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Topics - autoxforfun

Bolt Action Rifles / 6mm Dasher X-Bolt
May 31, 2022, 08:53:50 PM
I wanted to have a 6 Dasher that was less than 17 lbs.  So I found an X-bolt that I could rebarrel and dumped the plastic stock.  I had a 29" MTU 6mm barrel blank sitting in the safe and ordered a Richard's stock all set for the X-bolt.  I decided to cut some of the height off of the butt stock so that it would sit lower and also plained off some of the forearm.  Spent a few hours on the lathe chambering the barrel and sanding down the stock.  It came in right under 17lbs with lens I have a couple of ounces to play with if needed at weigh in.  Plan to take it out later this week and put the first rounds down the pipe.  This is the most complex build I've done.
Reloading / Nosler 115g RDF
May 31, 2022, 07:43:42 PM
I picked up a box of Nosler 115g RDFs the other day.  Upon inspection, I must say, they are a nice looking bullet.  The tip looks perfect.  Don't need to point them...they are the nicest looking high BC bullet I've seen.  I had not heard great reports about them so I then decided to sort the box by weight.  This may be why no one is raving about them.  The weight variation was bigger than any of the Berger bullets I've weighed.  They ranged from 114.88 to 115.42 which is a bunch for a 1000 yard bullet.  But now that I've sorted them by weight, need to verify their BTO and then load some up and see how they shoot.  Hope they shoot as well as they look.
Competition / Sinclair Bench Rest
May 18, 2022, 10:52:50 PM
I've been using a Sinclair Bench Rest for some time and it comes setup for a 3" forearm.  I wanted to use a 5" on my Heavy Gun but trying to change the rest was going to be difficult.  I was cruising thru Brownell's the other day and found two items that would allow me to build a separate head for the Sinclair base.  They had the main adjustment wheel and stud for not that much money.  My next step was to order some 3/8 alum bare stock (1/2", 2", 3") from Speedy Metals, visit the local ACE hardware for some stainless cap screws and spend a day at the drill press.  I now have two heads (3" and 5") that can be quickly interchanged on the same base.
Reloading / VihtaVuori/Berger 95g VLD load
April 04, 2022, 05:43:56 PM
I tried a new combination in the 6 Grendel today.  Given the smaller nature of the cartridge, I wanted to see if reducing the bullet weight and increasing the MV would be a net positive.  I got some Berger 95g VLD's and VihtaVuori N133 powder.  Loaded the VLD's with a slight jam (0.009) and shot them in a 30" McGowan barrel.  Was able to very easily get 2950 fps and it shot the best that it has ever shot...even in some mild wind.  I liked how the powder metered and they claim it is temperature stable.  This is the first time I've used a VihtaVuori powder but so far I am pleased.
Competition / 2022 600/1000 yard NBRSA Nationals
April 03, 2022, 11:16:57 PM
Time has gone by so is time again for the NBRSA Nationals 600/1000 yard match here at SacValley.  It starts on April 18th and goes the whole week.  Got to check out a couple loads and then start loading the 100's of round required for the week.  Looks like there will be around 25 competitors.  I think the cost of gas and hotels has put a damper on some of the attendance.
Reloading / I've been "Jammin"
February 21, 2022, 05:52:20 PM
For all of the reloading I've done, I have occasionally loaded to touching the lands but mostly I've been a jumper.  Given the short supply of Hybrids, I picked up some VLDs (105g and 115g).  Getting the 115g to shoot was the priority in the 6CM.  I needed a good Light Gun for 600 yard BR matches and I thought this would be a good choice.  So I've been jumping them and didn't find anything that I really I figured I will start jamming them.

I started at 0, then 0.003 and 0.007 into the lands.  We had some windy conditions today at SacValley (10-12mph) so I wasn't sure how well this testing would work out.  The 0.007 shot the best with consistent 5 shot groups in the 2.00 to 2.25" range at 600 yards..  I was nervous that jamming would increase the pressure so I loaded some with a lower powder charge.  Glad I did.   My normally safe load started generating pressure signs at increased Jam.  So having a reduce powder charge paid off.

There is a NBRSA 600 yard match next I now have the 6CM for LG and the 6 Dasher for HG.   Just need to do some loading.
Competition / Good article/video on Bart Sauter
February 11, 2022, 11:13:18 AM
Found this write up on a recent win by Bart Sauter.  I found the videos and Q&A useful.
Reloading / Flatenning the curve
January 01, 2022, 08:08:42 PM
I went out yesterday morning to shoot an experiment.  I've noticed in my competition matches, especially in Heavy Gun where you'll shoot 50 rounds, that the groups tend to get worse as the match progresses.  As an example, I shot the Dasher last month at 1000 yards,  The first two 10-shot groups were in the mid 90's for score and 3-5 inches.  The third group opened up quite a bit compared to the first two.  So the experiment was to shoot 50 rounds like in a match and then measure each round/group to see what changed.  

This particular morning was cold (for CA).  it was in the low 30's and overcast.  The first thing I discovered was that RL-15 and RL-17 are indeed temperature sensitive.  As I shot both the Dasher and the 6 Grendel,   both rounds were a 100+ fps lower than what I expected and what I had seen working up the load.

I've attached a couple graphs from the data I collected for the Dasher.  I shot the 50 rounds in 7 groups.  The first 15 (3 groups)  were to represent sighters, then two 10 shot groups (record groups), a 5 shot sighter group and the final 10 shot record group.  From the average MV per group, the average gained roughly 20 fps from the start to the finish.  The 2nd graph is the MV of each individual shot.  There are some interesting excursions of a few rounds. (I didn't collect the first 2 cold bore shots).

I was thinking of either increasing the load for the first 30 rounds or perhaps reducing the load for the last 20.  This should have the effect of keeping all of the rounds closer to the same MV and in the node.
Gunsmithing / New Bolt
November 19, 2021, 07:59:33 PM
Back in the summer I ordered a new Savage bolt from PT&G for the 6.5CM.  I measured the ID of the action and then took their recommendation of 0.002 for clearance and ordered a bolt.  The stock bolt has 0.010 of clearance and that seems pretty consistent for the Savages that I have...but the ID's do vary several thousandths between them.   It arrived today and looks pretty good.   Looking forward to getting it all put together.
Reloading / Bullet Pointing
November 16, 2021, 12:24:24 PM
Don't know how many folks take the time to 'point' their bullets.  There are a couple dies available to do this with the best probably being the trimmer/pointer set made by Hoover.

The other option that I use (mainly because I didn't know about Hoover until after I purchased this one) is from Widden.  I don't trim the length which I think would be an additional benefit.

Yesterday, at our Monday BR 600 yard practice session, I decided to see if I could tell the difference between pointed and non-pointed BART's Hammer 105g bullets in the 6mm Dasher.  I wanted to verify the load window as well so I loaded up 30 rounds with 10 each at 32.9g, 33.0g and 33.1g of RL-15.  Within each 10, 5 were pointed and 5 were left alone.  This gave me 3 data points for comparison...which is not a lot.  So the results indicated a direction but I don't think absolutely conclusive.  Before firing the 6 5-shot groups, there were 25 rounds fired to adequately warm and foul the barrel.

For the 3 loads of non-pointed bullets, the groups were between 2" - 2.5"
For the 3 loads of pointed bullets, the groups were between 1.5" - 1.75".

My take away from this experiment was that for this bullet, pointing made a measurable improvement.   Other bullets may get different results.

Does anyone else have any data regarding the impact of pointing has one their performance?

Gunsmithing / Black Walnut BR Stock
November 07, 2021, 06:05:55 PM
I was pretty burned out with reloading after shooting the Nationals last month, so I thought I would get after a little project I had in the wings.  I had found a small stock maker earlier in the year that made all of his stocks from native CA black walnut wood.  He would get it from a number of orchards in the area when trees went down.  He was wanting to retire and get out of the business so I thought I would help him out and picked up a bench rest style stock.  It was inlet for a Remington action, with a right port and magazine well.  I really needed a single shot stock with a left after some thought, I figured I could make it work.

The port was easy, just needed to relieve the left side of the stock to match the port....still have the right side relief but not a big deal.  I also had to open up the forearm for the larger barrel but that was pretty simple to do with a 1" sanding drum. The harder part was what to do with the magazine well.  When I was doing the bedding of the action, I mixed up additional bedding compound (JB Weld) and filled in the well.  Then cut the relief for the trigger guard and sanded it smooth to the bottom of the stock.  There were a few air-bubble that I exposed as I sanded (the dark spots in the photo) but they are quite small.  This replaced the laminate stock on the 6mm Grendel, since it was not really suited for BR shooting.  Looking forward to taking it out.
Gunsmithing / Ordered a lathe
October 30, 2021, 10:52:22 PM
I've been looking for a lathe for a long time.....there were a lot of auto projects where I would have loved to have one.  Now with the gunsmithing activities, the list of things I could do just got longer.  I looked for a good used one but either I found junk or they were just too big for my shop.  Many required 440VAC 3-phase which would be a challenge for my residential power feed. 

I have an order in at Grizzly for a 14" model.    It is from China which I'm not fond of but the price was right and the reviews were all pretty positive.  Don't know when it will get here since it was back ordered and likely sitting in one of the several hundred container ships off the CA coast.

I've been rearranging the shop to find a place for it and moving some electrical outlets around.  It weighs around 1500 lbs so getting in should prove to be a challenge.
Reloading / Sorting Bullets
September 03, 2021, 07:22:07 PM
I'm about 5-6 weeks away from the local Nationals 600/1000 yard event.  I need around 400 rounds for the match and need to start getting ready.  I plan on shooting 105g Berger Hybrids in the Dasher, 115g VLDs in the 6mm CM and 140 Hybrids in the 6.5 CM.  Today, I started sorting the 105g Hybrids.  There has been some discussion on what parameters most useful for sorting.  I am going with first sorting by BTO followed by a sort by weight.  For now, I'm going to let the OAL be what it is.  Since I will point these prior to loading, in the future, I may trim them all to length prior to pointing and remove this variable.  I got thru around 500 today....painful process.

Yesterday, I sorted 250 once fired Alpha that brass is good.  Need to do the same for the 6/6.5 CM brass.
General Discussion / What I did today
August 13, 2021, 06:10:25 PM
My box of fired brass was getting pretty full so this morning I decided to get after it.  There was just over 400 rounds (6CM, 6,5CM, Dasher, 243Win, 6 Grendel, 243 WSSM).   They were all annealed, stainless steel pin tumbled, rinsed, sorted and set out to dry.  While I was waiting for the tumbling, I made decisions on which rifles to shoot at the upcoming Nationals and then weighed the light guns candidates to make sure they were all under the 17 lb limit.
Gunsmithing / Different Barrels
August 13, 2021, 10:42:29 AM
Over the past several months as I've been doing a more thorough cleaning, I've noticed a clear difference between barrel manufactures and how easy they are to clean.  There are a few where getting the carbon out is a long process while others clean up with with only a moderate amount of effort.  These are all after market barrels from reputable suppliers.  Have others seen this?

One thing to note, which is how I break in the barrel....that is I don't.  I don't do the shoot once-clean once process.  I will go and take 10-20 shots, usually to zero and get some initial data, and then go and clean it well.  After that, I'm done with any break-in.  In thinking about this, depending on how well the barrel has been lapped, I could see that differences in the finish could have an impact on how the carbon will bond to the metal.  So doing the shoot once-clean once could help prevent this initial build up and perhaps remove some of the initial roughness.
Gunsmithing / Throat Reamer
August 11, 2021, 11:05:00 PM
I had a barrel that had a short Freebore and I was about to replace it.  I did some research and found a throat reamer at PT&G that could be used by hand and didn't require a lathe.  So I bought it (for 6mm) and very carefully increased the freebore.  I am planning on shooting it tomorrow to see how well it works.  But it did allow me to set the bullets out farther which is what I wanted.  The nice thing about the reamer is that is not cartridge specific but only bore specific.  So I can use it on pretty much any 6mm barrel I have.
Gunsmithing / Barrel Stub Gauge
July 21, 2021, 04:03:40 PM
When I ordered the 6mm Dasher barrels from SPR, they offered me a stub gauge.   Since the barrel length was being cut from 31" to 28" finished length, they took the small piece of barrel and then ran the reamer to create a copy of the chamber.  It doesn't have a full chamber but rather from the shoulder out to the throat.  At first, I wasn't sure what I would do with it.  They said that it was a good way to compare throat erosion since you will have a constant base line to compare against.  Well, I must say, I have found this a very useful tool.  Some things I've used it for:

1) Since it is useful to measure erosion, then it must be good to measure distance to the lands.  This makes using the Hornady gauge a piece of cake.  Makes the process much easier.
2) Since you can get to the  neck, measuring the chamber neck diameter is directly doable.
3) Made finding the max neck length easy

For the cost ($40.00), well worth it.  
General Discussion / John Moses Browning
June 18, 2021, 11:32:54 AM
There have been a few books written about John Browning, with probably the most notable being the one written by the family.  This year a new book was released on the life of this man.  'The Guns of John Moses Browning' by Nathan Gorenstein.  I'm about half way thru it and find it very enjoyable and a good compliments to the prior books.   There is some additional research done by Mr. Gorenstein that collaborates and at time conflicts with prior accounts.  The book is readily available via Amazon.  If you want something to take up those idle periods, I think you will find this very enjoyable.
I have used Quickload for a couple years and then gave Gorden's tool a try about a year ago.  It was pretty limited in the options for powders, bullets etc.  I just downloaded the latest release and it has made a huge improvement in this area.  If you don't have Quickload and are looking for some reloading software, I would suggest you give it a good look.  Also, for those how might care, besides being supported on Windows, it is also supported on Linux.

Here is the link to it.  There is no cost but you do need to register.
Reloading / Extra Brass Pieces
May 05, 2021, 08:37:35 PM
I was sizing and prepping some new brass today.  I found some SRP 6mm Creedmoor brass that I wanted to move to so I could balance by primer usage between LRP and SRP.  As I was blowing out the brass, I found all of these pieces wedged inside the cartridge.  It took a bit of work to get them out.  This is from one of my favorite suppliers so I don't want to throw them under the bus.  But just a reminder that all MFG processes will have a percentage of bad stuff.  I cleaned it all out and then weighed it and it was within the range of the others.  It looked good as I peered inside so I have marked it and will shoot it.  Not sure how all this stuff got in there.

Any one