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May 25th, 2021

DIY DownUnder — Aussie Builds Rail Gun Including Action

Australia Benchrest Bulletin

We know some guys who make their own stocks, and others who do their own chambering. But consider this, Robert Carnell of Australia built his own state-of-the-art, water-cooled, tension-barrel Rail Gun, even including the action. That’s right, Robert designed and crafted his own precision action. This has got to be the ultimate home gunsmithing, do-it-yourself (DIY) project.

Carnell is an accomplished benchrest shooter and past Australian Sporter Class Champion. In 1993 he won a Silver Medal at the World Championships. But Carnell is far more than an ace trigger-puller. Robert is a skilled and creative “home gunsmith” who has crafted his own custom action and built his own railguns from scratch. Robert also runs the Austrialian Benchrest Bulletin website.

Home-Built Rail Gun — Aussie Innovation
Below are photos of one of Rob Carnell’s most amazing builds. This liquid-cooled, tension-barrel rail gun is a great example of self-reliant Aussie engineering. The barrel runs inside a coolent-filled, large-diameter sleeve, much like an old water-cooled machine gun. This is the fourth rail gun that Rob built, and the second fitted with a tensioned barrel.

Australia Benchrest Bulletin

Robert explains: “My railgun design has a 1.75″ barrel under tension inside an aluminium tube filled with radiator coolant. There is nearly a gallon of coolant, and the barrel stays cool no matter how many shots I seem to fire, or how quickly they are shot. The brass nut on the front rides on a nylon bearing and can be tightened to get the best accuracy. I am a believer in the ‘tuner’ idea and this seems to work for me. The main tube is thick-walled aluminium 600mm (24″) long. There is a flange at both ends. The flange at the back fits onto the barrel before the action is screwed on. The front flange is a press-fit into the tube, then there is a brass nut that fits over the barrel and screws against a nylon washer on the front flange. The Railgun’s base is aluminium and has the standard adjustments — windage, elevation and a sighter cam. In addition, there is a 1/10 thou dial indicator for windage. This allows me to zero the indicator and shoot my group. If I need to add a bit of windage for a condition, I can quickly get back to the original position if my condition comes back.”

Home-Built Action Uses Rem Bolt
Rob’s rail gun uses his own home-made stainless action, which features Panda-spec threads and a modified Remington 700 aftermarket bolt. Not bad for a do-it-yourself project we’d say! CLICK HERE to read how Rob designed and built the action.

Australia Benchrest Bulletin

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 13th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Home-Built 7.62×25 Tokarev Custom Rifle

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle customHere’s something you’ve never seen before — a full-size rifle chambered for the tiny 7.62×25 Tokarev round. This rifle was a fun project by Les E., aka “scasa” in our AccurateShooter Forum. This is a true “home-built” rifle. Les machined the action himself (receiver AND bolt), chambered the barrel, and crafted the stock from a blank. You’ll find complete build details (with machining photos) in this Forum Thread.

Why did Les build this unique rifle? He tells us: “I just thought it would make a nice little rifle cartridge with light bullets and subsonic with heavier ones. D.J. Jones had something similar as the ‘Mini Whisper’.”

Les designed and built the action and bolt to fit the tiny 7.62×25 Tokarev cartridge. He told us: “Once upon a time I got this idea to make a bolt action with front locking lugs, full diameter bolt, Remington trigger. It took me years to get it all figured out and make all the tooling, then it took about six months to build the gun”. The rifle features a 1:10″-twist Adams & Bennett barrel that Les chambered himself.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les designed and crafted the receiver and bolt assembly himself. The bolt features an extractor but not an ejector — the empty case stays on the end of the bolt. The extractor slot cuts through one lug, but Les says it still has 10 times the required strength.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Details of Action Design and Machining
Les explained: “The action started as a piece of 4160 bar stock. I drilled and reamed all the holes in my 12×36 Craftsman lathe. Cutting the slot inside for the locking lugs to pass through was the most difficult part. There were no blueprints for this and just a couple of sketches to get the slots right for the bolt handle slot and extraction cams. Everything is design on the fly. I used a grade 8 bolt for the bolt which did not require any hardening, they’re pretty hard already. Although I did make several receivers before I got it figured out, I only made one bolt.”

Surprisingly, Les is not a machinist by trade. He is just a very smart guy who learned by doing: “I’ve never had any machinist training. I mostly learned by trying different things until I found what works.”

NOTE: Under Federal law, it is legal to build an action or complete rifle for personal use (not for resale). Refer to ATF Regulations.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

As you might expect, this cartridge is naturally pretty quiet. Les says it “makes less noise than a .17 HMR”. Recoil is also minimal. In a 9-lb rifle (with scope), shooting free recoil, the rifle moves only about three inches. Considering this is a tiny pistol cartridge, the accuracy is pretty good, as you can see:

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Loading for the 7.62×25 Tokarev in a Rifle

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle customThe cartridge brass comes from Sellier & Bellot pistol ammo. Les currently loads with AA #7 and AA #9 powders, but he may try some others. His favorite load so far has Hornady 168gr A-Max bullets pushed by AA #9 powder and CCI 400 primers. This produced a 0.437″ group at 50 yards.

How does Les like the cartridge? He says: “I wish the 7.62×25 had a longer neck. At 0.140″ it’s pretty short. I think a longer neck would help getting things lined up better.” He notes that boat-tail bullets seem to load easier than flat-base projectiles.

Ammo is loaded with inexpensive Lee dies: “I’m using Lee dies and they seem to work OK. I’d like a better seater die and I may modify this one.”

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les reports: “The 168gr Berger moly LTB didn’t do as well as the 168gr A-Max so I started working with the A-Max. I’m loaded really long and the Tokarev evidently has a pretty long freebore but I managed to get it into the lands. The target photo above is the best this gun has ever shot. I’ve gotten mostly two-inch groups at 50 yards (my max home range distance). Recently I made some progress. My best group was a little less than 1/2 inch at 50 yards.”

Special Features of the Stock

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les built the stock himself from a laminated blank. For this project, Les added some interesting features to the stock. He created his own adjustable cheekpiece using all home-crafted hardware.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les also fitted a barrel tension adjustment system in the stock to help tune the barrel harmonics. There is a hex-head machine screw in the bottom of the stock for adjusting the upward tension on the barrel.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les crafted this stock with a thumbhole pattern with finger grooves. He has used this design on other stocks he has built as he likes the look and “feel”.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 2nd, 2020

BAT Machine Actions — Video Reveals How They Are Made

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

If you have ANY interest in custom rifle actions, you MUST watch this video from UltimateReloader.com. Folks, definitely watch the video — it is VERY informative! To produce this video, Ultimate Reloader’s Gavin Gear visited the BAT Machine facility in Post Falls, Idaho, and interviewed BAT owner Bruce Thom.

In the video Bruce Thom demonstrates how BAT Machine actions are created from start to finish. Bruce shows every stage of the process, employing multiple high-tech machines. It’s impressive — Forum members say that this is a “must-watch” video. Gunsmith Jackie Schmidt noted: “Great Video. Even though I have been in the machine shop business for 50 years, I still marvel at the new innovations in precision machining. Bruce has a very down-to-earth, common sense approach to explaining what to many seems like machining wizardry.” And Mark T. posted: “Watched it last night. Excellent video and excellent machining practices — precision from beginning to end.”

Click Arrow to Watch Video

For further explanation of the action production processes, with step-by-step listing of how receivers and bolt assemblies are created, read Gavin Gear’s full BAT Machine Article on UltimateReloader.com.

READ FULL BAT Machine Story HERE (More Photos) »

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

BAT Machine Company Was Started 29 Years Ago
Back in 1991, Bruce Thom started BAT Machine Company, which was incorporated later in 1996. Bruce’s shop stared with manual machines, quickly moving to CNC machines later in the 1990s. BAT Machine quickly achieved a following among benchrest shooters for crafting superb actions that exhibited flawless function and superb machining. Those qualities, benchrest competitors realized, helped produce tiny groups, win matches, and set benchrest records. BAT Machine now makes rifle actions for a wide variety of disciplines: F-Class, PRS, ELR, hunting, and of course short- and long-range benchrest.

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

BAT Action Body Machining Stages
As shown in the video, here are the major stages for the fabrication of a BAT Machine receiver body:

1. Start: raw 17-4 stainless round bar (higher toughness than typical barrel/receiver steel)
2. Heat treat
3. Bore central hole (for EDM wire), face ends
4. EDM machining (cut bore and raceways)
5. True OD, cut receiver threads and lug seats
6. Cut tang and related features
7. Finish machining including body OD, integral lug (if equipped)

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

Final Production Stages — Polishing and Deburring
After the receiver body and bolt are machined, they go through a deburring and polishing process.

In the image above you can see the stages. At left is a receiver body straight from machining. Some hand work is typically performed to break interior edges that are sharp from machining. In the center, the receiver shows can see the initial polish stage. During this stage, machining marks are removed by coarse polishing. Additionally for receivers that will be nitrided, that will be done next. But for actions that are NOT nitrided, a final polish brings the parts up to a high luster, as show on the right.

After polish (and nitriding if that applies) the bolts and receivers get a finish assembly, and testing for proper smooth functioning. The receivers are then registered with the ATF and shipped to the customer.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gunsmithing, News, Tech Tip No Comments »
August 6th, 2017

Learn How to Maintain Your BAT Action

BAT Machine Actions Receivers Idaho

Helpful “How-To” Maintenance Videos from BAT
BAT Machine’s website features an extensive Video Archive with a selection of helpful videos for custom action owners. Among BAT’s collection of videos, you’ll find informative clips covering about bolts, ejectors, action maintenance, and other technical matters. Here are two examples:

How to Grease and Maintain Your BAT Action and Bolt:

How to Remove (and Re-Install) Firing Pin Assembly:

More Helpful Information on the New BAT Website
One thing that people might easily miss is the large spreadsheet that details the specs of all BAT Machine actions. To download that .xlsx spreadsheet to your hard drive, Right Click (and “Save As”) this link: ACTION CONFIGURATION PART LIST. After opening the spreadsheet, on the “ACTION” worksheet, you’ll find action model, body shape, weight, bolt faces available, and tenon spec among several other items. Note that there are two worksheet tabs (look down at the bottom left). Use these spreadsheet tabs to switch between “Action” and “Accessories”.

Also, on the BAT website FAQ page, you’ll find prints for barrel tenon machining, firing pin sizes, torque specs, and tons of other very helpful info. This is well worth a look. — ELR Researcher.

Story Tip from Boyd Allen and EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
December 2nd, 2016

BAT Bargain — Save $100.00 on BAT Actions at Bruno’s

BAT Machine Actions Bruno Shooters Supply $100.00 off $100

Who wouldn’t like to save a cool hundred bucks, particularly on a BAT action? BAT Machine Co. in Idaho produces some of the most beautifully-machined, and smooth-running custom actions you can buy. There’s a reason so many world Benchrest and F-Class records have been set with BAT actions — they really are THAT good. The quality of machining, smoothness of bolt operation, precision of firing pin function, and general fit and finish are top-flight.

Right now you can SAVE $100.00 on all BAT Machine actions in stock at Bruno Shooters Supply. NOTE: This is a limited-time offer that applies to current, in-stock inventory only. All listed BAT action prices are a check or money order price. Any action purchased with a credit card will incur an additional 4% service fee. Moreover, there is an additional $40.00 for shipping per action, which must be shipped to a FFL dealer since the action itself is considered the “firearm” under Federal law.

BAT Machine Actions Bruno Shooters Supply $100.00 off $100

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hot Deals No Comments »
October 19th, 2013

Factory-New Remington 700 Short Actions for $389.99

Brownells Rem Remington 700 short action SA receiver bluedRem 700 Action Sale
Need an action for your next varmint, hunting, or tactical rifle project? How about a brand new, short action Remington 700 receiver for $389.99? Sound good? Then visit Brownells.com to take advantage of this special offer. These .308-size-bolt, blued-finish Rem 700 actions have been marked down from $449.99 to $389.99 — a $60.00 savings. (Brownells also has Rem 700 Long Actions priced at $499.99). You should act soon, as supplies are limited. FFL is required for purchase.

Brownells Rem Remington 700 short action SA receiver blued

Factory-Original, Current Production Actions with X-Mark Pro Triggers
These receivers are from a current factory production run and meet the latest design specifications and quality control standards at the Remington factory. The $389.99 versions have a .308-Win diameter bolt face. Each is precision-machined from either carbon steel or stainless steel barstock for uniform strength, drilled and tapped for scope bases, and ready to accept your choice of barrel and bottom metal. Remington’s bolt assembly features two, up-front bolt lugs for tight lockup and reliable pressure retention, plus 2-panel checkering on the bolt handle. A rivetless, circlip-type extractor and spring-loaded plunger ejector provide positive case extraction. Each action is equipped with Remington’s new X-Mark Pro trigger for improved trigger pull and easy adjustment. The easy-to-reach, two-position thumb safety engages quietly, and allows unloading while in the “safe” position.

Brownells Rem Remington 700 short action SA receiver blued

EDITOR’s NOTE: The following commentary by Brownells explains why the availability of new production Rem 700 actions is unpredictable, and why Rem 700 actions are a good choice for a rifle build.

Remington 700 Actions — Availability
It’s been many years since Brownells has been able to offer Remington 700 actions in its catalog. The problem has been unsteady supply: Remington Arms Co. will release actions to the commercial market only when it is sure it has enough supply to satisfy its own production needs for complete guns. Now, however, through a new arrangement with Remington, we are able to offer both Long and Short 700 actions (but supplies are limited).

Why The Rem 700 Action?
It’s simple. For 50 years, the Remington 700 has been the flagship of commercial rifle actions, providing proven reliability, fine accuracy, plus the largest selection of aftermarket bolt action parts in the industry. The Remington 700 action has proven itself for hunters and target shooters alike. The Rem 700 action still ranks as the number one choice of custom gun makers. Consequently, you will find a large selection of Rem-700 inletted stocks, along with aftermarket triggers, bottom metal, scope rails, and other accessories.

When They’re Gone…
There is, indeed, a limited number of commercial suppliers for these actions, and we are proud to be one of them. Although steadier now, the supply is still not certain enough that we’re ready to catalog them in our Big Book. We can only offer what we have in stock — and simply cannot guarantee permanent availability in the future. If they sell out, we all may be back to scrounging the gun shows and searching the Internet for a lucky deal on something used, or pirating the action from a brand new gun.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hot Deals 7 Comments »
March 14th, 2013

Monster BAT Discovered at Bruno’s

BAT .50 BMG — Now That’s an Action!, by GAS
A while back, I stopped into Bruno Shooters Supply for a jug of powder and looked into the display case where the new actions are kept. Amid the usual array of BAT Machine, Stolle and other actions, there was something unlike any action I’d seen before — all I can call it is the BIG BAT. I wasn’t too surprised at the weight (a beefy 13.7 lbs.), but until you lift it it’s hard to appreciate how solid, chunky, hefty, massive (pick your favorite adjective) this thing really is. The action is a 2.5″-diameter, 12″-long BAT for the .50 BMG cartridge. It is simply the biggest, slickest custom action on the planet. In order to give you some sense of scale, I photographed the action alongside a conventional BAT action for short-range Benchrest shooting and I put a .220 Russian case and a .30-06 case into the picture. I’ve handled and fired other .50 BMG actions/rifles before, but this BAT puts them all to shame, as far as fit and finish go.

BAT 50 BMG Action

BAT 50 BMG Action

The action is actually quite conventional in design and execution. The bolt is fluted and has two front lugs with a conventional, although super-sized, firing pin assembly. Any Remington-style trigger will mount by way of a normal trigger hanger, allowing for simplified maintenance or replacement in the field. The loading port is 5.5″ long and the barrel threads are 1.5″ x 16 tpi — nothing about this beast is small! There is a conventional rocker-type bolt release on the left side of the receiver body and a recoil lug is built into the bottom of the receiver. In reality, the action is very similar to any other BAT except for the size and it adheres to all of BAT’s high standards for quality of design, manufacture, fit, finish and just plain good looks. Slide that bolt back and it feels as tight as a small Benchrest action!

Given the BIG BAT’s $3,285.00 sticker price (2011 pricing), not many of us will ever have the opportunity to own or shoot one of these beauties (I certainly won’t). However, it is nice to know they exist and can be bought and enjoyed in many places.

BAT 50 BMG Action

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 7 Comments »
December 27th, 2009

New Custom Action from Louisiana Precision Rifles

Louisiana Precision Rifles (LPR) has a new custom action with all the features you could want in a deluxe Rem-700-clone receiver. The new Rem-700 footprint LPR action is available in stainless steel or chrome moly, in Right Hand, Left Hand, Long- or Short-action versions, suitable for .223 Rem through .338 Lapua Magnum.

Louisiana Precision Rifles 700 action

LPR’s owner William Roscoe included some very nice features in this new action — it’s a far cry from another “bare bones” Rem-700 clone. The bottom of the action features a .125″ radius cut for modified detachable box magazines, and the receiver is otherwise compliant with both ADL and BDL bottom metal. Notably, the new LPR action is slightly longer than a standard Rem 700 receiver. The LPR action has a longer 1.0625 x 16 TPI tenon for better barrel support.

Louisiana Precision Rifles 700 action

In the front of the action is a precision-ground, double-pinned .312″ recoil lug. On top of the action, Louisana Precision includes a custom +20 MOA scope rail, that is both double-pinned and secured with oversize 8×40 screws. Roscoe has relocated the bolt release to the side where it is raised up out of the stock line so you don’t have to make a large cut-out in your stock.

Louisiana Precision Rifles 700 action Louisiana Precision Rifles 700 action

The bolt is an inpressive piece of work also. It employs a fluted, one-piece bolt body with a threaded handle to accept custom bolt handle knobs. At the rear of the bolt, the cam angles have been carefully modified for smoother extraction and better camming. The front of the bolt is fairly unique. The ejector has been repositioned, and the bolt is fitted with an ultra-reliable mini M16-style extractor. The new LPR action design also allows a 100% captive firing pin tip.

Available on Complete Rifle Builds Initially
This receiver is available right now on complete rifles built by Louisiana Precision Rifles. Individual receivers will be offered for sale at a later date. The cost of a complete custom rifle built by Wm. Roscoe of Louisiana Precision ranges from $2,950 to $3,500 depending on finish, added options and stock choices. Estimated lead time is roughly 30-45 days on receivers. For more info, visit LouisianaPrecisionRifles.com, or call William Roscoe at (318) 422-0421.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 5 Comments »