I have been piecing this big girl together in the evenings when I could. Having a new little 5 month old girl does not leave much time to be a shop monkey in the evenings, to much fun playing with her!!!
Anyway, Finally got her finished and was able to take her out on her first shoot for a bit this morning. Here is a list of the componants and specs on the rifle:
-BAT 8.5 x 1.55" single shot receiver
-33.5" Lilja 1-10 custom "Allen32" contour with 3/8" flutes
-APS 5 port brake
-Rifles Basix 8-20 oz trigger set at 1 lb
-Six Aluminum trigger guard
-McMillan A-5 stock
-APS stainless steel pillar bedding
-BAT 40 moa rail base
-Burris Xtreme Tactical low 30mm rings
-ACI indicator and rail mount
-Matte finished metal
-NF NXS 5.5-22x 50mm w/ NP-R1 reticle
-Harris S medium bipod
This rifle by the way was intended to be used for my Idaho hunt last fall but I ran out of time waiting on the receiver to get in. It was a good thing as the rifle as you see it does not make the weight limit for Idaho. I could have however shortened the barrel slightly, gone with a standard Harris bipod and switched to a Leupold Mk 4 4.5-14x 40mm scope and pretty much been legal for Idaho with this same rifle.
Here are a couple pics of the 5 port brake I machined out of some 416 SS to help make the little girl a pleasure to shoot. I would compare recoil to that similiar to a 270 Win in a sporter weight rifle, not bad at all.
It has been raining ALOT for around here lately but today there was a break around lunch time so I closed the shop for a couple hours, grabbed all my barrel break in equipment and headed up to the range to see how she shot.
It took a couple sight in rounds to get close to the 20" steel gong at 980 yards but once she was there I was able to put three rounds into an 11" triangle on the steel. I was plenty happy with this as I was cleaning the bore between shots and only beginning on the barrel break in. What made me feel really good was that the last two shot landed within 3" of each other. The load I was using was a relatively mild load pushing the 300 gr SMK right at 3300 fps.
I would have liked to have shot her more but the rain moved back in and by the time I got over to load up the gong it was a pretty good rain coming down and a bit of an adventure getting out to the highway!!!
One reason I wanted to get this rifle finished was because I have several customers that want Idaho legal weight rifles built in my 338 AM as well as my new 375 AM chamberings. This rifle gave me a solid basis point so that I know what I need to do to make weight now.
As you see it in the pics, the rifle weighs in at 17 lbs 9 oz.
It would not be a big deal to get a rifle like this to make legal weight in Idaho. There are a couple things with my rifle that I could change. Namely, the barrel. My "Allen32" contour is a barrel I had Dan Lilja make for me to use on my Xtreme Heavy Sporter rifles.
It has a 1.350" barrel shank for roughly 6.5" and then contours down from that point to the muzzle where it has a diameter of 0.970" at 33.5".
First off, cutting the barrel back to 32" would have saved a bit of weight but changing the muzzle diameter to 0.900" would drop a significant amount of weight off the barrel.
A barrel made to these specs would drop 12 oz off the rifle. That would bring total rifle weight down to 16 lbs 13 oz.
One can also order the A-5 stock with their Edge technology which uses carbon fiber instead of fiberglass and drops finished stock weights by 8 oz.
One could also use heat treated aluminum pillars in the bedding which would cut even more weight.
There are many things that can be done to easily get this type of rifle into a weight range that would make it legal for hunting in Idaho. Figuring I have an extremely heavy piece of glass on this rifle, switching to a Leupold Mk 4 would drop another 10 full ounces off the rifle weight.
My point is that it is not to difficult to get into a sub 16 lb rifle while retaining an adiquate length barrel with plenty of stiffness and also use a full size tactical style stock such as the McMillan A-5.
In my 375 Allen Mag caliber, barrel length could be shortened to 30" and that would still be plenty because of the efficency of the larger bore diameter. The larger bore also take more weight out of the barrel all else being equal as well so the 375 AM would be even easier to get into this class of rifle.
Here is a pic of the barrel engraving.
Here is a pic comparing one of my standard Xtreme Sporters in 270 AM with a 30" barrel to my Xtreme Heavy Sporter in 338 AM. In this pic there does not look to be that much difference but the XHS is certainly longer and about 7 lbs heavier as well. Either make 1000 yard hits rather easy with good ammo and an accurate drop chart.
All in all, I am very happy with the results of this rifle and with a bit more load work and barrel break in, I have no doubt she will be playing with group sized well under moa out out to the 1 mile mark. More to come soon!!!