6BR Highpower & Prone Rifle
Big Al's Custom-Grade 6BR High-Power "Hammer"
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We know many of our readers use 6BRs in High-Power Competition. Here is Big Al's "Hammer", a top-of-the-line iron-sighted 6mm BR position rifle. Al sent us this report on his handsome new High-Power Comp gun:
"My 6 BR project could have only happened with the help, patience and support of High Master German Salazar of Miami, and a group of incredible craftsmen, artists and High-Power supporters including Mac Tilton of MT Guns, Alan and Dan Warner of Warner Tool Company, and Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks.
Why 6mm BR Norma for High-Power?
My growing High-Power addiction was pushing the limits of my .223 Match AR. The Port Malabar Rifle and Pistol Clubs’ excellent 600-yard range in Melbourne, Florida convinced me that my skill level (Sharpshooter) required a "Hammer" for a mid-range course. German Salazar's success with his RPA Quadlite 6BRs convinced me that 6BR was the way to go.
I choose the Barnard 'P' action simply because it was a rock-solid action that's proven itself time and again in international competition. The Barnard features a reliable, adjustable trigger, and a strong, triple-lugged bolt. Al and Dan Warner did the machining, fitting a 29" stainless Kreiger barrel, with 1:8 twist and Palma contour. The Warners topped it off with their fine combo Iron-Sight, extended scope rail, and Warner-modified front RPA ladder sight.
On German's recommendation, I ordered a prone, High-Power match stock with an Anschutz hand-stop rail, and fully-adjustable buttstock from Master Class. My stock would be something special--a true custom. Alex Sitman asked for my height, arm length, and hand measurements, so the stock could be custom-fitted. The project took about seven months to get together, but I did get the stock order "in-line" at Alex's shop before the Warners were done with their metal work.
How It All Turned Out
The rifle displays incredible attention to detail, fit and finish. It fits my hand and arm length very well. Break-in went well and the last group of my first 50 handloads at 100 yards grouped very tightly. To my surprise, however, I didn't like the Barnard trigger initially. It felt mushy and the sear release seemed to vary from shot to shot. I consulted my mentor again, and Salazar told me it simply needed to be adjusted. We spent a short time working with the trigger. The trigger pull is excellent now--light, crisp and clean.
With bipod and scope, this rifle drills the X-Ring at 100 yards all day. Prone, with sling and iron sights, I know I'll be challenged at 600 yards--but I'm looking forward to improving my marksmanship now that I have a super-accurate rig. I wanted a 6BR so I could basically forget about the hardware and concentrate on the shooting. That's exactly what I got. When I have a chance to shoot it scoped for groups at 600 yards, I'm sure it'll be a tack-driver. For my iron sights and slung prone, I will only be limited by my ability to see the target with old eyes, and hold the sight picture steady. My 6BR project will shoot exactly where I hold it, and I know for sure I am still the weakest part of the equation.
While I've been shooting for several decades, I started High-Power Competition three years ago, and I've been into it seriously for just two seasons. I feel comfortable writing about what I've personally found--the good and the bad. But I am not a Master, High Master, or even Expert. I'm proud to say that, by making consistent handloads, and getting back to basics--sight picture, firm position, and smooth trigger release--I've elevated myself to "Sharpshooter". Still, I'm really a "Beginner" in the 6BR realm, and I'm reluctant to give any advice other than "Solid Position, Good Sight Picture, Slow Easy Trigger Squeeze". I load with Sierra 107's, Hodgdon Varget, and CCI-BR4 Primers. I use Norma Brass and have been very satisfied with it. I know many shooters believe the primer pockets may hold up longer in Lapua Brass, but my Norma is working great so far.
I think beginners spend too much time thinking about "hardware", and not focusing on "software"--the shooting skills and mindset they need on the course. I think concentrating on good basic marksmanship is more important than buying every new gadget you see in the catalogs. And that's why it's important to go with proven, top-quality equipment, to eliminate the "hardware variables" that may confuse beginning shooters. I also know I need to spend more time on-range, and less time on-line. More "trigger time" and less computer keyboard time is my plan for the weeks ahead."
-- Big Al --
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