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September 24th, 2023

Sunday GunDay: 25 BR Benchrest Rig — The .25 Caliber Option

Darrel Jones 25 br peppermint rifle

They say that a man can never have too much money or too much time. Darrell Jones would add that a man can never have too many BR-based rifles. Darrell had a fleet of BRs, in 22 BR, 6mm BR, 6.5 BR, 7 BR, and 30 BR. But he was intrigued by the potential of a rifle in the .257 caliber. Could it shoot as well as a 6mm BR? Could it challenge the more popular calibers in the highly competitive 600-yard benchrest game? Through careful research and component selection, Darrell created a 25 BR rifle that proves the viability of the 25 BR as a competition round. Pushing 115gr high-BC Berger bullets at 2837 fps, Darrell’s 25 BR “Peppermint” won first place in its very first match.

The Barely Bigger BR — Exploring the .25 Caliber Option

Rifle Report by Darrell Jones
I decided to build a 25 BR after several weeks of deliberation and ruling out a .257 Ackley Improved. Part of my dilemma was that I wanted to shoot F-Class competition at 600 yards, and I was unsure about the accuracy potential of the 25 BR. However, I currently have several BRs chambered in 22 BR, 6BR, 6.5 BR, 7 BR, and 30 BR and they all shoot exceptionally well at 600 yards. This lead me to believe a 25 BR should deliver fine accuracy, just like its other BR siblings. Why wouldn’t a 25 BR shoot accurately provided that I built it with the right components? The feasibility saga began. I began searching diligently for custom 25-caliber bullets. Unfortunately, there are not many 25-caliber custom bullet makers. I actually found only two custom bulletsmiths who produce the 25s. I did look at Fowlers and then looked at Bergers. Both Jeff Fowler and Berger made 110-grain flat-base bullets when I was looking. [Editor — this 110gr bullet is no longer listed by Berger]. The Berger 110gr FB bullets (.414 ballistic coefficient) shot very well out of my 12-twist 25-06 Ackley. However, I wanted to shoot a heavier bullet if possible. Berger makes a 25-caliber 115gr VLD boat-tail with a high ballistic coefficient. This needs a 10-twist barrel.

Panda Action, McMillan Stock, Weaver T-36
As you can see, I went with a Panda polished action and a weighted McMillan BR stock painted metallic silver with red candy cane stripes thus the name “Peppermint”. This gun actually does double duty now as a 25 BR and 6 PPC switch barrel. When I want to run the gun as a 6 PPC for short range, I simply screw on the PPC barrel, then swap in a bolt (fitting the PPC bolt face) from another Panda action I own. That’s one advantage of owning custom Kelbly actions! Don’t even think about exchanging bolts between factory guns. Kelbly rings and a Weaver T-36 fixed-power scope handle the optical duties while a Jewell trigger set at one ounce takes care of the firing mechanism.

Chambering for the .25 Caliber BR Wildcat

I wanted a chamber that would let me shoot both the 110s and the 115s. I took some time surfing the net looking for rental reamers that had suitable throat dimensions. I found that Elk Ridge Reamer Rentals had a 25 BR pilot reamer available. I called and Elk Ridge faxed me a reamer diagram that indicated it was designed to tight SAMMI specs. I asked how often was the reamer used and was told “not very often”.

I did want a minimum no-turn neck optimized for Lapua brass. The drawing indicated that the reamer would cut a .281″ neck and a throat of 1.0315″. This was very close to ideal, though I did have to turn two thousandths off the necks of Lapua 6BR brass after I necked it up. I resized using a .277″ bushing and the loaded rounds came out to be .279″. Realizing that this was in the ball park, I decided to go with the Elk Ridge Reamer and build a 25 BR that could shoot 110gr or 115gr bullets. Now the question was where to get a match-grade 25-caliber barrel. I called quite a few of the custom barrel-makers, including BlackStar Barrels in Texas (no longer operating). I have had wonderful success with the BlackStar barrel on my 6BR “Chantilly” — it delivered great accuracy and impressive velocities. Since the 25 BR was so similar, I went with another BlackStar. I ordered a 10-twist, 6-groove, 1.250″-diameter straight-contour tube.

After chambering, the barrel finished at 1.245″ diameter and 27.5″ inches with an 11° crown. I actually had the throat lengthened to accept both Berger 110gr and 115gr bullets. The bases of the FB 110-grainers sit flush with the neck-shoulder junction, when they are seated .010″ into the lands. With the longer 115gr VLDs, the bottom of the bearing surface (i.e. start of boat-tail) is just about even with the neck-shoulder junction.

Accurate Load Development
The barrel broke in easily with just 10 shots, using a “shoot one and clean” process. The load I started with was 31.5 grains of Varget with CCI 450 primers. The Berger 110s and Berger 115s had the same Point of Impact (POI) at 100 yards. However, the 115s impacted two inches higher at 600 yards with the same load. That shows the benefits of a higher BC. Pushed by the CCI 450s and 31.5 grains of Varget, the 115-grainers were running about 2837 FPS. I boosted the load up to 32.0 grains but I noticed primer cratering, so I backed off, settling on 31.5 grains for the 115gr Berger VLD.

Peppermint Wins at 600 Yards

Darrell Jones 25 BR peppermintFor her debut in competition, I took “Peppermint” to our local 600 yard F-class match. Shooting the Berger 115s with 31.5 grains Varget, she won with a perfect score of 200 with 14 Xs. At my club, we use a SR3 target. The X-Ring measures 3″ in diameter and the 10-Ring measures 7″. At the match there were some very good shooters with top-flight custom rifles in accurate calibers such as 6.5-284 and 22 Dasher. I was very fortunate to come out on top, but I give the credit to Peppermint’s good bench manners and outstanding accuracy.

As you can see from the target, “Peppermint” is a very accurate rifle that has proven herself in competition. It takes a good gun to finish “on top” in her very first match. So far, I’m very happy with the project, and more than satisfied with the accuracy of the 25 BR. This is definitely a worthy cartridge for Egg Shoots, 500m varmint matches, and the 600-yard F-Class game.

BR-Based Cartridge Comparison
CALIBER 22 BR 6mm BR 25 BR 6.5 BR 7 BR 30 BR
Bullet 80gr SMK 107gr SMK 115gr Berger 107gr SMK 130gr SMK 118gr BIB
BC .420 .527 .522 .420 .391 na
Load Grains 31.0 H4350 30.0 Varget 31.5 Varget 32.0 Varget 34.0 AA2460 34.0 H4198
Barrel Length 27″ 27″ 27.5″ 27.5″ 28″ 24″
Velocity 3100 fps 2880 fps 2837 fps 2851 fps 2719 fps 2970 fps

Comparing the BR-Based Variants

Now that I have several calibers in the BR cartridge family, (22 BR, 6mm BR, 6.5 BR, 7 BR, and a 30 BR), it is my humble opinion that they each have their own place. A varmint hunter’s dream, the 22 BR can push a bullet faster and more accurately than the 22-250. With an 8-Twist barrel, the 22 BR can send an 80gr SMK to 600 yards with extreme accuracy.

The 6 BR can do it all. The 6mm caliber offers a wide variety of quality bullets suitable for any shooting situation. All the major custom barrel makers produce outstanding 6mm barrels in a full range of twists. Moreover, since the 6 BR cartridge is so popular, there is a great store of knowledge about reloading for the 6 BR. It is easy to find a load that will shoot superbly in any bullet weight.

The 25 BR has proved to be easily tuneable, proficient and not fickle. You can obtain extreme accuracy without great effort in load development. The 115gr Berger offers a good high-BC projectile for this caliber, making the 25 BR a viable alternative to the 6 BR. As I’ve shown, it is competitive with a 6 BR in head to head competition.

Compared to the 25 BR, the 6.5 BR has a small edge in ballistics. However, there are not many light bullet choices available, especially from custom makers. The 123gr Lapua Scenar is an excellent bullet with a .547 stated BC, but it may be a bit heavy for the case capacity.

The 7 BR was designed for silhouette shooting, and it excels at that task. The 7 BR can push a 130 grain bullet fast enough to knock over the steel silhouettes at 500 meters with real consistency.

The 30 BR is nothing less than outstanding. The 30 BR is now the dominant cartridge on the benchrest Score-shooting circuit. It is also highly accurate for group shooting at 200 yards and very capable of winning a 600-yard F-Class match. Barrel life of over 6,000 rounds is realistic.

I like all the “flavors” of BR derived from the 6mm BR Norma case. However, if I could only have one BR in my safe, give me my 8-Twist, 6 BR “Chantilly” and I will be a happy camper. The final point I would make is if a cartridge is stamped BR on the case, it will shoot extremely accurately if you can.

dj's brass darrell jones

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September 24th, 2023

How to Inspect Your Barrel Crown with a Q-Tip

The last half-inch or so of your barrel is absolutely critical. Any damage (or abnormal wear) near the crown will cause a significant drop-off in accuracy. Here are ways you can check the end of your barrel, using a common Q-Tip.

Use Q-Tip for Barrel Inspection
To find out if you have a burr or damage to your crown, you can use an ordinary Q-tip cotton swab. Check the edges of the crown by pulling the Q-tip gently out past the edge of the crown. If you have a burr, it will “grab” the cotton and leave strands behind.

Larry Willis has another way to use a Q-Tip: “Here’s a neat trick that will surprise you with how well it works.” Just insert a Q-Tip into your barrel (like the picture below), and it will reflect enough light so that you can get a real good look at the last half inch of rifling and the crown of your barrel. In most cases you’ll find that this works much better than a flashlight. Larry tells us: “I’ve used this method about a jillion times. Q-Tips are handy to keep in your cleaning supplies anyway. This is a good way to judge approximately how well you are cleaning your barrel when you’re at the range. It’s also the best way to examine your barrel when you’re in the field.”

Larry Willis is the inventor of Innovative Technologies’ Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die. Larry explains how this die works, and offers other reloading tips on LarryWillis.com.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 20th, 2023

Great Resource — AR-15 Setup, Maintenance and Repair

AR-15 gunsmithing maintenance setup repair book patrick sweeney

AR owners know that their black rifles require regular cleaning and maintenance. And this modular platform allows many options for stocks, fore-arms, and optics mounting. That ability to customize is one of the AR’s major attractions, but customization requires solid understanding of the AR’s design and components.

To help AR owners optimize their rifles and maintain their rifles properly, Gun Digest Media offers an excellent 320-page illustrated book: AR-15 Setup, Maintenance and Repair. Authored by Patrick Sweeney, this book is a “one-stop guide to repairing, maintaining and modifying America’s favorite rifle.” The MSRP for the paperbook resource is $33.99 from Gun Digest, but it is available on Amazon starting at $25.13 with $3.99 shipping. Digital editions are offered by GunDigest for $31.99.

If you need to disassemble and maintain your AR rifle, swap barrels or handguards, add optics, or customize the stock, Gun Digest’s AR-15 Setup, Maintenance and Repair book tells you what you need to know. From field-stripping to barrel mounting and trigger installations, the book covers a wide range of topics. The book provides step-by-step instructions for set-up and maintenance, with hundreds of detailed photos. The book also includes AR gunsmithing chapters with reviews of recommended tools.

Author Patrick Sweeney is a certified master gunsmith and armorer instructor for police departments. Sweeney has also authored the notable 4-volume Gunsmithing the AR-15 series (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, and Vol. 4) and 20+ other titles for Gun Digest Books.

Whether you want to learn about disassembling your AR for regular maintenance, field-stripping, swapping out parts, adding optics or customizing a stock, AR-15 Setup, Maintenance and Repair guides you through everything you need to know to keep your AR-platform rifle running well. There are also tips on how to improve accuracy, and maintain your bolt carrier group properly.

• Hundreds of detailed photos
• Step-by-step maintenance & repair
• Accessories & modifications
• Tips, tools & techniques

Authored by Patrick Sweeney
Published by Gun Digest Books
ISBN-13: 978-1951115470
320 pages, softcover, 8 ¼ x 10 7/8 inches

Editor’s NOTE: The key to keeping an AR running reliably is proper lubrication (in the RIGHT places), and regular cleaning of the bolt carrier and bolt, including ejector recess and extractor recess. The majority of non-functioning ARs we’ve seen had gunk, lube, carbon, and brass shavings in those recesses.

Other AR Books by Patrick Sweeney
AR-15 gunsmithing maintenance setup repair book patrick sweeney

Bonus Video — AR15 Maintenance with Jerry Miculek


In this helpful video, legendary shooting Jerry Miculek explains how he cleans and maintains his AR-platform rifles. Miculek shoots ARs in three-gun competitions.


This article is Copyright 2023 AccurateShooter.com. No republication is allowed without advance permisson and fees.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 17th, 2023

Access 120+ FREE Tech Articles — Pillar Bedding, Stock Painting, Case Prep, Neck Turning & More

Accurateshooter.com technical articles

AccurateShooter.comReaders who have just recently discovered the Daily Bulletin may not realize that AccurateShooter.com has hundreds of reference articles in our archives. These authoritative articles are divided into multiple categories, so you can easily view stories by topic (such as competition, tactical, rimfire, optics, shooting skills etc.). One of the most popular categories is our Technical Articles Collection. On a handy index page (with thumbnails for every story), you’ll find over 120 articles covering technical and gunsmithing topics. These articles can help you with major projects (such as stock painting), and they can also help you build more accurate ammo. Here are five popular selections from our Technical Articles archive.

pillar Bedding

Stress-Free Pillar Bedding. Richard Franklin explains how to do a top-quality bedding job, start to finish.

On Target Software Review

OnTarget Software Review. Our Editors test free software that measures shot groups with great precision. We explain how to use the program and configure advanced features.

Savage Action Tuning Torque Settings

Savage Action Tuning. Top F-TR shooter Stan Pate explains how to enhance the performance of your Savage rifle by optimizing the torque settings of the action screws.

Precision Case Prep for Reloading

Complete Precision Case Prep. Jake Gottfredson covers the complete case prep process, including brass weight sorting, case trimming, primer pocket uniforming, neck-sizing, and, case-neck turning.

rifle stock painting and spraying

Stock Painting Instructions. Step-by-step guide for stock painting by expert Mike Ricklefs. Mike shows both simple coverage and fancy effects.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 11th, 2023

Live, Loaded Round Stuck in Chamber — Be Safe, Not Sorry

Live round stuck loaded jam hammer dowel brock norris gunsmith rifles UK England united kingdom

What would you do if you had a LIVE Round stuck in a chamber? Well, don’t hammer a wood dowel in the barrel, that’s for sure. Here is a tale of stupidity that could have injured the rifle owner. This account appeared on the Facebook Page of Brock & Norris Custom Rifles, a gunsmith shop in the United Kingdom.

Live, Loaded Round Stuck in Chamber — What NOT to Do!

Commentary by gunsmith Mike Norris
Here is a cautionary tale. A client came into the workshop with a problem which could have had very serious [even deadly] consequences. And it is not the first time we have seen this. Firing neck-sized-only ammunition, the client attempted to load a round which then jammed solid in the chamber. The bolt would not close and the round was unable to be extracted.

The problem was compounded by various attempts to push the loaded round from the chamber with cleaning rods and the assistance of a hammer (I kid you not!). All of which damaged the bore and the crown, culminating in a wooden dowel being hammered into the barrel which subsequently broke off in the bore. The end result was a barrel that was totally wrecked.

Live round stuck loaded jam hammer dowel brock norris gunsmith rifles UK England united kingdom

One Facebook friend posted: “Fortunate avoidance of a ‘Darwin Award’. I can hear it: ‘Go on hammer the bolt, she’ll go!’. We’re missing a ‘face palm’ emoji here.”

The Problem Started with a Neck-Sized Case
The moral of this story is DO NOT NECK SIZE cases. Mike advises: “Full-length size cases correctly. You only move the shoulder back 1 to 1.5 thousandths and the case will feed and extract EVERY TIME. Yes you will have to trim cases occasionally but it is one hell of a site cheaper and safer than jamming a live round in the barrel and wrecking the barrel trying to remove it. Not to mention the risk to life and limb!”

What Should Have Been Done in this Situation?
Mike was asked the best method for removing a stuck round. He stated: “The Grease Gun Method on a threaded barrel works*. However, in this case, this was not remotely possible due to 20 inches of wooden dowel being broken off in the bore as well. The live round (yes it was live!) was attempted to be removed by hammering on a brass cleaning rod (an actual hammer was used) to try to dislodge it. That brass rod broke, so then a wooden dowel was employed, and THAT broke as well.”

Mike cautions that, when a live, loaded round is involved you must be very careful: “Do not be taking chances with your own safety or others around you. When it is safe to do so, get the rifle to a professional. By the way he WILL [chide you] for being daft in the first place and then bringing the problem into his premises. Expect to be charged for the expertise to remove said obstruction, In the past I even had a client send me a loading die with a live .338 Lapua round in it through the Post no less!”


* This YouTube Video shows the successful removal of a jammed FIRED (not live) case from an AR15 barrel. You can see the fired case eject at 15:35 time-mark, after the primer pops out first. But note, this was NOT a live, loaded round. Extreme caution must be excercised with live rounds.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
September 10th, 2023

Sunday Gunday: .375 CheyTac ELR Rig and Cartridge Info

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

NOTE: The .375 CheyTac is a proprietary cartridge of CheyTac USA. CheyTac® is a registered trademark. CheyTac® bullets, brass, and ammunition are offered by CheyTac USA, which also produces a variety of high-quality firearms for civilian and military use. See all CheyTac® products at CheyTac.com.

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock

This Extreme Long Range (“ELR”) rifle features a massive BAT “L” Round Action, McMillan Beast Stock, 38″ Bartlein 1:7″-twist Barrel, T5 Terminator Muzzle Brake, R.A.D. Recoil Reduction unit, and a customized Cheek Riser. The “Beast” stock name is appropriate — this rifle weighs a massive 38 pounds. Including the T5 brake, the finished barrel, chambered in .375 CheyTac, is 44″ long! All the work was done by Hall-of-Fame shooter and gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzales, of S.G. Precision LLC in San Antonio, Texas. To see other rifles crafted by Speedy, visit his Facebook page.

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision
Speedy milled vents in the fore-end. He told us: “when you’re burning 150+ grains of powder you need all the ventilation you can get to help reduce the barrel heat.”

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision
There are many good brakes out there, then there’s the “TERMINATOR”! — Speedy

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision
The Phoenix Bipod employs a lowering modification.

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

About the .375 CheyTac Cartridge

Peterson .375 Cartridge Brass Cheytac K02M

Some of the most successful ELR cartridges are based on the CheyTac family, including the .375 CheyTac (9.5×77) and .408 CheyTac (10.36 x 77). This .375 CheyTac cartridge has proven to be tough and accurate. And it is capable of winning — our friend Derek Rodgers won the 2017 King of 2 Miles (K02M) event shooting a .375 CheyTac (9.5×77).

.375 CheyTac — K02M-Winning, World-Beating Cartridge

Derek Rodgers was the 2017 King of 2 Miles. He was also the first-ever human to ever hit the maximum distance target target at 3368 yards (1.91 miles). His cartridge choice? The .375 CheyTac. Derek ran Cutting Edge Bullets in Peterson brass with Hodgdon H50BMG powder.

Q: Why did you choose the .375 CheyTac cartridge?

Derek: When I was asked to join the Applied Ballistics Team, I needed to get an ELR rifle built in a short period of time. I was under a very tight time schedule to get the project complete. In an effort to eliminate variables, I decided to keep things standard and as simple as possible. I chose the .375 CheyTac for the ease of getting components. The larger rifles are more difficult to get components quickly and I felt like the .375 CheyTac had enough attributes to be competitive at ELR distances.

.375 Cheytac Derek Rodgers KO2M King 2 miles

.375 Cheytac Derek Rodgers KO2M King 2 miles

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
September 9th, 2023

AR Reloading Handbook — Good Resource for Black Rifle Owners

AR ar15 ar10 reload reloading data handbook book volume second 2d 2nd edition amazon lyman

In 2020, Lyman released the updated Second Edition of its AR Reloading Handbook. The original AR Reloading Handbook was the first reloading manual dedicated exclusively to the most popular semi-auto rifle in the USA. The Second Edition of this comprehensive Lyman AR Reloading Handbook has been updated to include more cartridge types and significantly more load data. This provides AR shooters with reloading info for the vast majority of popular chamberings used in AR-platform firearms. CLICK HERE to order the book for just $12.49 on Amazon, a 31% savings off the $17.98 list price.

Reloaders will appreciate the extensive pressure-tested data covering a very wide selection of bullet types and powder types. The Second Edition provided data for newer cartridges such as the .224 Valkyrie, .22 Nosler, .24 Nosler, 350 Legend, as well as sub-sonic data. In addition, articles by well-known authorities are included, covering topics such as “Building An AR” and “AR15 Gas System Lengths”. This book is available direct from Lyman and from Amazon (at a discount).

Features of Lyman AR Reloading Handbook (Second Edition)
— Reloading data for popular AR-platform cartridge types, including the .223 Rem, .224 Valkyrie, 6.8 Rem, .300 AAC, 7.62×39, 350 Legend, 450 Bushmaster, .50 Beowulf and more.
— Many informative articles on specialty topics such as Reloading for Suppressors and Building ARs.
— Load Data covers all major brands of bullets and powders.
— Load Data for cast bullet data and sub-sonic loads.

AR ar15 ar10 reload reloading data handbook book volume second 2d 2nd edition amazon lyman

AR-Platform Insights — Operation and Maintenance Tips
Here are two helpful videos for AR owners. The first uses 3D computer animation to show how AR-platform rifles work — from the inside. The Cutaway views show the operation of the gas system and bolt while cycling. The second video, by legendary competitive shooter Jerry Miculek, provide helpful guidance on AR disassembly and maintenance.

Book publishing tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
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September 3rd, 2023

Sunday GunDay: Eight Great Forum “Pride and Joy” Rifles

AccurateShooter.com Pride Joy F-Open KW Precision wood stock
Here is beautiful F-Open rig crafted by Forum member CigarCop of KW Precision LLC. It features a laminated wood stock with stunning figured walnut on the outside.

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 popule “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 favorite gun to the list. You’ll enjoy the Forum, which recently hit the 70,000-member mark!

600/1000 Benchrest Light Gun for Richard Schatz in 6 BRA

Alex Wheeler Pride Joy Richard Schatz Benchrest IBS

This blue benchrest rig was crafted by Alex Wheeler for ace benchrest competitor Richard Schatz, a past 600-yard IBS Shooter of the Year. Richard’s new 600/1000-yard Light Gun features a Krieger barrel chambered in 6 BRA (40° Ackley version of 6mmBR Norma). That Krieger is mated to a 1.550″ BAT B action, ignition-timed for smooth bolt close and increased accuracy. The trigger is the sophisticated Bix’n Andy. Schatz’s BAT is glued and screwed into a Wheeler LRB stock, with aluminum rails and adjustable metal “tracking rudder” on the toe of the stock. The rudder can be adjusted side to side to ensure optimal tracking, while the rudder’s vertical angle can be adjusted slightly with shims.

Hand-Crafted Thumbhole-Stocked Rifle Chambered in 6 PPC

Grimstod 6mm 6 PPC thumbhole wood stock Kelbly Panda

Forum Member Grimstod offered this handsome 6 PPC custom with a beautiful, hand-made thumbhole stock: “This was fully accurized with Premier Accuracy recoil lug installed. Really makes these shoot a lot better. It features a Kelbly Panda action with Hart barrel and glass bedding. Trigger fall was perfect to start and we have to give Ian Kelbly big thumbs up for making every action perfectly timed.” On top is a March competition scope. See more photos at www.premieraccuracy.com.

A Wicked Accurate Big Dawg in 28 Nosler

28 Nosler Benchrest Big Dawg

This 28 Nosler Benchrest rifle looks good and shoots even better — check out that 20-shot target shot at 200 yards! You can’t argue with that…

Alex Wheeler Pride Joy Richard Schatz Benchrest IBS

Belonging to Forum member LA50Shooter, this rig is chambered in 28 Nosler, with metal work by Gre-Tan Rifles. The action is a BAT Model “L” 1.650 Octagon with a 30 MOA scope rail, running a Jewell BR Trigger. The stock, from D&B Supply, is a Shehane Big Dawg Tracker with 5″ fore-end. Color scheme is “Field & Stream” Rutland laminate. This big rig boasts FOUR 34″ Benchmark barrels (1.5″ for seven inches tapering to 1.225″ at muzzle).

A Pair of Score Benchrest Beauties

benchrest for score 30 BR Kriger Nightforce March

Forum member JimPag showcased two new Benchrest-for-Score rifles. The rig on the left, smithed by Dwight Scott, features a Farley Black Widow RBLPRE (with Bix’n Andy trigger). It features Pistachio and Carbon Terry Leonard stock glued and screwed by Sid Goodling. The barrel is a Krieger 23.5″ chambered in 30BR with a Mike Ezell tuner. It’s topped with a Goodling-built 1-piece Davidson base and a Nightforce 42X Comp scope. The rifle on the right, smithed by Sid Goodling, features a Marsh Saguaro RBLPRE Action with Bix’n Andy trigger, and March 36-55X scope. This rifle boasts a rare Screwbean Mesquite and carbon stock by Terry Leonard. The 23″ Lilja bbl is chambered in 30 Thrasher with a Goodling tuner. (30 Thrasher is longer 30 BR case developed by Joe Entrekin). Jim also has two other barrels for this action in 30 BR and 6 BRAI. On top is a Sid Goodling-built one-piece Davidson base with a March 36-55X scope.

6BRA with BAT Action, Brux Barrel — The Blue Beauty

.284 Win remage rifle claro Walnut
.284 Win remage rifle claro Walnut

Next is a blue 6BRA beauty from Forum Member RiflePainter: “This is my brand new 6BRA Light Gun built by Jason Danley at Danley Precision! Jason did all of the work including paint. Brass was done by Darrel Jones at DJ’s brass service.” This features a Johnny Byers stock painted in HOK Custom Oriental Blue Candy mix. The action is a BAT DS Left-load, Right-eject, Right bolt fitted to a 1.5 oz. Jewell trigger. The barrel is a 28″ Brux HV 1:8″-twist chambered for the 6BRA (6mmBR Ackley) and fitted with a Harrell’s radial muzzle brake. On top is a Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm optic riding in BAT 1-piece scope rings.

Rem 700 in Manners Stock — .284 Winchester for Hunting

Remington 700 Tom Manners STOCK U.S. Optics hunting rifle .284 Win Winchester

Here’s a Rem 700 enhanced with a Manners Elite TA stock and other upgrades. Forum Member NickB1075 says: “Here is a rifle I finished for hunting this year. It’s a bit heavy for New York woods carry but it just shoots great. Maybe I will have to get one of those fancy Proof Research barrels to lighten it up a bit.” Nick is running a Benchmark 1:8.5″-twist barrel chambered in .284 Win with 0.315 neck for shooting 150gr Barnes bullets. Nick added a Jewell trigger and on top is a U.S. Optics B10 Scope.

When Only the Biggest and Boldest Will Do — .50 BMG

.50 Fifty BMG Barnard Action Ordnance barrel muzzle brake

No “Pride and Joy” feature would be complete without a Big Boomer. This impressive .50 BMG, “61 inches of big bore goodness”, weighs a whopping 49 pounds (95 lbs. complete with case and accessories). This rifle’s proud owner, forum member 6MT, says everything on this black beast is jumbo-sized: “Yes, I can stick my finger clear through the ports in the muzzle brake!” The rifle boasts a U.S. Ordnance 31″ heavy-contour barrel fitted to Barnard GP action. The stock is a “Big Mac” from McMillan. No optics yet — 6MT says he is “looking at an ATACR 7-35x56mm with a Spuhr mount… As soon as my wallet recovers!”

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
August 26th, 2023

Same 6BR Lapua Ammo in 4 Barrels — Surprising Velocity Results

barrel speed testing

Put the same load in a variety of barrels (with the same length and chamberings) and you’ll see a wide variance in muzzle velocity. In fact, it’s not unusual to see up to 100 fps difference from one barrel to the next. We demonstrated this with a comparison test of Lapua factory ammo.

Chron Testing Lapua Factory Ammo
At our Southern California test range some years ago, we chronographed Lapua 105gr 6mmBR factory ammo in three different 8-twist barrels of similar length. The results were fascinating. Lapua specs this ammo at 2790 fps, based on Lapua’s testing with its own 26″ test barrel. We observed a speed variance of 67 fps based on tests with three aftermarket barrels.

Barrel Velocity Variance
Brand ‘S’ and Brand ‘PN’ were pre-fit barrels shot on Savage actions. Brand ‘K’ was fitted to a custom action. All test barrels were throated for the 100-108 grain bullets, though there may have been some slight variances in barrel freebore. With a COAL of 2.330″, the rounds were “jumping” to the rifling in all barrels.

Among the four barrels, Brand ‘PN’ was the fastest at 2824 fps average — 67 fps faster than the slowest barrel. Roughly 10 fps can be attributed to the slightly longer length (27″ vs. 26″), but otherwise this particular barrel was simply faster than the rest. (Click Here for results of 6mmBR Barrel Length Velocity Test).

IMPORTANT: Results Are Barrel-Specific, Not Brand-Specific

These tests demonstrate that the exact same load can perform very differently in different barrels. We aren’t publishing the barrel-makers’ names, because it would be wrong to assume that ‘Brand X’ is always going to be faster than ‘Brand Y’ based on test results from a single barrel. In fact, velocities can vary up to 100 fps with two identical-spec barrels from the SAME manufacturer. That’s right, you can have two 8-twist, 26″ barrels, with the same land-groove configuration and contour, from the same manufacturer, and one can be much faster than another.

Don’t Demand More Than Your Barrel Can Deliver
We often hear guys lament, “I don’t get it… how can you guys get 2900 fps with your 6BRs and I can only get 2840?” The answer may simply be that the barrel is slower than average. If you have a slow barrel, you can try using more powder, but there is a good chance it may never run as fast as an inherently fast barrel. You shouldn’t knock yourself out (and over-stress your brass) trying to duplicate the velocities someone else may be getting. You need to work within the limits of your barrel.

Factory Ammo Provides a Benchmark
If you have a .223 Rem, 6mmBR, .243 Win, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×55, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, or .338 LM Rifle, we recommend you buy a box of Lapua factory-loaded ammo. This stuff will shoot great (typically around half-MOA), and it can give you a baseline to determine how your barrel stacks up speedwise. [Editor’s NOTE: The original test was conducted in 2008. The velocity of current-production Lapua factory ammo might be higher or lower, so your results may vary.]

When you complete a new 6mmBR rifle, it’s definitely smart to get a box of the factory ammo and chronograph it. That will immediately give you a good idea whether you have a slow, average, or fast barrel. Then you can set your velocity goals accordingly. For example, if the factory 6BR ammo runs about 2780-2790 fps in your gun, it has an average barrel. If it runs 2820+ in a 26″ barrel (or 2835 fps in a 28″), you’ve got a fast tube.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
August 18th, 2023

Guns of August — ‘Pride & Joy’ Guns from Our Shooters’ Forum

AccurateShooter.com Pride Joy F-Open KW Precision wood stock
Gorgeous wood stock crafted by Joel Russo: “A customer from Texas commissioned me to make him a one-of-a-kind stock, so I pulled a slab out of inventory, and put it all together.”

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 firearms. Here are some notable “Pride and Joy” rifles (and one wheelgun) showcased in our Forum. Do you have a gun you’d like to see featured there? Register for the Forum and you can add your favorite gun to the list.

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger

Above is a nice field rifle built up by a father for his daughter. Forum member FrankZ explains: “This is my favorite rifle and it will become my daughter’s first centerfire. The action is from the first rifle I purchased with my own money 21 years ago (700VSS).” The rifle now sports a 24″ Brux barrel chambered in 6mm Creedmoor, with aftermarket PT&G Bolt and DBM metal.

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles wheelgun Ruger Revolver hunter

Here is a 6BR Ackley Improved built by Alex Wheeler. This blue marble-painted beauty features a BAT “B” action timed by Alex, fitted with Jewell trigger, and Borden trigger guard. The barrel is a Hawk Hill HV contour finished at 28 inches. The stock is a Deep Creek Tracker with 4″ forearm and rudder system (the toe of the stock adjusts for angle, allowing better tracking). This scope is a Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle riding in Burris Signature Zee rings.

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger

Forum member Grimstod posted this nice 6BRX in a scenic setting: “Bill Goad at Premier Accuracy crated this fantastic 6BRX. It shoots better then I do.” The rifle features a single-feed Alpin action, with Hart 26″ 1:8″-twist barrel, chambered for the 6BRX (6mmBR wildcat) with .269 neck. Grimstod currently runs 95gr Berger VLDs in Lapua brass. On top is a Leupold 40x45mm scope on a Picatinny rail that Grimstod machined himself. The stock is an HS Precision painted by Premier Accuracy.

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger

Here’s a gorgeous green 6mm Dasher. Forum Member Gunnermhr states: “This is my new 12-lb Dasher for the 1000 Yard Benchrest silhouette matches. My good friend at CRS Custom Rifle Stocks in Aaronsburg, PA made and painted the stock. It’s similar to a Tooley MBR with a few modifications. It still supported on a 3″ forearm and is full length. Hard to imagine it still makes weight with a wood stock and a 36 power Leopold. Crossed the scale at 11.7lbs. The rifle features a BAT “B” Action. The paint is Candy Apple Green, the forearm has a white base-coat, center section is gray base coat and the buttstock is black base coat, all covered with five coats of clear. It’s the new pride of the fleet as it shoots as good as it looks. This gun hammers with 105gr Berger Hybrids.”

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger
Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles 6BRX Lapua Berger

Here’s a state-of-the-art Benchrest rifle, finished proudly in bright red. Forum Member JimmyMac posted: “Picked up my new 6 PPC today. This red rig features a Borden B action (Jewell trigger) fitted with a Lederer 1:14″-twist barrel with a Loker tuner. The barrel action rides in a Roy Hunter stock. On top is a Nightforce 42x44mm Competition scope in BAT rights. The rifle was smithed by Dave Bruno.

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles wheelgun Ruger Revolver hunter

This impressive rifle features an “antique” 1917 Enfield action chambered for the .338 Win Magnum cartridge. The lovely Maple stock was hand-carved by Forum member Spitfire_ER. He tells us: “I found this piece of wood as a return at a lumber yard about 7-8 years ago. I asked the guy in the yard about it and he said it had been returned because it had too much figure for the job the customer was working on. First thing I thought was, ‘That would make a nice stock’.”

Not a Rifle But Still a Stunner…
Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles wheelgun Ruger Revolver hunter

Last but not least is one of the nicest stainless Ruger revolvers we’ve ever seen. Forum member Longcarbine says: “This is not a rifle, but it’s my favorite weapon”. The Ruger is fitted with a custom Picatinny scope rail with matching silver-tone Bushnell Trophy handgun scope, plus handsome faux Ivory grips. This wheelgun is almost too pretty to hunt with…

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August 13th, 2023

Sunday GunDay: F-Open Rifle Chambered for .284 Win Improved

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Emil Kovan is one of the top F-Class shooters in the world. He won the 2014 United States F-Open Championship, finished second at the 2015 USA Nationals, and then finished second at the 2016 Canadian F-Open Nationals. Most recently Emil was a member of the World Championship-winning F-Open Team USA that competed this spring in South Africa. He definitely knows what it takes to build top-tier F-Open rifles. Today’s feature story first ran a few seasons back, and today there are some more stock and optics options, but this is still a very impressive F-Open rig. To learn more about the latest F-0pen Magnum chambering options read Emil Kovan’s recent Daily Bulletin story, Cartridges for F-Class — Rise of the Magnums.

The Anatomy of a Modern F-Class Open Rifle

Report by Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

“What are the best components for an F-Open class rifle, and why?” That’s a question that I get asked all the time and will try to answer in this article. Two months ago, I was contacted by Duane, a gentleman I met at the 2015 F-Class Nationals. He was interested in building a rifle with the impressive Master Class Low Profile F-Open Stock, created by Carl Bernosky and Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks.

I have known Alex Sitman for many years, and use his stocks exclusively, but was not very familiar with his new Low Profile F-Open stock. After a brief conversation with Alex, I placed an order, and had the stock inletted and bedded at my shop in a month. My first impression was “Wow that’s a long stock” — the forearm is significantly longer than on the original Master Class F-Class prone stock. I bolted the barreled action in, and squeezed the end of the forearm and barrel together, the stock flexed a little bit, but not as much as other designs that I have tested. I think that’s due to having “more meat” in the receiver area. The full stock depth continues farther forward that on some other “low profile” designs. That makes the stock stiffer in the vertical plane, reducing the hinging effect forward of the action. The stock was finished in gloss black per the customer’s request. Interestingly, I found that the multiple layers of paint and clearcoat stiffened the stock up quite a bit.

CLICK IMAGE below for full-screen version
.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Low Center of Gravity Tames Torque
Compared to the original Master Class F-Open stock, the barrel sits about an inch lower. Lower center of gravity equals less torque, and that is very important when shooting heavy bullets in fast twist barrels. Another significant improvement is that the toe of the stock is flat and parallel to the forearm. I added a 3/4″ track rail in the rear, and milled the underside of the fore-end to create two parallel “rails” in the front to help the stock track better.

One of the biggest reasons why I like Master Class stocks, is the pistol grip. I don’t shoot “free recoil” and a comfortable pistol grip is super important to me when selecting a stock. The new Master Class Low Profile stock shares the same grip as the old model. This allows the stock to accommodate either a “hard hold” style or a more free-recoil style of shooting — whatever the rifle’s owner prefers. This design versatility is one reason I recommend Master Class stocks. Shooters may experiment with either shooting style to find what suits them best.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Cartridge Choice — A 40° .284 Win Improved
Duane decided to have the barrel chambered for my 284 KMR IMP (Improved) wildcat. What is .284 KMR IMP and why choose it over the straight .284 Winchester? Improved by definition means “made better”, I took a great cartridge, and modified it to increase capacity, reduce pressure, and increase brass life.

There are many “improved” variants of the original .284 Winchester: 7mm Walker, .284 Shehane, .284 Ackley and so on. My version, the 284 KMR IMP, shares the .010″ blown-out sidewalls of the .284 Shehane, but I have further increased the case capacity by changing the shoulder angle from 35 to 40 degrees. The 284 KMR IMP allows you to almost match magnum cartridge velocity in a standard-bolt-face action. If you want to run 180gr-class 7mm bullets over 2900 FPS, it is cheaper and more convenient to have a barrel chambered in 284 KMR IMP than to spend $650 for a magnum bolt.

Tuning Loads for the .284 Win Improved Cartridges
The 284 KMR IMP seems to have two nodes, one around 2820 fps and other at 2940 fps. My match load clocks at 2935 fps with single-digit ES. Note –I selected that load based on accuracy, NOT raw speed. A lot of novice (or hard-headed) shooters make the mistake to push their cartridges to the max, and disregard more accurate loads at lower velocity.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

The sport of F-Class is rapidly growing, and the equipment used is improving constantly. I remember that only few years ago, an F-Open rifle that could shoot sub-one-inch of vertical at 300 yards was considered competitive. Now, we are pursuing sub-one-inch vertical at 600 yards! It takes a great rifle to approach that goal, but it is also up to the shooter to learn and experiment as much as possible in order to achieve success.

Dies for an Improved .284 Win Cartridge
One of the biggest challenges in campaigning a wildcat cartridge has been obtaining great dies. When searching for custom dies, it almost seems like that the odds are stacked against us. The most common problem is wait-time — custom die orders can take months to be completed. Also, most custom die makers want you to send them two or three cases, each fire-formed three times. I find that funny because if could somehow properly size the cases for three fire-forming cycles, I would not need a sizing die.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Custom-made dies should size the case just right, but sometimes the die’s internal dimensions are slightly off, and this leads to problem number two: dies sizing too much (or even worse) too little. I had a one “custom” die that would not size the bottom of the case enough. This made the extraction of fired cases very difficult. I feel that the best option (if available) for shooters interested in wildcat chambers is to have their gunsmiths make the dies. I offer that die-making service in addition to barrel chambering.

BAT Machine “M” Action
Duane decided to use a BAT M action for this rifle, and I think that he could not have made a better choice. We are blessed with many good match-quality receivers: Barnard, BAT, Borden, Kelbly, Nesika, and Stiller just to mention a few. These are all very well-made and suitable for F-Class. Among BAT Machine Co.actions, I like BAT models M, MB, and 3LL best. I prefer these because because of their size (large bedding footprint) smoothness, timing, options available, and last but not least visual appearance.

Trigger: I recommend and use Jewell triggers. Other good options are: Kelbly, CG Jackson (good 2-Stage) Anschutz (best 2-Stage for Bat and Kelbly actions), Bix’N Andy, and David Tubb.

Barrel: Duane made another good choice here. He decided to go with a Brux 1:8.5″-twist, 4-groove cut-rifled barrel. If you look at the F-Class and Long Range benchrest equipment lists, you will see that cut-rifled barrels are currently dominating. Many records have been shot with both button-rifled, and cut-rifled barrels. I have shot both, and prefer cut-rifled barrels. I am not saying that button-rifled barrels are not capable of shooting as well as cut-rifled barrels, but on average, in my experience, four out of five cut-rifled barrels (from top makers) will shoot well, vs. three out of five buttoned barrels. YMMV, but this is what I’ve observed.

Brux Barrels is not the only company that produces very accurate cut-rifled barrels. We know that Krieger, Bartlein, Satern, and Hawk Hill Custom all make fine cut-rifled barrels as well.

Scope: Duane’s rifle was fitted with a Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition scope with DDR-2 reticle. This optic is ultra clear, reasonably lightweight (28 oz.), super reliable, and has 1/8 MOA clicks — what you want for long range F-Class competition. In this 15-55X NF model, I like the DDR-2 reticle best, because fine cross hairs (FCH) are hard to see in heavy mirage. The DDR-2 has a heavier horizontal line, with a center dot. March scopes are also very popular and very well-made.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Thanks for reading, and keep ‘em in the middle…

About Emil Kovan
Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoAlong with being a skilled, respected gunsmith, Emil Kovan has been a very successful F-Class competitor. He was U.S. F-Open National Champion in 2014, and finished second at the U.S. F-Open Nationals in 2015. Most recently he was a member of the World Championship-winning F-Open Team USA that competed this spring in South Africa. He definitely knows what it takes to build top-tier F-Open rifles.

Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC
www.matchrifles.com

Emil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion
– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal
– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member
– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open
– 2013 U.S. National Team Member
– 2023 F-Open Gold Medal Team USA Member, 2023 World Championship in South Africa

BONUS Reading: F-Open Magnum Cartridge Options

Thinking about building a new F-Open rifle? Not sure about the chambering choice ? CLICK HERE to read Emil Kovan’s recent July 2023 article outlining the most popular magnum cartridges for F-Open competition. The .284 Win is still a great option, but bigger magnums do have some advantages.

Magnum cartridges F-Open F-Class emil kovan .300 WSM RSAUM 7mm wildcat

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August 3rd, 2023

Gun Digest 2024, 78th Edition, Has Been Released

Gun Digest 2023 77th Annual 592-page Gun book

The Gun Digest 2024, 78th Edition is a great resource. This 600+ page book is “Now in Stock” at the Gun Digest Store, while Amazon lists an August 22, 2023 publication date, with deliveries starting August 25th. This latest 2024 Edition can be ordered for $39.99 through the Gun Digest store or $33.37 on Amazon.

This 600+ page resource covers rifles, shotguns, handguns, muzzleloaders, airguns, optics and more. We like the print edition, but there is also a Kindle eBook version for $19.99 on Amazon. Both paperback and Kindle versions provide hundreds of photos plus new product roundups, in-depth product tests, and scores of articles and stories.

There are dozens of photo-illustrated feature articles. Among the notable stories are a guide to the new Hornady 7 PRC cartridge, a detailed history of .45-70 Gov’t rifles (from 1878 to the present day), an extensive review of single-shot falling block rifles, and a feature on custom and engraved rifles.

gun digest 78th edition 7mm prc .45-70 government annual book

Gun Digest 2024 Editor-in-Chief Phil Massaro has assembled a large team of respected industry authors for the new book, including Kristin Alberts, Joe Arterburn, Craig Boddington, Joe Coogan, Rick Hacker, Jay Leyendecker, Robert Sadowski, Ron Spomer, Patrick Sweeney, Wayne van Zwoll, and many more.

gun digest 78th edition 7mm prc .45-70 government annual book

Gun Digest 2024 covers hunting, personal defense, target shooting, gunsmithing, and collecting. There are Updated Ballistics Tables, and the catalog section shows off the newest offerings in rifles, handguns, shotguns, muzzleloaders and air rifles. The new 78th Edition has a vast collection of gun histories, in-depth reviews, and new product roundups. Written by top gun writers, the feature stories cover every aspect of guns and shooting — hunting, personal defense, target practice, gun making, and collecting. In addition to this, the Gun Digest 2024 book includes gun field tests, ballistic tables and more.

Reports from the Field cover the newest firearms and accessories. A Testfire section brings readers up to date on product performance. And there are over 30 feature stories, including the Guns of Western Movies/TV, Rimfire Handguns, and Hunting rifles.

Other Good Books from Gun Digest Media
Gun Digest Media produces numerous other quality books for rifle, pistol, and shotgun owners. Here are four books we recommend. These are offered in both paperback and eBook versions:

Cartridges of World Digest Gun book gunsmith gunsmithing rifles Digest Gun book patrick sweeney
gunsmithing rifles Digest Gun book tactical rifles PRS catalog firearms pistol rifle shotgun prices descriptions gunsmithing rifles Digest Gun book
Permalink Gunsmithing, Handguns, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 26th, 2023

Jewell Trigger Tips — Take-Down, Cleaning, and Re-Assembly

6.5 Guys Jewell Trigger assembly disassembly maintenance cleaning

Jewell triggers are still the most-used triggers on competition benchrest and F-Class rifles and they are also popular for hunting, varmint, and tactical rifles (with or without safeties). While a Jewell trigger can work for years with minimal maintenance, if the trigger becomes gunked up, it may be necessary to disassemble the trigger for a thorough cleaning. Our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys, have produced a helpful video that shows how to disassemble and then reassemble a Jewell trigger.

CLICK HERE for 6.5 Guys Jewell Trigger Assembly Guide

Why You May Need to Disassemble Your Jewell Triggerthe 6.5 Guys
Jewell triggers are a popular choice in the sport of long range precision shooting, and like everything else require regular cleaning and maintenance. In most cases they can be cleaned with charcoal lighter fluid or dropped into an ultrasonic cleaner. Should the situation require, they can be completely disassembled according to the Jewell Trigger Manual.

We ran into a situation where we had to dissemble a trigger due to the entrapment of some sticky dirt that couldn’t be removed with an ultrasonic cleaner. Our first step was to find some step-by-step instructions but we couldn’t find anything.

Recognizing that other shooters might be in the same situation we produced a step-by-step guide and video, published in full on 65Guys.com. These instructions will work with a left- or right-handed trigger. In our case we worked with a left-handed BR model trigger with safety and bolt release.

Step-by-Step Instructions are provided on 65Guys.com website. We recommend you read all the instructions carefully before you even think about disassembling your trigger. This video explains the process so you can get a sense of what is involved.

6.5 Guys Jewell Trigger assembly disassembly maintenance cleaning

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July 22nd, 2023

Saturday at the Movies: Howa Rifles and Actions Reviewed

saturday movie showcase howa 1500 centerfire rifles action video

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.

Howa Centerfire Rifles In Review

Howa Rifles Come with Excellent HACT Two-Stage Triggers

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 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 Barreled Actions Are Available Now at Brownells

A wide variety of Howa barreled actions are ON SALE now at Brownells.com starting at $409.99. That’s a good deal considering these include action, barrel, AND excellent HACT 2-stage trigger. These Howa barreled actions are offered in three sizes (Mini, Short, Long/Magnum) and with standard, heavy, and carbon-wrapped barrel types. Various barrel lengths are also offered for popular chamberings such as 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester. All these M1500 barreled actions come fully assembled with the barrel chambered, installed, and properly headspaced.

Here are some of the Howa actions on sale at Brownells on 7/22/2023:

saturday movie showcase howa 1500 centerfire rifles action video

How to Remove Howa Factory Barrel from Action

RifleShooter.com has articles showing how to build rifles with Howa barreled actions. Despite popular beliefs, Howa barrels are NOT that hard to remove. We asked Bill at RifleShooter.com about the process:

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.

You may have heard internet grumblings about removing Howa barrels. Some folks 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)

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 are a 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.

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July 22nd, 2023

How to Determine a Barrel’s TRUE Twist Rate

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Sometimes you’ll get a barrel that doesn’t stabilize bullets the way you’d anticipate, based on the stated (or presumed) twist rate. A barrel might have 1:10″ stamped on the side but it is, in truth, a 1:10.5″ twist or even a 1:9.5″. Cut-rifled barrels, such as Kriegers and Bartleins, normally hold very true to the specified twist rate. With buttoned barrels, due to the nature of the rifling process, there’s a greater chance of a small variation in twist rate. And yes, factory barrels can be slightly out of spec as well.

After buying a new barrel, you should determine the true twist rate BEFORE you start load development. You don’t want to invest in a large supply of expensive bullets only to find that that won’t stabilize because your “8 twist” barrel is really a 1:8.5″. Sinclair International provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel.

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle.

Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Then re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8″-twist barrel.

Determining Barrel Twist Rate Empirically
Twist rate is defined as the distance in inches of barrel that the rifling takes to make one complete revolution. An example would be a 1:10″ twist rate. A 1:10″ barrel has rifling that makes one complete revolution in 10 inches of barrel length. Rifle manufacturers usually publish twist rates for their standard rifle offerings and custom barrels are always ordered by caliber, contour, and twist rate. If you are having a custom barrel chambered you can ask the gunsmith to mark the barrel with the twist rate.

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