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October 9th, 2007

Thompson/Center Starts Shipping Icon Rifles

Thompson/Center (a subsidiary of Smith & Wesson) has commenced shipping ICON rifles, the company’s first bolt-action centerfire product. The ICON incorporates several innovative features including a metal bedding block, three-lug (60° lift) bolt with interchangeable bolt handle, and a 24″ barrel with 5R rifling and 60° chamfered crown. The first models of the ICON are chambered in .22-250, .243, .308 and the new .30 TC (Thompson/Center) cartridge. Rifles are delivered with a classic-style American walnut stock with 20 lines-to-the-inch cut checkering and a 3-round, single-stack detachable magazine.

ICON bedding block T/C

The ICON rifles are distinctive for the use of a metal Interlock™ bedding system which mates with three integral recoil lugs on the bottom of the action. ICON actions are CNC-machined from solid bar stock and finished with with integral Weaver-style rails. Triggers are externally-adjustable for pull weight, sear engagement, and overtravel. Pre-set from the factory at about 3 lbs., T/C spokesmen tell us the triggers can go down to about 2 pounds. The nice three-lug bolt features a polished steel cocking indicator, “T-Slot” style extractor, and a bolt lock that integrates with the two-position safety. The bolt can be easily disassembled in the field using a supplied tool.

ICON rifle features

Noted tactical gunsmith George Gardner of GA Precision has worked with T/C on the development of the ICON action, and he thinks the new three-lug action will work very well in tactical style rifles once a larger 5- or 10-round detachable box magazine (DBM) is developed.

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October 9th, 2007

Shilen Offers Pre-Fit AR15 Barrels

Shilen Rifles AR15 BarrelsWe chatted with Wade Hull of Shilen Rifles recently. Wade mentioned “you know we’ve brought out a line of ‘drop-in’ (pre-threaded and chambered) AR-15 barrels in a variety of calibers.” This is great news for high-power, service rifle, and varmint rifle shooters. The pre-fit barrels come in two contours (service rifle or heavy varmint), and a choice of four chamberings: 17 Rem, .204 Ruger, .223 Rem Match, and .223 Wylde. (The .223 Wylde is a long-throat .223 Rem for the VLD bullets).

Wade told us: “Using our pre-threaded blanks each barrel is assigned a bolt assembly and then chambered to the correct headspace for THAT bolt. Gas-block shanks are machined to +- .001 for proper fit. Each barrel is uniquely numbered to match with its corresponding numbered bolt and the barrel extension is installed. (Gas block and gas tube not included.) Customers can provide their bolt assembly for a discount or request that multiple barrels be head-spaced to one bolt assembly.” Drop-in AR-15 Barrels cost $458. Shilen also offers barrel blanks, and AR15 barrels that are pre-threaded but need to be headspaced by a smith.

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