M54S – Paint it black

It is nigh on 4 weeks since I last mentioned the M54S project and only 5 weeks since its concept.  Sadly, many things have changed in the last 5 weeks and not all for the good. Work has slowed for us and many rifle ranges and gun clubs are now closed here in the UK which does free up some time to wrap up long term projects and the m54S-430 was near the top of the list.

One thing we realised was no matter how much I worked on the chassis it was always going to be front heavy which is not good for a rifle that is to be shot off-hand (Standing) So out came a 6,0mm carbide bull nose cutter and 7 flutes later the barrelled action has shed exactly 450 grams.

Note to self, order two cutters next time, it was certainly not as happy towards the end of the fluting as at the start. Plus, it would have been bad news if I had snapped the cutter and had to wait a couple of days for a replacement as I had no more in stock.

One issue we both noticed was the poor old 3-9×40 Hawke ‘scope would not focus at the required 20 yards for LSR so I wound the objective out by around 4,0mm to get it to focus and interestingly, it also worked quite well at 50 metres however the ‘scope is on the list of things to be binned in favour of a slightly higher magnification alternative which I am yet to decide upon.

Time for some statistics:

Excluding the ‘scope and rings: 3786 grams.
The complete chassis excluding the barrelled action: 1096 grams.
All up weight including ‘scope and rings with a standard  AR grip : 4235 grams.
Add a more vertical wooden grip: 4335 grams.

My view is I can still drop another 100 grams with ease, if not more. As well as the fluting I have changed the ‘scope rail. It was originally set at zero MOA and I knew this was going to be an issue further along the line so I sat down and machined 75MOA rail, then cut the necessary gap for the load/eject port to maintain the correct angle and screwed it into place.  The excess of tube has also been removed. I am 6’-3″ with a long neck so I reckon if it fits me it will fit anyone and the length of pull can easily be shortened with a 3,0mm Hex key.

I also added some paint, matt black for the barrel and satin black for the rest with stainless fixings other than the HT screws for the receiver.




Finally, did it shoot after the fluting? Too right it did! This group was shot at 50 metres with Eley Club resting on a squeeze bag and at 9x magnification.

So the fluting has not made any difference to the accuracy for my level of shooting. Incidentally, that 75MOA rail should get this rifle out to 400+ yards and I have every intention of trying it at some point.




So what did I learn? Well lots of course! boring the required depth of tube for the receiver was a nightmare and I will use a 30,0mm parallel reamer next time. I would also change the tube port aesthetics and the fluting as well with 8 flutes being my preference.

The secondary tube holding the Kydex cheek piece is currently 25,4mm diameter and I would reduce it to 22,0mm to bring the cheek piece down slightly. I could not actually get a decent sight picture with the original Warne rings and went to a higher set of unknown make with the extra 2,5mm ish making a huge difference.

There is always a bit of a ‘ping’ on centre fire tube chassis when shot, not so with the little .22LR.

Other than the above there are a couple of small cosmetic changes I would implement and that is about it.

It was fun.

I think I will call it a day now on this project, time for us to shoot and enjoy the rifle and  look to future projects. Did I mention I have a lovely 1920 dated Coach Wood Lithgow No1Mk3* here that I really must get out and shoot and it is only in the last couple of weeks that I have been out with the very early version Smith Corona 1903A3 we have here.

So many things to do, spring is here and summer must only be around the corner.

Take care all.



Ruger Precision Rifle rear bag riders.

I forgot to post a picture of our latest Ruger Precision Rifle rear bag rider plates fresh back from anodising so here is one.

Machined from 6082 aluminium and satin anodised finish they are virtually a direct copy of the original butt plate however they are extended to accept a bag rider tube. You have a choice of either a self colour 1,5mm tube (Shown in picture) This adds around 65,0 grams to the all up weight of your rifle. Alternatively you can have the 20,0mm carbon fibre tube version with polished aluminium ends which is a lot lighter. (Guess who forgot to weigh the last ones he built)

Everyone tells me these make a huge difference to the tracking of the RPR at both short and long distances and coupled with the 6.5CM cartridge gets you into some very long distance shooting.

I also have a single bracket in a lovely shiny aluminium finish if anyone is interested.

I also forgot to add a link to the Ruger Precision Rifle rear bag rider on our site, so here it is:


I am hearing good things from the people who have already received them, it makes me wish I had an RPR myself!

Ruger Precision rear bag riders.

People have been asking for a rear bag rider for the RPR for a while, so I made a start on the project today. They will be a direct replacement for the existing butt pad back plate and will be vapour honed and hard anodised to match the chassis as best I can. The rider tube will be 18,5mm diameter and will be in self colour. I have not calculated the weight yet, however around 180 grams or just under should be close and there will be a lighter version with a carbon fibre tube.

I will be machining these as a limited run so if you are interested please shout now as I have a feeling the USA is going to snap the majority of them up rather quickly.

I would expect to ship to anodise in around 3 weeks so they should be ready for shipping start of December, just ready for Christmas

Saiga 12 gas piston – The small jobs always count

Friday and I am catching up on the small jobs whilst waiting for some tool steel to arrive and an early job for the day was this Saiga 12 which is best explained with some pictures over a cup of coffee.

This was the gas piston connection to the bolt carrier on a Saiga 12 that was wobbling badly. Saiga simply screw the gas piston in and then stake it and it is never ideal.

The stakes are clearly visible in this image  you can see how much thread is hanging out of the end of the carrier.

First job is drill the stakes out and unscrew the piston, everything is then tidied up and I use a very high temperature adhesive to bond the piston to carrier which is screwed in until tight. Wait 24 hours for the adhesive to set. Now at this point I have to say I am always slightly wary of this as everything needs to be fairly well aligned however this is an accepted modification so on with the job.

Drill through with a 4,2mm drill and add a countersink to either end. The holes where I had drilled out the stakes lined up perfectly proving attention to detail always pays dividends.


Then it is just a matter of machining a pin to suit with a suitable countersunk head at one end. I always go for a tight fit and check this on the machine before the pin is removed as it is always easier to take another fine cut if required.

With fit confirmed the pin is pushed into place and the ends peened over.



The final job is to file the ends of the pin flush with a light emery to complete and the job is done and I defy you to spot where the pin is 🙂

Well that is my coffee finished and another couple of jobs booked in so I had better make a start on the next job which involves a Ruger Precision Rifle.

The Shooting SHED F/TR “Støtteben” MkIII bipod – we are going to do another run.

We have received several emails recently asking us if we have any of our MkIII bipods in stock and if not would we consider another run so after some debate we have decided on what is probably going to be our final run.
The bipod is already well known internationally within the F/TR class however if you are new to the discipline here are some vital statistics for the Shooting SHED “Støtteben” MkIII
Main bipod assembly: 6082 T6 aluminium
Finish: Vapour honed and black anodised surfaces.
Screws: A4 Stainless Steel.
Elevations shaft: Stainless Steel
Elevation nuts: 316 stainless steel
Weight: Approximately 610 grams
Weight with optional toggle locks fitted: Approximately 674 grams
Weight of optional toggle lock 32 grams (1.15 Ozs)
Maximum recommended width: 785,0mm (31 Inches)
Maximum recommended height: 380,0mm (13.5 Inches)
If you would like to know more about the product and get your name on the list please email the Viking: shed@shootingshed.co.uk