Richard Franklin, owner of Richard's Custom Rifles in Virginia, is one serious varmint shooter.
The farther the critter, the more fun it is to hit.
favorite long-range caliber, the 6mm Remington Ackley Improved, he
regularly nails groundhogs at 600 to 900+ yards.
Here is his
latest 6mm AI, a BAT-actioned 14-twist that drives a 75-grain V-Max at a blistering 3860 fps.
prefers the short action for stiffness, but this requires pulling the bolt to remove a loaded round.
tells us, "this is important for the varminter who shoots from bipod and improvised rests.
For optics, Richard
runs an 8-32×56 Nightforce Benchrest scope in Burris Signature Zee Rings.
Why would Richard
trust a $1250 scope to a relatively inexpensive set of rings?
explained: "The Burris Signature is the best ring design ever, in my opinion.
tells us: "I've been shooting the 6mm Rem AI for over 15 years.
tells us, "A good bedding job is as critical to accuracy as the best barrel money can buy.
For a pillar-bedded rifle, Richard
begins by turning stainless pillars from sections of cast-off barrels.
It takes him half an hour to make a single pair of 1/2-diameter pillars with a 7/8 bottom flange or "escutchen" (see forward pillar base in photo).
mounts the pillars in the stock with Devcon, then relieves wood from the stock interior to provide fill space for a Devcon coating under the entire action.
pillar-bedding work is exceptional-the man really knows his
A two-bolt installation costs $140, while a three-bolt job is $20 more.
Costing $40 per set, the stainless pillars are only available to customers who purchase his
offers a variety of finishes, but for this rifle he
used a hand-rubbed oil finish over 10 coats of clear.
After applying the clear-coat, he
spent about three hours rubbing the finish with #0000 steel wool.
This dulls down the shiny gloss.
Then came the labor of love.
applied WATCO Danish oil liberally to the stock with his
fingers, removing the excess with paper towels.
Rubbing out with the towels smooths and polishes the wood.
The end result is a handsome satin finish that looks like a classic all-oil finish, but is much more durable since the undercoat is epoxy clear.
tells us: "It takes a lot of time, but the end result is worth it-you end up with a beautiful finish that is much tougher than oil alone."
The World of Fancy Laminates
is one of the few men in America who sells strong, beautiful stocks laminated from fancy hardwoods.
To accomplish this, Richard
had to be an engineer as much as a woodworker.
own stock duplicator as well as a gluing press that uses three twenty-ton hydraulic rams.
This allows him to laminate hardwoods with no visible gluing seams.
explains: "Glue lines can ruin a beautiful stock".
is modest about his
operation, but he
really is doing something unique.
technology allows a customer to enjoy the beauty and elegance of presentation-grade hardwoods, with the stability and stiffness of laminated wood.
Conventional laminated stocks are made from multiple layers of dyed Birch hardwood which is very dense.
This can make an exceptionally strong stock.
They are available in many combinations of colors, some really nice and some really wild, but they all have a distinctive utilitarian look as compared to Richard's
laminates made from fine woods such as straight-grained Walnut, Curly Walnut, Curly Maple, Osage, Wild Cherry, and Brazilian Cherry.
tells us: "For the 10.5-pound BR rifle I have found that the Eastern Red Cedar is about the only wood that will make weight in my model BR2000 stock.
Richard's hardwood laminates can mimic a classic one-piece stock.
normally uses 5- or 7-layer laminates, when he
has a really spectacular piece of wood Richard
uses a 3-part laminate, with the left and right sections cut from a single block: "When I do anything out of real fancy wood, we want all the finely-figured wood to show on the outside, so we'll use three laminates.
Three laminates makes it much stiffer than a conventional one-piece stock, but it will look like a one-piece stock, with perfectly matched sides.
A three-layer stock will never warp or move, and it will shoot as good as 10 layers.
When working with the best blanks, you have to get a happy medium between number of lams and the beauty of the stock."
employs a variety of fine woods, Walnut (Claro, Bastogne, English), Cherry, Curly Maple, Birdseye Maple, and Cedar to name a few.
premium stocks, he's
always looking for a superior piece of wood.
acquires a lot of his
blanks from Northwest Timber in Washington state, but now and then he'll go out and fell a tree.
tells us: "it takes a huge amount of time and effort to cut your own wood.
Richard is a strong advocate of wood stocks for performance as well as aesthetics: "Wood is much easier on the eyes.
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Topics: Precision rifle, hunting, varmints, varminting, groundhog shooting, rifle accuracy, 6mmBR
, 6BR, 6 Dasher, .243 WSSM, 6mm Remington, Ackley Improved, 6 REM AI, Vihtavuori, N160, VV N160, Varget, IMR 4064, Laminated stocks, BAT custom actions, Krieger barrel, Harrel muzzle brake, Jewell trigger, Maple, Curley Maple, Walnut, Laminated Walnut, training, reloading, powder selection, case forming, fire-forming, Lapua Brass and Hornady bullets, moly coating, gunstock, stock-making, wood working.
Tags: .243, 6mm Rem, Fancy Wood, Ground Hog, Richard Franklin