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Big Al

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Everything posted by Big Al

  1. The 8-32x and better still the 10-50x Sightron S3's are fine scopes for LR benchrest, they may not be the very best in any area but Ive never felt they held me back any. Getting your load right, building consistent ammunition and establishing a good gun handling/shooting technique all far outweigh any optical requirements IMHO.
  2. Big Al

    Load development

    My comments were aimed at Nick but the same applies for everyone, there is a time and place for small incremental changes in powder charge and seating depth otherwise you wont consistently find the centre of a node. I would not suggest working up from 53gr to 56gr in 0.2s as that will take a long time and waste barrel life. I prefer finding where pressure starts to show then begin 1.5gr lower. I can't think of a time I haven't found a highly accurate load within 1.5gr of max for a given rifle. Max will of course vary from rifle to rifle and powder batch to powder batch.
  3. Big Al

    Load development

    Accuracy comes from two principle places, powder charge/suitability and seating depth. Once you have found a stable powder you then vary the charge in small increments you will see stable accuracy nodes appear then disappear if your shooting is consistent. Once you settle on a stable powder charge then again changing the seating depth in small increments will show you the nodes where they tighten then open again. This is basic load development, you can't just bung 56gr in and expect it to shoot. You must do a methodical structured series of comparisons test so you can see exactly where your barrel harmonics are optimised. Any other way and you might just get lucky but usually loads developed like this dont stay in tune for long or aren't repeatable. Even for FClass where wind reading plays a big part I would still feel more confident on the firing line with a rifle shooting consistent 0.25" groups rather than 0.5" ones - the more accurate you can get your load the better, all other things being equal.
  4. Big Al

    George Balfour (gbal on this site)

    George died on the 13th May.
  5. Big Al

    6mm Swiss Match

    Ive got a 6 SMACK resizer Vince if you fancy making your own or are you wanting to keep the original shoulder?
  6. Big Al

    Opinions on Sightron scopes?

    Defining the context of competing would be fun. If you shooting is limited to daytime use then a Sightron 6-24 or 8-32 is more than good enough, I would expect a nice S&B to offer you an extra shooting time at dusk but only you will know if that matters in your case? I shoot 600 & 1000yd benchrest with a Sightron S3 scope, every month I check out other peoples scopes on the firing line that range from £3000 March scopes, through S&B and Nightforce. For sure some will offer a slightly better sight picture at 1000yds but not that much better than mu groups would be smaller. I think Sightron S3 scopes are good honest scopes that offer excellent value for money, especially in the second hand market.
  7. Big Al

    changing a bolt face size

    Yes its possible, I have done it and it works perfectly, no need to source a .308 bolt at all. Its not difficult to make a few measurements/comparisons as you have done to see how Tikka originally did it, there is no need for welding or anything other than relatively simple machining and the fitting of a new .308 extractor claw. Open the bolt face to the required diameter and then replace the .223 extractor claw with a .308 version, the claws are a different depth to give the correct offset to engage the rim. The extractor claw slot in the bolt is the same width and depth on both bolts and it is the extractor claw thickness that differs to give the required offset. You can buy .308 extractor claws from GMK although you will need someone with an account to get it for you. GMK sell it as a kit with both a .223 and .308 claw as well as a new plunger and spring, RRP is about £50 if I remember correctly. The bolt can then be re-proofed along with the new barrel. Its a simple machining job and if your rebarreling the rifle at the same time you can also take a small cut from the bolt face if required to clean it up before chambering and setting the head space.
  8. Big Al


    I guess 100, 200, 600 and 1000 are internationally recognised distances that fall into the categories of short and long range benchrest. Personally I dont see how things would be any more interesting or challenging by adding other distances with the exception of 300yds which will happen at Diggle in 2019. Anything else would just be adding for the sake of it. 300yds will be very interesting because in theory the short range PPCs will still have the legs but the more recognised heavy for caliber long range bullets from the more recognised LRBR calibers could also challenge for honours.
  9. Big Al

    Rifle for offhand shooting

    I think out to 300yds you dont need a fast twist, I would be happy with a .223 or even a .222 shooting bullets in the 40gr-55gr range. Considering your unsupported shooting positions I doubt the inherent accuracy of the rifle will be the weakest link. T3 or an older M590/595 with a 20" varmint barrel is manageable if you choose your moderator carefully. The CZ 527 varmint is also a good choice, if you can find one with the set trigger it would go well and with a 9 twist barrel as standard would cover you from 40gr to 69gr which is more than plenty of choice.
  10. Big Al

    Getting head around headspace

    Are you having any problems chambering once fired Lapua cases? If not I would measure a batch of say 20 and record the length, its very rare I see a difference of even 0.001" between 20 twice fired cases. Sorry I dont have any experience of Blaser actions or how to feel for an exact case fit. I think your initial measurement with the PPU case is throwing you off the scent a bit, if your fired Lapua cases are coming out consistent then thats where I would be taking my measurements from. I assume you are rotating the case while in the comparator so it settles before taking a reading?
  11. Big Al

    Getting head around headspace

    Forget what you have measured with a PPU case if you are now using Lapua brass. Make all your measurements with the same brass just to rule out any possibility of misreadings. I assume you are depriving cases before measuring as small primer craters can give you false readings? Out of interest what is the rifles action?
  12. Try Paddy at Dane & Co. He usually has them in stock, if he hasn't got one it wont take long for him to get one. They are as good as triggers get, expensive but well worth the money.
  13. Big Al

    Neck tension

    No, so long as the neck holds the bullet with sufficient tension to maintain the same CBTO measurement then it will work but the term work is very loose indeed and really means nothing. Will your rifle be consistently accurate with 0.0005" compared to say 0.005" of neck tension or vice versa? Is a specific neck tension more relevant if your jamming rather than jumping the bullets? Does the powder you are using work better with more or less neck tension? Will differing neck tension make any real difference to most people? There are answers for all of these questions but only you and your target will find out what works for you if your looking for the highest levels of accuracy you can get. Mostly 0.002"-0.003" of neck tension will work fine for most people most of the time in most situations. How deep you then explore this area and the level of understanding you end up with is then down to how committed you are to finding the answers and how solid your testing/verification process is.
  14. Big Al

    How do You prep Your brass? UKV survey.

    The theory is it gives a more uniform sizing. After firing the cases can work harden at different rates, once annealed all the cases are again uniform so putting them through a resizing die will in theory yield more consistent results. Of course after sizing you have also worked them a little. How about annealing both before and after sizing then?
  15. Big Al

    Trying to contact "The gun pimp"

    I dont think Vince would mind me sharing his new email, he usually replies promptly. targetshooteronline@icloud.com
  16. Big Al

    variable CBTO / COL

    Yes its normal, bullets can easily vary this much in OAL from batch to batch and Ive seen much more. CBTO is what matters so keep it at 2.270" - COL has no bearing on accuracy, it just ensures your rounds fit in the magazine if your using one. Bear in mind if you have changed your bullet batch you might need to tweak your seating depth a little, its not uncommon to see an accurate load go off a bit when changing to a different batch of the same bullets even if your CBTO is the same, it always pays to re-test if your looking for the best accuracy you can get and try to stock up on the same batch if possible.
  17. Big Al

    1st shot in a string velocity

    Over how many five shot strings did it display the same trend? An ES of 43fps, that is entirely possible depending on many variables, does the Labradar show a similar pattern with any other rifle you have?
  18. Big Al

    New sizing dies from Exact

    Reamers will wear for sure but that will vary depending on how they are used and the amount is minuscule in relative terms to this discussion. Bear in mind the wear would also be even and because you are working with a tapered case and resizing die that also offers variable/independent headspace adjustment, it could easily take up any wear and still produce very well fitted brass, much better than the randomly sloppy or overly tight dies sometimes do. The problem with dies made for SAAMI spec cases is that there are top and bottom tolerances in both the die manufacture and also the manufacture of the chamber reamers. Add to that the user of the reamer to cut your chamber or make the die on size and sometimes you end up with a real sizing headache. Ive seen this quite a few times. I think the limitations of this system would most likely be the end users ability to make it do what its designed to. I like the concept but I dont think it will change things for most people. I guess in general a lot of the time regular dies work just fine for most people. Its only when you have a problem or if your looking for the highest levels of accuracy that going the custom route can help.
  19. Big Al

    New sizing dies from Exact

    Repeating chamber dimensions is easy enough if you use the same reamer. I guess if someone is investing in a set of custom dies they need to know the person that will be supplying their barrels going forward can do this. If the person doing the work can't cut two chambers the same using the same reamer then they are using a method that is fundamentally flawed.
  20. Big Al

    N 150 versus N 550

    Interesting Laurie. Can I ask what do you know about temperature stability between the 100 and 500 series? I remember reading somewhere recently that the 100 series was due for an upgrade in this regard?
  21. Big Al

    204 into 223

    Its a very common switch that will give you much more flexibility in one rifle.
  22. A straight .284 Winchester shooting Berger 180 VLDH or maybe a 7mm SAUM a touch faster? Which one of the OPs requirements wont either of these do well? Both .284 Win and the hotter 7 SAUM with 180s are top choices for 1000yd FClass and .284 is also very effective in 1000yd benchrest. Send a 180 VLDH at 2850-2950fps from either case towards anything on four legs within realistic plains shooting situations and you wont be under gunned either, I have a number of friends who shoot in Africa to silly ranges at typical plains game with 180 VLDH at similar speeds. As for one gun, I agree that a plains game rifle and a proper FClass/benchrest rifle will look quite different but a tactical style (as show above) could do both well unless the OP is hell bent of competing at the highest levels of FClass or walking the plains all day. As for benchrest, Ive built tactical style rifles for two different customers that hold UK small group records and are currently leading UKBRA championships. I also agree that none of the initially mentions rounds are a good compromise as you say
  23. Big Al

    Foxes. What do you do with them?

    Maybe someone from the management might think it wise to remove this thread?
  24. Big Al

    UKBRA Round 4 - 7th and 8th July 2018

    Nice one Dale, well done!
  25. Big Al

    Foam for gun cases?

    Can anyone point me in the right direction? Im looking to replace the foam in an SKB iSeries case, internal approx 42" x 14" x 5"

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