As I mentioned before in the entries about Intershoot, I’d been worried that with FrankenRifle’s model no longer in production by Anschutz, if any part of it broke at or en route to a match (if you check your travel insurance, you’ll find Baggage Handlers listed under Acts Of God), there’d be no way to get replacements. At home, no worries, a week or three of waiting and I’d have them, but at an international match, unless the manufacturer has it on site in the maintenance tent, you’re pretty stuffed. And after paying the guts of two grand to go to even a small international, that would be deeply suboptimal. So when we learned Calum was on the way, Matt and I decided that while I was out of commission, I’d change rifles. We looked through all the catalogs with the criteria that it had to be something that would be popular so spares were easy, and it had to suit my shooting style. We narrowed it down to the MEC Mark 1 Revolution stock, probably wrapped round a Walther 300XT action:
Or a Walther LG300 Carbontec:
Or, the model we went with because it was cheaper then the other two and because the stock looked like it could be taken down, the new Walther LG400 Alutec Expert:
I got to try the LG400 at Intershoot and we’d seen the stock at RIAC before that, so I knew it’d fit me and I liked the overall design (I’m not a fan of the Walther Anatomic lines – dunno why, but I just don’t like wood on my rifles, I’m not a classicist I guess), so we sat down with the UK walther rep and worked out the details, the order went in and was paid for… and then Calum was born.
You know that plan I had that said I’d be gone for 3-6 months and then return to training? Yeah… about that…
Calum is now two. He’s walking and talking (like the cast from a 1970s undubbed Hong Kong kung fu movie, but still). And today, the rifle finally arrived. Yeesh. But… it’s finally here! Fanfare please!
And all the gadgets and doodads (wow, how many different hex keys do I need? Oh, apparently all of them. Okay…)
I love that carbon fibre cladding on the barrel. It’s allegedly to improve stiffness and so on. Stiffer than… steel? Er. Okay. But it’s much prettier than any bluing job I’ve ever seen so I don’t care 😀
And all the shininess. This is a major change since FrankenRifle, which to be fair, was showing its age in the worn bits of the paintjob.
I love that austerity of design. Sod the idea of wooden stuff or ornamentation, we’re going to be functional and metallic and if you don’t like it, go buy a different rifle 😀
Cheekpiece adjustment is nice and easy, and the takedown joint is right there in the middle of the photo. One bolt and the whole buttplate comes off. However, that joint is not as robust as I’d hoped. If I took this rifle apart every day, I think I’d be ordering spare parts rather earlier than I expected 🙁 So for international travel in a smaller Peli, sure, but for domestic driving round I don’t think it’ll work. I’ll have to think about this. I love that pistol grip though…
Lovely synthetic material, the grip size fits my hand without adjustment (the Anschutz was fine but their largest size wasn’t largest enough and I had to build it up with plastic wood and patience). And that stippled part under the palm of the hand just latches on to you for a really firm grip. The whole thing’s on a ball and socket joint so you can adjust it six ways from sunday as well. Nice bit of design that.
And it’s a 300 bar cylinder, which doesn’t mean a huge amount I suppose, other than longer training sessions before refilling…
The buttplate is a MEC Contact III unit, which is a lovely piece of kit I’ve used before. Absolutely nothing wrong with that and the length adjustment is very straightforward.
Once I’d had a look over it with Geoff, I tried the dry-firing mechanism (and that’s a damn useful feature, not having to unscrew cylinders and so on – just cock the trigger and flick the toggle switch. Very convenient mid-match). Damn, but that is one nice trigger. Sooooo much cleaner and crisper than FrankenRifle’s was, and Geoff was impressed with it as well. So only one thing left to do and that was to take it to the range and test it 🙂
Damn. Been too long since I was here. And it’s a little messy, but we just had the intervarsities. Anyway…
First shots into a paper target. The rifle’s not yet set up properly, it’s just roughly in the “big enough to shoot with” sort of area. Lots of fine tuning left to do here, months of work. And I’m not wearing kit, I’m wearing a t-shirt and jeans and hiking boots and I’ve not trained for two years. The wobble… oh wow, that wobble… (and my hold is awful as well, boom, boom). Still, it’s not the worst in the world once the sights get about forty clicks up.
The loading is neat by the way. Raise the arm (which is sturdier than it looks and which I think I might reverse later on so it opens by dropping the arm instead of raising it – that’d make it easier to load while in position) and put the pellet in the channel:
Then just close the arm and that pin guides the pellet to the proper placement. But, nice small feature:
That little red ring on the piston there only shows up when there’s a pellet in the breech. Doesn’t show up when the rifle’s not loaded:
That’s a tiny little feature, but the number of times I’ve had to look and double-check mid-match because of stress makes it a nice little feature indeed. Clever!
Okay, the sights are reasonable at this stage – not accurate yet, but on the scoring area at least and with no kit, I don’t feel able to trust shots enough to tweak further. But still:
I’m happy enough with that for a start back after two years with no kit and no prep work 🙂
I think I like this new rifle quite a bit 🙂 FrankenRifle will stay around for another week or three yet while settings get copied over and paperwork gets done to swap licences over and then it will make its way to it’s new home at DURC. I’ve a lot of fond memories of that rifle, it was my first MQS, my first international medal, many, many, many hours of training, and it’s nice to know it’s going to go back to where it started for the next shooter to use 🙂
Of course now the new rifle needs a new nickname…