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  1. clover

    Reloading bench size / area

    I'm currently looking at setting up a little mancave space for reloading. I plan to run a 600mm deep workbench along the walls and could do with some advice regarding what sort of length of this bench I need to allocate to the reloading setup. I'm aiming to reload for two calibres using a Hornady multi-stage press which will be permanently bolted to the bench top. I understand that these presses are intended to be fed from the LHS and their lever operating with the right hand. If the press was to be mounted near the end of the worksurface next to a wall, how much access should be left at the RHS of the press for cleaning / maintenance operations? Really I'm only looking for guidance on the space required to actually work in and accomodate the press, as the peripherals and consumables will be stored in a steel cabinet elsewhere in the cave when not in use. Would a 1 metre length of bench be sufficient, or would more be adviseable? How big is your reloading area and how do you find it in use? Thanks
  2. Absolutely - might as well pick the best (subjectively and objectively) though! Thanks for your thoughts. The bluing issue in wear areas doesn't really concern me; however I recall reading about the corrosion issue and that puts me right off tbh. I'm quite astonished by the tales of how readily these guns apparently corrode. Corrosion resistance wasn't at the top of my list of reasons for going Stainless (yeah, I know it can still oxidise) however it reinforces my choice and makes me a little disappointed that the TAC A1 and Sporter are only available in carbon steel. On the subject of corrosion, how do you find the stock on the TAC for attending to the finish? The accessory rail / shroud / handgrip around the barrel looks to be a bit of a nightmare from the perspective of cleaning / oiling the finish; although I'm guessing it comes off via the two bolts at it's bottom near the breech..? I also remember reading about the sholder issue - IIRC this is only a problem on the guns with 5/8 UNF(?) threads at the muzzle (CTR and the TAC series I think). The thread on my Varmint is M18x1 and appears to have an appropriate undercut; while I can screw the thread protector on both ways around (it's threaded all the way to the front) suggesting no issues with the base of the the thread. Glad you're happy with yours!
  3. Thanks for the comprehensive argument! As for hype, the 6.5CM is all over the net and seems to be the cartridge of the moment; not to suggest that the attention it's getting isn't deserved. I'd already pretty much settled on the CM as the ideal mid-range 6.5mm cartridge in isolation for some of the reasons you describe although hadn't considered some of the others you've mentioned - such as the throat dims. Just out of interest why would you suggest that the sharper shoulder angle is "better"? Are you considering this form the perspective of case capacity or are there other reasons? Perhaps it's time to fire Tikka a message to see if they plan to do the Sporter in 6.5mm.. they seem to have a fairly arbitrary selection of features for some guns and really all they'd have to do would be to pinch a CM barrel from another mode - the rest of the gun would be .308 I believe.
  4. Thanks - I had considered the custom route but a fairly significant issue for me would be finding a LH action I imagine. I also like the simplicity of an off-the-shelf option, although granted your custom route has evidently paid dividends with the ability to fit a much longer barrel. Granted the Swede wasn't created for target use and has an excellent rep as a hunting round, however it was developed for a military application and I believe is looked on favourably on account of its accuracy. Thanks for the above - I'm always skeptical of the "latest great thing" and I'd guess that the short action compatibility doesn't matter for most of us on this side of the pond, unless you're allergic to longer bolt strokes. That said having run through all the load data on the Vihtavuori website the CM seems to be quite a bit more efficient than the Swede (around 10% on aggregated load data, I'm guessing because of the latter's greater case volume); which rightly or wrongly suggests to me greater barrel life for the CM. I've yet to compare the load data from the .260, however I think this is a bit less efficient than the CM too, while it seems to be falling out of favour on this side of the pond. There's a lot of hype surrounding the CM currently but that of course is no guarantee of longevity. It does seem to be perhaps the most well-rounded and appealing of the "middling" 6.5mm cartridges though, and seems to have been fairly widely adopted so I think once the hype has died down it will still be carried by its legitimate merits. Thanks - I read through Part 1 of of Laurie's epic last night and am picking through part 2 now. Interesting stuff, if somewhat complex in terms of all the variants available. I thought the Scandinavians were unique in their adoption of the high-SD 6.5mm rounds, but evidently they were investigated by a lot of Governments at the end of the 19th century. I too saw the T3 and was a little tempted, although as you suggest IMO the 20" barrel is a bit on the short side. That aside though I could still stick a GRS stock on it and have change from the price of a Sporter.. although somehow this doesn't appeal as much. You're correct about the action lengths so the stocks could indeed be swapped around; presuming the bottom metal / mag formats are the same. Thanks - I thought similar. I'm happy with the 20" barrel on the .223 but if going larger I'd definitely want the longer tube. Ta - that sounds like a lot of gun! I bet the weight brings benefits during use though. Is there anything you don't like about it?
  5. The next purchase is probably a long way off but one can't help the mind frivilously wandering towards "the next step".. Research suggests a 6.5mm of some sort is a good choice for 1000yd. So far I'm satisfied with my newish .223 Tikka Varmint (some hopefully non-too-serious teething troubles notwithstanding) , plus they're the only manufacturer who do anything interesting / niche / target-centric in a true left-handed format; so please on suggestions of alternatives from other manufacturers I've been looking at their two more target-oriented T3x models; the Sporter and Tac A1. As most of you probably already know these guns are based on the same platform and both are available in blued / blacked carbon steel (sadly no stainless option) with 24" threaded barrels. Past this point they begin to differ a fair bit. Stock: The Sporter has lovely traditionally-styled adjustable laminate woodwork while the Tac is a lot more contemporary with AR-type butt and pistol grip, along with a host of rails around the barrel. Trigger: The Sporter has the standard single-stage unit found on most Tikkas, while the Tac has the two-stage unit also found on the arctic. Mag Assy: The Sporter uses the standard plastic Tikka Varmint mags and trigger housing, while the Tac uses the higher-capacity double-stack mags found on the CTR and others. Scope Mounting: The Sporter has the standard Tikka rails while the Tac has a Picatinny rail fitted. Calibre: The Sporter is available in (amongst other larger and smaller bores) .260 Rem and 6.5x55 while the only 6.5mm offering for the Tac is the currently trendy 6.5mm Creedmore. Mass: Somewhat surprisingly given the sizeable stock on the Sporter, it's apparently lighter than the Tac at 4.4kg versus 5.1kg with the longer barrel. Cost: SGC list the LH Sporter at £1745, while the Tac comes in at £1845, so there's not a whole lot in it. Cherry picking from both I prefer the aesthetic and probably ergonomics of the Sporter stock; especially since I don't think there is a true-LH stock option on the Tac - meaning the comb adjuster knobs may well stick into the face of a leftie. That said having had a play with a Sporter in the flesh a while ago I was a bit disappointed by the very large mag well in the underside of the stock. I also suspect that the stock / action interface might be better on the Tac given that it's a "chassis-based" system. I like the two-stage trigger of the Tac, although looking at a picture of the unit I think it's only really a single-stage with a bit of sprung travel to the blade; so potentially nicer in terms of usage but little different in terms of sear engagement / functionality. I've heard tales of the feed lips wearing on the plastic mags so the metal one seems preferable; also for its higher capacity. While I appreciate that the Picatinny rail is more versatile than the standard Tikka setup, I'm very happy with the Optilocks on my Varmint so would be quite happy to go this way again. Of the three calibres on offer I'd take the Creedmore over the rest as it seems more popular (at least currently) than the .260 and more efficient than both the .260 and the 6.5x55. Finally, comparing the specs of both guns and their cost the Tac seems to offer a lot more than the Sporter (trigger, mag system, scope rail) for not a whole lot more money; although I suspect the stock of the Sporter adds significantly to its price; since give or take the action appears the same as that of the Varmint; which in a similar format is nearly £700 cheaper! My head says the Tac but my heart loves the appeal of the Sporter with its proper target stock in the classic 6.5 Swede chambering. Currently my wallet is shouting at them both to Foxtrot Oscar, I have no slot on my ticket and plenty to learn from the .223, so I can't see a purchase of either being imminent.. but I'd love to hear any opinions or experiences of either anyone might like to share
  6. Thanks chaps! Yes, I'd call a flier a shot outside the group that I can't explain. I did call a few on the last shoot but then I know these are down to me so can be ruled out to an extent. I'd guess the 69gn stuff I'm currently using would be fairly standard fare for the 1:8 twist barrel. I see the NRA shop have GGG 69gn stuff so I'll grab a box of that when I'm next at Bisley too. PPU also do a 75gn load but I can't find any of this locally. tbh I'm wondering if I'm expecting too much from "cheap" ammo, although am loathe to buy any more expensive stuff while I'm unsure of my technique - just found some Hornady match .223 but that's twice the price of the HPS stuff I'm currently using! Happy to further explore the potential for it to be shooter error; I do have experience with recoiling stuff as I also use a .357 mag lever action, however this is shot standing over much shorter ranges - as such I'm far more familiar with the stance and the expected level of accuracy is a lot less too. Prone shooting with a significantly recoiling gun is a wholly new experience to me. I was definitely bottom of the experience pile by a long way at Bisley last month - next time I go I'll try and both get some feedback on my technique and see if someone else will shoot some groups with my rifle. I think if there is a problem with technique it will be with recoil management due to inconsistent hold and butt positioning. My current setup is a Harris bipod up front and a bag at the rear; not that I can see it but I'm getting a fair bit of muzzle rise so I'm guessing the bipod is "hopping"; despite my efforts to pre-load it. I've also noticed that muzzle deflection under recoil is usually fairly unpredictable; always upward but often with left / right components... the way I've dealt with this in the past (with lesser-recoiling guns) is to use a light grip as I've found this is more forgiving than a tight one it's easier to be consistent when allowing the rifle to "free recoil", however appreciate that this is going to be decreasingly viable with heavier-recoiling rifles. On the subject of support I've got a Caldwell Deadshot Combo front and rear rest that needs filling (glass beads?) which I'd like to try in preference to the bipod; the 'pod is convenient but I'd always preferred bags when shooting off the bench. I'd be a lot more confident of my abilities off a bench, however sadly while our range has a fantastic steel example it's not passed for anything larger than .22LR. Off a bench and bags I can get the crosshairs dead still, realistically prone I'm probably holding within .25 MOA - not perfect but then IMO of little consequence when the rifle is shooting at 1.5-2MOA. Rule out all user error and that's still a 1.25-1.75MOA group. I think I've got everything related to the rifle setup pegged, thanks - PX was tested as you suggest, everything nice and tight, bore recently cleaned but enough shots to allow it to foul again... I can't do a lot other than research until I can get back to a range with some more ammo; don't suppose you can recommend any good (preferably online) resources for prone technique? I've found a few on youtube but nothing so far that really starts with the very basics. Thanks again for your thoughts Thanks - most points addressed above but the AR example is somewhat heartening - it's nice to have the effect of poor technique quantified; although I wonder if a massive amount of that wasn't due to the instability of the monopod (what position was he shooting from?). I'd be interested to hear any other tips you might have for increasing consistency when shooting prone!
  7. Thanks - I'm guessing that could be the case too. I'm hoping to have reloading capability in the not-too-distant future, so it's not the end of the world if I use the remaining HPS ammo for familiarisation with the rifle / recorded use to appease the FEO until then. I'll maybe pick up some alternative ammo in the meantime if I get the opportunity and also going to work on my prone technique as this can't be doing me any favours. Might crack out the chrono on the next excursion to see if the velocity behaviour has improved now the gun should be broken in. I've also got a nagging feeling at the back of my mind about the stock's contact with the barrel at the breech end - I'm tempted to crack out the abrasives to get some clearance; although for now will probably content myself with investigating the contact points a bit further.
  8. clover

    Sako Quad trigger options

    While we all know about the pitfalls of making assumptions, I've found the trigger on my 1998 Finnfire (the Quad's predecessor) and 2018 Tikka T3x to apparently be interchangeable. Hence, if one can make the assumption that the Quad's trigger is of the same format any of the aftermarket Tikka (CG, Bix n' Andy, Timney) triggers should fit. I'm aware that the current Sako centrefire triggers are significantly different to the Tikka units (three-position safety amongst other potential differences) and I'm not sure where the Quad falls with respect to this lineage; however looking at this site it appears that the same Bix n Andy unit will fit both the T3 series and Sako Quad; so I'd guess anything that fits the Tikka will also fit the Quad.
  9. An update. Got the chance to test the rifle again at 100, 200 and 300yd. The barrel was well-cleaned beforehand with copper solvent, 10 one-way passes of a PB brush, more solvent on a patch, dry patches until they came out dry, an oiled patch then a dry one to finish. All groups were shot from prone with a rear bag. There was a bit of a breeze but nowt too bad. Results started off promising and went downhill.. 100yd 1. 4 shot group: 3 shots into 12mm c-c (sub-0.5MOA); spoiled by a flier (2nd shot of the four) at 7 O'clock bringing the group size up to around 37mm c-c (1.5MOA). 2. 3 shot group: 3 shots into 13.5mm c-c (c. 0.5MOA). Bottom two shots through same hole. Group dispersion diagonally strung high-right to low-left. POI maybe 12mm lower than best three shots of previous group. Making a composite of the two groups above would give a diagonally-strung group high-right to low-left of 37mm c-c - i.e. the 2nd groups would fit neatly in the space between the 1st group's main three shots and "flier". 200yd 1. 5 shot group: 4 shots of fairly even dispersion into 37mm (sub 0.75MOA) spoiled by a flier at 4 O'clock bringing group size up to around 88mm c-c (1.75MOA). 2. 5 shot group: 5 shots diagonally strung high-left to low-right, 69mm c-c (1.4MOA). Approximately same POI as previous group. 300yd 1. 5 shot group: 3 horizonally central, vertically strung into 84mm c-c (1.2MOA) further two shots at 3 and 9 O'clock bringing group size up to 162mm c-c (>2MOA). So, it's not very clever. I can't see any trends in the groups other than they're pretty much all over the place - some otherwise acceptable (or in the case of those at 100yd very good) but with fliers; some evenly distributed, some strung in opposite directions. There appeared to be some POI shift between the two groups at 100yd; this could have been the clean barrel fouling or just the result of random distribution over two groups, within one poor group. Group size increase with range is perhaps non-linear; possibly suggesting a stability issue but there are no keyholed shots, nor were there any at 600yd.. while this barrel should easily stabilise these bullets. I'd like to think it's not the scope but haven't really ruled it out. I do have another I could try but am loathe to upset the mounts - thanks to getting screwed on my original choice of scope I do have a couple of pairs of spare rings, so I could get another set of bases to avoid disturbing the original setup.. on the one hand I don't want to chuck another £60 away; on the other I was considering hoovering up another set of stainless bases before everywhere runs out so I can build another set for another rifle in future using the rings I have. Ammo is another possibility - I've found very few reviews of the HPS Target Master I'm using, although it seems to use reasonable quality components (69gn SMKs and PPU cases). Out of curiousity I did weight the most recently fired 25 cases which came in with an extreme spread of 2.3gn / 2.3% of mean and std. dev of 0.68gn / 0.7%, which I didn't think was too bad compared to these values on 6mmBR. When first testing the rifle I did run the first shots through it past the chrono - giving not too wonderful numbers - over 12 shots a mean of 2753ft/s, an extreme spread of 93ft/s or 3% and a standard deviation of 27ft/s or 1%. This was when the barrel was running in though, so might be an unfair representation of what the kit's capable of. I did also notice that the meplats of some of the SMKs are fairly roughly formed and sometimes somewhat angled; while this can't do accuracy any favours I've seen similar on promo images for the bullets so I'm guessing it's not a handling issue and considered acceptable by QC. Despite this there are many accounts of these bullets performing very well, so I'm hesitant to blame them. I'd like to test some more ammo but off the shelf I think I'm limited to GGG 69gn and PPU 75gn if I want heavier stuff. Does anyone have any experience of either of these rounds, or the HPS stuff I'm currently using for that matter? Finally there's always me. Position was stable and i was able to hold the crosshairs within 0.5MOA with ease. Trigger control was generally good, recoil control less-so as it's not a position I'm used to and found the butt sitting in different parts of my shoulder - sometimes giving a lot of support against a bony bit; sometimes in the sofer "pocket" inside my shoulder. The 2nd 200yd group was shot with the gun tucked into the soft bit, purposefully maintaining head and shoulder position with respect to the gun during reloading, but still the group was less than great. So there we go - tending towards subbing in another scope just to rule that out while looking to source some different ammo to try. As usual I'm always interested to hear any thoughts anyone might have
  10. Thanks for the thoughts chaps - although as per my previous post I've now got to the bottom of the issue I did try the mirror trick but the particular scope in question was too dark / had too-small-an exit pupil for this to work. After I took the time to double-check the scope's optical centre my experiences with the optilocks were similar to (if not quite as good as) yours; at around 2.25 MOA max deviation from optical centre From a design perspective I too like both the Burris and Sako/Tikka rings - the plastic inserts being one of the main reasons I chose the Optilocks, although admittedly they don't have the adjustability of the signature rings. As Re-pete suggests above it's quite straightforward to shim the Optilocks; certainly for elevation without much fuss. With mine spaced at 100mm for every 0.1mm of shim thickness added between the rear base and ring I'd get 1 mil of elevation adjustment - so 20MOA could be achieved with around 0.6mm of packing. I'm a fan of the old B-Square fully adjustable mounts and have numerous sets on my air rifles; great for getting the scope pointing where it should be but tbh I'd not trust any mount to be precise enough to adjust on the fly for range correction. Bet those that can be aren't cheap! I do agree about the Sako mount setup though - the design actually puts me off buying a Sako (not that I ever would anyway as their LH selection is pretty pitiful) and I consider the straight dovetails and recoil pin setup on the Tikka far superior; while also a lot cheaper and easier to machine.
  11. Thanks guys - some interesting discussion going on Thanks for your support! Sounds like you have a very nice setup and are getting cracking results considering you're not using the heaviest bullets on offer. I'd be very tempted to stick so 90gns though it though since you've certainly got the twist for it! I can imagine how difficult shooting over the terrain you describe could be; but as you suggest my gut tells me something's amiss to cause my issues. Everything's tight as far as I can see through so it looks like an issue with the ammo, barrel, scope or driver! That's encouraging, thanks! As above I'm currently restricted to factory ammo so the 69gns are as good as it gets for now. I'm not an inexperienced shooter and after some fettling the trigger is breaking at a nice crisp 1.6lb and it's easy to squeeze with a relatively stable sight picture, so I don't think trigger technique is an issue. I'd not rule out driver error completely as this was all at the end of a very long day plus I have little experience in shooting prone and do find consistent butt/shoulder positioning difficult. That said I'd have to be doing something pretty bad to sling them 2 mils from the middle - I can shoot considerably better than that freestanding! Hopefully I'll get the chance to test it soon. Will give it a thorough clean before I do and start from square one again.
  12. clover

    T3x Trigger Question

    Further to the above a complete RH trigger unit is £257 on Brownells UK site, $179 (about £140) on Brownells US site. No wonder they don't want us visiting the latter. Utterly disgusting; especially considering that the parts are made much nearer to the UK than the US.
  13. clover

    T3x Trigger Question

    As long as it's a decent one and not riddled with creep! The only place I've seen them advertised in on the Brownells UK and as usual they're eye-watingly expensive at around £200. I expect that importing one from the US or Europe would be a lot cheaper. I did have a look Brownells' US site (via a US proxy as the cheeky sods now have a location-based redirect on their US site to stop you seeing how much they're having your trousers down). Brownells UK are approaching double the price of anyone else on Tikka mounts, so you might be able to get a trigger cheaper through a local dealer.
  14. Indeed they are - tapered towards the rear to prevent the mounts creeping forward under recoil I imagine. Thanks - I'm glad you've had success with your setup! That's somewhat concerning about the Optilocks - if nothing else they're certainly divisive! So the recoil pin limits the forward travel of the rear mount, meaning it's sloppy on the tapered dovetail and gets pulled to one side when it's tightened? If so that seems like a pretty schoolboy error to me.. I really don't see why the setup needs both tapered dovetails and a recoil stud (nor how these can correctly work together) given only one can limit fore/aft movement of the mount on the gun. To be honest I can't see the advantage of the tapered mounts used by Sako - seems like a lot of extra work for a system that's inferior to a parallel dovetail and arrestor stud. Presumably it limits your choice of scope position too, since the mounts can effectively only fit in one location. I'm sure shimming can be effective, but really shouldn't be necessary! I revisited my situation today and thankfully it appears to be the result of my own oversight From their zeroed (to the rifle) position I cranked the turrets to the extremes of their travel in each direction; the resultant displacements being: Left / Clockwise: 75.0 MOA Right / Anticlockwise: 79.0 MOA Down / Clockwise: 74.5 MOA Up / Anticlockwise: 79.0 MOA So assuming this method can be relied upon to give an approximation of the scope's optical centre, at worst the scope is 2.25MOA off centre - I can live with that! This also suggests that the scope has a shade more total internal adjustment than advertised (150 MOA) although I didn't check that the ret was actually moving when adjusted at the extremes of its range. Chances are I should never have to go out this far anyway. On paper that's enough elevation adjustment to take me past 1000yds; although I doubt I'll be trying since I can't hit anything at 600.. I was sure I'd carried out this test before I zeroed the scope, but was evidently mistaken. It seems that the previous owner must have re-zeroed the turrets and over-tightened their retaining grub screws a little - hence the single set of witness marks when the turrets were removed. Yet another example (as if one was needed) of why it never pays to make assumptions. Thanks for everyone's input!
  15. Thanks - that's very interesting indeed! Sadly for me I'd need a bit more than 0.5mm shim! I've now measured the centres of the rings at a shade under 100mm so to get the (let's round it to) 10 mil I'd need to add a 1mm thick shim. What I'd not considered was shimming the mount for elevation - a nice answer to the only reason I'd ever have bought a Picatinny rail over the optilocks (an angled rail). Very glad I didn't take this route now! I totally agree about the advantages of the Optilocks and wasn't aware of the Burris equivalents. Two of the big draws to the OEM mounts were the ability of the plastic ring bearing to both centre the scope correctly in the rings as well as protecting the tube. I've given the rifle a once-over tonight and nothing seems overtly amiss; bases seem dimensionally similar (the front one is maybe 0.2mm shallower but this might be intentional) but no glaring issues in a windage sense. I've visually checked the barrel with respect to the receiver; at around 500mm long it'd have to be skewed with respect to the receiver to the tune of 5mm along its length to cause the windage issue I'm experiencing; which it's clearly not (thankfully!). I've also checked the scope's objective with a straight edge and it's not bent. I tried the "mirror" approach to checking its optical centre, but it's too dark / the exit pupil too small to see anything. I suppse there is always a chance that the scope was never properly optically centred as I've not checked it myself in a proper rig, although cranking it from one extreme to the other seemed pretty conclusive. It's also crossed my mind that I could start reversing / swapping the rings on the bases to see if there's any offset in them (tbh I think it's highly unlikely), although this would be a crushingly tedious task. I do have a laser sight I could sling under the barrel to make the whole process a bit more intuitive and precise than bore-sighting. Having recently had the function of a pair of windage-adjustable Leupold rings explained to me I do like the idea of drilling and tapping the rear base either side of the ring mounting screw and elongating the screw / ring hole across the base by a few mm; this would allow everything to be assembled finger-tight then the gun bore-sighted by jacking the rear ring across the mount to get the windage somewhere close before it was all tightened up. Can't bring myself to butcher a set of bases though; given how pricey they are and how scarce the stainless ones are becoming! Could be a nice aftermarket alternative to the Optilock bases to be used with the original rings, though.. Anyway, thanks again for your input - going to have a think about how much I want to pull everything to bits again!

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