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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.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 14th, 2020

Forum Member Carves Superb Maple Hunting Stock

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota
Believe it or not, this is the first stock Brett M. carved by hand. We’d say he did a darn good job!

AccurateShooter Forum member Brett M. from Minnesota (aka Spitfire_er) recently completed a handsome laminated maple gunstock. This beauty wasn’t produced with a stock duplicator. It was made the old-fashioned way — by hand. After laminating three sections, Brett carved the complete stock with hand tools. You can see the entire carving process, start to finish, in Brett’s time lapse video.

MUST-SEE time-lapse carving video. Every second is one minute in real time. This 15:54 video shows 15.9 hours of carving! Brett says the whole job took nearly 20 hours:

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett MinnesotaHandsome Maple Blank Was Lumber Yard Return!
Brett reports: “Here’s a stock I carved up over the past year or so. I found this wood as a return at a lumber yard about 7-8 years ago. I asked the guy in the yard about it and he said it had been returned because it had too much figure for the job the customer was working on. First thing I thought was “That would make a nice stock!” I finally got around to finishing it a couple months ago.

I fit it around a 1917 Enfield in .338 WM that I purchased a while back. I usually do all the work on the receiver and barrel, but this one was done up in an OK fashion already.

This stock was almost completely made using hand tools over the course of about a year. This is a piece of laminated 1x8x1″ maple that was glued together. After it sat for about eight years, I finally got around to carving it up. This stock design/shape was from my own ideas and was carved as I went along. It turned out pretty good.”

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
January 1st, 2018

Beautiful Rifles for the New Year

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot
This stunning Celtic Engraved Double Bolt Action rifle is from Fuchs Fine Guns.

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

As a New Year’s gift to our readers, we thought we’d share some beauty pictures — rifle beauty that is. In our Shooters’ Forum, a Gun Glamour thread recently started entitled: “Show me what a beautiful gun looks like!” Well here are some very handsome rifles featured in that Forum Thread. Enjoy.

Beautiful Rifles from our Shooters’ Forum

Forum member Kurz posted a dream gun owned by a friend in England. Kurz included a quote from a book created by the rifle’s owner: “There, with my father’s words ringing in my ears, I shall take that ‘step forward’ and order a perfect machine based on the Mauser ’98 action, built from metal and wood by master craftsmen who truly understand that ‘reliable’ and ‘mechanical integrity’ have as much relevance today as they did all those years ago.”

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

A gun can “shoot dots” and still be handsome. Here is a short-range benchrest rifle with a stunning, exhibition-grade Walnut stock. Forum member Josh B found this beauty.

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

This “old school” rimfire sports a Stolle Swindlehurst Chrome Moly action, Unertl 20X scope, Krieger barrel, and Kelbly trigger. Forum Member FFEMT tells us this rifle “has a nice little piece of English Walnut”. Yes indeed — the stock is from John Maxon

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

Forum member JRS submitted a stunner from Europe. This beauty features a truly exquisite piece of wood with elaborately engraved receiver. It also has escutcheons and special metal work on the grip.

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

Lever-action Falling Block rifles can be beautiful too. This one features a color case-hardened receiver and handsome two-piece fancy wood stock. This was submitted by Forum member Kurz who notes: “Besides exhibition grade walnut, I like the variations available in spalted maple for rifle stocks.”

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

A competition rifle must be “performance first”. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be handsome too. Forum member XTR’s rifle, an F-TR rig, features Maple wood with Bubinga tips.

Ruger Number 1 maple walnut glamour shot

“Wood is Good” — as demonstrated by all the rifles showcased above. But, as a “parting shot”, we’ll add a blue British beauty from the long-running Pride and Joy Forum Thread we started a decade ago. This eye-catching 270-7mm WSM F-Classer belongs to Forum member Elwood from the UK. A well-executed hydro-dip finish can really dress up a competition rifle.

Click Photo to See Hundreds More ‘Pride and Joy’ Rifles…
Pride and Joy Hydro dip F-Class

Permalink Gunsmithing No Comments »
August 1st, 2014

Wow Factor: Seb’s Wood and Aluminum F-Class Stock

We first featured this amazing stock last year. We felt this creation was such a stunning piece of work that it deserved a second look. If you missed this masterpiece the first time around, feast your eyes…

Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang, creator of the SEB Coaxial Rests and the Coaxial Joystick Bipod, has engineered an impressive new wood and aluminum F-Class stock. The stock features a long, box-section aluminum fore-end with a wood rear section and wood-trimmed “wings” on the front bag-rider. The aluminum fore-arm has “buick vents” for weight reduction. From the end of the action rearward, the stock is mostly wood, with light and dark fancy wood laminates on opposite sides (left and right).

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

The foot of the buttstock has a very wide aluminum rear bag-rider with rails. The rear wood section appears to be two solid pieces of wood — but that is deceiving. Seb explains: “To save weight, the buttstock is hollow (using thin-walled wood)”. To strengthen the construction, Seb added carbon fiber inside the buttstock. So what you see is a wood outer shell with carbon fiber layers on the inside. The stock sports vertically-adjustable cheek-piece and buttplate. The thick, rubber buttpad should diminish felt recoil even when shooting big cartridges with heavy bullets.

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

This is an interesting, innovative stock design. And as with everything Seb produces, the craftsmanship, fit and finish are superb. We may get a chance to see how well this new stock shoots at the F-Class World Championships later this month in Raton, New Mexico.

Seb also crafted a handsome set of angled scope rails with beautifully-machined scope rings. Imagine being able to custom-make one-off products of this quality in your own machine shop!

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

Permalink Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
November 28th, 2010

Dear Santa: Send Me a 300 WSM Ultimate Varminter

If you’re wondering what to ask Santa to deliver this holiday season, how about a Quilted Maple 300 WSM Varminter? That’s what Santa brought Barry O. (aka TheBlueEyedBear) last December. Barry, a respected long-time member of our Shooters Forum, ordered a new 300 WSM Varminter in 2009 and it arrived just in time for Christmas. The beautiful rifle, smithed by Richard Franklin, features a BAT Action, Bartlein 30″ barrel, and a stunning Quilted Maple wood stock. Barry’s new 300 WSM is capable of delivering 125gr Ballistic Tips at over 4000 fps, with great accuracy.

300 WSM Varminter Richard Franklin
300 WSM Varminter

Barry reports: “Here is my 300WSM Varminter built by Richard Franklin of Richards Custom Rifles. This is one awesome piece of work — And YES, it shoots! I expected a lot when I asked Richard to build this gun, and believe me; I got more than I expected. I am not a machinist, nor am I an engineer, but I can tell you for certain that this is the finest quality work you can expect from a gun builder.

300 WSM Varminter Richard Franklin

As you can imagine, my reason for building this gun was for long range varminting. I had read articles about the flat-shooting 300 WSM Varminter on AccurateShooter.com, and how it could launch a projectile at over 4000 fps with great accuracy. I also read some of the brutal articles on other sites from the nay-sayers. So, I had to have one. Simply put: THE NAY-SAYERS ARE WRONG! You CAN launch a 125gr Ballistic Tip bullet over 4000 fps and terrorize those little fury creatures way far away. I love this thing… I think I’ll ask Richard to build me another!” [Editor’s Note: Anyone wanting Richard Franklin to build a custom rifle had better act quickly. Richard is retiring and he will not work on any orders submitted after January 1, 2011.]

300 WSM Varminter Richard Franklin

Franklin 300 WSM Vaminter Specifications:

BAT Machine SS Model ‘B’ action, RB/RP, Diamond fluted bolt
BARTLEIN 30″ SS str. 1.25″-diam. barrel (polished) 1:16″ tw, .337 neck
BAT Machine polished aluminum trigger guard
HOLLAND recoil lug
JEWELL BR trigger set at 1.5 oz.
HARRELL’s muzzle brake
UNDERTAKER stock in Quilted Maple, clearcoated
RCR polished SS pillar bedding
LIMBSAVER recoil pad (I hate recoil)
BAT Machine SS 20moa scope base
NIGHTFORCE 30mm scope rings
NIGHTFORCE 8x32x56 NSX with NP-2DD reeticle
NIGHTFORCE angle meter
U.S OPTICS cant indicator

Richard Franklin To Retire — Final Order Deadline Announced
Richard Franklin, builder of the beautiful rifle shown above, has announced his retirement. He will be taking orders for custom rifles through January 1, 2011, but that’s it — he’s giving up the business. Orders received after January 1st will be built by Richard’s protégé Tommy Shurley. Read on…

Richard Franklin Will Retire. Order Cut-Off Date is 1/1/2011

Richard Franklin gunsmithI will be taking orders for custom rifles and muzzle loaders until the 1st of January, 2011. When these orders are completed by me in 2011 I will be officially retired from building rifles as a business. After Jan. 1st, 2011 Tommy Shurley of Shurley Bros. Custom Rifles will be taking over my business known as Richards Custom Rifles. I will retain my website and answer questions as usual. Any rifle orders coming in after Jan. 1st will be directed to Tommy Shurley. Tommy has been working with me for some time now here in my shop and I will continue to work with Tommy in his shop in Heber Springs, Arkansas until I am satisfied that Tommy can build rifles as I have been building them. Tommy will have a full service shop and be able to meet all your shooting needs. — Richard Franklin

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
August 12th, 2009

Fancy Hardwood Sources for Gunstocks

Virginia Gunsmith Richard Franklin sold his stock-making business to Greg West, but Richard is still making stunning, one-off custom rifles using laminated fancy woods such as Crotch Claro Walnut, Turkish Walnut, Curly Maple, Bloodwood, and burls. One of Richard’s favorite sources for fancy woods is Northwest Timber, based in Oregon. NW Timber has one of the largest collections of highly-figured Claro Walnut and fancy Maple blanks in the country, including many “book-matched” sets that are ideal for a three-layer laminated stock. The two, mirror-image, book-matched pieces form the outer layers, with a central spine of contrasting wood.

When shopping for fancy wood for a laminated stock application, be sure to consider the length and thickness required. For a tri-laminated benchrest stock with a 3″ forearm, you’ll need a block at least 2.5″ wide and 32″ to 35″ long (depending on overall stock length). After sawing that will give you two 1 1/8″-wide slabs, so that a contrasting 3/4″-wide section of wood can be placed in the middle. Thinner blocks of fancy wood can be used in a 5-layer laminate. If you can’t find a block at least 32″ long, a contrasting end cap could be placed on the fore-end. However, Richard prefers to work with blanks that are long enough for the whole stock.

Above is a book-matched set from Northwest Timber in Crotch Claro Walnut. Note how there are two matching pieces, top and bottom.

This above photo shows how spectacular Quilted Maple can look when stained and finished with contrasting highlights. A popular material for fine musical instruments, Quilted Maple can look just as good on a gunstock (below).


For more information, contact:

Northwest Timber
3229 Jefferson-Scio Drive
Jefferson, OR 97352
(541) 327-1000

NW Timber Burl Maple

Permalink Gear Review No Comments »
April 18th, 2009

Savage 6.5x55AI in Russo Fancy Maple Stock

Forum member Robert E. of North Dakota recently finished a winter project, profiled in our “Pride & Joy” Forum thread. The stunning McMillan A2-style stock was produced in Curly Maple by Joel Russo. The gun features a Savage RB/LP target action with a 30″ McGowen 1:8″-twist barrel chambered in 6.5x55AI. Robert installed the pillars, bedded the action, and finished the stock himself. Nice job Rob! The handsome gun sports a Sighton 6-24×50 scope held with Farrell 20moa base and rings.

6.5x55 Savage maple custom

6.5x55 Savage maple custom

The stock shape is classic McMillan “tactical”, but the gun is just too handsome to be called a tactical rifle. Maybe Robert has created a whole new category of rifle: “Glam Tac”. In any event, Robert has selected a great chambering for long-range hunting or target shooting and we expect this gun will be a shooter. (It’s still a virgin. Robert hasn’t put one round through it yet.)

For more info on custom wood rifle stocks, visit RussoRifleStocks.com or contact Joel Russo at (717) 805-0940, or jkrussos [at] comcast.net . This Editor spoke to Joel today on the phone … he was out at his secret range shooting his mighty .338-408 Big Baer at 2000 yards. When I called the maple-stocked 6.5x55AI gun a “Glam Tactical” rig, Joel laughed and agreed “Yep, that would be a good description.”

Permalink Gunsmithing 4 Comments »