Time has been flying!! Here we are into spring already. I do hope that 2023 has been a blessed year for you.
Things are busy at BRDGW! Custom rifle orders keep coming in. For a lot of states, or for a lot of people, this is the off season for coyote hunting. If you’re looking at a new custom predator hunting AR, or have been considering one, now is the time to get the order in! Don’t get caught wanting as the season quickly approaches. This happens to many hunters each year.
It’s that time of year. Calving. Most cattle farmers and ranchers will tell you that it is this time of the year where they see an increase in coyote sightings and loss of calves and cattle. Recently, I was contacted about this concern by a gentleman who lives about 1.5 hours from me. I drove up to meet with him and he showed me the ropes and trouble areas. They have lost a number of calves, as well as a couple of full grown cows, and have a number of coyotes of cameras. While this gentleman has about 8,000 acres, at this time I secured about 2 to 3k of it to reduce his problem predator animals. In Iowa, we are fortunate to be able to hunt coyotes year round, as well as not having a season for thermal hunting. We’ve been able to get up there once so far, and more trips are planned. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to get some video footage edited.
The trend this year has been for carbon fiber barrels. It is almost a 3 to 1 ratio. 3 carbon fiber barrels to each stainless steel 416R barrel. When it comes to carbon fiber barrels, I have a different take than most. But, these barrels are shooters. Stay tuned for more on these.
6 Creedmoor Update
Range and field testing of the 6 Creedmoor test barrel has been going well. Initial group and velocity testing of the custom chambered 6CM barrel showed promise. The 87g Hornady Varmint Express ammunition was producing .5 to .6 MOA groups, while producing an average velocity of 2989 fps. The factory Nosler 95 BT ammunition was producing .7 MOA groups, while producing an average velocity of 2851 fps on the new barrel.
Due to ammunition availability, the Nosler 95g was chosen as the coyote hunting load, and it has performed very well on coyotes. A more recent check on the velocity of the Nosler 95g ammunition shows it is now averaging 2942 fps from the 20” test barrel.
Recently I have begun to do load development for the 6CM barrel utilizing Nosler 70g BT bullets. The range results have been very good, and soon the Nosler 70g handload will be used out in the field for coyote hunting. This load has been producing an average group size of .3 MOA while producing an average velocity of 3374 fps from the 20” barrel. Even one round that I called, and really put out there, still produced a sub-moa group. See the images below for the 70g Nosler BT.
Wildcat/ Improved Cartridge Update
Testing and load data accumulation is an ongoing process with the wildcat cartridge. For those who may not know of this, this is a project that I started early last year. It is basically a slight modification of a 22 Grendel Improved. The test barrel is a 22″ match grade 416R with a 1:8 twist, and rifle length gas system.
In this cartridge I use Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass necked down to .22 caliber and then fire form it to the chamber dimension. The finished cartridge has the shoulder pushed slightly forward as well as the shoulder being blown out to 40 degrees. The throat on the reamer allows for a 53g to 80g bullet to be effectively used. At this time, the focus has been mainly on the 53g V-Max and 80.5g Berger bullets. See below: 53g V-Max on the left and 80.5g Berger on the right
Below: 6 ARC with a 58g bullet on the left. 6.5 Grendel case on the right. In the middle is a fully formed wildcat/ Improved case.
The 53g V-Max has been averaging group sizes of .4 to .5 MOA with an average velocity of 3551 fps. The 80.5g has not disappointed in its precision abilities, while producing an average velocity of 2992 fps. A number of powders have been used to gather data, and at this time I’ve settled one a hunting load with the 53g V-Max bullet. Below is the 53g V-Max load.
This cartridge is being field tested and has been hanging fur! The results show promise. So far, coyotes and a red fox have legally been taken with the cartridge. We will have to wait until the 2023 season to get a few more fox and hopefully a bobcat. So far, the longest kill has been a coyote at 200yds. In search of data, I hope to be able to extend this distance, as I’d like to see the results at 300 to 350yds.
There are plans to use a couple of different cases in search of more case volume, and in turn velocity. While at the same time reducing some of the work involved in forming the cases. I also want to collect data with the 60g V-Max in this cartridge. As this progresses, I will provide updates.
March 3rd through March 5th, 2023 was the Iowa Deer Classic held at the Iowa Event Center in Des Moines, IA. There was over 10k attendees for the entirety of the event. This was BRD’s first time at such an event, but it will not be the last. We met a lot of great people and made connections with other vendors. Turnout at the booth was fantastic, and all of the guns that were on display were a hit. There was a lot of interest in BRDGW guns generated, a few serious inquires, and a couple of post event sales for custom builds. There were a couple of Fatboy tripods that received a lot of attention. BTW, if you didn’t know, BRDGW is a Fat Boy Dealer!! If you missed us there this year, look for us in 2024!
In January BRD Gun Works LLC was one of the sponsors of the 2023 Fur Bearers Tournament. BRD was at the weigh-in and had a few guns on display. It was great to meet a lot of the tournament hunters, to see all of the fur that was harvested during a couple days of some harsh Iowa winter weather, and to talk guns with likeminded people. I even met a couple of gentlemen who are having BRDGW guns built, but I had yet to meet them in person. A few others that I met, I had the pleasure of having phone conversations with prior to meeting them. It’s always great to be able to put a handshake and face with a name and voice. And, a custom build order was received after the tournament. Below are a few pics that I was able to get at the weigh-in when I could sneak away.
Things are busy… This is good. With that, though, comes extended lead times. While our lead times are not as long as others of similar quality guns, it is increasing. Are you looking to get a new predator hunting rifle built? Get in touch! Get you order in and deposit paid. Here are just a couple of recent guns.
Fast Paced Texas Hog Hunt
At the end of February, a group of 4 guys went on a spot and stalk hog hunt down in Texas at High Plains Hunts. BRDGW was well represented within that group. Check out some of the video from their hunts.