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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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  #1  
Old 02-21-2010, 9:29 PM
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Default .243 target rifle?

I've been thinking about getting a rifle for bench/prone shooting for a while now. I got a decent tax return and figured maybe I'd take the leap.

I was considering going with .243 instead of .308 as I originally planned. I hear that it has a flatter trajectory and less recoil.

If I go this route, will I be giving up anything other than total energy at long range? I don't imagine I'll be shooting much past 200 yards often, and if I ever do it probably won't be much past 600.

I figured I'd probably pick up a Rem700 SPS Varmint in .243 and learn to shoot it as-is before I start dinking with it. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-21-2010, 9:50 PM
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http://www.6mmbr.com/243Win.html has a lot of good info on the .243 and what you can do with it.

The .243 comes out at 2500-2800 FPS. That's a lot of force for a 20 caliber so yes, it will fly flat out to 1000 yards in some cases. Its also cheaper than .308 on the ammo side, box of 20 at walmart shouldn't run you more than $17 these days.
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:38 PM
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http://www.6mmbr.com/243Win.html has a lot of good info on the .243 and what you can do with it.

The .243 comes out at 2500-2800 FPS. That's a lot of force for a 20 caliber so yes, it will fly flat out to 1000 yards in some cases. Its also cheaper than .308 on the ammo side, box of 20 at walmart shouldn't run you more than $17 these days.
I just bought a box of wolf military classic 7.62x51 @ $7.99 I don't .243 will be cheaper than that. But to answer the OP question, you should ask ar-15barrels he just finished his .243 rifle and his range reports look pretty sexy. Also jump over to the persicion rifle club section they have ton of information about which rifle/calibur/scope and breaks it down pretty caveman simple.
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Old 02-22-2010, 6:33 AM
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I just bought a box of wolf military classic 7.62x51 @ $7.99 I don't .243 will be cheaper than that. But to answer the OP question, you should ask ar-15barrels he just finished his .243 rifle and his range reports look pretty sexy. Also jump over to the persicion rifle club section they have ton of information about which rifle/calibur/scope and breaks it down pretty caveman simple.
Well I don't plan on shooting Russian blaster ammo out of this gun LOL, but you're right about checking the Precision Rifle subforum; I kinda forgot it was there. There's ALWAYS good stuff in that forum
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Old 02-22-2010, 6:53 AM
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If you are going to shoot within 200 yards, and for accuracy, it will be hard to beat 6mm BR or 6mm PPC rounds. 243 has a good potential also as long as you match the bullets to your barrel.
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Old 02-22-2010, 6:58 AM
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Do you reload?

Inside 600, there's not too much difference except in the recoil aspect. Oh, and the 243 burns out barrels at more than 3 times the rate of a 308...
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Old 02-22-2010, 7:09 AM
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Do you reload?

Inside 600, there's not too much difference except in the recoil aspect. Oh, and the 243 burns out barrels at more than 3 times the rate of a 308...
Good question, if you reload, I would look at the 260 Remington, it does not burn out barrels and range can be at 1000 yards, the 243 can be loaded where it does not burn the barrel, but you will limit your range to about 500-600 yards

I know it's convenient to buy an off the shelf 243 as there are a lot of used and new avail. Rem does make a 260 Rem commercially and it's quite accurate out of the box

Last edited by Bongos; 02-22-2010 at 7:36 AM..
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Old 02-22-2010, 7:21 AM
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Do you reload?

Inside 600, there's not too much difference except in the recoil aspect. Oh, and the 243 burns out barrels at more than 3 times the rate of a 308...
I do reload, but currently only .45acp for plinking. I plan on loading my own for target shooting, though, in whatever caliber I choose.

That IS a valuable piece of info, though... Why exactly is .243 so much harsher on barrels than .308?

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Good question, if you reload, I would look at the 260 Remington, it does not burn out barrels and range can be at 1000 yards, the 243 can be loaded where it does not burn the barrel, but you will limit your range to about 500-600 yards
So if .260 doesn't have the same harsh effect, I have to ask why? Is it just an issue of velocity? Does hot .223 kill a barrel faster than .308 also?
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Old 02-22-2010, 7:42 AM
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I do reload, but currently only .45acp for plinking. I plan on loading my own for target shooting, though, in whatever caliber I choose.

That IS a valuable piece of info, though... Why exactly is .243 so much harsher on barrels than .308?



So if .260 doesn't have the same harsh effect, I have to ask why? Is it just an issue of velocity? Does hot .223 kill a barrel faster than .308 also?
The 260 is harder on barrels than the 308 as well, about twice as hard. It has to do with the amount of volume in the bore and the amount of pressure. Given the same pressure, having more volume in the bore will lead to less erosion than having less volume. Check out this article with Boots Obermyer:

http://www.snipersparadise.com/tsmag/june2001.htm

The 260 is a great caliber. It offers a decent barrel life with good ballistics. But again, inside 600, the lasers don't offer too much more than the ol' 308 loaded properly.
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Old 02-22-2010, 7:44 AM
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Originally Posted by civilsnake View Post

So if .260 doesn't have the same harsh effect, I have to ask why? Is it just an issue of velocity? Does hot .223 kill a barrel faster than .308 also?
.260 does have the harsh effect on the barrels as well but it only burns the barrel out about twice as fast as a 308.

most guys shooting .260s report barrel life of about 3k

most guys shooting .243s report between 2-3k

.308s go beyond 6k sometimes depending on who you talk to.

Also if you only plan on shooting mostly 2-600 yards i'd just stick with the trusty .308. The SPS in .243 has the wrong twist rate barrel for the bullets you would need to use to enjoy the benefits of a .243 at 1k yards.
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  #11  
Old 02-22-2010, 7:55 AM
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A couple questions then:

1. How much will good .308 cost per shot/50/whatever vs. .243 or .260?

2. How does that margin change if I'm rolling my own and buying components?

3. Seeing as I've never tried to shoot past 200 yards and have never used a magnified optic, is it reasonable to assume that I might even be ready to attempt shots past 600 yards within the calculated life of a barrel?
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Old 02-22-2010, 8:12 AM
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My suggestion is to get a .308 Remington 700 and a decent scope and really learn the fundamentals first, learn how to handload for your rifle to get the most out of it according to what you need. It can get expensive so be forewarned.
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Old 02-22-2010, 8:14 AM
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A couple questions then:

1. How much will good .308 cost per shot/50/whatever vs. .243 or .260?
In loaded match ammo, the 308 is most common, available, and economical.

2. How does that margin change if I'm rolling my own and buying components? They're all roughly the same with a slight edge going to 243 as the cheapest.

3. Seeing as I've never tried to shoot past 200 yards and have never used a magnified optic, is it reasonable to assume that I might even be ready to attempt shots past 600 yards within the calculated life of a barrel?

Yes. Don't overlook the 308 for your intended purpose.
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Old 02-22-2010, 8:16 AM
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..........
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It makes it bigger and longer.

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Old 02-22-2010, 8:40 AM
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I vote for the 260Rem. Hard to beat those 6.5 bullets.
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Old 02-22-2010, 8:50 AM
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The recoil of a 308 especially from the bench makes it less desirable than a .243. The .243 is a joy to shoot and very versatile. At 200-300 yards you don't need to load up to barrel burning velocities and it will still shoot great groups.
Having said all that, I would put you into a AR with a fast twist heavy barrel. I'd build my own flat top in .223. The .223 will go to 600 yards easy and it's way cheaper to shoot than the bigger centerfires. In fact the AR is so versatile it can pretty much do anything you would ever want to do. For the same money as a bolt action you can have a very accurate rifle, the only thing it can't do is hunt deer but you didn't mention hunting. I like bolt actions but the ARs are much more fun to shoot even as a single shot.

Thanx, Russ
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Old 02-22-2010, 9:04 AM
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My .02

For a bench/prone gun out to 600yds, hard to beat the 6mmBR Norma with a 8-twist barrel.
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Old 02-22-2010, 9:16 AM
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The recoil of a 308 especially from the bench makes it less desirable than a .243. The .243 is a joy to shoot and very versatile. At 200-300 yards you don't need to load up to barrel burning velocities and it will still shoot great groups.
Having said all that, I would put you into a AR with a fast twist heavy barrel. I'd build my own flat top in .223. The .223 will go to 600 yards easy and it's way cheaper to shoot than the bigger centerfires. In fact the AR is so versatile it can pretty much do anything you would ever want to do. For the same money as a bolt action you can have a very accurate rifle, the only thing it can't do is hunt deer but you didn't mention hunting. I like bolt actions but the ARs are much more fun to shoot even as a single shot.

Thanx, Russ
Thanks for the input, I actually already have an AR. It's a BCM middy with an Aimpoint, so not really setup for long range. Everything I've read leads me to believe that it's much easier and more cost effective to use a bolt gun if you want MOA accuracy. That may not be true on the upper end of things, but a Rem700 at $700 will outshoot an AR at $700 per my understanding.
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Old 02-22-2010, 4:07 PM
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Thanks for the input, I actually already have an AR. It's a BCM middy with an Aimpoint, so not really setup for long range. Everything I've read leads me to believe that it's much easier and more cost effective to use a bolt gun if you want MOA accuracy. That may not be true on the upper end of things, but a Rem700 at $700 will outshoot an AR at $700 per my understanding.
Agreed, a percision grade upper alone will cost you want the entire 700 will cost.
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Old 02-22-2010, 7:57 PM
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recoil from a 308 in a heavy barrel tactical or sniper dress is very manageable (I'm 5'8", 200lbs and can shoot it all day long). In a hunting set up with no muzzlebrake can be harse though
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Old 02-23-2010, 8:56 AM
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recoil from a 308 in a heavy barrel tactical or sniper dress is very manageable (I'm 5'8", 200lbs and can shoot it all day long). In a hunting set up with no muzzlebrake can be harse though
Well I'm 6'3", 185lbs, with a notable lack of what those in the medical profession call "shoulders". That's why I'm thinking a bolt gun with less kick might be up my alley, at least at first. My other option is to start eating more, but then I won't be able to afford ammo...
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Old 02-23-2010, 7:06 PM
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....it's much easier and more cost effective to use a bolt gun if you want MOA accuracy. That may not be true on the upper end of things, but a Rem700 at $700 will outshoot an AR at $700 per my understanding.
Not always. If you have an AR already you'll just need an upper but I understand that you want a bolt gun, I have a few myself. The .243 is a good choice but the twist is no good for heavy bullets (too slow). The good long range .243s use a fast twist and heavy custom bullets. It's the same problem with .223 bolt guns. That's why for 600 yards an AR is a cheap way to go, just look at NRA highpower, 95% ARs on the 600 yard line.

Thanx, Russ
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Old 02-23-2010, 9:00 PM
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Not always. If you have an AR already you'll just need an upper but I understand that you want a bolt gun, I have a few myself. The .243 is a good choice but the twist is no good for heavy bullets (too slow). The good long range .243s use a fast twist and heavy custom bullets. It's the same problem with .223 bolt guns. That's why for 600 yards an AR is a cheap way to go, just look at NRA highpower, 95% ARs on the 600 yard line.

Thanx, Russ
Russ this may seem like an odd request but did you put your flame resistant suit on today?
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Old 02-24-2010, 1:01 PM
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Not always. If you have an AR already you'll just need an upper but I understand that you want a bolt gun, I have a few myself. The .243 is a good choice but the twist is no good for heavy bullets (too slow). The good long range .243s use a fast twist and heavy custom bullets. It's the same problem with .223 bolt guns. That's why for 600 yards an AR is a cheap way to go, just look at NRA highpower, 95% ARs on the 600 yard line.

Thanx, Russ
Again, an upper capable of sub-MOA is going to put me back at least $1k so far as I can figure, unless my head's just way up my butt. I dunno, am I wrong??

On top of that, my lower uses a carbine buffer, so I'm assuming I would be switching that out... and I'm using a standard LPK trigger, so a decent trigger is going to cost me at least a couple hundy... So it's starting to sound like I'm just buying another $1500 AR. Compare that to even a 700 Tactical in .223 for half the cost. It may not push 77g SMKs at 1:9, but I'm sure there are mid-60s target loads that will do 600 yards, right?

So here's another question: Is there a .223 bolt gun out there that could get me to 1000 yards?

And does .223 eat barrels as fast as .243?

Last edited by civilsnake; 02-24-2010 at 1:05 PM..
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Old 02-24-2010, 1:31 PM
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Again, an upper capable of sub-MOA is going to put me back at least $1k so far as I can figure, unless my head's just way up my butt. I dunno, am I wrong??

On top of that, my lower uses a carbine buffer, so I'm assuming I would be switching that out... and I'm using a standard LPK trigger, so a decent trigger is going to cost me at least a couple hundy... So it's starting to sound like I'm just buying another $1500 AR. Compare that to even a 700 Tactical in .223 for half the cost. It may not push 77g SMKs at 1:9, but I'm sure there are mid-60s target loads that will do 600 yards, right?

So here's another question: Is there a .223 bolt gun out there that could get me to 1000 yards?

And does .223 eat barrels as fast as .243?
Oh man not another 1000 yard question!

Ok here is the deal. Any round will make it to 1000 yards, even a 22lr. If your goal is 1000 yards then don't even try thinking about 223. Yes you can do it but you are talking about shooting in near perfect conditions with a rifle that is designed and built around just 1000 yard shooting. 1/7-6.5 twist for 90gr bullets, 20+ pounds, super heavy 26+ inch barrel. It would be a 100% bench gun. There is no way you could buy an off the shelf bolt 223 rifle and expect it to make accurate hits out to 1000 yards. I know I'm opening the door again but even the mighty 308 is not good enough for 1000 yards.

Keep you 223 dreams under 600 yards. If you want more range, look for a different round.
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Old 02-24-2010, 1:37 PM
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Again, an upper capable of sub-MOA is going to put me back at least $1k so far as I can figure, unless my head's just way up my butt. I dunno, am I wrong??

On top of that, my lower uses a carbine buffer, so I'm assuming I would be switching that out... and I'm using a standard LPK trigger, so a decent trigger is going to cost me at least a couple hundy... So it's starting to sound like I'm just buying another $1500 AR. Compare that to even a 700 Tactical in .223 for half the cost. It may not push 77g SMKs at 1:9, but I'm sure there are mid-60s target loads that will do 600 yards, right?

So here's another question: Is there a .223 bolt gun out there that could get me to 1000 yards?

And does .223 eat barrels as fast as .243?
With factory loads and not shooting anything "hot" or above spec hand loads people have reported 10k-30k barrel life, BUT thats in a CQB AR type rifle. If you are looking for long range target ACCURATE barrel life will be much less than that number. I've heard of .223 going out to 800yrds but accuracy was not on par with the 243.
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Old 02-24-2010, 1:57 PM
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Oh man not another 1000 yard question!

Ok here is the deal. Any round will make it to 1000 yards, even a 22lr. If your goal is 1000 yards then don't even try thinking about 223. Yes you can do it but you are talking about shooting in near perfect conditions with a rifle that is designed and built around just 1000 yard shooting. 1/7-6.5 twist for 90gr bullets, 20+ pounds, super heavy 26+ inch barrel. It would be a 100% bench gun. There is no way you could buy an off the shelf bolt 223 rifle and expect it to make accurate hits out to 1000 yards. I know I'm opening the door again but even the mighty 308 is not good enough for 1000 yards.

Keep you 223 dreams under 600 yards. If you want more range, look for a different round.
LOL, I know, I read them all the time too, and I'm truly sorry I had to ask

The point was only that I want to know what the realistic limits are for certain bullets. If I could potentially do it in .223, there wouldn't be much need for something heavier/faster. I know my focus will be 200-600 yards, but I'd like whatever I get to be able to reach a little farther if I want to give it a shot somewhere down the line, dig?

At any rate, thanks for the input, and I'll TRY not to ask again
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Old 02-24-2010, 2:00 PM
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With factory loads and not shooting anything "hot" or above spec hand loads people have reported 10k-30k barrel life, BUT thats in a CQB AR type rifle. If you are looking for long range target ACCURATE barrel life will be much less than that number. I've heard of .223 going out to 800yrds but accuracy was not on par with the 243.
Sounds like .243 might just be the way to go, then. A 700 SPS Varmint goes 1:9.125, I believe. That ought to be enough to stabilize most bullets out there, right?
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Old 02-24-2010, 2:22 PM
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I think the SPS has a 1:9 1/8 twist...folks are reporting being able to shoot the 105 gr Amax through them....a good 1000 yard bullet.
One of the guys that shoots with us uses a stock Remington 243 varmint barreled action with 105 Amax bullets and they work fine for him.
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Old 02-24-2010, 2:24 PM
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Sounds like .243 might just be the way to go, then. A 700 SPS Varmint goes 1:9.125, I believe. That ought to be enough to stabilize most bullets out there, right?
I shot 107 SMK's from a factory remington barrel and they made round holes at 100yds.
I'm pretty sure you won't be able to run 115gr Dtac's though.
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Old 02-24-2010, 2:35 PM
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I shot 107 SMK's from a factory remington barrel and they made round holes at 100yds.
I'm pretty sure you won't be able to run 115gr Dtac's though.
Thanks for the input!

I think my decision is made at this point... Now I just need to figure out how to shoot a damn rifle LOL
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Old 02-24-2010, 2:50 PM
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Thanks for the input!

I think my decision is made at this point... Now I just need to figure out how to shoot a damn rifle LOL
Where are you located?
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Old 02-24-2010, 2:53 PM
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Where are you located?
San Gabriel Valley / IE
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Old 02-24-2010, 2:55 PM
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San Gabriel Valley / IE
Have you heard of the CaPRC?
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AR work: www.ar15barrels.com
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Foreign Semi Autos: www.akbarrels.com
Glock, XD and M&P pistols, Benelli and Remington shotguns: barrel, sight, trigger and receiver work.
Most work performed while-you-wait, evening and weekend appointments available.
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Old 02-24-2010, 3:02 PM
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Have you heard of the CaPRC?
Would that be the California Precision Rifle Club? The one that has the forum just a bit south of this one? The one that holds monthly shoots? The one that hopefully has a course of fire "C" event coming up soon? *fingerscrossed*

Yeah, I check your forum every now and again LOL

You guys go up to the high desert, right?
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Old 02-24-2010, 3:06 PM
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Would that be the California Precision Rifle Club? The one that has the forum just a bit south of this one? The one that holds monthly shoots? The one that hopefully has a course of fire "C" event coming up soon? *fingerscrossed*

Yeah, I check your forum every now and again LOL

You guys go up to the high desert, right?
Course of fire "C" is in March.
About an hour north of Santa Clarita.
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AR work: www.ar15barrels.com
Bolt actions: www.700barrels.com
Foreign Semi Autos: www.akbarrels.com
Glock, XD and M&P pistols, Benelli and Remington shotguns: barrel, sight, trigger and receiver work.
Most work performed while-you-wait, evening and weekend appointments available.
Founding member of the CAPRC
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