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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.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
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.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
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…)

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
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 3 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.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
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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January 15th, 2013

New Anschutz 17 HMR Hunter with Straight-Pull Fortner Action

After shooting the new Anschutz model 1727 hunter, three simple words came to mind: “I want one”. This slick little rifle was this editor’s favorite new firearm at the 2013 Media Day at the range. At first glance, it’s just a simple hunting rifle with a European-style walnut stock. But a close look reveals something very special. This little sporting rifle, chambered in 17 HMR, features an advanced, straight-pull Fortner action. This is the same action design found on Anschutz’s top of the line $5000+ Biathlon Rifles. This new model 1727 was revealed for the first time in the world at Media Day.

The nickel-plated action is very smooth and easy to operate. You can flick the action open and closed with a quick movement of thumb and fore-finger (or you can use index finger alone). The adjustable trigger is light and smooth — as you would expect on an Anschutz. This trigger is light years ahead of what you’ll find on a typical factory varmint rifle — it’s that good.

While visiting the Anschutz booth at Media Day, we got to meet young Max Anschutz, who represents the sixth generation of rifle makers in the Anschutz family. Max demo’d the new model 1727 for us and then gave a “shout-out” (in both English and German) to fans of his family’s rifles on both sides of the Atlantic. For this editor, it was interesting to meet this young man as I have now interviewed Dieter Anschutz, his son Jochen, and now Dieter’s grandson, Max.

Watch Straight-Pull Anschutz 17HMR Rifle in Video

The new model 1727 should be available in the USA by mid-April. In the video, the Anschutz rep says the rifle would cost “around $2,000.00″. However, it appears he didn’t convert to U.S. currency correctly. Expect the actual price in the USA to be $3800.00 or higher. Initially, the model 1727 will be released in 17 HMR only. However, Anschutz reps stated that, sometime down the road, Anschutz might produce versions of this gun chambered for the 17 Hornet or new 17 Win Super Mag.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 12 Comments »
January 28th, 2011

SHOT Show Report: McMillan’s New A3 Sporter Stock

McMillan unveiled a new stock that should appeal to readers who like McMillan tactical stocks but want something with greater versatility for sitting, kneeling, and standing shots. The new McMillan A3 Sporter combines the popular features of the A3 tactical stock with a redesigned fore-arm, plus a buttstock with more drop at the rear. For a tactical shooter, the feel of the handgrip and comb will be familiar. However, the buttstock will fit the shoulder better when standing. Also a flared beavertail has been added along the fore-end to provide more secure placement for your front hand.

McMillan A3 Stock, Cloud Peak Gunworks
Photo Courtesy Cloud Peak Gunworks. Custom Hydro-Dip Finish.

McMillan’s Dick Davis explained: “Our tactical stocks — the A2, A3, A4, A5 — are designed as prone stocks. The comb is very high and very straight, and they have very little drop at heel. They’re made to shoot when laying down on the ground. They don’t shoot well standing up offhand as a hunting stock”. Davis added: “The tactical shooters have been bugging [us] for years for a hunting stock they can shoot offhand”. For its new A3 Sporter, McMillan has modified the butt and the fore-arm to create a better platform for hunters. Now, Davis says: “We have a good off-hand stock with a vertical, tactical-style pistol grip that the tactical guys are used to shooting”.

YouTube Preview Image

Benchrest Stocks — Good for Varminters As Well
In addition to the A3 Sporter, Dick Davis explained some of the differences between the older style McMillan Benchrest stock design, and the more modern Edge stock. Both stocks can work very well in a competitive benchrest gun, but they can also function very well for a varmint rifle shot from a front sandbag or pedestal rest. For a varmint gun, we actually really like the older benchrest stock. It has a comfortable hand grip and the round toe on the buttstock works well for bag-squeezers. Davis confirmed that this stock is quite popular with varminters: “Over 1/3 of McMillan benchrest stocks are used in field varmint rifles”. Shown below is the original McMillan benchrest stock.

McMillan classic Benchrest Stock

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May 30th, 2008

Rare Tikka 595 with Select Wood on Auction Arms

Most of the Tikka 595s that made it to the States came with a synthetic stock or rather ordinary wood stock. Right now, on Auction Arms, there’s a very clean Tikka 595 with a really nice stock in highly-figured walnut with contrasting forearm tip. Chambered in 22-250, it’s a very handsome rifle, and the 595 action is slick and strong. We’re hoping one of our regular readers snags this gem. Current bid price is $625.00. Forum member Fireball tells us the Tikka 595 22-250 magazines will also feed 6BR and 22BR cartridges well if you plan to re-barrel this rifle and chamber a different cartridge. We’d just shoot it “as is”, at least until the barrel wore out.

Tikka 595 Walnut

Tikka 595 Walnut

Tikka 595 Walnut

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