July 18th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Sako TRG-22 & TRG-42 Hunting Rifles in Norway

Many years ago, when we decided to do a story about SAKO’s TRG series of rifles, we remembered our friend Terje Fjørtoft in Norway. Terje has owned, and hunted with, both the TRG-22 (in .308 Win), and its big brother, the TRG-42 (chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum). Unlike many TRG owners in the USA, Terje has carried his “tactical hunters” into the field, and tested their effectiveness on large game in both coastal and mountain environments, in warm weather and cold. Terje tells us the TRGs have proven to be rugged and reliable. And they are accurate. The .308 Win TRG-22 delivers about 0.45 MOA groups at 420 yards shot from bipod. The .338 LM TRG-42 shoots about 0.55 – 0.7 MOA at that distance.

A Tale of Two TRGs by Terje Fjørtoft

I live in Brattvåg, along the coast of Norway, but I hunt and shoot at the nearby island “Fjørtoft” (same as my last name) and a small island outside Fjørtoft. I grew up on Fjørtoft as a child, and we hunt seals there in the spring and fall. The large, top photo shows me with my black TRG-42 338 Lapua Mag (“LM”) during a seal hunt a couple years ago. Click on the thumbnail at right to watch a video that shows me shooting the .338 LM. Most of the photos in this story are from that hunt. Because the .338 LM was really “overkill” on the seals (and expensive to reload), I replaced that rifle with a TRG-22 in .308 Winchester.

We hunt seals primarily for wildlife control. This is because the seals carry an internal parasite, called “Kveis”, a small worm that breeds inside the seals (after eating contaminated fish). When the seals expel the Kveis into the water, the Kveis larvae are consumed by the fish and then the fish become unfit to eat. The parasite literally eats the fish from the inside out. It’s not very pretty and it has hurt our Norwegian fishing industry. So there is an important purpose for our seal hunting. We hunt mostly from islands, targeting the seals in the water, and retrieving them with a small boat.

Because the seals spend most of their time in the water, a seal-hunter needs a very accurate rifle [to take head shots at distance]. I like the TRG-22 because it is very accurate out of the box, with a very nice bipod that works well in the field. The stock is comfortable with good adjustment range. The TRG features a 10-rd magazine and the barrel is pre-threaded for a muzzle brake or suppressor.

I have also used my TRGs for hunting big game, deer and what Americans call “Elk”. You can see, further down on this page, a picture from a hunting stand taken late in the evening, in the fading light. Yes I successfully bagged a nice buck during that trip with my TRG-42. When hunting, I use a Leica 900 rangefinder, Swarovski 7×42 Habicht binoculars, and a Silva windwatch. For Optics on the TRG-22, I have a Zeiss 6-24×56 scope, in Tikka Optilock rings. To get more scope adjustment I milled 0.9 mm off the front scope base mount. The Zeiss is great for viewing small targets past 400 meters. It was very difficult to find a longer shooting place than 575 meters on this Island (Uksnøy) but I found a place where I can shoot out to 930 meters, and I’ve made an 80-cm steel gong for a target. At this range, the bullet must fly nearly all the distance over the water.


Terje Shooting the TRG-42 without suppressor. Big recoil, big flash.

Both the TRG-22 and TRG-42 are very accurate right out of the box. The only thing I did before I first shot the TRGs was to clean the barrels very thoroughly. This is because the SAKO factory test shoots the gun without cleaning the barrel. I also adjust the cheek piece upward when shooting the rifles with a big scope. However, if you raise the cheek piece too high you can’t get the bolt out without removing the whole cheek piece. The only real modification I’ve made to my TRGs was to put rubber foot pads on the feet of the SAKO factory bipod. This gives the bipod better grip on slick surfaces such as concrete, or the rocks on the offshore islands.

.338 LM vs. .308 Win — Smaller Can Be Better
A few years ago I had a black TRG-42 (338 LM), but after a year, I sold it, and ordered a TRG-22 from the SAKO factory. After a one-year wait, I got the new green TRG-22 in February this year. One main reason I changed to .308 Win was the cost of ammo. I can reload .308 Win ammo for about one-third the price that it costs to reload .338 LM. One other reason is that my usual shooting distance is about 390 meters–at that distance the .308 is more than effective enough. Also, with the .338 LM, the barrel and the suppressor heated up after only a few shots, but with my new .308, I can shoot at my own pace without this problem. After my most recent shooting trip I once again confirmed how accurate, and fun-to-shoot, the TRG-22 is. I think now the TRG-22 has become my favorite plinking gun.

Though it is fun to experience the big boom and flash of the .338 LM, I’ll admit that it is just too much rifle for most applications. The .338 LM is REAL overkill for seal hunting. Here in Norway we have a rule that the smallest caliber we can use is 6.5×55 with a 140gr (or heavier) bullet, but everyone who hunts seals knows that the seals stay mostly in the water, and therefore you must take a headshot at distance up to about 200 meters. Making the headshot with a smaller caliber is advised for two reasons. First, when a big .338 bullet hits the water, there is a danger it will skip and ricochet quite some distance. Second, if you use too powerful a load/gun/caliber and take a headshot on a swimming seal, the seal sinks like a rock.

Reloading for the TRG-22 (.308 Win)
With the TRG-22, I found it was easy to get an accurate load. My groups with 155gr Scenars are consistently good with a variety of different powders. I’ve tried both light and heavy bullets, but I favor the 155gr Scenars over the 185gr Scenars because the 155s fly a lot faster and drop less.

Three loads (all with Fed 210m primers) that have worked well are: 155gr Scenar with VV N150, 885m/sec; 155gr Scenar with Norma N-11, 890m/sec, and 185gr Scenar, VV N150, 770m/sec. Norma N-11 is a low-cost powder for target shooting. N-11 is similar to Norma 203B or Norma 202 but it varies quite a bit from lot to lot.

I use a RCBS Rock Chucker press, and currently use a standard RCBS full-length die kit to reload my .308 rounds. However, I recently ordered a Redding Competition 3-die set with a .335 bushing. I look forward to trying the Reddings. I have just started to test different seating depths. The 155s just “kiss” the lands at 74.10 mm. I’ve tried 74.00 mm, 74.10 mm and 73.55 mm, but so far saw no significant differences.

Reloading for the TRG-42 (.338 LM)
For the .338 LM, I started with a 250gr Scenar and 95 grains of Vihtavuori N-170. That load was very accurate at about 850 m/sec, but it produced excessive muzzle flash. And, in the winter, the muzzle velocity was inconsistent, and there was too much unburned powder. Next I tried Norma N-15, which proved very accurate at about 880 m/sec. With that load I shot my best TRG-42 group at 380 meters. I set the 250gr Scenar to touch the rifling with 93.2 mm COAL, and I used Federal 215m primers in Lapua-brand brass. Norma MPR2 and VV N-560 (860 m/sec) also were very accurate with the 250 Scenar.

My seal hunting bullet was the 200gr Nosler BT. This bullet grouped very well with 90-94 grains Norma N-15. Velocity was about 970m/sec if I remember correctly. I also tried the 300gr Sierra MK, and got 1/2″ 3-shot groups at 100 meters with 93.5 grains of VV N-170, but this combination produced terrible groups at longer range.

Loading for the .338 LM was not difficult — about the same as loading for .308 Win, except that you use nearly twice the amount of powder. I didn’t crimp the bullets in the neck, didn’t use any special tricks or neck lube. I used RCBS .338 LM full-length die. That functioned, but it would not be my first choice today. Overall, my better loads in the .338 shot in the 0.5-0.7 MOA range. My best group was four shots in 25mm (1″) at 380 meters (416 yards).

Hunting in Norway


I’m not a competitive sport-shooter. Normally, the only time I go to a “commercial” rifle range is to take the test for my hunting license. Every year, I must re-qualify for a shooting license to hunt big game and seals.

Hunters Tested Annually
In Norway, you must pass an actual shooting test before you can hunt big game. This test requires five shots at a deer silhouette target at 100 meters. No rests are allowed–you must shoot off-hand or with a sling only. You have to place five shots inside a 30 cm circle over the front leg.

Every big game hunter that passes this test is authorized to hunt at “dusk and dawn” and in moonlight. So, we do a lot of our hunting in the twilight hours. However, no night-vision or artificial illumination (spotlights) are allowed. We usually hunt deer at dusk and dawn. In the evening, we go on post two to three hours before it is dark, and sit there waiting for the deer to show up–hopefully before it is too dark. In the morning we go to the post one hour before you see any light of the sun, and wait for the deer to show up until the daylight. But when it is full moon we sometime have enough light to hunt in the middle of the night. In the photo, you can see a deer through the scope of my TRG-42. This was very late in the evening. CLICK HERE for BIG Photo.

Sound Suppressors for Hunting Rifles

Suppressors are legal to use for hunting in Norway. I have suppressors on all my rifles, even my little CZ 452 in 17 HMR. To me, shooting a rifle without a suppressor is like driving a car without an exhaust system. The suppressor reduces both noise AND recoil significantly. With a good suppressor, there is no loss of accuracy. The only “negative” in using a suppressor is extra weight on the end of the barrel.

I crafted my own home-made suppressor. It’s similar to my commercially-made TRG-22 suppressor, but the core is made from titanium to be lighter in weight and more corrosion-resistant. I used a lathe at work to craft the inside of the new suppressor. The core of the unit is built from a 27.5 cm X 40mm round bar of titanium while the outer cylinder is made from a 42mm stainless steel tube. I wanted to use titanium for the exterior cylinder as well, but I couldn’t source the right size titanium tube.


Commercial Suppressor on TRG-42

Comparing .308 Win vs. 6mmBR
I also have a 6BR hunting rifle (compensated of course). I have a lot of field time with the 6BR rifle, and feel very confident with that gun. When I got the Krieger 6mmBR barrel on the SAKO Varminter, I fell in love with that rifle from day one, and that rifle is my first choice for small game hunting.

I also like the TRG-22 gun very much and enjoy it more and more with each new field trip. That .308 is my big game rifle and my long-range target rifle.

I recently tested my TRG-22 rifle at 387 meters. This was just “fun shooting” at steel plates, and I didn’t measure groups. But I was happy with the results. Once I corrected for the 5 m/sec crosswind, I was able to put five successive shots on a 10 cm (4″) diameter steel target at 387 meters (423 yards).

My SAKO Varminter in 6mm BR and my TRG-22 are two very different rifles. The TRG-22 is much heavier. I guess the TRG-22 is about 6.5-7 kg while my SAKO 6BR is about 4.5-5 kg, both with suppressor, scope, and bipod. The 6BR with suppressor is much quieter than the TRG-22 with suppressor. The recoil of the 6BR is a lot softer than the TRG-22. So far my 6BR is more accurate. A typical three-shot group with the 6BR is 25-40 mm at 387 meter (423 yards), and that is with just 10X magnification from a Zeiss scope. With my TRG-22, my 3-shot groups run about 50-60 mm, shooting with bipod and beanbag. But I think with a better .308 Win reloading die and more practice, I can improve my groupings with the TRG-22.

SPEC SHEET

The SAKO TRG-22 and TRG-42 are built in Finland by SAKO, a subsidiary of Beretta. In America, the guns are distributed by Beretta USA. Both TRGs (22/42) are available in forest green or a matte black textured finish. A two-stage match trigger is standard.

The stock is somewhat unconventional. It is an external shell, bolted to an internal metal chassis. The action bolts directly to the chassis, without bedding. The injection-molded stock is adjustable for comb height, length of pull (with spacers), vertical butt-pad height and cast-off.

Weight TRG-22
4.7 kg (black)
4.9 kg (green)

Barrel TRG-22
660 mm (26″), hammer-forged, optional stainless or phosphate finish

Capacity
10-round Mag (TRG-22)
7-round Mag (TRG-42)

Calibers
.308 Win (TRG-22)
300WM, .338 LM (TRG-42)

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
December 4th, 2020

Cut-Rifled Barrels — History of the Cut-Rifling Process

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

You’ve probably heard of cut-rifling, but did you know this process was invented in Germany nearly 500 years ago? Read on to learn more about how a cut-rifled barrel is made…

The cut-rifling process, used by leading barrel-makers such as Bartlein, Blake, Brux, Krieger, and Obermeyer, can yield a very high-quality barrel with a long useful life. Cut-rifled barrels have been at the top in short- and long-range benchrest competition in recent years, and cut-rifled barrels have long been popular with F-Class and High Power shooters.

You may be surprised to learn that cut-rifling is probably the oldest method of rifling a barrel. Invented in Nuremberg around 1520, the cut-rifling technique creates spiral grooves in the barrel by removing steel using some form of cutter. In its traditional form, cut rifling may be described as a single-point cutting system using a “hook” cutter. The cutter rests in the cutter box, a hardened steel cylinder made so it will just fit the reamed barrel blank and which also contains the cutter raising mechanism.

Above is a computer animation of an older style, sine-bar cut-rifling machine. Some machine features have been simplified for the purposes of illustration, but the basic operation is correctly shown. No, the cut-rifling machines at Krieger don’t use a hand-crank, but the mechanical process shown in this video is very similar to the way cut-rifling is done with more modern machines.

Kolbe Border Barrels Firearms ID

Read About Cut-Rifling Process at FirearmsID.com
To learn more about the barrel-making process, and cut-rifling in particular, visit FirearmsID.com. There you’ll find a “must-read” article by Dr. Geoffrey Kolbe: The Making of a Rifled Barrel. This article describes in detail how barrels are crafted, using both cut-rifling and button-rifling methods. Kolbe (past owner of Border Barrels) covers all the important processes: steel selection, hole drilling, hole reaming, and rifling (by various means). You’ll find a very extensive discussion of how rifling machines work. Here’s a short sample:

“At the start of World War Two, Pratt & Whitney developed a new, ‘B’ series of hydraulically-powered rifling machines, which were in fact two machines on the same bed. They weighed in at three tons and required the concrete floors now generally seen in workshops by this time. About two thousand were built to satisfy the new demand for rifle barrels, but many were broken up after the war or sold to emerging third world countries building up their own arms industry.

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

Very few of these hydraulic machines subsequently became available on the surplus market and now it is these machines which are sought after and used by barrel makers like John Krieger and ‘Boots’ Obermeyer. In fact, there are probably less of the ‘B’ series hydraulic riflers around today than of the older ‘Sine Bar’ universal riflers.

The techniques of cut rifling have not stood still since the end of the war though. Largely due to the efforts of Boots Obermeyer the design, manufacture and maintenance of the hook cutter and the cutter box have been refined and developed so that barrels of superb accuracy have come from his shop. Cut rifled barrel makers like John Krieger (Krieger Barrels), Mark Chanlyn (Rocky Mountain Rifle Works) and Cliff Labounty (Labounty Precision Reboring)… learned much of their art from Boots Obermeyer, as did I.” — Geoffrey Kolbe

Video find by Boyd Allen. Archive photos from Border Barrels. In June 2013, Birmingham Gunmakers Ltd. acquired Border Barrels. Dr. Geoffrey Kolbe has set up a new company called BBT Ltd. which produces chamber reamers and other gunsmithing tools and gauges. (Thanks to L. Holland for the Kolbe update).
Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
September 29th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Five “Frankenguns” from our Forum

Exo skeleton frankengun Shelley Davison Tinkertoy 30 BR spare parts

What’s a “Frankengun”? Well it’s a one-of-a-kind rifle that has been pieced together from a variety of different parts and components. It might be a little bit Bolt Gun mixed with a little bit AR-15. Or it might feature some home-made components unlike anything you’ve seen before.

We’ve selected these four Frankengun rifles from a current thread in our Shooters’ Forum.

Frankengun #1 — The EXO (as in Exo-Skeleton)

Exo skeleton frankengun Shelley Davison Tinkertoy 30 BR

Forum member jm850 calls this tube-framed wonder the EXO (as in “exo-skeleton”). He says: “This is a prototype I designed around a few core concepts that stick out to me on a traditional configuration. Eliminating stresses, lowering recoil moment, and improved barrel cooling. I’m really happy with it so far.”

The EXO is a very unique rifle. We’ve never seen anything like this since the late Shelley Davidson’s famous Tinkertoy Rifle, a brilliantly innovative 30BR that actually won matches. The Tinkertoy, shown below, was truely radical, but it worked ! Could this have been an inspiration for jrm850’s EXO rifle?

Shelley Davison Tinkertoy 30 BR

Frankengun #2 — Moosberg MVG in LSS Stock with BipodeXt

Exo skeleton biponeXt frankengun Shelley Davidson Tinkertoy 30 BR

Forum member BallisticXLR has created something very weird to say the least. It started out as a basic, bone-stock Mossberg MVP Varmint in .223 Rem. Then the transformation began: “I replaced everything except the receiver. It now has an LSS stock, PSG-1 grip from DPMS, XLR butt stock, PT&G lug and barrel nut, Columbia River Arms 26″ barrel with Sonoran coral snake Cerakote, A2 flash hider, Timney and Jard triggers (depending on what I’m doing), and a USO B17 which is now a USO 3.8-22×44.” That long extension tube under the chassis is a BipodeXt from Accuracy Solutions.

Frankengun #3 — A Chassis Rig in 25 Creedmoor

Exo skeleton frankengun Shelley Davidson Tinkertoy 30 BR

This Frankengun belongs to Forum member Geraldgee. This “black and blue” rig features a mag-fed Kelbly Atlas action in a McCree’s Precision G10 Chassis. The barrel is a Bartlein Rem Varmint Contour, 1:7.5″-twist 4 Groove, chambered for the 25 Creedmoor. There are some interesting .25-Cal bullets coming on the market now. You can make the brass by expanding 6mm Creedmoor, or necking down 6.5 Creedmoor.

Frankengun #4 — MDT Chassis, Fore-end Whittled by Spook

Exo skeleton frankengun Shelley Davidson Tinkertoy 30 BR

Here’s a real collection of odds and ends, but Forum member Spook says it shoots well, and is a great example of “Left-over parts made useful again”. This mix-n-match Frankengun features a Remington M7 action with PT&G bolt. The barrel is a stainless Pac-Nor chambered in 6mm SLR. The barreled action is carried in an MDT Chassis with rear folding buttstock. Up front is something unusual, a Delrin fore-end that owner Spook “whittled in the mill”.

Frankengun #5 — 6.5×47 in Accuracy Int’l Stock

6.5x57 Accuracy International Krieger barrel
CLICK photo for full-screen version.

Forum member CT10Ring kicked off the Frankengun thread with this rifle. It’s actually not that shocking, but you rarely see a BAT action in an Accuracy International stock. The BAT VR action is mated to an AI Mag and set up in an AI folding stock. On top is an “old school” Nightforce Benchrest scope. The barrel is a very heavy Krieger chambered for the 6.5×47 Lapua. CT10Ring say the barrel alone weighs about 9 pounds, and the gun “shoots better than [he] can”.

Post Pictures of Your Frankenguns in our Forum
So do you have a favorite Frankengun resting in your gun safe? If you do, visit our Shooters’ Forum and post a description and some photos in the Frankengun thread.

Exo skeleton frankengun Shelley Davison Tinkertoy 30 BR

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
April 28th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: The Modern .308 Win F-TR Rifle

F-TR Rifle laminated stock X-Ring Borden Action SEB Joy-Pod
A carpet is used up front for smoother tracking with the Joy-Pod’s flat, ski-style feet. The arms of the Joy-Pod were painted to match the stock. The rear bag features low-drag material on the ears.

On Sundays, we feature notable rifles that exhibit fine craftsmanship, quality components, and noteworthy shooting accessories. Today we are featuring an F-TR (F-Class Target Rifle) rig that showcases the types of components, and accessories used by top F-TR competitors — including a coaxial bipod and Labradar Chronograph. If you’re considering getting started in the F-TR game, take a close look at this modern F-TR build from Forum member DM.Oakes.

F-TR Rifle laminated stock X-Ring Borden Action SEB Joy-Pod

Modern F-TR Rig with Borden Action, Krieger Barrel, and SEB Joy-Pod
This handsome .308 Win F-TR rig features a smooth-running Borden BRM action, 30-inch 1:10″-twist Krieger barrel, and an X-Ring Laminated Wood stock. Up front is a coaxial “Joy-Pod” joystick bipod. This is a state-of-the art, wide footprint bipod used by many competitors at the Worlds in Canada. The long joystick allows the “driver” to quickly adjust both elevation and windage in a smooth, continuous motion. The Joy-Pod can be adjusted so it will hold setting during the shot — you don’t have to “hard-hold” the joystick. Many shooters let the joystick slide through their fingers as the rifle moves back on recoil. With a little practice (and careful placement of the rear sand-bag), the tracking is excellent and you can slide the gun right back to point of aim after each shot.

Action: Borden BRM
Trigger: Blue-printed Jewell BR
Barrel: Krieger 30″ / 4-Groove / 1:10″ twist (.30 Cal)
Chamber: .308 Winchester with 0.170 Freebore
Stock: X-Ring Laminated F-Class
Scope: Nightforce 12-42x56mm Competition
Potential Name: Blue Thunder

F-TR Rifle laminated stock X-Ring Borden Action SEB Joy-Pod
This F-TR rifle is shown during load testing with a LabRadar chronograph.

» Full LabRadar Field Test/Review by Ray Gross

If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph system, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, past Captain of the USA F-TR team. Ray notes: “It takes me about 3 minutes to set up [my LabRadar] at the range. Because there are no downrange screens, I do not have to hold up other shooters on the range like I would when setting up a traditional chronograph. The convenience alone will mean that I will use it more often than my old chronograph. Every time I take it out, I enjoy it a little bit more.”

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gear Review 2 Comments »
April 20th, 2019

Doug Koenig Makes His Mark in PRS Production Division

Doug Koenig PRS practical rifle competition Ruger Precision Rifle RPR production division class

“Koenig” (or König) means “king” in German. That is indeed appropriate for Doug Koenig, 18-Time Bianchi Cup winner, who is now starting to conquer the rifle world as well. Koenig, considered by many to be the best action pistol shooter on the planet, proved he’s an ace with rifles too, as he recently won two PRS matches in Production Division. Koenig, Captain of Team Ruger, was shooting a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR), chambered in 6mm Creedmoor. Notably, Production Division limits rifles to $2000.00 for the gun ($4000.00 overall with scope). You can buy an RPR for around $1100.00 typically ($795.00 at GrabAGun), so Koenig was shooting against competitors with rifles that cost nearly twice as much. That’s impressive.

Koenig Wins Production Class at two Spring PRS Matches
Koenig took home a pair of Production Division titles at this year’s WAR Rifles Shootout and MAP Spring Shootout Precision Rifle Series (PRS) matches.

With a final score of 128.00 and a time of 58.51, team captain Doug Koenig took first place in Production Division at the WAR Rifle Shootout PRS match in Mount Victoria, MD. The WAR Rifle Shootout has a challenging 22-stage course of fire. Along with winning Production Division, Koenig also finished twelfth overall. “The tough course of fire and 15-25 mph winds at the War Rifle match were brutal, but my Precision Rifle, equipped with a Leupold VX-3i LRP and loaded with Hornady ammunition, continued to perform,” said Koenig.

Koenig then secured another Production Division win at the MPA Spring Shootout held at the Arena Training Facility in Blakely, GA with a final score of 173.00 and a time of 58.89. “The MPA match had some long shots out to 800-1356 yards, but my factory rifle got the job done and helped me win my third production class title in a row. That proves you don’t need to spend a fortune to get started in PRS competition.”

Doug Koenig PRS practical rifle competition Ruger Precision Rifle RPR production division class

According to PRS standards, Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration, and the retail price may not exceed $2,000.

Krieger Barrels Ruger Precision Rifles Pre-Fit Drop-In Chambered barrel RPR

Pre-Fit Barrel Options for the Ruger Precision Rifle
While PRS Production Division competitors like Koenig must stick with factory barrels, there’s no law that says you can’t upgrade your own RPR that’s not used in PRS matches. A barrel swap is probably the single best hardware upgrade you can make. A new custom barrel will improve inherent accuracy and shot-to-shot consistency. Krieger Barrels offers Pre-Fit barrels for the RPR in many popular chamberings including 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and .308 Win. These “Drop-In Ready” barrels come finish-chambered and threaded to fit the Ruger action, with factory-spec muzzle threads. The Ruger barrel attachment system allows correct headspace with a pre-chambered barrel. Krieger explains: “Thanks to Ruger’s proprietary barrel nut design, a competent gunsmith will be able to swap out your barrel using an AR15 barrel wrench and proper headspace gauges.”

Permalink Competition, Gear Review 6 Comments »
April 11th, 2019

Velocity Test with Four Different Barrels — Surprising Results

barrel speed testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
December 26th, 2018

The Cut-Rifling Process — A Short History and Demonstration

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

You’ve probably heard of cut-rifling, but did you know this process was invented in Germany nearly 500 years ago? Read on to learn more about how a cut-rifled barrel is made…

The cut-rifling process, used by leading barrel-makers such as Bartlein, Border, Brux, Krieger, and Obermeyer, can yield a very high-quality barrel with a long useful life. Cut-rifled barrels have been at the top in short- and long-range benchrest competition in recent years, and cut-rifled barrels have long been popular with F-Class and High Power shooters.

You may be surprised to learn that cut-rifling is probably the oldest method of rifling a barrel. Invented in Nuremberg around 1520, the cut-rifling technique creates spiral grooves in the barrel by removing steel using some form of cutter. In its traditional form, cut rifling may be described as a single-point cutting system using a “hook” cutter. The cutter rests in the cutter box, a hardened steel cylinder made so it will just fit the reamed barrel blank and which also contains the cutter raising mechanism.

Above is a computer animation of an older style, sine-bar cut-rifling machine. Some machine features have been simplified for the purposes of illustration, but the basic operation is correctly shown. No, the cut-rifling machines at Krieger don’t use a hand-crank, but the mechanical process shown in this video is very similar to the way cut-rifling is done with more modern machines.

Kolbe Border Barrels Firearms ID

Read About Cut-Rifling Process at Border-Barrels.com
To learn more about the barrel-making process, and cut-rifling in particular, visit FirearmsID.com. There you’ll find a “must-read” article by Dr. Geoffrey Kolbe: The Making of a Rifled Barrel. This article describes in detail how barrels are crafted, using both cut-rifling and button-rifling methods. Kolbe (past owner of Border Barrels) covers all the important processes: steel selection, hole drilling, hole reaming, and rifling (by various means). You’ll find a very extensive discussion of how rifling machines work. Here’s a short sample:

“At the start of World War Two, Pratt & Whitney developed a new, ‘B’ series of hydraulically-powered rifling machines, which were in fact two machines on the same bed. They weighed in at three tons and required the concrete floors now generally seen in workshops by this time. About two thousand were built to satisfy the new demand for rifle barrels, but many were broken up after the war or sold to emerging third world countries building up their own arms industry.

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

Very few of these hydraulic machines subsequently became available on the surplus market and now it is these machines which are sought after and used by barrel makers like John Krieger and ‘Boots’ Obermeyer. In fact, there are probably less of the ‘B’ series hydraulic riflers around today than of the older ‘Sine Bar’ universal riflers.

The techniques of cut rifling have not stood still since the end of the war though. Largely due to the efforts of Boots Obermeyer the design, manufacture and maintenance of the hook cutter and the cutter box have been refined and developed so that barrels of superb accuracy have come from his shop. Cut rifled barrel makers like John Krieger (Krieger Barrels), Mark Chanlyn (Rocky Mountain Rifle Works) and Cliff Labounty (Labounty Precision Reboring)… learned much of their art from Boots Obermeyer, as did I.” — Geoffrey Kolbe

Video find by Boyd Allen. Archive photos from Border-Barrels.com. In June 2013, Birmingham Gunmakers Ltd. acquired Border Barrels. Dr. Geoffrey Kolbe has set up a new company called BBT Ltd. which produces chamber reamers and other gunsmithing tools and gauges. (Thanks to L. Holland for the Kolbe update).
Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 5 Comments »
July 26th, 2017

Krieger Video Shows How Cut-Rifled Barrels Are Made

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

“At the start of World War Two, Pratt & Whitney developed a new, ‘B’ series of hydraulically-powered rifling machines, which were in fact two machines on the same bed. They weighed in at three tons and required the concrete floors now generally seen in workshops by this time. Very few of these hydraulic machines subsequently became available on the surplus market and now it is these machines which are sought after and used by barrel makers like John Krieger and ‘Boots’ Obermeyer. In fact, there are probably less of the ‘B’ series hydraulic riflers around today than of the older ‘Sine Bar’ universal riflers.” — Geoffrey Kolbe, Border Barrels.

How Krieger Builds Barrels

This video shows the process of cut-rifled barrel-making by Krieger Barrels, one of the world’s best barrel manufacturers. Krieger cut-rifled barrels have set numerous world records and are favored by many top shooters. The video show the huge, complex machines used — bore-drilling equipment and hydraulic riflers. You can also see how barrels are contoured, polished, and inspected.

Click Arrow to Watch Krieger Barrels Video:

For anyone interested in accurate rifles, this is absolutely a “must-watch” video. Watch blanks being cryogenically treated, then drilled and lathe-turned. Next comes the big stuff — the massive rifling machines that single-point-cut the rifling in a precise, time-consuming process. Following that you can see barrels being contoured, polished, and inspected (with air gauge and bore-scope). There is even a sequence showing chambers being cut.

Here is a time-line of the important barrel-making processes shown in the video. You may want to use the “Pause” button, or repeat some segments to get a better look at particular operations. The numbers on the left represent playback minutes and seconds.

Krieger Barrel-Making Processes Shown in Video:

00:24 – Cryogenic treatment of steel blanks
00:38 – Pre-contour Barrels on CNC lathe
01:14 – Drilling Barrels
01:28 – Finish Turning on CNC lathe
01:40 – Reaming
01:50 – Cut Rifling
02:12 – Hand Lapping
02:25 – Cut Rifling
02:40 – Finish Lapping
02:55 – Outside Contour Inspection
03:10 – Engraving
03:22 – Polish
03:50 – Fluting
03:56 – Chambering
04:16 – Final Inspection

Krieger Barrels

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
August 5th, 2016

Twist Rate: Common Misconceptions about Twist and Stabilization

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram

Understanding Twist: Bullet Stabilization

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box for Sierra Bullets Blog.

Based on the questions we get on a daily basis on our 800 (Customer Support) line, twist is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the gun field. So let’s look deeper into this mystery and get a better understanding of what twist really means.

When you see the term 1:14″ (1-14) or 1:9″ twist, just exactly what does this mean? A rifle having a 1:14″ twist means the bullet will rotate one complete revolution every fourteen inches of the barrel. Naturally a 1:9″ turns one time every nine inches that it travels down the barrel. Now, here’s something that some people have trouble with. I’ve had calls from shooters thinking that a 1:14″ twist was faster than a 1:9″ because the number was higher with the 1:14″. The easiest way to remember this is the higher the number, the slower the twist rate is.

Now, the biggest misconception is that if a shooter has a .223 with a 1:8″ twist, his rifle won’t stabilize a 55gr bullet or anything lighter. So let’s look at what is required. The longer a bullet is for its diameter, the faster the twist has to be to stabilize it. In the case of the .223 with a 1:8″ twist, this was designed to stabilize 80gr bullets in this diameter. In truth the opposite is true. A 1:8″ will spin a 55gr faster than what is required in order to stabilize that length of bullet. If you have a bullet with good concentricity in its jacket, over-spinning it will not [normally] hurt its accuracy potential. [Editor’s Note: In addition, the faster twist rate will not, normally, decrease velocity significantly. That’s been confirmed by testing done by Bryan Litz’s Applied Ballistics Labs. There may be some minor speed loss.]

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Many barrel-makers mark the twist rate and bore dimensions on their barrel blanks.

Think of it like tires on your truck. If you have a new set of tires put on your truck, and they balance them proper at the tire shop, you can drive down a street in town at 35 MPH and they spin perfect. You can get out on the highway and drive 65 MPH and they still spin perfect. A bullet acts the same way.

Once I loaded some 35gr HP bullets in a 22-250 Ackley with a 1:8″ twist. After putting three shots down range, the average velocity was 4584 FPS with an RPM level of 412,560. The group measured .750″ at 100 yards. This is a clear example that it is hard to over-stabilize a good bullet.

Twist-rate illustration by Erik Dahlberg courtesy FireArmsID.com. Krieger barrel photo courtesy GS Arizona.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 4 Comments »
March 3rd, 2016

Milazzo-Krieger AR Trigger by The Wisconsin Trigger Company

Milazzo Krieger Wisconsin Trigger AR15 AR two stage trigger

M-K IIA2 GEN2 Tactical Trigger from The Wisconsin Trigger Co.

Gear Review by Johnny Fisher
Do you shoot an AR-platform rifle? Here’s an excellent trigger upgrade option that has recently returned to the marketplace. The Wisconsin Trigger Company (WITC) has resumed production of the legendary Milazzo-Krieger M-K II trigger for the AR-platform rifles. Not merely marketing a replica of the original Milazzo-Krieger design, Wisconsin Trigger now offers an enhanced, drop-in version called the M-K IIA2. An easy install, the Milazzo-Krieger trigger drops in with no special tools or machining required (and no modification of the safety selector switch).

Milazzo Krieger Wisconsin Trigger AR15 AR two stage trigger

For those who are looking for an extremely crisp AR15 trigger that closely mirrors the “feel” of a finely tuned M1 / M14 trigger, this trigger might be the solution. The first stage is exceptionally clean and smooth due to a proprietary diamond-grinding process. I felt that the first stage travel was longer than a Geissele, but many guys will prefer that. Upon reaching the very noticeable and defined “wall” of the second stage, a further increase of pressure provides the instantaneous snap one looks for in a high-quality trigger — complete with a total absence of anything resembling creep or slop.

If you follow the instructions in the box and watch WITC’s informative how-to videos, installation of this trigger is extremely straightforward, requiring no special tools or fitting.

As supplied straight from the factory, the first stage requires about 2.25 pounds of take-up before encountering “the wall” of the second stage. For this purpose of this review and to ensure “making weight” in CMP Service Rifle Competitions, the (white) 5-lb. disconnector spring was used. The weight of the second stage came in right at an extremely repeatable 5 lb. 3 oz. (averaging +/- 1.5 oz.) for a ratio of about 40/60 between the two.

Upon release of the hammer, the disconnector reset is decidedly short. National Match shooters in particular will appreciate the very short but easy-to-recognize trigger reset during rapid-fire strings.

Milazzo Krieger Wisconsin Trigger AR15 AR two stage trigger

Tuning the Trigger Before Installation
As with most National Match-grade triggers on the market, the Millazo-Krieger utilizes proprietary pins that come supplied with this unit. They must be used for final installation and are purposely oversized to a specific diameter for a very snug fit. This is to ensure the trigger and hammer rotate solely on the pins, as opposed to the pins eventually rotating inside the receiver. It is best to use standard sized mil-spec trigger and hammer pins for the setting of tensions (trigger weight) before final installation to help avoid undue wear to the receiver pin holes. Final adjustment of second-stage pull weight must be done BEFORE final installation.

It is recommended to first set the amount of desired disconnector engagement by performing a very simple process that is detailed in the included installation instructions from the TOP of the trigger. The swapping out of disconnector springs and final tuning of the second stage can then be done, but only from UNDERNEATH a disassembled trigger.

The disconnector tensioning springs are easily swapped out by removing the spring plug from the bottom of the trigger housing that exposes the spring pocket. After inserting the desired weight spring, the spring plug must be installed at least flush with the bottom of the trigger housing. Installing it deeper will add trigger pull weight on the second stage. Installing it too shallow will interfere with trigger movement.

Milazzo Krieger Wisconsin Trigger AR15 AR two stage triggerTransferable Warrnty:
The Wisconsin Trigger Company offers a full lifetime warranty to all unaltered parts of its triggers. This lifetime warranty is fully transferable when the trigger is sold to a new user! When have you heard of an AR component manufacturer with a transferable warranty — we’re impressed.

Not just a retailer, John Scandale of Keystone Accuracy is a distributor of these triggers. He currently has many in stock and for sale at a very special introductory price.

What Comes in the Box:
The $265.75 trigger kits come complete with everything you need: Trigger unit assembly, trigger return spring, full strength hammer spring, two proprietary oversized trigger & hammer pivot pins and three disconnector tensioning springs (3.25 lb., 4.5 lb., 5.0 lb.). Also included is a comprehensive installation manual, a color-coded disconnector spring selection chart, some promotional items, and the lifetime warranty card.

Milazzo Krieger Wisconsin Trigger AR15 AR two stage trigger

Permalink Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
January 20th, 2016

SHOT Show Day One: Old Friends, New Products

krieger barrels john shot show

SHOT Show offers a unique opportunity to see a host of new products AND reconnect with old friends in the shooting world. We met with our friends John Krieger (Krieger Barrels), Ian Kelbly (Kelblys.com), Dave Kiff (PT&G), and Eric Stecker (Berger Bullets). On SHOT Show Day One we saw many interesting items, including a new $1500.00, 15-60x52mm comp scope from Vortex and the amazing Bix’n Andy Elypse action. That 15-60X Vortex should prove a great choice for F-Class competition and the Elypse “raises the bar” for lightweight benchrest actions.

Vortex Optics — “Golden Eagle” 15-60x52mm Competition Scope

New Vortex golden eagle 15-60 scope

Everyone involved in long-range target shooting should check out this New Vortex “Golden Eagle” 15-60x52mm scope. It offers a 4X zoom ratio with 60X max magnification, with an affordable street price of around $1500.00. That undercuts the competition from other major brands by hundreds of dollars. Two reticle options will be offered, a fine cross-hair and one with MOA-based hold-over lines. We’ll provide a more complete report soon….

Howa — Mini-Action Bolt Gun

Howa Mini Varmint Action

We finally got our hands on the Mini-action Howa, a very nice little rifle. I immediately noticed that the bolt is extremely smooth — really nice. The HACT 2-stage trigger is excellent — just about perfect for a varmint rifle. The action is nearly an inch shorter than a conventional “short action” so bolt movement is shorter. The rifle is currently offered in .204 Ruger and .223 Remington, and Howa may release a .222 Remington, 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39 version in the future. Street price on this rifle is around $600.00. I give this rifle two thumbs up, way up. I want one.

Kelbly’s — New Composite GRS Stocks

Kelbly's GRS Norway Composite Tactical Stock

Kelbly’s is the North American distributor for GRS stocks from Norway. For 2016 GRS has introduced advanced composite stocks. These share the ergonomic design of GRS wood stocks, but offer greater strength, rigidity, and durability. If you are looking for an advanced composite-matrix stock for hunting and tactical applications, you should check out this new GRS. We were very impressed.

Bix’n Andy — Titanium Elypse Action

Bullets.com Bix'n Andy Elypse Ti Titanium Action

This may be the most sophisticated benchrest action ever created. The new Bix’n Andy Elypse action will be offered in both stainless and Titanium (shown above). The action features an elliptical profile and a drop port. The trigger, sold separately, is superb, absolutely superb. There are many unique features, such as the flared loading port ramp and easy-change bolt handle. This is truly the Rolls-Royce of precision actions.

Shilen — AR and Savage Drop-in Barrels

Shilen Drop-IN barrels AR Savage

We visited the Shilen booth and chatted with Wade Hull, Shilen’s President. Wade explained that Shilen now offers a variety of Drop-in Barrels for Savages as well as “large-format” ARs (AR10 type rifles in 308-family chamberings). Wade also noted that Shilen has streamlined its production process, so wait-time on chambering work has been reduced significantly.

Stocky’s Stocks — New 3D-Printed Prototype Stock

stockys stocks 3d printing prototype tactical

3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping has come to the gunstock world. Stockys Stocks showed off a high-tech 3D-printed prototype of its new tactical stock with removable cheekpiece. We also checked out Stocky’s impressive Long Range composite stocks. Very strong, and very rigid, these stocks feature a CNC-milled aluminum bedding block. These are a stunning value for just $199.99.

RAS Tuners — Combo Tuner + Muzzle Brake

RAS Brake Tuner Muzzle NECO

Tuners work — though it may take a bit of time and effort to dial in your tune. The RAS Tuner system combines a sensitive tuner with a removable muzzle brake. There are systems for ARs as well as bolt guns. The inventor of the RAS says he has seen significant reductions in group size.

Tactical Solutions — High-Bling Rimfire Rifles and Pistols

Tactical Solutions .22 LR pistol suppressor

If bling is your thing, then Idaho-based Tactical Solutions has you covered. This company offers a wide variety of firearms including .22 LR rimfire target pistols and rifles. The rifle in this photo is configured with a permanent barrel extension that makes it ATF-compliant. But the actual barrel is threaded below the barrel extension so you can add a suppressor and still have a short overall-length “fun gun”.

Hygenall — LeadOff Products

lead remove safety hand wash

Anyone who does a lot of shooting may be exposed to lead residues. Lead is a tough substance to remove from human skin. We chatted with the scientists who created these LeadOff products and were quite impressed. The product uses sophisticated chemistry to “grab and remove” the lead molecules on your skin. This product has earned health agency certifications.

Champion — Plinking Targets for Fun Shooting

Champion Plinking Targets

Among all the “Operator-ready” Black Rifles and Tactical gear, it was nice to see a display dedicated to the simple fun of shooting. As kids, we all started our shooting careers plinking with a BB Gun or a simple rimfire rifle. Champion makes a variety of reactive targets that are great for plinking.

Permalink New Product, News, Optics No Comments »
October 19th, 2015

Water-Cooled Heavy Gun Set 1000-Yard World Record

Joel Pendergraft

Here’s something you’ve probably never seen before — a liquid-cooled benchrest rifle. No, this is not just a crazy experiment. This gun, built by Joel Pendergraft, produced a 10-shot, 3.044″ group that is still listed as the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) 1000-Yard Heavy Gun record. Using this water-cooled 300 Ackley Improved, Joel shot the record group in April 2009 at Hawks Ridge, NC. This monster features a 12-twist, 4-groove Krieger barrel. Joel shot BIB 187gr flat-based bullets in Norma brass, pushed by a “generous amount” of Alliant Reloder 25 and Federal 210M primers.

Joel Pendergraft

This 3.044″ 10-shot group was a remarkable accomplishment, breaking one of the longest-standing, 1000-yard World Records.

Joel Pendergraft

Pendergraft was modest after his notable achievement: “What makes this so very special is to be able to celebrate the accomplishment with all of my shooting friends[.] A good friend once said that records are shot when preparation and opportunity meet. I feel blessed to have personally had the opportunity. The preparation we can individually work on and achieve but the opportunity only comes to a few. Those of you that compete in long range competition will know what I mean.”

Joel Pendergraft

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 6 Comments »
September 18th, 2014

Video Animation Shows How the Cut-Rifling Process Works

Have you ever wondered how a cut-rifled barrel is made? This process, used by leading barrel-makers such as Bartlein, Border, Brux, Krieger, and Obermeyer, can yield a very high-quality barrel with a long useful life. Cut-rifled barrels have been at the top in short- and long-range benchrest competition in recent years, and cut-rifled barrels have long been popular with F-Class and High Power shooters.

You may be surprised to learn that cut-rifling is probably the oldest method of rifling a barrel. Invented in Nuremberg around 1520, the cut-rifling technique creates spiral grooves in the barrel by removing steel using some form of cutter. In its traditional form, cut rifling may be described as a single-point cutting system using a “hook” cutter. The cutter rests in the cutter box, a hardened steel cylinder made so it will just fit the reamed barrel blank and which also contains the cutter raising mechanism.

Above is a computer animation of an older style, sine-bar cut-rifling machine. Some machine features have been simplified for the purposes of illustration, but the basic operation is correctly shown. No, the cut-rifling machines at Krieger don’t use a hand-crank, but the mechanical process shown in this video is very similar to the way cut-rifling is done with more modern machines.

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

Read About Cut-Rifling Process at Border-Barrels.com
Read About Cut-Rifling Process at Border-Barrels.com
To learn more about the barrel-making process, and cut-rifling in particular, visit FirearmsID.com. There you’ll find a “must-read” article by Dr. Geoffrey Kolbe: The Making of a Rifled Barrel. This article describes in detail how barrels are crafted, using both cut-rifling and button-rifling methods. Kolbe (past owner of Border Barrels) covers all the important processes: steel selection, hole drilling, hole reaming, and rifling (by various means). You’ll find a very extensive discussion of how rifling machines work. Here’s a short sample:

“At the start of World War Two, Pratt & Whitney developed a new, ‘B’ series of hydraulically-powered rifling machines, which were in fact two machines on the same bed. They weighed in at three tons and required the concrete floors now generally seen in workshops by this time. About two thousand were built to satisfy the new demand for rifle barrels, but many were broken up after the war or sold to emerging third world countries building up their own arms industry.

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

Very few of these hydraulic machines subsequently became available on the surplus market and now it is these machines which are sought after and used by barrel makers like John Krieger and ‘Boots’ Obermeyer. In fact, there are probably less of the ‘B’ series hydraulic riflers around today than of the older ‘Sine Bar’ universal riflers.

The techniques of cut rifling have not stood still since the end of the war though. Largely due to the efforts of Boots Obermeyer the design, manufacture and maintenance of the hook cutter and the cutter box have been refined and developed so that barrels of superb accuracy have come from his shop. Cut rifled barrel makers like John Krieger (Krieger Barrels), Mark Chanlyn (Rocky Mountain Rifle Works) and Cliff Labounty (Labounty Precision Reboring)… learned much of their art from Boots Obermeyer, as did I.” — Geoffrey Kolbe

Video find by Boyd Allen. Archive photos from Border-Barrels.com. In June 2013, Birmingham Gunmakers Ltd. acquired Border Barrels. Dr. Geoffrey Koble continues to work for Border Barrels, which maintains operations in Scotland.
Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
May 7th, 2014

Radical 6″-Wide Offset Pistol for 1000-yard Benchrest

Forum member Eric has built an innovative specialty pistol for long-range benchrest. The gun is chambered in 6.5-284 and built for IBS 1000-yard shooting. Eric originally built the gun with a 3″-wide fore-end, then decided to go with a 6″-wide offset design since the IBS no longer restricts Light Gun Forearms to three inches. Eric explained: “After building the 3″-wide stock I looked at the IBS 1000-yard benchrest rules and found out that there was not a width limit and rails were allowed for a Light Gun stock. I set out to design a 6″ version. I was thinking it should be offset also to help control torque and track straighter. I had a new 6.5mm, 1:8.5″ twist, 1.250″ HV-contour Krieger barrel. I chambered the barrel for 6.5-284 and bedded the stock.”

6.5-284 1000-yard pistol

6.5-284 1000-yard pistol

Eric feeds his pistol Sierra 142gr MatchKings with a load of 51.0 grains of H4831sc. Estimated muzzle velocity with this load is 2900 fps — respectable speed from the short barrel. The gun tracks remarkably well, with very little torque effect, as you can see in the video below.

After initial testing, Eric added a muzzle brake to the barrel. This tamed the recoil considerably. To learn more about Eric’s long-range 6.5-284 pistol, visit our Shooters Forum and READ this POST. To see more videos of the pistol in action (with muzzle brake), visit Eric’s PhotoBucket Album.

6.5-284 1000-yard pistol

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
March 3rd, 2014

Krieger Barrels — Like Father, Like Sons

Krieger Barrels John KriegerKrieger Barrels Inc. is a family-run business. Founder John Krieger now works with two of his sons in the business, Andrew (“Andy”) and Mark. At SHOT Show 2014 we had a chance to chat with John and Andy. John told us that he is very proud to work with his two sons. He said that Andy, who has a degree in engineering, brings an important skill set and a new level of scientific expertise to the business. On his part, Andy says that his father is a “great boss… and the best teacher you could have”. Meet this father and son barrel-making team in this short video.

John Krieger and Andrew Krieger

How does Krieger Barrels produce such a great product year in and year out? It takes a lot of highly-skilled labor and some serious machinery to produce outstanding cut-rifled barrels. To illustrate the barrel-making process, Krieger has produced a fascinating video, filmed at Krieger’s production facility in Richfield, Wisconsin. This video shows the process of single-point, cut-rifled barrel-making start to finish. If you love big, powerful machines, you’ll enjoy this video. Its really quite amazing to see all that’s involved in the production of cut-rifled barrels.

How Krieger Barrels Are Made (MUST-WATCH video — one of the best we’ve ever featured).

For anyone interested in accurate rifles, this is absolutely a “must-watch” video. Watch blanks being cryogenically treated, then drilled and lathe-turned. Next comes the big stuff — the massive rifling machines that single-point-cut the rifling in a precise, time-consuming process. Following that you can see barrels being contoured, polished, and inspected (with air gauge and bore-scope). There is even a sequence showing chambers being cut.

Here is a time-line of the important barrel-making processes shown in the video. You may want to use the “Pause” button, or repeat some segments to get a better look at particular operations. The numbers on the left represent playback minutes and seconds.

Krieger Barrel-Making Processes Shown in Video
00:24 – Cryogenic treatment of steel blanks
00:38 – Pre-contour Barrels on CNC lathe
01:14 – Drilling Barrels
01:28 – Finish Turning on CNC lathe
01:40 – Reaming
01:50 – Cut Rifling
02:12 – Hand Lapping
02:25 – Cut Rifling
02:40 – Finish Lapping
02:55 – Outside Contour Inspection
03:10 – Engraving
03:22 – Polish
03:50 – Fluting
03:56 – Chambering
04:16 – Final Inspection

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
March 25th, 2013

TECH TIP: How to Determine Your Barrel’s Actual Twist Rate

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

Before you purchase a bunch of bullets and set off to develop loads it’s wise to determine the true twist rate of your new barrel. Sinclair International, in its Reloading Press Blog provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel. Read on to learn how….

How Twist Rate Affects Bullet Stability
Most of you know that the twist of the rifling in the barrel is what puts spin on the bullet. As a bullet is pushed down the barrel and compressed into the rifling, the bullet follows the path or twist of the rifling. The combination of velocity and bullet spin is what stabilizes the bullet. Finding the twist rate for your barrel will help you in selecting appropriate weight bullets for your firearm. Remember, the general rule is that the faster the twist rate for a given caliber, the longer the bullet (of that caliber) you will be able to stabilize. (Generally speaking, a longer bullet will also be a heavier bullet, but the bullet geometry dictates the needed twist rather than the weight per se.)

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

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

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle. Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8 twist barrel.

This rifling illustration was created by Danish graphic artist Erik Dahlberg. It is published here courtesy FireArmsID.com, an excellent website for forensic firearms examiners.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 8 Comments »
March 16th, 2012

Hickory Groundhog and Egg Shoot Slated for April 7, 2012

The Hickory Groundhog and Egg Shoot, the richest varmint shoot East of the Mississippi, is just three weeks away. The hugely popular Hickory Shoot will be held this year on Saturday, April 7, 2012. The basic entry fee is just $25.00 per gun. That’s cheap for a chance to win a bundle of cash, plus valuable prizes such as Shehane stocks and Nightforce optics.

Anatomy of a Hickory-Winning Rig — Brady’s Record-Setting 6BR
If you wonder what kind of rifle can win the big money at the Hickory Shoot, have a look at Terry Brady’s 42-lb 6BR. In 2010, Terry Brady won the Custom Class in the Hickory Shoot, setting an all-time record with a 99 score*. Terry was shooting a straight 6mmBR with 105gr Berger VLD bullets. His rifle looks “normal”, but it was actually purpose-built for Groundhog shoots, which have no weight limit in Custom Class. The fiberglass Shehane Tracker stock was stuffed with lead shot from stem to stern, so that the gun weighs nearly 42 pounds with optics. The Hickory winner, smithed by Mike Davis of Zionville, NC, featured a BAT DS action with a straight-contour, gain-twist Krieger barrel. The twist rate starts at 1:8.7″ and increases to 1:8.3″ at the muzzle. Terry was shooting a relatively moderate load of 30.5 grains Varget with Danzac-coated bullets. This load absolutely hammered, but Terry thinks the gun might shoot even better if the load was “hotted up a little.”

Terry Brady 6BR Hickory Groundhog Winner

Minimal Recoil and Insane Accuracy at 500 yards
In the picture above you see the Hickory winner fitted with a 5″-wide front plate. This was crafted from aluminum by Gordy Gritters, and Terry said “it only adds a few ounces” to the gun. Mike Davis installed threaded anchors in the fore-end so the plate can be removed for events where forearm width is restricted to 3″. The plate is symmetrical, adding 1″ extra width on either side of the Shehane Tracker stock. Gordy can also craft a 5″ plate that offsets the rifle to one side or the other. Terry hasn’t experimented with an offset front bag-rider, but he thinks it might work well with a heavier-recoiling caliber. Terry actually shot most of the Hickory match without the front plate so he could use his regular 3″-wide front bag. Even with the plate removed, Terry’s Hickory-winning 6BR barely moves on the bags during recoil, according to Terry: “You just pull the trigger and with a little push you’re right back on target.” With this gun, Terry, his son Chris, Chris’s girlfriend Jessica, and Terry’s friend Ben Yarborough nailed an egg at 500 yards four times in a row. That’s impressive accuracy.

*The Hickory employs “worst-edge” scoring, meaning if you cut a scoring line you get the next lower score. One of Terry’s shots was right on the edge of the white and another was centered right between white and black at 3 o’clock. Accordingly he only received 27 points for each of the 300 and 500-yard stages. Under “best-edge” scoring, Terry would have scored even higher.

CLICK HERE for 2012 Hickory Groundhog & Egg Shoot Info Sheet (PDF)

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
January 18th, 2012

SHOT Show: Kelbly’s Atlas Custom Rifle and 40th Super Shoot

Each year, at SHOT Show, we get a chance to meet up with the Kelbly clan. Jim Kelbly and his family-run operation always have something new and interesting on display, and this year was no exception. Jim explained to us that 2012 marks the historic 40th Anniversary of the Firearms Industry Super Shoot. Jim is expecting the largest turn-out ever for the short-range benchrest event, held annually at the Kelbly Range. And Jim said that 50-60 foreign shooters may join the fun in 2012. The Super Shoot already has the highest attendance of any 100/200-yard benchrest match on the planet — even more than the World Championships. Jim said he is planning some extra surprises to help celebrate the 40th Super Shoot anniversary.

On the hardware side, Kelbly’s had some some new March scope options on display and Jim noted that Kelbly’s now produces 30mm and 34mm scope rings for both Davidson and Picatinny-type scope rails. These new rings have an improved clamping design with a floating side clamp piece providing direct lateral tension. This strong design replaces the squeezing-type ring base found on Kelbly’s older rings. This provides more positive clamping force and it also allows more repeatable tensioning.

$2,300.00 Kelbly Atlas Custom Rifle
Ian Kelbly provided the big news — Kelbly’s is now offering a “factory custom” rifle. The Kelbly Atlas Custom Rifle features a Stolle Atlas action in a bedded Bell & Carlson T-1000 stock with aluminum chassis. Each gun will feature a precision-chambered, Krieger cut-rifled barrel. (You won’t find those on other “factory customs”). You have a wide choice of chamberings including: .223 Rem, 22-250, .243 Win, .308 Win, 300 WSM and 7mm WSM. The Atlas rifles come with a crisp, Rifle Basix two-pound trigger.

kelbly atlas Krieger rifle

The good news is that this complete package — with your choice of stock finish — is just $2,300.00 complete. That’s a good price considering the quality of the components. We’ve seen other vendors asking $3,500.00 or more for rifles with “plane Jane” Remington actions and “no-name” barrels. And we were pleased to hear that you don’t have to wait a year or more for a Kelbly Atlas Custom Rifle. Kelbly’s has over two dozen rifles in stock, ready to ship right now.

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
December 17th, 2011

Krieger Raises Barrel Prices at End of December

If you plan to use a Krieger barrel for your next rifle build, better get that order in quickly. Due to a rise in the cost of steel, Krieger Barrels will add $15.00 to the price of a most stainless barrels, starting December 31st. In addition, the price of chrome moly barrels will also increase (typically $25) to become the same price as Krieger’s stainless barrels. (Previously the chrome moly barrels were cheaper than stainless.) The biggest price hike comes with large diameter barrels. There will be a large price hike on over-size diameter barrels ($100 increase on oversize blanks up to 1.450″ diameter.) Krieger says the price changes will “take effect January 1, 2012″, but it also states that price increases would be “implemented” on orders received “after midnight December 30th”. So, to be safe, get your order in before 11:59 pm on December 30th.

Krieger has also announced that it is halting manufacture of 17-caliber barrels as “the tooling on this caliber is too fragile”, and Krieger will no longer offer Custom Engraving. Here is the text of Krieger’s 2012 Price Changes Announcement:

Krieger Barrels — 2012 Price Changes

We [want] to give our customers a “heads up” on price increases to be implemented beginning with all orders received after midnight December 30th. Krieger Barrels has not increased the cost of barrels in two years, and now regretfully we find it necessary to do so. Below you will find a brief description of the changes. Detailed information will be posted as a catalog/website update shortly after Christmas. All price and service changes will take effect January 1, 2012.

Barrel Pricing:
The base cost of most stainless steel barrels will increase by $15.00. Chrome moly barrels will then be the same price as stainless making stainless and chrome moly barrels the same price. [This means the cost of chrome moly barrels will increase $25.00 on average.]

Oversize Diameter Pricing:
Oversize blank diameters up to 1.450″ will increase to $100.00 above the base cost in both stainless steel and chrome moly

Oversize blank diameters greater than 1.450″ up to 2.000″ will increase to $150.00 above the base cost in both stainless steel and chrome moly.

.50 BMG blanks (2.00″ x 36″) will remain the same price in stainless, but chrome moly will increase to the current stainless price.

Muzzle Threads:
We are eliminating the price difference between threading for a timed brake and an un-timed brake. The new cost to thread a muzzle to your machinist drawing or to match the device you send will be $125.00 either timed or un-timed. Fox River Brakes will remain $200.00 installed, and DCM/Service rifle barrels will continue to have no price difference between pre-ban and post-ban models.

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, News 3 Comments »
February 3rd, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Final Thoughts on the 2010 Show

Today we wrap up our coverage of the 2010 Shot Show. Jason and I visited scores of booths, inspected hundreds of new products and interviewed dozens of industry insiders and “old friends”. We can’t package all the highlights into a single blog post, but here are some “short takes” on SHOT Show items of interest — the new stuff we really liked and some odd but noteworthy elements of the “Shot Show Experience”.

Most Important New Technology — Burris LaserScope
AccurateShooter.com doesn’t give product awards, but if we did, the new Eliminator LaserScope from Burris would be a leading candidate for “Best in Show” honors. This unit employs modern technology to make the shooter’s job easier. A built-in laser rangefinder finds the distance to your target. Then the scope consults a ballistics table, pre-programmed for your cartridge. The scope’s “brain” calculates the precise holdover for your ranged target distance and displays a bright, red dot on the vertical cross-hair. That dot is your calculated correct point of aim. Just put the red dot on the target and squeeze the trigger. For a varmint hunter, this scope could be the best thing since sliced bread. Shoot all week and never touch the elevation knob. We just wish the Eliminator was offered in a higher-power version — say a 6-24×50. Currently the Eliminator is offered only as a 4-12x42mm optic. The Eliminator is far from perfect, but its technology really could render other conventional hunting riflescopes obsolete.

Burris Eliminator riflescope

Important Brass Developments
For Benchrest shooters, the big news was Norma’s introduction of 6 PPC brass. According to Lou Murdica, who has tested the early production brass, this new brass is “outstanding” and is fully competitive with cases fire-formed from Lapua 220 Russian brass. Norma’s production of 6 PPC brass demonstrates that the Swedish company is very serious about benchrest shooting and the American market. We had a long, productive conversation with the CEO of Norma, and we could tell he is committed to expanding Norma’s place in the American market. Expect some major developments in the months ahead, including a joint project with AccurateShooter.com. Norma also showed us the 300 Norma case which we feel will eventually be an important chambering for long-range shooters. This case has “just right” capacity to drive the 200+ grain, high-BC 30-caliber bullets.

Norma 6mm PPC brass

Unnoticed Excellence — The Barrel-Makers
Flashy new products get the media attention at SHOT Show every year. But we think the most important “back story” involves American barrel-makers. If you want to do a story on EXCELLENCE in today’s gun industry, you need to focus on the elite barrel-makers. Companies such as Bartlein, Broughton, and Krieger continue to make better barrels every year, with new features such as gain-twist rifling, and 5R rifling. Just this Friday, I witnessed a .308 “tactical” rifle with a new Krieger 5R barrel fire two successive three-shot groups that were each just a ragged hole — and the first two out of three shots in each group literally went through the same hole at 100 yards. And that was during barrel break-in with an untested load and untrimmed brass “right out of the box”. America’s top “boutique” barrel-makers are now producing extraordinarily good products, yet they are rarely mentioned by the popular print gun magazines. At a time when we see recall notices from companies such as Ruger and Remington on a regular basis, our American custom barrel makers are building the best barrels in the world, indeed the best barrels ever made.

A Contrast in Style — American vs. European Optics-Makers
Among the major optics makers, the difference between American and European marketing styles was painfully obvious. Leupold and Burris had fast-talking, glad-handing salesmen, who, for the most part, knew very little about their product line and even less about optics engineering. By contrast, Zeiss and Schmidt & Bender staffed their booths with real optics engineers with Ph.Ds, many of whom were directly involved in the design of the products on display. At Zeiss we spent nearly an hour talking with Stephan Albrecht, the German engineer in charge of the new 20-75X Diascope spotting scope and the new Diavari Flourite riflescopes. During our conversations with Stephan he actually solicited our feedback, took careful notes and promised to explore some of our suggestions. We also were able to share our field test results directly with Eric Schumacher, President of Carl Zeiss Optical, USA. By contrast, Leupold’s decision makers and top-level engineers were nowhere to be found, and when we voiced our (now annual) plea that Leupold stop building scopes with canted reticles, we were greeted with nothing but blank stares. Leupold’s reps couldn’t comprehend the canted reticle problem, even after I pulled a scope (with 3° canted reticle) off their display rack and showed them.

Schmidt & Bender

Federal FCPA Sting Rocks SHOT Show
In the mainstream media, SHOT Show 2010 will be remembered for one thing — the “Big Bust”. On January 20th, FBI agents arrested 22 gun industry employees and executives for alleged violations of the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act). Those arrested, including one of Smith & Wesson’s Vice Presidents, were charged with trying to bribe FBI agents posing as African government officials. This “high-visibility” bust culminated a DOJ sting operation two years in the making that involved 250 federal agents.

Accuracy… Who Needs Accuracy?
There’s a curious thing about SHOT Show. It’s touted as the greatest gunshow in the galaxy, but one thing is sorely missing — really accurate rifles. Heaven forbid there would be a true benchrest rifle or rail gun on display! Many of our readers own more true 1/4-MOA rifles than you’ll find at the entire SHOT Show. We know this is a trade show, but still you’d think somebody would want to show off a really impressive rifle — say the National Championship-winning F-Class rifle or a record-setting rail gun. It would be like having a Top Fuel dragster on display at a car show. But no, what we have instead are acres upon acres of 1-2 MOA factory guns. That’s disappointing to say the least. It’s sort of like going to an air show only to discover the Blue Angles have cancelled and there won’t be any jets at all.

Pop Stars vs. Legendary Marksmen
At every SHOT Show, I’m struck by some odd ironies. This year I walked past one booth which was absolutely mobbed with people trying to meet an attractive young female celebrity — a contestant from American Idol. Fighting through the throng, I continued down the aisle to the McMillan booth. There was David Tubb, quietly chatting with a McMillan rep. Mind you, David is an 11-time National High Power Champion. He has also won National Silhouette titles and scores of other matches. He is arguably the greatest competitive rifle shooter in American history. Yet hundreds of people walked by without even noticing David. Think of the irony. Imagine if Michael Jordan was sitting in a booth at a sports convention. The place would be mobbed. Yet David has certainly dominated his sport the way Jordan dominated basketball. Jordan won six NBA Championships. Tubb has won ELEVEN National Championships (and he’s not done yet). Yet the vast majority of SHOT attendees don’t seem to care about legends like David Tubb, or about shooting excellence in general… they would rather wait in line to meet a “wannabee” from American Idol than learn something from a truely legendary marksman. Sometimes I DO wonder about our priorities.

Too Many Black Rifles?
After Obama was elected in November 2008, there was a surge in demand for semi-auto, military-style rifles, partcularly AR-platform rifles. Manufacturers of all sizes, from Remington/Bushmaster, to small fabricators, ramped up production of AR uppers, lowers, and complete rifles. Now, 15 months later, demand is slacking off, and there is an over-abundance of ARs. We perceived a notable lack of interest in AR rifles at SHOT Show, unless they had some new bells and whistles. Retailers seemed much more interested in big-bore bolt guns and handguns, or in the completely new semi-auto designs such as Remington’s ACR.

Bring Back the Convention Center
For 2010, SHOT Show was hosted at the Sands Expo Center, behind the Venetian Hotel complex, instead of the Las Vegas Convention Center. On paper, this seemed like a good move. The Sands Expo is nearer the strip and closer to popular hotels. In practice, the Sands Expo proved a poor location for SHOT Show. Outside the main hall, booths were crammed into conference areas with low ceilings and bad lighting. A very large number of exhibitors were assigned to the first-floor “Dungeon”. There, access was difficult, the lighting was bad, and low ceilings and concrete floors worsened the background noise problem.

Just getting into SHOT show was a challenge. For the majority of visitors staying in hotels on the strip, one had to walk through the maze-like interior of the Venetian to get to the Show. This was annoying to say the least. On 3 out of 4 days I took at least one wrong turn, and on Day 2 I got thoroughly lost. I saw plenty of folks with SHOT Show badges walking in circles, completely disoriented — the Venetian is a building where you can’t walk in a straight line for more than 150 feet or so. And once inside the SHOT Show proper it was very easy to get lost as well. Pete Brownell was heard to say that he needed a map just to find his own booth.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 4 Comments »