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  1. #21
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Very cool and practical gun, Steve!

    Interesting info about the Clifton stocks. I remember reading a few gunrag articles about them years ago which were all praise. But consider the source.

    I guess we can keep our private rifle chat going here until people can actually buy a KelTec RFB, which may be many moons.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    ...Interesting info about the Clifton stocks. I remember reading a few gunrag articles about them years ago which were all praise. But consider the source...
    Clifton's bipod slides in and out quite satisfactorily.
    But when you deploy it, the trouble begins.
    The bipod legs are rather thin tubes made of high-tec carbon fiber, and are probably unbreakable by anything short of being run over by an Abrams tank's tread. But they flex. Thus, they could be steadier.
    OK, but they're steady enough, if you snuggle down onto them, to fire a successful shot. And then the rifle bounces, due to recoil. So now you've got to steadily snuggle the rifle down on those willowy legs again, before firing your second shot.
    Further, there's a small hairpin spring between the bipod's legs that causes them to deploy when you've pulled them out, and also causes them to friction-lock into their stock recess when stowed. That spring is not attached very well, depending for security upon its own tension alone, and it tends to fall off and get lost. I had to figure out a way to attach it permanently to the two legs, and I'm still not satisfied with the kludge I came up with. Maybe I'll go to duck tape next, if I ever go back to working on the whole project.
    Clifton went through at least two iterations of his design. I had to send the stock back to him for modification twice. The final time was "the time of the spring," as noted above. I think he made the outfit worse, not better, that last time around.
    So I have a half-finished Clifton bipod stock, a M1903 (not A3) barrelled action, a Pachmayer removable buttpad (providing an easily-accessed stock cavity for cleaning rod, etc.), a custom-made 10-round magazine, a 1.5-power down-bore "scout" scope and mount, and a gorgeous Lyman #48 long-slide (to 1,000 yards) receiver sight (and "globe" front sight to match). A real do-it-yourself, scout rifle kit.
    (In its original, me-made, walnut stock, the barrelled action really did hold a minute-of-angle. For three shots, anyway.)
    And that's the whole story.

  3. #23
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Excellent info. You never read stuff like this in gun magazines.

    After goofing around with sort of building a pseudo-scout on a Mauser action, I circumvented the build process and got a Steyr Scout. I'm very satisfied with it, including the bipod, though it is slowish to deploy (I have seen some pics of a technique with the Clifton that looked very fast).

    But the Steyr doesn't break down like yours, which I think is a great feature. Sort of a Scout combined with one of Jim West's Guide Guns. Excellent!
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  4. #24
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    Steve & Mike:

    You guys shouldn't carry on in public like this.

    Get a room!

  5. #25
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    My Clifton-stocked do-it-yourself-kit is not intended to be a break-down rifle. It will always be a full-length M1903.

    In my experience (that is, in action against nothing more threatening than cardboard and a scorecard) there is never a need for speed, in deploying a bipod. At bipod distance (more than 250 yards), and if you're prone, you have lots of time before the putative BG musters enough skill or luck to come even close to hitting you.
    (Is that also true in real life? You know much better than I.)
    The reason for the stock-stowable bipod (Clifton, Steyr, Kel-Tec) is only that it's always there when you need it, and it isn't cluttering up your belt (or vest, or harness, or whatever). Speed isn't the issue.

    I have a few minor quibbles with the Steyr Scout Rifle which has kept me from investing in one:
    First, you're stuck with Steyr magazines, and you can reload only by switching them out. I like the M14 system best, which gives you the choice of switching mags or reloading from the top with stripper clips. I like the Mauser/Springfield system next-best because its feed lips are just about indestructible. You never can "run out of" usable magazines, and you can use strippers or you can single-load.
    Second, the Steyr's ejection port is a little too small. It's hard to clear jams, and you can't use stripper clips. Why have a down-bore scout scope, and leave the port clear, if you can't use strippers? Seems silly to me.
    Third, the Steyr uses rear locking lugs. It probably doesn't matter, and it's probably my imagination, but I believe that rear locking lets the bolt body bow and spring, thus letting cartridge brass stretch enough to shorten case life significantly, when you reload.
    Fourth, I prefer real iron sights (well, steel actually), to back up my all-too-vulnerable scope. The Steyr's are plastic.
    But I would really, really like to use the Steyr's bipod arrangement! If a truck ever runs over your Steyr, would you please, please send me its remaining bipod parts?

    I put on an interesting exercise for the SCTC, years ago, in which the shooter was penalized for every bad shot by being made to lose a small amount of function.
    (The exercise was designed to encourage "bad" shooting, so that each contestant would necessarily experience more or less loss of function as he progressed through the course.)
    We started with impediments to breathing. Next came transparent tape over the master eye's eyeglass lens. Then loss of strong-hand trigger finger (by wearing a splinted glove). Then loss of scope, due to transparent tape. (Boy, that was diagnostic: everybody had backup iron sights, but only two people were able to remove their scopes to be able to use them!) There were maybe three more possible function losses beyond those mentioned, including a "broken" leg.
    It's just amazing, what you can still accomplish with iron sights, a bad cold, a hole in your hand, a broken leg, and a damaged master eye, if your rifle is set up correctly in the first place.
    Easily-available bipods were a large convenience-and-compensation factor, as you can well imagine.

  6. #26
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James NM View Post
    Steve & Mike:
    You guys shouldn't carry on in public like this.
    Get a room!
    We did.
    This is it.
    (Gee, I thought we'd locked the door. How'd you get in?)

  7. #27
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    In my experience (that is, in action against nothing more threatening than cardboard and a scorecard) there is never a need for speed, in deploying a bipod. At bipod distance (more than 250 yards), and if you're prone, you have lots of time before the putative BG musters enough skill or luck to come even close to hitting you.
    (Is that also true in real life? You know much better than I.)
    I tend to agree. I do think, though, that DVC applies to rifles as well as pistols. The less time you spend getting ready to shoot, the more time you have to concentrate on delivering a good shot. I'm not sure I'd limit bipod use to 250+ yards. If you can get steadier, get steadier, no matter the range.

    We had some guys who bolted Harris bipods (available through the supply system) to the M4s. SDMs and snipers might have used them, but most engagements are of short duration and close range, negating any call for a bipod.

    The reason for the stock-stowable bipod (Clifton, Steyr, Kel-Tec) is only that it's always there when you need it, and it isn't cluttering up your belt (or vest, or harness, or whatever). Speed isn't the issue.
    Ideally, I'd like one that offers both. If I can get the bipod out fast, I am more likely to have a steady shot in the field, regardless of distance.

    First, you're stuck with Steyr magazines, and you can reload only by switching them out. I like the M14 system best, which gives you the choice of switching mags or reloading from the top with stripper clips. I like the Mauser/Springfield system next-best because its feed lips are just about indestructible. You never can "run out of" usable magazines, and you can use strippers or you can single-load.
    Realistically, anyone who can swing the price of a Steyr can keep a few spare mags handy. It's not like we're carrying these things into battle. These guns are primarily hunting rifles and range toys, and are generally treated very well compared to combat rifles.

    Second, the Steyr's ejection port is a little too small. It's hard to clear jams, and you can't use stripper clips.
    But the detachable box magazines render the stripper clips obsolete. Why load from the top when you can just swap out magazines? Especially since the Steyr carries a spare mag in the buttstock. My Steyr hasn't ever jammed, but I haven't yet put a lot of rounds downrange. Anyway, a jam in a rifle not intended for dangerous game or combat is less important, since you'll have the luxury of time to clear it.

    Why have a down-bore scout scope, and leave the port clear, if you can't use strippers? Seems silly to me.
    Because the forward mounted scope offers other advantages:

    1. It's faster than a conventional scope when used properly, especially in "snap shooting."
    2. It allows two-eyes open shooting, so one eye can track the game.
    3. It allows carry at the rifle's point of balance, with hand wrapped around the action.

    Third, the Steyr uses rear locking lugs. It probably doesn't matter, and it's probably my imagination, but I believe that rear locking lets the bolt body bow and spring, thus letting cartridge brass stretch enough to shorten case life significantly, when you reload.
    Never heard of that problem with the SBS action. I don't reload, though, so it matters not to me.

    Fourth, I prefer real iron sights (well, steel actually), to back up my all-too-vulnerable scope. The Steyr's are plastic.
    I agree. The Steyr sights would indeed be better made of metal. But they are back-ups that are highly unlikely to ever be used on what is, in reality, a sporting rifle. BUIS do get used on fighting rifles - ever seen what an IED will do to an Aimpoint?

    But I would really, really like to use the Steyr's bipod arrangement! If a truck ever runs over your Steyr, would you please, please send me its remaining bipod parts?
    Since my Steyr was an anniversary gift from SWMBO, if I let it get run over by a truck, there would be no one left alive to send you any parts.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 06-26-2008 at 06:10 PM. Reason: My grade school English teacher would be horrified.
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  8. #28
    James NM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    ...(Gee, I thought we'd locked the door. How'd you get in?)

    Oops........Sorry..........Didn't know this room was occupied.



    My eyes! My eyes!

    Carry on!

  9. #29
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    About bipods and speed...

    Hmmm...yes, by all means always get both lower and steadier if you have the time. And also, by all means, learn to go prone very quickly, so you will have the time. So, by extension, learn to deploy the bipod quickly too.

    More often than not, SCTC exercises were purposely arranged such that when one made short-range rifle shots (let's say at under 250 yards, arbitrarily speaking) one was forced by the terrain and the target placements to go no lower than kneeling or sitting. Some shots were from forced offhand, as well. Offhand snap-shooting has its uses, especially when hunting, and the skilled rifleman should also know all three "classic" shooting positions, and be able to get into them quickly.

    I blush to admit that I was always much better at quickly going prone with the pistol than I was with a rifle.
    On the other hand, I can't hit squat with a pistol at 50 yards, even from prone; but I'm pretty competent with a rifle out to at least 500 yards.
    The SCTC puts on an annual 1,000-yard practical rifle match, part of which is a two-shooter duel on steel silhouettes set at about 850 yards (seeded by a J-ladder chart). Everything starts from port arms, chamber loaded, safety on, bipod off. I could regularly make better than 50% of my 1,000-yard hits within time, but I never could slow down enough to win the duel. I shot the fastest misses in the entire SCTC roster.

  10. #30
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James NM View Post
    Oops........Sorry..........Didn't know this room was occupied...
    Feel free to join the conversation.

  11. #31
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    The SCTC matches sound fun, though I am not sure how practical some of the shooting is. My general thinking is that rifle combat generally happens at 100 meters and under (with the exception of sniper work), which has been confirmed by many studies going back to at least WWII. I think shots over 400 yards on game are generally irresponsible, and I wouldn't shoot at an animal beyond 300 myself. I'm just not a good enough rifleman.

    But hey, as long as the matches are fun, all is good.
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  12. #32
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    The SCTC was originally made up of IPSC/SWPL participants who were disgusted by the sport's growing list of impracticalities.
    We broke away in mid 1981, and founded our "movement" on the doctrine of the improvement and testing of practical, real-world, single-shooter skills. The emphasis was on learning, not on winning. We originated the "do the right thing" rule, although we didn't call it that.
    During my tenure, we incorporated Marine marksmanship instructors, Army personnel of various kinds, instructors and individuals from several different law enforcement agencies (including the FBI), and lots of interested (and interesting) civilians.
    We held one pistol exercise and one rifle event every month. (Nobody dared call either one a "match.") Frequently, other disciplines would be mixed-in, for instance a shotgun-and-pistol exercise, or a rifle-and-pistol exercise; and once we were instructed in the practical use of the Sikh Talwar (a saber).
    Every exercise presented a practical problem, which you were free to solve with the tools at hand in any way you thought fitting. Often enough, shooting was not the only, or even the best, solution to the given problem, while thinking always was.
    Many SCTC exercises might appear impractical in one aspect or another, in the same way that shooting at 1,000 yards is impractical, but the concept of every event has always started from, "What is there to learn here?" The physical-skill emphasis was always on marksmanship and shooting skills, and the mental/psychological emphasis was on how one would use his or her skills to survive alone, with no further means of supply. We have always incorporated team exercises in the program, but they have never been the central issue.
    While I would never attempt a hunting shot at greater than 150 yards under any normal circumstance (and have actually never made a kill at greater than 75 yards), I would like to feel confident that I could eliminate a threat to my, or my family's, life at any necessary distance. Thus, I am happy to have made 50% of my hits at 1,000 yards, just so I know I could do it.
    And, yes, participation in the SCTC program was a hell of a lot of fun.

  13. #33
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    Interesting. Back before IDPA was created, I and some IPSC shooters broke off from our club and started up a series of local matches we called "ConTac" (for Concealed Tactical), using realistic street gear.

    These we pretty much free-for-alls within the bounds of safety, with the shooter given very wide latitude to solve the problem as they saw fit. No "failures to do right," no mandatory reloads, no penalities for not using cover perfectly, etc. I don't know how much we actually learned, but we sure had fun!

    We occasionally threw in a stage with a shotgun or rifle, though it was fairly rare. This was in the days before everyone and his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl had an AR.

    What I'd really like to see is a reintroduction of Dr. Kahn's Keneyathlon, but I doubt that will ever happen. Bill King and I have talked about setting up something similar in the barren Arizona desert and inviting some riflemen to give it a try. It's pretty manpower-intensive, though.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 06-27-2008 at 02:34 PM.
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  14. #34
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    It figures...you would be a Newhart fan.
    Although his later ("Vermont") show was very, very good, I much preferred watching Suzanne Pleshette to his later "wife" (whose name I can't remember).

    Our version of the "failure to do the right thing" rule was a necessity, because IPSC/SWPL gamesmen who practiced on the same range would mosey on over to try their luck with us. After a couple of applications of the "right thing" rule, they either learned not to "game" the exercise, or they just didn't come back.
    The SCTC system is just about the same as your ConTac was. On the rifle end, during my tenure, almost everybody used .308 (mostly M14/M1A), and there was only one young guy, Andy Stanford, who used a .223 with any seriousness (it was the only AUG I've ever handled). That's all changed now, as you point out.
    Once we hosted the local Army Reserve unit for their once-a-year (!) live-fire training. I think that they were shooting .223s at 1,000 inches (or something like that). After the required course was done with, a couple of us SCTCers started coaching those woeful reservists, and in a little while a few of them were doing useful work at 200 yards.
    Last item: One of our rifle exercises was based upon a USMC sniper-member's real experience in 'Nam. You fired a series of rifle shots at a small, distant, metal target and, as soon as you made a hit, you had to draw your pistol and successfully engage a pop-up silhouette that appeared to your direct right side. You were not allowed to lose control of your rifle while doing this, as if your next move were to bug out at high speed with your sensitive equipment intact. (He had been surprised while taking out a high-ranking officer. His spotter didn't make it, but he got away by using his pistol effectively.)
    "Labor intensive" problems used to be solved by motivated volunteers. Nowadays? Good luck!

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Feel free to join the conversation.
    OK. Thank you.


    I was also a fan of Newhart.

  16. #36
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    We didn't have much problem with the IPSC shooters. Sometimes they'd swing by and watch us for a bit, with our concealed pistols and short courses of fire and targets wearing t-shirts, but I don't recall any of the serious IPSC guys trying their hands. The skeet and trap guys thought we were off our rockers, though!

    Good on you guys for helping out the reservists. Most National Guard and Army Reserve units only shoot once a year, unless they are infantry (which only applies to the Guard), when they shoot twice a year. Most shoot relatively poorly, but this is somewhat compensated by the fact that you get a lot of trigger time in pre-mobilization training. An interesting little program is the CMP one that has civilian rifle instructors coaching Army SDMs: http://www.odcmp.org/0106/default.asp?page=SDM.

    If we did a sniper scenario from recent conflicts, it would probably go more like this:

    - Shooter drags rifle 500 meters uphill over sharp rocks and thick dust.
    - Shooter sets up rifle in hide site.
    - Shooter waits ten hours for suspected insurgent leader to appear.
    - Shooter finally sees and identifies suspected insurgent, who is outside mud hut using cell phone.
    - Shooter radios battalion headquarters, fills in command element on situation, and requests permission to engage.
    - Command element denies shooter's request.
    - Incredulous shooter explains situation again.
    - Command element denies shooter's request again.
    - Suspected insurgent leader goes back into mud hut to supervise IED production.
    - Shooter drags unfired rifle 500 meters downhill over sharp rocks and thick dust and returns to the FOB.

    Agreed on the hard time finding motivated volunteers. Then again, asking someone to stand in the Arizona sun for eight hours waiting for shooters to wander by is asking quite a lot.
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  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    ...If we did a sniper scenario from recent conflicts, it would probably go more like this:

    - Shooter drags rifle 500 meters uphill over sharp rocks and thick dust.
    - Shooter sets up rifle in hide site.
    - Shooter waits ten hours for suspected insurgent leader to appear.
    - Shooter finally sees and identifies suspected insurgent, who is outside mud hut using cell phone.
    - Shooter radios battalion headquarters, fills in command element on situation, and requests permission to engage.
    - Command element denies shooter's request.
    - Incredulous shooter explains situation again.
    - Command element denies shooter's request again.
    - Suspected insurgent leader goes back into mud hut to supervise IED production.
    - Shooter drags unfired rifle 500 meters downhill over sharp rocks and thick dust and returns to the FOB.
    Now, that's realism! I'll tell the guys back at SCTC Central—they're crazy enough to give it a try.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    Agreed on the hard time finding motivated volunteers. Then again, asking someone to stand in the Arizona sun for eight hours waiting for shooters to wander by is asking quite a lot.
    Aha, I see the problem: Arizona isn't air-conditioned like California is.

    You might correspond with Michael Horne, at mkhorne@sbcglobal.net
    Tell him I sent you.
    Michael put on a few of the SOF invitational matches in the Las Vegas area, so he might be able to offer pointers on using, and comforting, volunteer workers in hot, hot, hot climates.
    One of our retired SCTCers lives in Mesa, and is in hospital awaiting triple bypass. I spoke to him today, and he said that when the thermometer registers 100 degrees in AZ, people put on their winter coats.
    This particular guy, a Sikh (but US-born), has lots of SCTC experience and has put on events and exercises for the group. If Mesa isn't too far away, you might want to contact him for help, or at least advice. He'll be out of the hospital and on his feet in a couple of weeks.
    Let me know if you're interested.

    BTW, I just love the new thread title.

  18. #38
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    Sorry guys, this is kinda interesting, but i have wanted to use this smiley for a bit............

  19. #39
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    I guess that Mike and I will have to leave when Kel-Tec finally puts some RFBs into the hands of forum members.
    When that happens, please let us know.


    I just love your smiley! But...

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    I guess that Mike and I will have to leave when Kel-Tec finally puts some RFBs into the hands of forum members.
    When that happens, please let us know.


    I just love your smiley! But...
    yeah, how does that song go again steve? "that'll be the day. lol
    and again, i like the new direction.

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