Friday, May 20, 2011

416 Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan

Ruger's Hawkeye Alaskan and the 416 Ruger: Battle Stoppers Supreme!
© 2009-2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Hawkeye Alaskan and the .416 Ruger
A New American Standard in
Dangerous Game Rifles
Image Credit: Hornady
Hawkeye Alaskan and the 416 Ruger
I posted this quite some time ago, and it has been so popular, that I thought I would revamp it a little and post anew.

As you all undoubtedly know, I have always wanted to convert a Mauser 98 I own to a 416 Taylor. I need a short barreled pig thumper for the occasional unscheduled and intimate dinner parties I get invited to with the wild hogs I hunt. Boar hunting rifles come in every size and shape, for every style of hunting. But for me, I like it up close and personal. Hence the need for something short, maneuverable, and heavy hitting. Something with the punch of a big bore express rifle but in an affordable package. (For more on hog hunting rifles calibers see: Boar Hunting Rifle Calibers Parts I and II)

Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan in .416 Ruger
Photo courtesy of Sturm, Ruger, and Co.

Well, Ruger beat me to it. While at the Bass Pro Shops sponsored "Media Day at the Range," (Held the day before the Shot Show starts.), I found the Ruger table laden with all sorts of new goodies! Drawn like one of my bees to honey, I spied the new Number 1 in .300 RCM (Ruger Compact Magnum), a couple of Mini-14s, and two or three new bolt rifles on the table. Tom Sullivan, VP of Operations, noted my interest and offered the new Hawkeye Alaskan in 416 Ruger for my inspection.

Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of stainless steel, black plastic/composite stock, or all weather rifles, having had my fill of black plastic things that shoot when I was in the US Army. But this beauty from Ruger turned me around like a set of long legs in a mini-skirt on a hot Miami street.

The first thing I noted as a held it, was the comfortable grip the Hogue OverMolded rubber stock afforded. "Grippy" not sticky is what I would call it. I could easily change my grip or slide my hand on the forearm. But when I held on, it held back. The texture, a small continuous pebble-like surface, afforded an excellent grip that didn't slip, slide, or move. Tom reminded me that the synthetic rubber coating is bonded to the fiberglass stock, and is impervious to gun cleaning solvents.

The rifle weighed in at a reasonable 7 3/4 lbs so it wasn't the weight that moderated the recoil from the Ruger 416 that it was chambered for. Control was phenomenal, and I believe that the Hogue stock along with the new improved recoil pad, had a lot to do with the relatively reasonable recoil generated by the cartridge/rifle combination.

The Hawkeye action is the standard length M77 rendered in matte stainless steel with controlled round feed. The extractor is a proper, beefy, Mauser type claw that will see to it that the expended cartridge leaves the chamber with alacrity. The three position safety was smooth and relatively quiet. The rifle sports a 20 inch stainless barrel, with a windage adjustable shallow V rear sight and a white bead up front. The rear sight debuted with the .375 Ruger M77 and is a substantial improvement over the folding rear sights they used to put on the rifle. The sights lined up easily and were surprisingly accurate. Accurate enough for me to put all my 416 rounds in a four inch circle at one hundred yards! For my eyes, that's better than good, it is great!

The receiver is of course, machined for the Ruger scope rings, which are included. The Ruger scope ring and action interphase design is by far the best made. The machined grooves in the action do not allow the scope base to move in any way, but allow quick and easy removal and replacement of the scope as the situation warrants, without losing zero. Not only that, but you can get aperture sights like those offered by NECG that lock right into place, again with no loss of zero. With the larger aperture you can line up the sights far quicker than even the standard iron sights allow. Carried with your gear, it can also save your hunt should a scope go awry.

LC 6 Trigger Photo courtesy of Sturm, Ruger & Co.

Tom pointed out that the trigger subgroup was the new LC6. Out of the box it is a much improved trigger, smooth pulling and breaking somewhere in the 3.5 to 4.5 range.

The .416 Ruger is a proprietary beltless cartridge that is being manufactured by Hornady for Ruger. Made to replicate the power and performance of the classic .416 Rigby and the more recent .416 Remington, it does so in a standard length action with a 24 inch barrel. Using 400 grain bullets it churns out 2400 fps at the muzzle, with 5116 ft/lbs and at 100 yards it is still a very convincing 2143 fps and 4077 ft/lbs. In the 20 inch barrel that the Hawkeye sports, and using the latest powder technology, it is supposed to nearly equal the fabled Rigby. Viewing the ballistic charts I am not certain what criteria they are following and how the comparison is made, but if you take 300 fps off for the 20 inch barrel, you are still very close to the 5000 ft/lbs considered necessary for dangerous game.

Hornady is offering two loads: one a steel jacketed, copper clad soft point, capable of expanding to one and a half times its diameter, and a steel jacketed, copper clad solid with a super tough alloy core that will not deform allowing for deep penetration. For the handloader there are an innumerable number of bullets available for the .416 from all the manufacturers.

Both Phillip Loughlin of The Hog Blog and I were able to fire several rounds through the Alaskan. We were both impressed by the handling characteristics of the rifle, and the ballistics are compelling, to say the least. Remember we are talking about Rigby performance out of a 20 inch barrel!

Phillip Loughlin at full recoil with the .416 Ruger

The only recommendation I made to the folks at Ruger was to add a barrel band for a sling. Even though the Hawkeye was fairly reasonable in the recoil department, a sling stud could chew up a misplaced hand in the heat of battle. I noticed they had removed the stud at the show, perhaps someone had already experienced a stud bite! (Note: I have been told that they have changed to a barrel band. 9/2009)

I think I will look no further for a bolt action hog hunting rifle. Not only does it meet my criteria for a close range battle stopper, it's made by Ruger. (Always a big plus for me!) In addition the ammo is commercially available, and all the components for reloading, from brass to bullets, are on the shelves. So when you are in the market for a Dangerous Game Rifle that is rugged, controllable, weather resistant, and accurate, look no further than the Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan. As a dangerous game rifle with a street price of less than a thousand dollars, I think you will be as taken by it as I!

And remember, when it says Ruger it's made in America!

MSRP: $1079.00

Related Posts:
.416 Ruger and the Hawkeye Alaskan

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Qalat City Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jeremy Chan: Student Gunsmith

Gunsmithing Student Jeremy Chan and Trinidad State Junior College Gunsmithing Program!
© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
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Jeremy Chan: Gunsmithing Student, Locavore, Blogger

Fellow sporting enthusiasts!

I have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to a young man who is now studying to become a gunsmith at Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado. Jeremy Chan is now immersed in the famous gunmithing program started by none other than PO Ackley, famous writer, gunsmith, and wildcatter. I think we will be seeing some great things from him in the future, and I want you, my fellow sportsmen, shooters, tinkerers, and students to be the first to get to know him!

I bumped into his blog serendipitously. Actually Blake did, and forwarded the link to me. But let me tell you I was really taken by some of the work this fellow is already doing with only a few semesters under his belt.

Chronicles Interviews: Jeremy Chan

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Jeremy, thanks for joining my readers and I here on The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles!
Jeremy Chan: It's a pleasure!

TROC: Let's get started then! What did you used to do, and what made you decide become a gunsmith?
JC: I have always been in a lead or management position in every job I have had since joining the working world. I am currently working part time as a Customer Service Manager at Wal-Mart while going to school to help finance my academic studies. My last job I was a Receiving Manager for a warehouse in Montana, I was responsible for all the inbound freight and managing the stocking team. We supplied convenience stores and restaurants for western Montana, parts of Wyoming and Idaho. I made pretty good money there but I wasn't very happy doing it, I always felt that I should be doing something else with my life. After hitting a breaking point, I decided to follow my love of guns and move to Trinidad and attend Trinidad State College. I would rather be broke and happy than rich and unhappy!

TROC: What's it like at Trinidad State College? I understand that it's in a picturesque town in the mountains, awy from big city type civilization.
JC: Picturesque, yes. But Trinidad is a SMALL town. Something I'm still struggling to get used to. There isn't a lot to do around here... But that is probably a good thing since there will be less distractions and I can focus on school more.

TROC: Jeremy, I'm sure many of the readers would like to know what courses you've taken, and what the experience was like. Lots of us tinker, and few more actually do some of their own work. I'm certain that many have thought about attending Trinidad or one of the other gunsmithing schools.  I know I'm curious, actually, more than curious...
JC:I have taken several courses now, and I have to be honest, I have learned something in each and every one, plus i have enjoyed myself immensely! Let me list them for you:

Image Credit: Jeremy Chan
Bench Metal Class- The main focus of Bench Metal Class is on learning to use hand tools, learning how to polish and how to work with metal.
Metal Finishing - Hot bluing, rust bluing, parkerizing, nitre bluing, and little bit on nickeling.
Firearms Conversions - Converting a military rifle into a sporterized rifle, as an adjunct you also learn how to tig weld.
Machine Class 1 and 2 - Involves learning to use the lathe and mill, probably the two most important tools a gunsmith will use. We get introduced to makeing tools and tooling, and the art/ skill of turning a barrel from a blank
Custom Pistol Smithing (elective) - Converting a factory 1911 into a competitive firearm. That's been lots of fun!
Checkering (elective) - Checkering stocks and metal.
Tools and Fixtures (Elective) - Making tools and fixtures for gunsmithing

I have been lucky enough to maintain a 4.0 GPA so far; at first Bench Metal and Machine class was difficult for me because I had never seen a lathe or mill before coming here, nor had I ever used any hand tools before coming to the gunsmithing program. About half way through first semester I really took off, once I got the hang of what I was doing and my confidence was up I started doing a lot better.

TROC: I want to show our readers a little side project you did for your brother. Jeremy, that is some beautiful color case hardening you did there! What facet of gunsmithing appeals to you most?
JC: I like the machining side of it most. I really enjoy seeing something take shape before my eyes, and I get real satisfaction when it works too. Most of our projects have a +/- 0.005" tolerance that we are allowed to be in. My last 2 projects (one of them being the barrel I turned from a blank) I have hit all of my dimensions to a 0.0005". I was very pleased with myself.

TROC: High accuracy in machining is a hallmark of not only good execution, but of craftmanship. What other skills have you acquired?
JC:On the machining side, I'm pretty good at it. Fitting parts and fabricating them is a skill I am competent in. I can build 1911's, convert a Mauser military action to a sporter, but I am still working on metal finishing... I think I could use some improvement in my polishing. Other than that I feel pretty confident in everything I have learned so far. I'm always willing to learn, and anything you give me, I give it my all.

TROC: Great attitude! A good attitude will get you much further along, and with less gray hair!With everything you're learning, what are your plans for the future?
JC:  When I graduate I would like to work for someone for a couple years and continue learning more about the trade and how a shop runs. Eventually I would like to open my own business.

TROC: You were already interested in gunsmiting when you applied and entered Trinidad, but what have you learned about yourself and your interests?
JC: I came to the school with a main interest in target and varmint rifles. I am very interested in accurate rifles. After taking the custom pistol smithing class, I found that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The next year I will be taking Stockmaking 1and 2, Repair 1 and 2 as well as Machine 3. This summer I will be taking a class on tuning cowboy action guns, and I hope to be able to take an elective on revolver-smithing. I wonder what else I may find that I like doing.

I am enjoying every minute I am at the school, It doesn't even feel like work when I am there, even when I am doing a tedious task it doesn't seem like I'm working.
TROC: What is it they say? Work at something you love, and you will never work a day in your life! I should look into that myself... Anyway, tell our readers about some of your other interests, what outdoor pursuits are you interested in?
JC: I enjoy hunting and fishing. While I was in Montana I tried to live off of only what I could hunt and kill for 2 years. No commercial meats, really gets you motivated to fill that freezer, I picked up bow hunting (unsuccessfully) to extend my hunting seasons, but it was fun to learn and get out into nature. I also lost a lot of weight doing it. I love to be on the rivers with a fishing pole in my hands.

TROC: A little Locavore action?
JC: umm lets see... I guess it started with my growing dissatisfaction with the local meat market at the time, simultaneously, I had been really getting into hunting. My tv was permanently fixed on the outdoors channel and hunting shows all the time. I saw Ted Nugent and he was talking about his "kill it to grill it "philosophy. It was like a light bulb went off in my head; I said that I should give it a try. It was hard at first, giving up chicken, pork and beef, but the motivation to go out and hunt went through the roof.

It was rough, but once I started filling my freezer, things started to get easier. It changed my whole mind set, everything became about "what can I do to fill my freezer" and "what can I do so that I'm not eating deer all the time". I started doing more bird hunting and fishing. During the summer I would be on the river with my canoe 2-3 times a week, and I never had any trouble filling my bag. I would stockpile my freezer and when it got full I would take them to my friend and have her smoke them for me. I did some bear hunting and harvested a black bear that had been feeding off of an apple orchard. The meat was great. I tried to take up bow hunting to extend my hunting season but after a few failed attempts at turkey hunting I gave it up. I had maintained this life style for 2 years until I moved here to Trinidad for school. My busy schedule between school and work, and lack of knowledge of the surrounding area forced me to revert back to commercial meats. I lost a lot of weight during those 2 years, probably the best physical condition I had been in since highschool. I enjoyed the lifestyle and fully intend to do it when I settle down again.

TROC: Jeremy, that's great! If more people did as you have, we would see a an upswell and determination to protect and nurture our wild areas for the benefit of all. I have to say, that bowhunting for turkey is probably one of the toughest hunts you could have chosen!
As if your plate wasn't full enough, you started blogging. What possessed you to do so?
JC: The reason I started blogging was when a classmate told me about a student from the Pennsylvania gunsmith school who had a blog up, WillsWorkBench I think it's called. (TROC: Will'sWorkBench was deleted by the author.) I never could find it, or it might have been taken down when I tried looking for it. Anyways after hearing about the blog I decided to give it a try, mainly so that my family and friends could see the stuff that I'm doing. Also hopefully a potential employer could look and see what I can do, kinda like a work portfolio.

Image Credit: Jeremy Chan

TROC: Let's get you Internet intell out there so people and sportsmen can contact you.
JC: Sure thing it's nerdgun (at) gmail (dot) com

TROC: Well Jeremy, I have to say I have enjoyed this chat very much! I look forward to seeing much more of your work both here on The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, and in other publications also. If I may prognosticate a little now, I can see many of my readers already wondering what they might have you do. I know I certainly have a few ideas that I may run by you and see what you think. Folks, look at his color case hardening and tell me you wouldn't love to see that on something you already own! Seriously, I really am looking forward to a continued relationship with you Jeremy, and hope that nothing but great things come your way!

My friends, once again I am indebted to you for the time spent with me here at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles. Please remember I consider each and every one of you as my friend, and look forward to every time you visit!


Related Posts:
The Firearms Blog :Interview with Gunsmithing Student Jeremy Chan
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles:
AGI 1911 Armorer's Course
AGI M16 AR15 Armorer's Course
Best Regards,
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Range Reviews: Tactical: Desert Tactical Arms and Sniper Country

Desert Tactical Arms: Sniper Contry, Sniper Training School
From my favorite precision rifle designers:

The Range Reviews: Tactical: Desert Tactical Arms and Sniper Country

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles,Sniper Country"Sniper Country was created to provide a place for shooters and operators from around the world to come and obtain world-class firearms instruction that incorporates real-life scenarios, induces stress and make you a better fighter not just a better shooter."

Random Picture Series: The Home Front