Wildcatting - Full spec
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- Last updated: 27/04/2020
Norman Clark Gunsmiths is one of the original premium custom gunsmiths in the country; name a calibre and they’ve built a rifle in it. It`s a family-run business, offering not only bespoke custom rifles but a complete rifle/shotgun smithing services, as well as a comprehensive, fully fitted gunshop and extensive reloading supplies, its where I buy my components from.
This rifle is a fully speced Remy 700 action with Krieger barrel and all fitted into one of the new McMillan Mc3 stocks and of course chambered in the current ‘IT’ calibre, 6.5 Creedmoor. All topped off with a Vortex Diamondback Tactical scope, complete with S5i sound moderator.
The new McMillan Mc3, solid, moulded stock is made from a material called Xenolite, which is seriously rigid and lighter. So, you have yourself a superb woodland stalking rifle as you do a longer-range hill gun and even for range use also.
The Remington Model 700 still remains one of the great actions of the 20th and 21st centuries other than the original Mauser 98 action, which it is based on, as it takes it roots from the British P13 from WW1, which was an attempt to make an anglicised 98 military rifle. And has probably been used for more custom rifle builds than any other make combined.
It’s not just a matter of screw cutting the barrel to fit the action, you need a concentric join of both for a precision union. Norman has trued and blueprinted all the major components, the procedure starts with the action being clocked up to the bolt axis not the outside of the receiver. Then it is internally screw cut with a single toothed tool picking up on the original threads and increasing their diameter until all imperfections are cleared. Then the locking lug surface is machined at 90º to bolt axis and the action face trued, the feed ramp is blended and polished to smooth out feeding. The bolt itself is clocked up to its axis and all surfaces are trued after bushing has taken place, then a Sako extractor is installed. The bolt handle is then relocated to maximise primary extraction.
The bolt handle too has a new, semi teardrop synthetic knob that is far better than the standard, flattened Remington-type and the firing pin hole has also been sleeved for perfect alignment and positioning. The old thin and let’s face it weedy recoil lug is dispensed with, in favour of a Magnum type of 0.372”, for a far better, secure bedding surface. The barrel channel is generously free floated with enough gap so that even with a bipod fitted it will not touch the barrel.
Barrel is a Krieger, cut-rifled, match grade, stainless steel unit that has a semi-heavy profile culminating at 0.798” at the muzzle. It is threaded and supplied with an invisible protector, which really is. The twist rate 1 in 8” that will suit 140-grain 6.5mm bullets as well as lighter and heavier types too. Superbly machined, as I have come to expect, it’s finished off with a subtle peened finish to resisted scratches and glare or reflections.
Best of all, is the barrel length; at 20”, it offers a nice meaty profile and, being short, good handling and balance. I found it a perfect blend of length and cartridge ballistics, as we shall see. Norman finished it off with a custom, stainless steel muzzle brake, measuring 0.8285” diameter and 2.3385” long. The inside diameter is 0.279” and gas is vented efficiently, reducing recoil up to 30% and directing the blast away from the shooter. Effective moderation came by way of an Ase Utra S5i compact, muzzle-mounted moddy
The Mc3 TPIM stock is their new moulded design, using a polymer construction of Xenolite Composite with carbon fibre added. Plus, it comes with integral aluminium pillars. They offer similar profiles to other McMillan models and the material is stronger and gives greater rigidity and less shrinkage, combined to good abrasive resistance. It weighs the same as an A5 stock and is solid in both forend and rear stock area.
The high, straight comb section is perfect for the majority of scope mounting options and Norman has fitted a one-piece Britannia 20 MOA rail and Vortex scope rings. The pistol grip is quite vertical and stepped back nicely for a decent hand position and, along with stippled areas, offers good hold and control. Finish, here in matt green, although tan is also an option. Length of pull is 13.75” with a thick 1 inch black rubber recoil pad that is very tactile. It comes with two QD studs under the forend, with provision to mount another and one under the butt.
Best of all are the aluminium pillars, which allow the action to be torqued down securely and concentrically, with no stock material deformation. This, combined with Norman’s larger recoil lug that has been precisely inletted, makes the whole build rock solid. There is also the option to get the stock Devcon bedded, but in truth it shot so well without it, I question if that extra option is worth the effort. Trigger is a factory item honed and regulated at 2 ½ lb, with a single stage and breaks like glass!
Feed is from the aftermarket Lucky 13, detachable magazine conversion for the Remington 700’s short action receiver so suits the Creedmoor. These are made in Australia and included in the kit are aluminium bottom metal with a release catch and a selection of 0.8mm thickness aluminium shims and of course the 10-shot magazine. It’s made to fit all types of Remy 700 or clone-type actions and suitable for all stock materials; synthetic, laminate and wood with minimal, if any, alterations.
However, they recommend aluminium pillar bedding if you have a soft wood or polymer stock, as a 65 inch/lb torque is recommended for secure fitment. A handy shim measurement and fitment chart is in the manual and shows how to measure and shim the magazine system dependent on stock type/make.
Reloading kit comprised of a set of Redding full length dies # 80446, which are all you need to make precise reloads to suit your rifles chamber. Add to this some Lapua cases using small rifle primers, in this case CCI 450 Magnums, along with Norma, RS Swiss and Alliant Powders. With bullets from Sierra, Speer, Hornady, Nosler and Berger and I was ready to start cranking out some quality fodder. See the two tables; Factory Ammo and Reloads.
The 140-grain Remington CoreLokt ammo from a 24” barrel is doing a quoted 2700 fps, Barnes 140-grain Precision Match gives 2700 fps, Hornady 129-grain Superformance SST is 2950fps and their 129-grain Whitetail 2820 fps. So, in reality, reducing the tube from 24 to 20” only results in a loss of 107, 72, 135 and 145 fps respectively for each factory loading. Which speaks volumes for the quality of the bore and dimensions, as most 6.5mms of this nature, much like 234 Win, do suffer from shorter barrels, in terms of speed and energy. See result table.
Stunning, in a word, it does everything a proper hand-crafted rifle should do and inspires confidence through excellent engineering and decades of customising skill. Accuracy from all the reloads was sub-1”; best were the 140-grain SSTs over 42.5-grains of Norma 204 producing 0.55” groups and the good old Speer 120-grainers almost the same, just shows. It has a perfect blend of barrel length for ballistics and ability for field use and a really good McMillan stock to boot. This is of course just one option, as Norman and his team can produce rifles to suit individual needs, give him a call.
Norman Clark Customs and reload supplies 01788 579651
JMS Sporting Quickload Ballistics program 07771 962121 www.quickload.co.uk
Raytrade ltd Remington, Mc3 Stock 01635 253344
Jackson Rifles Ase Utra sound mods 01644 470223