I finally gave up on my Ruger KM77RP MKII .243 so I traded the Ruger for a new Stainless-Steel / Synthetic Stock & Forend T/C Encore Rifle Frame. I then sold all of the Federal Factory .243 Ammo I had on hand to a buddy who in return bought me a new Stainless-Steel BERGARA T/C Encore Barrel chambered in .30-06.
(Above is the finished product)
I then talked to local gunsmith Roger about the best method of bedding the Synthetic Forend to the Bergara Barrel. Roger said to do some research on the net on the preferred method, ie Pillar Bedding vs a Hanger Bar System. I spend a couple evenings reading and when all the smoke cleared from my computer screen I came to the conclusion that half of the guys were happy with Pillar Bedding while the other half preferred the Hanger Bar Systems.
I relayed this info to Roger, and we talked a bit about how Roger has been bedding the Synthetic Forends to the Encore Barrels. In the end Roger said "let's do an experiment". Roger went on to say if I supplied the materials he'd Pillar Bed the Synthetic Forend to a Stratton Custom Hanger Bar.
The Stratton Custom Hanger Bar is a bar made out of 3/8" steel key stock, machine to fit the contours of T/C Encore Barrels. The forend is then modified and attaches via two screws to the hanger bar. When the Stratton Custom Hanger Bar arrived I immediately phoned Roger and promptly took the Encore and the Hanger Bar to Roger. Roger attached the hanger bar to the Bergara Encore Barrel and said we have a problem.
Since the hanger bar attaches to the barrel via 2 screws the screw holes in the hanger bar for the forend are offset from the original mounting location. Roger said this isn't going to work. I told Roger it was my understanding that new screw holes need to be drilled into the forend in the proper location to mate up to the threaded holes in the hanger bar.
Well Roger didn't want to do it that way and said I had a plan. Roger said he was going to make a hanger bar to attach to the Stratton Custom Hanger Bar so he could use the existing holes in the forend. By making the second hanger bar to attach to the Stratton Custom Hanger Bar Roger drilled and tapped holes for the forend to attach to the second hanger bar that are over the top of the holes in the Stratton Custom Hanger Bar that attaches it to the forend.
Roger radiused the corners and tapered the sides of the second bar so that after he glassed the forend around the bar the forend automatically centers itself to the bar. He then put steel pillars in the forend so the screw heads mate up to the flared end on the steel gas line he used for pillars, and on the other end the steel pillars seat against the hanger bars. To attach the forend to the hanger bar Roger used some large headed hex head screws I had and the heads of the screws contact both the ends of the steel pillars and the synthetic of the forend.
Roger also moved the sling swivel stud in the forend rearward some so that when my bipod is attached the base of the bipod is now flush with the front of the forend tip. He glassed in a piece of aluminum plate, threaded it and screwed the sling swivel stud into the plate, which is glassed into the forend. I told Roger I wanted to be able to shoot this Encore off of a Bipod or Front Rest or Crossed Shooting Sticks.
Roger fired one round through the barrel (after cleaning it). He said he just had to shoot it. The barrel didn't even have a scope base or scope on it at this point, Roger said he just had to shoot it.
He fired the round (Federal Power Shok 150gr. SP Factory Round) with the FC on the cartridge case in the 12 O Clock position. We then removed the case and examined it. Looks like the rearward most portion of the chamber might be a little oversided. When measured at the largest point ahead of the extractor groove the fired round measures .005" larger than the unfired factory rounds I measured.
However the headspace is perfect. We inserted a loaded Federal Factory Round into the chamber and while I closed the action Roger held a .002" shim between the case head and the breach face. Once I closed the action Roger was not able to pull the .002" shim out of from between the cartridge case head and the breech face. We then took the fired round, put the FC at 3 O Clock, 6 O Clock and 9 O Clock position and the action locked up every time with minimal effort.
After coming home I secured my T/C Weaver Style Scope Base, I torqued the screws to 30 In Lbs and also applied Red Loktite to the threads. I then mounted my 3x9x40mm Bushnell Elite 3200 Firefly Rifle Scope in Weaver 1" Extension Quad Lock 4x4 Scope Rings (putting the extension ring in front so the offset is forward to get maximum ring spacing distance on my scope tube).
With a little luck Saturday I am going to head to the Range. I have 19 rounds of Federal Factory 150gr. Power Shok Soft Point Ammo as well as 20 rounds I loaded with 150gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips / 59.0grs. H-4350 to sight it in with and break the barrel in with.
One really neat thing about the T/C Encore Rifle is that with a 24" Barrel it is only about 4" longer than my 16" M4 AR.
This is the FIRST STAGE of this project. The second stage will have to wait till after the first of the year, and at that time a second barrel will be added in a Varmint Cartridge, stay tuned.