Vudoo Three-60 22LR ELR Rifle
- By Chris Parkin
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 18/12/2022
It’s always fascinating to investigate a full custom rifle in all its details and even more so when it’s pushing the boundaries of what’s currently considered conventional. Although this article is titled by the name of the action - ‘The Vudoo Gunworks Three-60’ - the whole review is about so much more than one gun, more perhaps a vision of just what’s possible with a humble 22 LR rimfire.
The Vudoo is an American-made action based around the Remington 700 footprint, making it compatible with a wide range of scope mounting solutions, triggers and stock/chassis systems. It’s called the Three-60 because it has a three-lug bolt with a 60º lift. Vudoo offers the rifle in various colours of Cerakote and in right or left-handed configurations.
They also make an almost identical, twin-lug action that has a 90º bolt lift. It accepts slightly longer rimfire cartridges, like WMR and HMR, yet when it comes to .22LR, it also allows more space for the longer monolithic bullets that are becoming available for the rimfire reloaders (yes, you read that correctly!).
As well as conventional 40-grain lead bullets, this gun was used with experimental 32-grain monolithics in its 1:16” twist barrel. The heavy 42 and 50-grain monolithics need a significantly faster 1:6.5” twist rate and a longer barrel for stability as speeds approach 1600fps, however, that’s a story for another day when the barrel arrives.
This barrel is Vudoo’s 20” Kukriprofiled stainless steel unit with 5R rifling. The 20” tube is considered the optimum length for conventional match ammunition that develops 1100-1150fps. Like the action, the machining of this barrel’s chamber is close tolerance controlled. The barrel is available threaded ½”x28 and the one seen here is wearing a custom Warner Tooling tuner to refine harmonics for your ammunition.
Turning towards the furniture, this rifle wears an American Rifle Company XYLO chassis, offering a multitude of options. The length of pull can be adjusted on twin titanium extension bars and the cheekpiece is micro-adjustable vertically and laterally, with a slender comb for true linear head alignment behind the scope. This gun features a bag rider underneath and clamshell walnut shells screwed on either side of the vertical pistol grip for user comfort, offering a thumb wrap or vertical position. Three sizes are available to personalise it to you, or you can have blank plates delivered to have custom carved if desired.
Moving forward, the trigger guard shrouds a Bix ‘n’ Andy trigger with a slim, silver blade. This unit can be adjusted from 250-2000-grams. This is Linus’ (Extreme Ballistics) own rifle and it has one of the lightest triggers (250-grams) I have ever used, yet it remains tactile. Although, in my opinion, it’s only suitable for a stable rifle and ELR use and not so much multi-positional PRS shooting.
The XYLO chassis is AICS magazine compatible in accordance with its Rem 700 short-action footprint. Here, the mags are 10-round, single-column units with snug feed lips designed specifically for precision rimfire. The controlled feed bolt allows the cartridges’ rims to rise up between the twin claws on the bolt face for linear feed to the chamber, without a steep feed ramp that could damage a bullet’s critical Meplat shape.
There’s an anti-cant bubble just ahead of the magazine well, which can be clicked through the stock to remain visible on either side. Further forward, the forend offers an ARCALOCK rail on the underside for secure tripod/bipod mounting. It shows serrations along the standard ARCA-sized dovetail, allowing Area419 components to lock more securely in a linear position. Items like the Lite-Tactical F-Class bipod from Long Range Accuracy are all included on the homogenous, symbiotically complementary ‘ultimate’ rifle package that Extreme Ballistics considers more than the sum of just its parts.
The bipod has adjustable cant as well as leg spread and also shows a locking lever to completely lock, and I don’t just mean stiffen, the gun’s stance. M-LOK is seen on the sides of the forend to mount additional Picatinny or accessories, and the gun’s right side shows an Area419 extension mount in place (not included) to carry a Magnetospeed chronograph. This means it won’t affect your barrel harmonics. On a rifle with a tuner mounted, you soon see how minuscule adjustments to the barrel’s natural frequency cause visible changes to the ammunition performance on target.
Vudoo’s Three-60 action carries a 40 MOA Picatinny rail for scope mounting, which when combined with a 20 MOA Spuhr ISMS mount and a Steiner M7Xi scope, clearly advertises this gun’s extreme long range (for rimfire) capability. At 100m, the groups on target are still 45mm above the aim point, which is a factor you must live with at closer ranges well below the rifle’s likely performance arena. If you fancy less inclination, then that’s an option too.
Shooting the gun is slightly odd. I have used similarly bespoke rifles in centrefire formats, yet without recoil, you really notice the tiny details that are so easily lost in motion. Firstly, the bolt operation from the 3-lug action is light and fast, with the teardrop handle remaining well clear of the scope’s ocular body. The gun’s mass and wide stance bipod on a solid bench mean that the gun doesn’t move as the bolt is cycled. It slides rounds over the top of the magazine rather than physically pushing them up a feed ramp and into the chamber. Even the close tolerance fit of the bolt causes minimal disruption to the point of aim, as the handle is pressed downward, with the camming action closing the round into the chamber that’s cut specifically for the cartridge’s rim thickness/headspace.
With a rear bag under the stock’s flat bag rider, there isn’t much to move around, and when the trigger breaks, it’s perfectly crisp with no perception of any motion at all. You can see your bullet fly through the scope’s field of view because there is no recoil to disturb the point of aim.
It’s critical to mention how stable this gun was on a firm bench with the bipod totally locked. It was somewhat dead. And I have shot most styles of rifle from most support types in my time. The closest is perhaps a heavy benchrest rifle, but even 6mm PPC recoil causes some recoil impulse.
All you hear is the bang, we weren’t using sound moderators and the Lapua Center X is supersonic, so there is a crack, but you can still clearly hear the bullet pass through the paper/card target backer and plop into the sand beyond. Even watching myself on video, somewhat rushing to string bullets together within a specific wind condition, showed the gun to be unnervingly motionless. So, what’s the thrill? Well, the ballistics of the tiny .22 bullet are hardly suitable for 100m, never mind 2,3,4 or 500m, so it’s all about tuning the barrel and reading the wind.
The Warner Tooling Barrel tuner has nine rotational settings and with groups shot in perfect conditions at each incremental step, you can clearly see on target how rimfire shooters restricted to factory (if batch tested) ammunition, can still tune their barrel to obvious benefit. Centrefire reloaders tune the ammunition itself. Of course, having the MagnetoSpeed close at hand gives accurate, hassle-free velocity readings throughout the process, and a 44-round string of Center-X offered up 1082fps with an extreme spread of 44fps.
Swapping to RWS R100 throughout the barrel tuner testing developed speeds of just 1107-1110fps, which is quite frankly insane ES consistency for a rimfire, and critical as the distance to target increases. The tuner has a greater effect on the precision (group size) than velocities, although there are still performance nodes that show benefits in that aspect as well, if less critical at short ranges. Accuracy (the actual location of the group) was virtually unaffected throughout the process, but the picture clearly shows the effects of fractional harmonic changes to the barrel to complement its diet.
This rifle fulfils the company ethos of Extreme Ballistics by bringing leading components from a variety of manufacturers, to present a package that is greater than the sum of its parts. Other than the MagnetoSpeed, scope and mounts, this rifle is advertised as a package, and although beyond my pocket, it has been fascinating to use it, and I feel as if I have only just scratched the surface of the research and development behind it. Also, I now really want to explore barrel tuner effects on my own rimfires, as the benefits are immediately obvious, even without the staggeringly refined action, trigger and chassis that this Vudoo creation offers.