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  Remington 870 for Hunting
ShootingHunters have used shotguns for a long time now. Not only are they easy for shooting smaller targets that move quickly, but they can do a substantial amount of damage to bigger targets as well. With all the shotgun brands and models that they have to choose from, many hunters continue to use the Remington 870 over all other models. Remington is a brand that has existed for a century because of the high-quality construction and performance reliability of their shotguns. The Remington 870 is a pump-action shotgun, which is the reason why it is so reliable. If you were to purchase some semi-automatic shotgun, then you wouldn’t have nearly as much reliability as the Remington 870. Instead, you would have a weapon that may have malfunctions during the reloading process. The pump-action of the Remington 870 will greatly reduce the chances of malfunctions.

There are many versions of the Remington 870 such as the Remington 870 Express and Remington 870 Tactical, but the most popular one used for hunting is the Remington 870 Wingmaster. This particular shotgun contains a forend and stock made out of wood and it is truly an American classic because it is one of the first Remington 870s to actually be used for hunting. Its two most popular gauges are the 12-gauge and 20-gauge, but you can choose other gauges as well. But what is most admired about the Remington 870 Wingmaster is its durability and strength. In fact, it is even stronger than many of the modern-day shotguns because the Wingmaster is manufactured with quality in mind.

Another reason why hunters love the Remington 870 so much is because it is one of the most affordable shotguns out there. Most shotguns that are suitable for hunting will cost over one thousand dollars. However, you can purchase a Remington 870 Express for under five-hundred dollars and it will be more reliable than those more expensive shotgun models. And if that’s not enough, the Remington 870 can be upgraded with new parts in case you want to get rid of the factory-grade parts that come with the weapon. You can add or exchange lots of parts on the weapon such as the barrel, stock, forend, choke, safety, follower and so on. This allows hunters of all shapes and sizes to get more comfortable with their Remington 870 and to adjust the weapon in a way that makes it easier for them to shoot their target while maintaining accuracy.

When you use a Remington 870 shotgun for hunting you’ll want to upgrade your shotgun with a long barrel and a choke that is suitable for shooting the game that you’re going after. Long barrels are good because they have Rem choke system. Remember that chokes will allow your shots to be constricted in different ways as the birdshot comes out of the barrel. So, for example, if you wanted to hunt wild turkeys in the forest then you would use a tight turkey choke. That way, the pellets are more constricted and will shoot out into a shorter radius around the turkey, causing more damage to it.
Now if you wanted to hunt smaller game like ducks, you would want a wider choke on your shotgun so the pellets could spread within a wider radius toward the target. This would ultimately increase your chances of hitting a small, fast moving target like a duck. As for the sighting, long barrels have longer sighting plane which makes it easier for the shooter to aim properly. If you had a short barrel, the shorter sighting plane would make it harder for the shooter to accurately aim.

The Remington 870 is a multi-purpose pump-action shotgun that is suitable for home defense, law enforcement purposes, and hunting. The big question that a lot of novice hunters have is, what kind of animals can you hunt with the Remington 870 shotgun? The basic answer to this question is all types of animals. You could hunt ducks, geese, pheasants, grouse, turkeys, chukar, doves, or even deer with a Remington 870 shotgun. It doesn’t matter how big the animal is or how fast the animal is. The Remington 870 has the power and ability to stop any animal in its tracks. That is why the weapon has been used by hunters for nearly a hundred years now.
Of course, you must set up your shotgun with the right choke and ammunition before you go out hunting for a particular type of animal. That way, you can improve your chances of hitting the animal without wasting lots of time and ammunition. The Remington 870 provides users with the versatility of customizing their weapon in a way that suits their shooting needs. There aren’t too many other shotguns on the market that give you such a wide range of upgrades and choices. You just have to understand which chokes and ammunition are suitable for whatever it is you’re hunting.

For example, if you are using slugs as ammunition for your Remington 870 and you go out trying to shoot flying ducks with it, then you’re likely going to have a difficult time hitting them. You would need shotshells with pellets in them, like birdshot in order to increase your chances of hitting the ducks because the pellets will spread within a wider radius when they leave the barrel of the gun. Now if you wanted to hunt a bigger animal like deer, then slugs might be more appropriate because you need more precise ammo with more stopping power. Slugs will likely kill the deer upon impact whereas pellets would just cause the deer to suffer in pain. This is what makes the Remington 870 so great because it allows you to use different chokes to control the spread of your shots and different ammunition for the animal you’re hunting. You could literally hunt any type of animal with the Remington 870. Just make sure it is legal to hunt the animal you’re going after in your particular location.

Vitaly Pedchenko, owner of the – blog and forum about Remington 870 shotgun. Competitive shooter and gun enthusiast. Author of the “Complete Remington 870 Guide” ebook.

Posted by rem870 on Thursday, February 16, 2017 (02:12:55) (25 reads)
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  Scopes with BDC Reticles for Centerfire Rifles
ShootingIn the process of researching a new scope selection, I investigated the bullet drop compensation (BDC) reticles I found in scopes that I could afford to purchase. I saw no clear choice for my application. Each manufacturer’s BDC set-ups had advantages and disadvantages. Here is an overview of the different reticles I looked at in alphabetical order with Mil-Dot at the end.

Burris has a Ballistic PlexTM and a Ballistic Mil-DotTM Reticle. They both have similar BDC tics on the lower portion of the reticle but the latter gives you the advantages of Mil-Dots on the upper and horizontal cross-hairs. The Ballistic Mil-DotTM is only offered on higher power scopes, 4-16X and above and 14x is used for the BDC reference. There is no wind compensation integrated with the Burris reticles. The Ballistic PlexTM crosshairs are designed for a 100-yard zero for standard calibers and 200 yards for flatter shooting calibers. The Ballistic Mil-DotTM crosshairs are designed for a 100-yard zero and intended for flat shooting calibers. Burris has a wealth of information on their website but it is hard to find. Try the web address below to download Burris’ BDC files. With a Ballistic PlexTM and 100-yard zero, my .308 would be 2 to 3 inches high beyond 300 yards. Using a 200-yard zero, the ballistic match had even more disparity between this BDC reticle and my .308 rifle’s trajectory.


Bushnell has introduced a BDC reticle called DOATM, Dead On AccurateTM. It is designed to be sighted in at 100 yards with aiming references out to 600 yards and is referenced to the scope’s maximum power setting except for their 4.5-30x scopes which are referenced to 20x. Heat mirage affects could be an issue on hot days with the 2.5-16x and 4.5-30x models. Scope power can only be decreased to tune to your ballistics if your rifle doesn’t shoot as flat as Bushnell’s BDC settings except for the 4.5-30x models. The DOATM reticle is unique in that it provides range estimating by references 18” or 24” wide marks to the ears tips of a whitetail or mule deer, respectfully. Deer in Southern States typically have an ear tip to ear tip spread of around 13 inches. To get the DOA’s range estimating technique to work, you have to be looking at a large deer and get the deer to look in your direction. This isn’t the case for other BDC reticles that provide range estimates based on the height of a deer’s chest cavity. The best application of these spread marks is to reference antler size when the deer is at a known range. The DOATM crosshair reference points use a 1 MOA filled-in circle, 4 times the size of a typical crosshair. There is no wind compensation designed into this scope other than what you can derive from the 9” and 12” reference marks each side of the vertical crosshair. Using a 100-yard zero with my .308 rifle’s trajectory and magnification set at 13.5x for the 2.5-16x scope, the ballistic impacts were on at 200 and 300 yards, an inch high at 400, then much higher at longer ranges by 4 to 10 inches. I found this to be the case with other calibers using boat-tail bullets. The only close ballistic matches I found to this reticle at longer ranges were with flat-based bullets, e.g., Remington’s .243 100gr Core-Lokt and Federal’s.270 130gr Soft Point, .270 150gr Soft Point Round Nose, or .30-06 150gr Soft Points. These are not bullets I would use for long range hunting.

Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Rangefinder BDC scopes have the quickest range estimation to shot down-range that you can find. You don’t have to twist any knobs, take your eyes off your target, or take your rifle off your shoulder to read a dial. The reticle grows and shrinks with magnification, like a European-style scope, so range estimation and BDC work at any magnification setting. This means there is no capability to change magnification to tune the BDC reticle for your rifles performance. The advantage of this set-up is simplicity, e.g., you don’t have to remember to set a magnification to get the correct BDC or worry that it might get bumped off your setting. There are no thick posts to help with low-light situations. The scope is intended for a 200 yard zero with 8 inches of trajectory drop at 300 yards, 23 inches at 400, and 44 inches at 500, typical of .30-06-like performance with boat-tail bullets. The only tuning you can do to match your rifle’s performance is to sight your rifle in slightly high or low at 200 yards to better fit the trajectory drop marks at longer ranges. You can also do simple windage estimation because the centerline circles allow you to project a 9-inch cone either side of the center crosshair at any range. If this BDC reticle closely matches your rifle’s performance, like it did my .308 and the .30-06 factory ammo I checked, it is a good option to consider.

Cabela’s new EXT Reticle was recently introduced on their Pine Ridge and Alpha Series scopes. Unlike Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Rangefinder (above), it is intended to be sighted in at 100 yards. You can also tune the EXT Reticle to your rifles trajectory by lowering magnification if your rifle doesn’t shoot as flat as the EXT Reticle’s ballistic compensation or increasing magnification if your rifle does shoot a flatter trajectory (up to 20%). On their Alpha Series 3-12x scope, the EXT Reticle is referenced to 10x for rifles with .30-06 or similar performance. The directions do not provide any MOA values so I set the scope up in a vise, viewed a point target at about 100 yards to eliminate parallax, and used the elevation turret to click off the distance between BDC marks. The ballistic drop for each BDC reference at 10x measured as follows; 200 yard-tic, 3”/1.5 MOA; 300, 11.3”/3.75; 400, 25”/6.25; and 500 yard, 46”/9.25 MOA. Again, increasing magnification above 10x reduces these values proportionally and reducing the power setting increases these values proportionally. Horizontal BDC crosshairs are 3 MOA wide at 10x except for the wider 300 yard reference which is 8 MOA. This equates to 24 inches wide, 12 inches either side of the crosshair at 300 yards at 10x. For my .308 with the 3-12x scope, the ballistic match was right on at all ranges with the magnification set at 9x. I verified this with shots at 100 and 300 yards. Based on factory data, 9x was also a good power setting for.30-06 ammo with 150 gr boat-tails. My .270 Win with 150 gr Berger VLD bullets had a good ballistic match with the power set at 10.8x. This scope provides an affordable and effective BDC solution.

This can also be used to measure rack size. Using the crosshair on top of the back of a deer, you can get a range estimate using the BDC marks referenced to the bottom of the chest.

Nikon’s BDC reticle uses a series of circles for aim points sized to be 2 inches at 100 yards or 2 MOA, i.e., 4 inches at 200 yards, 6 inches at 300 yards, etc. There is no wind compensation integrated with their BDC reticle. The reticle is designed for a 100-yard zero for standard calibers and 200 yards for flatter shooting calibers. The top and bottom of the aiming circles can be used for intermediate ranges. With a 100 yard zero, if you rifle shoots flatter than the reticle’s trajectory compensation, then you can either compensate for point of impact being high or sight in for 200 yards and turn down the magnification to tune the scope to your rifle’s trajectory curve. As an example with my .308, the downrange impacts would be 1 to 2½ inches high with 100 yard zero (this would be considered adequate for most hunting situations). I could sight in for 200 yards and get a good trajectory match with a 3-9x scope set on 7.6x magnification. If I want to shoot at 9x with a 200-yard zero, I would have to define specific ranges for each circle. Example, the first 1st circle would be on target at 285 yards, the 2nd circle would be on at 375 yards, etc.

Leupold has a capable set-up with range estimation and wind compensation available on their VX-III scopes. Range estimation is accomplished by adjusting magnification until the animal’s chest fills the crosshairs up to the tip of the top thick post then reading the range in hundreds of yards on the other side of the power ring. Range estimation assumes an 18-inch chest depth. Wind compensation on their Boone & CrockettTM Reticle is for a 10 mph crosswind component. Depending on the performance of your rifle, zero ranges are designed to be 200 or 300 yards with some calibers requiring a lower power setting for accurate trajectory matching which is marked by a small triangle at 8x on their 3.5-10x and 11.2x on their 4.5-14x scopes. You can fine tune the BDC reticle to your rifles performance by adjusting the magnification to provide proportionally more or less bullet drop. In the case of my .308 and their 3.5-10x scope with a 200 yard zero, the BDC reticle would be tuned with the scope set on 8.8 magnification. Specific reticle details regarding calipers, bullet velocities, and MOA of reticle markings can be downloaded from the Leupold’s website, file name “Leupold Ballistics Reticle Supplement” (see link below). The Leupold VX-III scopes have less range of magnification than other manufactures, e.g., 3.5-10x vs 3-12x, 4.5-14x vs 4-16x. Leupold’s 4.5-14x is nice at the higher power settings but if you read the specification, their 4.5 is really a 5x magnification (4.9x).


Weaver is entering the market with a BDC reticle (Fall 2009). Their EBX reticle is offered on their Super SlamTM scopes which have a 5:1 magnification capability, e.g., 2-10x, 3-15x, and 4-20x. The EBX provides wind compensation for a 10 mph crosswind component. You should be able to fine tune the EBX reticle to your rifles performance by adjusting the magnification to provide proportionally more bullet drop if your rifle doesn’t shoot as flat as Weaver’s BDC. Preliminary plans are to reference the EBX reticle at full power. If your rifle shoots flatter you will have to use different ranges, e.g., .270 Win 110gr bullets would be 200 yards, 330, 455, and 570 yards (use link below for your specific caliber). In the case of my .308 and their 3-15x scope with a 200 yard zero, the BDC reticle would be tuned with the scope set on 13.5x magnification. If Weaver goes into production with the EBX reticle referenced to full power, then there is the possibility heat mirage affects could be an issue on hot days with the 3-15x and 4-20x models. If Weaver references the EBX reticle on these two models to a power setting less than 15x and 20x, then these models will have the capability to be tuned to for flatter shooting rifles.

The Mil-Dot reticle is a standard for almost every manufacturer and has a center crosshair with dots spaced one milli-radian apart, the equivalent of 3.6 MOA or 3.6 inches at 100 yards. The dots are typically 0.2 mils in diameter. A Mil-Dot scope can do it all; range estimation, BDC, and windage. However, it takes some calculation and memorization of what range each mil-dot represents. Some shooters affix a ballistic reference card to their rifle stock. Range estimates for a deer or antelope sized target, assuming an 18-inch chest, are 5 mils for a deer at 100 yards, 2.5 mils for 200 yards, 1.7 for 300, 1.25 for 400, and 1.0 mil for 500 yards. Military sniper scopes of the recent past have been 10x which has become a standard reference for many variable power Mil-Dot scopes but not all. Thus, check to make sure what magnification power the Mil-Dot reticle is reference to. Some manufacturers will use the scopes maximum power. You can search the web and find abundant information on how to use a Mil-Dot scope.

It turns out that a Mil-Dot reticle can be an effective BDC reticule if your muzzle velocity is around 3000 fps and your bullet's BC is near 0.5. The link below takes you to a thread with an excel spreadsheet that can you can use to tune a mil-dot reticle to your firearm out to and beyond 500 yards along with lessons learned trying to shoot at these distances.

Bullet Drop Compensation w/ Mil-Dot Reticles: an Alternative

There is an aspect of BDC reticles that I didn’t realize before I bought my Mil-Dot scope. You can usually reduce magnification to provide increase trajectory drop, but if your rifle shoots flatter, there is typically not an option to increase magnification to reduce trajectory drop because most of the BDC settings are already designed for a scope’s highest power settings. Your option is to sight in at a longer range like 200 or 300 yards and or learn to compensate for your bullets impacts being high at each range tic. As it turns out, a Mil-Dot reticle is best for my application because my .270 Winchester load, using Barnes’ 110 gr TTSX copper banded bullets with their higher velocity, shoots flatter than the BDC reticles I considered. The only BDC scope that would have come close to matching my rifles performance was the Burris Ballistic Mil-DotTM but at the longer ranges my impacts were still high. If you rifle is a flat shooter, I would suggest doing some homework to see how well the BDC scope you intend on buying can be matched to your rifle’s performance. This may also be important with standard calibers because each BDC reticle is different. The link below takes you to a thread that includes an Excel worksheet that allows you to compare trajectories for the different BDC reticles and determine what magnification setting best tunes to your rifle’s performance. If you fine tune a BDC to your rifle’s performance by reducing the scopes magnification, you will most likely need to mark that power setting in some manner as a reference. The examples of BDC tuning to my .308 in the paragraphs above were done referencing ballistic trajectory tables and the fore mentioned Excel spreadsheet. In all cases, verification of your rifle’s performance needs to be accomplished with shots downrange. Remember, there is no substitute for practice!!!

Scopes with BDC Reticles for Centerfire Rifles

Posted by slimjim on Wednesday, May 07, 2014 (00:57:55) (4425 reads)
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  Paper cartridges for muzzle loaders
ShootingPaper cartridges for muzzle loaders
by Mike Hines

When I started doing Civil War reenactments in 1981 the first thing I learned was to make paper cartridges for my reproduction 1853 Enfield. Over time I experimented some and found a method that has worked well for me. “Rolling” a live cartridge is slightly different than making up a blank one so I’ll explain both methods.

My tools for rolling paper cartridges consist of a brass tube with a plastic funnel glued into one end and wooden dowel that will slide inside the brass tube. For a .58 or .69 caliber cartridge I use a 0.5” diameter brass tube. I want the cartridge to fit inside the muzzle for easy pouring. For a smaller cartridge I’d use a smaller tube, maybe a 0.375” diameter tube for a .45 caliber. An easy way to cut the paper is suggested, I use an X-Acto cutting board.

The original Civil War paper cartridges consisted of five parts: the bullet, the powder, a paper powder tube, a paper wrapper and a piece of thread to tie off the end of the cartridge. The powder tube was made of a heavy paper; card stock seems to work well. The wrapper needs to be sturdy enough to endure moderate handling but weak enough to be easily torn using the teeth. Newsprint paper works well.

You might have to do some experimenting to determine what size to cut your paper for the powder tube. You want the tube to hold your powder charge with just a little room to spare. For the 60 grain charge (by volume) used in the .58 caliber I found that a 2” by 2.5” rectangle would work. I marked my brass tube with a permanent marker 1.5” from the end so I’d have a powder tube that tall.

The standard wrapper for the .58 caliber cartridge is a trapezoid shape with base measuring 4.33”, the short side measuring 3.0” and the long side measuring 5.25”. The long side runs the length of the cartridge and the pointed end will be the part you tie off. I again marked my brass tube 4” from the end to show the correct position for the wrapper.

Now to get to rolling…

Place the piece of card stock for the powder tube in position on the brass tube and roll it around the brass. Fold the seam across the opening of the brass and then fold the rest of the paper in to close the end. Use the wooden dowel to push down through the brass to help secure this fold.

Position the bullet at the closed end of the powder tube and wrap them both with the outer wrapper. Twist the exposed end to conform to the shape of the nose of the bullet. You can stand this on the funnel end of the brass tube while you tie the pointed end off with a piece of strong thread.

Invert the brass tube and pour your pre-measured powder charge into the cartridge through the funnel. Slide the cartridge off of the brass tube, nose down of course!

Flatten the wrapper tube from the end to just above the powder tube. Fold this flat across the mouth of the powder tube and then up the side of the cartridge. Some like to fold this tail in half lengthwise, or even into thirds, to provide a better grip for your teeth when opening it.

For a blank cartridge I dispense with the powder tube, and obviously the bullet! I cut a 4” square of newsprint and wrap it around the brass tube, leaving about 0.5” hanging off the end. Fold this as you do with the powder tube to close the end. Dump the pre-measured powder into the funnel. For .58 caliber blanks I use 30 grains of powder, all you need is the bang and some smoke. For .69 caliber I have to step up to 50 grains to get reliable ignition. Apparently the smaller charge can lie beneath the path of the spark in the larger bore. Slide the cartridge off of the tube and fold the tail as before, a little above the level of the powder. Note that the cartridge paper is discarded and NEVER placed in the bore for reenactments!

To use the cartridge you hold it in the right hand with the bullet down. Grip the cartridge so you control the powder tube and push the tail up for easy access. Grip the tail in your teeth and tear it off, exposing the open end of the powder tube. Spit the tail out, unless you like chewing newsprint. Dump the powder into the muzzle of the gun. Break or tear the wrapper again to remove the powder tube. This can sometimes be done by striking the muzzle with the tube, right behind the base of the bullet. You should now have just the wrapped bullet in your hand. Squeeze the bullet out of the wrapper into the muzzle, discard the rest of the wrapper and ram it home. A really accomplished shooter is said to be able to fire three rounds per minute. Really makes you appreciate metallic cartridges, doesn’t it!

Posted by Pumpkinslinger on Monday, December 30, 2013 (16:53:00) (1477 reads)
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  Remington 700 CDL in .35 Whelen
ShootingRemington 700 CDL in .35 Whelen
by Mike Hines

In my continuing effort to plug perceived gaps in my gun collection (at least that’s the excuse I tried on my wife) I had decided to get a “medium bore” hunting rifle. Obviously “medium bore” is a relative term but I use it as John “Pondoro” Taylor defines it in “African Rifles and Cartridges”, that is “A rifle the caliber of which is not less than .318” nor greater than .375”. (See note below.) Possible uses (maybe I should say hopeful!) include elk and bear hunting. A couple of obvious choices in this range of cartridges are the .375 H&H Magnum and .338 Winchester Magnum. But I wanted something a little different. I wasn’t as interesting in earth-shattering energy as I was in just a bigger, heavier bullet at “standard” velocities. I started looking hard at the .338-06 and .35 Whelen. These cartridges would give me the bigger bullet I wanted without belting me out from under my hat with recoil. The .338-06 would pretty much have to be a custom job while there were a few commercial .35 Whelens around. The .338 caliber seemed to have a better variety of premium bullets available though. Decisions, decisions…

While at a gun show a couple years ago I saw a new Remington 700 CDL chambered in .35 Whelen. I liked the looks and feel of the rifle and, after wandering around deliberating for a while, I bought it for $600. A local gun shop sold me a Burris Fullfield 2 scope, 3-to-9X with the “Ballistic Plex” reticle. Hornady dies, as well as brass and bullets were ordered from Midway.

The Remington 700 hardly needs any description. It is one of the best known bolt action rifles around. The CDL, or Classic Deluxe, has a satin finished walnut stock with a black fore-end tip and grip cap. I very much prefer this stock finish to the shiny one seen on some Remington guns. The 24 inch barrel also has a satin finish. The barrel twist is 1 turn in 16”. There is a two position safety, back is “SAFE” and forward is “FIRE”. This rifle has Remington’s new R3 recoil pad, designed to reduce felt recoil. Overall length is 44.5” and, with the scope mounted in Leupold rings, it weighs just less than 8 pounds.

The .35 Whelen cartridge is simply the .30-06 case necked up to accept .358” bullets. It was developed by James Howe in 1922 and named after Col. Townsend Whelen. The intent was to create a sort of “poor man’s” .375 H&H Magnum, a classic African cartridge, for use on large American game. I’ve read a couple articles detailing its use in Africa too. Remington finally made it a commercial cartridge in 1988. Although the .35 Whelen performance falls short of matching that of the .375 H&H it is a step up from the .30-06 and is in the ball park with the .300 Winchester Magnum.

Rifle bullet weights in .358” start at 180 grains and go on up to 310 grains. When looking around before buying the rifle I had overlooked the premium bullets from Swift and Woodleigh so that concern was covered. One interesting aspect of the .35 Whelen is that you can use .357” handgun bullets to make plinking loads. The Speer #13 reloading manual lists loads using the 158 grain .357 bullets that produce around 2000 feet/sec. These could be used for practice or maybe varmints. However, the slow twist that makes this possible might prevent me from using the heavier bullets in this caliber. Manipulating the Greenhill formula for calculating twist I come up with a “suggested” bullet length of around 1.2”. Velocities over 2000 ft/sec allow you to use a slightly slower twist. The Hornady 250 grain spire point bullets I have measure 1.26” long. Swift Bullets lists a 280 grain A-Frame as 1.345”. One of these days I might give them a try.

For my first loads I chose the Hornady 200 grain jacketed spire point bullets to use for whitetails. After looking in several loading manuals I saw that the fastest load used Hodgdon BL-C(2) powder, which I had on hand. Federal 215 primers would light off my first test loads. As usual I started with cases that were resized full length and trimmed to length. The powder charges were kept below maximum loads from the manual.

I was wondering what the recoil would be like so, before sighting it in, I fired a few rounds from the rifle to get a feel for it. I immediately noticed two things. First, this 700 had a terribly heavy trigger. I later measured it at about 8.75 pounds. It broke cleanly but was way too heavy for practical use. Second, that R3 recoil pad really worked! Felt recoil was quite manageable; maybe even less than my .280, which has a thinner rubber recoil pad.

The scope had been bore sighted using the proper tools at the shop where I bought it. This put the point of impact about a foot low and foot right at 100 yards. (Remember that if you think that bore sighting is “good enough” for hunting.) As I zeroed the rifle I also used a Chrony chronograph to check the velocity of my load. After I got the rifle zeroed I fired one 3 shot group to try to check the accuracy. I didn’t have high hopes for accuracy given the trigger situation.

I ended up chronographing eight rounds using the 200 grain bullets over BL-C(2). Actually I had chronoed more but I fat-fingered something on the printer and erased the other velocities. Anyway… The average velocity was 2638 fps with a standard deviation of 26.4 fps. Best of all, my last three shot group at 100 yards measured 0.8”! Considering the heavy trigger pull I was pretty pleased!

The ol’ PointBlank software was put to use once again. I used it to calculate the recoil energy at 27 ftlbs and recoil velocity at 14.9 fps. For comparison a “standard” .30-06 load with a 150 grain bullet would have 19.9 ftlbs of recoil energy and a recoil velocity of 12.8 fps in the same weight rifle. A .375 H&H with a 300 grain bullet would be more like 50 ftlbs of energy and 20.2 fps velocity.

This particular .35 Whelen load generates 3090 ftlbs of muzzle energy. Remember that this load is below maximum and the max load would be closer to 3500 ftlbs. The .30-06 would have 2700 ftlbs of energy at the muzzle while the .375 H&H shows 4500 ftlbs at the muzzle.

If you compare book velocities with the same weight bullet, 200 grains, they look something like this: .30-06 – 2550 fps, .300 Win Mag – 2850 fps, .35 Whelen – 2800 fps.

All in all I’m pretty pleased with this addition to the family. It is well balanced and just feels good in my hands. It’s a good looking rifle too. The R3 recoil pad sure works as advertised. The trigger has been replaced with one from Timney. The .35 Whelen cartridge has plenty of power and I was somewhat surprised by its accuracy. This rifle should get its turn in the woods this fall. Wonder if any of those Smokey Mountain elk could wander over this way…

Note: John Taylor was an African hunter and writer. He wrote about cartridges ranging from the .22 rim fires to the .600 Nitro Express. He defined cartridge classes as follows:
Large bore – A rifle the caliber of which is not less than .450”.
Large Medium bore - A rifle the caliber of which is not less than .400” nor greater than .440”.
Medium bore - A rifle the caliber of which is not less than .318” nor greater than .375”.
Small bore - A rifle the caliber of which is less than .318”.
Miniature – A rifle the muzzle energy of which is less than 1,500 foot pounds.
Magnum – A rifle the muzzle velocity of which is not less than 2,500 feet per second.

Posted by Pumpkinslinger on Monday, December 30, 2013 (16:52:41) (3147 reads)
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  Making a Bullet Trap to Test Terminal Performance
ShootingA Better Bullet “Mouse” Trap: I decided I needed to build a bullet trap to test terminal performance as part of my decision making process for hunting bullet selection. I was trying to decide which new .223 bullets might be a capable hunting bullet for small deer, the Barnes 62gr TTSX or the Hornady 70gr GMX (Hunting with the .223). I first studied how to make blocks of ballistic gelatin, the industry standard for testing bullet terminal performance. Ballistic gelatin is a testing medium that scientifically correlates to swine muscle tissue. However, the process of making the gelatin and using it is complicated. Water has to be heated to make the gelatin and then the mixture has to be refrigerated. The gelatin is also supposed to be at a specific temperature for valid test results, 39F or 50F depending on its composition. I needed something a bit easier to work with and one that didn’t make a mess. Since body tissue is made up of mostly water, I rigged up a bullet trap that used a jug of water sitting in front of a box of phone books and magazines as you can see in the first picture.

The water jug sets up the hydraulic shock that makes the bullet open up and mushroom. The paper barrier behind it slows the bullet down and captures it. The depth of the box of phone books and magazines depends on the energy of your bullet, e.g., you would expect a .300 Win Mag is going to penetrate deeper into the paper than a .223 Rem. The set-up shown worked well for a .270 Win. Here is what the bullet trap looks like after the shot.

Not much change. It is easy to separate the phone books or magazines to find the bullet. The bullets I shot from a .223 with a 24-inch barrel were trapped in the 1st or 2nd phone book. The .270 Win bullets went well into the magazine section. You can do multiple shots into the trap. I’ve done up to 3 without issue and, if your shot placement is good enough to reliably vary your impact point, you should be able to do several more. You just need a new jug of water for each shot. For a water container, I reused gallon washer fluid jugs. Reusing containers from antifreeze, milk, or large mouthwash bottles will work also. I found you only need a 2- to 3-inch water column depth to affect bullet expansion. Use the same type of container from test to test if you want to compare different bullets relative performance because I found the reaction of the jug itself provides clues to bullet effectiveness.

So far, I’ve done all my testing at 100 yards. I’m planning a future range session where I will test my .270 hunting load out to 500 yards to see how well they are mushrooming, but I need to collect some more magazines and phone books first. I want to determine the range where I can still obtain a decent sized wound cavity. Below is my experience using this bullet trap configuration. As you will see, I learned more about each bullet’s terminal performance than I expected. I also was able to correlate the .270 130gr GMX bullet performance to results from my elk hunt this past fall. Maybe you will find this process easy enough to use it with your favorite hunting load. You can add your results to the forum topic I set-up to discuss the bullet trap, Making a Bullet Trap to Test Terminal Performance.

Session 1: I did my first terminal tests at 100 yards with the .223 Barnes 62gr TTSX, Hornady 70gr GMX, and the .270 130gr GMX. The 62gr TTSX was first, it went about 1000 pages into the first phone book. Its shock, however, tore the pages into the second phone book, about 700 additional pages. One leaf (4.3 grains) broke off the expanded bullet and was sitting with the core when I extracted the bullet from the trap.

When the 70gr GMX was fired through a fresh gallon jug, it penetrated the first phone book and about 300 pages into the second phone book (600 pages further than the 62gr TTSX). It's shock tore about 500 additional pages.

I was initially impressed but thought I'd hold judgment until I shot the .270 Win. The 130gr GMX obliterated the water jug, drilled through the 3 full-size phone books I had plus 4 additional Guns & Ammo magazines. The shock tore through 4 additional magazines. There was no comparison in energy and penetration between the .223 and .270. I expected the .270 to be more powerful but not this much.

Follow-on analysis: Below is a picture of the three recovered bullets along with their calculated velocities and energy levels at the point of impact. Muzzle velocity was measured with a chronograph. Note, all the bullets retained 100% of their weight (if you include the one pedal which still resided with the 62gr TTSX when I separated it out of the phone book).

I was surprised that the 70gr GMX penetrated significantly farther that the 62gr TTSX. Then I started noticing the little things. The 70gr GMX did not have enough velocity on impact to fully mushroom (notice the hollow-point cavity still is present). I expect the GMX needs about 2000 fps of velocity to begin opening up, which is typical of monolithic bullets. Looks like it needs significantly more than 2500 fps to fully open. The GMX is a 95% copper / 5% zinc bullet which is harder than Barnes’ 100% copper bullets. (Note, the new copper/zinc MonoFlex bullets from Hornady, their new lever-action tipped bullets, are supposed to only need 1600 fps to begin to open up due to the softer flexi-tip.) I also noticed that the water jug the 70gr GMX penetrated only had one vertical rip in the plastic on the rear side. The water jug the 62gr penetrated had 3 vertical rips, front, rear, and side plus the jug lost its top. It appeared to me that the 62gr TTSX had more initial shock because it opened faster and expanded more than the 70gr GMX leaving the 70gr GMX with more energy remaining to penetrate with a slightly smaller diameter. Based on this, I think the 62gr TTSX would be better for deer and the 70gr GMX on the hogs where I am likely to need more penetration.

Because the .270 Win showed significant more performance, I plotted out their respective energy profiles for comparison. The bullet capture test left an impression on me as to just how much more powerful the .270 Win was than the .223 Rem. Not only did it penetrate deeper, it left a gapping hole in the phone books and paper dust everywhere. The .223 bullets just tore their way through. I graphed the energy levels of all three bullets out to 500 yards. Yes, if the conditions were right, I would use my .270 Win to harvest a deer at 500 yards. My .270 with the GMX bullet (0.453 BC) still had more energy at 500 yards than either .223 bullet did at the muzzle. The .270 had the same energy at 700 yards as the .223 bullets did at 100 yards.

Session 2: At the next trip to the range, I used the bullet trap to capture a Barnes 110gr TTSX and a Berger 150gr VLD. I wanted to see what the terminal performance difference was going to be between a bullet that was designed for expansion with 100% weight retention (TTSX) and a bullet designed to penetrate a couple of inches then fragment (VLD). From the picture below, you can see the surprise that awaited me. The TTSX performed as expected. It mushroomed to twice its size and bored through 3 phone books and 7 magazines, similar to the 130gr GMX shown from the 1st session (note the 110gr TTSX at 100 yards has more energy due to its still higher velocity). The VLD, however, piled up as a flatted slug 15 magazines deep. Nice penetration but no fragmentation and in a strange state with the hollow-point tip still intact as you can see from the picture below.

Follow-on analysis: Investigation of the water container and the first phone box, revealed clues that the VLD bullet did not expand on impact but yawed and was turned 90 degrees passing through the first phone book. The jug showed the bullet impacted on center-line and penetrated through the full diameter of the water jug. Thus, it wasn’t as an off-center hit that could have caused the bullet to yaw and not expand. BTW, I believe there is an advantage when using a rectangular jug as the depth of water penetration is consistent if you impact is slightly off center. The exit had an elongated tear as shown in the picture below. You can also see the elongated penetration through the first phone book compared to the round TTSX bullet penetration. The VLD bullet actually went through the remaining phone books and magazines backwards until the copper jacket crumbled and the bullet expanded to a stop. I was not able to find the 6 grains of missing VLD bullet weight as a fragment.

The reaction of the water jug also indicated that the 62gr TTSX shot during the first session had more impact shock than the 150gr VLD in the second session. The 62gr TTSX had more tears in the jug plus blew the plastic cap off the top. It is possible that using plain water as the initial entry medium in the bullet trap is not appropriate for a legacy lead-core bullet, however, I don’t believe that to be the case. If I wasn’t a fan of monolithic bullets before (which I was), I certainly am now.

The terminal performance of monolithic .270 Hornady 130gr GMX in the bullet trap also matched my hunting experience with elk this fall. I shot three 130gr GMX bullets through the chest cavities two cow elk at 225 yards up the side of a mountain. In the picture below, you can see that the entry wound into the chest cavity was the same diameter as the exit wound indicating rapid GMX expansion (both elk had similar terminal affects). The reason I shot at two elk is my hunting partner dropped my first elk with a neck shot using a 110gr TTSX as it stepped out from behind a tree a couple of seconds after I had shot. The pine tree blocked both of us from seeing the elk at the time of each other’s shot. The full story is covered in this post, New Mexico Elk Hunt.

I’ll add more to the forum topic as I develop the bullet trap further. Have fun exploring the performance of you hunting bullets!

Posted by slimjim on Friday, June 01, 2012 (04:41:31) (7068 reads)
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  Chrony Remote Switch
ShootingI have used the Chrony brand of chronometers for quite a few years but have never used the option to by the printer they offered as I thought it is wiser to spend
the money on powder and primers + bullets. So after a little investigating around I found out that the port for the printer on the chrony can be used for other
purposes. So for under $15.00 you can do this.

Remote control
The simple remote for the F1 and Alpha allows you to step through some statistics and the shot memory using the F1's built in display. This is otherwise only available using the Function button on the Ballistic printer.

Parts list:
3.5 mm Stereo jack (1/8th”)
Pushbutton switch
2 core cable for spst , 3 core for 2 switches. 2 switches see below. If you have a remote head, than its the same length as the head.
Small box

How to:
Mount the switch(s) in the box, or may be self enclosed
Solder the cable across the two connectors.
Solder the other end to the Sleeve and Ring of the audio plug.

Diagram 1

Completed remote.

If you build this keep the box you mount the switch in fairly small then it fits nicely inside the chrony
(Taken from the manual)
The push button on the Remote Control is the equivalent of the FU button (or Function button) on the Chrony Printer.
The F-1 Chrony will provide you with summary data such as Hi, Lo, Average velocities and the total number of shots fire. Plus: Extreme Spread, Standard Deviation as well as numbered shots and retrieval of individual shot velocities.
1. Deleting Single Shot:
Press & release the button repeatedly until the desired shot number is displayed (NOT the velocity). Press & hold the button until display flashes. Release button immediately. The Chrony will automatically adjust the statistics.
2. Starting a new String:
Turn your Chrony OFF and the ON again. Or, (if you don’t want to get up) press & release the FU button until -Hi- is displayed. Hold the button in until the display changes to -CL-, then release the button. -Clr- is now displayed. Press & release the button until the display changes to -CLS-, then press & hold button in until the display flashes. Release button immediately.
3. Retrieve Information:
Anytime you wish, you may view the data you have produced. To do this, simply press the button, identify the information you are about to receive, release button and read the information. Repeat this process for each piece if information shown below.

What you see on press the button What it means is what you see on release
String number Will always be #1 with the F-1 Chrony;
Lowest velocity, velocity of the slowest shot
Highest velocity, velocity of the fastest shot
Average velocity, Average velocity of all shots
Extreme Spread, Hi velocity minus Lo velocity
Standard Deviation, Standard deviation of string of shots
Total number of shots recorded since Chrony was turned on. The number of shots fired.
# of last shot fired, velocity of 10th shot
# of next to last shot fired, velocity of 9th shot etc., etc., repeat until all the shots have been shown, then -[ ]- appears. This means the end of the data and, that you are ready to shoot again. If you press the button again, you start the viewing cycle over again. Simply pressing and releasing the button takes you from one piece of data to the next.. If you wish at any time during the viewing process to return to the working mode, stop pressing the button and wait 15 seconds. It returns to the working mode by itself. Sometimes, if you hold the button down for more than two seconds at a time, the unit will go into a sub-menu. Wait 15 seconds, it will return to normal by itself. When you think that you may have done something wrong, take your hands off, and it will go back to normal by itself.

Diagram 2

Diagram 3

Posted by Ominivision1 on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 (21:20:09) (3122 reads)
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  An intro to physics for shooters.
ShootingThere is always a great deal of chatter among hunters, as well as shooters primarily interested in defense, about "energy" and "momentum" and how they relate to "knock down power", etc. I find, however, that the terms used are often misunderstood. Having been involved in so many of these discussions I thought I'd offer some definitions and examples of what these terms mean with regard to terminal ballistics, that is, what happens when a bullet hits a critter or other target.

Before I even get started I want to recommend an excellent book every serious shooter ought to have. "Understanding Firearm Ballistics" by Robert A. Rinker should be required reading for anyone who wants to really know how internal, external and terminal ballistics works. The book offers relatively simple explanations of the nuts and bolts of ballistics and also includes the formulas to go deeper into it if you want to. I don't know of any better reference for those of us who want to really understand ballistics.

The first thing we need to do is define a few of the terms that get used so often. I'll have a list of my references at the end of this article. Forgive me for using "English" units instead of metric units but I'm just used to them!

Mass - Mass is the amount of matter that makes up an object. The unit used for this is the "slug". It isn't the same thing as weight. If an object is in space it has almost no weight but still has the same mass as on earth. An object's mass can be calculated by dividing its weight in pounds by the acceleration due to gravity, which is 32.12 ft/sec/sec. Since we used "grains" to measure bullet weight we also have to convert grains to pounds before dividing by gravity. There are 7000 grains in a pound. For example: a 150 grain bullet would weigh 150/7000 = 0.02143 pounds. Its mass would be 0.2143/32.12 = 0.000667 slugs.

Velocity - Velocity is simply how fast our object is going. In shooting we usually measure velocity in feet per second (ft/sec).

Momentum - This is the "push" you get from a bullet leaving the gun and also hitting its target. Momentum is calculated by multiplying an object's mass by its velocity. When people are talking about an "equal and opposite reaction" in shooting this is what they mean. The bullet and propellant gases go one way and the rifle goes the other way. The unit used is the slug-foot/sec. A 150 grain bullet going 2900 ft/sec has a momentum of 1.935 slug-ft/sec.

Energy - Energy is the ability to do work. In shooting we are talking about "kinetic energy", that is, the energy of a moving object. The unit we use for energy is the "foot-pound". To calculate an object's kinetic energy you have to know its mass and its velocity. The formula for kinetic energy: KE = 1/2 x mass x velocity x velocity. A commonly used method to calculate energy of a bullet is; bullet weight x velocity x velocity / 450380. The constant of 450380 takes care of the conversion from grains to slugs. Our 150 grain bullet going 2900 ft/sec has an energy of 2801 foot-pounds.

So, what's all this stuff mean to us shooters? Let's look at what momentum and energy actually do for us, and to the targets. Keep in mind that there are a lot of variables that will muddy the water here.

As mentioned above, momentum is the "push" the moving bullet gives to both the rifle and the target. When the bullet leaves the muzzle the "equal and opposite reaction" is pushing the gun back against us. That's recoil. When we calculate recoil we also have to take into account the weight and velocity of the powder gases. The velocity of the gas is usually estimated as 1.5 times the velocity of the bullet. If we take that 150 grain bullet at 2900 ft/sec, along with a 50 grain powder charge exiting the muzzle at around 4350 ft/sec, and fire it in an 8 pound rifle we'll have the rifle coming back at us at about 12 ft/sec. But, if we are holding the rifle correctly, you also have to include our mass in the calculation. A 180 pound man firing that rifle would be given a backward velocity of about 0.5 ft/sec. Now for some of those variables. Our muscles aren't rock hard (as much as we'd like to believe they are!) so they soak up part of that recoil. So do any recoils pads. The stock material and design can make a difference too. The point to take away here is that the recoil isn't going to knock us into the next county, even if it does smart some.

Now, how does the momentum affect the target? In every single case the bullet will hit the target with less momentum than the gun hits the shooter. Remember that part of the gun's recoil comes from the propellant gases and those don't make it to the target. If you're shooting a steel plate like a metallic silhouette ram, which weighs around 50 pounds, you can give the plate a velocity of 1.24 ft/sec. That's enough momentum to tip it over, if the base isn't too wide. Since the bullet doesn't go through the plate it transfers all of its momentum to the plate. You might even get a little extra push if the bullet spatters back toward the shooter.

If you are shooting a 150 pound deer (or bad guy), and the bullet doesn't go all the way through, you'll again transfer all of the momentum to the target. In this case the velocity you'll give the deer is a little over 0.4 ft/sec. If the bullet passes through the target the momentum would be even less. We've all heard stories of deer being knocked down, flipped over, etc. when struck by a bullet but those incidents are the result of the reaction the animal made to being struck, not the momentum itself. It's like a person reacting to a bee sting. The momentum of the sting doesn't cause all those contortions and gymnastics, the person's reaction to the sting does. The big variable here is whether the bullet stays in the critter or passes all the way through. The take away, however, is that there really isn't any such thing as "knock down power" except maybe on very small critters.

How about this energy thing? As mentioned above, energy is the ability to do work. In the case of a moving bullet the energy gets used up on several ways. Initially some of the available energy is used up by pushing through the air on the way to the target. More is used creating heat and noise. On impact energy is used by making a hole in the target and deforming the bullet. The big variables to remember here are the bullet's construction and the target's construction. When you start comparing loads using their energy levels you need to make sure that you're comparing apples to apples. Let me offer a couple of examples to illustrate my point.

If I take identical 150 grain .30 caliber spire point bullets and load one in a .30-30 and the other in a .30-06 I'm going to get somewhat different results when the bullet hits the target. The .30-30 will start the bullet off at around 2200 ft/sec and at 100 yards will have an energy of 1300 foot-pounds. The .30-06 will start the same bullet at 2900 ft/sec and at 100 yards will have an energy of 2317 foot-pounds. With that extra energy the .30-06 will do more tissue damage and also deform the bullet more.

What if we took two bullets of the same weight but very different construction and loaded them so that they would strike the target with exactly the same energy? Let's say that I load a very frangible bullet, like a Barnes "Varmint Grenade" in one case and a monolithic bullet, like a Barnes TSX, in another. In this case the frangible bullet would come apart on impact, creating a shallow wound. The monolithic bullet would stay together and keep penetrating the target. If we're talking about a small critter this doesn't make much difference but if we are talking about a deer-sized critter it could easily mean the difference between a lost animal and venison steaks on the grill.

The point to all this is that neither momentum nor energy are magic numbers. Momentum won't knock big game over and energy alone won't cause humane kills. When you start making comparisons of cartridges you also must keep in mind the bullet construction. Also keep in mind that there are a number of other variables that will affect the terminal performance of the loads. The biggest variable of all while hunting (and defensive shooting) is shot placement, and that takes practice with the gun, not the calculator.

"Understanding Firearm Ballistics" by Robert A Rinker
"Applied Physics" by Paul E. Tippens
"Principles of Physics" by Frederick Bueche

Posted by Pumpkinslinger on Friday, September 16, 2011 (21:08:43) (1229 reads)
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  Bullet Drop Compensation with Duplex Reticles
If this buck was 420 yards away, could you take this shot with confidence? This article describes how a hunter can use a duplex reticle and a variable power scope to compensate for bullet trajectory at longer ranges, or commonly referred to as bullet drop compensation (BDC). I was motivated to start this project when I began looking for a scope that provided BDC capability to mount on my newly acquired .270 Winchester. I looked at scopes from Burris, Cabella

Posted by slimjim on Wednesday, September 09, 2009 (15:42:59) (2871 reads)
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  Scopes with BDC Reticles for Centerfire Rifles
In the process of researching a new scope selection, I investigated the bullet drop compensation (BDC) reticles I found in scopes that I could afford to purchase. I saw no clear choice for my application. Each manufacturer

Posted by slimjim on Thursday, September 03, 2009 (18:53:07) (9780 reads)
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  Ruger #1 Accuracy
ShootingRuger #1 Accuracy
by Ed Harmon

First a notification: Ruger takes the position that any modification to their guns voids their warranty. They also consider hand loads a no-no. If you return a gun for work that has been modified they may just return it without work being performed and charge you shipping, so be aware and consider the potential consequences before you modify your Ruger firearm.


The #1 and the #3 Rifles, upon examination, are obviously designed to have the forearm separated from the barrel otherwise the forearm would be screwed to the barrel, like a Martini or Martini Cadet. The two actions are the same without the levers and both will take the same barrels. Why are the barrels not free floated from contact with the wood of the forearm at the factory? Forget the hype, it is purely economic. To get the correct clearance under the barrel and along each side of the barrel, takes time and time is money in manufacturing.

Ok, we start by removing the forearm from the rifle. You can, if you wish, try the O ring trick by buying a couple of O rings at the hardware store to fit the shank of the forend screw. Before any modification, put one O ring at a time between the hangar and the wood. This sometimes will work. Otherwise we continue.

If you are familiar with glass bedding a rifle to start with, you relieve the wood to provide an even line down both sides of the barrel; a barrel channel rasp helps to make this job quick and easy. If you have not done a glass bed for a barrel channel before, put the forearm back in place, run a pencil down the wood, alongside the barrel and cut the wood back to the pencil line using a barrel channel rasp. Go slow; it is difficult to stick wood back on. Use a fine cut flat wood rasp or a course flat steel file to straighten the lines if needed. Then use a sanding block to finish. You will need one layer of Duct Tape on each side for clearance. Stick a layer of duct tape on the barrel lengthwise and when the forearm fits back on the barrel just a bit snugly, you are about right.

Once you get the sides cut you can start on the bottom, where the hanger makes contact. With an oil burner, soot up the hangar and barrel, pressing the forearm into place. With the barrel channel rasp remove all marks in the barrel channel. Then go back to the hanger contact area and with a motor tool and small carbide router bit, remove the marks or the contact points made by the hanger. You only need to rough up three points because the will need to be extended or built up in any case.

In the attached photos an arrow points to the three places that require glass. All you need do is rough the surface of the wood so the glass will stick, without peeling or flaking off. Put two layers of duct tape only along the bottom of the barrel then coat the metal and the tape with Johnson

Posted by SwampFox on Thursday, August 27, 2009 (17:45:38) (4316 reads)
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  Pistol Recoil Spring Related Ejection Problem - By Wil Schuemann
ShootingThere are two philosophies regarding recoil springs.

The first has to do with physics and reliability. If the recoil spring is too strong the ejected cases will be thrown forward. If the recoil spring is too light the ejected cases will be thrown aft. When the recoil spring is correct the cases will be ejected to the side of the gun. This gives maximum ejection reliability. It also gives maximum feeding reliability. If the recoil spring is too light the slide goes fully aft, but the spring isn

Posted by Vince on Friday, March 20, 2009 (18:47:32) (2364 reads)
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  Building The Swedish Mauser Sporter - Photos
ShootingEd Harmon

I have tried to restore the photos to the original article, after the host site killed the photo album. Editing the original article has proven to be a problem so here is a supplemental article with the location of the photos, if they do not come up by themselves, you can copy and past to your browser.

Model 96 Swede Right Side of Action Close

These are the modifications to the bolt as mentioned. Note the removal of the *****ing knob at the rear of the bolt, the new scope safety, flat bolt handle, shaped knob and the angle that the bolt is swept back. The Timney trigger has been shortened and the tip rounded. In the photo you can also see that the rounded ridge behind the stripper clip opeaning has been removed. The bolt body has been polished to 500 grit and jewled or engine turned. The extractor has been blued but should be left polished as it will scratch when the bolt is worked.

Model 96 Swede Left Rear Action

This photo shows the taper cut made to the tang and the fit to the wood. This taper cut prevents the sear from gouging the wood as the bolt is worked. The photo also shows the flush cut firing pin extension, removal of *****ing knob and the scope safety installed.

Model 96 Swede Muzzle

This is the modified muzzle of the 6.5x55 The photo shows my favorite type of crown as turned on a lathe. This is the recessed target crown with the exterior edges broken or rounded and the bore cut left sharp and clean.

Mdl 96 Swede in 6.5x55 built about 1995

Note this photo shows the original Mauser barrel tapered from the first step, near the chamber, to the muzzle. The sights have been removed as have the steps in the barrel, save the very first step.

Mdl 96 Swede Trigger Guard & Bolt Handle

This is the treatment that can be applied to the trigger guard to make a more plesant apperance. The bolt handle is bent and swept. The knob is shaped and drilled. The triggerguard has aprox .250 removed from each side and the connection at the flat is tapered.

6.5x55 Swede w/ Misquete Stock Left side

This is a highly modified Swedish Mauser. In addition to my normal modifications as outlined in my article, this action has been made smaller by reducing the magazine height by one round, then the sides of the stock and buttstock have been thinned to create a sevite little 4 shot rifle. The barrel is original with the steps removed and cut to 20 inches. The stock is screwbean misquete with an English walnut tip. The rifle shoots sub .5 inch groups with the Hornady 140.

Posted by SwampFox on Sunday, November 16, 2008 (02:50:48) (6078 reads)
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  Gun Show Etiquette
ShootingGun Show Etiquette

Ed Harmon

It occurred to me that someone needed to do a gun show manners paper with a list of do

Posted by SwampFox on Wednesday, March 19, 2008 (15:49:30) (5784 reads)
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  Building the Switch Barrel Rifle
ShootingBuilding the Switch Barrel Rifle
Ed Harmon

This project started as a

Posted by SwampFox on Monday, February 18, 2008 (16:59:11) (10542 reads)
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  Remington 700 CDL in .35 Whelen
ShootingRemington 700 CDL in .35 Whelen

In my continuing effort to plug perceived gaps in my gun collection (at least that

Posted by Pumpkinslinger on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 (06:54:36) (14057 reads)
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  Ruger 77 Compact in .260 Remington
ShootingIn spring 2005 I acquired a Ruger 77 Mark II Compact chambered in .260 Remington. I gave a lot of thought to this rifle and handled it at several gun shows before I finally broke down and bought it. There were several considerations in my choice. I wanted a small, fairly light weight rifle that I could use for deer and maybe varmints too. I wanted it to be pretty weather resistant. I also wanted a cartridge that I felt would cleanly kill deer but not have quite as much recoil as my .280 Remington. I’ll try to explain my thinking as I describe the rifle and cartridge.

First, let’s discuss the rifle. I had decided that I wanted a stainless steel action and barrel with a laminated stock to make it a bit more weather proof than my wood stocked .280. I know that a synthetic stock is even more weather resistant but I just like the looks and weight of the laminated stocks better. I’m trying to walk a fine line between “light for carry” and “heavy to absorb recoil”. I wanted a compact rifle that my daughters could use comfortably should I ever con them into hunting with me. I had narrowed my choice down to a Remington Model 7 or the Ruger. In the end I never saw a Remington exactly like I wanted but I kept bumping into this little Ruger at the local gun shows.

The Ruger 77 Mark II Compact is all stainless with a gray and black laminated stock. This is a rather small rifle. It has a 16.5” barrel and is 35.5” long overall. Length of pull is 12.5”, a bit shorter than usual. This length will be easy for my younger daughter to handle as she is only about 5’ 1” tall. It weighs 6.25 pounds without a scope. Magazine capacity with the .260 Remington cartridges is four rounds. It has a three position safety that I really like. The safety lever moves horizontally. The first position, forward, is “fire”. The second position, middle, is “safe” but you can still operate the bolt for loading or unloading. In the third position, back, the rifle is “safe” and the bolt is locked closed.

One of the concerns I had was whether the rifle could handle the heavier bullets in this caliber. I like the option of a “heavy for caliber” bullet for hunting. Early reports I saw on the .260 rifles said that they wouldn’t stabilize heavy bullets because the twist rate was too slow. This Ruger has a twist of 1 turn in 8 inches, which is faster than earlier .260s and I think faster than the 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser. It looked like this would work for the 160 grain bullets that I wanted to try.

I added a Simmons AETEC 2.8-to-10X scope to the rifle. Ruger’s built in mounts always make this an easy job. I did have this scope mounted on “Ol’ Splintermaker”, my Winchester Model 70. The Simmons has a short tube though, and I never did like the way it fit the long action Win 70. However it fits the short action Ruger perfectly. The optics are bright and clear and the zoom range gives me what I need for short range woods hunting or long range varmints. With the scope mounted the rifle weighs 7.5 pounds.

Now let's talk about the cartridge. The .260 Remington is part of the .308 Winchester case family, along with the .243 Winchester, 7mm-08 and .358 Winchester. It was introduced in 1997. Initially it was intended as a target round, taking advantage of the high ballistic coefficients that the 6.5mm bullet have. The “useful case capacity” is 3.32 cubic centimeters. The .264 bullets are available in weights from 85 to 160 grains. The Lee manual gives velocities up to 3340 fps for the 85 grain bullets and 2595 fps for the 160s. I know that a lot of folks use a .243 Winchester for deer but I wanted something that would fire a heavier bullet. Blame it on all those books I read about African hunting. The heaviest .243s are only 105 grains so the .260 gives me a lot more to play with.

To get ready for shooting I placed an order to Midway for Hornady dies and Remington brass. I picked the Hornady 129 grain SST and the Hornady 160 grain round nose bullets for initial testing. I had just bought a pound of Hodgdon H4831SC so I thought I’d try that first. CCI 200 primers completed the first batches of loads. One aspect of the loads that I looked at was the pressure vs. the velocity. I wanted to try some loads that showed a lower pressure to see if I could reduce muzzle blast by any noticeable level.

All cases were sized full length and trimmed to the same length. Case mouths and flash holes were deburred. Every powder charge was weighed, especially after I realized that the powder wouldn’t meter very well through my measure. All of the charges were about at the “Starting Load” level. Bullets were seated a bit long, just short of the lands.

I hit a snag when I started loading the 160 grain round noses. I always run that first cartridge that I finish through the gun before continuing, to make sure it chambers OK. Although it chambered fine it wouldn’t feed worth a flip. In fact not at all! This Hornady has a VERY blunt nose and it kept catching on the edge of the chamber. I decided to load five just to see if they would stabilize. I checked some catalogs and saw that Sierra has a 160 grain “semi pointed” bullet that I might try later. An article I read in “Rifle” magazine said that the premium 140 grain bullets penetrated better than the 160s anyway, due to bullet construction. I’ll have to rethink my strategy here.

The 129 grain SST bullets fed fine. Since I had some cases prepped that I didn’t use for the 160 grain bullets I used them to load some of the SSTs over Hodgdon Varget powder. Varget is supposed to be pretty accurate in this family of cartridges.

I finally got to the range with my new toy. Although the temperature was comfortable the wind was blowing pretty good, swirling through the valley where the range is located. There were some thunderstorms moving into the area. Every gust of wind brought clouds of dust, pollen and debris onto the range. I decided to go ahead and shoot some 10 shot groups at 100 yards to check the velocities because I wasn’t sure when I’d get the next chance. Because we were trying to beat the storm I didn’t let the barrel cool between shots or groups.

The first loads tried were the 129 grain SSTs over Varget. My Chrony showed an average velocity of 2438 ft/sec. Extreme spread was 86 ft/sec and the standard deviation was 23.8 ft/sec. The group size was right about 2” and interestingly enough almost made a “+” sign on the target. I was disappointed with these starting loads and wonder if raising the charge will improve the accuracy.

The next loads tested were the 129 grain SSTs over H4831SC. These averaged 2510 ft/sec with an extreme spread of 64 ft/sec and a standard deviation of 21.3 ft/sec. If I throw out the called flyer I have a 1.4” group. With the flyer it opened up to 3”.

Finally I tried the five 160 grain Hornady RNs over H4831SC. I had to drop each one into the chamber. Average velocity was 2263 ft/sec with an extreme spread of 21 ft/sec and a standard deviation of only 7.8 ft/sec. Figures huh? Naturally they also made the best group, 1.1”. My shooting buddy asked “How fast can you load those one at a time?” I noticed that all three loads shot to the same point of impact at 100 yards.

Shooting from the bench I found that the rifle was very comfortable, even with the shorter stock. The trigger was decent and the recoil was fairly mild. Calculated recoil energy for the .260 was 12.3 ft-lb compared to 18.8 for my .280. I was also shooting a Winchester 94 .44 Magnum carbine that day and the .260 was much more enjoyable. My buddy fired a few rounds too and liked the way the rifle handled. I couldn’t really tell any difference in the muzzle blast between the H4831SC loads and the slightly lower pressure Varget loads. At a later range session I had a young lady in her teens shoot some of the 140 grain bullet loads and she really liked the rifle too.

I was pretty pleased with the H4831SC loads, especially because they were almost literally the first shot out of the gun, there hadn’t been any load tweaking yet. Powder charges were pretty safe so I thought I could increase the velocity some, although 2500 ft/sec out of a 16.5” barrel isn’t too bad. On a later trip to the range I was able to try some maximum loads of the same powder with the same bullet and gained a whopping 30 ft/sec. Group size was the same. Apparently the short barrel is doing about all it can with this combination.

After I started working on this review “Shooting Times” ran two articles, one on the .260 Remington cartridge and another on the Ruger 77 “Frontier” rifle. The “Frontier” is the same rifle I have with the addition of a rib in front of the action that allows a “Scout scope” to be mounted. You can find these in the May 2005 issue.

In the fall of 2005 I finally did some hunting with the rifle. I really liked the way the gun handled in the woods and up in a tree stand. A small whitetail buck became the first live target. One of the Hornady 129 grain SSTs placed behind his left shoulder at about 40 yards turned his heart/lung area to mush and he ran about 50 yards. The only exit wound was found by the BB sized drop of blood on his off-side shoulder.

Over all I am very pleased with my purchase. In fact I like the handling so much that I hope to buy a Ruger Frontier chambered for .338 Federal for use as another “woods gun”. I think the Compact in .260 Rem. would be an excellent rifle for smaller shooters while not giving up much in performance on medium sized game. It is exactly what I hoped it would be as far as something my girls could shoot comfortably. However, they haven’t shot it yet and, you know, I never really told them that I’d bought it for them…

Posted by Pumpkinslinger on Saturday, October 27, 2007 (21:22:50) (16248 reads)
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  The Great .308 versus .30-06 Debate
ShootingThe Great .308 versus .30-06 Debate
A chat room discussion got me looking hard at the “.308 Winchester vs. .30-06 Springfield” debate. My contention was that there was no significant difference between the ballistics of the two in hunting situations, or for that matter in any other situation. So let’s examine the ballistics of both cartridges and compare.
First we’ll take a quick look at the history of both cartridges. The .30-06 Springfield started life as a US military cartridge in 1906. It was derived from the “.30 Model 1903” cartridge that was designed to replace the .30-40 Krag. The ’03 cartridge used the same 220 grain round nosed bullet as the .30-40. The ’06 is essentially the same case as the ’03 with a 150 grain spitzer bullet at 2800 ft/sec. The .30-06 was the primary cartridge for the US military until it was “replaced” by the .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO in 1954. The .308’s original load was a 149 grain spitzer at 2800 ft/sec. Both cartridges have certainly been very successful in military, match and hunting use! (Reference “Handloading” by William C. Davis, Jr.)

To quote the Speer #13 manual, “In the hunting field, ballistic differences between the 308 and the 30-06 are negligible.” The .308 was designed to duplicate the .30-06 for military use, but in a half inch shorter package. Both guns use the same 0.308” bullets. These bullets range from 100 grains to 250 grains in various styles. I figured that the .30-06 would have an advantage as the bullets get over 180 grains because its case was originally designed for the heavier bullets.
The most common hunting bullet weights for these cartridges are the 150, 165 and 180 grain. I realize that there are tons of loads for each cartridge but you’ve gotta start somewhere. I looked in the Speer #13 manual and compared their loads for both cartridges. I figure this is a pretty good comparison as loads for both cartridges were fired in the same type rifle, a Remington 700 with a 22” barrel. In each case I took the bullet with the highest ballistic coefficient and the highest velocity listed.

Here is a chart of the muzzle velocities for each bullet for both cartridges, the difference between them (.30-06 minus .308) and the percentage of that difference:
Bullet weight .308 .30-06 Difference %
150 2919 2847 -72 ft/sec -2.5
165 2812 2803 -9 ft/sec -0.3
180 2623 2756 133 ft/sec 4.8

From the chart we can see that the average difference in velocities for the three bullets is 17 ft/sec, or 0.6%, in favor of the .30-06. Now don’t forget that these are average velocities. In a string of shots a cartridge/gun’s velocity can easily have a standard deviation of 1% or more. In other words the normal variations in loads result in a built-in error that pretty much means we can’t count on such a small difference to be meaningful.

So, what does all this mean downrange? We’ll zero both guns at 200 yards and compare the bullet energy there. Let’s also take a look at what the bullets will be doing at 400 yards, which is a heck of a long shot for hunting. I used the “PointBlank” ballistics program to make the comparisons.

With the 150 grain bullet the .308 has 2093 foot-pounds of energy at 200 yards while the .30-06 has 1985 foot-pounds. Out at 400 yards the .308 will have dropped 20.9 inches, and still has 1512 foot-pounds. The .30-06 will have dropped 22.13 inches and maintains 1428 foot-pounds. The .308 shows 5.9% more energy at 400 yards.

Then with the 165 grain bullet 200 yards the .308 shows 2202 foot-pounds versus 2187 foot-pounds for the .30-06. At 400 yards the .308 drops 21.90 inches and has 1645 foot-pounds. The .30-06 drops 22.06 inches with 1633 foot-pounds left. At 400 yards the .308 has a tiny 0.7% energy advantage.

Finally we take the 180 grain bullet, which should give the biggest advantage to the .30-06. At the 200 yard mark the .308 will have an energy of 2143 foot-pounds and the .30-06 will have 2379 foot-pounds. The .30-06 has about 11% more energy. When we get out to 400 yards the .308 will be 24.64 inches low and still have 1647 foot-pounds while the .30-06 will be 22.10 inches low and still carry 1840 foot-pounds. That means that at 400 yards the .30-06 has an 11.7% advantage in energy.

Now I’m sure that folks will look up their favorite of these two and “prove” that it is better in some manual or another. I looked in some other manuals too and found varying velocities. One thing I noticed in one manual was that, with 250 grain bullets (yes, that is two hundred and fifty grains), there was only 100 feet per sec difference in the velocities of the two cartridges. That particular manual doesn’t give any barrel lengths though.

Just for giggles I also looked at the .270 Winchester and .280 Remington loads in the same Speer manual. With a 22” barrel and a 150 grain bullet at 2907 feet per second the .270 has 2170 foot-pounds at 200 yards and 1648 foot-pounds at 400 yards, while dropping 19.98 inches. The .280, with a 24” barrel and a 145 grain bullet at 2975 feet per second, shows 2209 foot-pounds at 200 yards and 1689 foot-pounds at 400 yards, while dropping 18.83”. So, both of these cartridges “beat” the .30 caliber rounds in energy and trajectory.

When it’s all said and done does either the .308 or the .30-06 really have any ballistic advantage over the other? I’ll concede that an 11% difference in energy with the 180 grain bullet is an advantage but I wonder if a deer on the receiving end tell the difference between 1647 and 1840 foot-pounds of energy? Considering the overall differences and performance of both cartridges I’ll stick to my assertion that there is no SIGNIFICANT ballistic advantage with either cartridge. Now just pick which ever you like and enjoy shooting it!

Posted by Pumpkinslinger on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 (18:29:48) (29631 reads)
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  The 357 Max Rifle
ShootingThe 357 Maximum Rifle
Ed Harmon

My experience with the 357 Super Mag or the 357 Maximum, as Remington renamed the cartridge, started prior to the existence of the cartridge itself. Many members of the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association (IHMSA) were and are great believers in the accuracy and overall performance of the heavy 357 caliber bullet. A number of silhouette shooters were trying to lengthen or "soup up" the 357 magnum about the same time that Elgin Gates actually developed the 357 Super Mag. Elgin silver soldered a length of 357 brass to the end of a 357 case to make the first cartridges.

I still recall, very vividly, the first announcement in the Silhouette (the IHMSA monthly paper) about the new cartridge and the guns for the new cartridge, then under development. The 357 afecianados loved the heavy bullet concept of the 357 Super Mag. The cartridge was conceived as a platform for shooting heavy bullets propelled by cylindrical powder. Of course, it took the gun writers, Remington, and the gun builders, all who knew nothing about shooting steel and who would not listen and could not understand the concept, about 90 days to pretty much, trash the whole project by trying to push a 125 grain bullet at the speed of light, in a revolver, with ball powder. We will not go into the myrid of mistakes made by well intended folks with limited knowledge of the intent and reasons for the development of the cartridge.

Now that we have the who shot John, re-hashed, one more time, let us get to the real meat of this story. The 357 Maximum shines, like a very bright star, when loaded for and shot in a single shot, short barrel rifle. The cartridge concept and its design are for a pistol. However, the use of the cartridge in a short barreled carbine is an absolute natural application.

If you look around, you will not find many rifles offered that are chambered for the 357 Maximum. So if you want to have a copy, it is pretty much a build it to suit yourself, sort of thing. Why a 357 Maximum and not the 357 Magnum? How about a little short rifle that puts a 180 grain spire point bullet out at 2,200 fps VS a 180 grain bullet at 1,700 fps? Sound interesting? Do you need a short range, under 100 yards, gun? Do you need a deer rifle or medium sized game rifle for a youngster or lady to hunt with?

Right now, the gun pretty much needs to be a breech-loader and most probably a single shot. The 357 Maximum is too long to feed through the lever guns designed for the 44 mag or the 357 magnum. In addition, the 357 Maximum cruises at 50,000 pressure so the lever guns with the old style or standard lockup, will not meet the pressure requirements of the Max cartridge for extended use. The barrel should be limited to 16 to 18 inches and should be fairly large in diameter to lend a little bit of recoil absorbing weight. Using a heavy, short, barrel, makes the little rifle very comfortable to shoot. Meet the criteria and you have a very handy, deer or hog gun with a real punch. The bonus is that you can, if need be, shoot everything from 38 Special to the Super Mag in the gun.

Our subject gun is based on a .310 Martini Cadet action. Supposedly, you can not build a 357 Maximum Martini Cadet. However, the "ya can't do that" is based on the use of pistol bullets in the Martini. When you load the Max with a rifle bullet, the ogive of the bullet, when the bullet is seated properly, allows the loaded cartridge to be chambered with ease. The empty case will extract and eject from the little Martini action without a problem or modification. The 357 Max is also available in the Encore or Contender carbine barrel and makes a very handy carbine.

Back to the Martini; most folks do not realize that the Martini action (designed for black powder) is a 55,000 PSI action. The Martini actions were designed and built prior to 1898. The significance of that fact, besides the pressure qualification, is that the majority of the guns do not require a yellow sheet as they are black powder guns, even when rebarreled! That is a nice feature for the individual buyer. The thread pitch for the Cadet is 1-14 and the threaded portion of the barrel or shank is .500 in length. The major diameter is .745 and the minor diameter is .697. The Martini Cadet is a fairly easy conversion from a crusty old military trainer, to a sleek little Bambi buster.

Very important, make sure that your proposed barrel has at least 6 inches of straight steel in front of the action, before the taper starts. The straight area will be drilled and tapped for the forend and is also where you will drill and tap for the scope mounts.

The barrel cut for the extractor looks complicated but in fact is easy. In this order: 1) Remove the old barrel and the extractor. 2) Then re-install the internal parts group, in the action, without the extractor. 3) Measure from the bolt face to the exterior front of the action shoulder. 4) Thread the new barrel shank and cut the shank to the length you have measured from action shoulder to bolt face. 5) Tighten the new barrel into the action, making sure that the bolt will close properly, it should just barely wipe the butt of the barrel. 6) Mark the exterior bottom of the barrel with a center punch to correspond with marks on the action's front shoulder. 7) Remove and chamber the barrel so that the factory rim of a cartridge is flush. Cool Screw the chambered barrel back into the action, open the bolt, look inside and you will see two notches, one on each side of the barrel a little over half way up from the bottom, mark the top of the notch on each side of the new barrel, with a scribe. The notches are the frame recesses for the extractor. 9) Remove the barrel. 10) Cut from mark to mark, the width and depth of the extractor arms. 11)With a 45 ACP slide file, duplicate the side cuts of the old removed barrel. The 45ACP file cuts on the side and not the edge or on the edge and not the side, depending on how it is turned. 12)Dress the chamber with the reamer, by hand, when finished, to remove any burs.

The new forearm is attached to the barrel by drilling and tapping two holes in the barrel, then drilling two corresponding holes in the wood. In this order: 1) With the forearm still flat, sides and bottom, cut the barrel channel. 2) Cut the rear off square. 3) Wrap sand paper over the action’s bottom front and sand the back of the forearm by rotating it back and forth, to fit the action. 4) Drill the forearm to match the barrel holes. 5) Glass bed the forearm to the barrel using the screws to clamp the barrel solid. 6) Shape the forend to fit the action and barrel channel. Metal escutcheons for the forend screws can made from cartridge cases, cut down, drilled and counter sunk. Hint, do not shape the sides, of the action area, of the forend until bedded and the wood is attached with the screws, mark the back of the wood along the action sides with a pencil and cut the wood down to the pencil marks. You can not free float the barrel so a firm solid mount is the next best solution. When you drill and tap the barrel for the forearm, drill and tap the barrel for the scope mounts at the same time. Hint, the Remington model 541 scope bases will fit perfectly on the Martini barrel contour.

The lever is perhaps the most difficult part of the custom Cadet rifle to build. You must heat the leaver to cherry red, reverse the "military" bend and shape the new curve to fit the new stock. The stock should be in the stage where the rough sanding has been done but not the final sanding or finish. The secret here is to get the curve of the lever close, put the lever into the gun, with the stock in place, heat and bend the lever to the stock. Draw file the four lever surfaces so that the edge looks nice and straight, with a graceful curve. Cut the milled locking portion of the tip off so that approximately .25 inch sticks down below the pistol grip.

Polish and blue the pieces and parts and you are done. Note here, using 300 to 500 grit paper for metal, on a belt sander makes short work of the frame sides and keeps the edges and lettering sharp.

Several companies make semi-inleted stocks for the Cadet action, including Wenig Custom Gunstocks. Either English walnut or a highly figured Maple will make a nice stock for the little carbine. Make sure to put a good recoil pad on the butt. A 200 grain bullet at over 2,000 fps will, talk to you, in this little package.

When mounting a scope, pay particular attention to the length behind the adjustment knobs and the objective diameter. I would suggest a 40mm or no more than a 50mm objective and a target style scope, with a long body.

As the scope is barrel mounted, the rings will have to be high or super high rings.

Is there any problem with the Martini as a hunting gun, well yes. The rifle does not have a safety so must be carried unloaded or with the lever down. I hunted with the gun for one year without a problem, but safety must be stressed with anyone that would carry the little package afield.

Some Loads

Martini / Rem / 205m / 18" 1-12 barrel
200 Remington Round Nose
H110 / 23.5 / 2,003fps / .50 group
24.5 / 2,087fps / 1.5 Max load

180 Hornady Spire Point Rifle
H110 / 20 / 1,947fps / 1.5 group
24.5 / 2,140fps / .70 group Max Load *

*Excellent deer load

2nd Rifle I built for my hunting buddy

The 357 Max cartridges made up for a Martini Cadet rifle with the 357 Mag for comparison

My personal 357 Super Mag gun.

Posted by SwampFox on Tuesday, May 01, 2007 (19:33:23) (22649 reads)
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  In The Wood Stock Finish
Ed Harmon
The polished stone looking finish found on high end professionally finished stocks is the result of a process known as an “in the wood finish.”

Before you start: Make very sure that your hands are clean, anytime you handle a stock while it is being finished. Never handle raw wood with oil, grease or water on your hands. In the summer, be careful while leaning over a piece of raw wood and watch for beads of sweat. These things stain wood and the stain must be sanded out.

After you are done with the 220-grit paper on the last dry sanding of your stock, wet down the stock with a clean, moist piece of non-linting cloth. Using a hair dryer or heat gun, quickly and carefully dry the wet stock. Don't scorch the wood. This damp mop and dryer process "whiskers" the wood, leaving filaments of wood fiber sticking up from the surface. These fibers are important and are the material that will form the base of the wood filler that is so important in the method of the stock finish known as “in the wood” finishing. Set the stock aside to dry for 24 hours before applying any oil.

There are a number of good liquid stock finishes on the market. Each seems to produce an excellent and durable “in the wood” finish. I prefer Pro Custom Oil from Brownell's. Pro Custom Oil is a combination of Tung Oil and Polyurethane. I have used other stock finishes with this process, including True Oil, with excellent results.

IMPORTANT! Dilute the finish as it comes from the container. THE RATIO OF ONE PART FINISH TO TWO PARTS MINERAL SPIRITS is required. An empty pill bottle works well for the small amount of liquid needed.

The 1x2 solution is flooded over the stock surface with a small natural bristle brush until the wood will not accept anymore of the solution. The entire surface should be shiny wet. Be sure there are no dull patches, especially at end-grain areas. This first step ensures deep penetration of the liquid into the wood. Hang the stock and let it dry for two days. When dried, the “whiskered” wood fibers are hardened and standing on the surface. Now the “in the wood” finish process can begin.

Using 320 grit wet-or-dry paper backed by a squared rubber eraser (cut paper with scissors into 1 1/2" squares), the stock is wet sanded with the same 1 to 2 solution of the finish liquid. The wet sanding produces a paste filler of fine wood powder and finish oil combined into a slurry. The filler paste is the secret of this process. Fine details like stock fluting, shadow lines, rollovers, etc. are sanded utilizing backing devices such as dowels, pieces of rubber tubing with a dowel inserted, wedge shaped wood blocks, etc.

The very first (and each subsequent) sanding takes a time period of about 30 minutes. Wet sand the stock over every section with scrupulous attention to detail, using plenty of solution. Sand with the grain or in a circular motion, do not sand across the grain.

Now go back over the entire stock, using the two first fingers of your hand, to re-wet the entire surface with solution. Set the stock aside for five to eight minutes, allowing the surface to get a little tacky.

Next, rub the filler material into the pores of the wood. A brown paper towel (the same towel usually found in men's room rollers) is excellent for this. Crumple up 2 or 3 lengths about a foot long and, using a circular motion, rub the surface until the filler material has been rubbed into the pores or off of the stock. Do not polish the surface of the wood.

After the first application, the surface will appear dull. However, after two or three more applications, you should start to see dramatic results, as the wood pores fill in more and more.

After each application, the stock is hung to dry for 24 hours. The surface will not be sticky enough to attract airborne dust.

The third wet sanding with the 320 grit paper may fill the pores. However, each piece of wood has its own characteristics, so if after careful examination under a bright light, there are still unfilled pores, additional sanding with the 320 grit will be required. The sanding process should be continued until all pores are filled, each sanding coat separated by 24 hours' drying time. I have had some stocks require as many as 12 coats to fill properly.

Repeat the process with 400 grit wet and dry paper, allowing 24 hours' drying time. Once the 400 grit process results in a smooth surface, repeat the process using 600 grit paper. When you go to 600 grit paper use a soft cotton cloth instead of paper toweling and instead of rubbing in a circular motion, rub with the grain, until all trace of the filler mix is removed. The stock will now have a fine, hand rubbed sheen.

Subsequent rubs with rottenstone and oil may be required if you prefer a high gloss finish. If you go past the 600-grit finish, apply two coats of oil with your fingers, allow the oil to dry for a week then use rottenstone and paraffin oil on a medium weight felt pad (about 1-½ inches wide x 2 inches long). Smooth the finish with the rottenstone, being very careful not to cut through the finish to the wood. If you do go through to the wood, clean the surface with mineral spirits and start again with the 400 grit wet sanding.

Once the oil finish is done, apply three coats of Deluxing Compound. Deluxing Compound is a combination of fine paste waxes and 800 grit rubbing compound. It gives a durable wax coat to your stock and can be used to increase the sheen if desired.

This sounds like a lot of time and work, which it is. The finish is not meant to be a production finish. However, for custom pieces, the finish is spectacular.

Posted by SwampFox on Friday, January 12, 2007 (15:19:48) (12084 reads)
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  Targets and Scopes
ShootingTargets and Scopes

By Ed Harmon

Did a thought ever occur to you, while shooting on paper, that your target was not quite right? If you had that thought, join the crowd of about 90% of scope shooters in the world. Most paper targets are simply not designed for serious scope shooting. The targets look like they should work OK, but in actual practice; they do not work that well at all. The diamond is not right, nor is the bull’s eye circle. The crosshairs printed on paper is not correct either, nor is any combination of the above target designs.

I ran a range for over 20 years. During that time I observed shooters dragging all manner of targets to the range. I finally decided to put that experience and over 20 years of competitive shooting into harness. So, several years ago, I set about designing a target just for crosshairs and red dots, not one but two very different targets. I also ran tests with various power scopes to determine the best power setting for very accurate shooting on paper at 100 yards. The intent was to develop a target that gave the shooter confidence in the results of three shot and five shot groups, primarily for load development. The idea was to also have a good idea about the group size looking through a spotting scope.

I think I shot on just about every target design printed both for sale and in books. None of the designs worked that well. It was always difficult to tell with clarity, one shot from the next, exactly where your crosshairs were positioned in relation to the exact aim point. The group size, estimated from 100 yards away, was a pure guess, mostly wrong.

What I first designed was a 1-inch square, with heavy lines for sides. The idea was to shoot the corners using the vertical and horizontal sides to position the crosshairs on the corners of the square. That was Ok, but when you tried to focus on one set of lines, the crosshairs, the lines became difficult to acquire and maintain focus upon. Next I increased the lines of the square in width. The result was better but still not quite right. Then I created a solid black square, walah, it worked like magic. Next the size of the square was worked on. It was found that a 2-inch square was perfect. The idea is to hold the crosshairs just off the corner so as to create a very narrow white line between the crosshairs and the sides of the square, vertical and horizontal, corner to corner. You duplicate the line, shot after shot. The scope is always kept on the vertical and horizontal plane in relation to the square itself. You eliminate the effects of the great scope bug-a-boo, canting.

How to improve the square, well I created a grid that is comprised of 1-inch squares with the 2-inch black square super imposed in the middle. When printed together and shot upon you can immediately tell the approximate group size. You can also tell over, under or horizontal adjustment. The grid permits you to get sighted in with just two adjustments and no walking. The shooting square upon square is attached, life size for copying. The square on a square target was created using Microsoft Word. You can convert the target back to word using Adobe Acrobat or you simply print the target on your printer.

Next we attacked the real problem and the one that there simply are no targets for, the red dot sight.

I experimented with a fellow in the 80s on circle sights, front and rear. The idea is to create concentric circles of the sights with the target in the middle. Your eye aligns the circles and the point of impact is the center. The sight system works real well, it just takes a bit of time to align the sights from shot to shot, for real accuracy. We worked on this project for about a year and a half after work.

The reason I have gone into the explanation is so that you have an idea about the source of the inspiration for the red dot target. The target is a black circle of such size that a red dot fits into the circle with a white ring around the dot, between the red and the black. The effect is three circles that your eye will align, shot after shot. This allows load development with a red dot sight at 50 yards, without any magnification. Does it work? We have used the target shown to shoot .100-inch groups at 50 yards. The target attached is designed for a 4-minute dot at 50 yards. The circle can be created and enlarged with most word processors. The dot target itself was created with Microsoft Word and converted to a photo file. If you have Adobe Acrobat you can reverse the process and create a word document from the jpg file.

A secret to sighting in dot sights is to turn the power down as low as possible to still be able to see the dot. The outside of the dot becomes clear which allows for good definition between the black circle and red dot. If you turn the power up to far on a red dot sight, the edge of the dot gets furry or blurred.

Scope power for shooting paper at 100 yards should be a minimum of 12x in order to achieve the very best groups. Groups can be shot with less power, however the process is a strain once you try a 12 or more power scope.

Last but far from least, while you are on the paper you should also test your windage and elevation adjustment to see what they actually are. Rarely will an advertised ¼ minute adjustment actually produce ¼ inch adjustment. Many ballistics programs today will allow a click adjustment print out to be run, based on your actual velocity and bullet BC. I keep a small font print out on all of my scope bells from 200 to 600 yards in 50-yard increments for the bullet and load I am shooting.

Posted by SwampFox on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 (16:54:27) (9528 reads)
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By Ed Harmon

The Swedish Mauser barreled action is perhaps the most desirable of the "small ring" Mausers of the type 95 series. PO Ackley regarded the Swede as a very desirable small action, primarily due to the firing pin collar and the gas port on the side of the action. P.O. stated in his "Handbook for Reloading" that Swedish Mausers have been converted and re-barreled to the 22-250, a 65,000-psi cartridge, with little or no problems from pressure. However, P.O. stated that the practice could not be considered safe or advisable. Old Hodgdon loading manuals list loads for the 140 grain 6.5 bullet, in a 6.5x55 model 96, at 3,000 feet per second. The foregoing information is mentioned to give the reader some sense of the versatility and quality of the Swedish Mauser.

The three Swedish Mauser models, 94, 38 and 96 have basically the same action. The bolt handles on the 94 and 38 are shorter than the 96 and bent. The 96 is the most desirable of the three models for conversion, due to the long straight bolt handle. The 96 handle can be bent and shaped to taste.

What is required in the way of tools for the home craftsman?

A pair of safety glasses A small hammer
A medium flat ***** file A screwdriver
A fine fat ***** file A Dremmel drum sander, router bit, cutoff wheel
A flat wood rasp A palm sander
A propane torch A few sheets of 100,120, 180 & 240 sandpaper
A hacksaw A caliper
A set of punches A mallet, rubber, plastic or leather
A roll of Duct Tape A small sanding block
A pair of narrow pliers or forceps A vise
A 3/4 inch dowel A pair of leather jaw covers for the vise
A hand drill A ¼ inch metal drill bit

Supplies you will need to buy:

Acraglas acra-gel kit Timney trigger
Paste wax Richards Micro fit stock
Walnut stock filler True oil stock finish
0000 Steel wool Sling Swivel studs, one set
Left side Mauser safety Quick release sling swivels
Burris Scope base, one piece Sling
Scope rings to fit base Scope

Gunsmith Work:

Taper Barrel Forge or bend bolt handle
Crown Barrel Polish metal parts (320 grit except bolt @ 500)
Remove step at rear of action Blue metal parts except bolt body & extractor
Drill & Tap for scope base

A word of caution; when working with wood or metal, work slowly and carefully, if tired or frustrated stop, come back to the project tomorrow. Measures twice, cut once and always keep in mind that when removed, metal or wood cannot be replaced.

The very first step in doing a conversion is to determine what you have to work with. Clean the rifle thoroughly, inspect the exterior and interior to make sure there are no bad dings, dents, rust or corrosion that will inhibit a good conversion. Then take the rifle out to the range. With factory ammo, make sure that the barrel is in good enough shape to be used. The rifle should shoot at least 2 inch groups with factory ammo in "as issued condition." If the rifle will not shoot, you may have to replace the barrel. Shilen makes 6.5 X 55 chambered barrels, already threaded and tapered. The barrels are available from Brownells. However, the Swede has a twist of 1 in 7.5 inches (aprox conversion from metric) and US standard twist rates are 1 in 9 inches.

Once you have determined that the rifle will shoot and that it has no project ending defects you can begin. Starting with a model 96 Mauser, first disassemble the rifle, completely, including the rear sight, floor plate retainer and bolt release. Under the rear sight blade you will find a screw that appears to hold the sight base to the barrel, remove the screw.

Now cut the barrel off behind the front sight. You should allow ½ inch more in length than the desired finished barrel length. Make sure that the cut is fairly square and not off at a sharp angle. Hint; Insert the bolt and with the bolt closed, measure the barrel length with a cleaning rod and tape measure, from the bolt face to the muzzle. Once you have the total barrel length, mark what is to be removed by measuring back from the muzzle. Do not forget the ½ inch.

Next, heat the rear sight base with a propane torch until the sight base releases, the base is soldered onto the barrel. Hint, tap the base towards the muzzle with a mallet, as you are heating the base, until the base comes free from the barrel. You will not hurt the barrel or the steel by heating the sight base in this manner.

Once the sight base is removed you will find a small hole drilled into the top of the barrel where the screw you removed went through the sight base. The hole is not threaded. Take an 8 penny common nail, without any coating on it, stick it into the hole and then cut off the nail about 3/16 of an inch longer than the depth of the hole. Once the nail is cut to length, hold the nail with the pliers, drive the nail into the hole with a small hammer. Brad the nail into the hole. Once the nail is fully expanded into the hole and fully braded over, remove the excess metal with a medium file (file the nail down until level with the barrel). Do not file the barrel. The nail should be expanded into the hole without leaving a space around the nail. If the hole is tapped and a screw plug inserted, the screw will leave a ring. You can also remove any excess solder from the barrel at this time, with the file.

The next step is to remove the cocking knob from the rear of the bolt. With the bolt removed from the rifle, mark the firing pin-sear extension even using the back of the bolt sleeve as a guide, all the way around. Disassemble the bolt. With the firing pin and cocking piece-sear together, cut off the cocking knob with a Dremmel cut off wheel, just leave the line you have previously made. Break the edge of the cut with the side of the cutoff wheel or a fine file and smooth and square up the flat of the cut, working slowly. Assemble and disassemble the bolt until you get the desired look and fit for the firing pin. The cut will be polished later.

The knob on the end of the bolt handle is very big and not aesthetically pleasing. The shape of the knob can be altered with just a little effort. The knob is round which facilitates its reshaping. With the Dremmel Tool, and a sanding drum (course sanding drum), reshape the knob into a tear drop shape by grinding away the inside of the knob (towards the bolt body) from the center of the knob to the bolt handle like so ( from =O to = < ). Do not grind the inside of the knob below or smaller than the diameter of the bolt handle. Work slowly until you get the look you desire. You can reduce the diameter of the knob as you work, if you wish. Hint, hold the bolt body in the vise and work the reshaping strokes towards you, like carving soap with a knife, again work slowly. When you have the look you want, clamp the handle in the vise, center punch the end of the knob directly in line with the handle. Drill the knob, in line with the handle. Use a ¼ inch drill bit and drill approximately ¼ inch deep. Now you have a knob that looks more like a commercial rifle’s bolt knob. The knob and handle will be polished after being forged (heated and bent). Hint, when the bolt handle is bent down, it should also be slightly raked backwards towards the butt of the rifle.

There are two areas at the rear of the action that require attention. The step up where the stripper clip or charger clip goes into the magazine well, on top of the action, should be ground down until it is even with and level with, the area directly to its rear. If you have a belt sander, this can be done at home with a 200 grit metal cutting (dark gray color) belt. If you have a belt sander, clamp the belt sander in the vice by the handle, sanding area up, pull the trigger and press the trigger hold button. You now have a small table sander. The trick is to hold the surface of the action parallel to the sanding surface and roll the action back and forth as you cut the high surface down to match the height of the lower surface and the lower surface contour. If you do not have a belt sander, ask the gunsmith to do the removal for you. This should be a 3 minute operation for a well equipped shop.

The second area for attention, at the rear of the action, is the end of the tang. The tang should be thinned, top to bottom at its end, to a point just below or even with the grove for the sear. The metal should be removed in a straight slope from the top of the tang at the very rear of the action to a point approximately 2/3 of the distance to the rear of the action. This cut can be done with the belt sander or a large file. The removal of this metal will allow the stock to be formed to the top of the tang's height so that the sear does not strike the top of the stock at the end of the tang when the bolt is drawn to the rear. Note, if you reduce the thickness of the tang below the sear grove, you will also need to shorten the tang stock screw so it does not stick up above the surface of the altered tang. Hint, measure from the rear of the tang to a given point and mark both sides of the tang with a straight scribe line, cut down to the line on each side which will keep the cut level and straight.

The magazine follower can be left as is, or the rear of the follower can be sloped and polished to allow the bolt to go forward on an empty magazine. Commercial bolt action rifles do not have a bolt open feature.

The trigger guard on the Mauser is strong but it is perhaps the least attractive feature of the rifle. Determine how wide you want the trigger guard to be, 1/2 inch looks good on the Swede when finished. With the calipers, measure the width of the trigger guard, divide the width by two. Reset the caliper to the half measure. With one caliper blade on the side of the guard, make a mark down the center of the guard with a pointed scribe or object. Now, deduct 1/4 inch (.250) from the setting on the caliper and make another mark on the guard from the exterior edge on each side of the guard. You should now have a center line and a line on each side of the center line. The two outside lines should be exactly 1/2 inch apart and parallel. You may scribe a curve from the base on each quadrant to the outside lines. With the Dremmel tool and the course drum, remove the metal from the outside of the lines, leaving the 1/2 inch wide trigger guard, with sloped edges at each end. Just barely leave the scribed line. You are now ready for the alteration that will make the most difference in the aesthetics of the trigger guard. Slope the exterior surface of the trigger guard from the center line to the edge like so (]. Make very sure that you leave an edge that is thick enough to be seen but thin enough to be pleasing to the eye, about 1/16 of an inch. Hint, taper the guard by running the drum lengthwise, its full length for each cut, pulling the drum to you. Do not put a lot of pressure on the drum. Also, be careful while you are cutting the surface so that you do not cant either edge of the drum. You do not want the edge of the sanding drum to dig into the contoured surface. A gouge will be difficult to remove.

Remove the Timney trigger from the package, mark the trigger itself 1/4 inch from the tip of the trigger with a line parallel with the top of the trigger body. Cut off the bottom 1/4 inch of the trigger with a cut off wheel and the Dremmel. The stock trigger is too long to fit when the trigger guard is installed into the stock.

Install the trigger, reassemble the bolt with the new safety. Close the bolt, the sear should be engaged by the trigger, if not, adjust the engagement screw, per the instructions in the package until the sear is held in a cocked position by the trigger. You can turn the action upside down and look through the opening as the parts make contact. Next, push the safety up into the safe position. If the safety will not rotate into the up position, you will need to taper the leading edge of the engagement surface of the safety so that it will enter the firing pin notch as it turns. The mechanics work like a screw. When you have the safety engaged, pull the trigger, release the trigger and then rotate the safety to the fire position. The sear should be caught by the trigger. If the firing pin drops, adjust the surfaces until the leading edge of the sear is engaged by the trigger, after the safety is disengaged (rotated downward).

Now you are ready for the gun shop. A few instructions or recommendations. Have the barrel tapered from the first step in the barrel, near the chamber, to the muzzle. Taper the barrel just enough to eliminate the second step in the barrel. Do not alter the first step.

Have the barrel crowned on the lathe with a target crown, recess the center, leaving an outside rim aprox .125 thousands thick. The rim should be .125 to .150 thousands high, to protect the muzzle. The outside and inside of the rim should be broken to prevent finger cuts. Do not break the edge of the cut at the bore, leave it square and sharp.

Have the bolt handle forged or bent to accommodate a scope. This should be done with forging blocks, a heat sink and paste to prevent scaling. After forging, the handle and bolt body should be high polished to help prevent rust, the higher the polish, on bright metal, the less porous is the surface.

Have the step removed from the rear of the action, if you did not remove the step yourself.

I have always favored a one piece scope base made of steel. The Burris standard one piece base is inexpensive, yet very rugged. The base should accompany the action for proper fitting and finish. The action must be drilled and tapped to match the scope base. The rear of the action is lower than the front of the action, so a correct base is a must.

The metal polish should be a medium polish of a 320 grit. This polish will look clean when blued, but will not be like a mirror. If the finish is to be a hunting finish, bead blasting the surface and Parkerizing will result in a tough durable metal surface. Black Parkerizing looks great. Just remember to have the scope base and rings done to match.

Now we return to the house for the stock. If you decide to go with wood, I can not recommend the use of Richards Microfit stocks too strongly. They have a "seconds" stock that makes a real nice looking stock when filled and finished. Most of the seconds have a crack, knot or pinhole. The blemish can be filled with the stained bedding material when you glass bed the barrel and action, so do not be concerned about a small blemish. I recommend the dual grip stock with recoil pad and thumbhole. If you decide to go with a synthetic stock, pick one with the sling swivel studs preinstalled.

For the wood stock: Set the action into the stock, trace around the barrel and action with a pencil held vertically. Remove the excess wood to the pencil line with the Dremmel tool and router bit. The barrel channel must be opened up to allow the barrel to be inserted and free floated. The bolt stop front edge should be marked with a pencil held vertically. The excess material can be removed with a fine bladed saw. The tang and trigger guard areas should be marked along the inside with a pencil held horizontally and the material removed down to or just above the line. You will fill the excess gaps around the parts with Acraglass. However, the lines should be straight along the sides of the metal. To straighten the barrel channel, use the flat wood rasp in the channel. Then to fine tune the cut, use the 3/4 inch dowel wrapped with course sandpaper. Be careful not to cut the area on the right side of the action, recessed for the ejection - loading port, so that the top of the wood is below the metal of the port. This error can not be repaired. Hint, when it comes to wood, if in doubt, leave more wood until the very end, then adjust with the last and final sanding.

The trigger guard should be *****d to the bottom of the stock much the same as the action, with one exception, do not remove any material from the bottom of the recess, only remove material from the sides, until the trigger guard fits. Once you have relieved all of the areas so that the action and trigger guard fits into the stock, it is time to prepare for the bedding.

Remove all of the attachments to the action, and to the trigger guard. Put at least two layers of duct tape along the length of the barrel from the first step to a point beyond the end of the stock's forearm. Coat the entire action, barrel and trigger guard, all external metal parts, with paste wax. Allow the wax to dry then apply a second coat, do not polish. Make sure that the inside of the action, as well as the trigger guard is coated with wax. Stick the trigger guard screws, threads and all, into the paste wax. If you are doing a synthetic stock, put masking tape on the top edge of the stock. Go around the interior sharp edge of the fiberglass with the back of a spoon, pressing hard enough to cut the masking tape. Leave the tape on the top edge. Apply tape over the outside surface of the stock. If using a synthetic stock, make sure not to get any bedding compound on the outside surface of the stock. Any sanding on the outside of a synthetic stock will ruin the finish of the synthetic stock.

Mix the Acraglas per the instructions, make sure that you add color to the mixture, to closely match the color of the stock. Hint, slightly darker works better than lighter. With a tongue depressor or Popsicle stick, put bedding compound into the stock by scraping compound from the flat of the paddle using the interior edges, all around the inleted cavity. Place bedding compound within the stock at the bottom of the action, around the recoil lug and behind the recoil lug. Place the action and trigger guard into the stock and tighten the screws until snug. The compound should flow out all around the edges of the action and trigger guard area. Hint: If you sharpen the edge of the paddle you can use the wood paddle to cut off the excess at the recommended time. Do not use a metal or a knife to remove excess bedding material with the action and barrel in the stock, you will ruin the finish on the gun's metal.

Once the bedding material has set, remove the trigger guard screws. While holding the forearm in one hand, strike the underside of the barrel, covered by duct tape, with the mallet until the barrel and action breaks free. Pull the barrel and stock apart by holding the barrel in one hand and the forearm in the other hand. Using the wood dowel as a punch, remove the trigger guard with the mallet. Place the wood dowel on top of the rear of the magazine well then drive the trigger guard straight out the bottom of the stock.

Note, Acraglas when fully set is almost as strong as steel and sticks to steel like it has been welded. Make very sure that you do not allow any bedding compound to flow over the parts to be removed. Make very sure the metal is coated with wax wherever the bedding compound might, not just will, come into contact with the metal.

Once the bedding material has fully set, the remainder of the stock work is rough shaping with the rasp and sanding with sand paper. Just make sure that you sand and rasp with the grain. Do not sand across the grain. The palm sander and rough sand paper comes in handy to quickly shape the stock. Hint, sand the recoil pad and stock together as a unit to produce a perfect wood to pad fit.

When you get the stock shaped and sanded as you want, wash the stock down with a rag and a degreaser like acetone. Do not use mineral spirits. Rosewood caps or ends should be washed, several times, to remove the rosewood oil from the surface. Next, apply the stock filler per the directions on the bottle. Once the filler has been applied and has been cross grain wiped and has dried, the stock should be finish sanded and wiped clean. Apply the bottled True Oil with a soft cloth pad. Sand the surface with fine paper and reapply the True Oil until you get the desired finish. The aerosol True Oil can be applied as the final coat for a gloss finish or the surface can be rubbed with 0000 steel wool and then waxed for a satin, hunting finish. Hint, apply the True Oil to the inside, exposed wood surfaces to seal them against water penetration.

Install the sling swivel studs per the instructions that come with the studs. Make very sure to drill the holes straight and with the proper diameter drill. An oversized hole and the stud threads will not hold, undersized holes and you may split the hardwood stock.

Load Data for the 6.5 X 55 Swedish Mauser

The Swedes like the Sierra 85 grain bullet and the 140 grain Hornady Inter Loc bullet. They will not shoot the Remington 140 grain bullet very well. The 140 grain bullet for medium sized game is the optimum bullet weight considering velocity and energy. The 85 grain bullet is great for varmint and small game hunting. Best accuracy is obtained with brass that is first fire formed and then neck sized approximately 1/2 the length of the neck. The brass used was Remington. The primers were Federal 210.

Sierra 85 Gr. HP Weight Velocity Best 100 Yard Group Military Bbl.
H 4831 52 3,200 .550
H 4895 48 3,520 .480

Sierra 100 Gr. HP
H4895 48 3,480 .570

140 Grain Hornady
H4831 51.5 2,930 .611
H4831 SC

** Always work up to the loads listed by starting at least 10% below the listed load**

Posted by SwampFox on Friday, September 22, 2006 (20:35:45) (35501 reads)
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  Ed's Red Bore Cleaner
ShootingMix Your Own "Ed's Red" Bore Cleaner... It Really Works!

By Ed Harris Rev. 12-27-94

Three years ago I mixed my first "Ed's Red" and I still think the "recipe" is a great idea. If you have never tried it, or maybe lost the recipe, I urge you save this and mix your own. My followers on the FIREARMS Echo think it's the best thing since smokeless powder! Therefore, I'll summarize the story again for the passing parade that didn't get it the first time...

I originally did this because I used a lot of rifle bore cleaner and was deterred by the high price of commercial products. I knew there was no technical reason why you could not mix an effective bore cleaner using common hardware store ingredients which would be inexpensive, effective, and provide reasonable corrosion protection and adequate lubrication.

The "recipe" is based on proven principles and incorporates two polar and two nonpolar ingredients. It is adapted from a formula in Hatcher's Notebook, Frankford Arsenal Cleaner No.18, but substituting equivalent modern materials. I had the help of an organic chemist in doing this and we knew there would be no "surprises" The original Hatcher recipe called for equal parts of acetone, turpentine, Pratts Astral Oil and sperm oil, and optionally 200 grams of lanolin added per liter.

Pratts Astral oil was nothing more than acid free, deodorized kerosene. We use K-1 kerosene of the type normally sold for indoor space heaters. An inexpensive, effective substitute for sperm oil is Dexron (II, IIe or III) automatic transmission fluid. Prior to about 1950 that most ATF's were sperm oil based, but during WWII a synthetic was developed for use in precision instruments. With the great demand for automatic transmission autos after WWII, sperm oil was no longer practical to produce ATF in the quantity demanded, so the synthetic material became the basis for the Dexron fluids we know today. The additives in ATFs which include organometallic antioxidants and surfactants, make it highly suitable for our intended purpose.

Hatcher's original formula used gum spirits of turpentine, but turpentine is expensive and highly flammable. Cheaper and safer is aliphatic mineral spirits, which is a petroleum based "safety solvent" used for thinning oil based paints and as automotive parts cleaner. It is commonly sold under the names "odorless mineral spirits," "Stoddard Solvent" or "Varsol".

There isn't anything in Ed's Red which will chemically remove copper fouling, but it does a better job on carbon residue than anything out there. Several users have told me, that with exclusive use of "ER" does reduce the buildup of copper fouling, because it removes old impacted fouling which is left by other cleaners, reducing the adhesion of abraded metal to the surface, and leaving a cleaner surface which reduces subsequent fouling. It appears that "ER" will actually remove metal fouling it if you let it "soak" so the surfactants will do the job, though you may have to be patient.

The lanolin is optional. The cleaner works quite well without it. Incorporating the lanolin makes the cleaner easier on the hands, and provides better residual lubrication and corrosion protection if you use the cleaner as a protectant for long term storage. If you want to minimize cost, you can leave the lanolin out and save about $8 per gallon. Mix some yourself. I know it will work as well for you as it does for me.

CONTENTS: Ed's Red Bore Cleaner

1 part Dexron II, IIe or III ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.
1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1
1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits, Fed. Spec. TT-T-2981F, CAS
#64741-49-9, or substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent, (aka "Varsol")
1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.

(Optional up to 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, OK to substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)


Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Use a clean 1 gallon metal, chemical-resistant, heavy gage PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA approved plastic gasoline storage containers are also OK. Do NOT use HDPE, which is breathable because the acetone will evaporate. The acetone in ER will attack HDPE in about 6 months, making a heck of a mess!

Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the other components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If you incorporate the lanolin into the mixture, melt this carefully in a double boiler, taking precautions against fire. Pour the melted lanolin it into a larger container, rinsing the lanolin container with the bore cleaner mix, and stirring until it is all dissolved.

I recommend diverting a small quantity, up to 4 ozs. per quart of the 50-50 ATF/kerosene mix for use as an "ER-compatible" gun oil. This can be done without impairing the effectiveness of the mix.

Ed's Red Bore Cleaner:

1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is most effective when done while the barrel is still warm to the touch from firing. Saturate a cotton patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale on jag and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch should be a snug fit. Let the first patch fall off and do not pull it back into the bore.

2. Wet a second patch, and similarly start it into the bore from the breech, this time scrubbing from the throat area forward in 4-5" strokes and gradually advancing until the patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting approximately 1 minute to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its action.

3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled "rattle battle" guns, leaded revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush wet with bore cleaner may be used to remove stubborn deposits. This is unnecessary for smooth, target-grade barrels in routine use.

4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through the bore to flush out loosened residue dissolved by Ed's Red. Let the patch fall off the jag without pulling it back into the bore. If you are finished firing, leaving the bore wet will protect it from rust for up to 30 days. If the lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the firearm from rust for up to two years. For longer term storage I recommend use of Lee Liquid Alox as a Cosmolene substitute. "ER" will readily remove hardened Alox or Cosmolene.

5. Wipe spilled Ed's Red from exterior surfaces before storing the gun. While Ed's Red is harmless to blue and nickel finishes, the acetone it contains is harmful to most wood finishes).

6. Before firing again, push two dry patches through the bore and dry the chamber, using a patch wrapped around a suitably sized brush or jag. First shot point of impact usually will not be disturbed by Ed's Red if the bore is cleaned as described.

7. I have determined to my satisfaction that when Ed's Red is used exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water cleaning is unnecessary after use of Pyrodex or military chlorate primers. However, if bores are not wiped between shots and shots and are heavily caked from black powder fouling, hot water cleaning is recommended first to break up heavy fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed by a thorough flush with Ed's Red to prevent after-rusting which could result from residual moisture. It is ALWAYS good practice to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART whenever using chlorate primed ammunition, just to make sure you get all the residue out.




* Flammable mixture. Keep away from heat, sparks or flame.

* FIRST AID, If swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting, call physician immediately. In case of eye contact immediately flush thoroughly with water and call a physician. For skin contact wash thoroughly.

* Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist. It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labelling. Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage. If using in closed armory vaults lacking forced air ventilation wear respiratory protection meeting NIOSH TC23C or equivalent. Keep container tightly closed when not in use.

This "Recipe" is placed in the public domain, and may be freely distributed provided that it is done so in its entirely with all instructions and safety warnings included herein, and that proper attribution is given to the author.

In Home Mix We Trust,



Posted by Dimitri on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 (23:10:12) (8687 reads)
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