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Frankenstein lives ...

  • 09-09-2013 3:51pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,793 ✭✭✭

    Frankenstein the rifle …

    This is the story of a rifle, no sorry, not of a rifle but six rifles …
    Many shooters like me have had varminting rifles form makers such as CZ and Remington amongst others, in calibre’s like .223rem, the new boy on the block the .204, .17 rem and the one and only .22 hornet. But I’m guessing like me the thought of a custom or even semi-custom varminter always played on their mind.

    Well one day whilst chewing the cud with one of Ireland’s best known precision rifle smiths, Fergal White of Ireland Custom Rifles, we decided, this thought had played enough (either that or Fergal got sick of me pestering him), and a plan formed.
    Like many now-a-days, money is tight and my shooting budget has certainly felt the effect of this. So Fergal and I came up with a plan to build a .223 varminting rifle, that could be accurate out to 600 yards for the occasional competition, (and now the important bit) on as small a budget as possible.
    Most people that know me know I love a bargain and this challenge was right up my alley. Rummaging around in Fergal’s shop I managed to find an old Remington action, well when I say action, I mean the body of the action from a .17 remmy 700 with no bolt or trigger. This would form the nucleus of the project and decided for me what action I was going to use and Fergal donated it towards the project.

    A firing pin and spring were found in a box cast aside many years previously and were purchased for the costly price of … a few cans of Red Bull. A .22 barrel would be tricky, but speaking to some friend’s word of an “unwanted” barrel blank reached my ears. A 22-250 project had changed course midway and become a 6mm and so a Douglas 28” sportster profile 1-12” twist barrel found its way to me for the sum of … well let’s just say even I could afford it … “happy happy”. Meanwhile Fergal had sourced a bolt body and other pieces from elsewhere … I began to think this may even work!
    Now I had an action body from 1 gun, a bolt with parts from three other guns, a second-hand barrel blank and a longing to get this baby built and shooting. A boyds feather weight thumbhole stock, remmy trigger guard and adl mag internals found their way from Cashel to me for a super price (thanks bunny) and a replaced factory remmy trigger also arrived in the post from up the country. A good friend donated an old pair of burris zee rings and bases in return for a small favour. I now had all the parts…

    Speaking with Fergal, it was agreed that to keep the cost down she (cause every great rifle/car/motorbike is a she) would be built in the evenings after his daily work load was completed. Well this in theory was ideal, but with Fergal often not finishing his work, for his customers that didn’t pay with cabbages, until well into the night, progress on my baby was slow.

    But one morning around 2am I was leaving Athlone with a ball of excitement bouncing around within. It was finished and would breathe her first breath at the range the following weekend.

    A rifle with parts from five different remmy 700’s, an “unwanted” barrel blank, left-over trigger, a used aftermarket stock and donated rings, built on the scrounge over a year … well what else could I call it only Frankenstein.



    Unbedded and with a factory trigger of around the 4.5 lb. mark she was set up at the 100 yard range in Midlands the following weekend. Jim Griffin of the Tackle shop in Rahan had 100 Geco 55gr rounds for €55 and this also suited my budget for running in the barrel. The tiring process of shoot and clean began and groups of ¾” were forming at 100 yards which was pleasing, especially with the heavy trigger weight. In that time between visits to the range with a new gun, you know that boring bit called mid-week, I adjusted the trigger weight and got it settled around 2 lb.’s. So expectations were high for her second outing and she didn’t disappoint with groups holding ½ moa at 200 yards.

    The opportunity of a Rifle Basix trigger presented itself and I fitted it to Frankenstein. Enough of this one and two hundred meters, lets stretch her legs a little ant try 300. I wanted to try the 300 yard before I got her stock bedded, just to see the difference … if any???



    For the 300 yards I choose Hornady’s 55gr V-max ammunition. And placed my sightron 10-50X60 on top instead of my Vortex foxing scope. This was done to try and really test her accuracy as I felt the max of 12X on my foxing scope wouldn’t give her the best chance of proving herself at this range.

    Prove herself she did… at 300 yards shooting from a front sand bag, with no rear rest she shot some fine groups. The groups held approx. 1” average, the best being .8” going out to 1.2”. Needless to say “Happy … Happy”.

    The next step is to get her bedded and try the 300 again to compare not only accuracy but group shape and consistency. This is important to me as, the group shape consistently shows two groupings within the group… does that make sense?? One group of three touching and a second grouping of two to the left also touching, this was the group shape at all distances. Is it bedding, trigger or shooter???

    Some better photos to come....


  • Registered Users Posts: 40,055 ✭✭✭✭Sparks

    Nice to see there's more than one frankenrifle out there :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 151 ✭✭ruger1894c

    Its a super piece of kit really nice to shoot and even i could manage to put s smiley face at 200

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,793 ✭✭✭fish slapped

    Thanks Ruger,

    the cost of parts may have been kept to a minimum, but the workmanship by Fergal is to a maximum. when I save up another few cabbages I get her bedded and then we'll see ...

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,247 ✭✭✭One shot on kill

    Ah well done fish noting like a project taking so long and just all coming together and working perfectly.

    I've never done a project as big as a rifle but done enough to know the satisfaction you get when it all comes together right.

    Well done SHE looks great.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,793 ✭✭✭fish slapped

    Thanks OsoK,

    Yep there is a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in sourcing the parts and watching it all come together.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 428 ✭✭EWQuinn

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,793 ✭✭✭fish slapped

    Where'd you get a photo of me????

    Hopefully going to try her at the 600 yard this tomorrow...

  • Registered Users Posts: 428 ✭✭EWQuinn

    Where'd you get a photo of me????

    Hopefully going to try her at the 600 yard this tomorrow...

    Let's hear back how it does. With those special shooting goggles should be good results! :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,793 ✭✭✭fish slapped


    So I went to the range Yesterday, Sunday.... well to say conditions were somewhat difficult could be classed as an understatement. 25 mph wind with gusts well in excess, along with horizontal rain, meant the 1000 yard target boards were lost is a grey swirling soup of torrential rain for most of the morning.

    Around lunch time things cleared up and I set up upon the 600 yard firing point. Winds were still holding in the 20 mph range and I was wondering if my little 55gr bullet would be swept off to oblivion in the winds. With a little work and keen eyes from my target puller (thanks Paul) I got on to target. I decided to shoot for group, with an eye to seeing what the vertical size of the group would be, as the windage would be influenced by mother nature, a little more than I wished.

    I was conscious of shooting from a cheap chinese bipod as I'm awaiting delivery of a good one. This would no doubt have an influence on the elevations of the groups. To measure groups I simply listed the vertical measurement and the horizontal which considering conditions may/may not be worth noting. All groups were five shot groups @ 600 yards and marked on the board for each shot.

    Group 1 .... V 5.5" & H 13"
    Group 2 .... V 4" & H 8"
    Group 3 .... V 5" & H 7.5"
    Group 4 .... V 2.5" & H 9"
    Group 5 .... V 3" & H 5"
    Group 6 .... V 3.5" & H 5.5" ... 4 shots in a 2" cluster and one off to the right. Message from target puller " well done you've just f*%ked the marker". :D

    Group 7 .... V 2.5" & H 5"

    So on the whole, I was pretty happy considering the conditions. My little frankenstein foxing rifle is mmmmmhhh .... shall I say .... Up to the job :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,793 ✭✭✭fish slapped

    Jesus, happened across this today. Was a great little rifle, wonder if it's still knocking over foxes?

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