Tag Archives: shortactioncustoms

Short Action Black Magic

Am I the only one who was surprised by the rapid and exhaustive penetration of the 300 Blackout into the shooting world? I mean, I’d like to think that I had a grasp on what the hip kids shot. At first glance it didn’t even seem worthy of a second look. Sure, if your an AR guy and wanna spend a lot of time and money going movie quiet, then great, this slug’s for you. But what did it do for a guy with a serious precision rifle infatuation? Time would soon tell…
The guy that built my first custom rifle back around the turn of the century, was the first to mention it to me. He called it a Whisper, which is basically the same thing. I disregarded it as gun room talk, you know, two guys pretending to know a lot by saying things the other guy hopefully doesn’t know about?

Years later, as the blackout continued to gain market share, I found myself asking why people were building 300blk bolt guns. I had long since tailored my own sub sonic 308win loads, and to my simple mind, it didn’t make sense. A 30 caliber bullet going 1000FPS doesn’t care who pushed it there. And since the .308 had the added benefit of shooting bullets almost three times that velocity, it seemed silly to leave money on the table with the little blackout. Unless of course you were running an AR15 platform.

Fast forward to the era of my Desert Tech SRS, a rifle that most of you know dominates my trigger time. The compact and accurate SRS fit my needs like no other rifle can, and its ability to swap barrels has literally left thousands of gun collections collecting nothing but dust. I can run an abundance of calibers, both factory and custom, almost anything a guy can dream up from short action to long.

One of the last barriers in this overabundance of options for the SRS, was broken by Short Action Customs LLC a few years ago. Mark began a project that would eventually become a complete 223 conversion kit for the SRS. And before he could even sell the first one, the black plague was inquiring if he would also make a 300blk conversion kit as well.
Perhaps it was my skepticism of the blackout, that influenced his decision, or perhaps my mediocre street cred’s. But whatever the reason, Mark sent me a 300blk conversion kit to test out. A 16 inch 300blk barrel that would mate right up to the .223 bolt I already had, and a billet aluminum magazine with some slightly different cuts to it.
Testing loads
I am a sucker for load development, it’s like an attention deficit disorder. Regardless of what I’m doing, if there are empty cases on my bench, my mind wanders, considering what powder’s, what bullet’s, and the circumstances of their arranged marriage. I wasted no time getting deep into the black magic of loading this mysterious little cartridge.

Any writing about the 300blk would be incomplete without discussing its true purpose. As hinted by its name, the blackout is built around stealth. When loaded with heavy for caliber bullets, at sub sonic speeds, its sound signature is comparable to a pellet gun. The bullet is launched just below the speed of sound (a speed that varies depending on atmospheric characteristics) which in my neck of the dark woods is around 1000 fps. The slow speed of the bullet allows it to travel through the air without breaking the sound barrier, and the accompanying loud crack that some of us are familiar with. When a suppressor is added to the rifle, the report caused by rapidly escaping gasses, is also withdrawn. All that is left, is the sound of that gas escaping from the muzzle, resulting in a nearly unnoticed hiss.

In order to realize this secretive squall, quick burning pistol powders in small amounts are used. I had chosen the Hornady 195 BTHP, for many reasons but the most important one was that I was showing a large surplus in nothing else. After trying a few different loads, I found one that worked quite well. Using a mere 5 grains of Hi Skor 700X, the 195’s were hushing along just shy of the speed of sound. 700X may not be the ideal powder for the blackout I know, but when you have fifteen pounds of it, you have to find a way to make it useful. The small case of the blackout yielded more consistent velocities than .308win based sub sonic loads.

In no time at all, I found myself chuckling at the range. The incredibly quiet blackout was refreshing, and to my surprise it was pretty easy to get it to shoot well. I found myself calling cease fires, just so everybody could not hear the shot, followed by the distant metallic ping. Even my sub sonic loads had SD numbers in the low teens. With practically no load development, I was shooting near sub MOA 5 shot groups. And the supersonic loads (150gr Hornady BTSP’s) shot at almost 2000fps were even better (all accuracy testing was done at 100yds). The recoil, or lack of it was extremely satisfying, I could many times see my own bullets flying in the air on their way to the target. Like every other Short Action Customs, LLC barrel that I own, this one shoots with meticulous repetition. The accuracy, recoil, and cheap plinking fun that I have had with this little kit has certainly changed my perspective on the blackout.
100 yard 5 shot sub sonic groups, the top impact on both groups was 1st shot

With a covert ability to engage targets with the utmost concealment, this conversion kit would be perfectly suited for removing varmints from the barnyard. I suppose that LE and Military could use it for the same thing if they needed to quietly escalate something. At the same time, when loaded supersonic with lighter bullets, the blackout would also make a good short range plinking/hunting cartridge for game such as deer or hogs.

The 300blk conversion kit is a completely turn-key system, like any other conversion kit for the SRS. You simply drop the barrel in, torque it down, and swap either the bolt or bolt head depending on the configuration you have. The 10 round magazine fits right into the magwell like any other DT magazine. My kit came threaded for a suppressor, I assume they all will be unless ordered otherwise. But shooting this conversion kit un-suppressed would be silly in my opinion, as its entire enterprise is based on silence. I did experience a significant cold bore shift, whether this is a blackout thing, or a sub sonic thing, I dont know. But it is something to keep in mind for sure, when those hits have to count.
I used both a 308 suppressor, and a 338 suppressor on the little blackout, I didn’t notice any significant difference between them. But since the SRS is prone to multiple calibers, if I had to pick, I’d go with the 338. I wonder if a shorter barrel, would help lower SD numbers even further. A 10 inch blackout seems like it would be perfect, if it didn’t put my Covert on some NFA black list.

For those of you who are familiar with the 300blackout, you probably have experienced the same silly grin when you hear bullets thumping targets, as birds chirp nearby. For those of you who haven’t yet fallen under the spell, it shouldn’t take much.

I wont speculate as to when the complete blackout conversion kits will be available to order, but I believe the good people at Short Action Customs are working hard to get them ready. If you are interested a blackout conversion kit, shoot Mark an email at: mark@shortactioncustoms.com
(Dont call him and waste time because there are a lot of fine rifles being cranked out of that shop every day, and I dont need you slowing him down 😀 ) Visit http://shortactioncustoms.com/ for more information. photo credit: Ben Hetland
-CBM

Butt it Fits?

Many of you are aware of my deep and committed love for my Desert Tech SRS A1 Covert. For many years now I have been terrorizing the hills and peaks of these Rocky Mountains with the surplus of barrel options it gives me. For so long, I thought that there was no way it could possibly get any better. To put it very simple, I was wrong.
I have always loved my SRS, from the first time I shot one, till at least yesterday when I shot it last. The ergonomics of the rifle seemed to fit me perfectly, and operating it became second nature in no time. The benefits offered by this rifle fit my shooting style, its short and compact. Great for packing around, but its also extremely accurate, which is helpful for trigger jerkers like me. Add to that the ability to change untold numbers of barrel combinations makes it the only rifle I’ll ever need. I only say that because though I still have a few other nice rifles, they have barely left the safe since the SRS came home, and even when they do, it’s to let someone borrow it.

So it may come as a surprise to you, as it did to me, that my humble little SRS could be easily upgraded. That is when the brilliantly creative fellows over at Short Action Customs, LLC come in. Mark and I met long ago when I first got my SRS, he was destined to sire several Bartlein’s for me and my rifle. At the moment, I have a 7SAUM, a 300Blackout, and a 223 Remington all built by Short Action Customs. Three of my favorite barrels, all because they are extremely accurate, and repeatable enough to give me the confidence to take a cold bore shot on an elk at 970 yards.
Mark and the guys have been busy making Ohio and the world a better place, and my SRS has benefited directly. Dan Calala of Short Action Customs and the proprietor of Desert Tech Solutions contacted me some time ago about an idea he had to make the SRS even better than it already was. After I got over the initial shock of blaspheme, I tuned into Dan’s soothing voice, and I thought surely there was some good reasoning behind his idea.
All these years I had thought that my SRS had fit me perfectly, well I come to find out that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t very picky. Now I may be the kind of guy to walk two miles with a rock in his shoe, but it never occurred to me that I wasn’t picky about my rifles. At least not until Dan sent me his invention.
When the package showed up, I was impressed by what was inside. It was a fully adjustable recoil pad for the SRS. I had always thought the standard recoil pad fit me just fine, that’s not to say it wasn’t comfortable, but this new one began to grow on me before it was even installed.

Dan had fashioned a piece of aluminium that is attached to one of the Desert Tech recoil pad spacers. An XLR recoil pad was attached to the back of it, its broad and soft texture was very appealing, and I couldn’t wait to get it on my gun.
It snapped right on, as though it was just another Desert Tech part, and after a few minutes playing with it, I soon found out just how convenient this thing was going to be. The recoil pad has a row of threaded screw holes drilled down its center axis, and screwed into the holes was a short aluminum dowel.

Recoil pad can be raised or lowered by moving the aluminum dowel up or down (red). The cant of the recoil pad is adjusted by loosening the side 5mm screw (blue)


The same tool used by SRS owners to change barrels can be used to adjust and disassemble the recoil pad.

Machine screws are threaded through the dowel, and into the front side of the recoil pad. The row of screw holes bored from top to bottom allows the user to adjust the height of the recoil pad. The aluminum dowel is received into the back of the recoil pad spacer, where there is a reciprocating bore for the dowel pin. This allows the entire recoil pad to be canted 360 degrees by the user by simply loosening one 5mm hex bolt on the right side of the spacer, the same screw is used to disassemble the unit.

It literally took me a couple minutes to get the recoil pad perfectly fit to my shoulder, and it was only then that I realized that the standard SRS recoil pad wasn’t as comfy as I had previously thought. This became more and more evident as I took the rifle out for a quick hike up my canyon.

The new adjustable recoil pad was also a bit “stickier” than the standard one, this helps keep the rifle in place when running the bolt in awkward positions. And it’s new angle, slightly canted, made the rifle more comfortable than ever. Best of all, it made it much faster to get settled in properly on the rifle.

I found that my level of comfort on the rifle was much better, particularly when shooting the larger calibers like 338LM. But it helped across the board as far as making the rifle become and extension of me.

Its been a great season of shooting with this new product, it has enhanced somewhat my shooting ability, and made it even more pleasant than before. If I had to say something negative about it, I guess it would be the added weight that it brings to the rifle. I haven’t actually weighed it, but it feels about like a pound. For me this isn’t a big issue, my gun is a pig, and always has been. So whats an additional half pound here or there.
I hunt quite a bit, and the added comfort and stability of this part has given me a little more edge in my game. After a whole season of chasing everything from squirrels to elk, you wont see me changing back anytime soon.
-CBM