Category Archives: Sniper / Precision Rifles

The Vortex Torque Wrench Optics Mounting Kit is Wicked!!

I’m to the point with rifles that when I want to maintain accuracy, I know I need an accurate torquing driver.  For years I have used the Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque (FAT) Wrench and it was good enough.  For about $40 I got the base unit that included a few bits and a case.  The FAT wrench had a range from 10-65 in/lbs and good enough accuracy (+/- 2 in/lbs up to 40 pounds and +/- 5% over 40 in/lbs).  My only beef with it was that the mechanical scale that shows you the torque settings was in 5 pound increments.  To get close to 18 in/lbs, for example, required going close to the middle between 15 and 20 in/lbs and calling it even.

I used the FAT wrench pretty much exclusively from October 2014 to May 2018.  It was good enough at the time – way better than going for ballpark feel “farmer tight” settings but in the back of my head though, I wanted better.

By the way, in case you are wondering why a person would get one of these torque wrenches or drivers, it’s because many torque wrenches aren’t calibrated in inch/pounds (they are often foot pounds in the US) and they may not go down as low as 10 inch/pounds (in/lbs).

My interests span many types of firearms from AKs to precision rifles.  With the latter, I own a number of sub-MOA rifles and they demand precision tools if you want repeatability and reliability.  These rifles also have very good Vortex scopes and rings as well.  If you want consistency and the rings to not shoot loose, the value of a torque wrench becomes apparent fast.

I’m a Vortex fan – there’s no two ways about.  Their optics are superb and they have an absolute “we will stand behind it no matter what with no nonsense” warranty.  Once in a while I will see guys troll the brand on Facebook but I honestly question whether they have ever actually even owned one.

Folks, I’ve owned probably 7-8 superb Vortex scopes and a ton of red dots.  I really don’t know how many red dots of various types – probably approaching a dozen.  The glass is good, the scopes are durable and do you know how many times I have used the warranty? — None.  In talking with guys that have, Vortex took care of them.

So, let me get to the point.  Vortex came out with a torque driver called the “Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Mounting Kit” that goes from 10-50 in pounds in calibrated 1 in/lbs increments that you set like a micrometer.

When it arrived, the first thing I noticed was the heft.  This is a solidly built metal tool that screams quality.  It comes with a few bits.  You pull the copper colored locking ring down and turn the handle to get the torque you want.  I did find that you have to push the bits in very firmly.  There is a detent ball that holds the driver bits in and it is surprisingly stout.

A nice touch is that the end of the handle has a 1/4″ socket if you want to use a ratchet wrench for higher torque applications.  For example, Vortex precision rings can go up to 50 in/lbs.  I can do that by hand most of the time but a ratchet makes it much easier.

On the topic of bits, it is a standard 1/4″ drive so you can get a large collection of bits and pair it up with this unit.  For example, I had a Home Depot Husky brand driver with a ton of bits that I picked up on sale at some point and just had sitting on the shelf.  I put it with the Vortex and its few included driver bits.  Additionally, when I am working on a firearm, I typically have my Weaver deluxe toolkit open as well.  It contains a great selection of bits that you tend to find on firearms.

There is one thing I changed though – the Vortex unit comes in a round plastic case that is nice and strong but I don’t have the patience to try and put it all back together for storage.  So, I hopped down to Ace hardware and bought a case to hold the Vortex torque driver, the Husky driver and all the bits plus I have room for more storage.  I also used some of my spare pluckable foam left over from cases to pad the bottom of the case.

In case you are wondering, here are photos of my FAT and Vortex torque drivers side by side:

In this next photo, you can see what I mean about precisely setting the torque on the wrenches.  My Vortex Precision Scope Rings specify a torque of 18 in/lbs.  With the Vortex wrench, you can precisely set it for 18 pounds.  With the FAT, it’s somewhere around 17-19 pounds plus we already know the wrench’s accuracy is limited to +/- 2 in/lbs as well.

On the topic of accuracy, the Vortex driver comes with a certificate of calibration to testing standard DIN-ISO-6789 by a gentleman named Tom on Feb 27, 2018.  You can see my specific wrench nails the accuracy – no more guesswork and no more ballpark torque setting.

In summary, I am very happy with my Vortex wrench and would recommend it to anyone doing precision firearms work, notably optics.  You can pick one up at a very reasonable price from Amazon and you ought to do it.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 


See larger image

Additional Images:

Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Mounting Kit (Misc.)

Riflescope mounting accessory set 10-50 lb adjustable torque – 1 in/lb increments Versatile set – Variety of bits included Convenient, twist lock storage packaging

Features:

  • This tool is easy to operate, simple to set, and offers fast, accurate tension wherever and whenever you need it.
  • The easy to read inch-pound increments ensure you tighten in 1in/lb increments to the specified torque, and not a bit more, ranging from 10 in/lbs to 50 in/lbs.
  • Bits included in kit: 3/16″ Hex bit – fits Vortex Bobro mounts, 2.5mm Hex bit – Fits Razor Red Dot, 3mm HEx bit – Fits Hunter rings, CM-202 and CM-203, T15 Torx bit – Fits Viper rings and Tactical rings
  • Bits included in kit: T25 Torx bit – Fits PMR rings, 1/2″ Socket – Fits Tactical rings, 10mm Wide Screwdriver bit – Fits Hunter and Viper clamp bolt, 1/4″ Socket adaptor

List Price: $69.00 USD
New From: $69.00 USD In Stock

Tailoring Plano’s New 52″ All Weather Series 2 (AW2) Case For a 48″ OAL .338 Lapua Savage Stealth Evolution

It’s funny how a person’s views can change over time.  When my dad I first started going to gun shows back in the early 1980s, my idea of a gun case was a naugahyde bag that was long enough with straps that I could close on the rifle.  Then again, my budget was about $10-20 for the case and usually about $100-150 for the firearm.  Times change.

I’ve heard it said that the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys and that just may be true.  Now when I buy and tune a rifle and put a big optic on it, I want it protected – well protected.  When I first started buying hard cases I would get the kind with the egg crate style foam that could generically hold anything with no modification.  The downside with the egg crate cases is that they don’t hold things very securely – if you drop the case hard enough, the contents will move including the weapon and any accessories or ammo you have stored in the main compartment  As a result, I shifted away from these cases some years ago for my bigger and heavier rifles.

To make a hard case that is tailored to what you want to store in it, you have two routes.  The best in my opinion are cases with hard foam that you cut to exactly fit what you want.  These cases hold your contents very securely.  The con is taking the time to cut out the foam.  It’s not a huge overhead but they also tend to cost a bit more for a good case such as a Pelican.

Option two is to still use a hardcase but one with pluckable foam.  This means the the foam has been pre-cut into little vertical rectangular columns that are partially connected to one another but can be pulled apart or “plucked” out.

Now the pros are that these cases can be affordable and are easy to work with.  The con is that the foam is very flimsy an I stay away from really fine details a single piece tends to break way from the other pieces very easily.  In short, I can’t fit the foam more closely to the contents *but* it still works and protects the contents better than an all eggshell hard case.

So, let me tell you about a Plano case I bought recently from Amazon.  I have used a lot of these tough Plano hard cases with pluckable foam over the last few years but now they have a model out that I really like due to the construction.  It’s the Plano “All Weather Series” and I bought the 52″ model to hold a Savage Stealth Evolution in .338 Lapua that is 48″ overall.  At $136.13 delivered it’s about $40-50 cheaper than a big Pelican.

To get this case, make sure your Amazon item description contains “AW2” – I assume this means it is the second generation of the All Weather case and I like the handles way better than the previous version.

When you open the lid, you see the usual placard and keys but if you zoom in you can faintly see the border of non-scored foam that runs around the perimeter.

In the next photo, note that the middle pluckable portion pulls right out.

In the next photo, note that the latches are now four in the front and none on the ends.  Some models have a latch inside the end handle and I find myself fumbling with it to get it to open.  I’m happy to see them just on the front.

My preferred way of mounting a scoped rifle is to have the scope “up” towards the carry handle on the side and the muzzle towards the carry handle on the end which means the butt stock is down by the wheels.  The reason for this is to protect the muzzle and the scope as much as possible.  A jarring force when someone drops the case – especially when carrying it with the side handle and dropping it – will be absorbed by a non-critical end … in theory.  You can never plan for everything and these cases are strong but not impenetrable.  For example, I received a case once where a fork truck tine had skewered it.  Amazon, as always, gave great customer service and shipped a replacement immediately.

Take the firearm and any accessories and lay them out on the back / the mirror side of the case.  You are going to mark with permanent marker where stuff goes and you don’t want that showing up later.  Now some folks will use chalk and blow it off.  Others will pin paper outlines – whatever works for you.  I use a Sharpie and try to remember that I need to flip the foam while keeping in mind the orientation of the weapon so you will note I have the rifle in the case scope down because I will just flip the foam afterwards.

Out comes the old Sharpie marker and I trace everything.  I traced the magazine in the rifle as well as a slot for the spare.  Not I have the ammo boxes sitting on their side edge.  I may trim the bottom foam out as it is a tight fit but I decided to run with that layout for now as the cartridges are very long and use a lot of real estate.  I wound up turning the Atlas bipod on its side also after the above photo was taken so the profile changed.

In the next photo, note how the big recoil pad is coming right down to the wheel housing.  The .338 Lapua Stealth Evolution is 48″ long so it is a tight fit in this case.  I figured the rubber recoil pad would protect the rifle and literally have it right by the housing.  The top of the scope and the bottom of the grip are right to the border of the pluckable area.

Now it is time to pluck!  I stay within the lines and figure I can always remove more later.  I do try to balance too close and will come apart later vs. too far away to protect the rifle.  I pluck and test, pluck and test until I get it the way I want.  Note how I have now reversed the foam – you don’t see any marker lines and the rifle is now oriented the way I want.

The next step is to take the insert outside and spray and adhesive on it to glue it in place.  You need to do this and apply it relatively heavily or it will pull out of position and flop around.  I use the 3M Super 77 spray adhesive and only spray the pluckable insert.

The end result is stronger if you apply the adhesive to both surfaces but it is very messy to deal with.  If you really want to do this, one trick is to save the foam you plucked out, cut it in half lengthwise and glue it in to the bottom.  Some guys like this as the firearm and accessories aren’t as deep in the foam.  In this case, I am just doing the one side so I applied it thick.  Make sure you do the right side … yeah, I’ve made that mistake too.

Let it sit for about 5 minutes so it gets tacky and then put it back on the lower piece.  Move quickly before it sets up and make sure everything is straight.  If you get the adhesive on stuff you don’t mean to, it can be readily cleaned up with turpentine while still wet.  I always have stuff I have to clean up.

Once you have the insert glued in place, be sure to let it dry for 6-8 hours.  I’ve had problems in the past if stuff sticking to firearms so I let it sit a good long time just to play it safe.  The warmer it is, the faster it will dry and cure.

Here’s the finished case.  You can see how the rifle completely fills it.  I wish I had a bit more buffer for protection but it is pretty good.  I will definitely do some more tuning on the ammo section.

I really like the case and think it’s going to do a good enough job for me.  I don’t plan on using it for anything incredibly rough – mainly range trips and it’ll handle those just fine.  I’d definitely recommend this case to someone who wants a very good mix of affordability and quality.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Plano AW2 cases at Amazon:

Folks, I really wanted to post a link on Amazon or eBay for the Atlas bipod but I decided against it.  There are tons and tons of cheap Chinese counterfeits of it and I would rather recommend you either buy it directly from Accushot or go to a reputable supplier like Brownell’s or Midway.  They are great bipods and if you buy one, make sure you are getting a real one and not ripped off.  The unit you see above is the BT10-LW17 with the quick release lever.

Plano All Weather 2 Double Scoped Rifle/Shotgun Case, AW2 Gun case, 52″ (Sports)

Plano all weather gun cases defend your firearms from damage and the elements. We have enhanced some of our best-selling cases with an upgraded look and improved functionality in the AW2 line. They’re still your old favorites – just better. With rugged, industrial-strength construction and a continuous dri-loc seal, AW2 cases create a watertight and dust-proof shield that protects your gear even in the most extreme conditions. Heavy-duty, dual-stage lockable latches and a built-in pressure release valve also help the cases withstand the continuous bumping and jarring of airline travel.

Features:

  • 52″ all weather case. Exterior dims: 53.5″ x 17″ x 7″ interior dims: 51.5″ x 14″ x 5.5″
  • Customizable pluck-to-fit foam
  • Easy Glide Enclosed Wheels and Dual Stage Lockable Latches for Travel. Extremly Duable and made to withstand rough hanlding during Travel.
  • Continuous dri-loc seal and pressure release valve
  • Aw2 cases create a watertight and dust-proof shield that protects your gear even in the most extreme conditions

List Price: $139.99 USD
New From: $139.99 USD In Stock

Video: How to convert the Tigr into an SVD Dragunov by bfgmovies — Excellent

     

I really want a Dragunov.  While I will probably never be able to afford a real SVD, a Tigr is a possibility so this video really caught my eye.  Now the fellow doing the video is really interesting.  He’s very active on gun boards and really knows his stuff.  He basically goes through the steps you need to convert a Tigr to a SVD.  Now, I just need to go sell a body part and get a Tigr one of these days.

If you want to learn more, check out these other two video by bfgmovies:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements.  EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.  Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

The Official Soviet SVD Manual (Paperback)

Designed by noted firearms designer Evgeniy Fedorovich Dragunov to operate under the most extreme climatic and combat situations, the SVD was the first Russian rifle designed from scratch specifically for sniping. This translation of the official SVD manual contains complete operating instructions.

By (author): U.S.S.R. Army, U.S. Army Translation by Maj. James F. Gebhardt

List Price: $20.00
New From: $325.35 USD In Stock
Used from: $325.35 USD In Stock

Video: RANGE TIME: SVD Dragunov VS VEPR (Izhmash Tigr VS Molot Vepr 7.62x54R) by bfgmovies

The first 25 minutes of this video is a side by side comparison of a Vepr to a Tigr.  He does a good job of showing people that Tigr, and other Dragunovs, are not just an oversized AK and actually are a different design.  The presenter has both right there and then when he shoots them you can see the amazing difference between the Vepr shooting around 1.1-1.9 MOA and the Tigr shot about 0.39 MOA.  It’s an interesting 33:25 long video and worth your time.

By the way, don’t let his young looks and the anime fool you – he knows his stuff.  He did an excellent video on how to build an AK-47/74/AKM from scratch.  Click here to watch it.

If you want to learn more, check out these other two video by bfgmovies:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements.  EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.  Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

The Official Soviet SVD Manual (Paperback)

Designed by noted firearms designer Evgeniy Fedorovich Dragunov to operate under the most extreme climatic and combat situations, the SVD was the first Russian rifle designed from scratch specifically for sniping. This translation of the official SVD manual contains complete operating instructions.

By (author): U.S.S.R. Army, U.S. Army Translation by Maj. James F. Gebhardt

List Price: $20.00
New From: $325.35 USD In Stock
Used from: $325.35 USD In Stock

Video: Ostfront 1987: Walther WA-2000 vs SVD Dragunov from InRangeTV

 

 

This 30:11 long video had me seriously drooling.  You have Ian McCollum from Forgotten Weapons and Karl Kasarda from InRangeTV squaring off on targets.  Ian is firing a rare German Walther WA-2000 sniper rifle in .300 Win Mag and Karl is shooting the Russian 7.62x54R SVD Dragunov.  They role play a bit and take this back to the Eastern Front of 1987.  I think both rifles are amazing and both presenters do a great job.  It’s very cool to see what the rifles can actually do vs. armchair myth.  Kudos to both men!

 


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements.  EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.  Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

The Official Soviet SVD Manual (Paperback)

Designed by noted firearms designer Evgeniy Fedorovich Dragunov to operate under the most extreme climatic and combat situations, the SVD was the first Russian rifle designed from scratch specifically for sniping. This translation of the official SVD manual contains complete operating instructions.

By (author): U.S.S.R. Army, U.S. Army Translation by Maj. James F. Gebhardt

List Price: $20.00
New From: $325.35 USD In Stock
Used from: $325.35 USD In Stock

Video: Walther WA-2000: The Ultimate German Sniper Rifle by Forgotten Weapons

       

The first time I saw the Walther WA-2000 I fell in love.  Wow.  It was the most amazing looking sniper rifle I had ever seen and I’ve only seen one once years and years ago.  Like the HK PSG-1, the WA-2000 was developed in response to the 1972 Munich Olympic Games incident.  Development started in the lates 1970s and only 176 rifles were produced between 1982 to 1988.  When it was sold in the 1980s it never really took off because it was incredibly expensive – only 15 were imported into the US.  The one I saw was around $10K if I remember right.  Today, the price has skyrocketed – $70K for the first gen with the wood stocks and $40K for the second gen with the synthetic stock.  With prices like that, unless I hit the lottery, the odds of my owning one is zero 🙁

I watched Ian’s video on the WA-2000 and, as usual, he does the best review of the rifle I have seen.  He goes over the history, interesting design characteristics, disassembles it and then takes it shooting.  Wow.  I would love to shoot one of these.  One misconception I had before the video was that the rifle was only chambered in 7.62X51 when it was actually available in .300 Win Mag and 7.5×55 Swiss.  The rifle in the video is a .300 Win Mag unit.

Here’s the cool 23:49 video from Forgotten Weapons:

Now if you want to learn some more about this amazing bullpup sniper rifle, check out:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements.  EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.  Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

Video: H&K PSG-1: The Ultimate German Sniper Rifle by Forgotten Weapons

       

When the H&K Präzisionsschützengewehr (German for “precision shooting rifle”) PSG-1 came out almost 30 years ago, I thought it was the most amazing rifle I had ever seen.  Chambered in 7.62×51 it was the West German’s response to a decided lack of effective sniper rifles in their police forces after the Munich attack at the 1972 Olympics.  The PSG-1 was a true precision rifle.  All PSG-1 rifles must be able to put 50 rounds of match ammo into a 3.14″ (80,,) circle at 300mm which makes it a true one MOA rifle.  As cool as it was, there were problems.  It was incredibly expensive ($10K when it came out), complex, one and only one scope option, and a reputation for being very finicky.  I’ll probably never get to own one and for that matter I would rather buy other things with that much money but it is a fascinating piece of firearms history.

Ian at Forgotten Weapons, who is both very knowledgeable and a great presenter, teamed up with a James D Julia auctions to make this video.  He provides a rich history of the rifle, an overview of features and then goes into a very detailed disassembly with commentary about each part.  For example, he compares the PSG-1’s bolt to a plain G3-style bolt and highlights the differences.  The video is 20:36 long and totally worth it if you are a fan of the PSG-1:

Here are links to websites with additional info on the PSG1:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the advertisements.  It will help us fund continued development of the blog.