Now that the big game season is over, its time to get back to it in the shop and get rolling on turning projects out and getting them shipped. For the past year I have been working on a lighter weight version of my rifles based on the 408 CT parent case. My standard Xtreme Heavy Sporters come in at around 19.5 lbs ready to hunt with, scope mounted, rifle, bipod.
I have made a couple of these rifles before but this is the first I have had the time to actually take pics of because the others were in such a rush to get out. The rifle is basically my Xtreme Heavy Sporter but I went to a dramatically different barrel design to reduce weight.
Other major componants stay the same, BAT Model M 1.55" single shot receiver, McMillan A-5 stock, jewell trigger, steel pillar bedding and my APS Painkiller 5 port muzzle brake.
This is however the first of these rifles I have made in a 375 Allen Magnum, the other two were 338 Allen Magnums.
The idea behind this rifle is to offer those that want a lighter weight extreme range rifle with ALOT of power or for those that want to hunt big game in Idaho which has a 16 lb weight restriction on a big game rifle.
I had never been able to put one of these rifles on a certified scale to know exactly what it would weigh but with this one I was able to take it down to the post office and as you see it, ready to hunt, she weighs 16.1 lbs. I knew it would be close and it does just break the Idaho weight requirement. The rifle will also have another set of NF Ultralight rings on the scope so you will be looking at around 16.4 lbs with the two sets of rings.
The good thing is that this rifle has the adjustable CP which is not required if you use a 50mm objective scope and mount it low as possible. The CP alone will add around 1/2 lb to the stock weight so right there, even with the NF scope and two sets of rings, you will be right at 16 lbs.
If you want even lighter weight, one can drop to a Leupold Mk4 in something like their new 6.5-20x 50mm with the FFP reticle and your another 10 ounces lighter so you would be in the low 15 lb range with the rifle ready to hunt with.
There are many rifles that are precision built for long range hunting that are this weight or less, that is not overly special, what is special is the chambering and reach available with this class of weapon. Nearly 9000 ft/lbs of energy in a rifle no heavier then many conventional varmint rifles and with recoil in the class of a 270 Win Sporter rifle.
Without the need for exotic carbon wrapped barrels, Titanium receivers or Carbon Fiber stocks. We have been told these are all needed to get a rifle of this class into the 15 lb range, that is simply not true.
This barrel is 1.350" diameter at the barrel shank for roughly 5" and then contours down to a muzzle diameter of 0.810" at a finish length of 30" which is plenty of barrel length in my 375 Allen Magnum. This bore size is MUCH less barrel length dependant then the 338 version but even at that, 32" is what I recommend and with that length and a Leupold scope, you can still easily get way under the Idaho rifle weight limit.
In my opinion, the Titanium receivers are more hype then function if your looking for legit weight reduction. They are difficult to make, very expensive and really, just not needed.
I also checked this barrel contour for stiffness compared to a 1.350" barrel shank ABS carbon fiber barrel. With the barrel mounted in the chuck by the first two inches of the shank, I took a 10 lb weight and suspended it off the muzzle end and measured the flex in the barrel. The Carbon fiber barrel flexed 40% more then the all steel fluted Lilja barrel inspite of being nearly 0.200" larger in diameter at the muzzle then the all steel barrel.
Now this is not a hammer on the ABS barrel, it just goes to show that a smaller diameter fluted all steel barrel is stiffer and more rigid then a much larger diameter carbon fiber barrel. WIll the ABS barrel have a longer barrel life, maybe but they also cost $900 for a single barrel and I can get two of these fluted all steel barrels for nearly the same price.......
Carbon fiber shell stocks are great. Manner makes some great ones that would drop the rifle weight even nore with no real increase in price compared to the McMillan stock.
Point being, these rifles are expensive but there is no need to get REALLY exotic and expensive to get this class of rifle into the 15-16 lb range. Again, thats not bare rifle weight, thats rifle, rail, two sets of rings, NF scope and bipod, ready to hunt.