Category Archives: Sniper / Precision Rifles

Video: Max Popenker Discusses the History of the Russian SVD Designated Marksman’s Rifle

Folks, the number one firearm at the top of my bucket list is a Dragunov. I’ve wanted one for years and years and maybe if I get lucky and a firm either decides to make or import them, I’ll finally get to own one. In the mean time, I enjoy reading articles and videos about them.

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons recently interviewed Max Popenker, a noted Russian small arms researcher, about the history of the Dragunov. The video goes into great detail about the historical context that led up to the design contest that resulted in the original Snáyperskaya Vintóvka sistém’y Dragunóva obraz’tsá 1963 goda (SVD-63). It’s really the best I’ve seen in terms of history and includes the modern SVD-M.

The three prototype designs competing for the Soviet sniper rifle from Simonov, Konstantinov and Dragunov. The SVD’s principle designer was Yevgeny Dragunov and he was a notable target shooter and this undoubtedly gave him significant insight into what was needed.
The SSV-58 model from 1959 compared to the accepted 1963 SVD. Note the removal of the diopter sights, addition of a muzzle device and bayonet lug.
Max explained there were bout 5=7,000 SVDs made each year and sometimes over 10,000.
And this is the current model – the SVD-M. Note the heavy shorter barrel, modern optics rail, adjustable scope and adjustable side folding stock.

And Here’s The Video

I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I did!


Please note that all photos were extracted from the video and remain the property of their resective owner(s),


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.


Honeywell’s Howard Leight Electronic Hearing Protection is Great!!

This summer  I switched to Honeywell’s Howard Leight electronic earmuffs and absolutely love them.  The reason is simple, my hearing is horrible – I sure wish I knew to protect my hearing when I was younger and am paying for it now.  When I wear traditional earmuffs, I can’t hear anyone talk.  With these, you can turn them on, set whatever amplification you want and they automatically turn off when you shoot.

These things are slick.  On one had they have a noise reduction rating of 22 whether turned on or off.  Additionally,  there are directional microphones on each side of the earmuffs and you have a volume control to turn the amplification/gain up or down.  You can get up to an 82db gain in sound and the two AAA batteries can last 350 hours with a 4 hour automatic shut off.

This means I can hear folks talk around me without needing to pull off the earmuffs.  I have used these extensively this summer with 12 gauges, 9mm, .40, 10mm, .45, 5.56, 7.62×39, .308 and .338 Lapua Magnum and use them exclusively now.  To be perfectly clear, I have no problems with shooting my Lapua with this Honeywell hearing protection and that rifle is a cannon.

Let me caution you on one thing – there are counterfeit copies out there.  Be sure to buy from a reputable dealer.  In my case, I bought from Amazon directly and not just a third party selling on Amazon.  Look under “Sold By” in the listing to see who it is.  If it isn’t Amazon, change the seller to either someone you know or to Amazon as the seller. 

I bought a carry case to hold them and my shooting glasses that has worked out really well.

Note, because I wear prescription glasses, I wear No Cry brand “Over spec” safety glasses that fit over my glasses.  They fit well and I store them in the above case also.


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.


Range Results for the Sabatti .308 Urban Sniper – Most Impressive

In my last post, I discussed mounting the Vortex scope and tailoring a Plano hard case for my .308 Sabatti Urban Sniper.  This last post in the series is about my trip to the range with it.  I went to the range with high hopes – by all accounts it should sub minute of angle, meaning under one inch at a hundred yards.  In short, it delivered.

I’d already shot a few rounds through the rifle at a quarry but couldn’t really shoot for accuracy.  We put about 10 rounds through it.  To shoot it from a bench, I took the Sabatti to the Berrien County Sportsman’s Club’s 100 yard rifle range and set up.  I’d already cleaned it the night before to get ready and it was a fine Michigan fall day to do some shooting.

The rifle is being held by a Caldwell’s “The Rock” rest.  I really like it.  First off it is way heavier than my old Caldwell rest and second it is adjusts very smoothly as you are trying to dial the rifle in.

The buttstock is held by Caldwell’s Universal Rear Shooting Bag and I bought it filled.  They have on that is unfilled if you prefer to use your own material and also determine how full to make it.

For hearing protection, I switched to Honeywell’s Howard Leight electronic earmuffs and absolutely love them.  The reason is simple, my hearing is horrible – I sure wish I knew to protect my hearing when I was younger and am paying for it now.  When I wear traditional earmuffs, I can’t hear anyone talk.  With these, you can turn them on, set whatever amplification you want and they automatically turn off when you shoot.

This means I can hear folks talk around me without needing to pull off the earmuffs.  I have used these extensively this summer with 9mm, .40, 10mm, 5.56, .308 and .338 Lapua Magnum and use them exclusively now.

I bought a carry case to hold them and my shooting glasses that has worked out really well.

Note, because I wear prescription glasses, I wear No Cry brand “Over spec” safety glasses that fit over my glasses.  They fit well and I store them in the above case also.

For targets, I started with a big 18×24 Splatterburst target as I dialed the scope in better and then I broke out some smaller Orange Peel targets with four circles per 8.5×11 page.

I did the sighting in with the balance of the Hornady ammo and then settled in to test with Federal 168 and 175 grain BTHP Match ammo as well as Remington 168 grain BTHP match ammo,

A problem popped up at this point that I did not expect, a slight wind had picked up and was causing the target holder to sway back and forth a bit.  I’m sure it affected results a bit but it’s hard to say how much – I think the results are pretty darned good.

For each type of ammo, I would let the rifle cool down to ambient temperature and then fire two five round groups, let it cool and then the final two groups.  Yes, I intentionally let it heat up and I did not clean the barrel at all during this range session – it was cleaned prior to the session.

Here are the results:

Federal 168 grain BTHP Match

This is the only one where I only fired three groups.  I ran out of Hornady ammo while sighting in, switched to Federal and then set up the targets once the rifle was ready to go.

The three groups are: 1″, 0.54″ and 0.84″.  The odd bullet hole at the top right was from when I was setting up – it was not part of the five shot group.  The average here is 0.793″ — that’s pretty good.

Federal 175gr BTHP Match

Here are four groups:  1.37″, 0.97″, 1.1″ an 0.81″.  The average here is 1.06″.  Both the A and C targets look like I had a flier as part of the group.  In other words, I bet it was me making a mistake vs. the rifle or the ammo.

Remington 168gr BHTP Match

The Remington ammo was shot on two targets because I had an oddball hole from when I was setting up. — The groups are:  0.75″, 0.82″, 0.82″ and 0.76″.  The average was 0.79″ — the winner for smallest group.

I asked Justin Todd, with Italian Firearms Groups (IFG) what he heard about accuracy.  He said my results are very typical and he knows handloaders who are getting 0.15-0.25″ groups.

Tell you what, I really liked the rifle.  It had mild recoil due to the effective brake.  The trigger was really nice at 3-1/8″ pounds and the bolt cycles easily.  I did not have any problems with reliability and the accuracy sure is there.

If you are looking for a solid tactical rifle to engage targets within 400 meters, I really think you ought to give the Sabatti Urban Sniper a serious look and consider pairing it with a good scope like I did with the Vortex PST.


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.


Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 EBR-1 Riflescope PST-416F1-M

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Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 FFP MRAD Illuminated PST 43128

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Vortex Viper PST Rifle Scope 4-16x50

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Vortex Viper PST 1-4 x 24 Rifle Scope TMCQ MOA Reticle with Capped Turrets

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Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50mm FFP Rifle Scope

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Vortex Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 Rifle Scope MOA Gen 2 Includes Caps, Hat

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Vortex Viper PST Gen II 1-6x24 Rifle Scope VMR-2 MOA Reticle PST-1605

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Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 FFP Riflescope (EBR-7C MRAD Reticle)

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Installing the Vortex PST Gen 2 Scope and Making the Plano Case for the Sabatti Urban Sniper

In my previous post, I gave you my out of the box impressions of the Sabatti .308 Urban Sniper.  In this post, I’ll give you an overview of the scope I went with, mounting it and the Plano hardcase.

A Vortex 3-15×44 FFP PST Gen 2 Scope and PMR Rings

I contacted Travis Boran, a fellow I have grown to respect over the years at Vortex Optics.  I told him about my plans and asked what scope he would recommend for a precision .308 rifle that was to be used within 400 meters.  My first thought was to get another PST scope and Travis recommended that I go with the new 3-15×44 Front Focal Plane (FFP) second generation scope.  PST scopes are built like tanks so that sounded good to me.

Travis always asks if I want a Minute of Angle (MOA) or Mil-Radian (MRAD) reticle.  I understand the MRAD system and stuck with that.  They have a really cool reticle for the scope known as the EBR-2C.  What I like is that it looks like a Christmas tree and as you get near the bottom it has marks for the offset right there.  Vortex provides an excellent guide on how to use the EMR-2C reticle.

Vortex PST-3158 Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 FFP Rifle Scope

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Vortex Viper Gen II PST 3-15x44 EBR-2D MOA (FFP) PST-3154

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Vortex Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44mm FFP Riflescope w/ EBR-2C MOA Reticle PST-3155

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Vortex Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 FFP EBR-7C MOA & VORTEX RING *Authorized Dealer*

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I paired the scope with Vortex Precision Series rings – PMR-30-126.  They are for 30mm tubes and are 1.26″/32mm high.  In other words, they hold the center of the scope 1.26″ inches off the base.   My goal is to get the scope as close to the bore as possible to reduce parallax plus the PMR rings have some advantages:

Vortex Optics Precision Matched 30mm Extra High Scope Rings - 1.45" PMR-30-145

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Vortex Optics Precision Matched Rings 30mm High 1.26 Inches PMR-30-126

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Vortex Precision Matched Rings-30 mm Height 0.97 Inches PMR-30-97

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Vortex Precision Matched 30mm Scope Rings PMR-30-126

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Vortex Precision Matched Rings for 30mm Riflescope Mount (0.87-inch Height)

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Vortex Optics Precision Matched Rings 30mm - Height 0.97 - Picatinny

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Vortex Precision Matched Rings (Set of 2) for 30mm (1.45 Inch /36.8 mm)

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Vortex Precision Matched Rings for 30mm Riflescope Mount (0.97-inch Height)

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Vortex Precision Matching 30mm Scope Rings .97 - PMR-30-97

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Vortex Precision Matching 30mm Scope Rings .87 Low Height - PMR-30-87

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  1. They are machined as a pair and are held to a 0.0005″ tolerance.  No need to do hand lapping to get a precise fit.
  2. They can be torqued down to spec.  The base clamp screws are 45-50 in/lbs and the ring screws are at 15-18 in/lbs.  The reason so many cheap rings lack torque specs is because they simply threaded soft aluminum and they will strip out.
  3. They are beautifully finished with a Type 3 Hardcoat.

You have so see and use a pair to get an idea how slick these are.  I switched to Vortex precision rings in 2017 and have never regretted it.  I also always use their offset mounts on my AR-optics too.

Mounting the Scope

I placed the Urban Sniper in my Tipton “Best Gun Vise”.  Yeah, the name makes me choke a bit but I actually really like it.  It’s a work stand with an adjustable clamp for the buttstock that lets you adjust the hold on the rifle until the top rail is flat/horizontal per a level.

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Tipton Best Gun Vise Mount Stand Rifle Shotgun Cleaning Gunsmithing Tool 181181

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Rifle Gun Cleaning Kit Tipton Best Ultra Gun Vise Gunsmithing Tool Bench New

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This is where a photo would really be nice but the two I took turned out to be out of focus.  Let me try and explain what I do.  I use a Wheeler Scope Leveling System.  It is very simple and contains two parts.  The first is a simple flat bottomed level that you put on the base while you adjust the vise until the rifle is level.

Next, to ensure it stays level, you attach the barrel mounted level and true it up with the other level.  At this point, both levels should be saying the same thing – that the rifle is level.  You then remove the little level from the base and install the rings.

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Wheeler Engineering Professional Reticle Leveling System

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To install the rings, I use a Vortex torque driver.  I actually wrote a post up on his model because I am so impressed.  They are  a quality calibrated instrument that performs excellently.

Vortex Optics - Torque Wrench Mounting Kit - RAC-VT-CTW

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Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Mounting Kit - RAC-VT-CTW

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Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Mounting Kit

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I use the driver to tighten the base down to 45 in/lbs first.  I then set the scope on the rings and install the top parts of the rings /the caps very lightly so I can still move the scope with just a little effort.  I then make sure I have the eye relief right when I bring the rifle up to my shoulder.  I then make sure the rifle is level again based on the Wheeler level on the barrel.

I then put the small level from Wheeler on the top scope elevation knob and adjust the scope left or right until the scope level and the barrel level match.  Once it is good to go, I torque the ring screws down to 15 in/lbs.  Call me paranoid but I target the lower end of the spec on all of the screws – base clamp and caps.  I’ve not had a set shoot loose yet doing this and I’ve done this on 5.56, .308 and .338LM rifles.

In this next photo you can see the scope installed with the Vortex Defender lens caps.  You can also see that my shop really needs a good cleaning as I have a ton of junk on my bench.

Plano All Weather Case – Model 108180

Egg crate foam requires no fitting but I really do not trust it to protect a heavy precision rifle.  I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have dropped a case with the egg crate style foam and then found the rifle and other accessories had all shifted/slammed down in the direction of the drop.  Thus, I don’t use it any longer instead opting for custom fitted hard cases.

I go back and forth on two styles – foam that requires cutting or pluckable.  To be honest, I think the foam that requires cutting (or melting if you have a hot wire system which I do) is the best.  Pluckable foam is pre-scored to be pulled, or plucked, out to fit the contents of the case.  The problem with it is that even if you use a spray adhesive to secure it to the bottom of the case, it wears at the top as the weapon and accessories hit the edges when they are placed in the case.  You can’t make it as tight fitting as a result.  On the plus side, a pluckable case is easy and fast to do.

With that said, I’ve been using Plano cases for the last few years.  They are less expensive than a Pelican case and, if you want my honest opinion, Plano has really upped their game in terms of turning out some very rugged cases.

I purchased a Plano All Weather model 108180 in green.  The green was partly to pay homage to the original green hardcase the rifle came in from Sabatti and also to help me visually spot it quickly.  When you have a bunch of black cases, life can get interesting.

External case dimensions are:  54.625″ x 15,5″ x 6″

Interior case dimensions are:  51.5″ x 12.63″ x 5.25″

The All Weather series have pluckable foam, a gasket to help keep out water, and wheels on one end for pulling it.

These are solid cases.  My intent in explaining the shortcomings of pluckable foam was for you to know the pro and the con.  You’ll note that I did buy this case for this rifle — end of the day, it is a quick way to build a pretty good case to protect your rifle and scope.

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Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case

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PLANO GUN CASE Hard Shell Rifle Carrier All Weather Tactical Arms Storage Box

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Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case

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Plano PLA11842 Black 36" Rifle Tactical Hard All-Weather Gun Case - NEW!

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Next Up Was to Fit the Plano Case

Okay, most pluckable foam cases have three layers – an egg crate top, a pluckable middle and a foam bottom.  We will be working on the middle piece and do note you can order replacement foam should you ever need to.

I lay things out that I want in the case in a mirror image.  I really want the scope to be located at the top by the carry handle vs. down by the ground.  The rationale is that the scope will take less stress this was as we usually set a case down on the hinged “bottom” and not on the top with the handle.

I also like to have a spare magazine, the bipod, ammo and space for any special tools, batteries for the scope, etc.  My first aim in the layout is to try and keep the rifle as far away from the sides as I can.  As you can see in this case, the fit is pretty close and I don’t have as much spare room as I would like at the top of the scope but I still think it will be protected.

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Atlas BT10-LW17 Accu-Shot Bipod

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Atlas Bipod w/ADM 170-S Lever BT10LW17

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Again, this is a mirror layout so that I can pluck out the foam and not worry about the permanent marker lines being left behind.  I needed to remember the wheel cutouts were there also.

So once you have your lines drawn, you start pulling the scored little rectangular sections out.  I use a small razor blade box cutter on any that don’t want to pull apart the way I want them to.

I always draw my lines and then pluck tight.  You can always remove more if you need to.  You need to test your fit several times to make sure you have it just right.

I then take the insert outside and carefully make sure I spray adhesive on the side that is going down.  Notice how I point that out!  Guess who did the wrong side once years ago 🙂

I spray a heavy coat of adhesive on the insert and the parts of the lower piece that will not be exposed.  Note that I use 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive.  It was recommended to me years ago and I have used it ever since to bond case foams together.

If you need to remove overspray, use mineral spirits, Goo Gone, turpentine, etc. before it dries.  I wear nitrile gloves when spraying to avoid getting my hands sticky.

Follow the recommendations on the can.  You want to let the stuff get tacky then carefully reinsert the foam into the case.  Watch the orientation!! Don’t put it in facing the wrong way.  Also, don’t worry about adhesive getting in the wrong place – just clean it up as mentioned above.  The stuff sets quickly but takes a while to cure.

Let it dry overnight or longer if cooler.  I can pretty much guarantee you will have some stick on your rifle, etc.  If you do, it will come off with the aforementioned solvents plus stuff like penetrating oil, etc.  I would not put oil on the foam so I didn’t mention it earlier.

So that’s it.  Now I bet you are wondering how it shoots.  It’s very impressive and we’ll talk about that in the next post.


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.

Amazon product links are at the bottom of the post.


 


First Impressions of the Sabatti Urban Sniper Out of The Box

This is the second post in the series about the .308 caliber Sabatti Urban Sniper.  In the first post, I provided a bit of history about Sabatti and the Italian Firearms Group (IFG) plus why I was intrigued by the rifle and its claim of sub-MOA accuracy with the Multi Radial Rifling (MRR).  In this post I am going to pick up with the rifle being delivered to my FFL, Scott Igert of Modern Antique Firearms.

The rifle was quite striking.  I immediately liked the heft, balance and features.  It’s 41-3/4″ including the removable brake.  Weight of the empty rifle is about 8-3/4 pounds.

It comes with the green hardcase with eggshell style foam interior that you see in the photos.  Note it is really just for shipping as there isn’t room for an optic.  Not a big deal but worth noting.  I think most guys will want to get a better case anyways – I always make a case for my precision rifles to protect them and their optics better plus carry whatever accessories I want securely.

Let’s start our review at the back

The glass reinforced nylon stock caught my eye right away.  I like polymer stocks and this is very well executed.  There is a nice recoil pad and then two half-inch spacers that you can remove if so desired.    The cheek piece allows for tall scopes.  I found that I did not need to adjust it.  I would recommend applying Vibra-Tite 213 VC-3  to these so they don’t shoot loose under recoil (Vibra-Tite stays flexible/gummy so it can be reused vs. many thread lockers being one time use).

Back to the stock, there is a comfortable hook for the supporting hand and the pistol grip is quite comfortable for me.  Note, I wear XL sized gloves.  Someone with small hands might find it too big.  My bet is that if you wear at least a medium glove you will be ok.

Now, let’s look at the middle

On top, the rifle comes with a Picatinny optics rail, which is great.  The bolt has an oversize screw on knob.  The trigger is crisp with very little travel.  I used a Lyman digital trigger gauge and 15 consecutive pulls and it averaged about 3-1/8 pounds.  The bolt release is on the other side and is a small lever you actuate to remove the bolt.

Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge 7832248

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Lyman Reloading Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge 7832248

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LYMAN DIGITAL TRIGGER PULL GAUGE

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Lyman 7832248 Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge

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Lyman TRIGGER PULL GAUGE Digital 1oz-12lbs ALL FIREARMS 7832248 FAST SHIP

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The magazine is an AICS pattern and a 10 round unit comes with the rifle.  The magazine release is on the front of the trigger guard.  I found it a bit awkward at first but got used to it.

You’ll note the lower Picatinny rail at the front ready for a bipod.

Let’s look at the front

As you can see, it has a short thick bull barrel — it is 20.47″ (510mm) long and  measures .86″ (22mm) at the muzzle.  It has 1:11.5 twist rate and you can just make out the “MRR” logo for Multi Radial Rifling on the barrel.

I immediately had high expectations of it!  The barrel is threaded 5/8″-24 and comes with a muzzle nut protector you can install if you would rather not have the brake.  Let me jump ahead a bit, the weight and the brake really do a great job of controlling the .308’s recoil.

Last comment, note the front swing swivel that is out of the way of the rail.  I thought that was a nice touch.

The Verdict?

I was very impressed to say the least.  This rifle can be found on Gun Broker and other websites for under $1,200 and has an impressive list of features for the price.

The rifle needed a scope and I had a brand new Vortex PST Gen II all lined up for it and a Plano hard case.   I’ll cover them in my next blog post.


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.


Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 EBR-1 Riflescope PST-416F1-M

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Vortex Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 Rifle Scope MOA Gen 2 Includes Caps, Hat

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The Remarkable Sabatti Urban Sniper – An Affordable Compact Sub-MOA Rifle

It’s interesting that a 400+ year old Italian firearms company is relatively unknown in the United States.  In the early 1700s, Mr. Ludovico Sabatti was making flint lock pistols and barrels.  Subsequent generations developed specialized barrel making capabilities as well as other parts.  It’s worth noting this history – they have been making barrels for four hundred years!!

Following WWII, Antonio Sabatti formed a partnershp with Giuseppe Tanfoglio to make hunting arms and began to build semi-automatic pistols in 1956.  By 1960, the two parted ways and the children of Antonio Sabatti formed what would become Sabatti today based in Trompia, Italy.

Today, Sabatti makes a wide range of firearms for target shooting, hunting. upland game and competition plus some niche tactical rifles including the Urban Sniper that will be covered in this post.

Italian Firearms Group

Of course, when you have a foreign manufacturer such as Sabatti, you need an importer and that’s where the Italian Firearms Group (IFG) enters into the picture.  IFG was created in 2014 and represents four respected Italian gunmakers – F.A.I.R, Sabatti, Pedersoli and FT Italia.

I spoke with Justin Dodd, IFG’s Chief of Operations about their philosophy.  He related to be that the US partners came out of the oil field service industry where customer service meant everything.  It is critical to them to bring “…unprecedented levels of customer service to this industry – something we felt the industry as a whole was lacking.”  I think most of us can readily agree with Justin on that – the US firearms industry is not known for great customer service in  general.

I asked him what brought Sabatti to their attention.  It turns out that Sabatti and the other three gun makers listed above were looking to create a sales, service and support hub in the USA.  For Justin personally, the double express rifles in 450/400, 450, 470 and 500 NE were the initial draw.

Of course, I had to ask Justin why the Sabatti name was not better known in the US.  His reply struck me as very pragmatic – “The past few years have been spent making sure the guns met with the USA’s standards.  Historically, they have done quite well with their rifles in Europe but the features on those rifles did not sit well with the US consumer.  For example, we started threading muzzles, shortening barrels, adding more US styled features like bolt knobs, sling swivel cups, and switching to the new bottom metal / magazine system.    Now that the guns are where we want them, the marketing push will begin.”

The Urban Sniper

What caught my eye was a product announcement for their Urban Sniper rifle.  It is a relatively compact rifle at 41-3/4″ overall, is chambered in .308 and 6.5 Creedmor and claimed sub-MOA accuracy from a 20″ (510mm) barrel.  They claimed to be using a proprietary rifling method known as “Multi Radial Rifling” (MRR).  Sabatti also said it was intended for use within 400mm.

My very next thought was “what the heck is MRR”?  So I started digging on the WWW and found numerous posts and attempts at explaining it.  Justin finally helped me sort it out – imagine polygonal rifling but without the points – that gives you an idea now let’s look at a cross-section of a barrel in a photo Justin sent me:

Sabatti also produced a PDF explaining MRR and how to care for it.  Their claims are pretty big.  Sabatti says that MRR enables:

  • HIGHER BULLET SPEED
  • IMPROVED GROUP CONCENTRATION
  • REDUCED NUMBER OF FLIERS
  • LESS COPPER DEPOSITS
  • LESS CLEANING REQUIRED
  • EASIER CLEANING WHEN NEEDED
  •  LESS BARREL WEAR

To make a long story short, I bought an Urban Sniper in .308 because I have quite a bit of .308 match ammo to try it out including rounds from Federal and Remington.

A tad over a week later it arrived and in typical George (me) fashion, I got derailed and the rifle had to sit until I could get to it.  In the next post, I’ll tell you more about the rifle and my impressions when I took it out of the box.


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.


Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 EBR-1 Riflescope PST-416F1-M

$519.99
End Date: Tuesday Dec-17-2019 8:32:00 PST
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Vortex Viper PST Rifle Scope 4-16x50

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Vortex Viper PST 1-4 x 24 Rifle Scope TMCQ MOA Reticle with Capped Turrets

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Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50mm FFP Rifle Scope

$266.00 (12 Bids)
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Vortex Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 Rifle Scope MOA Gen 2 Includes Caps, Hat

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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.


Amazon products are listed below.


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  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.

Amazon links are at the bottom of the post.


Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case

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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.  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.


JG AK Dragunov SVD Airsoft AEG Sniper Rifle Gun with Bipod

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Russian Soviet SVD Dragunov Sniper Rifle Pin Up Poster

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New SVD Dragunov Russian Sniper Elite Riffle Black T-shirt Tee S M L XL 2XL 3XL

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*Soviet Russian SVD Dragunov Sniper Rifle ORIGINAL Manual 7.62x39 1967 MUST SEE!

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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.  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.