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August 10th, 2011

Lowlight Goes to Gunsmithing Class — And Builds a Tack-Driver

Frank Galli, aka “Lowlight”, runs the popular website. Frank recently completed a gunsmithing course with Robert Gradous. Frank recounts the learning process in an informative, nicely-illustrated article on the ‘Hide. Frank explains how he put together a new 6.5 Creedmoor tactical rifle using a Bartlein barrel, Bighorn Action (Rem clone with floating bolt-head), and a “lightly used” Accuracy International 1.5 chassis. The HD video below shows the process start-to-finish. READ Full Article.

During Frank’s “hands-on” training sessions with Gradous, Frank learned to thread and chamber a barrel, fit a recoil lug, and install the barreled action in the AI chassis. Chambering was done with great care: “We spent the better part of the day working the barrel. I feel this is a critical component and seeing the attention to detail in Robert’s approach confirmed it for me. When it came time to chamber Robert had a custom tight chamber reamer there for a 6.5CM but I’m shooting a tactical rifle, tight chambers aren’t for me, and this was clear, as out came the standard SAAMI reamer.”

Frank also learned how to modify an aluminum chassis: “the AI chassis had the recoil lug opened up, but it was opened in the wrong direction. This was going to require milling increasing the gap to at least a 1/2″ in size. Robert was really leery of this, but my attitude was, ‘it’s just a chassis and nothing a little Marine Tex can’t handle’.” Thankfully the chassis mod came out OK.

Once the barreled action was complete and the AI chassis was successfully milled, Frank applied a tan Cerakote finish to the barreled action. This would give a proper tactical look to the rifle, while providing superior corrosion resistance for the metal parts. To learn more about Cerakote finishing, check out the Cerakote Application Video, published last week in the Daily Bulletin.

When the rifle was complete, Frank took it out for testing with a variety of ammo, both factory fodder and handloads. There were some initial worries about accuracy as it took a while for the barrel to break in. A few sessions of bore cleaning were required before the barrel stopped fouling and then — like magic — the rifle started printing really small groups.

By the end of his load testing session, Frank was getting good groups with Hornady 120gr GMX factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, and really superb groups with handloads. The 120gr GMX ammo “was going 3100 fps with no ill effects”. The best handloads were approaching 1/4 MOA for three shots, and Frank’s load with Berger 130 VLDs shot even smaller than that: “In my opinion the load development we did was worth its weight in gold. Where else can you build in a rifle in two days, then go out and develop a baseline load using everything from 120gr ammo to 140gr ammo with a few in between? My favorite load and clearly the rifle’s too, was the [Berger] 130gr VLD. This gave us great velocity, awesome groups [with some one-holers] and really nice results at distance.”

Lowlight’s Gunsmithing Story is a ‘Must-Read’
We recommend you read Frank’s story. It shows that, with the right tools, and the supervision of a master smith, even a novice can produce an ultra-accurate rifle. For those of you who have considered taking a gunsmithing class, Frank’s successful experience with gunsmith Robert Gradous should give you plenty of motivation.

CLICK HERE to Read Lowlight’s Gunsmithing Course Article
CLICK HERE for Info on Gradous Rifles Gunsmithing Class

Photos courtesy and Frank Galli, used by permission.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
August 10th, 2011

Report from Perry: Trophy Matches Are Closely Fought

Coast Artillery Trophy MatchResults are in for some of the early high power and service rifle competitions at Camp Perry. SGT Sherri Gallagher took the Coast Artillery Trophy Match, edging runner-up Rodrigo Rosa in a Shoot-Off by three ‘Xs’. Finishing third was Carl Bernosky. Gallagher, Rosa, and Bernosky all shot identical 200-15X scores in the main match. The Coast Artillery Trophy, pictured on the right, is a lidded silver loving cup with the figure of a uniformed U.S. soldier of the 1920s shooting a rifle from the standing position embossed on the side. The trophy was donated to the NRA by the Coast Artillery Association in 1923 to be awarded to the high-scoring Coast Artilleryman in the President’s Match. The Coast Artillery Match is a rapid fire match shot from 300 yards in the prone position.

In the Scott Trophy match, Harry Harrison finished first, winning by tie-breaker over Carl Bernosky. Both Harry and Carl shot identical 200-15X scores. The Scott Trophy match is shot rapid fire in two strings of ten shots — each string lasting only 70 seconds. Competitors have the option to kneel or sit when shooting, although most opt to sit.

The Members Trophy Match is a a slow fire match of 20 shots from 200 yards while standing. First shot (and won by William F. Leushner of New York) in 1901, the original competition called for annual NRA members to shoot five shots at 200 yards while standing and five shots prone at 500 yards.

Coast Artillery Trophy Match*
1. Sherri Gallagher 200-15X (100-10X)
2. Rodrigo Rosa 200-15X (100-7X)
3. Carl Bernosky 200-15X
4. Jack Jones 200-13X
5. David Kerin 200-12X
5. David Tubb 200-12X
5. Harry Harrison 200-12X
Scott Trophy Match
1. Harry Harrison 200-15X
2. Carl Bernosky 200-15X
3. Samuel Freeman 200-14X
4. Kevin Bangen 200-13X
5. John Holliger 200-13X
Members Trophy Match
1. Rodrigo Rosa 199-7X
2. Joseph Hendricks 198-5X
3. Norman Houle 197-11X
4. Carl Bernosky 197-11X
5. Sherri Gallagher 197-8X

*In the Coast Artillery Trophy Match, SGT Gallagher and Rosa fired a shoot-off, as they had an unbreakable tie in the match. In the shoot off, Rosa had a 100-7x, and Gallagher had a perfect 100-10x to win the Coast Artillery Trophy.

Report and photos courtesy The NRA Blog.
Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
August 10th, 2011

New Law Ensures Military Cartridge Brass Won’t Be Scrapped

Military Surplus Cartridge BrassU.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R, OK), successfully added an amendment to the committee-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, making military surplus previously-fired small arms cartridges available for commercial sale with certain restrictions. It also requires the U.S. Secretary of Defense to ensure compliance with managing commercial sale of spent ammunition.

Sen. Inhofe drafted this provision in response to the controversial destruction of once-fired military brass in recent years. Some military base commanders had arranged with ammunition manufacturers to have once-fired brass demilled and sold as scrap metal. However, the cartridges are worth far less as scrap metal than as reloadable ammo components. The U.S. Treasury was losing money since it was not recovering the full value of the cartridge brass in the surplus marketplace.

“My amendment provides a unique opportunity for the commercial sale of spent small arms cartridges,” said Inhofe. “This is beneficial from a cost saving standpoint. Having worked on this issue for some time, I am pleased to have made this progress. Those that care about Second Amendment Rights have put much effort into this as well.”

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox said, “It is common sense that serviceable and safe military spent brass cases are made available for commercial sale as military-sourced spent brass cases are of the calibers most widely used for marksmanship training and competition by civilians. In addition to being a revenue source for military bases, reloaded ammunition costs considerably less, and every gun owner and hunter can appreciate the savings during these tough economic times.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »