Mass vs. rigidity - repeating action vs. single shot?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by David P. Herne, Nov 23, 2002.

  1. David P. Herne

    David P. Herne Well-Known Member

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    Gentlemen,
    Until relatively recently, I never considered the influence on accuracy of certain variables in rifle construction. Then I called a riflesmith to which our 'Godfather' Len Backus referred me (John Geiges of Younges Island, S.C.) and began to hear compelling arguments for the merits of mass vs. rigidity in the components incorporated into a rifle as well as the single shot vs. the repeating action. Before meeting John, I'd never considered using either a massive, benchrest-type, single shot action nor a massive stock having so many of the features of a benchrest stock in a rifle. Indeed, when I called John to discuss having him build a rifle for me, I had a Dakota Arms or HS Precision action and a McMillan A-2 or M40 stock in mind. Of course, John saw that accuracy - particularly at great distances - was my supreme concern. So he fiercely asserted his opinion that a more massive, single shot action and thicker stock (particularly through the action/bedding area) would be necessary in order that I might achieve my aims (no pun intended). Of course, John wanted to use a Nesika Bay Precision Model L action, which is much more massive than either of the actions I had considered, despite my concerns that these action have receivers made of stainless steel, a metal much softer than the 4140/4340 chromoly of which Dakota Arms and HS Precision actions are hewn. Also, John wanted to use a McMillan McHale stock by virtue of the fact that these are significantly thicker/deeper through the action/bedding area than either of the stocks that I had considered. In the end, I gave John my blessing in light of the fact that he has been in the business of custom riflesmithing for some 25 years, to to my delight, he produced a rifle for me that consistently shoots ragged holes off the bench at not just 100 yards, but 200 yards! Later, I took John's rifle to a local riflesmith (Pete Pieper of Hempstead, TX) whom I've known for years but never approached about doing a project for me. He admitted to feeling a bit betrayed and probably in part due to his bad feelings boasted that he could take the action out of the Dakota Arms sporter rifle I already had and with one of the aforementioned stocks (an A-2 or M40) build a rifle that would shoot just as accurately as John's work. Three months later Pete called and told me to come and pick up the rifle. And guys, the stick shoots just as well as John's, despite its being a lighter, repeating actioned rifle. NOTE: BOTH OF THESE RIFLES HAVE HART BARRELS OF THE SAME CONTOUR AND LENGTH AND BOTH ARE 7MM DAKOTA MAGNUMS!!!!!

    How say you, gentlemen?!?!

    Regards,
    D.H.

    [ 11-24-2002: Message edited by: Houston Boy ]

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  2. Mysticplayer

    Mysticplayer Writers Guild

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    This may get me in a lot of hot water, but these statements are based on my experiences and rifles.

    Accurate rifles do not have to be heavy. Weight does make it easier to hold steady and reduces felt recoil.

    Barrels do not have to be heavy to shoot well. The thicker, heavier barrel does heat up slower and tends to wander less. If restricting to 3 shots, any contour will work.

    Stocks do not have to be big and bulky to shoot well. BR type stocks just make it so much easier to handle canting and smooth/consistent recoil. Rigid and stable stocks are necessary. Material does not matter as long as the stock meets the above.

    Quality of barrel does matter. However, proper cutting of the chamber and throat are just as important. Get the best barrel you can afford in a contour that matches your needs. Have it installed by someone who knows what they are doing and can cut a straight concentric chamber.

    Bolt action style (single shot or mag.) doesn't matter. As long as the action is "true" to the bore, has consistent and even lock up, consistent firing pin impact and a good trigger, the rest is up to meeting a set of rules or personal fancy.

    I am not a big believer in action flex. If some math genius can approx the torque caused by the departing bullet, I would guess that it is a very small number. With a front locking bolt, where is the movement backwards? If there were, the bedding would eventually wear out and the action would start to move visibly. if so, use more rigid stock and bedding material (pillar bed and a larger recoil lug would be good ideas).

    Accurate rifles come from shooting accurate bullets in a well developed load, through a good barrel, with the appropriate twist. All that mounted on an action with a light crisp trigger, well bedded in a good fitting rigid and stable stock.

    So you see, you have proven this to yourself with your two rifles. At the end of the day, you are lucky to have two tackdrivers, each with its own special personality.

    Nice to also have quality gunsmiths at your disposal too.

    Enjoy...

    Jerry
     

  3. bgordon

    bgordon Well-Known Member

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    Mar 15, 2002
    A second on what Jerry said.

    The big heavy target style rifles are more convenient to shoot well and have many improvements to give trouble free operation over many thousands of rounds.
    The lighter rifles are more convenient to carry around, but are a more well rounded type of rifle.
    The gunsmith and components are more important than the concept of light or heavy or sigle shot or repeater.
     
  4. David P. Herne

    David P. Herne Well-Known Member

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    Jerry & Bruce,
    Thanks so much for the feedback!!!

    Regards,
    D.H.
     
  5. MAX

    MAX Well-Known Member

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    I'll third that and say you are blessed as well. If its too much of a burden I'll help you carry one. Maybe not in the direction you want though.... [​IMG]
     
  6. David P. Herne

    David P. Herne Well-Known Member

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    Max,
    It's so irrelevant, but in the event you came lookin' back in here I just wanted to let you know that I got a huge laugh out of your comment above. The point is, I love this bulletin board. I thank the Lord for all you guys!

    Best,
    D.H.
     
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    [ 07-11-2003: Message edited by: S1 ]