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August 4th, 2022

Blueprinting Rem 700 Action — “How-To” with Rifleshooter.com

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizingYou may have heard the phrase “blueprinting an action”, but do you know what that really means? Do you know what operations are done to an action during the blueprinting process? To help you understand, gunsmith Bill Marr of RifleShooter.com has created a helpful article showing a Rem 700 blueprinting job start to finish. This article spotlights how the procedures can be done with manual tools. Bill, who runs 782 Custom Gunworks Ltd., can also perform many of these operations with modern automated machinery. In fact, Bill has written a follow-up article on Truing a Rem 700 receiver with a Lathe.

READ Full Action Blueprinting Article HERE with 30+ Photos »

Bill explains: “Blue-printing, or truing a rifle action, ensures the receiver face, threads, lugs, bolt lugs, and bolt face are square to the center line of the receiver.” In Bill’s informative article, Bill shows how he blueprints a Remington 700 short action receiver with .308 Win bolt face. He covers the following procedures step by step:

Action Disassembly
Ream Minor Diameter of Receiver Threads
Square the Receiver Lugs
Square the Face of the Receiver
Lap the Bolt Lugs
Square the Bolt Face

Bill employed a variety of tools from Brownells to complete the blueprinting job, including: Remington 700 Armorer’s Kit; Manson Receiver Accurizing Kit; Bolt Lapping Kit; Bolt Face Truing Tool; Manson Receiver Ring Facing Cutter; Multi-Vise with Jaw Pads; Silicone Carbide Abrasive; and Do-Drill Cutting Oil.

Highlights from the Rifleshooter.com article:

1. Chasing the Threads

We use the bushings to guide the receiver tap. This chases the threads and ensures they are square.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

2. Truing the Receiver Face

Using the receiver facing tool, the front of the receiver is trued. The tool is placed over the tap and turned by hand. We used Do Drill to lubricate it.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

3. Lapping the Lugs

The bolt lapping tool screws into the front of the action and applies rearward pressure on the bolt face. A little bit of lapping compound is placed on the front of the receiver lugs. The bolt handle is then raised and lowered repeatedly. Note — it is critical that we do not get any lapping compound on any other surfaces.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

4. Truing the Bolt Face

On this bolt, the central part of the bolt face was low. After the truing operation, this Rem 700 bolt face is now completely square to the action.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

READ Blueprinting Rem 700 Action with Lathe Article HERE »

IMPORTANT: Rifleshooter.com states: “This article highlights our project and is presented for information purposes only. This provides an overview of the process and should not be attempted without the guidance and supervision of an experienced gunsmith“.

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June 26th, 2022

Brilliant Video From Beretta about Gun-Making

Beretta shotgun technology robot video Human

Here’s a really great video about firearms crafting produced by Beretta, a legendary Italian gun-maker founded in 1526 — nearly 500 years ago. This movie, entitled “Human Technology”, is one of most impressive videos we’ve ever featured on this site. It’s that good. You’ll see an amazing blend of modern technology along with old-world artisanship — “a mesmerizing meld of the high-tech and the traditional”. (Daniel Xu, Outdoor Hub.)

“Human Technology is a singular and symbolic movie, its cast entirely made up of Beretta workmen, thus illustrating the perfect synthesis between craftsmanship and technology,” Beretta writes. This artistic movie by Ancarani Studio illustrates all the aspects of the manufacturing of a high-end Beretta shotgun. This video is a study in contrast. The movements of robotic assembly machines are juxtaposed with the centuries-old craftsmanship of stock carvers. Beautifully filmed and edited, this video should amaze and entertain anyone who loves fine firearms. (Full-screen HD Recommended.)

Beretta shotgun technology robot video Human

Beretta shotgun technology robot video Human

Beretta shotgun technology video Human

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June 15th, 2022

Chassis Rifle Genesis — Building a Precision Tactical Rifle Video

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

How is a modern, metal-chassis rifle built? This very cool video from Masterpiece Arms answers that question. The nicely-edited video shows the creation of a Masterpiece Arms tactical rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the manufacturing process are illustrated: 3D CAD modeling, CNC milling of the chassis, barrel threading/contouring, chamber-reaming, barrel lapping, laser engraving, and stock coating. If you love to see machines at work, you will enjoy this video…

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

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June 8th, 2022

How to Disassemble, Clean, and Re-Assemble Jewell Triggers

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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June 5th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: Multi-Tasking .308 Tubegun in Eliseo Chassis

eliseo competition machine tubegun .308 Win Lafevers palma bag rider steel tactical

This article features an impressive .308 Winchester tubegun, crafted with an Eliseo (Competition Machine) RTS chassis, Borden action, and 30″ Krieger medium Palma Contour barrel. Owner Mark LaFevers chambered and fitted the barrel and assembled the rifle himself. What’s more, Mark even crafted his own muzzle brake, front/rear bag-riders, and his own, innovative “big-foot” bipod! Mark’s Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tubegun has proven as accurate as it is multi-faceted. Optimized to shoot the 155-grain-class match projectiles, this gun is a tack-driver. This Editor has witnessed the gun repeatedly put 3-round groups into one ragged hole at 100 yards. At 600 yards, the gun has held under 1″ of vertical in competition.

When it comes to versatility, it’s hard to beat a tubegun chambered in .308 Winchester. This rifle system can be used in High Power (Palma) competition, F-TR matches, Long Range Steel Matches, and Tactical Competitions. With the addition of a front sled, a modern tubegun can even be competitive in 600-yard benchrest matches, as demonstrated by Jerry Tierney, who, some years back, won the NBRSA 600-yard Nationals with an Eliseo (Competition Machine) tubegun.

Do-It-All Multi-Discipline .308 Win Tubegun for F-TR, Benchrest, Varmint Matches, Palma, and Tactical Competitions

by Mark LaFevers

The Concept — a ‘Do-It-All .308 Win’
This project began with a wish list developed after shooting in a precision tactical match in 2009. From that experience I knew I wanted a magazine-fed precision bolt gun sporting a high-quality, variable-power scope. I wanted a rifle that could be competitive in a broad range of gun games including tac comps and long-range prone events. If the gun could also double as a medium-range benchrest rig, that would satisfy the needs of the monthly club matches I shoot — a varmint steel silhouette match (shot from the bench), and an F-Class style prone event. I also wanted a gun that could shoot Palma matches someday (when I get around to learning to shoot with iron sights).

Because I like to build things, I’m always looking for projects that offer opportunities to customize and innovate to suit my needs. And because I’m interested in trying different shooting disciplines, I hoped to craft a rifle that could be reconfigured fairly easily to fit various needs. To maximize the gun’s potential, I chose to use only the highest-quality components for every aspect of this project. I planned on building as much of this rifle as I possibly could myself — and that would include chambering and fitting a barrel for the first time. Having much to learn, I would be relying heavily on the expert advice and goodwill of others for the gun’s success.

The Do-It-Yourself Approach — The Appeal of Building Your Own Rifle
Not everyone understands the DIY (do-it-yourself) approach to life. Why would anyone try to smith his own rifle, when he could have it done by competent professionals? There is the imagined prospect of cost savings. However, a home gunsmith may find that, at least initially, it costs more money to do it yourself when all the costs of tooling etc. are calculated. But doing it yourself is not just about saving money. There is a special satisfaction derived from building something with your own hands. For me the relationship between practiced hands, tools, materials, and knowledge of craft is important. The DIY approach surely means different things to different people. For me it’s about the quest for improvement, and an appreciation of the importance of craftmanship in history, and trying to do my part.

Whatever our craft, the fit and function of the things we care about ultimately define us. In this project I felt a responsibility to uphold certain standards. I also was motivated by the desire to give ‘homage’ to my distant relative Daniel M. LeFever, a gun-maker who left his mark on the firearms industry in the 1870s. “Uncle Dan” LeFever crafted high-grade double guns that rivaled the finest European doubles.*

Choosing Components for the .308 Win Tubegun
Looking over the range of suitable equipment, it did not take long to come across Gary Eliseo’s Competition Machine tubegun chassis kit. Initially intrigued by the beauty of the machine work in this aluminum stock, the more I looked the better this platform seemed. Gary’s RTS kit for Remington 700 and Rem clones accepts the proven AICS magazines and offers great stock adjustment flexibility. For more on that subject read German Salazar’s excellent article on Configuring the Eliseo Tubegun Stock.

.308 Eliseo Tubegun

When I learned that Jim Borden, BordenRifles.com, was building an action designed specifically for the Eliseo tubegun stock, the decision to go this route was made even easier. I had previously had the opportunity to admire close up the Borden action used by our top Club benchrest record holder, and I knew I couldn’t go wrong there. In selecting a trigger group, I knew I wanted a fully adjustable two-stage trigger that could be set for different pull weights for various shooting disciplines. At first glance Jewell seemed to be the obvious choices, but I asked if there were any products that might be better than the Jewell for my purposes. It was suggested that an American-made trigger by CG Jackson might do the trick, so I talked with Tom Myers of X-Treme Shooting Products. Tom’s company offered a fully-adjustable, 2-stage Mod 22 Tactical trigger that fits Remington 700 actions and their clones. It is offered with a fixed or moveable shoe, with or without a safety. I chose the fixed trigger shoe with no safety.

Eliseo Tubegun

Choosing a Scope
Given my prior positive experiences with Nightforce products, a Nightforce scope was my first choice in optics. But I needed to select between the NXS (side-focus) and BR (front focus) models, and chose a magnification range. Because I wanted to play a variety of gun games from Tactical to Benchrest, it seemed to me that the NXS, with its faster side focus parallax adjustment, would be the more versatile choice. I went with the 12-42x56mm version so that I had plenty of magnification on tap for long-range precision work. I can still dial it back to 12 power for a wider field of view, as needed.

LaFevers .308
Mark bench-testing the gun during Load Development. The front rest is the superb SEB Neo Co-Axial.

Caliber Choice and Load Development

Choice of Caliber — .308 Win Offers Accuracy, Versatility, Long Barrel Life
Rather than agonize over the many caliber choices, I chose to step back and consider what I thought, in my experience, made winning shooters. Was it the caliber they were shooting or their training, skill and intelligence, that made them winners? While it is true that various calibers do have their specific merits, it is also true that an individual with five times as much training as you is likely to beat you with whatever caliber he or she is using. Case in point being the tactical match that got me started on this project, won by a young Marine shooting a .308 Win. While many other competitors had rifles with “faster, flatter, superior ballistics”, the Marine topped the field through his superior training, natural ability, and the keen edge of youth. With the right trigger puller, .308 Win was clearly still good enough to win this kind of match.

Among the arguments in favor of the .308 Win caliber for this project were:

  • I had positive previous experience with the .308 and was already set up to reload for it.
  • Very wide selection of performance-proven bullets.
  • Some popular disciplines, such as F-TR and International Fullbore, specify .308 Win (7.62×51) as one of the “permitted” chamberings.
  • Top shooters could provide guidance on .308 load development, and effective shooting techniques.
  • .308 Win offers long barrel life.

Weighing against the .308 Win were higher component costs and heavier recoil compared to many popular, smaller, mid-distance calibers, such as the 6mmBR, 6 Dasher, 6XC, and 6.5×47 Lapua.

Selecting the Optimal Barrel Configuration for my Bullet Selection
One way of narrowing the field of .308 bullet options is to choose a specific bullet that has performed well for winning shooters, and design the gun around the bullet. The weight of the bullet and its preference for a specific seating depth dictate the twist rate of the barrel and the depth of the chamber, which is also dependent upon whether you choose to single feed or magazine feed. Because I have had very positive experiences with Berger bullets, and becasue Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz was very positive about Berger’s 155.5gr Palma bullet, that was my starting bullet choice for this gun. Because Bryan had great 1000-yard success with a 1:13 twist barrel with the 155.5 bullet, but thought he might go with a 1:12 twist next time, I felt it would be interesting to try a 1:12.5″ twist. Krieger Barrels was able to privde this specific twist rate, and we hoped Krieger’s 5R rifling with a 30″ length would yield a fast barrel. Some extra velocity would help offset the velocity loss I might suffer by being limited to a mag-length COAL. (If I could load longer than mag length I could stuff in more powder and get more velocity.) The Krieger 5R proved a very good choice. From the start the barrel has cleaned up easily, it has delivered awesome accuracy, and it holds very tight elevation at long range. I’ve also been able to achieve very low ES/SD with this Krieger.

Gun Set-Up and Initial Testing
The first break-in of the rifle was done at 100 yards on home turf at the Ojai Valley Gun Club in California. Your Editor and I put 40 rounds through it using Krieger’s recommended break-in procedure. Our impression was that in less than 10 rounds the barrel was ready for competition. I shot the second 10 rounds looking at the performance of the variable muzzle brake I had built. Firing initially with only the one built-in baffle in place, a tremendous amount of gas was still blowing forward, made visually more pronounced by the frosty 29° air. Maximum recoil reduction was achieved adding the front baffle spool, so this is how the brake will be used. On disassembly after firing the forward faces of the baffle spool show descending amounts of powder residue from the gas entry to exit end, with almost no residue at the final baffle wall, showing most of the gas has exited to the side by that point. Attention to precision alignment shows the brake having no adverse effect on accuracy, as the last 20 rounds seated to various depths yielded a couple three-shot, one-hole groups at 100. At the end of the session I was pleased to find that the Krieger barrel cleaned extremely easily. Two wet patches cleared the powder residue and just a little copper showed up at the muzzle end by visual inspection.

Muzzle Brake with Baffle

The Jim Borden action has a really nice feel when single round loading, and good consistency feeding from the magazine with an authoritative hand. The ejector is very aggressive and will pitch the brass off the bench if it isn’t blocked from escaping. This action cycles very smoothly, and the beautiful workmanship shows even with the tubegun chassis mostly surrounding it.

Eliseo Tubegun
Mark crafted two front sleds for the gun, one from metal, another from wood (which worked a bit better). Mark notes: “With the wood bag-rider in place the gun became quite stable, and you didn’t notice the high center of gravity so much.” Mark also made his own rear Bag-Rider.

Tubegun Wins First Fun Match
Shortly after breaking in the barrel, I took the gun down to a nearby range to compete in an informal 300- and 400-yard paper competition. I thought it would be fun to test loads while shooting in a club-level fun match. I was getting the best grouping at 44.5 grains of Varget, hotter loads were not doing so well, leading me to believe I needed to work up loads from 44.0 to 44.5 by tenths to find the sweet spot. In the 10-competitor match I squeaked out a win by 1 point. Still, a win is a win!

Load Development

I took the rifle up to the Ojai range at daybreak to run some load variations at 600 yards in still 26° air. I printed targets (sourced from AccurateShooter.com’s FREE Target Page) that had a 1″ red dot within a 5″ grid box. The dot made an excellent aim point at 600 yards. Here the capabilities of the Nightforce 12-42 NXS optic really became apparent. In the exceptionally clear, early morning conditions, I could see the dot AND the bullet holes — all at 600 yards downrange! I had set up my 72-power Meade spotting scope but didn’t use it as the Nightforce scope had more clarity and sharpness. There was no need to go downrange to check the targets, as bullet holes were clearly visible on the targets. This is great because I can make better use of the narrow window of perfect air in the morning, before the sun stirs thermals and mirage.

In this rifle, the Berger 155.5gr Fullbore bullet likes to be seated .010″ off what I’m calling “Max Jam”, using a Hornady OAL length gauge pressing the bullet softly into the lands, so the bullet just barely sticks there when the tool is removed. [Editor’s Note: At his optimal seating depth, Mark’s bullets are still in the lands, just .010″ shy of the max length he can load them without set-back.] The rounds are loaded to 2.850″ OAL to magazine feed. Even though I cut a “no-turn” chamber, I do lightly turn the outside of the case necks to uniform them. I like to look at bullet bearing surface length variations, using a Sinclair comparator body and two .30-cal inserts, one on the nose and the other on the tail of the bullet. With very uniform bullets like the Bergers this method is really only attempting to spot that random outlier bullet that varies in length enough to separate from the group. This is no knock on Berger, just a nod to the challenges of maintaining incredibly tight manufacturing tolerances.

Eliseo Tubegun

Today’s five shot groups of Varget, jumping by tenths of a grain from 44.0 to 44.5 grains, showed the best grouping to be at 44.1 grains. The hotter loads were breaking the 2900 fps level, but the groups were not as tight as they were at the lower end. At 44.1 grains of Varget the five-shot group had a vertical dispersion of 1.9″ and a horizontal dispersion of 1.25″ at 600 yards, making that a keeper load.

Competition Load Selection and Performance
With a NBRSA 600-yard match fast approaching, I realized that with all the focus on testing I didn’t have enough Lapua brass to shoot the entire match. My solution was to fall back on once-fired Hornady Match brass, with which I have also had excellent luck. So, the day before the NBRSA match, I loaded up the best combinations of the Berger 155.5s with Hornady/Varget, Lapua/Varget, and Hornady/8208 for a final trial, and headed out to a 1000-yard range that’s a two-hour drive from home. Expecting to see the faster IMR 8208 edge out the Varget at this range, I was surprised to see the performance basically identical. With this last minute perspective I decided to shoot the six target NBRSA match using Berger/Hornady/Varget for the first three matches, then Berger/Hornady/8208 for the last three matches when the extra speed might help in a rising afternoon wind.

Match Results
Best results were in Match 1 using 44.0 grains of Varget to push the Berger 155.5 from the Hornady Match brass. Fortunately four bullets flew to a 1.44” group in the blue, unfortunately it was a five-shot match and one bullet flew high left. Excellent promise also showed in Match 6 with the IMR 8208 XBR powder yielding less than an inch of vertical at 600 yards. The lesson I learned from the event was that operator consistency was a much bigger factor than the technical limitations of the hardware or the ammunition. The gun can definitely shoot better than I can hold. I had the opportunity to shoot off a beautiful SEB NEO front rest in this competition. Although I am not a fan yet of joystick controls, this rest performed flawlessly and definitely had a positive effect on performance.

Eliseo Tubegun Target

My Overall Impressions of the Project
For use as a benchrest rig, the tubegun provides an interesting challenge, because the pistol grip seems to make the gun much more sensitive to steering errors than a typical low-profile benchrest stock. You have to focus on consistency of grip. A light grip and firm cheek weld combination seems to work well at the bench, but the gun also responds well to a very firm grip and heavy shoulder pressure when fired in the prone position. Building an Eliseo tubegun is a great project and the finished product is a very versatile, fun-to-shoot gun! To encourage others with similar interests, let me just say that the products and components used in this project all get my five-star endorsement, without exception or hesitation.

The biggest challenge with this rifle lies in my own skill development — particularly for tactical matches. If you only have experience with known-distance shooting matches, you’ll need a whole new set of skills to be successful in unknown-distance (UKD) tactical competitions. These UKD matches require high levels of shooting intelligence and training. However, now that I have a rifle that instills confidence, I can work to improve my skills. Overall, I am very happy with the results of this project — the gun has certainly lived up to my expectations. It is rugged, accurate and very adept at “multi-tasking.”

DIY Machining — Chambering My First Barrel

One of my main objectives with this project was to do my own barrel chamber reaming and fit-up work. I had been studying and working from John Hinnants’s excellent book on Precision Rifle Barrel Making, building tools and working with the concepts, and felt myself to be ready to tackle the machining aspects of the project. Having local ace gunsmith Mac Tilton to talk to really helped me understand what would be needed. Greg Tannel’s excellent GreTan DVDs on how to set up a high pressure thru-the-barrel reamer flushing system and align the lathe tailstock properly for precision chamber reaming were invaluable. Greg’s off-the-shelf, hardware-store flow control layout makes the flushing system easy to regulate for other purposes as well. I built the reamer holder Greg describes in his DVD, and it too works well.

I began at everyone’s recommended starting point, which was to recheck the level of my lathe, a Jet 1340 gearhead belt-driven model. To accomplish this I used a precision 12” machinist level from Grizzly Tools. I can’t say the tool was easy to use because the leveling process is tedious as hell, but the level worked very well.

Manson .308 Reamer

Dave Manson Shares His Reamer Knowledge
In researching which reamer maker to use to create the custom reamer for the Berger 155.5 fullbore bullet, which seems to like about .015″ jump to the lands, I was drawn by name recognition to Dave Manson’s products. In my years of thumbing through Brownells catalogs I was impressed with the thought Dave had put into the development of so many of his tools. During several phone conversations, I greatly benefited from Dave’s experience with chamber tolerances, cutting fluids and reamer modifications specific to thru-the-barrel flushing. To help spec the reamer, I sent Dave a couple dummy rounds built to magazine length so he could make a custom reamer to yield .015” jump and a no-turn neck. In no time I was using the Dave Manson reamer to practice with the flushing system on pieces cut from a take-off barrel, then checking dimensions using Cerrosafe castings. The dimensions were exactly as we had discussed, and I do mean EXACTLY! From the way Dave’s reamer worked in practice chambers, I knew this tool would produce a superior chamber.

Grizzly Tailstock DRO

Chambering Process with Tailstock DRO
For this project I set up a lathe tailstock digital readout from Grizzly, part # T10118, to help keep track of boring depth. Unlike relying on counting revolutions of the tailstock handwheel, with the DRO you are looking at the total travel measurement on a digital display, which is equally precise to the alternate dial indicator method. The chamber was cut in the stainless Krieger barrel at 60 RPM, using Mobilmet 744 heavy cutting oil diluted with mineral spirits, flushing chips from the reamer flutes at 100 PSI. For the last few thousandths of cut, lathe power was shut off and the cut completed by turning the reamer holder by hand while in-feeding with the lathe tailstock handwheel for precise depth and chamber dimension control.

To shorten this article up a bit and keep it on point for those interested in the rifle and not the process, let me just mention that details of some of the additional parts I made can be seen at my website: LaFeversFabricating.wordpress.com. Those parts include a muzzle brake of my design, my fast attach bipod design, a drop-leg level, wood grip, and wooden as well as metal front and rear bag riders for benchrest work.

Acknowledgements
For their participation and patience in supporting this project, and their tolerance of my myriad questions about parts and processes, I would like to thank, in alphabetical order:

Berger Bullets — Bergerbullets.com — Berger 155.5gr Fullbore Match bullets.
Jim Borden — BordenRifles.com — Stainless Rem. Clone action for Eliseo tubegun.
Gary Eliseo — CompetitionShootingStuff.com — RTS tubegun stock kit.
Grizzly Industrial — Grizzly.com
Krieger Barrels — KriegerBarrels.com — 30″ Medium Palma, 1:12.5″ twist 5R rifling, tight bore.
Dave Manson — MansonReamers.com — Custom .308 Win finish reamer for Berger 155.5 fullbore bullet.
Tom Myers — X-tremeShooting XTSP — CG Jackson Mod 22 Tactical 2-Stage Trigger.
Nightforce Optics — NightforceOptics.com — 12-42×56 NXS Scope with NP-R1 ranging reticle.
Greg Tannel — GreTanRifles.com — Lathe set-up and chambering DVDs.


*According to Chuck Hawks: “‘Uncle’ Dan Lefever was one of the greatest gun designers of his, or any, time. He founded several companies….The largest and best known of these, Lefever Arms Co., was eventually acquired by the Ithaca Gun Company around the time of the First World War. In the hey day of the classic American double there were guns galore and many different grades and price points, from plain field grade guns to masterpieces rivaling the best European guns. The Lefever Arms guns, for example, won medals at an International Arms Exhibition for ‘Best American’ and ‘World’s Best’ shotgun.”

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May 12th, 2022

Good Resources for Do-It-Yourself AR-Platform Rifle Projects

AR15 Varmint rifle AR gunsmithing robert whitley
AR15 Varmint rifle AR gunsmithing robert whitley

AR15 construction guideMany of our readers use AR-type rifles for Service Rifle matches, varmint hunting, 3-Gun competition, or defensive use. AR-platform rifles can be configured in a multitude of ways to suit the application. But if you plan to put together your own purpose-built AR rifle, how do you get started?

For AR Do-It-Yourselfers, we suggest reading the late Glen Zediker’s book, the Competitive AR-15 Builders Guide. Following on Zediker’s The Competitive AR15: Ultimate Technical Guide, the Builders Guide provides step-by-step instructions that will help non-professional “home builders” assemble a competitive match or varmint rifle. This book isn’t for everyone — you need some basic gun assembly experience and an aptitude for tools. But the Competitive AR-15 Builders’ Guide provides a complete list of the tools you’ll need for the job, and Zediker outlines all the procedures to build an AR-15 from start to finish.

One of our Forum members who purchased the AR-15 Builders Guide confirms it is a great resource: “Much like any of the books Mr. Zediker puts out this one is well thought-out and is a no nonsense approach to AR building. I can not stress how helpful this book is from beginner to expert level.”

Along with assembly methods, this book covers parts selection and preparation, not just hammers and pins. Creedmoor Sports explains: “Knowing how to get what you want, and be happy with the result, is truly the focus of this book. Doing it yourself gives you a huge advantage. The build will honestly have been done right, and you’ll know it! Little problems will have been fixed, function and performance enhancements will have been made, and the result is you’ll have a custom-grade rifle without paying custom-builder prices.” Other good resources for AR projects is Gunsmithing the AR: The Bench Manual, and the Building Your AR from Scratch DVD.

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April 30th, 2022

Brownells Do-It-Yourself Videos Show How to Upgrade Firearms

Brownells do it yourself videos

Brownells’ Do-It-Yourself (DIY) video series provides logical, step-by-step installation help for triggers, stocks, and springs. Nine separate videos cover Brownells various DIY Kits. Not sure if you’re up to the project? Just watch each video to see what’s involved. The nine DIY kits are:

  • Brownells DIY Remington 870 Stock Upgrade Kit 080-000-850
  • Brownells DIY Power Custom 10/22 Trigger Upgrade Kit 080-000-851
  • Brownells DIY Remington 700 Trigger Replacement w/o Trigger 080-000-852
  • Brownells DIY Remington 700 Trigger Replacement with Timney Trigger 080-000-853
  • Brownells DIY S&W J Frame Revolver Upgrade Kit080-000-862
  • Brownells DIY AR-15 Performance Upgrade Installation080-001-155WB
  • Brownells DIY Magpul MOE AR15 Stock Upgrade Installation084-000-386WB
  • Brownells DIY Glock Pistol Sight Upgrade Kit 080-000-919WB
  • Brownells DIY Ruger MKIII Upgrade Kit 930-000-046WB

This video shows Remington 700 after-market trigger installation:

In the Do-It-Yourself videos, Brownells’ Gun Techs proceed step-by-step, showing you exactly how to install the parts on your gun. Each kit also comes with complete, illustrated instructions you can take to the bench. To learn more, click the links above, or CLICK HERE to visit Brownells’ DIY Kit online page.

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March 27th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: 25 BR Peppermint — “Tweener” Caliber Works

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 22BR, 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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January 23rd, 2022

How to Craft a Dummy Round To Aid Barrel Fitting

Gre Tannel GreTan, Gre-Tan Rifles dummy round chambering gunsmith reamer chamber

How and Why to Create a Dummy Round
When you have a new custom rifle built, or a new barrel fitted to an existing rifle, it makes sense to create a dummy round. This should have your preferred brass and bullet types, with the bullet positioned at optimal seating depth. A proper dummy round helps the gunsmith set the freebore correctly for your cartridge, and also ensure the proper chamber dimensions.

Respected machinist, tool-maker, and gunsmith Greg Tannel of Gre-Tan Rifles explains: “I use the dummy round as a gauge to finish cut the neck diameter and throat length and diameter so you have [optimal] clearance on the loaded neck and the ogive of the bullet just touches the rifling.” He recommends setting bullet so the full diameter is just forward of the case’s neck-shoulder junction. “From there”, Greg says, “I can build you the chamber you want… with all the proper clearances”.

Greg Tannel has created a very helpful video showing how to create a dummy round. Greg explains how to measure and assemble the dummy and how it will be used during the barrel chambering process. Greg notes — the dummy round should have NO Primer and NO powder. We strongly recommend that every rifle shooter watch this video. Even if you won’t need a new barrel any time soon, you can learn important things about freebore, leade, and chamber geometry.

Must Watch Video — This has been viewed over 772,000 times on YouTube:

This has been a very popular video, with 772,000 views! Here are actual YouTube comments:

That is the best explanation I’ve ever seen. Thank you sir. — P. Pablo

Nice video. You do a very good job of making this easy for new reloaders to understand. I sure wish things like this were available when I started reloading and having custom rifles built. Once again, great job, and your work speaks for itself. — Brandon K.

Beautiful job explaining chambering clearances. — D. Giorgi

Another Cool Tool — The Stub Gauge

When you have your gunsmith chamber your barrel, you can also have him create a Stub Gauge, i.e. a cast-off barrel section chambered like your actual barrel. The stub gauge lets you measure the original length to lands and freebore when your barrel was new. This gives you a baseline to accurately assess how far your throat erodes with use. Of course, as the throat wears, to get true length-to-lands dimension, you need take your measurement using your actual barrel. The barrel stub gauge helps you set the initial bullet seating depth. Seating depth is then adjusted accordingly, based on observed throat erosion, or your preferred seating depth.

Stub Gauge Gunsmithing chamber gage model barrel

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December 11th, 2021

Lights, Camera, ACTIONS — See Kelbly’s Actions Being Made

Kelbly's Panda Action gunsmithing video barrel stock bedding

Want to see new-born Pandas? No, not the furry kind — rather Stolle Panda actions produced with state-of-the-art CNC machinery. If you’ve ever wondered how precision benchrest, long-range, and tactical rifles are built, check out video from Kelbly’s. You’ll see actions finished, barrels chambered and crowned, pillars installed in stocks, barreled actions bedded, plus a host of other services performed by Kelbly’s gunsmiths and machinists.

If you’re a fan of fine machine-work, this video should be both informative and entertaining. You can see how precision gun work is done with 21st-Century technology. Tip of the hat to Ian Kelbly and crew for producing this excellent video visit to the Kelbly’s production center.

Click Volume Control to Activate Sound for Kelbly’s Video:

Kelbly's Panda Action gunsmithing video barrel stock bedding

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June 27th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Tennessee Triple — Voldoc’s Varmint Rifles

Varmint rifles 20 BR Stiller Diamondback 6mm Dasher

Shooting Prairie Dogs at extreme long range takes some highly specialized equipment. Forum Member VolDoc and his friends have taken long-range varminting to a whole new level. With his Savage-based, Hart-barreled 20 BR, VolDoc managed a verified 1,032-yard Prairie Dog kill, possibly the longest recorded with a .20-Caliber rifle. But that’s just part of VolDoc’s impressive precision varminting arsenal. Here we showcase three of VolDoc’s accurate rigs: his stunning English Walnut Diamondback 6BR/Dasher, his Nesika-actioned “Orange Crush” Dasher, and the 1K Prairie Dog-slaying 20 BR Savage.

Diamondback Switch-Barrel Rifle Specifications
The action is a Stiller Diamondback, drop-port. The custom stock is similar to a Shehane ST-1000, but crafted from 40-year-old English Walnut. [Editor’s note: the wood on this gun is gorgeous!] There are three barrels for the gun with three different chamberings: 6BR Brux 1:8″-twist HV; 6BRX Krieger 1:8″-twist HV, and 6mm Dasher Krieger 1:8.5″ twist fluted straight contour (no taper). The scope is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm, with 2DD reticle.

Stiller Diamondback 6mm Dasher English Walnut

Comments: This rifle is a good study in comparison of the three different chamberings. On the same rifle platform (same stock and action), each of these barrels had killed prairie dogs over 1,000 yards. So if someone asks which is best, a 6BR, or 6BRX, or 6 Dasher, VolDoc says they are all effective. The improved cartridges will deliver higher velocities, which can be an advantage. On the other hand it is simpler to load 6mmBR brass right out of the box, and it’s easy to find an accurate load for the 6mmBR (see photo).

Stiller Diamondback 6mm Dasher English Walnut

Nesika 6mmBR/Dasher Rifle Specifications
VolDoc’s “Big Orange Crush” rifle has a stainless Nesika ‘J’ action, with 2 oz. Jewell trigger, in a painted fiberglass Shehane ST-1000 stock. Originally a 6BR, the gun is now chambered as a 6mm Dasher with a .271 no-turn neck. The barrel is a 1:12″-twist Krieger fited with Vais muzzle brake. On top is a NightForce NXS 12-42x56mm scope with double-dot reticle. The double-dot gives precise aiming and lower dot can be used as an aming point, when you need a few more MOA of elevation in the field.

Nesika 6BR 6mm Dasher

Comments: Big Orange Crush shoots 87gr V-Maxs into bugholes at 3,400 fps. VolDoc’s load with the 87s is very stout, more than 32 grains of Vihtavuori N-135 with Wolf SRM primers. Cases are full-length sized, with an 0.266″ bushing for the necks.

Nesicka 6BR 6mm Dasher
This 3400 fps load with the 87gr V-Maxs has accounted for hundreds of Prairie Dogs killed from 97 yards to 1,050 yards. The 87gr V-Max at this speed literally picks Prairie Dogs up and throws them 10 feet vertically and laterally. VolDoc reports: “The barrel now has more than 3,000 rounds down the tube and exhibits little throat fire-cracking and no loss of accuracy. I can’t explain why, it just hasn’t deteriorated yet. This rifle is my best-ever ‘go-to’ Prairie Dog rifle.”

Savage 20 BR Rifle Specifications
The action is a Savage Dual Port, with an aftermarket Sharp Shooter Supply (SSS) 4 oz. Evolution trigger. The stock is a modified Savage factory unit that has been pillar-bedded. The factory barrel was replaced with a 28″ Hart stainless, 1:9″ twist barrel fitted with a Rayhill muzzle brake. The gun is chambered in 20 BR with a 0.235″ no-turn neck. Kevin Rayhill did the smithing. To provide enough elevation to shoot at 1,000 yards plus, Ray fitted a +20 MOA Bench Source scope base. This +20 rail is very well-crafted, and made especially for the Savage Model 12.

Savage 20BR

Comments: VolDoc reports: “When I got the Savage back from Kevin Rayhill, it still had my 6 BR factory barrel on it, as I use it to compete in Factory-class regional matches. I put on the new 20 BR Hart barrel Kevin had chambered and quickly put in a full day of load development using the 55gr Bergers (0.381 G1 BC) and the 40gr V-Maxs. Both proved very easy to tune and I soon had my loads. My 55gr Berger load with runs about 3590 fps. Varget was very accurate with the 55s (see load dev. targets below).

Savage 20BR load development targets

The mild recoil of the 20 BR, along with a very good muzzle break (Rayhill’s design) enables me to spot every hit or miss myself. Kevin also re-contoured the underside of the Savage stock so it tracks straight back on recoil, also making seeing hits easier.”

The 20 Caliber 1000-Yard Prairie Dog Quest

Savage 20BRMaking the 1032-Yard Shot with a 20 BR
by Dr. John S. (aka “VolDoc”)
This article covers my recent successful quest for a 20-caliber varmint kill past 1,000 yards. This may be a first — I couldn’t find anyone else with a confirmed 20-Cal Prairie Dog kill at 1000+. I started a thread on the Varmint section of the AccurateShooter.com Forum about building a 20 BR capable of 1,000-yard Minute of Prairie Dog accuracy and many said 20 Cal bullets just could not do it. Some came to my defense and said those that doubted had never studied the ballistics of the 20BR with the new Berger 55gr bullets now available. Well, folks, I can tell you, hitting a Prairie Dog at 1000 yards isn’t easy — but it IS possible. Here’s how it was done….

Gale-Force Winds and High Temps
After arriving at our Prairie Dog Ranch in Colorado, I soon realized my quest was going to be especially difficult because we had continual 40+ mph winds and 100° heat every day. We had a special place where Birdog and I had made many 1,000-yard+ kills in years past, so I knew the ideal location but needed a small window of opportunity either early morning or late afternoon. Based on past experience, I knew I needed about 21 MOA from my 100-yard zero to get to 1,000 yards. On the first day of the Safari, I shot the 20 BR in the 45 mph brutal winds and heat of 97°. But after about 20 shots, I connected on a dog and lifted him about three feet high. Well, that’s a start.

Savage 20BR

Winds Subside — Here’s Our Chance …
On the second day of our shoot, I had listened to the early weather forecast, so I knew that there was to be a brief period of light winds early in the morning. We were out on the Colorado prairie at daylight and the conditions were perfect. The sunrise was at my back and we had about a 10 mph tailwind. I looked through my Leica Geovid Rangefinder Binos and the Prairie Dogs were out for breakfast. I quickly ranged the targets and found a group at about 1,050 yards. The technique is to find the dogs, range them, click-up according to your ballistic chart and shoot.

Savage 20BR

My first shot was very, very close. I added about four clicks up and a couple of clicks left for windage and let another go. That shot threw dirt all over, but the dog didn’t even flinch. This is another good point to remember about long-range Prairie Dog hunting. To be successful, the dogs can’t be too skittish, because if they have been shot at even a few times, they will go down and stay down. So, you should have an agreement with those in your party as to where each member is going to be shooting and respect this boundary. Drive-by shooting style is OK if that’s your thing, it’s just not mine.

Savage 20BRHitting the Mark — Dead Dog at 1032 Yards
On the fourth shot, I saw the dog go belly up and kick its final throws. My quest for the 20-Caliber 1,000-yard Prairie Dog had become a reality. We confirmed the distance with our lasers at 1,032 yards. Our technique for retrieving a dead dog at that range is worth mentioning. When I killed that dog, I left it in the crosshairs of my Nightforce scope. My shooting buddy kept looking through the scope (of my gun) and guided me to the deceased dog using Motorola walkie-talkies. When I got to the dog I was jubilant. I marked it with my tripod and orange jacket, and we took some pictures. (See view through scope photo below). The 55gr Bergers require a center mass hit as they will not expand, especially at that range. I centered this dog in the head — his BAD LUCK, my GOOD.

After making the 1,032-yard kill, I shot many many other Prairie Dogs with the Savage 20 BR using the 40gr V-Maxs. The dog flights were spectacular — red mist and helicopters, counter-clockwise or clockwise on demand. I killed at least five at over 500 yards. I will not use the 55 Bergers on Prairie Dogs again since the quest is over. I will use the 40gr V-Maxs and 39gr Sierra BlitzKings for next trip’s 20 BR fodder.

Savage 20BR

CLICK HERE for More Info on Voldoc’s 20 BR Savage Varmint rifle »

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March 21st, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Suhl-Action .22 LR Rimfire with Indexed Barrel

Suhl 150 Benchrest Rimfire 22LR

This article was originally written by noted rimfire gunsmith Bill Myers. Sadly, Bill passed away in May 2010, but his legacy lives on. He pioneered many advancements in rimfire gunsmithing and Myers-built guns still win matches in benchrest competition.

Crafting competitive rimfire benchrest rifles is considered an art as much as a science. The smith must understand subtle, yet critical aspects of vibration control, barrel tuning, and rifle balance. In the United States, only a handful of gunsmiths consistently turn out rimfire BR rifles that consistently run at the front of the pack at major matches. Bill Myers was one of those master craftsmen. In this article Bill discussed the process of building a winning rimfire BR rig. He reveals some interesting secrets, including his procedures for testing bedding performance and his barrel indexing system. Bill’s methods obviously work, as the Suhl-actioned rifle featured here won a truckload of trophies in its very first match.

Building a Match-Winning Rimfire Benchrest Rig

by Bill Myers
In my opinion, a winning rimfire benchrest rifle is probably twice as difficult to build as a competitive centerfire rifle. The relatively slow .22 LR bullets stay in the barrel much longer than centerfire bullets. This means that vibration control is critical. Likewise bedding is critical. Bore finish and lapping are very important. The amount of bore taper or “choke” can have a huge effect on accuracy. Ignition is also very important and above all, rimfire BR rifles need a very stable stock that tracks perfectly. A rimfire that shoots great is a complete marriage of all components and of the shooter’s need to be aware of everything possible.

Click Photo to Zoom
Myers 22LR

The rifle featured in this article was built from scratch with attention to all the details that go into accuracy. The goal was to build a gun that could win from the get-go. This would be a “Spec Gun”, meaning a rifle that was personally tested and tuned by me for optimum performance before it went out to the customer.

Suhl 150 Benchrest Rimfire 22LR
The Suhl trigger is as good as it gets so no change was needed. It easily adjusts down to about 2 ounces.

Baer Stock in Bubinga Wood
There are many choices when you start to build a complete rifle. It has to shoot well and it has to catch ones eye, or it’s just another rifle on the line. I prefer wood stocks on rimfires for two reasons: they are very stable if the right wood is used and they have a certain traditional appeal to many shooters. I chose Bubinga wood for this particular gun because it is very stable and heavy, it has a very dense grain and a very pronounced figure with a natural red color. The Bubinga is a very forgiving wood to work with.

Suhl 150 Benchrest Rimfire 22LR

Gerry and Bruce Baer in Pennsylvania do all my stock blanks. I do all my own inletting and bedding. The blank weighed 4.5 pounds when it came off of Bruce Baer’s duplicator. This Bubinga wood is so hard that it did not need pillars, but I put them in anyway. I bed all my stocks with Loctite Steel Bed liquid and add filler to desired thickness. The final bedding is done with an aircraft tooling epoxy that does not deteriorate over time. The stock has an ebony butt plate and six (6) coats of automotive clear, polished to a “high buff” finish.

Suhl 150 Benchrest Rimfire 22LR

Suhl 150-1 Action
Suhl 150 Benchrest Rimfire .22 LR 22LRAccurized and BN-Nickel Plated
I used a new, unfired Suhl 150-1 action. As explained in the sidebar below, the Suhl 150 actions were originally crafted in East Germany for position rifles. They have a very fast lock-time and come with an outstanding trigger. However, they need some work when adapted to a modern BR gun. The action needed to be accurized and threaded. I have a special tool that I use to accurize actions. It uses two sets of spiders for dialing-in the bolt raceway. After the bolt raceway is running true, one can thread and true up all bearing surfaces so that everything is in perfect alignment with the action raceway bore.

Suhl Action Myers benchrest .22 LR rimfireBN-Nitride Plating on Action
I decided to plate the action and all bolt parts with Boron Nitride nickel plating. I bough the BN Electroless Nickel Kit from Caswell Plating and did the job myself. I started by bead-blasting the action so that it would end up with a “satin” finish. The plating material is then applied in a tank. The Boron Nitride goes directly into the plating solution, but you need to use a pump to keep the solution agitated so the BN distributes evenly.

Once the action is completely ready (the metal must be perfectly prepped, with no contaminants), the process goes easily and can be completed in about half an hour. The end result is a very slick, low-friction finish, that is .0002″ (two ten-thousandths) thick and hard as glass. The Boron Nitride makes everything very smooth. After the plating job, the action was noticeably slicker than before.

The cone breech (photo below) permits the barrel to be INDEXED (rotated around bore axis) to any position on the clockface. You then test various rotation settings to find the best accuracy. The system does work. Some barrels shoot best in a particular rotational setting. E.g. with index mark at 3 O’clock vs. 12 O’clock.

Suhl 150 Benchrest Rimfire 22LRFitting and Chambering the Barrel
As for a barrel, I had two good choices: one Shilen 1:16″-twist, 4-groove ratchet and one Benchmark 1:16″-twist, 3-groove. Both barrels were very accurate and at the end, I decided to leave the Shilen on the rifle because I wanted to put the Benchmark on another Suhl I’ve set aside for myself. I chambered the barrel for Eley flat nose EPS. We’ve found the gun also shoots the new Lapua X-ACT ammo very well.

The barrel finished at 25″ long and features a tuner by the Harrell brothers of Salem, Virginia. I use a flat 90° crown–it’s the most accurate and its gives a good seal against the tuner. I also use a 45°, 12-flute cutter that leaves no burr when cutting the crown. This chamfer protects the crown when cleaning the barrel. There is no sharp edge for the brush or jag to hit on the return stroke. The barrel was headspaced at .043″ and I use a tapered reamer ground by Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool & Gauge in Oregon. The chamber leade area is lightly polished to remove reamer burrs. The breech end of the barrel is machined with a 1/2″ ball end mill to produce what I call a “Myers cone breech.” Technically, it has a sloping radius as you can see, rather than a straight-sided cone. Finishing the breech in this fashion facilitates indexing the barrel, as the barrel can be rotated to any position (on the clockface), without requiring new extractor cuts.

Barrel Indexing — Finding the “Sweet Spot”

When indexing a barrel, one rotates it to different clockface positions relative to the action. Imagine marking a barrel at TDC or 12 o’clock, and then rotating it so the mark is at 3 O’clock, 6 )’clock, 9 O’clock and so on. At each position one shoots groups to determine at which index setting best accuracy is achieved.*

I know that barrel indexing is controversial. I don’t want to get into a lengthy debate other than to say that I believe that careful and thorough testing can reveal a “preferred” index position for a good barrel. With the barrel set in that particular position relative to the action I believe the barrel can yield optimal performance.

I perform the indexing tests indoors at 50 yards. I use a rail-gun with floating action. The barrel is held in place with a clamping fixture similar to an Anschutz 2000-series action. Basically, two vertically-stacked metal blocks clamp around the barrel. I can index the barrel this way simply by unclamping the barrel blocks, rotating the barrel and then re-clamping the system. I have a special system so the action can stay in the same position, even as the barrel is rotated.

It takes time and effort to get solid indexing results. Normally I shoot at least 400 rounds of ammo in 3-4 indexing sessions. Shooting a handful of groups is not enough. You may think you’ve identified the best index position, but you need to shoot many more rounds to verify that. Also, in a very good barrel, the effects of indexing may be subtle, so it will take many groups to confirm the optimal position. In my experience, really good “hummer” barrels do not benefit as much from indexing as an “average” barrel.

IR 50/50 rimfire targetAccuracy Testing with Both Barrels
I tested the rifle indoors at 50 yards at the Piney Hill Benchrest Club range. There was no finish on the stock, but it shot well in my one-piece rest with the Benchmark 16-twist, 3-groove barrel and no added weight on the tuner. I shot 30 rounds of Eley Match EPS Black Box (1064 fps) and had 25 Xs and five 10s on the IR 50/50 style target. Not too shabby for a new barrel with no special break-in.

When the Shilen barrel arrived, I installed it on the rifle. By this time the stock had been clear-coated and finished, and the action had been polished and plated. I shot the Shilen barrel outside since it was too hot in the building. The first target was a 250-19X with a new lot of Eley Match EPS Black Box (1054 fps). The gun shot well. My friend Tony Blosser asked to shoot the gun, and he drilled a 250-20X in a steady wind using the same Eley ammo. See target at right.

Myers 22LR
Bill Myers Suhl .22 LR Benchrest rifle

Advanced Procedures — Vibration Control and Tuner Position

Barrel Tuning Using 2-Way Electronic Indicators
Before competing with this rifle, I put it in a firing fixture I use to tune the barrel. I employ a pair of very expensive Swiss 2-way electronic min/max hold indicators. These measure both up movement and down movement of the barrel as the gun is fired. I can measure the actual vertical travel of the barrel at any position from the front of the receiver to the tuner. I can also tell how long the barrel vibrates, time-wise. Using this fixture I found that the Shilen barrel was very consistent in readings and seemed to work well with no additional weight on the tuner. No barrel ever stops vibrating completely — but this was close, showing less than .002″ of total movement.

Bedding and Vibration Control
I have found that measuring the actual movement of the barrel during firing tells me a lot about the quality of the bedding. I have learned that if I see very big movements (e.g. .010″ up and .005″ down), then there may be a problem with the bedding. I saw this kind of big swing on a rifle with bedding that had not cured properly.

Another pattern I watch for is uneven vertical movement. For example, if the barrel vibrates .008″ up but only .002″ down, that tells me the bedding has issues. As noted above, I look for minimal vibration travel (after the tuner is fitted and optimized), and I also want that travel to be relatively equal both up and down. Good rimfire gunsmiths agree that proper bedding has an important influence on vibration control and tuning. By measuring actual barrel movement during firing, we can, to an extent, quantify how well the bedding is working. At a minimum, we can see if there’s a serious bedding problem.

Trial by Fire — Shooting the Gun in Competition
After semi-gluing in the action, the rifle was shooting great. So, I decided to take it to the Maryland State Unlimited Championship to see if it was truly competitive — whether it could “run with the big dogs”. As it turns out, the Bubinga Suhl was more than just competitive. The rifle won three of the six cards and won the meters championship. In the photo below you can see all the trophies the gun won in its very first match. One of the other competitors in Maryland, dazzled (and perhaps a bit daunted) by the Bubinga Suhl’s stellar performance, told me: “Sell that gun Bill. Whatever you do, just get that darn rifle out of here.” Confident that this was a rifle capable of winning major matches, I packed up the rifle and shipped it to Dan Killough in Texas. Killough has shot some impressive scores with the gun.

Suhl 150 Benchrest Rimfire 22LR

Suhl Target Rifles — East Germany’s Legacy

Suhl 150 rifles were manufactured in former East Germany (GDR) by the Haenel firearms factory in the town of Suhl. This region has a long history in arms production. In 1751, Sauer & Sohn founded the first German arms factory in Suhl. Following WWII, Suhl 150s were produced for Communist Bloc marksmen, including East German Olympic shooters. Prior to German unification, the East German national shooting arena was located at Suhl and hosted many top-level competitions including the 1986 ISSF World Championships.

Suhl 150 Target Rifle

Superb Rifles with Amazing Triggers
As a product of East Germany, the “mission” of the Suhl 150 was to rival the accuracy of the Anschütz, Walther and other premium match rifles built in the West. East German shooting teams wanted to finish on top of the podium, so they needed a rifle with superb inherent accuracy. The Suhl 150s have an outstanding trigger that can be adjusted down to about two ounces. The Suhl 150 action, like the Anschütz 54, boasts an extremely fast lock-time — an important factor in a position rifle. And Suhl barrels were legendary for accuracy.

Suhl 150 Target Rifle

Suhl 150 Benchrest Conversions
Many of the first used Suhl 150s that made it to America were converted to Benchrest rifles because the action/trigger/barrel combination was unbeatable for the price. Some of the barrels on these “surplus” Suhls were phenomenal — as good as any custom barrels available today. It was not unknown for a Suhl 150 barreled action, transplanted into a benchrest-style stock, to win BR matches with the original barrel. Today, however, most of the Suhl benchrest conversions end up with modern, American-made barrels. While some older Suhl barrels can “shoot with the best of ‘em”, new barrel designs optimized for use with tuners have an edge, at least in benchrest circles. That’s why builders such as Bill Myers swapped out the Suhl barrel with something like a Benchmark reverse-taper two-groove.

Suhl 150 Target RifleToday Suhl 150 rifles are very hard to find in North America. In 2006, a used Suhl 150, even without sights, might fetch $1200.00 or more. Then, in 2007 through early 2008, hundreds of Suhl match rifles were imported. This drove prices down, and those “in the know” snapped up complete Suhl 150s at prices ranging from $450 to $850 (see 2007 advert at right), depending on condition.

Many of these rifles were left “as built” and used successfully in prone competition. Others were converted into benchrest and silhouette rifles, “parted out” for the actions and triggers. If you were able to grab one of those imports at a good price–consider yourself lucky.

Suhl 150 Target Rifle

* Bill Myers actually created his own clamping rimfire action to facilitate barrel indexing. CLICK HERE for Myers Rimfire Action. To index the barrel, Myers simply loosened three clamping-bolts and rotated the barrel in the action. Because there is no thread to pull the barrel in or out, the headspace stays the same no matter how much the barrel is rotated. With a threaded action, you might have to use shims to test different rotational positions, or otherwise re-set the shoulder with each change.

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February 18th, 2021

Genesis of a Tactical Rifle — The Process of Creation

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

How is a modern, metal-chassis rifle built? This very cool video from Masterpiece Arms answers that question. The nicely-edited video shows the creation of a Masterpiece Arms tactical rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the manufacturing process are illustrated: 3D CAD modeling, CNC milling of the chassis, barrel threading/contouring, chamber-reaming, barrel lapping, laser engraving, and stock coating. If you love to see machines at work, you will enjoy this video…

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

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February 17th, 2021

How to Blueprint a Rem 700 Action — Rifleshooter.com Reveals

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizingYou may have heard the phrase “blueprinting an action”, but do you know what that really means? Do you know what operations are done to an action during the blueprinting process? To help you understand, gunsmith Bill Marr of RifleShooter.com has created a helpful article showing a Rem 700 blueprinting job start to finish. This article spotlights how the procedures can be done with manual tools. Bill, who runs 782 Custom Gunworks Ltd., can also perform many of these operations with modern automated machinery. In fact, Bill has written a follow-up article on Truing a Rem 700 receiver with a Lathe.

READ Full Action Blueprinting Article HERE with 30+ Photos »

Bill explains: “Blue-printing, or truing a rifle action, ensures the receiver face, threads, lugs, bolt lugs, and bolt face are square to the center line of the receiver.” In Bill’s informative article, Bill shows how he blueprints a Remington 700 short action receiver with .308 Win bolt face. He covers the following procedures step by step:

Action Disassembly
Ream Minor Diameter of Receiver Threads
Square the Receiver Lugs
Square the Face of the Receiver
Lap the Bolt Lugs
Square the Bolt Face

Bill employed a variety of tools from Brownells to complete the blueprinting job, including: Remington 700 Armorer’s Kit; Manson Receiver Accurizing Kit; Bolt Lapping Kit; Bolt Face Truing Tool; Manson Receiver Ring Facing Cutter; Multi-Vise with Jaw Pads; Silicone Carbide Abrasive; and Do-Drill Cutting Oil.

Highlights from the Rifleshooter.com article:

1. Chasing the Threads

We use the bushings to guide the receiver tap. This chases the threads and ensures they are square.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

2. Truing the Receiver Face

Using the receiver facing tool, the front of the receiver is trued. The tool is placed over the tap and turned by hand. We used Do Drill to lubricate it.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

3. Lapping the Lugs

The bolt lapping tool screws into the front of the action and applies rearward pressure on the bolt face. A little bit of lapping compound is placed on the front of the receiver lugs. The bolt handle is then raised and lowered repeatedly. Note — it is critical that we do not get any lapping compound on any other surfaces.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

4. Truing the Bolt Face

On this bolt, the central part of the bolt face was low. After the truing operation, this Rem 700 bolt face is now completely square to the action.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

READ Blueprinting Rem 700 Action with Lathe Article HERE »

IMPORTANT: Rifleshooter.com states: “This article highlights our project and is presented for information purposes only. This provides an overview of the process and should not be attempted without the guidance and supervision of an experienced gunsmith“.

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November 19th, 2020

Getting Vertical Fliers? Check Firing Pin and Ignition System

USAMU Handloading vertical dispersion ignition rimfire accuracy firing pin
Top to bottom – Remington firing pin assembly with ISS, Tubb SpeedLock alloy-composite system without ISS (current versions have dual, opposite-wound springs), and Remington short action firing pin assembly without ISS.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit regularly publishes technical articles on the USAMU Facebook page. One informative USAMU article covered mechanical issues and related ignition irregularities that can cause vertical fliers even with good ammunition in an otherwise excellent rifle. We highly recommend you read this article, which offers some important tech tips.

USAMU handloading hump day

Vertical Dispersion: Mechanical/Ignition Issues?

Poor or inconsistent ignition has long been known to be one of the “usual suspects” when one encounters vertical fliers that just shouldn’t be there. By having a sense of some of the basic principles involved, and a few basic areas to check, the shooter may avoid colsiderable frustration, not to mention time, expensive loading components and barrel wear.

USAMU Handloading vertical dispersion ignition rimfire accuracy firing pinIs your well-built rifle of high-quality components plagued with vertical fliers across more than 1-3 handload combinations? Consider the bedding, crown and scope/sight mounts. Are they correct? If so, then you might check for ignition issues before boldly undertaking an extensive, expensive, and quite possibly fruitless quest for the “magic handload”.

SEEING IS BELIEVING: While the author had been aware for many years that poor ignition should be considered and ruled out when dealing with vertical fliers in an otherwise-excellent rifle, actually seeing the problem and its almost instantaneous cure really drove the lesson home.

He was working with a “dot” rifle – a .22 LR match rifle that really stacked bullets into little piles at 50 yards and beyond. With one lot of ELEY Tenex, it produced consistent “bughole” groups at 50, but with another, selected lot of Tenex, similar groups were regularly ruined by single, vertical fliers that did not appear in other rifles. Rather than spending days burning up expensive, select ammunition looking for “magic lots”, he contacted a well-respected rimfire gunsmith and explained the situation.

Without so much as batting an eye, the highly-experienced ‘smith tore into the rifle’s action, and quickly found the cause(s) of the problem. He discovered a demonstrably weak firing pin spring, plus a chip out of the face of the firing pin where it contacted the cartridge rim.

After replacing and tuning the offending parts, the rifle immediately began shooting tiny, bughole groups with the previously “unacceptable” lot of Tenex. Centerfire rifles can also benefit from ensuring positive, consistent ignition. A wise riflesmith is literally worth his weight in gold!

So, what are some issues we as shooters can inspect in our rifles to help determine if ignition woes could be part of our problem? At the club level, ask yourself if that “experienced” Remington, Winchester 70, or even Springfield-based match bolt gun you’re using is still running its’ original 40-80 year-old factory striker spring? If so, a new replacement is cheap insurance against current or future problems. (And BTW, it might be best to stick to the normal, factory-spec spring weight. A super-powerful spring can cause vertical, just as a weak one one can.) Along with that, a routine check for proper firing-pin protrusion is a quick preventive measure that can rule out potential issues.

Other areas to consider are the centering and consistency of the firing pin’s operation in the bolt. Admittedly, with the increasing use of precision-machined custom actions, this is becoming less an issue every day. Below is the firing pin assembly from a custom BAT action:

USAMU Handloading vertical dispersion ignition rimfire accuracy firing pin

However, particularly with factory actions, a very quick and easy check is to remove the bolt, let the firing pin go forward, and look at the firing pin tip through the firing pin hole. Is the tip off-center in the hole, and possibly striking it as it moves forward? Is the hole out-of-round or burred from being struck repeatedly? If so, a trip to the riflesmith is likely in order.

Similarly, machining issues in the bolt/firing pin system can lead to rough and erratic firing pin movement, in which the firing pin drags against an internal surface of the bolt. In high-quality rifles these issues are relatively rare, but not unheard-of, and it takes mere minutes to rule them out. It may be worthwhile to remove the cocking piece/firing pin/spring assembly and look for any unusual gouges, dings, peening, burrs or signs of abnormal wear.

This task is especially easy with Winchester 70s, Springfields, and the similar Mauser 98s, involving little more than the push of a button and unscrewing the cocking piece assembly. This is just one of the many reasons these tried-and-true actions have earned such a loyal following in the field, among hunters who must maintain their rifles away from a shop.

USAMU Handloading vertical dispersion ignition rimfire accuracy firing pin

Particularly with older rifles, watch for and remove excess grease (or even Cosmoline!) from both the firing pin assembly and inside the bolt. This can help improve firing pin speed and consistency. Other bolt-action designs may need a take-down tool or other measures.

As part of this inspection, AFTER ENSURING THE RIFLE IS UNLOADED, slowly cock the rifle, dry-fire, and repeat several times. Listen carefully near the action for inconsistency in the sounds it generates. Does the striker falling make the same sound each time? Do you hear or feel grinding upon operation? If so, where?

Be sure to check the operation of the cocking piece (bolt shroud), firing pin within the bolt shroud, the cocking piece cam and the rear of the bolt body where the cocking piece cam operates. As with our examination for abnormal wear marks discussed above, look for marks indicating roughness or a possible need for light polishing. Then, clean and lightly grease the bearing surfaces while you’re at it.

Remington 700 bolt shroud and cocking cam
Rem 700 bolt cocking cam

These are relatively easy checks that shooters can undertake to perform a preliminary inspection on their own. Other mechanical issues can also cause ignition issues, chiefly centered around the action of the trigger, sear and sear spring. If these are suspected, a trip to an experienced, qualified riflesmith for diagnosis is recommended. We hope you find this information helpful! Join us again next week, and in the meantime, enjoy the shooting sports safely!

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July 5th, 2020

Sunday GunDay — Five Forum Pride & Joy Rifles

Pride and joy rifle candy blue bat action 6BRA

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 of the most recent “Pride and Joy” rifles 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.

For this week’s Sunday GunDay we’ve selected five fan favorites from the Pride and Joy Archives. First up is a beautiful .284 Winchester with a one-of-a-kind Claro Walnut stock crafted by the owner.

.284 Winchester in Owner-Crafted Claro Walnut Stock

Here is a unique Claro Walnut tactical/practical rig. Notably, the rifle’s owner, Forum member CStuck, built the handsome stock himself: “I crafted the stock, installed the Remage barrel, pillar-bedded the rig, and put all the pieces together.” Key components for this wood-stocked beauty include a Defiance Tenacity RH Long Action mated to a McGowen 28″ Heavy Palma 1:9″-twist barrel chambered for the .284 Win GAP. The scope is a Burris XTR II 5-25x50mm in an MPA BA Mount. The trigger is a Timney HIT. The rifle feeds from a Hawkins DB magazine.

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

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

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.

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

Eye-Catching 30 PPC — 13-YO Grandson’s First Competition Rifle

We like this project because it connects a grandfather with his grandson. These family connections are very important. Forum member 20PPC posted: “Here is my 13-year-old grandson Remy’s first competition rifle. We just finished it up.” The rifle is chambered for a 30 PPC with a 1:17″-twist Lilja HV barrel fitted with an Ezell tuner up front. The action is a Stolle Panda RBLP, Right Eject fitted with a Kelbly trigger. The stock is a Robertson JTR model wearing a very snazzy finish, which looks like many coats of clear over an orange/gold hydro-dip (we think). On top is a 45X Sightron fixed-power scope. This eye-catching grandson’s rig will definitely get noticed at the range.

.284 Win remage rifle claro Walnut
.284 Win remage rifle claro Walnut
Click image for full-screen view.

Twin Grendels with Handsome Wood, One with Home-made Tuner

Here are a pair of 6.5 Grendel bolt-action rigs. Forum member Ramblerman posted: “The Twin Grendels are finished! My buddy Tom did the wood and I did the metal — more testing this weekend. Mine now sports a tuner I made (see bottom photo).”

.284 Win remage rifle claro Walnut

6BRA in Green Wheeler Stock with Krieger Barrel

Last but not least, here is a serious IBS/NBRSA Light Gun for 600/1000-yard competition, owned by Forum member “6.5×47″. Chambered for the ultra-accurate 6BR Improved (aka 6BRA), this rifle features a polished BAT ‘B’ action with roller upgrade. The action is mated to a 28″ Krieger 1:7.5″-twist HV barrel. The 6mm Krieger is chambered for .272″ case-neck, with .115″ freebore. The BAT action is glued and screwed in an Alex Wheeler stock with green candy paint. Note the wide fore-end with side plates and the adjustable stock keel in the rear. Another advanced feature is a slick removable weight system in the butt stock. A Jewell benchrest trigger resides inside a BAT trigger guard.

.284 Win remage rifle claro Walnut

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April 21st, 2020

Action Timing — Process and Benefits Demonstrated

Alex Wheeler Accuracy gunsmith Panda Kelbly Stolle action timing receiver benchrest video

Kelbly makes outstanding actions, including the Stolle Pandas. In the past 20 years, Pandas have probably won more benchrest matches than any other action (though BATs and Bordens are increasingly in the winning circle). Recently gunsmith Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy worked his magic on an aluminum Panda, optimizing the “ignition timing” of the action. This involves many small mods to bolt, camming surfaces, trigger, and firing pin: “The whole cam helix and detent shelf is re-cut. The firing pin and cocking piece are modified as well.” When executed properly, Ignition Timing has a number of benefits, including a smoother bolt opening/closing, improved firing pin fall, and enhanced accuracy (though the accuracy improvements can be subtle).

BEFORE Action Timing — Stiff and Clunky

Alex reports: “Normally Panda actions have plenty of firing pin fall. For one reason or another this one was very low. Before timing, firing pin fall was .210 with a Bix’N Andy (BNA) trigger. After trigger timing firing pin fall is .244 with zero cock on close.” Here is how the action functioned before timing work:

CLICK Photo to start VIDEO

Alex notes: “As you can see, after the cocking piece rides out of the detent notch it then
falls to the trigger and is then re-cocked. This is normal on most un-timed actions.”

AFTER Action Timing — Smooth and Refined

Alex explains the modifications he made for this Panda action: “Moving the trigger back adds cock on close. The whole cam helix and detent shelf is re-cut. The firing pin and cocking piece are modified as well. I do love a timed Panda. In fact, I like aluminum actions, I think there is something to them. But yes, I also recommend Borden as my first choice.’

CLICK Photo to start VIDEO

Fix for Right-Bolt Actions Only
After seeing these videos on Facebook, one poster asked: “I do like my Panda but this is exactly why I bought a Borden action and I love it. It’s good to know you can make a Panda better. Alex, can you time a left bolt Panda?”

Alex replied: “No, the tooling I built is all for right hand actions sorry….”

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April 8th, 2020

Lights, Camera, Actions! — Video Tour of Kelbly’s Shop

Kelbly's Panda Action gunsmithing video barrel stock bedding

Want to see new-born Pandas? No, not the furry kind — rather Stolle Panda actions produced with state-of-the-art CNC machinery. If you’ve ever wondered how precision benchrest, long-range, and tactical rifles are built, check out video from Kelbly’s. You’ll see actions finished, barrels chambered and crowned, pillars installed in stocks, barreled actions bedded, plus a host of other services performed by Kelbly’s gunsmiths and machinists.

If you’re a fan of fine machine-work, this video should be both informative and entertaining. You can see how precision gun work is done with 21st-Century technology. Tip of the hat to Ian Kelbly and crew for producing this excellent video visit to the Kelbly’s production center.

Click Volume Control to Activate Sound for Kelbly’s Video:

Kelbly's Panda Action gunsmithing video barrel stock bedding

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March 1st, 2020

TECH SAVVY — AccurateShooter’s Technical Articles Archive

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 six 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.

Gun Safe Technical Buyers Guide

Gun Safe Buyers Guide. Our comprehensive Safe Buyers Guide examines the key features to consider in a safe — Wall Thickness, Volume, Shelving, Fire Rating, Lighting, Weight and more. We also explain the Pros/Cons of Dial vs. Digital (Keypad) locking systems.

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.

Ultrasound ultrasonic CAse Cleaning

Ultrasonic Case Cleaning. This article reviews the recommended process for cleaning cartridge brass with ultrasonic cleaning machine. We cover the right liquid solutions, processing times, and case drying options.

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February 21st, 2020

Gunsmithing Gone Bad — How NOT to Headspace a Barrel

Locktite Red barrel shoulder headspace Thomas Speedy Gonzales
This barrel’s shoulder was 0.025″ off the action because Red Locktite had been used on the threads.

Gunsmith Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzales offered this interesting report about how NOT to headspace a barrel. Hopefully you never discover something like this…

“A good friend and customer sent this rig in for repair after FedEx damaged the rifle during inbound transport from another smith. After repairing the stock and rebedding it, I decided to re-polish the barrel to make the repair perfect. Well this just added insult to injury as the barrel did not want to come off. After a few choice words, the barrel finally broke free only to reveal something very disturbing. It seems the barrel had been ‘headspaced’ by using RED Loctite to hold it in place.” [Editor: That’s definitely NOT how barrels should be fitted.]

Speedy was not happy: “I hope the smith that did this sees the photos and realized what jeopardy he put my customer in or anyone who shot the rifle for that matter. When cleaned up, the shoulder on the barrel was over 0.0250″ (25 thousandths) away from the face of the receiver.” [Editor: That’s a lot in this business]. Check out the images below to see how much the barrel rotated further inward when cleaned up. The barrel spun in nearly another eighth-turn or more. Not good.

Locktite Red barrel shoulder headspace Thomas Speedy Gonzales

Locktite Red barrel shoulder headspace Thomas Speedy Gonzales

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