Coach & Mecca’s New 6XC Rifle Build – The Saga Begins In Earnest

I guess we could call this “The Log’a of the Saga”.
My coach and I are building new rifles for next years’ match season. We put a year on our last set of pipes and those wore well and got coach into the sport. The game we’re playing with these is styled after PRS but we have prone, obstacle and PRS classes available. Prone is prone only but you can shoot from obstacles if you want. Obstacle is PRS style but with more time than normal PRS matches would allow and usually simpler requirements for moving around the obstacles. PRS is short time and more complex courses of fire from the obstacles. We only get one shot at each target and it’s hit or miss. All this is done on a brutal course you have to walk and the winds are mostly unreadable.
We’ve been pulling top-10 to top-5 finishes very consistently as a team for the last year and we’re looking to try to dominate this year with nothing but top 5 finishes. Part of our strategy is; since we operate as a proper team, to have identically chambered rifles with identically performing loads so we can share rifles, data and the carrying of the load. We can share a rifle for each match and save half of the humping of rifles along the course as well as getting what amounts to a second shot at each target because of the sharing of the rifle. If the first shooter misses, we’ll know how far and why and be able to correct for the second shooter. It’s not cheating, it’s adapting. Nothing says we can’t share a rifle.
I got my ExactShooting.com (check these guys out, they’re amazing) custom sizing die with the custom neck bushings for 6XC. We tried that die on Coach’s existing rifle in 6XC but the combination of the gun being stupid accurate to begin with, the brass having a huge number of fires on it already and the barrel nearing the end of its life meant that we didn’t see any statistically interesting difference going from a Redding neck die to the Exact Shooting die. So, I got us 2 new barrel blanks and a new custom made chamber reamer and a big sack of new 6CX Norma brass from Tubb along with a big bucket load of 115gn HBN coated DTAC’s. We’ll be using an M24/MTU type barrel profile with a finished length somewhere around 25-26 inches.
My die came with a series of bushings which we spec’d for a chamber that requires very slightly turning the outside of the case necks and provides for minimum working of the brass between firing and sizing. We’ll also be running zero headspace to a new case. After firing we’ll bump the shoulders back .0005″ to assure smooth chambering with even bolt closure pressure. Neck bushing diameter selection lets us size the necks in .0005″ increments from .005″ neck tension to .003″ neck tension.
I dropped off the barrels and our actions to the gunsmith last week and went over yesterday to verify that everything was righteous. The smith had them set up with dual point indication on the lathes and showed me that everything mic’d out as it should. He showed me his lathe setup which was very satisfactory. With spuds in each end of the barrel set up on dial indicators I gave the chuck a spin and with the dial indicators set up 29″ apart we got 0 readable change on the dials (you could see a subtle shimmy but not enough to read). Ok, that’s up to snuff.
The barrels we’re using are from Columbia River Arms, formerly Black Hole Weaponry. They’re polygonal rifled 3-groove .243 pipes. I got my reamer from PTG and as it turns out, the pilot that came with the reamer is .002 under size so the first complication has already hit. These barrels don’t have conventional lands. In fact to the naked eye you can’t really tell at this bore size that it’s not a plain ol’ cylinder, so the bushing size issue was something that was anticipated. So, we begin the 3-4 week wait for a new set of pilot bushings if I can’t find another shooter to loan/rent/sell one to me.
In the meantime I need to figure out what theme my rifle will take on for this barrel. I could continue with the hot dog theme but I’m thinking Mega Man 8: Dr. Wily’s Island. I do something goofy with each rifle I build. So far I’ve done two coral snakes, a hot dog and a bowling ball. Weird finishes get in the heads of other competitors and make it easier to pick out my rifle from the racks full of nearly identical rifles whose only usual differentiating factor is the optic the owner put on theirs. Coach has the only rifle in the rack with a classic wood stock.
My Current Rifle (Hot Dog Gun):
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Coach’s Rifle:
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Mega-Man 8 Barrel & Chassis Finish:
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