It’s one of my top picks among Entry Level Bolt Action Rifles, and at this price you’d be crazy to pass one up. Kentucky Gun Co. has the Savage Axis in .308 on sale for only $267.19. Top that gun off with a quality scope for about the same price and you’ve got a fantastic rifle that will fill the freezer for years to come.
Posts tagged Rifles
Hot off the presses, Thompson/Center has issued a recall for their Icon, Venture, and Dimension rifles. If you have one of these rifles, contact Tompson/Center for recall instructions.
Thompson/Center Arms™ has identified a condition that may cause the safety lever on certain ICON®, VENTURE™ and DIMENSION® rifles to bind, preventing the safety from becoming fully engaged. In this situation, closing the bolt may move the safety to the fire position. The rifle will not fire unless the trigger is pulled. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are taking this action to recall the rifles so that the firearm can be inspected by our technicians to ensure that the safety lever functions as designed.
This recall applies to all ICON, VENTURE and DIMENSION rifles manufactured by Thompson/Center Arms prior to June 13, 2013.
STOP USING YOUR RIFLE AND RETURN IT TO THOMPSON/CENTER AT ONCE.
Because the safety of our customers is our utmost concern, we ask that you stop using your rifle until we have an opportunity to inspect the safety lever to ensure its proper function.
To facilitate the inspection and repair, if necessary, of your rifle safety lever, please contact Thompson/Center’s customer service department to receive instructions and a pre-paid shipping label for the return of your rifle to Thompson/Center. Thompson/Center will repair the rifle at no cost to you, and return it to you as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Additional information will be available shortly on our website at www.tcarms.com. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this recall, please contact Thompson/Center at (800) 713-0355.
Probably the most exciting thing to come out of this year’s SHOT Show, to me anyway, is the new Ruger 10/22 Takedown with factory threaded barrel and flash suppressor. It maintains all of the features of the original Takedown 10/22 except in a black-finished alloy steel and with the addition of the aforementioned threads and A2 birdcage style flash suppressor.
The 1/2×28 threads mean that, in addition to taking any AR-15/M16 style muzzle device, it is also ready to have a .22LR can added. Since I’ve been wanting to see how the Takedown 10/22 works with a suppressor for a while, this is the perfect opportunity for me to beg plead and cajole for a T&E model from Ruger.
So – if you guys at Ruger are listening, shoot me an email. I’d love to take one for a test drive!
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Finish: Satin Black
- Twist: 1:16 RH
- Grooves: 6
- Weight: 4.67 lbs.
- Length of Pull: 13.50″
- Barrel Length: 16.62″
- Overall Length: 36.75″
- MSRP: $419.00
The first modification I wanted to make was the addition of a folding stock. When developing an origami-rifle, why Ruger declined to include this as an option is beyond me. Luckily, there are already aftermarket manufacturers who quickly saw the niche and filled it.
Butler Creek has made folding stocks for the 10/22 for years, but the configuration of the the Takedown 10/22 makes these existing products unsuitable. Enter AGP Arms.
As soon as I discovered that they had a folding stock made specifically for the Takedown 10/22 I had to have it. The price was right and shipping extremely fast. Installing the new stock is stupidly simple: remove one screw and the action lifts right out the top of the stock. Drop the action into the new stock and screw it back together and voila. Your Takedown 10/22 just shrank some more.
The only problem I found was cheek weld: using the stock iron sights provided on the gun I found that I had to really get close and comfy with the stock. Being a male 6 feet tall and just shy of 200lbs, I reckon it would probably fit youths and women much better than it does myself. A half inch or one inch butt pad is available with the stock for those like myself who need a little bit longer length of pull.
The stock doesn’t lock in the closed position, but the hinge is tight enough to keep it from swinging open on its own while not making it difficult to open quickly. A spring-loaded black plastic tab locks the stock in the open position, and depressing a button just behind the tab unlocks the stock so that it can once again be folded.
Obviously the nylon construction of the stock, in particular the plastic locking tab, is more prone to wear from normal use than a metal stock in the same configuration. The weight savings more than makes up for this drawback however, and the glass-filled nylon is more than tough enough to last for years of constant use.
You can get your own folding stock for the Ruger Takedown 10/22 at AGP Arms.
The Brown Truck of Happiness™ stopped by my FFL the other day and dropped off my very own Ruger 10/22 Takedown Rifle. My first surprise was finding that the rifle came in a very nice pack, with PALS webbing on the outside and separate pouches with hook-and-loop closures inside to separate the barrel and action and prevent them from knocking together.
The pack itself has only a carry handle at the top, which was a bit disappointing to me. I mean, if you’re going to go through all the effort of making a nice pack like this, at least make it easy to carry. Despite the PALS webbing on the front, there were no provisions for attaching the pack to webbing on my main pack, other than a couple of D-rings placed at the top and bottom of the pack. There is a single sling-style carrying strap also included with the pack that can be attached to the D-rings in various configurations, including a Messenger Bag style carry. But I’d have still rather seen two nice padded backpack-style straps, or at least some MOLLE style straps so it could be attached to other PALS equipped gear.
It also has a Ruger logo rather conspicuously embroidered onto the middle of the top pouch. Nobody will have to guess what the pack likely contains. Oh well. The pack was a bonus on top of the rifle.
Moving on to the rifle itself, we find that Ruger, having sold everyone in the entire nation one 10/22, decided to make the only new variant that could possibly make everyone want a second 10/22. Having had decades to perfect their design, the new Takedown 10/22 is typical Ruger quality construction. This rifle is designed to be taken outdoors, used, and abused. A stainless steel receiver and barrel along with the synthetic stock make this gun nearly impervious to rust and corrosion.
The takedown mechanism is robust and has adjustable tension. A knurled band just forward of the receiver can be used to tighten up things if necessary. Don’t worry about getting lockup horribly tight on this rifle. Accuracy should be just fine with the takedown mechanism tension already set at the factory. We’ll take it out to the range later just to make sure though.
The rifle weighs in at a hair over 4.5 pounds, making the 10/22-TD light enough to be the ideal rimfire pack rifle. Even with a couple of spare magazines and some .22LR cartridges, the gun and pack still weigh in at less than 8 pounds. With an 18.5″ barrel and a 1:16 twist rate, accuracy should be more than acceptable for any standard .22LR cartridge on the market.
The Takedown 10/22 comes equipped with Ruger’s factory standard 10/22 iron sights with a brass front bead and rear blade that is adjustable for both windage and elevation, as well as a rail that can be screwed in to the receiver and which takes standard Picatinny rail accessories as well as rimfire style tip-off mounts.
Wednesday we hit the range to see how well it performs, so check back for more.
I actually picked up my Buy A Gun day (BAG) purchase a bit early this year.
My gunsmith had this rifle from some years, and I’d always lusted after it. It’s a numbers matching sporterized M96 Swedish Mauser chambered in 6.5×55 cut down to carbine length. I’ve not normally been a fan of sporterized Mausers, but this one was beautifully done. The metal work is all top notch, and though you can’t really tell in the photo, the stock has been refinished and polished to a glossy sheen. Sitting on top of the bent-bolt receiver is a Bushnell Timberline 2-7×32 scope. A standard Remington safety has been added due to the fact that the Mauser safety is inoperable with the eyepiece of the scope set as low as it is.
The M96 Mausers are extremely accurate in standard surplus condition, and while this short barreled carbine can’t take full advantage of the 6.5x55mm cartridge, it still shoots around 1.5 MOA with factory Sellier and Bellot ammunition, and closer to 1 MOA with my custom handloads.
In addition, the 6.5mm cartridge is very soft shooting for a bolt action rifle, though it packs enough punch to take any medium or large game animal in North America, up to and including moose, buffalo and musk ox. I’m not planning on taking this short carbine up north for some heavy game hunts, but it works just as well on the small Texas whitetailed deer we have here, along with the larger mule deer found in the western part of the state.
It’s short, lightweight, and easy to sling and carry for long distances, which makes it pretty much the perfect brush gun for spot-and-stalk hunting in the thick cover most Texas game animals are found in.
I’ll have more updates later with a detailed range review and hopefully updates later this fall after deer season opens.
Evyl Robot loads a magazine while another friend sets up his Remington 700 to spot for us.
By now, if you follow this blog or my posts on Facebook you know that I acquired a .50 Caliber Barrett M82A1 semi-automatic rifle last week. This is one of those notch-in-the-belt purchases for me, a rifle that has been on my “one of these days” wishlist for quite some time. So to say that I was a little excited over the purchase is a bit of an understatement.
Naturally, after acquiring my new baby I had to find a time and place to go sight it in. Not many ranges allow .50 BMG rifles, and even those that tolerate them frequently have only 100 yard distances available. We needed a bit more than that, so I gave Evyl Robot a ring and we set up a time to visit his property in Central Oklahoma (site of the COGS – Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Schutenfest).
According to GPS and confirmed by Google Maps, we had a range of just under 650 yards: perfect since my new M82A1 was also zeroed at that range according to the seller. That zero gave me a maximum rise of just over 2 feet at around 350 yards and a drop of only 3 feet at 800 yards. This is a pretty decent compromise, and things get pretty silly with regards to drop past 850 yards, so I was content to leave the rifle zeroed there.
We inspected the berm to make certain that we had a good backstop. The M33 rounds I had brought with me had a muzzle energy of over 13,000 ft-lbs, and even at 650 yards was still speeding along at over 2,100 FPS and carried enough energy to hit with over 6,500 ft-lbs of force. With that much energy, it’s not unheard of for .50 BMG rounds to partially penetrate and then exit a berm at high speed, possibly continuing for another few thousand yards before finally coming to rest. We definitely wanted to avoid that.
After ensuring our backstop was sufficient, we assembled the rifle and I took the first few shots. They did not go well. The bolt was overriding the round in the magazine, wasn’t going into battery when a round was fed, and we had numerous issues with misfires. I fought with it for a while and then pulled the magazine and looked it over. It was not a Barrett brand magazine: no stamp in the follower, and no white serial number in the floor plate.
It’s not the most stable platform, this rifle is heavy, but you can shoot the M82A1 off-hand.
After replacing the magazine, we began walking the rounds in, initially holding a bit low and then coming up onto the target after confirming hit location from the spotter. It only took a couple of rounds to realize that the scope was still zeroed at the 650 yard range that the seller had mentioned.
Our targets were small. We had a box and a water bottle, both about 4″x6″ – or a little less than 1 MOA at that distance. Now you have to understand a little bit about the M82A1 and the .50 BMG round at this point. Neither the rifle nor the round were designed with extreme precision in mind. On top of that we had high winds blowing about 15-20 and gusting higher. The wind direction was blowing directly head on, 345-15 degrees or so, meaning that we didn’t have too much deflection. Regardless, it did affect accuracy. Running the ballistics table we found a possible 5 MOA variation from wind gusts.
The rifle was designed to take out enemy materiel on the field of battle. Hitting the engine block of an armored vehicle is not terribly difficult. Successfully hitting a target only slightly larger than a human head on the other hand is pretty hard to do, even with the right rifle and ammo. Nevertheless, we hit all over our targets, in about a 2 MOA radius: well within the acceptable levels for this rifle/ammo combination, when you consider that we’re NOT snipers, we were shooting M33 ammo, and had high winds. With the right ammo, this rifle is easily capable of sub-MOA accuracy. I’ve no doubt that if we were shooting at an engine-sized target at 1,000 yards that we’d have had no trouble hitting it.
One thing people who have never fired this gun before don’t realize is just how efficient the recoil system is. Don’t get me wrong, the .50 BMG is a huge round and the overpressure from the muzzle blast is enormous – akin to getting punched in the chest. But what is missing is the mule-kick in the shoulder from the buttstock. The rifle does recoil, but nothing more than a stout .270 Winchester in a bolt action rifle. The arrowhead muzzle brake, the recoiling barrel, the fact that it weighs over 30 pounds, and the semi-automatic configuration make the M82A1 very easy to shoot… once you get over the fact that every trigger pull is around $5 each.
BAWOOM! That’s a nice lunch. BAWOOM! Pack of cigarettes. BAWOOM! Could have gone and seen a movie. BAWOOM! There goes date night.
Yeah, it’s not a gun you just run rounds right through. It is on the other hand a great way to turn money into noise.
Honestly, once we ditched the off-brand magazine, the gun ran flawlessly. Typical of Barrett construction, this thing is nigh indestructible, and accurate to boot. Shooting .50 BMG rounds beats the hell out of most rifles. Barrett has a design that can handle the cartridge as well as any environmental conditions.
This gun is a beast, no doubt about it. It’s been on my wishlist for the better part of a decade, and it’s the Holy Grail of rifles for gun collectors of all stripes. For a reason. Barrett has designed a rifle that is capable of 1 MOA accuracy out past 1,000 yards with the right person behind the trigger.
Since the early days of firearm building, armorers noted that if they imparted spin to the projectile that it greatly enhanced in-flight stability and accuracy. The earliest rifles had numerous bands of metal that were forged together and twisted to create the helical shape of the rifle groves. As machining processes were developed and refined, hammer forged barrels became popular as they were much stronger and much more precise.
Rifle twist is represented with a “1;” a colon; and another number, such as 1:7, 1:9, 1:10, 1:12, etc. The second number is the length in inches that it takes for the grooves to make one complete revolution. Thus, a 1:10 twist rifle barrel makes a complete 360 degree revolution in 10 inches. A 1:7 rifle barrel on the other hand makes a complete turn in only 7 inches, giving it a much tighter faster rate of twist (and consequently a greater RPM to the bullet).
The Greenhill Formula, developed by Sir Alfred George Greenhill, lays out the mathematics for computing the optimum spin and rifle twist necessary to stabilize a bullet. His most basic calculation is:
where C = 150 (or 180 for muzzle velocities greater than 2,800 fps) D = bullet caliber (in inches) L = bullet length (in inches) and SG = bullet’s specific gravity (10.9 for most lead bullets). For lead core bullets, the second half of the equation is disregarded as the value of the square root of 10.9/10.9 is 1, however the value will need to be calculated for steel core, steel jacketed, or frangible bullets as their specific gravity will vary. Because of the high muzzle velocity of most 5.56/.223 rounds, C should be set to equal 180 in the above formula.
What does all of this mean? For most shooters, not much. For our purposes, it means we can determine the appropriate twist based off of the bullet weight for a given caliber since bullet length is generally a function of the combination of bullet weight and caliber. Having said that, we’re not going to delve any deeper into the mathematics of calculating the optimal barrel twist for various bullet designs. Instead, we’ll lay out the basics and give you some good guidelines to go by when figuring whether or not your AR-15 barrel will stabilize a given round.
In general, you want a faster twist (lower second number) for heavier bullets. Firing lighter bullets through a fast twist barrel can over spin them, causing inaccuracy from overstability and/or spin induced drift. Overstability occurs primarily in light weight projectiles fired from a fast twist AR barrel and causes the bullet nose to remain at a high angle of attack during the descent phase of the flight trajectory, due to extreme gyroscopic stability. Extremely light weight, thin jacketed varmint rounds, that are overspun past 300,000 RPM, can even fly apart from the immense centrifugal forces imparted by the bullet spin.
For 5.56/.223 bullets weighing between 35 and 50 grains, you can use a 1:12 or 1:14 twist. 1:9 (probably the most common twist found in AR rifles) and 1:10 are good, moderate twist rates that are capable of stabilizing bullets weighing from 45 to 69 and even 70 grain bullets. For the heaviest 5.56/.223 bullets, you will need a 1:7 to 1:8 twist barrel in order to reliably stabilize bullets weighting between 69 and 90 grains.
There are some odd barrels out there being used to fire heavily customized .223 loads. Some custom barrels are available in a 1:6.5 twist and are capable of stabilizing 100 grain bullets, though that weight is not very common and difficult, if not impossible, to find. Extremely high velocity loads firing a bullet weighing 55 grains or less, at speeds exceeding 4,000 feet per second, require a very slow twist rate of 1:15 to 1:16.
Most shooters find that a 1:9 twist barrel meets their needs quite well, but if you’re going to be firing heavier match loads, or lighter, faster varmint rounds, you’ll need to search for a barrel with a more appropriate twist rate.
Comparison by Winchester Ballistics of various weight .308 and .223 bullet trajectories fired out of a rifle zeroed at 25 yards. Click to Embiggen.
It’s a common question: what distance should you zero your rifle for? Many hunters I know simply zero their rifles at whatever distance is available at their local range. But is this the ideal distance to have your scope set at? The answer varies depending on the caliber your rifle is chambered in and what game you are pursuing.
Let’s talk for a bit about what Maximum Point Blank Range (MPBR) is. In a nutshell, the MPBR is the maximum range at which you can aim your rifle directly at any target within that distance and be reasonably assured that your round will hit. What that distance is depends on the size of your target, the round you are firing, and the configuration of your rifle.
On medium sized North American game animals, the size of the vital area is generally 10 inches in diameter. That gives you 5 inches of bullet rise above the sight height and another 5 inches of drop below the sight height.
To figure the best distance to have your scope dialed on at, you’ll need to know your rifle and chosen ammunition well, and you’ll need to be able to do a little bit of math. But to help you out, there are online ballistic calculators available from Winchester and a very comprehensive calculator over at JBM Ballistics. In general, you’ll need to know the ammunition you are using including the bullet weight as well as the muzzle velocity it achieves in your firearm. If possible, it helps to know the bullet length and the ballistic coefficient. Both Winchester and JBM ballistics have fairly comprehensive libraries with all of this information included with particular Winchester cartridges or bullets in the case of JBM Ballistics. The final piece of information you’ll need is the height of the center line of your scope over the rifle bore. In most modern firearms this ranges from about an inch up to around 2.5 inches.
If you’re using a .308 caliber rifle, depending on your load, you’ll have a maximum point blank range of just over 300 yards. A 150 grain .308 caliber Barnes XLC boattail bullet will top out with 4.8 inches of rise at 150 yards and be dead on at 300 yards. This gives you “minute of deer” accuracy out to nearly 350 yards, meaning that with the crosshairs of your scope centered on the vital area of a deer, you will be assured of a solid hit at any distance out to 350 yards.
For most modern rifles, I usually recommend zeroing at a distance between 100 and 300 yards. The higher the ballistic coefficient of the bullet and the faster it is traveling when it leaves the muzzle, the longer the distance you can expect to be able to have your rifle zeroed for. Obviously, if you have a .22 caliber squirrel gun, the size of your target is much smaller and consequently your MPBR will be much shorter, usually only 50 or 100 yards. Small fast varmint rounds may have a high muzzle velocity, but due to their light weight and low ballistic coefficient, they lose speed fast. Most varmint rifles will do well to be zeroed at distances between 200 and 300 yards. For larger calibers capable of making shots out past 600 yards, especially some of the larger .30 caliber belted magnums, you can reasonably zero your scope and rifle for 400 yards and beyond.
Not many people have access to a 300 yard range, but with the help of a a ballistic table, you can calculate exactly how high or low the round should impact at any distance. The .308 load we mentioned earlier has 4.8 inches of rise at 150 yards, but what if you only have access to 25 and 100 yard ranges? You can get the rifle on paper by zeroing it at 25 yards, and then fine tune it until your group is centered at 3.9 inches high at 100. A bullet fired from a rifle starts out anywhere from 1″ to as much as 2.5″ below the sight height. For a rifle zeroed at 25 yards this means that the bullet must climb fairly steeply, and of course it will continue to climb for another hundred yards or so before reaching the apex and beginning to descend. For this particular load, the initial 25 yard zero should get you roughly on target at 300 yards. By confirming that your rounds are hitting 3.9 inches high at 100 yards you’ll get the rifle much closer to being precisely on target at 300.
I don’t know of any hunters running bench rest guns capable of putting a 5 shot group inside the diameter of a quarter at 600 yards. If you’re running a traditional .30-30 in the thick South Texas brush, a 100 yard zero is probably just fine. But for most other situations, it only makes sense to zero your scope and rifle combination for the Maximum Point Blank Range, which depends on your quarry and the caliber of your rifle.