Tag Archives: Sniper

Home made Rifle Tripod. cheap precision

Bipods are great.  I love them. Years ago  I when I was under the wings of two older gentlemen who had become accomplished highpower and benchrest  shooters, I was told that there was no need for them. That  if I laid prone the weeds or grass would obscure the shot and if I was in any other positions I could find something to rest on  anyway. Like a fence post, tree limb, mother in laws back etc.  And I was told rifleman used a sling to shoot with.  I found this odd coming from a BR shooter that used a rest  when not in the field but thats another story.

Of course years later and a lot of rounds later  after college I had enough money to buy a harris bipod. Once i had it, I could not see how I ever lived without it.  I believe firmly that rifleman should know how to use a sling. but, I also think to not used ever method of making yourself as steady as possible to make a precision shot is simply foolish.   To me a sniper, no matter how accomplished, that has a chance to use a bipod and a rear bag or even a front and rear bag and does not is not the kinda guy I want taking a shot  a inch past my head. It is not cheating.  Cheating wins fights, not honor and fair play.

With this in mind I had seen camera tripods modified for years to be used in a myriad of sniping situations and instantly saw the brilliance of this simple rig.  Lately after seeing more and more of the expensive camera tripods being used for the Larue OBR and the adapters to make them  work together I got thinking about it again.  Where we shoot it is often covered in knee high grasses during the warmer months.  This makes it hard to get a shot at a coyote laying down and there is no  handy tree branches or fence posts to use while standing up as I had been told years ago there would be.

I lusted for the   more elaborate setups for a while  but of course the price is pretty daunting. So I decided to use the my usual method of making something I want.  And that is to get my Dad to help. He is of the generation that can do anything when almost nothing to work with.  I am an idea man where my Dad is the one I go to that can actually make something of my crazy ideas. So together we  were able to come up with a  simple but highly effective  tripod.

A trip to the local flea market and  8 bucks later, I had a very nice used camera/video tripod  that was completely adjustable in every way and very high quality.  It can be adjusted to be very short and tall enough to use standing  with plenty of room left over  for more vertical adjustment. The top will swivel and rotate and can be locked. The arm or moving the top fixture can also be swapped for a lefty or righty.

After getting the tripod, A half of a PVC pipe was  secured with screws and epoxy. Then to make sure the forearm would be snug I glued on foam padding. This made a nice little rest without adding any weight.  After it was dry I used krylon to  subdue it with tan and OD green so it would not be shiny black and silver.

After everything was done I had to test it a few days later to make sure it was stable enough.  I was not worried about stability when low to the ground, but when it is high up in the air thats when wobble starts.   After taking it to the usual place and shooting it from a variety of heights and angles  i have to pronounce it a success.  I was able to hit skeet out to 300 yards using it and my rifle.  It may not sound like a big deal but to do this while standing straight up is pretty nice.  It is not as steady as bipods in prone and I don’t think I could make hits every time on a man sized target  past 700 yards when fully extended but thats OK.   No one takes shots at people shooting back at them from a full exposed standing position unless you are in a hollywoood action movie.   As steady as it is even when at its lowest setting i would not use it for zeroing.  The more the gun weighs  of course the more it helps steady things but it has no way to support the firing and alternate killing hand when shooting.  These are pretty big factors for precision and its a drawback with a tripod this high.  When  used to a tripod locked down with a rifle in it, the thing can pull off some amazing hits  and give some serious versatility  but nothing will beat sandbags and all the traditional stuff for zeroing and pure accuracy work.

But if you can find a good used tripod I say give making one of these a try. They are not hard to make and the components are not expensive. Why not add something that can fill a need like the tripod can. At least if you want something more specialized or better quality you can make one to try out if you really want/need this tool before you spend huge amounts of jack on the higher end  models.

Remington XR-100 thoughts

The Remington XR100 was trotted out a few years ago after big green saw that the .204 ruger was a hit.  The guns heart is actually the old XP100  piston action. A scaled down bolt gun action in a bolt action pistol chambering the .221 fireball. Which the fireball is a wonderful round for varmint hunting and wildcating.  The XP100 was well thought of by serious boltgun-pistol shooters it was ahead of its time in a lot of ways.

The 204 ruger was developed by Hornady and ruger  from the older .222 magnum  round.  If you care and  can not find brass like me when it first came out, you can neck down 222 mag brass the fire form it in your 204 chamber then  full length size. No need for that these days, but it can be done if you get some 222 mag brass really cheap.

The 204 is a 20 caliber round that fires a 32 to 45 grain bullet and velocities that rival the 220 swift but with less barrel burning and pressure.  The 204 compared to the 17 remington has less fouling, less pressure, longer case life and longer range all with better accuracy.  The 204 usually has  around a 4200 fps muzzle velocity  but can be loaded a little hotter wit handloading.  The 17 remington is the closest caliber to compare to the 204 when it comes to terminal effects on varmints. With the 17 you either get a dead animal with not a mark, or immediate disassemble of the target. The 204 is always impressive on the target. Crows look like a grenade went off inside a feathered pillow and the flatter trajectory of the .204 allows dead on aiming to ranges that you would not believe if you are used to 22.250s and .223s.

The XR-100  is  the same action as the xp100 pretty much, but thats where it ends.  The Rifle comes with a laminated stock with a thumbhole grip that feels great in the hand. I was never a thumbhole stock fan but this is nice. The barrel is free floated  and the fore arm has the cooling slots. I have not clue why because it is a single shot bolt action and it would be real work to heat it up enough to really need them.   The stock is  sadly not bedded in any way which is typical for remington in those type stocks. It does not effect the accuracy of the gun in any practical way though.

The gun using my handload of Vit powder and  a 32gr Vmax shoots 1/2 MOA to 3/4 MOA depending on me. One thing I notice is people tend to  think their groups are worse when looking at the results of the 204 on paper. The holes are smaller so the space between holes in the group sometimes makes some people mistakenly think its not shooting up to par.  On the surface it can look so so until they stop and think about the size of the holes and measure the group. A 3/4 MOA 100 group with a 20 cal looks horrible when shown beside a 3/4 MOA group from a 308.

I usually zero the .204  so I can hold dead center of a crow out to 300 yards and they have yet to let me down. That is the real benefit of the round to me more so then its terminal effects. It is easy even for a beginner to use  since they have little experience judging distance and using hold.

The XR100 comes with  the standard remington 700 trigger but it is adjusted to be very very light. Some feel less then 3 ponds and break like a GI Joe action figures thumb. This makes the gun a pleasure to shoot when you out good glass on it and consider its accuracy and trajectory.  Opening the bolt shows the guns  solid no magazine action. The gun is single feed. This is not a big deal for what it was meant for  but some people would want a repeater.

The gun has a  leupold VX-II 6x-18x scope on it. This scope with the target turrets has long been a favorite of mine when it comes to none tactical uses. It is attached with leupold bases and rings.

I have some strange habits when varmint hunting that some find odd but I am always trying to make it easier to hit at long range but not have to carry a lot of stuff with me.  I have other uses for a back pack and if I need something out of the pack to help me usually the time has passed for the shot by the time I get it out and in play.  One of my little tricks is to keep a caldwell rear bag attached to either my belt  or a strap by 550 cord so it can not get lost but it is always there when I need it and has freedom to be adjusted. Since this gun has a thumb hole stock I looped the cord around the hole and kept it with the gun. It worked out a lot better then I imagined. When I move it is always with the gun and I wrap the extra cord around the stock. This is not the kind of rifle you are running around with over mountains or hanging by a 3 point sling so this works nice. And its already with the gun if I see a shot and I need to just grab the gun and get ready fast before the shot passes.

Bag is filled with  foam beads so it weighs nothing but works as great support.

I always try to keep a simple set of bushnell laser range finders with the gun so I can get a fast reading if I am in land I am not used to estimating range  in.

And like all of my working varmint guns I have a set of harris bipods. This rifle has the BR model which although is not the best all around model, is my favorite if the grass is not too high.  The leupold sunshade is also something to consider when trying to nail crows that are smarter then your mother in law. Depending on the sun position, a little flash is all it takes for a crow to go into counter sniper mode.

The XR100 is a nice target/varmint gun and the 204 is a wonderful killer that can make you look like a better shot then you deserve. If you can find this combo and want a varminter, this is a good choice if the price is right.  I have for years been a 17 remington fan but dumped it as soon as I got to work with the 204 ruger.  Sure it does not have the performance and range as my 243 WCF or the complete familiarity of the 5.56  but it is worth having in every ones arsenal. And as far as varminting goes there is few things coyote sized or smaller it can not take.

Sig 716 and the SCAR-H

Yesterday I got a chance to handle, grope, fondle, caress , smell and taste both of these 7.62 rifles.  I have not had a chance to shoot them both yet since they had just arrived but I did get to play with them for a pretty good while.  Both of these are fairly new to the market compared to other rifles in their niche like the M14/M1A , FAL and  G3 etc.  But I can say  in my opinion, they are better choices  over these older models…..for now.

I do not mean to spend this write up crapping on the M14 and the M14 boys club  but the ’14 was really  too little too late before it even hit the G.I’s hands.   I would hope few people reading this would argue the ergonomics of the older 30 cal battle rifles is no where near the newer generation.

The Sig is the newest of the two and it is the one I took a look at first.

The first thing I thought when I got it in it my hands was that it seemed heavier then the LMT MWS.  I did not have the MWS next to  it to check, but it did strike me as heavier.  And then I realized of course it is, the extra piston  parts would make it seem heavier up front even if it was not.  The Sig weighs  a touch over  9 pounds.  The Lower was ambi except the safety and to me thats the most important part I want ambi.. I see a day when few people will want something that is not ambi if they intend to use it in a serious social manner.  The rail felt good in the hand and had plenty of QD sockets. Sig added the Magpul  ACS stock which is their answer to the SOPMOD I suppose, and it is a pretty good alternative to the pricey SOPMOD but with better battery access.

It also had the magpul grip and came with the popular 308 Pmag that can be had for 17-18 bucks if you look around. The Pmag is the  SR25   KAC patter and not the  M14 type used by most armalite models.  The SR25 ( M110 SWS ) pattern is becoming the standard despite what some may or may not like.  This is important and I will get to it latter.  But suffice it to say  that the KAC M110 uses this pattern and it is in the Mil system along with the LMT  MWS used by the British in their DMR role.  SO it is the “standard”  7.62 AR mag for the near future at least.

The gas system can be removed in the typical for AR15 P  rifles way.  It has a 4 position regulator on it that way some  jackass can be sure to put it on the wrong setting when you are not looking or to allow you to adjust it for a suppressor And oddly enough has a bayonet lug on it. I do not know why anyone cares about the bayonet in the civilian and LEO world, but some still do.  I have to say I did not care for the iron sights on the rifle but few will leave the factory provided ones on long anyway.  They both fold  when not needed.  The barrel is 16 inches and has a 1/10 twist. I believe this to be a better choice to the 1/12 on a lot of bolt guns since it allows heavier bullets to be used.

I took the gun apart and looked it over up in them guts. Trigger is all milspec and can be expected to feel like a milspec trigger. But thats OK. A rifle meant to see abuse is no place for a Camp perry trigger.   The BCG however was a nice surprise. It was coating in something that made it as slick as snot on a pump house door. I mean slick.  I have no idea what the coating is right now. I was told it is the same as used on the LWRC and since Sig was sued by LWRC, this is likely. Sorry to say I am too lazy to look it up to find the specs of the coating.  The carrier also had cuts in it to shed weight or to collect crude. Probably for weight saving but they would work  in both ways I am sure.  For people in love with pistons currently you should take note of this. Since the MFG thought their piston rifle needed a miracle coating on the bolt that should tell you not all the hype some companies spread is true. All weapons need lube and this was a really nice touch.

Over all I liked the Sig fairly well. I even thought it felt better  and handled better then the SIg 5.56 piston AR oddly enough.  Sig has had some problems with their quality control recently so do keep that in mind. Though the guns sell for around 1700 and that is a great deal for a 7.62  Ar rifle and a piston to boot if you want a piston this would be a better starter weapon then the MWS.

The next rifle is the SCAR-H , beloved by  SOCOM/SEAL groupies and call of duty players throughout the universe. This is the 1st H I have had a chance to play with and I really wanted to like the SCAR H. In fact before I heard about the LE901, this was the gun I gave series thought to getting,  It is what I consider the closet thing to a modern “battle rifle”  in the older sense of the name. The Sig is more of a carbine in 30 caliber I Sig pretty much confirms that its no DM rifle but the SCAR is touted as a sniper rifle among some on the internet. Of course that doe not make it so, but  you know how that it.

I hate to have to come on here and write some stuff less then flattering about the gun I wanted to like  but it is what it is. I am sure the gun is reliable but it has a few down sides.  The first thing I tried to do was  dry fire then rifle. It had a ACOG mounted  on it by the owner and I promptly tore the skin off my knuckles by the optic mount while working the bolt to the rear.   I do not like having to reach over to charge the rifle like on a AK  so if you are like me, you better be careful. The rear butt stock was stiff and hard to adjust and move.  I do not mean just tight either. I mean I almost asked for a rubber mallet.  The trigger on it was terrible.  Not a big deal, it is a battle rifle.  Mags did not want to drop free very easy either.  Oh and since I am talking mags.  The mags for the H are FN mags and do not work on anything else.  They are nicely made and strong but they are not SR25 patter. I understand why FN did this, but I would rather pay 17 dollars then 80-120 or more for the SCAR mags.   I am sure someday some company will make after market mags for the SCAR H  but usually it takes a while for a aftermarket mag to be trustworthy unless its a magpul mag. I am confident this will happen someday.  A company is currently working a lower that would accept the  magpul  30 cal mag and that is something to keep in mind.

The owner told me the accuracy of the gun was so so but I do not trust the opinion of some one that accuracy tests with wolf ammo only.  The SCAR has been used as a sniper support weapon in some cases so I am sure it will do fine as battle rifle.  I was told it does shot softly but is louder then a A Bomb.  Of course the muzzle device is the culprit for these things.  The gas system of the H is adjustable for cans  and for reliability like other pistons. The ergos of the gun are pretty decent since the grip is all AR15.  The SCAR H is about a thousand and a half more then the Sig normally. Both can be had in FDE which is the much more popular color.  Even though I was kinda rough on the H if not for the price i would still pick the FN  if price was equal and had only those two to choose from.  Next week I will try to get some live fire with them for some accuracy reports.

Ended – SWFA Facebook Sale

For all your Facebook users and SWFA/SuperSniper fans here is a chance to save a few bucks on Super Sniper scopes.

Update April 14th:      The 2000 likes code is now active.

Update April 17th:     The 2500 likes code is active.

Update April 21st:     3000 Likes code is active.

Update April 24th:  Not only has the 4000 Likes code been activated, SWFA has received over 500 likes in the past day.  I intend to get a 1-6x for evaluation should the 5000 code be activated.

 

As of the 26th, SWFA has 5000 likes.  I will be ordering a 1-6x to test out.

Optics report from the range.

Saw a Nikon elevation turret break off today.  There was no visible abuse to the scope, and the adjustments appeared to be working previously.   I have never seen a failure like that before, but it reminds me why paying more for some brands is well worth it.

I got to try a Sightron 6-20 power scope today.  The Sightrons are gaining popularity here as a cheaper alternative to Nightforce and Leupold.  I am not sure which model it was I was given the chance to use, but the clarity was great from 6-about 14-16 power.  As the power was brought up to 20x, the picture clarity and crispness declined.  At this point I do not think I would recommend a Sightron for a fighting rifle.  However for a range gun or target/competition rifle, it may be an excellent economical choice.

Update:

I also got to look through an IOR 2-12 power scope.  I believe the model was the Spartan.  What I thought was most interesting was how compact this scope is.  Many tactical scopes end up being large.  A 3-15 or 5-20 tactical scope can be rather large and heavy on a smaller rifle like an AR15.  This smaller scope would be right at home on a smaller lighter rifle.  The power range is also good for closer range work.  I have found that shooters(including my self) are slower at finding close target with 5x and up.  The top end of 12x along with the scopes clarity allowed me to easily find and see 8 and 10 inch steel targets at 1000 yards.  This compact scope appears to be one of the ideal choices for the compact lightweight 5.56 or 7.62 sniper system.