Saturday, May 24, 2008

Minute of William, Update the First

Last November I wrote about a precision shooting rifle project I was contemplating. The following January, once the Christmas/New Year holidays were over, I got together with Steve Prater (click on the Our Staff link) and dropped the gun off with the famous last words, "... no hurry, take as much time as you need." Those of you with experience dealing with a busy gunsmith will appreciate my naivete. :)

As I was preparing to go out into the firing area today, what should I see but Steve walking across the store holding a vaguely familiar looking rifle in his hands. If I hadn't been the only person in the direction he was looking, I mightn't have twigged even as slowly as I did.

He reports that the Marlin T-900 "fire control system" (does anybody make a straightforward trigger group anymore?) isn't the worst contraption he's come across and that mine only needed a good cleaning, reduction of the trigger return spring tension and the sear engagement squared up. As I straight away proved, my rifle's trigger now breaks cleanly and I'll take Steve's word for the 4.1# detail - as I fire the gun more, this will lighten up a bit anyway, hopefully to the desired 3.5# pressure.

Mounted on the Millet Angle Loc scope rings was the Tasco 6-24x40mm AO scope I had earlier picked out as being a decent optical starting point for this project. Frankly, this scope was available from Lock and Load's regular inventory, and the mounting rings are Steve's preferred brand, so I wasn't willing to let a few dollars difference in purchase price be my only buying guide. Even if it hadn't been established shop policy not to charge extra to mount scopes bought from the store.

Still to be acquired is a bipod and sling. These guys are touted as being "just as good as Harris". Since economy specifically is one of the metrics of this project, I may give their 6"-9" model a try. However, they're going to have to come off of their $63.95 msrp since Walmart's online sales site offers actual Harris bipods in the same 6"-9" size starting at only $6 more with free shipping via USPS, delivered to my front door if you please.

Of course, it would help if I had some idea what the actual differences were in the various Harris models available (other than price). Why is this model $24 less than this apparently identical model? There's bound to be some differentiation between each of the examples linked, but is that variance of especial importance to a shooter in my circumstance?

As for a sling, Butler Creek was mentioned by several people I asked, but again, which one, if any of these, is best for the KD range shooting application I'm building for?

Since it's not quite finished* yet (and I didn't bring a case to carry it home in), I left the gun in the shop. After I dialed in the scope, of course. :) A 1/4" dia, 5-round string at 25 yards seems a reasonably close beginning from which to start the refining process. With any luck, I'll be able to enlist some help with all of that, come the day.

Oh yeah, I was also still able to put controlled doubles "within the fist" at 10 yards within the 1 second limit (15 yds took a little longer, or expanded to "within the torso":)).

All in all, a pretty good day. How was yours?

* To the extent something like this is ever "finished". :)


Kevin said...

Your two Harris bipod links go to the same page.

Will Brown said...

Damn. Made a mess of that, didn't I? I think I have the links straightened out now.

The Three models are the BRM Series 1A2 (@ $69.88) - see: "starting at" , the BR Series 1A2 (@ $74.44) - see: "this model" and the BRM Series S (@ $98.88) - see: "this". I'm sure there's a difference between them but Walmart's site doesn't make clear what that consists of.

I checked the Harris site, but I'm not that certain which characteristics are of what value to a non-competitive shooter; ie: is a swivel worth the extra $30? I honestly don't know, I've never used a bipod before. Granted, it's only $30, but I'm hoping to do this for $500 or so and still have other gear to buy.

Thanks for pointing out the screw up, Kevin.

Mr Free Market said...

I am delighted to read that your build projects take as long as mine!

Good luck with getting it finished

Will Brown said...

Why thank you, Mr. FM.

cough burke cough

I don't know about finished, but I am looking forward to the "let's take it out and see what we can do with it" stage of things.

Kevin said...


The BR and BRM bipods are the same height, but the BRM has notches in the legs, and the legs spring OUT when the release is pressed. I prefer these, as the positioning is positive (the catches latch into the notches). On the standard BR, the legs RETRACT when the release is pressed, and they can be extended to any intermediate posiiton. The possibility of unequal leg extension is greater. If shooting of uneven ground is expected, this can be an advantage, but off a shooting bench it isn't.

Will Brown said...

Thanks Kevin, this is precisely the sort of experience-derived information I was looking for.