adjustable Lo-Profile AR Gas Block for direct gas impingement AR-type rifles. Wilson Combat’s adjustable gas block replaces a standard AR gas block and allows you to tune your AR’s gas system for smoother cycling and enhanced reliability. Wilson Combat explains: “Adjusting your rifle’s gas port will lower or increase your bolt’s cyclic rate. This tailors your rifle’s performance to your unique needs.”



A simple adjustment of the hex screw at the front of the block modulates the gas volume allowing you to tune your rifle’s function to your favorite loads. This is very handy when shooting non-standard AR calibers, unusual hand-loads, or suppressed rifles. Adjustable Gas Block systems are sold as complete kits starting at $74.95. Wilson Combat offers two diameters (.750″, .937″) and three lengths (Carbine Length, Mid-Length, & Rifle Length), so you can select the right dimensions for your rifle configuration and barrel diameter. The blocks are Chromoly steel with a Melonited finish.

Package Includes:

  • Adjustable Gas Block (Melonite Finish)
  • Adjustment Set Screw (Installed)
  • Straight Gas Tube (Installed, Gas Tube Pin Installed)
  • 12″-Long Allen Wrench to Adjust Inside Handguard
  • $74.95 – $79.95
Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
April 17th, 2016

17 HMR Savage A17 Field Test

Savage 17 HMR .17  A17 A-17 varmint hunting semi-auto rifle accurateshooter.com

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

CLICK HERE for Savage A17 First Hunt Report on Varminter.com

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

(more…)

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February 22nd, 2016

Bargain Finder 23: Accurateshooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Bud’s Gun Shop — Howa Mini Action .223 Rem

Howa Legacy Mini Action Buds Gun Shop Hogue Varmint Rifle .223 Rem

This is a great little rifle. I checked out the Howa Mini Actions at SHOT Show, and was so impressed I ordered one. The bolt opens and closes VERY smoothly (way better than most mass-produced bolt guns). The two-stage HACT trigger is excellent — it’s plenty light with a crisp release and no annoying spring-loaded blade in the middle. The Mini Action is nearly an inch shorter than a Rem 700 short action, making for a nice, compact carry-around varminter (OAL length is just 39.5″). The standard Howa Mini Action rifle weighs 6 pounds without scope. This particular model comes with a quality Hogue synthetic stock and 10-round detachable box magazine. The Howa Mini on sale is a .223 Remington, but other chamberings are available at a higher price. BudsGunShop.com has this rifle in OD Green for $380.07 or Matte Black for $384.19. That’s a very good deal — other online retailers are selling this same Howa Mini Action rifle for $510.00 or more.

2. Sportsmans Guide — Anderson AR Stripped Lower, $45.99

Anderson AR AR-15 stripped lower receiver

Have an AR project in the works? Maybe you’re building a new XTC rifle or an AR-based varmint slayer. Here’s a great deal on an Anderson Mfg. stripped lower — Just $45.99 at Sportsmans’ Guide. Just add your favorite aftermarket trigger and other drop-in parts. Anderson lowers are well-made, with good dimensional standards.

3. Midsouth — 195gr Berger EOL 7mm Bullets

Berger 7mm EOL Elite Hunter High BC 195 bullet

Midsouth has the impressive new 195-grain 7mm (.284) Berger EOL Elite Hunter bullet. While not designed for match purposes, we know some guys are using this new 195-grainer on paper with good results. The bullet has an ultra-high BC: “The 195gr EOL bullet has the highest ballistic performance of any 7mm bullet currently in existence, and is truly the first of its kind for a number of reasons. Typically, 180 grains is the heaviest weight available in 7mm. This bullet adds 15 grains to that. The additional weight is split between the bearing surface and longer nose. Compared to the 7mm 180 grain Target Hybrid, the bearing surface is 0.096″ longer, and the nose is 0.022” longer. With a sectional density of 0.345 lb/in², the performance of this bullet on game is impressive. By comparison, the Berger .30 caliber 210 grain Hunting VLD has a sectional density of 0.316 lb/in².”

4. Grafs.com — Hornady 17 HMR Ammo $10.99 for 50 Rounds

Hornady Varmint Express 17 HMR ammo

This is one of the best prices we’ve seen in recent years on 17 HMR ammo. We really like the V-Max bullets in 17 HMR ammunition — you get excellent accuracy plus the tipped design is very effective on small varmints. Grafs.com is having a big ammo sale right now, so you can get this quality Hornady 17 HMR ammo for just $10.99 per 50-round box. You could easily pay $16.00/box at a local gunstore. This is a GREAT deal — stock up while you can.

5. Cheaper Than Dirt — BX-Trigger for Ruger 10/22, $55.13

Ruger 10/22 owners should definitely consider a trigger upgrade. And now there is a superior, factory-made, drop-in trigger for the 10/22 that has earned rave reviews. Ruger’s new BX-Trigger has a pull weight of 2.5-3.5 pounds with a smooth, crisp break. Installation is easy. Many online vendors offer the Ruger BX-Trigger for around $70.00. The best price we found was $55.13 at CheaperThanDirt.com.

6. Bullets.com — NEW March Scope Rings $169.95 on Sale

March aluminum scope rings

March rings are made 7075-T6 Aluminum so they are HALF the weight of steel. They are precisioned machined in matched pairs to ensure perfect alignment. Each scope ring has a special groove cut on the inside that basically creates two “mini” rings in one. This provide four contact points to hold the scope securely. Often, lapping is eliminated due to the extremely precise matched machining. Right now these superb rings are being offered at an introductory SALE price of $169.95 per pair. They are available in a variety of heights, with either 30mm or 34mm interior diameter.

7. Buck Knives — Model 110 Folding Hunter

AccurateShooter Deals of week bargain discount savings Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Knife Brass

Read the nearly 1000 customer reviews on Amazon.com, and you’ll understand why the Model 110 Folding Hunter is one of the most popular knives ever produced by Buck Knives. The USA-made, lifetime-warrantied Model 110 features a 3.75″ blade, Dymondwood handle, polished brass bolsters, and leather carrying sheath. It’s a bargain at $27.99.

8. Amazon — $4.95 Handgun Hangers 4-Pack

Save shelf space with these handy Handgun Hangers. These hangers provide the most efficient way to store a large handgun collection. Pistols hang below the shelf, opening up all the space above the shelf for other items. A four-pack of hangers costs just $4.95. WARNING: Before putting pistols on hangers, make sure your handguns are UNLOADED, with no round in the chamber.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 3 Comments »
January 30th, 2016

Behold January’s Pride and Joy Rifles

pride joy blue UK 7mm WSM
Here’s a bit of Britain in blue — a 270-7mm WSM F-Classer belonging to Elwood in the UK.

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

1. Dasher LowBoy. CigarCop just completed a lovely 6mm Dasher in a yellow/gray laminated PR&T LowBoy stock. CigarCop did the stock inletting and finish work himself. Very nice work indeed.

pride joy low boy gray yellow Dasher
pride joy low boy gray yellow Dasher

2. Varmint Special. Here’s a handsome varminter with a beautifully-figured walnut stock. This is one of three rifles Forum Member Dan Hall posted this month.

pride joy low boy gray yellow Dasher

3. 6mm Trifecta. DixiePPC served up not one but THREE pretty rifles, all with pearlescent paint jobs. Details of the three rigs are provided below. Click the image to see a full-screen version.

pride joy blue UK 7mm WSM

Top: 6 PPC for 10.5-lb NBRSA LV Class, 1:14″, .262″-necked SS Hart Barrel chambered and fitted by Doug Pascal, Pearl Black Kelbly Stock, RB/RP Blueprint & Trued 40X Short Action (Glued) with a Doug Pascal Bolt Release. This gun is a 1994 build by Doug Pascal of Craftsmith.

Middle: 6 PPC 13.5lb NBRSA HV Class, 1:14″, .262″-necked SS straight-countour Hart Barrel, Pearl White Kelbly Stock/Aluminum Butt Plate, RB/RP Stolle Panda Action (Glued). Kelbly Double Screw Rings. 1994 Vintage Leupold/Premier BR 36X. This gun is a 1992-vintage Kelbly build for NBRSA Unlimited Class.

Bottom: 6mmBR 17-lb IBS Light Gun Class, 28″, 1:8″, .268″-necked SS Bartlein 5R Barrel tipped with a SS Harrell Spiral Muzzle Brake, Pearl Rust Orange 90s-vintage Lee Six Stock with home made Aluminum Butt Plate, RB/RP Blueprinted and Trued 1995-Vintage 700 Short Action.

4. Simple Elegance. This is Chopper Duke’s handsome 6mm PPC. It features a Remington action in a classic older-style benchrest stock. We like the flawless pale-green finish. Subtle but nice.

pride joy Remington 6PPC custom green rifle

5. (Nearly) Identical Duo. Here are a matching pair of customs from Forum member NHM16. He tells us: “I sold my two Savages I was using for F-Open, and had these two built in their place. One reason I upgraded was so I could have two (nearly) identical rifles. The nice thing about these rifles is that most everything interchanges, including the barrels.”

pride joy Savage .284 Walker Shehand Bartlein

Here Are Specs for Both Guns:
— Panda F-Class action (LRBP, no ejector, 20 MOA dovetail scope base, one action is polished, the other unpolished so I could easily tell them apart).
— PR&T LowBoy stocks with adjustable buttplates, with vents on the side and the bottom.
— Both have Bartlein 32″ 7mm, 1:8″-twist, 5R barrels, chambered in 7mm Walker (basically a .284 Shehane with the addition of a 40 degree shoulder).
— Rifles were built by Richard King (“Kings X” in Forum) in Arlington, Texas, though I did the clear coating myself.

6. First Custom. Here is Forum member Barrys’s very first custom rifle, and it’s a nice one. It features a BAT Machine VR action, Krieger #17 heavy varmint contour, chambered for the 6mmBR Norma with 0.272″ neck. The stock is a Shehane Varmint Tracker with a Walnut-color laminated Obeche stock. On top is a Sightron SIII 8-32x56mm scope in BAT Machine rings.

Shehane Tracker pride joy rifle 6mmBR 6BR Krieger barrel

7. Basic Black. David P. offered this F-TR rig: “A buddy of mine just finished up new rifle for NRA F-TR competition. This rifle is built on a Kelbly action, chambered in .308 Win with a custom, tight-neck match chamber. It’s sitting in a PR&T stock, with a Broughton 32″, 1:11″-twist 5C barrel. The rifle was chambered and built by Brian at Plainfield Precision in Shelby, NC.

pride joy F-TR Black Kelbly

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
October 14th, 2015

Compact Varmint Rig — Howa Mini Action

Howa Mini Varmint Rifle bolt action HACT trigger 2-stage .222 Rem barreled action

Looking for an affordable “Truck Gun”, or a light-weight, “carry-around” varmint rifle? Consider the Howa Mini Action series. With receiver (and bolt) that are nearly an inch shorter than regular short actions, these Mini Action rigs weigh just 5.7 pounds without optics. This makes for a nice, compact (and very shootable) varmint package.

Howa Mini Varmint Rifle bolt action HACT trigger 2-stage .222 Rem barreled action

The Howa Mini Action rifles come with 10-rd detachable box magazines and an adjustable HACT 2-stage trigger. Synthetic stocks are offered in black, OD green, and Kryptek Highlander camo colors. You can buy a complete Mini Action rifle package, including 3-9x40mm Nikko scope, for under $590.00.

Barreled Actions Available from Howa
If you are looking to build your own project rifle, you can purchase Howa Mini Barreled Actions separately. When fitted with a #1 contour lightweight barrel, the Mini Barreled action weighs just 3.77 pounds. Barreled actions are currently offered in .223 Rem and .204 Ruger chamberings. Lightweight and heavy barrels measure 20 inches, while standard barrels are 22 inches long.

Howa Mini Varmint Rifle bolt action HACT trigger 2-stage .222 Rem barreled action

Video Shows Features of Howa Mini Action Rifle:

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
January 11th, 2015

Master Gun-Maker (with CNC Mill) Builds a 22-250 Varminter

22-250 Coyote Rifle Chris Dixon LongRifles

22-250 Coyote Rifle Chris Dixon LongRiflesJust another YouTube video … NOT. This video is a winner. If you want to see state-of-the-art 21st Century rifle-building, with advanced CNC milling operations, watch this clip. It shows how man and machine combine to create a fine custom rifle.

One of the best short features of its kind, this video shows the creation of a high-end, 22-250 varmint rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the build are covered. The rifle was crafted by Chad Dixon for O’Neill Ops. Once the build is complete, the video shows the rifle being tested at 440 yards. With the camera filming through the scope, you can even watch the trace, starting at the 2:36″ time mark (this is very cool).

Watch this Video in HD!
Any person with an interest in gunsmithing should watch this video. It shows barrel profiling, tenon-thread cutting, chambering, CNC stock inletting, bedding, and stock painting.

For this build, Chad Dixon of LongRifles, Inc. teamed up with O’Neill Ops. The video shows the “Coyote Rifle” build, step by step, from the cutting of the tenon threads, to the 440-yard field test at the end of the build. To learn more about this rifle’s components and its performance in the field, contact James O’Neill, www.oneillops.com, (605) 685-6085.

Chad Dixon of LongRifles, Inc.
Chad Dixon’s introduction to firearms began in 1991 as a marksmanship instructor and competitive shooter in the U.S. Marine Corps. Chad began building rifles in 2000 at the Anschutz National Service Center, where he worked with U.S. Olympic shooters. In 2003 Chad took a position with Nesika Bay Precision/Dakota Arms. After leaving Nesika, Chad deployed to the Middle East as a security contractor for the U.S. Dept. of State. On his return to the USA, Chad started LongRifles Inc., a custom rifle-building company.

22-250 Coyote Rifle Chris Dixon LongRifles

Dixon-built rifles combine modern CNC manufacturing methods with traditional expert craftsmanship. Chad’s rifles have won major int’l and national level competitions in Smallbore, Smallbore Silhouette, High Power, and Long Range Palma disciplines.

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June 13th, 2014

Review of Ruger American Rifle — New Varmint Version

This month Ruger is introducing a new varmint version of its popular Ruger American Rifle (RAR). The RAR “Predator” model is offered in six (6) different chamberings: .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. All have 22″ free-floated, medium-contour barrels except the .308 Win, which has an 18″ tube, making it a very handy truck gun.

Ruger American Rifle  RAR Predator .223 Rem 5.56

Gun writer Ed Head got his hands on one of the new RAR Predator rifles, chambered in .223 Remington. He reviewed the Predator for the DownRange.TV blog. The reviewer liked the compact 6.62-pound rifle, which features a molded polymer stock and hammer-forged 1:8″ twist barrel. Ed Head liked the short-throw bolt, and he praised the crisp trigger. Accuracy, as tested, was not that impressive — 1.224″ on average at 100 yards. But the tester noted that some types of ammo shot much better than others. So, conceivably, with handloads, this gun could shoot well under 1 MOA. Shooting at steel targets, the tester “managed to shoot 1.5-inch groups at 100 yards, 2.5-inch groups at 200 yards, and 7-inch groups at 300 yards, all with the Lake City ammunition.”

Ruger American Rifle  RAR Predator .223 Rem 5.56

CLICK HERE To Read Full Review of Ruger American Rifle Predator

Overall, reviewer Ed Head liked the Predator enough that he decided to purchase his test rifle: “I like this rifle and I’m going to buy it from Ruger. It will shoot ‘minute of squirrel’ at reasonable ranges and should do well on bigger critters — predators — out to 400 yards or more.”

Rifle Features

  • One-piece, 3-Lug 70° bolt with full-diameter bolt body and dual cocking cams.
  • Integral bedding block system that positively locates the receiver.
  • Action comes with factory-installed aluminum Weaver-style scope rail.
  • Two-position safety can lock trigger (but not bolt) to allow safe unloading.
  • Adjustable 3.5-lb Ruger Marksman trigger with Savage-style inner safety blade.
  • Barrel factory-threaded at muzzle for muzzle brakes, flash hiders, and/or suppressors.
  • Rotary magazines with 4- or 5-round capacity (depending on caliber). These magazines are a little tough to load correctly.

Ruger American Rifle  RAR Predator .223 Rem 5.56

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 5 Comments »
March 26th, 2014

Recall of .22 WMR and .17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire Rifles

Ouch. The Ruger American Rimfire (RAR) rifle has only been on the market for a few months, and now some of the .22 WMR and .17 HMR versions are already being recalled. Some of these RARs left the factory without the necessary gas venting port.


CLICK HERE for Full Ruger American Rimfire Recall Notice

Reason for Recall
Ruger American Rimfire rifles chambered in .22 WMR and .17 HMR manufactured between November 17, 2013 and January 8, 2014 were manufactured without a vent hole. This hole should appear just below and behind the serial number on the left-hand side of the receiver. The hole does not serve any function during normal operation of the rifle, but is a safety feature and may help vent gas in the event of a problem such as a ruptured case head or bore obstruction. Rifles are being recalled to add the vent hole to the action.

Which Particular Rifles Are Being Recalled?
Only Ruger American Rimfire rifles chambered in .22 WMR and .17 HMR within the serial number range 830-34831 to 830-43880 are subject to the recall. If your rifle is chambered in .22 LR or falls outside this serial number range, it is not subject to the recall. If you do have a RAR chambered in .22 WMR or .17 HMR, examine the left side of the receiver, just below and behind the serial number. If there is a hole there (Figure 1), then you do not need to return the rifle. If there is no hole (Figure 2), then the rifle should be returned.

If you own a RAR chambered in .22 WMR or .17 HMR that is subject to the recall, contact Ruger. Call (603) 865-3100 or send email to: recall@ruger.com. After verifying that the recall applies to your rifle, Ruger will send out a packing container, detailed instructions, and shipping label so you can send in your rifle FREE of charge. Ruger will then retrofit your rifle and return it to you within one week of the day Ruger receives it.

For RAR owners affected by the recall, Ruger will pay all costs of shipping (both ways). Ruger will also include a free magazine, a $24.95 value, when Ruger returns the rifle. Connecticut residents will receive a ShopRuger.com gift certificate in lieu of the magazine.

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March 11th, 2014

Great Review of Straight-Pull Anschutz 1727 by Steven Boelter

If you like sweet-shooting .17 HMR rimfire rifles, and appreciate fine German engineering, then you’ll love the Anschutz model 1727. Rarely seen on American shores, this is the only varmint rifle in the world using the super-fast, straight-pull Fortner action. Developed for Olympic Biathlon competitions, the Fortner action can be cycled in the blink of an eye. Just pull back the side-lever with your forefinger and then snick the bolt back with your thumb. This slick-cycling action has been used for many years in biathlon rifles, but the model 1727 is the first example of a Fortner varminter.

Our friend Steven Boelter, author of the Rifleman’s Guide to Rimfire Ammunition, has been able to test the Anschutz model 1727 extensively, both from the bench and in the field. Steven has published an outstanding online review of the model 1727, lavishly illustrated with great photos that show all the details of this unique firearm. We strongly recommend you visit Boelter’s Rimfire Research & Development Website (RRDVegas.com) and read his Anschutz 1727 Review.

Click Photo to Read Anschutz 1727 Review by Steven Boelter
Anschutz model 1727 17 HMR varmint rifle

After bench-testing the model 1727 for accuracy, and then using it on a ground squirrel safari, Boelter came away hugely impressed with this unique .17 HMR rifle:

The 1727 is truly a masterpiece; there really is no other way to look at it. I can’t think of any other rimfire action which remotely comes close in design or function, and executed at this level of precision.

The 1727 combines the accuracy of a single-shot match rifle, provides the convenience of a four-shot repeater, and cycles with nearly the speed of a semi-auto without fear of a dreaded case failure or “Ka-boom”. There’s really nothing else to say about the rifle. With virtually no short-comings in design or function, superb field performance and overall accuracy, it’s to be considered a 10 out of 10.

The only downside, Boelter explains, is the price: “The rifle alone has a suggested retail price of $3,500. When you add a nice set of Talley rings and bases along with a sharp Leupold scope, you’re approaching $5,000 USD. It’s completely out of reach for the majority of varmint hunters, and that is a shame.”

Anschutz 1727 Video Review from Australia. Amazing 50-yd accuracy at 12:00 time-mark.

Story tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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