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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsFirearms and Sk...Firearms and Sk...Firearms Discussions An InviteFirearms Discussions An Invite
New Post
1/8/2012 12:14 PM


I am really looking forward to your comparison and contrast on the various scout rifles you have and what you  like and don't like about the various model. I am also looking forward to a review and some pics of your RGS.

I though it was time to chime in about my bolt gun. Evan has the most recent photos so maybe he will post them.

When I was a kid I though all you need is four long guns and that was my goal when I got older, a .22lr, a shotgun, a 30/30 trapper, and a good hunting rifle. I have since seen the error of my ways, but hey that was the plan. Between those rifles I figured I could hunt, defend myself, practice, and do anything else I needed to. Heck I still think I probably could.

When I got out of college I had a .22 and a shotgun. I set out to get the hunting rifle. I have always been kind of fascinated by precision rifles, and less so by most other bolt rifles. Another thing that I have always liked is detachable box magazines. So when I found a Remington converted to take m14 magazines I bought it. The rifle started out as a Remington VS. The prior owner sent it to Robar and had it converted to take the magazines. (Given the price that Robar charged I basically paid for the conversion and got everything else free. Robar doesn't do the conversion anymore since it was so labor intensive.) Then he put it in a PSS stock. He also threw in a Leupold VXII 4-16 scope for an extra 150. I took the rifle to the range and sighted it in. To be frank I quickly get bored with punching little groups or even trying to punch little holes.  I still do.

About that time, I discovered the practical rifle package from Brockman. The idea of a rifle that could be used up close, out far, day night, precision, or dynamic in essence a true do it all rifle really appealed to me. I set out to build my own on the platform I had.

The first thing that was required was a stock and barrel change. I flat out don't like the PSS stock, or most precision stocks for that matter. I also didn't like the weight or length of the barrel. I figured the first thing to do was get the barrel sorted out since the stock would depend on the barrel. Since I was fresh out of college and doing it on a budget I decided that the thing to do was get a Remington sporter weight takeoff barrel. If I remember right I paid about 35 for it. I then took the barrel and rifle to Mike Palazzo (sp?) a gunsmith in the Seattle area who specialized in benchrest rifles. I had him true the action and mount the barrel. Next was the stock.

At that point the only real choice that I knew about in fiberglass was HS Precision and McMillan. Nothing I saw on the HS site really got me excited. I have always loved the look of a schnable front end so when I saw the McMillan Model 7 stock it was a done deal. I called them up and talked to them. The result was an OD Model 7 with lightweight hunter fill. Given the custom bottom metal and feed issues with the m14 magazines I had to send them the bottom metal and action. They then CNC cut the stock specifically for my action and bottom metal. So it is not bedded, but pretty close.

Then it was time to look at irons and optics. Irons ended up being the Remington factory front bead and a XS sights rear weaver scope mount with built in peep sight mated with a single forward weaver mount. On optics a standard mounted scope was a given, but I decided that a scout scope was needed so I dropped it off with Brockman to have him put on his scope mounts.

After 2+ years the rifle was done. I put on a Leupold scout scope and the 4-16 and called it good. I did all of that for about 500-1k less than I could have bought it as a complete package from anyone and for a lot less than you would think.  Since then I have tried a couple of different scopes on it. First up was a second generation scout scope. Given that it was a 2.5 on a 308 I decided that more magnification was important. I switched to a Burris 2-7 scout. When I attended the Randy Cain Practical rifle course I pulled a Leupold 1.5-5 scope off another rifle so I could see how I felt about both a scout rifle and a conventional mount. I ran both scopes for half of the class. My feeling after the class was that the conventional scope was more precise than the scout, but the scout was faster on dynamic shooting. After the class I hit the range with both. I shot both scopes for accuracy at 100yds off a pack, and then shot both scopes at 10 and 25 yds against on a shot timer. The result was that my groups at 100yds where the same with both scopes. What was really interesting was that my group sizes where half the size of the conventional when using the scout scope and I was measurably faster with the scout, but I don’t remember the time difference. Needless to say the scout is what I have been running since. However, during our hunting trip I compared the Leupold 2.5 that Evan was running to the Burris 2-7 I was running in various lights in the field. The Leupold is just flat out better glass, so I went back to my Leupold 2.5 and plan on buying a 1-4 Leupold scout in a couple of weeks. The other changes include the light mount Evan added while he was carrying the rifle, which is a weaver scope mount bolted behind the schnable. When I got the rifle built I went with a 13.5” length of pull. After the Cain class I realized that it was too long for me.  I also decided that I didn’t like the recoil pad that was on it. I had the length of pull cut down and Pachmyr Decelerator for an over-all length of 13”, which is right for me. The other thing I got done was to have the barrel cut down to 16” for a more compact package. I tried a ching sling in the Cain class and I didn’t like it. It was fiddly in my opinion and at least for me no faster to get into for braced shooting than any other stock. My favorite sling is the VCAS zytel padded sling. I had a recessed sling mount added when I got the stock cut down so I could cross body sling easier. I have also found that I can use the adjustment loop around my upper arm as a brace for positional shooting.
What would I do different? The barrel is one thing I would probably change. I would go with a slightly heavier weight barrel or maybe a light heavy with flutes. I would also not go with a stock Remington barrel. A precision rifle was not the goal and I was on a budget. The rifle does around 1" with ammo it likes and doesn't string as it heats up, but you have to work at it a bit and it is too thin to be threaded.  That is sufficient for hunting, but the ability to suppress wouldn’t hurt my feelings.. I would also have it coated so it wasn't just black, but that is something I can still do. Another thing I would change is not doing the Brockman scout mounts. I do not like Talley mounts. I also don't like how far forward they are mounted. I would prefer picatinny mounts and a bit farther back. I just don't like the proprietary nature off the Talley mounts. Finally, I would still go with a McMillan stock, but I would probably choose the HTG over the Model 7 that would also me to have a light mount like Evan’s which is the shiznit, and a recessed side sling mount. Frankly, I would also be very tempted to go with one of their camouflage finishes instead olive.

That in a nutshell is the rifle I built to be my do everything rifle in a bolt gun, and has the features that I require in a hunting/practical use rifle.
I have had a love hate relationship with the rifle as I have never been a huge fan of bolt guns for field use once I started using them.  However, I am coming around. For the majority of the time it has been built it has been in Evan's hands. So he has as much or more experience with it than I do. The other thing is that I found over the course of an intro to precision rifle class, a practical rifle class, and a carbine class that the AR is just flat out easier to shoot accurately at least for me. 



Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
1/21/2012 10:15 AM

I've been waiting for Mossberg to introduce their bolt action that takes AR mags (the MVP) in a lighter package and they just did so at SHOT. It's available in an 18" heavy barrel, and a 20" light fluted barrel. I handled the 20" version at shot and it seemed very light and handy. Bolt throw seemed a little hinky. The stock itself was clumsy at best, but you could whittle that down if you wanted. For those not needing .308 power, this is a very interesting "practical rifle" development to my way of thinking. Unfortunately, no pictures of the trimmer model are up on the Mossberg site yet.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
1/22/2012 6:44 PM

I am in the process of working on my stock, and adding a light rail like Evans. It took a fair amount of inletting work, but I got the rail to a near-perfect fit. I made use of a crude milling setup via a drill press, and X-Y vice. I used a 3/16'' square cut end-mill to make the cuts. I was able to pretty much line everything up with the barrel and level everything out so it was nice and neat. I just epoxy/screwed the picatinny into the stock. Along the way, I also made a cutout inside the barrel channel for a section of carbon fiber arrow. I got this idea from Evan/Evans gunsmith. The idea is that the piece of carbon arrow will help to stiffen up the forend of the stock. That piece got epoxied in as well. Once those pieces cure, I'll lay in the final barrel channel bedding, making sure to free-float the barrel. 

New Post
2/9/2012 8:44 PM

There are two options for a lightweight carbine in 308. The Fn Scar h is 7.5 lbs and there is a new option. Mgi announced their 308 conversion for the Mgi Modular AR 15. It comes in at less then 8 lbs. It also provides you a very versatile weapon. You can have you 5.56, 6.8spc, 458 socom and 308 among others. You also save a bit on optics if you use a databook to keep track of the adjustments to make when you convert calibers. I have on myself and it my favorite weapon.

New Post
2/9/2012 8:45 PM

Here is a pretty good review of the system.

New Post
2/10/2012 11:11 AM

That is a pretty interesting setup. Please do a review on it. I am starting a new 308 semi thread at this point.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
3/14/2012 9:19 PM

Jason wrote

The power vs. capacity vs. ammo weigh issue has bugged me too.  A .30-30 Trapper has a LOT to offer, except for magazine capacity.  While I have yet to test my theories, I think the answer might lie with a Trapper chambered for a handgun cartridge, and loaded with the heaviest reasonable solids that cycle reliably.   Something along the lines of a Marlin .357, loaded with Tim Sundles 180gr solids.  According to a Gunblast article, that load reached 1847fps from a 16" barreled 94 Winchester.

That's at least 200fps slower (maybe more)  than a 170gr load from a .30-30 in that length barrel.  I realize it's an apples to oranges comparison (jacketed .30  vs. hardcast solid .357) but if a solid 180gr flat nose tracks straight through the torso and vitals of whatever mamal it's aimed at (and out the other side) then I think it might perform better than the "numbers" indicate.  The upside is obviously an increase in magazine capacity, and a decrease in overall ammo weight carried by the shooter.  A .44 Mag or .45 Colt would be even better from a terminal performance standpoint, but ammo will weigh more.   For known Brown Bear country I'd stick with a .45-70 and weight be damned.  Everywhere else, a hot-rodded .357 Trapper just might be the ticket for a GP defensive carbine that doesn't cause the REI crowd to search for cell service.

Thought I'd bump my words of wisdom from last year, with an update that I ordered a Rossi '92 trapper in .357 today.............assuming my dealer can locate one!  The new Marlins don't impress me, and the older ones are scarce.  From what I've researched about Rossi, they're worth the risk, and from the samples I've seen, they're as good or better than the new Marlins, and much more affordable.  They're also lighter and slimmer than Marlins which is appealing.  This little carbine will likely become my camping/hiking/road trip gun.  It's compact size and traditional styling will help it fly under the public's radar while nicely complementing whatever pistol I'm also carrying.   My wife will hopefully also become proficient with it,  which has obvious advantages.  Anyway, just wanted to announce that I'm testing my theory while scratching an itch I've had for 30 years.

New Post
3/14/2012 9:37 PM

Ironically, I was just pushing a friend in that same direction for the same reasons. He was saying he didn't know much about which lever actions were and were not good and didn't want to get stuck with something limited edition with limited parts availability. For some reason, I had forgotten all about Rossi. OPC bought one (or two.. who's counting?) instead of the new Marlins on the rack beside them because the fit and finish and overall quality looked better. With this in mind, Scot and I inspected Rossis and Marlins within about 5 minutes of each other at SHOT show. You'd think that if you were a Marlin rep headed to SHOT, you'd pick the nicest rifles off the line you could... or maybe they did and the story is even worse than we thought. I think my pick would be a 5 or 10 year old Marlin if I could find one. The cross bolt safety doesn't bug me because it is super easy to disable. If I found one pre cross bolt safety that wouldn't bother me either, but I have an idea production might have been better on some of the ones made in the cross bolt safety era.  If buying new, the Rossis do indeed look better than the Marlins.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
3/15/2012 7:24 AM

Thank you all for the most excellent conversation.

I think Jason's and Evan's appreciation for the social impressions left by choosing to be armed with a small-ish rifle are very practical.  A long arm that is inoffensive is more likely to be "present" when the need arises.  A longarm in hand is a game definer/changer.  I think that practical solutions that include addressing social issues/considerations are an important aspect of technical solutions to challenges that occur in a social setting or context. 

Our success in "The street" includes what we can get away with(including legally and socially).  Running below the radar, or, as Jason put it so well, below the "REI, reach for the cell phone threshold" is a very practical matter, and is, if managed in a less than thoughtful manner, a game changer/definer(as in, can not have a long arm within reach).  Only the tools we have with us are relevant.

The spouse friendly-ness of an longarm is another game definer/changer.  In my case, happy wife, happy life.  That's another practical matter(for those of us who are, and want to stay, married).  For a interesting piece of fiction to appreciate the value of family interest in "ready-ness", including the use of arms for defense, see, "Lights Out".

The tradeoffs among the competing attributes of power, capacity, and managability are an interesting challenge.   Understanding the probable circumstances of employment is also instructive(in my case:  everyday presence(not duty or service), one, or a couple of, opportunist type bad guys, brief encounter).  180 grains of semiwadcutter at 1,600+ will make nice holes in more than just paper.  Reliably getting to the vitals is critical for the mission of a longarm.  Hardcast, meplat, medium-ish bore(.35-.44-ish) has a pretty good track record.  And, in a handy package that looks like a "everyday/everyman(person)" longarm, very practical.

Like Evan, several friends here have settled in this arrangement as part of their solution to facing a unpredictable world.

Further, SLG gifted a very nice, mature, DRCed,1894(.357, if memory serves) to his most capable partner.  What class.  'Nuff said?

New Post
3/15/2012 6:23 PM
Just got home from a little work. Rossi rifles are pretty well finished compared to the new Marlin's I tried to purchase. Also the full sized Rossi Rio Grande rifles that are an rip off of the Marlin 336/1895 are a lot lighter than their Marlin counterparts, at least in 45/70. The Rossi's in bigger bores utilize very light and thin barrels that makes an huge difference in how they handle. My only complaint on the Rossi Rio Grande series is the lightness and low mass of the hammer. It's just too light for my liking, and needs an different alloy instead of the cheap metal it's made out of. I'm not an hunter, but like nice handy rifles like leverguns, and just got an Mauser 98 Karbiner that is military and not sporterized. We'll see how it handles.
New Post
3/16/2012 10:45 AM

Unfortunately while Rossi does make some Marlin style rifles they don't make them with a straight grip.  My preference is for straigth grip and marlin actions. 

At one point corbon sold a hard cast 200gr going a moderate speed.  Man it was a nice load for woods use. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued and I have shot up most of the two boxes I did get over the years.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
3/17/2012 11:30 AM

 In looking at some options, I ran across some Howa rifles that may be a starting point. There is a Howa/Hogue Ranchland Compact @ 7.15 lb no glass/8.75 w/ their glass combo. These appear to be convertible to a 10 round DBM. They have a 20" tube and no iron sights, so there are some obvious drawbacks. OTOH, at 573USD retail (673 w/ their glass) the prices are certainly acceptable.

Does anyone have any experience with these rifles? Are they any good?

New Post
3/17/2012 4:20 PM

I haven't seen the model you're referring to, but I will weigh in on Howa and Hogue.  IMO Howa makes a decent rifle for the money.  With an aftermarket triger and a good scope I think you'd have a good rifle.  The biggest drawback I see is not being  "mainstream" enough to have great aftermarket parts selection.  I'd research your final form goals before buying.

Hogue on the other hand makes flexible, dirt attracting stocks that I would remove and sell to the uncaring.  BTDT.

New Post
3/17/2012 4:24 PM

An update on my Rossi 92 order-----------------my dealer hasn't located one yet!  I appears that several guys have the same idea right now, and Marlin's pathetic CQ has fueled sales even further.

I REALLY don't want to be forced into ordering one of these, and I'm pretty sure they haven't sold as well as the Rossi................

New Post
3/17/2012 4:37 PM

If they would just put "Zombie Slayer" on it somewhere a la Ruger, I think Mossberg would sell a ton of those.

Good luck on the '92. Given their popularity with the SASS crowd, there is a lot of info out there on slicking them up a bit.

Real world price on Howa Ranchlands is around $400ish, so they are a pretty good deal, unless you are after the "new style" economy rifles like the Rem. 770, Savage Edge, Ruger Whatever or Mossbergs. Aftermarket stocks are available from most manufacturers if you don't like the Hogue. Given the quality I've seen on the lower end Remingtons, I'd certainly consider a Howa at that price point.

New Post
3/18/2012 12:40 PM

If you want a rifle to put in the truck and you are content with it as it comes it is probably a good choice. As Jason said the hogue stocks aren't the greatest in my opinion, and the aftermarket for Howa is limited. I think that there are better choices from CZ, Ruger, and Savage available.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
3/18/2012 12:54 PM

I have never handled a Howa bolt gun but the two things I see that I like a lot are the 60 degree bolt lift and M16 style extractor.

New Post
3/19/2012 7:49 AM

In the early 70's I bought a Weatherby Vanguard (a Howa barreled action) in 30-06. There was nothing wrong with that rifle. The action was slick, reliable and it shot  into 1.5" or less with just about anything you put in it.

New Post
3/19/2012 11:14 AM

I've looked at the Ranchland myself with the same idea. I took note of the detachable box magazine conversion which made that light little thing really interesting. The Howa action is very well thought of by many custom gunsmiths. I had one myself in 300wm that shot very well. I wouldn't mess with the scope package, opting instead for a low power variable leupold. I'd get the DBM conversion and as many mags as I thought I would ever need (you never know when these proprietary kinds of things will go back out of production), and figure I had something pretty decent for a low price. The only downsides to it that I see are 1) the barrel is super thin and I wonder if it would start walking around to an unacceptable degree once it heats up and 2) no iron sights.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
3/23/2012 1:39 AM

Update #2...............I'm more impatient than Ralphie on Christmas Eve, and I haven't heard word from my local dealer yet.  I mean come on, it's been a whole week already!  (facetious alert for the tone deaf).

So I got my retired dad involved, and by utilizing all that wonderful time on his hands, he located a Win 94 Trapper top eject in .30-30.  I'll take possession of it in a couple days.  Now I've got something to hike with while I wait for the CAS guys to buy up all the Rossi 92s they need this season.

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