My 20 Vartarg custom

Discussion in 'Small Stuff--22s, 20s, and 17s' started by Evan, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Evan

    Evan

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    Hi all, I'm not sure where to put this, but I figured the main board was ok. I've had this project in the works since August. Here's the spec's:

    Borden Rimrock BR, Right Bolt, Left Port, Right Eject
    Hart 26" 1in9 twist chambered in 20 Vartarg
    Picatinny Rail
    Jewell trigger

    All put together by Jim himself. Jim let me know he was finishing up soon and my excitement is overflowing so I thought I'd start this thread to share!

    Here's my JGS reamer print:
    job_474962-20VARTARG_EP (safe).jpg
    I opened up the 0.200 datum to 0.3769 to match the SAAMI 378 rim case spec. I also opened up the neck to 0.234 for a light turn. This reamer is specifically to address the concerns with using Lapua brass on the traditional 20VT print. My 221 Fireball Lapua brass measures 0.375 at the base, and a dummy round measured 0.232 to 0.233 on the neck (I made 3) without turning. I think this may be a bit snug, so I'll give them all a light turn (unless you guys suggest otherwise, I know PPC guys run tight like that).

    I've got a Whidden bushing die custom made to this print with 228 and 226 bushings to start off. I also have the Hornady 20 Vartarg die set (I'll use the seater from this set with a micrometer top).

    And now the stock. I bought a Blue Coral Laminate blank for Richards Microfit Gunstocks. Reasonable price and I only had to call and ask where it was twice; an improvement over the past stocks I've bought where I had to follow up endlessly. It took 5 weeks to get the blank and it arrived like this:
    20180904_174245.jpg 20180904_174254.jpg 20180904_205341.jpg 20180904_210307.jpg
    Gaps, mismatched colors. Generally pretty poor. That said, I'm not one to dwell, so I started cutting into it!
     
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  2. Forum Boss

    Forum Boss Administrator

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    Honestly, why would you buy any stock or blank from Richard's Microfit. You can read comments about that outfit on this Forum. There are many producers of laminated stocks that are much much better.
     
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  3. Evan

    Evan

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    Carved and sawed into it some. Definitely a different game to shape laminate. For one, it gums up saw blades. My table saw, bandsaw and handsaws all wanted to grab and they liked to burn it cause I had to feed it so slowly.
    20180905_195355.jpg 20180905_205550.jpg
    Put it in my dad's mill and cut the barrel channel with ease. Sharp spinning tools cut it very nicely; excellent surface finish:
    20180908_171615.jpg
    Then some sanding and shaping and a recoil pad to tame the fierce recoil from this big bore magnum :p:
    20181128_200213.jpg 20181128_201900.jpg
    I have to wait for the barrelled action to arrive now so that I can bed it (Devcon 10110), cut in the trigger and trigger guard (the stock is still likely 0.5" too thick at the trigger, but I wanted to have it in hand before I finalized that thickness) and then finalize the shape and seal it. Planning to use the minwax polyurethane that I've got on hand for the task.

    Any suggestions on the stock are appreciated. This is my first benchrest stock. All my others have been hunting rifle/ traditional hardwood stocks.
     
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  4. Evan

    Evan

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    I had trouble locating any with blanks available, in stock. Maybe I was looking in the wrong places. I'd definitely appreciate some pointers, cause I've got 2 more that I plan to make.
     
  5. ratbuster

    ratbuster Silver $$ Contributor

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    Sounds like it's going to be a fantastic rifle. 20 Vartarg is such a pleasure to shoot and you are spot on with the reamer dimensions.
     
  6. Evan

    Evan

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    I forgot to shorten the freebore, but I'm not too concerned. I'm shooting the 40s and up. I'm going to try the berger 55s too.

    I've got some 40 vmax, 39 sierras, 40 berger and 55 berger to shoot. I also picked up a pound of H4198 and RL7, and I've got 200 pieces of Lapua 221 fireball brass. I'm excited that I can shoot up all these bullets on 1 pound of powder :D
     
  7. roband

    roband

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    Keep us posted on this build!
     
  8. Evan

    Evan

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    Just as a fun little comparison:
    20180810_213205.jpg
    20 Vartarg with 40 vmax, 22-250 with 55 vmax, and 30-06 with 190 SMK.
     
  9. Evan

    Evan

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    Little teaser:
    20190211_201759.jpg
    20190211_202010.jpg
    First coat of poly and I get to see the real color! Sucked up the poly like a sponge, so I'm probably going to need MANY coats!
     
  10. TAJ45

    TAJ45 Gold $$ Contributor

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    You do do nice work. I've never whittled wood, only metal but can appreciate your skill and being able to visualize the finished product.

    I was stationed at Lowry AFB for tech school but don't remember marching in a Golden parade w the drill team. I loved Colorado.
     
  11. Evan

    Evan

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    Thanks! Everything (apart from the mill work above) was done with a rasp, chisels, and sandpaper. The mill work could have been done by hand with a cup awl. Pretty low barrier to entry, but the time required is pretty serious. I'm going to have at least 100 hours in it.

    I like Colorado, I'm a bit north of Golden now and haven't updated my profile. Colorado is a gorgeous place but it's getting crowded here on the front range. An 11 mile drive down farmland roads to get to work used to take 15 minutes just 3 years ago. Frequently takes 45 now. Cost of living is expanding too, from taxes to the cost of weekly groceries.
     
  12. CT10ring

    CT10ring Gold $$ Contributor

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    Looking good! Winter projects + posts always interesting. Looking forward to seeing more. Like that stock!
     
  13. Evan

    Evan

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    4 coats in, I put it together to check everything out:
    cropped-20VT-Borden.jpg
    Vortex GE, signature rings on top
     
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  14. Evan

    Evan

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    Might be some folks interest in this:
    20190214_212700.jpg
    I stripped the bolt of the ejector and the ignition assembly (as Alex Wheeler shows to do to find the lands with bullet seating depth) and then slowly bumped the shoulder back on the Lapua 221 fireball brass until the bolt JUST closed on a piece of brass without resistance. I then sized up all 200 pieces the same, spot checking every 10th or so to make sure the shoulder was still in the same place with a comparator gauge. I think this is the right way to set the headspace on the brass, but now's the time to speak up if not! :eek: Hopefully I didn't ruin 200 pieces of Lapua, haha.
     
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  15. Evan

    Evan

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    I'm amazed at how little powder it took to load the first 50!
    20190216_133633.jpg
    I'm really looking forward to not buying as much powder, which is my least favorite activity. It isn't the cost, it's the inconvenience of having to find it. I've got a pound of Reloader7 and H4198 to start which should cover about 800 rounds. I'm probably going to settle on H4198, but we'll see if the gun says otherwise. Once I know, I'll buy a couple 8 pound jugs (another 6500 rounds or so) and be set for the life of the barrel.

    So my current combo's to explore are:
    • RL7 and H4198 powder
    • 205M and 450 primers
    • 39 Sierra, 40 VMax, and 40 Berger bullets

    Given the 75 mile drive one way to my shooting spot (and I don't have a loading setup to take with me out there), I loaded up 50 to start. 17gns up to 17.4 gns of H4198 and 40gn Vmax bullets at 0, +.005, and +.010 off the lands. 5 rnds at each point, except 17gns at 0 which got 10 rounds to sight in the scope with. This should be entirely safe since the listed max loads I've found for H4198 with the 40vmax is 18.5gns. I'm not planning to lean on this at all; I'll find the best accuracy I can and that'll be it. I'd be concerned about pushing this small a case up at max pressure because 0.1gn could be a big change that isn't worth it for another 100fps (maybe). Once I get it all dialed in where I like, I'll strap on my magnetospeed and get speed numbers for everyone's edification and to build a drop and drift table with.
    20190216_133700.jpg
    A quick bit of artwork so that there is no confusion about what is in the box.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  16. moondog

    moondog Gold $$ Contributor

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    Love my VarTarg. I hope your shooting that beast suppressed!
     
  17. Evan

    Evan

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    Forgot to add this: I want to point out that this reamer has 0.055" freebore and the base of the boattail of the 40gn Vmax is entirely in the case, pretty much at the body/shoulder junction, and the entire neck is gripping the bullet. The throat could advance probably 0.200" and I could still reach the lands and hold the bullet (albeit with only the tiniest bit of the neck at that point)!

    If I were to have specified a zero freebore (frequently recommended across the web and I fretted over it for quite a while), the 40gn class of bullets would be way into the case, eating up needed powder room. Just something to think about for folks who are planning a 20 Vartarg build; I would not recommend zero freebore for shooting the 40gn bullet class.
     
  18. Evan

    Evan

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    I want to build a light weight walking about rifle, maybe off a Howa mini or CZ 527, and get a suppressor for it. Maybe an 18" barrel or so on it. It would be my critter-control rifle.
     
  19. Evan

    Evan

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    Big question for everyone:

    My loaded up, unturned necks measure 0.2315 - 0.232. My reamer is 0.234. Is that safe enough?

    It would be inconvenient to unload 50 rounds, but better than blowing it up. I was working under the assumption that it's snug but OK.
     
  20. moondog

    moondog Gold $$ Contributor

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    We shoot Pdogs suppressed so we can talk and spot for each other without ear pro
     
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