Category Archives: Rifles

The Big News for Fred Zeglin, April 2018

How many authors can brag that they held #1 in two categories on Amazon.com?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I am one of them so here I am, bragging.

Last month (April 2018) Gordy Gritters and I (Fred Zeglin) released our new book, “Chambering Rifles for Accuracy”.  This book is the 3rd in the Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series. Obviously the reception of the book and it’s counterparts in the series has been very good.  It’s gratifying to see our work appreciated by so many customers.

On behalf of Gordy and myself.

Thank you for pushing us to #1 on Amazon during the first week of April.

#1 on Amazon

#1 in Two Categories on Amazon!

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Flathead Valley Community College offers AAS in Firearms.

Learn Skills

Projects that Challenge

Heading into our fifth year, this program started out as a two-semester certificate program created to provide a solid foundation in theory, design and function of firearms. In 2017 the program grew to include a second two-semester certificate. The second certificate will interest folks who are more interested in traditional gunsmithing and custom gun work. The Big new for 2018 is that the Board of Regents authorized a two year degree that combines all the classes into an Associate of Applied Sience (AAS).

Course topics will include firearms safety, manual mill and lathe operation, bench metal techniques, firearms repair, machine tools for gunsmiths and precision rifle building. Stock making, checkering, bluing and other finish techniques are taught along with custom modifications of all kinds of firearms.  Many of the classes have little or no prerequisites, so they are open to anyone who would like to learn and expand their experience with guns, contact the school for more information.

Students who successfully complete the program will be prepared for entry-level positions in the firearms industry and will have a better understanding and knowledge base for owning a gunsmith business. The program contains both lecture and significant hands-on training designed to instill an understanding of the design and function of today’s firearms.

“FVCC has the only Firearms Technologies Certificate Program of its kind in the country,” said FVCC Firearms Technologies Coordinator Fred Zeglin. “Students are challenged to develop skills that are not part of any other program. We are very proud to now offer a two year AAS degree that will jump start a student’s career in firearms.  By partnering with manufacturers in our area we have assembled a program that addresses the needs of the employers.”

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and able to legally own and possess firearms. A background check is required for all students who are accepted into the program.

The program was developed to build upon a foundational machining background, which is provided through the college’s Tier I Machining Certificate Program. Tier 1 Machining . Firearms Technologies Program applicants with industry or previous learning experience may opt to bypass the Tier 1 Machining Certificate Program by requesting testing and/or instructor consent.

Prospective students must apply both to the Firearms Technologies Program and for admission to FVCC. Firearms Technologies Program applications are available online at www.fvcc.edu/firearms or in the Admissions Office in Blake Hall on the FVCC Kalispell campus. For more information, contact Will Richards at 756-4862 or wrichards@fvcc.edu.

Download the application to attend classes

NPR story about the program

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Chambering Rifles for Accuracy

Have you ever wanted to be a gunsmith?

Or, do you just want to know what a gunsmith does to make your rifles more accurate?

This book is idea for both the guy making a living in gunsmithing and the hobbyist who wants to know how.  It’s no B.S. approach is to tell you all the considerations that go into accuracy in a rifle.  It’s not just the barrel, or how its installed.  Things like trigger jobs and the quality of the ammunition certainly play into the equation.

When I went to gunsmithing school we were taught a rudimentary understanding of how to install a barrel.  A simple list of the facts would be:

  • Face the barrel breach square to the muzzle
  • Put the barrel in a four jaw chuck
  • Install a spider on the outboard side of the lathe head
  • use the chuck and spider to dial in the barrel on the bore.
  • Thread the barrel
  • Chamber the barrel
  • turn it around and dial it in again
  • Crown
  • Polish and blue

Very little was taught about headspace, tollerances, throats, crowns or various ways to hold the reamer for better results.  My first year working in a  gun shop in Coeur d’Alene, ID I learned more about this subject than I did in two years of school.  Luckily I worked for a guy who had years of experience and had learned a lot of useful tricks.  Once my mind was opened up the concept of constantly looking for a better way, the flood gates opened up.  I have tried just about every tool and method I could think of or that I was made aware of.  Some things work better than others and often it’s a matter of personal taste as to which method works best in your shop.  With that said, facts are facts.   Some methods and tools really improve the quality of the work performed, sometimes they are no better but the speed the process aiding the working gunsmith in making a decent living.

My Buddy Gordy Gritters and I were discussing this subject and quickly came to the conclusion that we had a book in the making.  Our combined experience is over 75 years working in the gun industry.  This book is #3 in the “Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series”.

I took on the task of describing methods, tools, and all the variables that go into accuracy, no matter who is doing the work.  Gordy took on the task of writing about the methods used for benchrest quality barrel work.  You see there is a substantial difference in the cost of a hunting rifle over a bench rest gun.  The reason for this is simple, time and effort spent on detail after detail when you build bench rest guns.  In short, it cost money to squeeze every bit of accuracy from a gun.

It ended up that we split the book into two parts.  Part I is about hunting rifles and how to get sub-MOA results and not have to sell the farm to pay for it.  Part II is no holds barred, spend all the time and money that it takes to punch holes in the paper that are so close together that it’s tough to tell more than one shot was fired…

Whether you are a gunsmithing customer who wants to understand what is involved, a hobby gunsmith needing to learn or a professional who wants to hone skills that will make you money; This book is for you.

ISBN-13: 978-0983159858

 

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Christensen Arms, Modern Precision Rifle

Additional Calibers added to the Modern Precision Rifle™

Gunnison, UT – (January 16, 2018) Building upon the successful launch of the Modern Precision Rifle, Christensen Arms has expanded the caliber offerings for the popular rifle.  Beginning in January 2018, just in time for SHOT Show, the Modern Precision Rifle will be offered in a long-action configuration with .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum available. Additionally, Christensen Arms has added the new 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge to the short-action lineup.  Also chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester.

IMG_9868

The Modern Precision Rifle was developed with a proprietary chassis built with aerospace materials to optimize weight savings (16” .308 weighs under 7lbs).  It also includes an adjustable folding stock with a locking hinge mechanism, an oversized fluted bolt knob, and a black nitride coated bolt, receiver, and muzzle brake.  The Modern Precision Rifle is built with an aerograde carbon fiber barrel, free-floating handguard, and adjustable comb; and is guaranteed to shoot sub MOA.

“…as a benchmark, the MPR is going to be damned hard to top,” said Brian McCombie of American Hunter after his initial review of Christensen Arms’ new rifle.

About Christensen Arms
Founded in Utah in 1995, with roots in the aerospace industry, Christensen Arms developed the first carbon fiber rifle barrel. This patented technology resulted in one of the most innovative advances in firearms within the last two and a half decades. With more than 20 years of firearm experience focusing on incorporating top-tier aerospace materials and processes, Christensen Arms manufactures some of the most lightweight, precise, and accurate firearms in the industry and around the globe.

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10mm Carbine from Hi-Point

Stop laughing already…

Here’s the thing, Hi-Point Firearms is unapologetic about offering some of the lowest priced American-made firearms on the market.  But did you know they offer excellent customer service and stand behind the quality of the products they make?  They Do.

Some other gun makers to take a lesson or two from Hi-Point about reliability.  Over and over again I have read reports of reliability tests on these guns the just frustrate anyone who plans to hate them.  They feed just about any ammo and just keep running.  One of my buddies took all the reloads in .380 ACP that failed in his expensive big name guns and ran them through a Hi-Point without a single failure to feed or fire.  That’s a pretty tall order for any gun.

Being probably the cheapest carbine in the market place and being known for reliability will get many shooters to ignore the fact that the guns are not going to win any beauty contests.  Nobody is ever going to checker plastic stocks or engrave a Hi-Point.  But if your looking for a rough and tumble truck gun…  This is it.

In 2018, Hi-Point is adding power to its carbine line with a new 10 mm version that accepts a 10-round single-stack magazine and it’s +P rated. The rubber cheek rest, recoil absorbing stock and a trigger that is at least acceptable, will all contribute to more fun at the range. The 17.5″ barrel has a threaded muzzle with a sight rail for optics  and a lower rail for accessories, dare I refer to them as Pic-rails.   Until this 10mm came along I was not ready to own one, now I will have to add one to the collection.

MSRP: $389.99

 

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224 Valkyrie introduced by Federal Premium

Federal Premium® has announced introduction in time for the 2018 SHOT Show, a new cartridge designed to capture market in the popular MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle; Don’t you hate all these acronyms…) AR-15 platform.    The cartridge is design to capture the hearts of long-range precision shooters. The 224 Valkyrie produces flat trajectories, and  claims match-grade accuracy and supersonic velocities beyond 1,300 yards downrange.

“It beats the ballistics of all other MSR 15 cartridges, including the 22 Nosler, 223 Rem. and 6.5 Grendel. Plus, it offers comparable performance to larger rounds like the 6.5 Creedmoor, with roughly half the felt recoil—and at a more economical price,” explains Mike Holm, Federal Premium Centerfire Ammunition Global Product Lane.  “The 224 Valkyrie is based on a 30 Rem./6.8 SPC case necked down to .224 caliber,”

Shooters can review the technical specifications for the new round once it is approved by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) which is expected in January at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. At that time, information such as chamber specifications and cartridge pressure standards, proof pressure range and barrel length/twist recommendations will be communicated. Cartridge and chamber drawings will also be available soon after SAAMI approves the cartridge for standardization.

Testing conducted by Federal Premium engineers using 24-inch test barrels with a 1:7 twist revealed the 224 Valkyrie offers up to 128 inches less drop and 69 inches less wind drift (with a 10 mph crosswind) at 1,000 yards than other MSR 15 rounds. The new cartridge also offers significant advantages in velocity and energy.

Print

Courtesy of Federal Premium®

The 224 Valkyrie will initially be available in four loads: 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing, 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint, 90-grain Fusion MSR and 75-grain American Eagle TMJ. These proven Federal Premium bullet offerings provide options for long-range competitors, target shooters and hunters pursuing game from varmints up to deer-sized animals.

Federal created a new 90-grain .224-caliber Fusion bullet specifically designed for hunting deer sized game. In a test barrel the 90-grain Fusion exits the muzzle at 2,570 fps. This is going to be the thumper that P.O. Ackley pushed for 50 years ago. He stated back then that a “bullet of the CORRECT DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION” was necessary for such cartridges.  Such bullets have not really been available until recent years.

224ValkyrieVs22_250

224 Valkyrie ammo dimensions estimated from reamer print.

Federal Premium engineers designed the 224 Valkyrie for gas-driven MSR 15 actions, bu it’s also extremely effective from bolt guns. “You can also buy a new upper and use it with your existing lower. A gunsmith or other person trained in building MSRs can also make the necessary modifications. The easiest way for shooters to capitalize on the new cartridge is purchase a firearm from one of the many gun makers jumping on the 224 Valkyrie bandwagon,” says Holm.

Reloading data will be available in spring of 2018, when SAAMI releases it’s specifications.  Reloading die sets will be available from RCBS, and other ammo-building components will also be offered by several popular brands.

There are nearly 20 gun makers who have already started producing guns for the 224 Valkrie.  So if your hoping to try one out, it should not be hard to locate a gun in your local store before long.  4D Reamer Rentals LTD has already bought reamers and gauges for this new cartridge, in stock even before SHOT Show.

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Short Term Gunsmithing Program Returns to FVCC!

First class to be offered in the updated program of Short Term Gunsmithing classes will be Taming Wildcats, taught by Fred Zeglin at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) in Kalispell, MT.

This class will be offered during the Christmas Break, January 2018.  This is a one week class, non-credit.  Students learn the particulars of designing a wildcat cartridge.  Factors like the gun it will be used in, pressure, headspace, how to form brass are all taught.  Students also make reamer and reloading dies for the cartridges so they can experiment with the information they learn.Wildcat Cartridges by Fred Zeglin

If you are interested you need to know how to run a manual lathe and mill.  Fred has taught this class many times and students always come away surprised at how much they learn in just one week.  This class was the reason Fred wrote his book on Wildcat Cartridges.

This is just the first in a new Short Term Gunsmithing program to be offered in the summer of 2018 by FVCC.  Watch the Continuing Education pages for more classes soon.  This a  fun way for both hobby and professional  gunsmiths to build their skills and enjoy firearms even more.

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5.56 x 45 (Nato) vs. 223 Remington; The Ongoing Saga

The subject of 223 Remington vs. 5.56×45 (5.56 Nato) is a popular source of discussion.

Probably one of the best blog posts on this subject can be found at http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/5-56-vs-223/

One item this and most of the discussions seem to overlook is headspace.  Since this blog leans more toward gunsmithing subjects, I wanted make sure this subject was discussed.   I often hear from clients that the 5.56 and the 223 differ in headspace.  The truth is, when I checked the various gauge makers they are all working to the same standard.

Why is this important?

Mainly because educating the shooting public minimizes accidents and makes life easier for all concerned.  None of the articles I looked at mentioned headspace.  Most of the chamber dimensions being shared do not include headspace dimensions.  This may be in part because they are so hard to locate for the 5.56 Nato.

Forster Products publishes the data for their 5.56 gauges.  Minimum headspace (Go gauge) is 1.4636” according to their specifications with a tolerance of -.0003”.  With the Maximum (Field gauge) measuring 1.4736”; that’s 10/1000s of an inch longer than the go gauge.  Most No-go gauges would be set .004” to .006”  longer than the Go gauge.  The Pacific Tool & Gauge print shown here uses a Go gauge that measures 1.4636”.

5.56 Nato Print

Look at the Minimum Headspace dimension listed on this print, it is identical to the dimension used on the 223 Remington.

SAAMI specifications for the 223 Remington show a Minimum headspace (Go gauge) of 1.4636” identical to the military spec for the 5.56×45.  The Nato round is not a SAAMI cartridge, so they do not provide prints or specification for it.

My curiosity as to why so many shooters think there is a difference between the gauges for these two, led me to do an Internet search to see what people are reading.  I consider all material on the Internet to be of dubious quality until I can confirm the data through trustworthy sources.  What I found was interesting; you have to dig deep to find anything that pertains to headspace and the 5.56 Nato.

What is easy to locate are drawings which purport to show why the two cartridges are not the same.  The dimensions  they are concerned with mostly have to do with the junction of the body and shoulder plus the shoulder and neck.  In the real world the camming action of the bolt closing would be more than sufficient to deal with the tiny difference that might exist in the brass.  Frankly there is more variation in tolerances allowed that these drawings account for, in short, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

One Internet source shows the Military gauge .001” longer than is found in the prints mentioned above.  Even if that were the case, that is only 1/5th of the difference between a standard Go and No-go gauge for the 223 Remington.  To be totally clear, it would make NO difference.

Conclusion:  Headspace gauges for the 223 Remington and the 5.56 Nato are identical.  The differences between the cartridges has to do with case wall thickness and how they are loaded.  If you want to shoot either type of ammo in your gun, rechamber it to 223 Wylde.  The Wylde chamber is designed to work safely with both types of ammo.

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28 Nosler Announced at Shot Show 2015

During the first day of SHOT Show 2015 I swung by Nosler’s Booth.  GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

And what to my wundering eyes did appear, the 28 Nosler. That’s right Nosler is adding to their line-up.  The 28 and 26 Nosler utilize the same headspace gauges.

Talking to Mike Lake, who did the design work on these cartridges for Nosler, he stated that everything from 26 to 9.3mm have been registered and approved by SAAMI.  For now, Nosler is only bringing the 28 Nosler to market.

When asked why Nosler took all the designs to SAMMI now Mike said, “We were aware of the wildcats that have appeared on the 26 Nosler case.  So, it just made sense for us to get the dimensions for all the calibers completed and registered with SAAMI.”

The 28 Nosler according to Nosler’s new catalog will push a 160 grain bullet at 3300 feet per second (fps).  A 175 grain bullet will launch at 3125 fps.  In case you were wondering that is faster than the 7mm RUM with less powder.  How is that possible?  Pretty simple really, the 7mm RUM is very over bore, in other words it has too much case capacity for the 7mm bore.

Last years introduction of the 26 Nosler was met with great enthusiasm by shooters.  There is every reason to believe that even more shooters will like the 28 Nosler, 7mm cartridges in general are more popular the 6.5mm in the U.S.  Look for this to be a much discussed cartridge in 2015.

I talked to Pacific Tool & Gauge and 4D Reamer Rentals LTD.  PTG says the 28 is in production already and 4D placed an order for it as soon as the cartridge was announced.  4D also ordered reamers for all the Nosler designs registered with SAAMI.

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Filed under ammo, brass, Firearms, Gunsmithing, Rifles, tools, wildcat

Audio Report: Firearms Technologies Certificate program.

Katrin Frye of Montana Public Radio reported on both the NRA Short Term Gunsmith program and the new full time college credit certificate available at FVCC in Kalispell, MT.   The link below will take you direct to the audio file.

http://cpa.ds.npr.org/kufm/audio/2014/07/FVCC_Firearms_1.mp3

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