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Big Al

Building the 'Long Dog'

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After my success with the 'Big Dog' in benchrest Heavy Gun it was time for a new challenge. 

The Big Dog was sold to a fellow competitor and Im sure he will continue to do well. My plan has been to build a competitive Light Gun for the 2018 season but there is a bottleneck in the supply of suitable parts, to keep me motivated and still competing I have decided to build another Heavy Gun as an interim measure.

After a couple of trial names this rifle will be called the 'Long Dog'. Long dogs in the UK are things like greyhounds or often lurchers that are used by poachers, I like the idea of the new 'Long Dog' poaching a few this season.

The idea behind the Long Dog is to create a significantly longer and lower profile stock to reduce the rifles overall centre of gravity and increase its stability. Weight is a great way to stabilise a rifle in the bags but I want this gun to be considerably lighter than the Big Dog was at 46lb. My target weight for this rifle is 26-28lb as it will make transporting it with a bad back a lot easier and also I feel the small 6BRA cartridge might benefit from a little extra movement under recoil to improve barrel harmonics, time will tell on that front.

I have 21 days before the next 600yd benchrest competition, I built the Big Dog in the same time scale and hopefully I learned a few shortcuts in the machining set-ups that might speed things up for me. Bear in mind this work has to be fitted around my customer rifles.

I will try and keep you updated with images of the build and I would be grateful if you guys would share this album around other FB pages and forums you visit to help increase awareness of my exploits.

The basic build componenets;

1 off 48"x2"x2" - 6082T6 grade aluminium
1 off 14"x2"x2" - 6082T6
1 off 6"x24"x1/2" - 6082T6

Tikka M590 action

Bartlein 6mm 7 twist barrel at 31"

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Laying out the basic configuration to look at length of pull and the general dynamics of the concept.IMG_2678.jpg

The rifle will look very different to how it looks now, these are just basic shapes and will be very different when he is finished.IMG_2679.jpg

Positioning the action in relation to giving me the correct eye relief for the scope, from there the length of pull will be determined. Its not just about building something you think looks right, it has to function right on the bench while your shooting it so how I fit around the gun is very important. 

Best to be sure of your sizes and layout before you start cutting as its much harder to put back on than take off!IMG_2680.jpg

Setting up my No1 mill vice to tram properly, the ground parallel Im holding in the vice needs to run true as any errors over the 4" long vice jaws will magnify significantly over a 48" long rifle stock. Setting the vice up can take a while and sadly every time I reposition it the vice will again need to be trued. I will use multiple vices and fixtures to hold the parts while I mill them, every time they need to be clocked for trueness. My mill isnt a big one and jobs like this take its capabilities to the max, sadly I cant get a bigger mill through my workshop doors otherwise I would have originally bought a Bridgeport.IMG_2682.jpg

First cuts last night, I roughed out the pistol grip area with a roughing end mill. The nearest I get to CNC is running both hand wheels at the same time! I finished the profile by using a fly cutter.IMG_2683.jpg

The lower butt piece will be set into the main stock to remove the step and make the lines flow betterIMG_2684.jpg

He's starting to look like a gun already!IMG_2685.jpg

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I love this 'ground-up' build!

 

Looking forward to seeing this take shape! :D

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Looks good. I look forward to seeing your progress. Thanks for sharing

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The correct definition of a Longdog, is a purpose cross between two pedigree sighthounds Alan, eg a Greyhound crossed with a saluki.

A lurcher is a purpose cross between a Greyhound and a pastoral breed such as a collie.

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Canine precision match chamberings (PPC sired) include the following.

Waldog and Talldog.

The  Velo Dog is obsolete and definitely not PPC,nor KC,nor PC.

The 22 CHeetah,of course,is quite properly a Wildcat,While the  9.53 Hellcat is legitimately well bred proprietary Lazzeroni -who also ofers a veritable aviary:

 

6.71 Blackbird;7.21Firebird;7.82 Warbird,9.09 Eagle;;7.21 Firehawk; but the 7.21 Tomahawk continues the  long tradition of classification challenges,and could well be with the 6.17 Spitfire; 6.17 Flash;2; 6.53 Scramjet; 450 Assegai; and 12.04 Bibamufu-the serious human artifacts range. There are Whispers of others,as well as one off Mavericks (10.7),and the 300 Pegasus and 8.59 Titan are not mythical.

The 577 Tyrannosaur isn't extinct,so has it's own place  as alpha predator tool.

The sky is not the limit,either....8.59 Galaxy; 9.53 Saturn; and 10.57 Meteor.

gbal

 

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Any particular reason to choose AA6082-T6 over , say AA5083-H321 or 7050-T7451 ? We're guessing it's simply availability, but if there is a specific other reason we'd love to know...

 

 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, meles meles said:

Any particular reason to choose AA6082-T6 over , say AA5083-H321 or 7050-T7451 ? We're guessing it's simply availability, but if there is a specific other reason we'd love to know...

 

 

 

 

I think it shoots better ;)

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I made some good progress today with the new gun project, the design is more simple than the Big Dog I made previously so Im expecting to finish this one a bit quicker. Some areas are starting to take shape but its a long way from what I have in my head yet.

First I had to machine 0.250" from one side as the main chassis section is 2" x 1.75" - I left 20 thou to come from the other side just to clean it up and ensure it was parallel.IMG_2687.jpg

Now time to drop the comb height and add a few curves. The chips are already starting to build up and I use WD40 as a lubricant so everything gets wet and slippery.IMG_2688.jpg

Roughing out the barrel channelIMG_2689.jpg

Roughing out the inlet.IMG_2690.jpg

Still lots of shaping to do, the forend will be slimmed down considerably but left the same length, the butt section needs slimming down and tapering at the bottom as well as some cosmetic chamfering. 

The barrel is at 31" long at present. when I chamber it this will reduce to 30" - there will be a 4" muzzle brake/tuner to be added.

The stock is 48" long with a 14.5" length of pull, overall I would think we will end up at 54" from butt to muzzle, hence the name Long DoIMG_2691.jpg

The butt section will be slimmed down to blend in with the radius Ive already cut. I wont do this until both parts are fixed together.IMG_2692.jpg

Once the action and barrel were able to be fixed into the stock I thought it would be interesting to see what it weighed. My last heavy gun was 46lb and I want this one to be considerably lighter.IMG_2693.jpg

28.77lb is good, I have more machining to do but also I have parts to add so at least my basic sizes and design looks to be coming in at the weight I wanted which was 26-28lbIMG_2695.jpg

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1 hour ago, No i deer said:

How heavy is the base for the for end that is yet to be added

I haven't decided.

As the stock gets closer to the shape I have in mind I will weigh it and also see how and where it balances, then I will decide on the front bag riding plate size, shape and weight. This is a new stock design so although I have a picture in my mind/on paper it will evolve as I progress and may not end up how I'm imagining it now.

There is a lot of material to come off the forend for most of its length, I would also like the balance point to be moved further forward by maybe 4" so it could be 4-6lb but I wont know for a few days.

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I do like that you use the tikka 590 action for your build rather that a ridiculously priced custom action which you also used in the big dog proving to me and probaly many other shooters that these custom actions are no better.my 284 has a T3 action and is way smoother/slicker than a Borden timberline action I have on my 7mm saum and it shoots like a dream.

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3 hours ago, No i deer said:

I do like that you use the tikka 590 action for your build rather that a ridiculously priced custom action which you also used in the big dog proving to me and probaly many other shooters that these custom actions are no better.

When it comes to the highest levels of precision I think a quality action will certainly play its part but exactly how big that part is I dont know yet. I would never say a custom action is no better than a factory one, the fact the best ones are machined to consistent uniform tolerances can only be a good thing and certainly can't hurt. 

There are a lot of areas to consider when building a precision rifle, things like the barrel, chamber and load development might all figure higher up the order of priority than an action, then theres the stock, trigger shooter etc.

When I started building rifles a couple of years ago I had more questions than answers. Having studied closely the custom rifle building scene Ive realised that this is probably true for most. Some quote the same old dogma while others repeatedly test and/or compete until they can draw their own conclusions as to what really matters, what matters less and what doesn't matter at all. In now feel I have a few more answers than I used to have but there are still many unanswered questions, hopefully a nice calm summer this year will help me find a few more.

Im using a Tikka M590 action again because I had it in the workshop and the last one worked well, its a solid lump that will allow me to mill a left hand feed port and remain rigid enough to be precise. I have a number or Borden Rimrocks on order for customers and one for myself but it wont be here for a while and because I sold the Big Dog I just wanted to build something else to play with in the meantime.

I think for many shooters and some shooting disciplines a factory action is more than good enough, especially a quality one like Tikka but if your wanting to compete at the highest level against others with the best custom actions it would be a brave man who went Tikka when he had the option of a Borden or BAT.

That said Ive always liked the idea that fortune favours the brave ;)

 

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No i deer - There have been some great rifles built using s/h factory actions and, if you already have a donor action - like Al - and you are building your own rifle, then go for it.  The gain in using a good custom action is perhaps 5%

But, if you are having a custom rifle built by a gunsmith then the difference in cost in using a custom action and a factory action might represent a saving of maybe 20% - a reasonable sum.

But, if that rifle doesn't perform as you'd hoped, wouldn't you regret not using a custom action?  And, when you come to sell it, the appeal - and therefore price - would be much less than the initial saving. It's just another pimped Remmy!

I've had Remmys, Howas, Savages etc pass through my hands but all the BATs are still with me.

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8 hours ago, Big Al said:

In now feel I have a few more answers than I used to have but there are still many unanswered questions, hopefully a nice calm summer this year will help me find a few more.

Are you planning on shooting somewhere other than Diggle then this year Alan?  :)

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I have a remmy action in 6.5x47 that shoots great at 1000yds and got me a 6vs 4as at 300yds McQueens.1 inch vbull.

My tikka 284 shoots amazing and my Borden timberline 7mm saum also shot amazing at 100yds but with the sporter weight barrel soon started spraying them at 1000yds.its newly rebarreled with an f class weight barrel and it' already shot me some great 100yds groups.this Sunday I will be shooting it at 1000yds.

Custom actions are made to tight tolerances and probaly justify there price tag with the quality engineering that goes into them but whether I shoot well enough to see the difference I doubt it.i don't shoot at the highest level but then not many do who good wind doping was the deciding factor not the action.

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1 hour ago, Laurie said:

Are you planning on shooting somewhere other than Diggle then this year Alan?  :)

Not competitively Laurie.

I just hope we have a nice summer with still days and balmy evenings so I can do plenty of long range testing, I have access to a bench and I can go out to 1000yds. There are quite a few things I would like to work through and form my own opinions on whats good and what isn't. 

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Sounds good, Alan  :)

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I managed a couple of ours after work today. Im making good progress and its starting to look a little more like a rifle although plenty more work ahead yet.

Time to drill and tap the chassis to accept the butt section

IMG_2696.jpg

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Then face the mating surfaces so that I can hide the join later

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Slimming down the butt section, no more visible join.

IMG_2702.jpg

I can't decide at the minute whether to run a 3" wide rear rudder plate like the Big Dog or taper the butt to use an Edgewood bag. I also need to start thinking about the front bag rider now that the forend is slimmed down. Im at 24lb as it stands but theres a scope and a few more bits to go on so 28lb might be achieveable.

Its certainly looking long and low.

IMG_2703.jpg

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23 minutes ago, foxing2night said:

Looking good my mate, 

cant wait to see this rifle!!

Hi Darrel.    Was at Alan's mancave earlier on today and it is coming along nicely and also compared with the Big Dog stock the Long Dogs stock is light as a feather.    I asked him if he was confident in getting it ready but he said it depends on the weather to allow meaningful testing.   So fingers crossed matey.    I just hope the bench is long enough to allow it to be set up lol.    See you on the 4th.

Edited by That bald headed Geordie
words changed

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2 hours ago, Gandy said:

I always enjoy following the builds you make, very interesting. 

 

However a long low dog is surely a Dachshund?

I though that myself  but it doesn't sound mean enough :)

That said, having looked at how its taking shape Im thinking Hammerhead would be more appropriate.

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It looks as if it's gonnabe a very stable platform but its not going to be handsome....!!!!

Hopefully it's accuracy Will be it's beauty

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