Category Archives: Shooting hardware

Rifles and their parts

Cayuga solid copper bullets: 6mm 100 grain

Some of you may have already read about my experience with the 6.5 Cayuga from a year or two ago. That may or may not have led you to this subject, but if you are seriously looking into the Cayuga as a hunting bullet then I’d recommend reading both articles.

The Cayuga
All Patriot Valley Arms Cayugas are solid copper monolithic bullets, lathe turned to perfection from the same alloy as traditional copper cup bullets. This allows them to be extremely consistent from bullet to bullet, and the CNC turning process also allows their profile to be controlled meticulously. The Cayuga solids boast much higher ballistic coefficients than comparably weighted bullets, but due to their lighter weight from lacking a lead core they can be shot at higher velocities. So to sum it up; higher bc’s and lighter weight make them better for distance shooting and the lot consistency and gentile ogive make them accurate and easy loading.
Earlier this year, I started my second six millimeter project, a 6mm GT for my Desert Tech SRS M2. It took only a few minutes to fall completely in love with the Tiger, so when given the opportunity to test these new Cayuga bullets in it, I wasted no time. The 6mm GT easily pushes hundred grain bullets to the 3,000 fps mark, and the high BC of the Cayuga meant that it would hold onto that velocity and energy for quite a ways.


The Numbers

The 100 grain Cayuga didn’t exactly come with an owners manual, PVA gave me some suggested data to work with which seemed to be spot on. I used a G7 BC of .270 which is very similar to the extremely popular Berger 105gr. I tested the Cayuga to beyond 1400 yards and as far as I shot with it, that .270 lined up perfectly.

Easily Loaded
Once I had the Cayugas in hand, I sat down at the loading bench to get busy. The go to powder for the GT is Varget, and for good reason. But if your reading this in the same era it was written, then you know how hard its been to get certain loading components. Varget was hard to come by, but I had eight pounds of Reloader 17 that I could make work. And boy did it!
The very first load I tried with the Cayugas was a modest charge of RL-17 that produced around 2960 fps from my twenty-four inch barrel. The first five bullets I tested went through nearly the same hole, I shit thee nay. Groups in the .2’s and .3’s were immediately achieved with ZERO load workup or seating depth fiddling. While I do consider myself to be both lucky and handsome, I think the generous curve of the bullets ogive likely bears more credit for the accurate shooting than any luck of my own.
I added a touch more powder to break the big three-o, and left the rest alone. From there I spent the rest of my test shooting validating drop and such to confirm the bc. The end goal here was the same for nearly every project of mine; what can I kill with it?

Hunting Season
The GT had accompanied me on a bear hunt to Montana, no kills were made there so the next opportunity would be the Mule deer hunt in my state of Utah. The Rocky Mountains that I call home are quite spacious, and the steep and deep canyons where we hunt our deer can often stretch for miles. Shots can be anywhere from one hundred yards, out to two or three ridges away. To put it simply, a five, six or seven hundred yard shot on a mule deer buck is about as common as anything. The Gay Tiger loaded with Cayugas had become such a predictably accurate shooter that anything in that realm felt like a chip shot as far as hitting my point of aim. So when opening day arrived, the GT road right next to me, and never left my side. We ended up using it for two separate shots on deer, both of which hang quietly in the shed in my backyard.
The first deer was shot at six-hundred and eighty yards, it was a perfect broadside shot that passed through leaving an inch and a half hole on its way out. The deer staggered about twenty yards before he tipped over.

The second deer was taken a few days later, at a distance just over a thousand yards. He too took a single shot and dropped straight to the ground where he expired. While the second shot may have had less energy than recommended by many, it certainly did the trick just fine.
Broken rib bones, shredded lungs, and bright blood stains against the dry yellow grass are exactly the kind of indicators that good hunters like to judge a bullet’s performance.

Conclusion
Just as I had expected, the 6mm Cayugas are everything I had hoped for. Accurate and flat shooting bullets that make an impressive wound cavity through animals. We often joke that Im going to have to shoot an elk with a 6mm Cayuga if ever I want to find a fired one. But after seeing what I have, it’d have to be really far away, or else I’d have to shoot him length-wise. We killed seven deer last week, just in my group. And the 6mm GT shooting Cayugas killed every bit as well as the larger cartridges used (6.5CM, 260, 308). If you are in need of a solid copper hunting bullet, or if your stuck in California for example, the Cayugas are just the ticket for six-millimeter big game hunting.

-CBM

Browning X-Bolt Hells Canyon 6.5 Creedmoor

When I first saw the Browning X-bolt Hell’s Canyon at SHOT Show, I remember thinking to myself that many folks were going to eat it up. And as years have passed it surely has become one of the most talked about hunting rifles out there. So when I finally got a chance to check it out myself, I was eager to see if all the hype was well founded. I had already been playing with a different X-bolt model, so I was pretty familiar with it before I even opened the box. What I didn’t realize was just how deep into Hell’s Canyon I would descend.

First Impression
My very first impression of the rifle was not unlike my feeling when I saw it at SHOT Show, it was just a plain handsome rifle. A bronze colored Cerakote job and similar A-TACS camo pattern clearly sets this rifle apart on the rifle rack. The fluted barrel and it’s inconspicuous muzzle brake flow seamlessly into the receiver, all of which is set nicely into the camouflaged composite stock. A nice soft recoil pad at the back was a welcome feature, as was the detachable box magazine. And like other X-bolts I’ve shot, it was just smooth. The sixty-degree bolt design makes shorter and faster operation, and the gold-plated trigger breaks as clean as most any hunting rifle I’ve ever pulled from a shelf. The X Bolt action features a bolt release button to unlock the bolt when the safety is on, a very cunning and intuitive design. If this rifle shot as good as it looked, I was going be hard pressed to let go of it.

Setup
I wanted to get straight to the range with this rifle, but first I had to get a scope mounted. I went with a one-piece scope base that uses eight screws to hold it down to the top of the receiver. I found this to be a superior mounting system than the traditional four screws that most manufacturers use to mount scope bases.

I tried a couple different mounting systems and riflescopes, first a Nikon 4-16 scope which worked great, but was too high. I ended up with the system that seemed to work the best, a Crimson Trace 3-12 mounted in Warne rings and bases.
I had a small amount of Hornady American Gunner 6.5CM ammo that I could test in the rifle, but I wanted to try more than one thing just in case the rifle didn’t care for it. So I sat at my loading bench to crank out another couple options hoping at least one of them would provide me with the exceptional accuracy I was hoping for. After that, I installed a Harris bipod so I could get this rifle into the field and shooting.

Continue Reading Here…

Surgeon Scalpel 300 Win Mag

There are many names that stand out in the extremely competitive precision rifle market, one of those big names is Surgeon Rifles. Once a fairly small custom shop, it has grown to become a very well known manufacturer and supplier of civilian precision rifles and sniper rifles. I had seen and handled many different Surgeon actions and custom rifles over the years, but I’d never had my own until today.

Unboxing
I eagerly opened up the Pelican case when it arrived, knowing what was inside. It was the Surgeon Rifles Scalpel 300 Winchester Magnum in the Cadex Dual Strike chassis. The OD Green and black rifle immediately commanded my attention, as I lifted it from the foam-lined case. My very first thought as I looked it over was the incredible amount of structural detail on the Cadex chassis, many fasteners and interlocking pieces make up this rigid structure. The impressive weight of the rifle was also immediately perceivable, the twenty-six-inch heavy-profile barrel is responsible for much of that. But the chassis itself is also no insignificant thing. I shouldered the rifle, to run the bolt and feel what kind of rifle this would be. My support-hand was opened wide to accommodate the large forearm of the rifle, and I pulled the bolt to the rear to inspect the chamber. I ran the bolt a few times, impressed with the feel so much I had to confirm it several more times.

The Cadex chassis featured a rubberized pistol-grip, also of a large size to fill the palm of your hand. The soft exterior of the grip is necessary to firmly grasp and control a rifle this long and heavy. The rifle is available with a Trigger Tech or Jewel trigger, this one came with the Jewell trigger. Something I wanted to get a feel for right after running the smooth bolt. The trigger broke as clean as one could ask for, with no perceivable movement at all. Also included with the rifle were five Accurate Magazines. The Dual Strike Cadex chassis is a folding model, with a small lever on the right side that allows the buttstock to be folded over the bolt side of the rifle. This folding motion protects the bolt and significantly shortens the length of the rifle for more compact transportation. It also locks in the folded position, preventing unwanted opening of the rifle when manipulating.
After familiarizing myself with the adjustments of the Cadex chassis, I put the rifle back into its case as I impatiently waited for a chance to shoot it.

Continue Reading Here…

Browning X-Bolt 6 Creedmoor

Even though I’m a bit of a rifle junkie, the Browning X-Bolt is a bit of a stranger to me. I’ve shot a few of them over the years, and even had good luck loading ammo for them for friends. That said, I’ve never owned one myself. Browning is a common name down our way, the man himself was born just a few miles north of where I sit as I write this.
The X-Bolt rifle has plenty of clout in the rifle world, so I knew not to underestimate it as I prepared myself for this project. I was giddy with excitement to get my hands on this one.

The Browning X-bolt Target

The Target model of the Browning X-bolt comes in a McMillan A3-5 stock with an adjustable comb, as well a a match grade heavy profile fluted barrel. The muzzle is threaded 5/8-24 to attach any muzzle devices. In addition to those add-ons, the X-bolt receiver has an extended bolt handle, and a 20 MOA pic rail mounted on top. There are a few other little extras as well, such as QD sling swivel studs, and a bipod pic rail mount. I pulled the rifle from the black Browning box, and was instantly in love. The fit and finish of this rifle were superb, and as soon as I put the Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad to my shoulder I knew it was going to be a good match. I adjusted the cheek piece to fit my hold, and ran the bolt and trigger a few times. I love the 60-degree bolt throw, it is shorter and faster than the alternative. And the smooth bolt stroke on the X-bolt feels much like a nice custom. The Trigger in this rifle is as good as any factory trigger I’ve felt, The Feather Trigger as Browning calls it, is adjustable from three to five pounds, and has a tang mounted safety. The detachable box magazine is Browning’s own design, it is an all polymer rotary magazine that holds four rounds. It fits flush with the bottom of the McMillan stock. Continue Reading Here…

Marlin 1894 357 Magnum

What seems like forever ago, my little brother snagged a Model 94 Winchester from the local gun shop. It was chambered in .44 Magnum, and lets just say we all fell in love with that short and sassy little lever-gun. Ever since then I have been dying to get something similar for myself, but life has a way of dictating your gun purchases doesn’t it?
So when the opportunity to get a Marlin 1894 in .357 Magnum came my way, I was not going to let my dream go unlived. But would it be everything I had hoped for?

The Marlin 1894
Since the late nineteenth century, Marlin has been manufacturing leverguns and other firearms for the American public. It has seen several ownership transfers over the past decade or two, and the latest one will hopefully be a good and final one. The 1894 is perhaps one of Marlin’s most popular models over the years, but there are many others that have also graced the shooting public. The 1894 is like many of Marlin’s firearms, a lever action repeater. Probably the most distinguishing feature of the model is it’s side ejecting receiver. This has made Marlin leverguns very popular with users of riflescopes, as it allows a more generous mounting area. The rifle has an eight round tube magazine that loads from the side of the receiver through a loading chute. Continue Reading Here…

Yankee Hill Machine R9 :A great first or fifth suppressor

One of the biggest questions when buying a suppressor, is selecting one out of the hundreds of options. I’ve been through a bunch at this point in my life, so let me shed some light on the subject for you. What caliber? what configuration? And so many other questions you’ll be asking yourself. With so many options how can you pick one that is best for your purposes? The right answer is that there are always too many good choices to pick only one, but today we are going to look at the subject as a first time suppressor buyer, and a suppressor that might just cover all your bases.

The YHM R9 mounted direct on a Browning X-bolt 6 Creedmoor

Why the YHM R9?
What makes the YHM R9 a perfect can for an NFA Greenhorn? I’ll get right into it. Todays gun owners come from every walk of life, our modern world has given them overwhelming opportunities for firearms and accessories. That said, there’s a good chance that most firearm enthusiasts looking into a suppressor probably have an Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) of one kind or another. That rifle is probably chambered in the extremely popular 5.56, or one of the other calibers that are growing in popularity like 300blk, 6.5G, 6 ARC, etc.
The R9 from YHM is ideal for using with any of these calibers, it can suppress large frame cartridges too, like the 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester. It is rated to suppress pretty much anything under 308 Winchester really, even with limited amounts of full auto. But Wait! There’s more! The R9 is also a perfect fit for a 9mm pistol or carbine, it’s stainless construction is more than enough to retain pressures generated by the cartridge, and other 9mm rifle cartridges like the 350 Legend.

The way I see it, it is pretty damn likely that your apprentice level prospective suppressor purchaser would benefit greatly with an R9. One could swap it back and forth from various rifles, and install a booster and run it on their Glock as well.

The R9 is ideal for the Desert Tech MDRX and its assorted calibers

Adaptation
YHM is one of many manufacturers that has embraced the uniformity of threads. The threaded rear end of the R9 can be fitted with a direct thread cap (1/2-28 or 5/8-24), or it can fit a Nielsen booster assembly and run with one of various piston manufacturers. It doesn’t end there, it can also use YHM’s Phantom QD system, which allows rapid swapping of the suppressor from various YHM muzzle devices. Further still, the can uses the same threads as other major manufacturers like Dead Air and SilencerCo, so you could also install those devices. I have all three options for my R9, I have both thread caps that I use when shooting the R9 on my precision guns, and I also have the QD mount so I can swap it back and forth on my carbines as well. I run a Rugged suppressors piston inside my Nielson Booster assembly, which makes my Canik TP9 quiet and smooth as ever I could ask.
The R9 is only threaded on the breach end, the rest of it’s construction is solid baffles welded together making it simple and no non-sense. The provided tools allow the user to tighten down the various assorted mounting options, and perhaps more importantly disassemble them after being used.

Shooting with the YHM R9
The very first shots I fired through the R9 were with my pistol. It was the first mounting adaptor in my possession so I went straight to the range to try it out.
The R9 tamed all the sounds produced by my pistol, adding of course its due weight and a bit of added backpressure. But the heavier muzzle sure made the pistol smooth and even more controllable. Shooting the pistol in closed quarters was very tolerable, the sound reduction was everything I’d hoped for, and the function was flawless.

The R9 seen mounted direct on my SRS M2 6mm GT

Shortly thereafter I received the 5/8-24 direct thread adaptor, and the R9 went straight to my SRS M2 chambered in 6mm GT. It stayed there for quite some time, hundreds of rounds sent through the R9 from fifty to seventeen-hundred yards. The accuracy of the rifle was if anything enhanced by the presence of the R9, this is typical in my experience. Cartridges like the 6mm GT were easily suppressed by the R9, making precision even more pleasant.

The QD mount for the R9 is perfect for running the suppressor back and forth between rifles. I ran the Phantom flash hider on my 308 carbine threaded 5/8-24. and on my 5.56 chambered carbine I use the Phantom Turbo 556 muzzle brake. This made it easy to swap the R9 back and forth between the two rifles, both of which sounded great when suppressed with the R9. With the gas turned down a notch on both rifles, they functioned perfectly without gassing me out at the breach.

Carbines like this 350 Legend are a perfect host

First or Fifth?
Ya, I said first or fifth. The reason I put it that way is because even though I have a dozen or so cans at any given time, the R9 is still an excellent addition to my collection. It is very useful on better than half of my gun collection, and with an MSRP of only $494.00 it is pretty economical compared to many other cans.
I’m at a point in life where I seldom go places without a rifle, and much of the time I have two or three rifles. Having an additional suppressor that will fit most of my rifles makes it an easy choice for me.

Conclusion
If my positivity is hasn’t been obvious enough about my feelings about this little suppressor, let me make it clear; I think this is the perfect suppressor for a first time NFA victim. It has everything most people need, multi-caliber, adaptable, tough as nails, and all at a very reasonable price. If I had to say something about the R9 that I dislike, you’d really have to force it out of me. The only issue I’ve ever had was keeping the thread caps tight, this was almost certainly due to me not tightening them on using the supplied tools as I’m a lazy ass. But I wouldn’t put that at the feet of the boys over at YHM.

So there you have it, the R9 is nearly a flawless purchase in my opinion. Short from needing magnum capabilities or a bunch of machine guns you need to suppress, this is an excellent suppressor for your typical firearms consumer. Best get yourself one.

-CBM

Winchester Model 70 Target

As time passes, both our guns and our tastes evolve. Perhaps our shooting styles change a bit and a gun we were once giddy over has fallen to the back rack of the safe, perhaps never to come back out except to be sold. Or maybe that favorite rifle got tuned up with a new barrel and scope, maybe a dashing Cerakote paint job and a better trigger. Either way, the firearms of days past seem to lose their luster as new ones are brought to market. But a rare few seem to hold on to a charming and nostalgic following, today we are talking about one of those.

The Model 70
The Winchester Model 70 has been perhaps America’s most prolific bolt action rifle. Generations of hunters and other marksmen have put the various configurations of the Model 70 through countless trials.
The ninety-degree bolt action of the Model 70 has been used in too many configurations to mention here. Both long and short actions are made, featuring a bolt-shroud three position safety. And a simple and robust trigger that is well known for immaculate breaks.

The Target Model
The Model 70 Target was available in an assortment of calibers but they had the same features. A high quality heavy profile barrel, and a wide and flat-bottomed walnut stock. The rifle also came drilled and tapped for a variety of sighting options, you could either mount a scope like the Unertl scopes that were often seen on these rifles in the past, or aperture sights that were mounted to the receiver and muzzle. I believe the military version of the rifle as used by legendary shooters like Hathcock, was very similar in construction, using a more streamlined and less obtrusive stock. Continue Reading Here…


Ruger M77 Hawkeye 308

My first real deer rifle was a Ruger M77, being a bit green and not overly wealthy at the time, I searched out what seemed to be a quality rifle for a good price. The fact that it was priced for clearance that day only helped solidify my decision. More than twenty years later, I still have and love that rifle. Having seen many M77’s come and go over the years I have become quite familiar with their operation and reliability. But today’s subject is a new one to me.

The Ruger M77 .308

The M77 has been around for quite sometime, taking what many consider to be the best features of a Mauser clone. There are quite a few models available now in long action and short, as well the Hawkeye variants such as the one we are discussing today. Continue Reading Here…